Tag: Mike Lee

Mike Lee and the Need for Discretion in Foreign Policy


Senator Mike Lee of Utah recently got hot over a Trump administration briefing that he saw as disrespectful. According to Lee, when pressed about what exactly the Trump administration needed congressional approval for, the administration responded by saying there were almost no limits. As to legal justification, the administration officials responded, “I’m sure we could think of something.” Well, Senator Lee was mad, as he should be. The power that Congress has ceded to the executive in matters of foreign policy has exceeded the time horizon envisioned in its initial approval of the war on terror. It’s well past time to reign the executive back in.

I’m afraid, however, that Senator Lee in his anger has made an unforced blunder with his bluster. When to speak is as important as what is said, particularly in matters of foreign policy. Right now, Trump is in the middle of a standoff which requires that any threat he makes, either real or implied, be credible. If the Senate or, even worse, a handful of senators even give a hint that they won’t follow through with retaliatory action, mixed messages are sent to Iran. Mixed messages lead to miscalculation, and miscalculation in foreign policy leads to bloodshed.

No good martinis but plenty to talk about today!  Join Jim and Greg as they dissect Republican fears that the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas could be at risk this year if primary voters nominated Kris Kobach, who lost the 2018 governor’s race there.  They serve up a double-barreled crazy martini as Utah Sen. Mike Lee fumes that Wednesday’s Iran briefing offered few specifics and that national security officials told lawmakers not to debate the issue in public. But they’re also surprised to see Lee planning to channel that frustration into support for the War Powers Act revisions restricting the ability of a president to order time-sensitive military action.  And they have a lot of fun as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith tells CNN that its time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate only to go on Twitter a short time later to say he “misspoke” and whatever Pelosi wants to do is fine with him.

More year-end awards today!  Jim and Greg embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2019 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, they offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for the year.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America laugh as Utah Sen. Mike Lee hilariously demonstrates the absurdity of the Green New Deal with a picture of Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor and Star Wars references during a floor speech. They also dig into what happened in Chicago after state prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. And they also rip Biden for attempting to win over progressives by condemning “white man’s culture” and saying he wish he could have done something more during the Anita Hill hearing. 

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump for making good on his efforts to eliminate and postpone costly and burdensome federal regulations.  They also tense up as five different Senate GOP votes could be in jeopardy as vote nears on tax reform.  They shake their heads as liberals lose their minds and predict an internet wasteland after the Federal Communications Commission votes to return internet regulations to where they were two years ago.  And Jim offers a spoiler-free look at the new Star Wars movie.

Did Valium make him do it? Or was he “radicalized?” New theories emerge in the Las Vegas shooting case.

Senator Mike Lee joins me to talk Second Amendment and how gun-rights supporters should respond to mass shootings.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America endure three bad martinis today as two more GOP Senators bail on the plan to overhaul Obamacare and a new effort to vote on a clean repeal is already in grave danger of failing.  They criticize President Trump for keeping Obama’s infamous Iran Nuclear Deal without giving his advisers enough time to develop a new policy.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is another source of disappointment today as he declares his intention to increase the use of civil asset forfeiture, which allows the federal government to seize the property of suspected criminals — without charging them with a crime.

Obamacare Replacement Bill Now Lacks Votes to Pass; Update: McConnell to Introduce Straight Repeal Bill


Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced Monday night that they will not support the GOP bill to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare. With the previous defections of Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY), the bill no longer has enough votes to pass.

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes,” Lee said, “it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Moran agreed and released his own statement via Twitter.

Admit it: Trump’s Victory Is a Win for Conservatives

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Conservatives should be the first to recognize that Donald Trump’s victory was a win for them. Indeed, many forward-looking former NeverTrumpers have welcomed the electoral outcome. And yet, a few of the usual suspects still seem fixated on the fact that Trump is not one of us; and they are only tentatively accepting the proposition that Trump’s victory is preferable to that other of the two possible outcomes.

Sen. Mike Lee Still Anti-Trump, Not Quite #NeverTrump


Back in March, Senator Mike Lee of Utah became the first US Senator to endorse his colleague, Senator Ted Cruz; today, he’s one of the last members of Congress not to have endorsed Donald Trump. Asked if he could change his mind, Lee told Steve Malzberg:

“Hey look, Steve, I get it. You want me to endorse Trump,” Lee told NewsMaxTV’s Steve Malzberg when asked why he wasn’t “trumpeting Trump.”

Member Post


I have heard it as conventional wisdom through this election season that “The Senate hates Ted Cruz”.  Both stated as such or as an argument in the form of “Of course they would confirm Cruz to SCOTUS to get rid of him”. Why?  I assume for the Dems it’s a matter of partisanship, since he […]

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Mike Lee Knows the Score


393px-Mike_Lee_113th_CongressAlthough he’s not my senator, I follow Mike Lee on Facebook. He posted this comment regarding the Omnibus bill. It’s dead-on. We know the system is broken. It’s going to take the people to fix it.

Here we are again: another year of legislative dysfunction capped by an undemocratic, un-republican process that uses the threat of another manufactured crisis to impose on an unwilling country the same broken government policies that have repeatedly failed the people they are supposed to serve. The bill moving through Congress today and tomorrow – made up of the omnibus spending bill and tax extenders package – and the process that produced it are an affront to the Constitution and an insult to the American people. I’m not even talking about the substance of the bill, which is bad enough. I’m talking about the way it was produced. A small handful of leaders from the two parties got together behind closed doors to decide what the nation’s taxing and spending policies would be for the next year. And then, after several weeks, the negotiators emerged – grand bargain in hand – confident that the people they deliberately excluded from the policymaking process would now support all 2,242 pages of the legislative leviathan that they cooked up. This is not how a self-governing – or self-respecting – institution operates, and everyone here knows it.

He continues:

Got a post-debate hangover? We’ve got the cure with this week’s installment of the world-famous Ricochet Podcast. On deck for today’s installment: Ricochet Editor-In-Chief Jon Gabriel sits in for James Lileks and we welcome two powerhouse guests — Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) who recaps the debate, the House, Iran, and yes, mayonnaise.

And then, our old pal David Limbaugh checks in with another typical low energy podcast hit. Come on David, perk up!

On Marco Rubio’s Supposed ‘Tax Mistake’


shutterstock_192953363The Wall Street Journal editorial page recently offered a lengthy criticism of Senator Marco Rubio’s tax plan — “Rubio’s Tax Mistake” — first coauthored with Senator Mike Lee. To be more precise, it’s a lengthy criticism of Rubio’s proposed expansion of the child tax credit. Why does the WSJ hate that credit so much? It argues a bigger child credit (a) does nothing for economic growth and is thus (b) a waste of money that could be better spent on lowering the top personal income tax rate below the 35% rate in the Rubio plan.

A few thoughts: First, to the extent that higher take-home pay would allow families to invest more in their own kids and reduce family instability and stress, the tax credit does have a pro-growth aspect. Human capital counts, too, and this would be a human capital gains tax cut for the folks creating and raising the next generation of workers. Now the WSJ might counter that a better solution for a struggling middle class would be to supercharge GDP growth by deeply cutting the top rate. Yet note that Rand Paul’s new flat tax plan with its low, low, low 14.5% top rate would only increase growth by about 1 percentage point a year for the next decade, according to the Tax Foundation. We are talking about a Three Percent (ish) Economy not a Five Percent Economy, if you buy the group’s optimistic modeling assumptions. (Indeed, the same Tax Foundation modeling shows a significantly bigger growth impact from the Rubio plan thanks to its sweeping, supply-side investment and corporate tax reform.)

Second, the WSJ fails to consider the possibility that right now a “rising tide” might not not so easily lift all boats in a US economy where globalization and automation are buffeting the middle class. Faster growth is necessary, of course, but may not currently be sufficient for broadly experienced prosperity. What’s more, smart supply-side reforms may take some time to raise US growth potential. (That sure seemed to be the case with the Reagan tax cuts.) For instance: The WSJ points out how the economy flagged after the slow-motion tax cuts of George W. Bush, which also included a larger child tax credit: “…only when Mr. Bush pushed in 2003 to accelerate the rate reductions and slashed the capital gains rate to 15% from 20% did the economy take off and save his re-election.”

Further Thoughts on the Lee-Rubio Tax Plan


I say some good things about the Mike Lee-Marco Rubio tax plan in my The Week piece, “Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have cooked up the first great tax cut plan of the 21st century.”  Yes, an (overly) effusive headline. As I write:

So Lee and Rubio seem to be following the same general Reagan formula, just updated for modern realities. They would immediately attack income stagnation for the middle-class. And they would transform the income tax code into a consumption tax code, which economists tend to agree would promote more investment and long-run economic growth.

Does Mike Lee’s Reform Agenda Focus Too Much on Equality and Not Enough on Liberty? — DC McAllister


In a recent episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Peter Robinson talked with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) about his Conservative Reform Agenda and creating policies that best meet the “needs of today.” 

Lee thinks the primary problem in America is economic—a “growing crisis of stagnation and sclerosis.” Most of us would agree with this assessment. But is there another issue—one more fundamental to the very nature of our Republic—that is just as important? One so essential that we forget it at our own peril?