Congress

US Congress members: A look at perks and pay

Lawmakers Opens a New Window. this week decided to put an initiative to raise their pay on hold – amidst opposition in both parties Opens a New Window. – but they still enjoy six-figure pay and a host of other perks and benefits. The measure would have raised their salaries by $4,500. Lawmakers have not been given a pay raise since 2009. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports the measure, as she says it would prevent some lawmakers from wanting to keep “dark money loopholes open.” She also said everyone should get cost of living increases to account for changes in the U.S. economy. The current salary for most lawmakers is $174,000. It would be closer to $210,900 had Congress received pay raises annually since 2009, according to data from the Congressional Research Service. Some lawmakers, however, receive more. Click here to see who does, and what other perks and benefits members of Congress receive.

..courtesy of our tax dollars.

Jason Chaffetz: Congress doubles down on incentivizing illegal immigration

Responding to rewards that incentivize illegal immigration, migrants have flowed into the United States at record rates. In each of the last three months, more than 100,000 migrants have been detained for illegally crossing our borders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told senators this week that many are renting babies to cross the border. Of the 144,000 apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the month of May, 11,507 were unaccompanied minors. And these were just the ones that were caught. Congress is upset about tariffs but where is the outrage about human trafficking? These are more than statistics, they are children, but Congress seems unmoved. DHS estimates that just since September 2018, 1 percent of the entire populations of Honduras and Guatemala have migrated, many dragging vulnerable women and children with them. Rather than working to solve the problem as President Trump has been trying to do, Congress continues to ignore and incentivize more illegal immigration. Congressional Democrats’ latest solution, found in the House Appropriations draft funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, creates new incentives that only exacerbate the problem. The bill calls for: “. . .Policy documents that define categories of vulnerable individuals who should not be so returned, including: (A) pregnant women; (B) individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; and (C) mentally or physically disabled individuals.” So in addition to incentivizing migrants to bring children (not necessarily their own) on the dangerous trek, now Democrats also want to reward migrants to bring with them pregnant women or physically disabled people, not to mention the mentally disabled who are more likely to end up becoming part of our massive homeless population. And there’s that special carve out for anyone who claims to be LGBT. How exactly does the government document those claims? For those willing to lie about whose child they just dragged across the desert, no doubt lying about their sexual orientation or mental health status will be far less trouble. These are not serious solutions. They make the problem worse. With border apprehensions up 99 percent over the same time last year, more and more vulnerable people are at risk. It’s time to get rid of the rewards and incentives, not offer more. I respect that many are not fans of using tariffs as trade policy. In this case, tariffs provide the leverage Congress refuses to wield in this critical national security battle. Mexico must be part of the solution, but thus far they too have lacked the political will to deter this human trafficking. There should be a consequence and tariffs certainly get Mexico’s attention. Every Republican House and Senate member should back the president on this issue. Democrats leave us no choice but to wield tariffs, not as trade policy, but as leverage for national security and humanitarian purposes. Anyone who fails to do so, after failing to make the legislative changes necessary to prevent this tragedy, is complicit in the crimes and exploitation our policies incentivize. Voters understand this problem. They want solutions. And they won’t forget who took the problem seriously and offered solutions rather than incentives.

Let’s hope, Jason.  This op/ed by former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is a little dated, but illuminating.  As we all know, President Trump DID threaten Mexico with tariffs if they didn’t start addressing the illegal immigration from their side of the border.  And, it seems that such threats may be working.  We’ll, of course, keep an eye on it.   Jason Chaffetz was the chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee when he served as a representative from Utah. He is the author of “The Deep State: How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda.”

Alan Dershowitz: Congress is not above the law when it comes to impeachment – Don’t weaponize the Constitution

The mantra invoked by those Democrats who are seeking to impeach President Trump is that “no one is above the law.” That, of course, is true, but it is as applicable to Congress as it is to the president. Those members of Congress who are seeking to impeach the president, even though he has not committed any of the specified impeachable offenses set out in the Constitution, are themselves seeking to go above the law. All branches of government are bound by the law. Members of Congress, presidents, justices and judges must all operate within the law. All take an oath to support the Constitution, not to rewrite it for partisan advantage. It is the law that exempts presidents from being prosecuted or impeached for carrying out their constitutional authority under Article 2. The same Constitution precludes members of Congress from being prosecuted for most actions taken while on the floor of the House and Senate or on the way to performing their functions. The same Constitution, as interpreted by the courts, bestows immunity on judges for actions that would be criminal or tortious if engaged in by non-judicial individuals. None of this means that these government officials are above the law. It means that their immunized actions are within the law. The Constitution, which is the governing law, precludes Congress from impeaching a president for mere “dereliction” of duty or even alleged “corruption.” Under the text of the Constitution, a president’s actions to be impeachable must consist of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The framers of the Constitution considered broadening the criteria for impeachment to include maladministration in office. But this proposal was soundly rejected, on the ground that it would give Congress too much power to control the president. Yet Democrats who are now seeking to impeach the president, despite the absence of impeachable offenses, are trying to do precisely what the framers of the Constitution forbade them from doing: exercising control over a president that is not authorized in the Constitution itself. Consider, for example, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has said the following: “Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is. There is no law that dictates impeachment.” It is she, and other like-minded members of Congress, who are claiming the right to be above the law. That is a dangerous claim whether made by a president or by a member of Congress. The framers of the Constitution did not want a weak president subject to the political control of Congress. Members of the Constitutional Convention explicitly expressed that view in rejecting criteria for impeachment short of criminal conduct. In the absence of the specified criminal conduct, the remedy for a non-impeachable president lies with the voters, not Congress. There are other constitutionally authorized remedies as well. These include reasonable congressional hearings conducted under the oversight powers of Congress. These hearings, too, must not be conducted for partisan purposes, but rather for legitimate legislative purposes, such as enacting new laws that evidence of the hearings show are necessary. The current hearings do not meet these standards. They are obviously calculated to obtain partisan advantage in the run-up to the 2020 election. Another option would be for Congress to appoint a nonpartisan expert commission, such as the one appointed following the 9/11 attacks. This commission could look deeply and objectively at all the issues growing out of the 2016 election, particularly Russian efforts to interfere in the American political process. The commission’s goal would not be criminal prosecutions, but rather preventive measures to assure no repetition in the 2020 and subsequent elections. Unfortunately, we live in a time of extreme partisanship, and no one seems interested in nonpartisan truth or in measures that help all Americans rather than only one party. The time has come to stop weaponizing the Constitution and our legal system for partisan advantage. Impeachment would be a lawless response to undertake, as is the use of partisan committees to obtain an electoral advantage. No one is above the law, but no one is beneath the legal protection of the law as well. Both parties should operate within the law for the benefit of the American people.

Agreed!!  And well said, Sir.  Dr. Alan M. Dershowitz, the author of that outstanding legal op/ed, is Felix Frankfurter professor of law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School. What you may find surprising is that Dr. Dershowitz is a proud liberal who makes a point to let folks know he proudly voted for Hillary.  He is one of the few intellectually honest liberals out there, who was recently DISinvited from appearing on CNN.  So, we’re happy to post his article here.  His latest book is “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.” Follow him on Twitter: @AlanDersh Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz.  Please consider this your Read of the Day.  If you read only one thing today here at The Daily Buzz, then READ THIS!!…and then forward it to all of your friends and family members, especially those who are Democrats or who watch MSNBC or CNN…and watch their heads explode.    🙂

GOP’s Fred Keller Wins Pennsylvania 12th District Special Election

Pennsylvania State Rep. Fred Keller won the Pennsylvania House 12th district special election, according to the New York Times. Keller defeated Democrat and professor at Penn State University Marc Friedenberg in a special election Tuesday. The congressional seat became vacant after former Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who easily beat Friedenberg in the 2018 midterm elections, resigned less than one month into this term. The Pennsylvania Republican’s victory serves President Donald Trump as well. Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday. Ahead of the election, Trump said he endorsed Keller and contended that the election would serve as a referendum on his presidential administration. “Go get em, Fred,” Trump told Keller on Monday. “It’s a little bit of a referendum.” President Trump then said that if Keller wins the special election, the media will not widely report the story; however, if Keller loses the election, Trump said that they will play it up as one of the biggest political events in recent memory. Keller’s victory could also serve as a referendum on Trump’s vs former Vice President Joe Biden’s popularity in Pennsylvania. During the rally on Monday, Trump reminded Pennsylvanians that Biden abandoned them to become a senator in Delaware. “Don’t forget, Biden deserted you, he’s not from Pennsylvania, I guess he was born here, but he left you, folks, he left you for another state,” Trump said. “He left you for another state, and he didn’t take care of you because he didn’t take care of your jobs,” Trump added. “He let other countries come in and rip off America.”

Congrats to Congressman Elect Fred Keller (R-PA)!

Federal Appeals court rules House of Representatives can bar secular prayer from atheist

A D.C. federal appeals court ruled Friday that the House of Representatives does not have to allow a self-described atheist to deliver secular prayers. The Good Friday ruling concerned efforts by Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, to pray in the House chamber as a guest chaplain — only to be turned down by Father Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain. The court, however, sided with Conroy in determining the House was in its right to require prayers be religious in nature. “We could not order Conroy to allow Barker to deliver a secular invocation because the House permissibly limits the opening prayer to religious prayer. Barker has therefore failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted,” the opinion stated. Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution declares that both the House and Senate “may determine the rules of its proceedings.” Barker had alleged that Conroy rejected him “because he is an atheist.” But the court determined that while that may be true, the House requirement that prayers be religious holds weight. “In other words, even if, as Barker alleges, he was actually excluded simply for being an atheist, he is entitled to none of the relief he seeks,” the opinion said. The tradition of House and Senate prayers goes back to 1789. The House and Senate both begin their legislative days with a religious invocation, frequently delivered by Conroy and his Senate counterpart Barry Black.

Score one for the Constitution..and freedom OF religion; not freedom FROM religion.  Our founders would have been proud of this court ruling.  Glad that sh_t disturbing, self-righteous, rabble-rousing, Christian-hating Dan Barker was smacked down.  Excellent!    🙂

Rep. Steve Scalise: Democrats need to stop playing games with America’s safety and fund border security now

We need to secure our border. There have been many words spoken about the funding fight to do this, but consider these: “The bill before us would certainly do some good. It would authorize some badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.” No, that statement wasn’t made by a Republican. It was a speech given by then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in 2006, when 26 Senate Democrats – including Obama and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer of New York – voted for The Secure Fence Act, which allocated $50 billion over 25 years for 700 miles of fencing along the border. That’s right. Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer voted for 10 times more funding than President Trump is requesting now to secure our border. What has changed Democrats’ recognition that our southern border needs to be secured? Two words: President Trump. From the day President Trump took office, Democrats have vowed to oppose him at every turn in an effort to appease their radical-left base, putting the politics of obstruction over the security of our country. There’s been no better example of that than the current partial government shutdown. Last month, House Republicans acted to keep our government open and our country safe. We passed a bill to continue government funding and provide the full $5.7 billion President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security said is necessary to secure our border. Yet Senate Democratic Leader Schumer – who voted for border security funding in 2006 – blocked our bill from being considered in the Senate, choosing open borders over an open government. But the time for political games is over. Lives are at stake. An illegal immigrant who crossed our southern border in Arizona is accused of murdering California police officer Ronil Singh just last month. Singh was an immigrant himself who came here legally from Fiji seeking the American Dream. Corporal Singh leaves behind a wife and 5-month-old son. The crime caused by open borders has to stop. According to the Homeland Security Department, over 17,000 criminals were apprehended at the border last year, many smuggling drugs that fuel the opioid crisis plaguing our country. Last year alone, the department prevented more than 3,700 known or suspected terrorists from traveling to or entering into the United States. Just last year! Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents also saved over 900 children from human trafficking and sexual assault last year. Since President Trump took office, ICE agents have made over 235,000 arrests of illegal immigrants with criminal records. These include more than 4,000 homicides and 27,000 sex crime offenses. And today, we are averaging nearly 2,100 illegal crossings per day at the southern border. It’s clear we are facing a crisis. It’s been proven time and again that walls work.

Agreed!!  For more of this spot-on op-ed by Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA), click on the text above.  Thanks Steve!!    🙂

Incoming House Democrats Ready Bill to Criminalize Private Gun Sales

The incoming Democrat House majority is readying legislation to criminalize private gun sales. Ironically, the push comes nearly 227 years to the day after private gun ownership was hedged in by the Founding Fathers via the Second Amendment, which was ratified on December 15, 1791. Politico reports that Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) is spearheading the current gun control push through “universal background” legislation. Such checks criminalize private gun sales, making it illegal for a neighbor to sell a firearm to his neighbor, a friend to his lifelong friend, and even a father to his son. Under the Democrats’ plan, a background system like that in California would require a gun seller to seek government permission for any sale or transfer of a firearm. Such a system was put in place in California in the early 1990s and has failed to prevent some of our nation’s most heinous mass public attacks. Nevertheless, Thompson expects to push his gun control bill within “the first 100 days” of the new Congress. Incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has already assured his colleagues that he will move the bill “very quickly” once it is introduced. The criminalization of private gun sales would not have stopped a single 21st century mass shooting, as nearly every mass shooter bought his firearms at retail via a background check. The exceptions to this norm are the two or three mass shooters who stole their guns.

The good news is that such a bill wouldn’t pass through the (still) GOP-controlled Senate.  And, even if it did, President Trump would likely NOT sign it into law.  THIS is the kind of fascist, extreme-liberal nonsense we can look forward to in the coming two years.  Buckle up kids!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride..