Tag: US Senate

Campaign Cash: Tectonic Shifts Underway

 

One of the consequences of making occasional political contributions is that they result in perpetual fundraising appeals, especially via email and text. Joining political organizations that sell their lists is another way to find an avalanche of appeals in your inbox.

But as a former campaign operative of many years in many states, I find them instructive, even canaries in the coal mine. For example, this one that I received Monday from Sen. McConnell’s campaign organization.

The Biden Tax Idea That Will Hit You. Good and Hard.

 

We haven’t seen details of President Biden’s “Made in America Tax Plan.” It’s designed to pay for his $2 trillion “infrastructure” plan. All we have is an 18-page description published by the Department of the Treasury. But it’s a good guess that we will get all the details when the White House finally sends its FY2022 budget and supporting materials to Congress, likely after he finally delivers his first State of the Union (SOTU) address before a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, right before his 100th day in Congress. That’s a popular but meaningless benchmark that journalists like to write about.

But one needs to go back to the 2020 campaign and read or hear what then-candidate Biden promised as part of his tax plan. We know that he promised to repeal the “Trump Tax Cuts” that lowered tax rates for everyone and really lowered corporate income tax rates from the world-highest 35% to 21%. Biden also promised not to raise taxes on incomes of less than $400,000 per year.

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On the cusp of practically eviscerating the Senate’s filibuster to advance the Democrat’s aggressive if somewhat unpopular progressive agenda, including outlawing voter ID requirements and some gun ownership, US Senate Majority (tenuously, by one vote) Leader Charles Schumer is now focused on an issue that clearly seems to have broad public support: Legalization of Marijuana. […]

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Clever minds have been at work amidst Democratic circles in the US Senate to find a way to circumvent the filibuster – that pesky Senate Rule 22 provision that requires a three-fifths supermajority to end debate and bring a matter to a final vote. But the Democratic caucus isn’t unified, at least yet. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) […]

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I am always grateful to my friend Chris Stigall for appearing on his terrific podcast to talk about the Senate’s “filibuster” rule – requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to “end debate” on issues – and why you should be paying careful attention to it. Here’s the thing – Senate Democrats are globbing onto comments […]

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The US Senate’s “filibuster” rules have been front and center since last year’s contentious presidential election. Actually, it has been contentious pretty much non-stop for about 64 years, and maybe longer. When a great many Americans hear the word “filibuster,” many of a certain age think of Jimmy Stewart’s legendary performance as the fictional US […]

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It’s Time to End Senate Confirmation Hearings

 

One of the Senate’s unique responsibilities is to “advise and consent” on nominations to senior positions in the Executive Branch, as well as every federal judgeship, from districts to the Supreme Court. It is serious business and takes a lot of time.

I would know since I’ve been a nominee subject to Senate confirmation (Federal Election Commission, 1996. It’s a long story, but I pulled the plug on my own nomination. A story for another day).

The last confirmation hearings that gripped the American public was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in 2018 for his eventual confirmation to the US Supreme Court. I bet you remember it. Remember Christine Blasey Ford, with her last-minute, vague accusations of sexual abuse, followed by Kavanaugh’s “angry” response? And Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) weak, flaccid acquiesce to an extra week of FBI investigations, despite a clear lack of evidence of any wrongdoing, at the prodding of the well-disguised, deep partisanship of his colleague, Chris Coons (D-DE), who was clearly committed to destroying Kavanaugh’s nomination, along with his reputation? I’ll confess to being somewhat radicalized by it.

Increased Security Around The Capitol – What It Means

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi conducted a surreal news conference today. While defending the continued presence of nearly 10,000 Army National Guard troops in the nation’s capitol, she called for more funding to help protect Members of Congress “from the enemy within.”

What?

That brought back McCarthyite statements and tactics from the 1950’s (and a certain 1994 movie). Then again, McCarthyism (Joseph, not the “Kevin” variety) has been on full display by Democrats for several weeks now. But since American history is no longer taught in schools, it seems, few of any know the sordid tale of the late US Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), and his “Army-McCarthy” hearings. It was a dark episode in modern American history, but a turning point.

The Politics of Impeachment: Watching High Stakes Poker

 

Normal Americans not consumed with politics may understandably be confused about what’s happening with the impeachment of now-former President Donald Trump. Allow me to share with you the political machinations likely driving what is, or is not, transpiring.

First, the January 6th breach of the Capitol by a hundred or so extremists opened a political opportunity for Democrats – not just to blame President Trump for “inciting” violence, but to drive a wedge between establishment Republicans and Trump supporters. They rightly figured that House and Senate Republicans, among others, would recoil at the violence and damage done to the Capitol.

They were correct. And they responded with a hurried, even “emergency” impeachment of President Trump. No hearings, no investigation, no Judiciary Committee vote, no due process of any kind. And it passed on a largely party-line vote, with 10 Republicans joining in. Establishment Republicans, including reputed New York Times “conservative” columnist Bret Stephens, praised House Conference Lynn Cheney and 9 of her colleagues for their “courage.”

Dr. Rachel Levine, Failing Up

 

One of my favorite phrases is “failing up.” That’s when someone who is perceived to be unsuccessful, even a failure, is promoted. People who’ve worked in the federal government know what I’m talking about.

Recently Dr. Anthony Fauci, the 80-year-old, 30+ year head of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases and Allergies – allegedly our nation’s top epidemiologist – has been used, perhaps unfairly, as an example of failing up.

But today, we have a new candidate. Dr. Rachel Levine, President-elect Joe Biden’s announced nominee for Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. It is perhaps the number three position at HHS, responsible for several hugely important agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Public Health Service. It is arguably one of the top scientific positions in all government and the nation’s top health official (although Dr. Fauci was asked to be President Biden’s “chief medical advisor“).

Where Now, Republicans?

 

Pickett’s Charge, Battle of Gettysburg, 1863.

Republicans were reeling before last week’s criminal breach of the US Capitol. But that breach, led by lunatics who deserve serious jail time, tossed Democrats a cudgel with which to drive a wedge between pro- and anti-Trump Republicans.

It reminds me of the infamous “Pickett’s charge” during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. General George Pickett led his Confederate troops in an ill-fated charge across an open field in an effort to break the center of the Union line. It failed, but the Democrat’s own version of Pickett’s charge, with the artillery cover of the Capitol “insurrection,” has indeed breached the GOP middle. And how has the GOP responded? By shooting at each other.

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 You might think that Congress threw everything including $600 gold-plated toilets in the soon-to-be-passed $1 trillion Covid Stimulus 3.0 bill. They didn’t reportedly include the toilets, but I’m continuing to read the bill. Stay tuned. If there’s $700 million for the Sudan and $10 million for “gender programs” in Pakistan, there’s gotta be a golden […]

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Yay for Justice Barrett’s Confirmation! But It Exposed a Major Senate “Fail.”

 

Conservatives like me, and most notably conservative women and working moms everywhere, have every reason to cheer Judge – now Justice – Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court. Those of us who adhere to the traditional role of our judicial system under our brilliant Constitution cheer loudest.

But for me, as a former Senate official who loves and reveres Senate tradition, this is bittersweet.

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This may be a story worth paying attention to after the elections. Maybe even now. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, is not just the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee but also on the ballot for reelection. His opponent, Jaime Harrison, has raised a whopping $57 million in campaign contributions, dwarfing Graham’s fundraising. The same is […]

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 U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, running for reelection and a Ph.D. historian, has proposed something I’ve been supporting for awhile now – repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment, which provided for the direct election of US Senators, was one of several “progressive era” Constitutional amendments, adopted in short order, a […]

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Every leader, like every human, is flawed. While I’m a Trump supporter, he’s a flawed leader. Every leader has been. And there is no better example of a major Trump flaw than Alabama’s GOP nomination election today, won by neophyte and ex-Auburn football coach, Tommy Tuberville. Preview Open

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Fox News’ most-watched program host, Tucker Carlson, took after two US Senators for advocating the abolition of Columbus Day in favor of Juneteenth – or more accurate, June 19th, 1865, when the last slaves in Texas were informed that they were free – the end of slavery, as it were, at least confederate slavery (it […]

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