Senate

WI Senate: Americans for Tax Reform, Erick Erickson slam Eric Hovde

With just under two weeks left until Wisconsin Republican head to the polls to decide the nomination for United States Senate, it appears that Eric Hovde may have proven conservative groups, like the Club for Growth, right for targeting him on taxes. Yesterday, Americans for Tax Reform hit Hovde, who has not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, for his willingness to accept a “grand bargin” on the budget:

According to Politifact, Hovde “has told voters that he would accept a budget-balancing deal that gets $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue.”

Hovde’s admission leaves voters wondering if he understands the basic premise of a budget “compromise.” Perhaps Eric Hovde is not aware that budget compromises between Republicans and Democrats do not work. He should examine the 1982 and 1990 budget “compromises.”

Obama considers cybersecurity executive order

Internet

On Thursday, the United States Senate shot down so-called “cybersecurity” legislation in a mostly party line vote. Many Senate Democrats tried to hype up the bill as something that could prevent a worst-case scenario, but Republicans were concerned that it would put too much on businesses.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted that the bill was a trojan horse, explaining that “In its current form, the Cybersecurity Act does not sufficiently safeguard Internet users’ privacy and civil liberties, nor would it create the correct incentives to adequately protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats.” Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, also explained that all the cybersecurity legislation would have done is create a headache for business and, as Wyden noted, put privacy at risk through data sharing with the federal government:

Mike Lee: Senate Majority Hasn’t Passed A Budget In 3 Years

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Law of the Sea Treaty is all but dead

As I explained last week, Senate Republicans were close to the 34-members needed to prevent the UN-backed Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) from being approved. According to Hot Air, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has secured the vote needed to kill the treaty when it comes to the floor, assuming Senate Democrats even bother at this point.

Here’s pertinent part of the release from Sen. DeMint’s office:

[Four] additional senators have joined in opposition to LOST, including Mike Johanns (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). With 34 senators against the misguided treaty, LOST will not be ratified by the Senate this year.

WI Senate: Eric Hovde overtakes Tommy Thompson

In a post yesterday, I noted that, even though he had a sizable polling advantage, Tommy Thompson could soon face a problem due to his support of ObamaCare thanks to renewed focus on the law. Unfortunately, I hit “publish” before I saw the results of the latest survey out of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling. According the results, that polling advantage isn’t just gone, Thompson now trails Eric Hovde, a businessman from Madison:

Businessman Eric Hovde (R) has surged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the state’s crowded Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling.

Hovde leads Thompson by 31 to 29 percent, with former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) pulling 15 percent support and Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald at 9 percent.

Recent polling has shown Hovde gaining traction, but this is the first poll, including Hovde’s own, that shows him with a lead over the well-known former governor. Hovde’s numbers have been boosted in large part by the more than $3 million he’s spent on television advertising — Thompson hasn’t been on the air nearly that much, and Neumann’s first ad debuted Tuesday.

Is the Farm Bill in trouble?

Every few years the Congress takes up the Farm Bill, a relic of the New Deal that subsidizes and other taxpayer-funded giveaways for agriculture industry. The most recent legislation — the $604 billion, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act — was passed in 2008, though it was rejected by then-President George W. Bush; though Congress subsequently overrode the veto. The problems with the bill was that it spent far too much, subsidized millionaires, and cost Americans, not just in taxes and wasteful spending, but also through higher grocery bills.

The time has come for Congress to once again shell out billions in taxpayer dollars, but the $969 billion — seriously, it’s that expensive now — legislation may be put at risk due to a disagreement between party leaders on amendments that can be offered:

Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and ranking member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) were scrambling Tuesday to save the $969 billion farm bill from failing on the Senate floor.

More than 100 amendments have been filed to the bill and more continue to pour in. Getting the farm bill to a final vote will require some agreement between Democrats and Republicans on a list of final amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to eliminate “non-germane” amendments but his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is arguing that the must-pass legislation is a prime opportunity to enact a GOP priority wish list of anti-regulation legislation.

Buckeye Senate Battleground: The Radical vs. The Marine

Josh Mandel in Iraq

In the Buckeye State, the battle for U.S. Senate is between two men who started their political careers in their early 20s as Ohio State Representatives.

But for Senator Sherrod Brown of Avon and State Treasurer Josh Mandel of Cleveland, that is where the similarities end.

The Hypocrisy of Common Cause

On Wednesdays, I noted that Common Cause has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the filibuster, a procedural tactic used in the Senate to stall legislation, is unconstitutional. This lawsuit was filed despite the fact that Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution allows each chamber of Congress the right to craft its own rules.

Despite that glaring fact, Politico quoted Stephen Spaulding, staff counsel for Common Cause, saying, “[The Senate] cannot adopt their own rules, and that’s an issue we think the courts should settle.” It’s a political point more than a lawsuit that they hope will result in any actual change in Senate rules.

But here is the kicker, and perhaps the most important point about Common Cause. Doug Mataconis notes that, when the filibuster was threatened by Senate Republicans over judicial nominees seven years, Common Cause defended use of the tactic:

Common Cause strongly opposes any effort by Senate leaders to outlaw filibusters of judicial nominees to silence a vigorous debate about the qualifications of these nominees, short-circuiting the Senate’s historic role in the nomination approval process.

“The filibuster shouldn’t be jettisoned simply because it’s inconvenient to the majority party’s goals,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “That’s abuse of power.”

Filibuster reform back on the table?

The filibuster has been brought back up in American politics. Frustrated by the failure to move the Import-Export bill out of his chamber (though it did pass last night), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has once again brought up the idea of the so-called “nuclear option” to get rid of the procedural tactic to stall legislation:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will not attempt to strip Republicans of their power to filibuster before the November election but is leaving open the possibility if Democrats hang on to the Senate.

The Democratic leader caused a stir on Thursday when he slammed a Republican objection to passing Export-Import Bank legislation without amendments and said he should have listened to colleagues who pushed for changes in Senate rules.

But Reid on Monday said he has no plans to attempt to limit Republicans’ ability to block legislation by a tactic known as the constitutional option — or, by critics, as the “nuclear option.”

“We’re not going to do it this Congress,” Reid told The Hill.
[…]
Democrats are leaving open the option of rewriting the filibuster rule if they keep their Senate majority. Republicans are unlikely to push for such reform if they capture the chamber because they are ideologically opposed to curtailing the power of the Senate minority.

Lugar, Mourdock, and Term Limits

 Calvin and Hobbes is the work of the amazing (and unfortunately retired) Bill Watterson

On Tuesday, I mentioned the Republican primary election in Indiana, specifically the Senate race there. Longtime incumbent Richard Lugar was facing the possible end to his tenure in the Senate. The election results Tuesday evening brought a smile to my face as Lugar reached the end of his career as a senator. Since Lugar has been in the Senate for six terms, the topic of term limits was brought up by several friends.

It’s easy to see how the argument for term limits would sound good, especially when you consider how terrible Lugar was and how he managed to be re-elected all those years; but reasons against term limits still outweigh the reasons for them.

We don’t really need term limits in the House because unbeatable incumbents aren’t really a problem in the House. Sure, there are some people who have been in the House for a long time, but there’s less of a chance for a Congressman to get out of touch with his district because he is up for re-election every two years. And if he does get Beltway Syndrome, a campaign to beat him on the district level is much easier to do than a statewide race would be.


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