Tag: 114th Congress

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A House Divided

 

The announcement of Speaker Boehner’s sudden retirement has mostly been met with joy, and I am not sorry to see him go. But we should temper our enthusiasm about how radical a change will come with a new speaker.

The reality of the House, in my opinion, is that it is not made up of two parties. It is made up of three.

Ted Cruz Now Leader of Republican Party

 

shutterstock_180292484In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king. You may not like Sen. Cruz, may not trust him, may not support him, but he has consistently provided leadership from his new-guy chair where the GOP thrones have been — at best — incompetent.

Cruz and Rep. Lee Zeldin sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry asking for details on the administration’s apparent intrusion into Israel’s internal politics:

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Sen. Cruz asked. “This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.”

It’s Time for Patriotism over Politics

 

Our country today is in a crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before: during a period of exceptional global instability, we’re being led by a president who has absolutely no grasp of the danger we’re in; who seems almost bemused by it.

Yikes. It’s like being aboard a jumbo jet at 30,000 feet above the ocean with thunderstorms all around, the number-two engine sputtering while under the control of a pilot who marched with Occupy Wall Street, somehow got hired by the airline even though he’d never actually flown a plane before, and is having so much fun sending out selfies of himself decked out in a captain’s uniform that he doesn’t even hear the alarms going off all around the cockpit.

What Can Republicans Get Done?

 

shutterstock_100254761The folks at Reason have a list of ten suggested reforms the 114th should pass. Though the it has few surprises — most of Reason’s hobby-horses make an appearance — the list struck me as (comparatively) modest and (almost) realistic. It focuses more on reforming existing institutions and programs in ways that at least conceivably could get past senate Democrats and President Obama’s veto pen, than on sweeping changes that would be awesome, but would never happen.

Definitely read the whole thing — each is given just a few paragraphs’ outline, including a brief summary of recent efforts to pass similar legislation — but the list is:

  1. Restore “fast track” trade promotion authority;
  2. End blanket NSA surveillance;
  3. Curtail civil asset forfeiture;
  4. Kill the renewable fuels mandate;
  5. Lower the drinking age;
  6. Audit the Fed;
  7. Fix government worker pensions;
  8. Implement sentencing reform;
  9. Let federal education funds follow kids; and
  10. Respect marijuana federalism

Obviously, some of these are highly unlikely to see the light of day —  lowering the federal drinking age, for instance, strikes me as sensible-but-impossible and many of the others run into the time-honored problem of asking the Federal government to willing curb itself — but others might stand a fighting chance. Fast-track promotion gives the president more power (though, ironically, the power to do less); asset forfeiture has something approaching bi-partisan support; the specific pension reforms Reason recommends shouldn’t get too much opposition; and some kind of federal accommodation on marijuana seems almost inevitable.