By Peter Roff • USNews
Serious people are starting to wonder if tax reform can pass, largely because they’re only talking to people inside Washington.
Instead they should talk to the American people. Most of them are hungry for it. A quarter of small business owners surveyed by CNBC/Survey Money said taxes were the most critical issue they currently face. Overall it’s their No. 1 concern and, since small business is the engine of growth in the U.S. economy, that’s an important consideration.
Things have improved since Election Day 2016, but the economy is still not growing like it needs to if we are to have hope of ever paying down the national debt, now equal to about one year’s U.S. GDP. Continue reading
By Matthew RJ Brodsky • National Review Online
Republicans have more or less coalesced into two primary political camps regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. Call them “the Fixers” and “the Walkers.” Both see the agreement as fundamentally flawed and would never have offered what the Obama administration gave away. They recognize the deal as both technically and structurally deficient, setting Iran on a patient path toward nuclear weapons while tying America’s hands until the Iranian nuclear program is industrial in scale, lethal in scope, and too costly and difficult to destroy from the outside.
While sharing the same objective vis-à-vis Iran, the two camps differ on the strategy for preventing such an outcome and thus favor divergent paths to reestablish American leverage. Their conflicting aims will become all the more pronounced once President Trump withholds his certification of the deal as a first step down one path or the other. Continue reading
By John Daniel Davidson • The Federalist
At the risk of interrupting our endless culture wars with some boring policy health policy news, congressional Republicans are on track to allow a brand new Obamacare tax to take effect next year, making health insurance even more expensive for millions of Americans. Beginning in January 2018, an Obamacare tax on health insurance plans for individuals and small businesses will go into effect—unless the GOP-controlled Congress delays it.
They’ve delayed it before. The tax was in place from 2014 to 2016, but in December 2015, Congress placed a one-year moratorium on collecting the tax for all of 2017, an estimated $13.9 billion. If the tax is allowed to go back into effect next year, it’ll be at a higher level, hauling in an estimated $14.3 billion and affecting more than 11 million households buying insurance on the individual market and 23 million households who are insured through small employers. Continue reading
Barack Obama emerged from his short-lived political retirement on Sunday to call on Members of Congress to show the “political courage” to preserve ObamaCare. But wait. That plea doesn’t square with the deluge of recent stories predicting that Republicans have doomed their majority in 2018 by voting last week to repeal ObamaCare. How does it take “political courage” to oppose something that everyone claims is politically suicidal?
Perhaps because the predictors of Republican doom could be wrong. The midterm election is still 18 months away, and many events will intervene that could influence the result. But even if the campaign does turn on repealing ObamaCare, we’d argue that the politics are better for Republicans if they pass their reform and fulfill a campaign promise than if they fail and then duck and cover.
Start with the safe assumption that the Democratic base will be highly motivated to vote next November no matter what Republicans in Congress do. The left will be eager to repudiate President Trump, and that means trying to retake the House and Senate. House Republicans can’t do much to deflate that liberal enthusiasm, any more than Democrats could deter the tea party in 2010. Continue reading
By Ronald A Cass • USAToday
Smart people often say stupid things. #MistakesHappen. But it takes a certain special orientation to repeat obviously false and ridiculous statements over and over. That’s a talent peculiar to politicians.
This talent is frequently on display during Supreme Court confirmation fights. Since the 1970s, every nominee from a Republican president has been attacked, among other things, as hostile to women’s rights and civil rights.
That includes Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter — justices who often have been as zealous as any in finding, creating and expanding rights for women and minorities. Constantly being wrong, however, doesn’t prevent the same trope being trotted out as soon as the next nominee is announced. Continue reading
By Gregg Jarrett • Fox News
Some Democrats, still seething over the stalled U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, are trying. But their dream of delivering political retribution has, thus far, fizzled. That is not likely to change.
Gorsuch’s credentials are too impeccable, his intellect too keen and his temperament too even to fall victim to the kind of debasement that felled Judge Robert Bork and coined an infamous phrase.
If the Gorsuch confirmation hearings have proven anything, it’s that his opponents have no powder in their guns. Try as they may, there is little in the record of Neil Gorsuch that can be faulted. His rulings have been fair, his legal mind agile, and his fidelity to the law unimpeachable. Continue reading
Nancy Pelosi says Republicans have accomplished nothing in 2017, and no doubt she wishes that were true. But the House has already voted to repeal 13 Obama-era regulations, and President Trump signed his third on Tuesday. Now the GOP should accelerate by fully utilizing the 1996 Congressional Review Act.
Republicans chose the damaging 13 rules based on a conventional reading of the CRA, which allows Congress to override regulations published within 60 legislative days, with simple (50-vote) majorities in both chambers. Yet the more scholars examine the law, which had only been used successfully once before this year, the clearer it is that the CRA gives Congress far more regulatory oversight than previously supposed.
Spearheading this review is the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Todd Gaziano—who helped write the 1996 act—and the Heritage Foundation’s Paul Larkin. Their legal findings, and a growing list of rules that might be subject to CRA, are on www.redtaperollback.com. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
In a speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Donald Trump outlined five principles to guide lawmakers when repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
“Tonight I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower cost, and at the same time provide better health care,” the president said. “Mandating every American to buy government approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country.”
“The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do,” the president said.
Trump criticized Obamacare, explaining how premiums have increased by double and triple digits, how one-third of counties in the United States are left with only one insurer participating on the exchanges, and how the law is “unsustainable and collapsing.” Continue reading
On February 2, 2017, Frontiers of Freedom President, George Landrith made the following statement on Postal Reform:
“With a nationwide decline in the service performance standards of the U.S. Postal service, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have introduced a bill that is ill-equipped to handle the real problem at hand. For two consecutive years USPS has failed to meet delivery goals for nearly every First-Class mail product and yet the bill fails to properly establish greatly needed mail performance requirements. This bill also ignores the rate-setting process with its regulator by calling for a price increase that further jeopardizes the Postal Service’s fundamental charge to provide quality service at reasonable cost. Instead of pulling the Postal Service out of the gutter where it currently lies, this bill regrettably keeps the structural problems that plague the federal agency and limits their ability to put customers first.”
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval, according to congressional leaders, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the current administration is already plotting to take further action against the Jewish state before vacating office.
Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation both on and off the record.
The Obama administration is still under bipartisan attack for its decision to help craft and facilitate the passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem, a move that reversed years of U.S. policy on the matter. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
The Marine Corps plans to use a troop level increase approved by Congress this week to strengthen its cyber and information operations capabilities.
The Senate on Thursday approved in a 92-7 vote a sweeping defense policy bill that increases the end strength of the active U.S. armed forces, delivering the bill to President Obama’s desk for him to sign.
The Marine Corps will receive 3,000 additional active-duty troops from the current baseline of 182,000 Marines with the passage of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine commandant, said Wednesday that the service will use the troop increase to add roles to cyber, information operations, intelligence analysis, and electronic warfare capabilities. Continue reading
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress unanimously voted on Thursday to level new sanctions on Iran, sending a clear message that lawmakers stand opposed to the Obama administration’s continued concessions to Tehran in the final months before it leaves office, according to comments provided to the Washington Free Beacon.
The Obama administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, made a final push in recent weeks to convince lawmakers to abandon the new sanctions, but lawmakers remained firm on Thursday, voting 99-0 to approve the new sanctions. Even Democrats who have supported the White House’s diplomacy voted in favor of the sanctions.
Senior Iranian officials have been adamant that new sanctions would violate last summer’s nuclear agreement and have threatened multiple times in recent months to walk away from the deal if the United States does not meet all of its demands under the deal. Continue reading
An unprecedented act of pretend bravery
By David Harsanyi • The Federalist
Nothing stirs the passions of Democrats these days quite like the prospect of gutting the Constitution. In an unprecedented act of pretend political bravery, House members held a catered sit-in, demanding Republicans allow a vote to strip away protections of Second, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. It was quite the scene.
There were the selfie-happy Democrats singing “We Will Overcome” while demanding passage of a bill that those right-wing nutjobs over at the ACLU have “strongly” argued would undermine civil liberties. As of this writing, no participant has been beaten down by the cops or thrown into a dank cell — although, for those who’d forgotten their chargers, iPhone batteries were probably getting perilously low on juice.
Sit strong, heroes! Continue reading
Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader McCarthy:
Frontiers of Freedom and its hundreds of thousands of supporters all across the nation want to thank you for your commitment to returning to Regular Order. During the past decade, the practice of setting the Regular Order process aside has weakened the concept of the co- equal branches of government and has sacrificed Congress’ power of the purse. As that has happened, fiscal responsibility has been sacrificed and the Administration has seen its power increased because the constitutional checks and balances have effectively been overridden or bypassed. So we cannot possibly state strongly enough our appreciation and approval of your commitment to Regular Order. It is not merely a process issue — it is a return to our Constitutional roots. Thank you! Continue reading
The current earmark ban is good policy and good politics. It’s popular with taxpayers who believe special interest spending has come to dominate the policy discussions on Capitol Hill and it has prevented the adoption of spending measures that would add to the deficit and national debt. Continue reading