Senate

What? The new Republican majority wants to keep the Democrat-appointed CBO Director

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf

Since I’ve accused the Congressional Budget Office of “witch doctor economics and gypsy forecasting,” it’s obvious I’m not a big fan of the organization’s approach to fiscal analysis.

I’ve even argued that Republicans shouldn’t cite CBO when the bureaucrats reach correct conclusions on policy (at least when such findings are based on bad Keynesian methodology).

So nobody should be surprised that I think the incoming Republican majority should install new leadership at CBO (and the Joint Committee on Taxation as well).

So why, then, are some advocates of smaller government – such as Greg Mankiw,Keith HennesseyAlan Viard, and Michael Strain – arguing that Republicans should keep the current Director, Doug Elmendorf, who was appointed by the Democrats back in 2009?

Republicans fired Harry Reid in 2014; he may retire in 2016.

Harry Reid

Harry Reid and Senate Democrats took a thumping in the 2014 elections, losing eight seats to Republicans — so far — with a likely ninth seat changing parties in Louisiana in the upcoming December 6 runoff. At a closed-door meeting of the incoming Republican caucus, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was unanimously elected Majority Leader. Republicans will take control of the Senate in January.

At the same meeting, Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker was elected to head the National Republicans Senatorial Committee, the campaign committee charged with elected Republicans to the Senate. Wicker suggested that outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may decide to retire rather than face a very competitive re-election campaign in 2016.

The Hill reports:

The new National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman pointed out that Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, who was just reelected overwhelmingly, could run against Reid in 2016.

“To me, that state is going Republican,” Wicker said on MSNBC. “I think Gov. Sandoval has a real good opportunity now after a great run as governor, perhaps to run for senator. So, you know, frankly I’ll say this: I think Harry Reid may decide to retire. That’s my prediction.”

Reid won a tough race in 2010 against Republican Sharron Angle, whom Democrats were able to paint as extreme.

Defeating Mark Udall in Colorado may yield one final victory for liberty

NSA Domestic Spying

When Republican challenger Cory Gardner defeated incument Democrat Mark Udall in Colorado, it was a huge victory for constitutional government and individual liberty. However, that victory might yield one final benefit even before Gardener takes office in January. Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is considering releasing all or part of a secret government report on the CIA’s torture program before he leaves office.

As a member of Congress, Udall has immunity from prosecution for releasing classified information as part of the “Speech or Debate Clause” if he does so on the floor of the Senate. He could read the entire unredacted report in a speech or filibuster and suffer no criminal consequence because of the congressional exception and no political consequence since he’s leaving office.

The report was compiled by the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2009 to 2012 based on documents from the detention and interrogation program started after the September 11 attacks. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has no problem with the government’s wholesale violation of American privacy rights, summarizes the report as follows:

Mary Landrieu: Another one of #HillarysLosers?

Mary Landrieu

The bad news just keeps rolling in for former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Just a few days after Republicans dominated Federal and State elections, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) announced that it would pull all remaining TV advertisements for Mary Landrieu, all but giving up on the Senator and her bid to win a runoff election on December 6.

According to the Politico, the DSCC cancelled all local ad buys that it had purchased through December 6. In addition to the $1.6 million that it has already pulled, it is also working to pull another $275,000 from local markets. Contrast that with the $7.2 million in airtime that Republicans still have in lined up until December 6.

While the DSCC is backing off, Landrieu is finding support among a couple of her Democratic colleagues: Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergran Grimes, who was destroyed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in last Tuesday’s race, and soon to be former N.C. Senator, Kay Hagan, who was defeated by Thom Tillis. Grimes and Hagan have both sent fundraising emails in support of Landrieu, encouraging their donors to support the next victim of the Republican wave.

Optimism and Gridlock in the Senate: YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Shall Not Pass

A criticism of conservatives in the last several election cycles — this past Tuesday being a momentous exception — is that they weren’t interested enough in watching the movements and emerging talking points of the “other side.” They were beaten time and again because they were constantly reacting and playing defense, instead of observing their opponent’s gameplan and coming up with some anticipatory plays of their own.

Tuesday may represent a shift in that attitude. However, there’s only so much time to relax before figuring out where the Progressives want to go next. And they’re already revealing it. Gridlock, people. And it’ll be the Republicans fault. I saw it on Twitter yesterday, from a Progressive who has an uncanny ability to distill the marching orders and throw them out there first: to paraphrase, he said the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s on the Republicans to govern now and he expects more gridlock.

You got that? Republicans will be governing and so the gridlock will be theirs.

Noah Rothman at Hotair has an excellent piece deconstructing — and offering some advice about — this not-exactly-new Democrat meme, which Jonathan Chait, as is his way, has introduced to the cresftfallen kids who are wondering just what the hell happened Tuesday:

This is a truly impressive bit of spiral thinking. During the previous two years, gridlock was bad. For the next two years, it’s bad that the GOP still wants to create gridlock to avoid taking responsibility for governing, but we need to let them continue gridlock to avoid having people get excited about them. Oh… and we just need to wait for Hillary.

It’s Election Day. Polls are open. You can make a difference.

Election Day 2014

The polls are open on the East Coast and will soon be open across the nation, as voters likely decide to send even more Republicans to the House and give Mitch McConnell the Republican majority he needs to pass the jobs bills that have languished on Harry Reid’s desk since Republicans took the House in 2011.

Real Clear Politics gives Republicans a baseline 226 seats in the House to the Democrats’ 179 seat baseline with 30 “toss up” races. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball predicts Republicans win 243 seats in the House, a net gain of nine seats.

In the Senate, Sabato believes Republicans will net eight seats, taking a 53-47 majority. Sabato predicts Louisiana and Georgia’s run-off will result in Republican victories in December and January, respectively, and that Republican Pat Roberts will hold on against Independent Greg Orman in Kansas.

But if you think Washington will maintain its track record of gridlock (and it probably with with Obama still in the White House), then you should turn your focus to gubernatorial and state legislative races.

Establishment GOP will win* on Election Day, and it’s up to grassroots conservatives to hold them accountable

Senate Republican Leadership

All most signs point to Republicans taking the majority in the U.S. Senate tomorrow and sending Harry Reid and the Democrats “into the wilderness” for at least two years. For conservatives, tomorrow’s 74.4%-sure Republican victory will prove to be a double-edged sword.

This is a hard pill to swallow: Conservatives lost more than a few key primary battles against Establishment-back Republicans this cycle. It’s important to admit it — because, from there, conservatives can do two things:

In the Wilderness: If GOP takes Senate majority, many Dems will face minority “culture shock”

Harry Reid's Minority

If tomorrow’s election results pan out the way most political prognosticators predict, a majority of Democrats will be in the minority for the first time in their Senate careers, according to The Hill.

From their write-up:

Only 17 Democrats who could serve in the next Senate were in office eight years ago, the last time the GOP held the levers of power.

With Republicans favored on Election Day, the new class of Democrats might be in for a rude awakening come January, when the perks of the majority could be stripped away.

“It will be a shock for Democrats to move into the minority,” said Jim Manley, a former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The indignities of serving under the opposing party are legion.

The first blow is the loss of committee chairmanships, which senators use to draft legislation, conduct oversight and draw attention to pet causes.

Democrats would be demoted to the ranking members of committees and forced to downsize by letting go of staffers who aren’t wanted on the new majority’s payroll.

Perhaps worst of all, some Democrats would have to pack up their things as Republicans dole out the spoils of office space.

This is part of the Washington back-and-forth. Ousted Senate Democrats’ soon-to-be-former staffers will either head back to their home states or head to the nearest left-wing interest group or think tank, while Republican staffers — in the wilderness since 2006 — will leave their posts at think tanks and other organizations to head to the Hill.

Well…bye: Eric Holder reportedly leaving the Obama administration

There’s some big news, though not entirely unsurprising news developing this morning. The Associated Press is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today and leave Obama administration once his successor has been confirmed by the Senate:

Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

Holder already is one of the longest serving members of the Obama cabinet and ranks as the fourth longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.

It had been rumored for some time that Holder, who has earned the ire of congressional Republicans over Operation Fast and Furious and other issues, wanted out of the administration. Holder telegraphed this to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Tobin back in February, saying that he planned to stick around “well into” 2014. The Justice Department, however, denied that the Attorney General indicated he would resign.

Senate Democrats are going to wait until after the election to authorize military action against the Islamic State

Senate Democratic leaders

Senate Democrats have decided to punt on a resolution authorizing military force against the ISIS until after the mid-term election, handing a blank check to President Barack Obama to act unilaterally in the interim:

“We’re going to take up the construction of a new authorization for the use of military force. It’s long overdue,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

The authorization would focus narrowly on ISIS, likely bar the deployment of ground troops and set a one-year time limit on military action.

The plan to vote on a resolution specifically authorizing strikes against the extremist Sunni group could help reassure liberal Democrats nervous about supporting a measure that authorizes President Obama to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria.

Durbin announced the roadmap at a Democratic leadership press conference shortly before the chamber was scheduled to vote on a government funding measure that included the so-called Title 10 authority to train the rebels.

Why are Senate Democrats waiting until after the election? Well, they don’t want to do anything to upset their base, some of whom could stay at home because of dissatisfaction with what they could see as the party getting the United States into another Middle Eastern quagmire. If some leftist Democrats stay home, it could further endanger the party’s already slim chances of holding onto the upper chamber.


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.