Congress

Greg Gianforte Stuns Media, Democrats in Montana House Win

Republican Greg Gianforte won Thursday’s special election for the U.S. House in Montana, defeating Democratic challenger Rob Quist despite being charged with misdemeanor assault the day before. Gianforte will now take over former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke’s House seat. Zinke vacated the seat when he accepted the post of Secretary of the Interior in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. The election results — with Gianforte winning over 50% of the vote and leading by a seven-point margin — were a major blow to Democrats’ anti-Trump efforts, and to the media’s expectations, after Gianforte had allegedly “body-slammed” a reporter before his final campaign event on Wednesday. Montanans are “sending a wake-up call to the Washington D.C. establishment,” Gianforte told a jubilant crowd outside his campaign headquarters, after multiple outlets called the race. Democrats had hoped to turn the race into an early referendum on President Trump’s performance in the White House and the GOP’s health care bill, which passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate. But despite national attention and considerable outside funding, as well as Trump’s recent controversies in Washington D.C., Democrats were unable to turn the anti-Trump “resistance” into a concrete victory at the ballot box — a bad sign for Democratic chances in the 2018 midterms. Democrats had also been handed the gift of a last-minute controversy when the UK Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was allegedly assaulted by Gianforte. Jacobs said the entrepreneur had “body-slammed” him in response to questions about the Congressional Budget Office score of the GOP health care plan. Fox News’ Alicia Acuna also supported Jacob’s account saying Gianforte grabbed Jacobs “by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.” An audio recording released by the Guardian showed Jacobs asking Gianforte a question, before a loud crashing noise was heard, followed by Jacobs saying Gianforte had attacked him and broken his glasses. Gianforte’s campaign pushed back against Jacobs’s claims, saying that the reporter entered the office without permission and “aggressively shoved” a recorder in the candidate’s face. An official campaign statement said Jacobs had been asked to leave and to lower the recorder (neither of which was heard on the recording). Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault and appeared to go dark Thursday, canceling interviews with both Fox News and NBC’s Meet the Press. At least three newspapers, the Helena Independent Record, the Missoulian, and the Billings Gazette, pulled their endorsements of Gianforte, while Democrats seized on the alleged assault, with both MoveOn.org and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launching ads that played audio of the incident. Democrats were also hoping that Trump’s time in the White House would motivate their base in the election, and would give them a win that would point toward a big victory in the 2018 midterms, in the same way President Barack Obama motivated the Republican base in the 2010 midterms. Despite all those factors in Democrats’ favor, it seemed that Gianforte’s win was a comfortable one. When The Associated Press called the race, Gianforte was leading Quist by approximately seven points. In his victory speech, Gianforte appeared humbled by the recent controversy, and apologized to Jacobs for the incident that had at one point appeared to doom his campaign. “Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back,” he said. “I should have not responded in the way that I did. And for that I am sorry.”

To see a video of Congressman-elect Gianforte’s speech, click on the text above.  Clearly he was wrong for how he handled an obnoxious punk millennial reporter who very likely provoked the incident.  And, Gianforte was properly charged with a misdemeanor assault charge for which he’ll probably pay a $500 fine (he won’t do any jail).  Additionally, the Republican-controlled house should officially reprimand him.  But, that’s where it should end.  The Dems, and the liberal media, didn’t get their scalp.  By contrast, the good people of Montana gave the Dems, the liberal media, and the establishment of BOTH parties the finger in this election.  This special election kept the seat GOP, and was HUGE win for Pres. Trump…and the people of Montana know that….and voted accordingly.

House passes bill which targets police shootings

The House approved legislation Thursday that makes killing a state or local police officer an aggravating factor that juries and judges would consider in death penalty cases. Under current law, killing a federal law enforcement officer is already an aggravating factor in death penalty deliberations. The bill’s supporters say it’s important to apply that standard to the murder of state and local law enforcement and other first responders, too, because it sends a message of accountability. The vote was 271-143. Some lawmakers and civil rights groups said the legislation ignores racial biases in the imposition of the death penalty. They also called the legislation duplicative since the killing of any police officer likely meets one of the other 16 aggravating factors that federal juries already consider in death penalty cases. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., acknowledged the scenarios the bill would apply to “are probably limited.” Still, he said it would be important in some acts of terrorism where a state or local officer is killed, or if an officer serving on federal task force were killed. He said it would also cover volunteer first responders. “This legislation sends a simple message. The stalking and killing of a law enforcement officer will not be tolerated,” Goodlatte said.

Excellent!!  Glad to see the House doing something which supports our first responders like this.

Big Government Republicans Rebuke Trump Budget

Kentucky Republican congressman Hal Rogers, who has spent more than three decades on the House Appropriations Committee, including six years as the chairman, rejected President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget as Congress begins consideration of the president’s rearrangement of priorities. “While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the President’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Rogers, one of the so-called “cardinals,” the nickname for the lawmakers controlling how federal money is spent. Rogers said he was concerned about cuts to programs in Kentucky. “In particular, the Appalachian Regional Commission has a long-standing history of bipartisan support in Congress because of its proven ability to help reduce poverty rates and extend basic necessities to communities across the Appalachian region,” he said. “Today, nearly everyone in the region has access to clean water and sewer, the workforce is diversifying, educational opportunities are improving, and rural technology is finally advancing to 21st Century standards. “We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse. As the full budget picture emerges in the coming weeks, I am optimistic that we can work with the Administration to responsibly fund the federal government, including those agencies which serve as vital economic lifelines in rural parts of the country that are still working to overcome substantial challenges. Another top House Republican and the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Mike Conaway, took shots at the president’s cuts to the agriculture programs. “At first blush, I am pleased that the administration is working to restore the strength of our nation’s armed forces to make sure that our men and women in uniform have the equipment that they need to defend our country and our interests around the world,” said Conaway, a Texas Republican who also sits on both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. “On the USDA budget, I am concerned that the cuts, while relatively small in the context of the total federal budget, could hamper some vital work of the department,” he said. “I think it is very important to remember that net farm income is down 50 percent from where it stood just four years ago. America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions. In fact, we need to do all we can to be there to help our farmers and ranchers. The work they do is critical. “I think it is very important to remember that net farm income is down 50 percent from where it stood just four years ago. America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions. In fact, we need to do all we can to be there to help our farmers and ranchers.” Another Republican taking on the president’s budget cuts is Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been a critical tool in our efforts to help protect and restore Lake Erie, and when the Obama administration proposed cuts to the program, I helped lead the effort to restore full funding,” he said. “I have long championed this program, and I’m committed to continuing to do everything I can to protect and preserve Lake Erie, including preserving this critical program and its funding.” When he announced the president’s budget, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, explained that his budget request was based on Trump’s own speeches and campaign promises. “Knowing what you know about the President, you could imagine what that budget would look like before you even see it..”

Indeed!  It’s disappointing to see SO many Republicans like these otherwise quality legislators giving in to their inner-liberal, knee-jerk need to give their respective districts the pork they’ve been so used to giving them…in order to buy their votes.  The size and scope of the federal government has progressively grown for decades.  And, now, we actually have a President who wants to trim the fraud, abuse, and waste of federal taxpayer dollars from the federal budget, just as he promised he would.  As Mr. Mulvaney rightly suggests, this should be NO surprise to anyone.  This is just Trump keeping another one of his promises; in this case, to “drain the swamp.”  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Pelosi’s ObamaCare tweet gets unintended response

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) tweeted out a question late on Monday about people’s experiences with Obamacare but did not get the response she was looking for. Last week Republicans released their new health care plan intended to replace the Affordable Care Act. Democrats have been gearing up to fight back against the new plan and plan to make health care a 2018 mid-term election issue. Pelosi tweeted out a link to the White House website, asking her followers to share their experience with the Affordable Care Act. Pelosi wanted feedback on why Democrats must protect Obamacare, but she did not get the answers she was looking for.

To see some of the answers ol’ Nancy received, just click on the text above.  One word…karma.

House votes to undo Obama administration’s social security gun rule

The House voted Thursday to cancel an Obama administration rule that would have had Social Security add names from its files to the list of people prohibited from buying guns in the national background check system. Under the rule, which got final approval as President Obama was heading out the door in December, the Social Security Administration was instructed to scour its records to spot people who were so mentally impaired that their checks were sent to a payment representative. Those names were then to be entered in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The GOP-controlled House voted 235-180, breaking down almost entirely along party lines, to kill the new rule using the Congressional Review Act, which gives Capitol Hill a chance to swat down a lame-duck president’s last-minute regulations. Gun-rights groups said the rule impinged on Americans’ Second Amendment rights, denying them the chance to buy a gun without good reason. “This rule is a slap in the face of those in the disabled community because it paints all those who suffer from mental disorders with the same broad brush,” said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He said people who suffer from mental disorders are more likely to be crime victims, not perpetrators.

Agreed!  Outstanding work by the House GOP today!!  This was just another one Obama’s fascist, anti  Second Amendment rules..  Glad it got canned today.  Excellent!!   🙂

Protesters, Democrats open fire on EPA nominee Pruitt at Senate hearings

Amid scattered protests, Democrats on Wednesday morning turned their full fire on Scott Pruitt, seeking to derail the Oklahoma attorney general by zeroing in on his past legal clashes with the Environmental Protection Agency and his ties to the oil-and-gas industry. Mr. Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday at a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He’s likely to be confirmed, but Mr. Pruitt faced tough questioning from lawmakers who argued he routinely prioritizes his political career and relationships with fossil fuel companies ahead of the environment. “You used your office as a direct extension of an oil company rather than a direct extension of the public health of the people of Oklahoma,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, referring to a 2011 letter Mr. Pruitt sent to the EPA charging that the agency had greatly overestimated the air pollution caused by natural gas drilling. Much of the language in the letter appears to have been written by Devon Energy, a leading Oklahoma oil and gas company. Mr. Pruitt didn’t dispute using some of the company’s language, but shot back that his role as attorney general was to represent the interests of his state against an overzealous federal government that sought to cripple oil-and-gas drilling. “That was an effort that was protecting the state’s interest,” he said. “It was particular to an industry … There was concern expressed by that industry.” As Democrats challenged Mr. Pruitt, protesters on several occasions disrupted the proceedings. Shortly after the confirmation hearing began, a protester wearing a BP uniform interrupted the proceedings and warned that Republicans want to destroy the EPA. She was quickly escorted out of the room by Capitol security. “We don’t want it gutted,” the demonstrator shouted. Throughout his statements, Mr. Pruitt stressed that he’d be a strong advocate for clean air and water. But he also made clear that he believes the agency has greatly overstepped its bounds and is crushing economic growth across the country, chiefly by forcing states to meet unrealistic federal mandates on greenhouse-gas emissions. “The states are not mere vessels of federal will,” he said, going on to say that he believes strong environmental protections and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. Mr. Pruitt, 48, who has been a leading thorn in the side of the EPA for the last six years, has vowed to undo many of the agency’s climate-change actions. If confirmed, his chief target will be on the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a set of federal regulations that greatly restricts carbon emissions from power plants and specifically was designed to reduce the use of coal for electricity generation. Mr. Pruitt joined other Republican attorneys general from across the country in challenging the plan in court, and the Supreme Court last year put the entire proposal on hold. Republicans are still eager to formally undo the regulations. Working with the Trump White House, Mr. Pruitt’s EPA is expected to immediately begin the lengthy, complex legal process of scrapping the Clean Power Plan. He’s also brought legal challenges against EPA regulations on mercury pollution, ozone standards, carbon dioxide emissions, and on other matters. “The EPA has not acted within the framework Congress has established in performing the role it is supposed to perform,” he said Wednesday in explaining his rationale behind the lawsuits.

Indeed..  And, we very much look forward to seeing Mr. Pruitt confirmed.  It’ll be fun to watch as puts that out-of-control, bloated, fascist federal agency in it’s place.

Hill Republicans try to ease purchase of gun ‘silencers,’ as NRA-backed Trump arrives

Congressional Republicans are trying to change federal guns regulations to make buying a silencer, or suppressor, easier. But critics don’t agree with the argument that the proposed legislation is a safety measure to prevent hearing injuries. The Hearing Protection Act, introduced earlier this week in the GOP-controlled House and Senate, if passed, would still require a background check to buy a silencer, which muffles or suppresses more than silences the sound of a shot. However, buyers would no longer have to pay a $200 fee or wait for months after filing extensive paperwork with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “I’ve been shooting since I was a young child — beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my Dad. My hearing has been damaged because of gun noise,” South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan said Monday after introducing the bill in the House with Texas Rep. John Carter, a fellow Republican. “Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss. This is a health issue,” Duncan continued. The National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm supports the measures, saying suppressors are “harmless and very rarely used in crime” and that the joint bill would end the “cumbersome and lengthy application process.” A similar measure failed in 2015. But supporters are optimistic this time with Republican Donald Trump set Friday to officially become president. They point to the NRA having endorsed Trump and Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., a hunter, recently appearing in a promotional video for Utah-based SilencerCo. “I believe in American manufacturing. I love your product,” Trump says in the video, in which he also argues that European countries freely allow the accessory. “It’s a safety issue.” The GOP lawmakers say the bill aims to “cut through the red tape” of owning a suppressor and, if passed, would remove the accessory from the scope of the National Firearms Act. They also say it would replace the “outdated” federal application process with the “instantaneous” National Instant Criminal Background Check. The bill calls for a refund of the $200 transfer “tax” for applicants who purchased a suppressor after Oct. 22, 2015, the original date of introduction.