Tag: US Senate

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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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I’ve fielded a few questions about the statement issued today from Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams, whom I consider a friend and an outstanding professional. Having served as Secretary of the Senate (1995-1997), I remember well the outstanding and very sensitive work of the Chief Counsel for Employment, and I will take to my […]

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Next on Thinking It Through: I spoke with Craig R. Brittain about his campaign to be an Arizona senator.   Preview Open

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This week on Banter, James Wallner and Peter Hanson joined the show to discuss the possibility and repercussions of reforming or abolishing the Senate filibuster. Wallner is a senior fellow of the R Street Institute whose research focuses on Congress, particularly the Senate. Hanson is an assistant professor of political science at Grinnell College who specializes in American politics and constitutional law. Both participated in an event at AEI debating the use of the Senate filibuster as a means of fostering deliberation.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of Two Cabinets – Obama 2009 vs Trump 2017 – Updated & Final

 
President Trump and his cabinet on March 13, 2017.

A couple of months ago, I published a post which compared the Senate confirmation process during the first Obama administration and the current Trump administration. The point of the post was to document the unparalleled level of obstruction on the part of the Senate Democrats during the current cabinet confirmation process. At the time, I promised to update the comparison once the current confirmation process was completed. That happened Thursday, when the US Senate confirmed Robert Lighthizer as US Trade Representative by a vote of 84-12.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Tale of Two Cabinets – Obama 2009 vs Trump 2017

 

The Democrats all out attempts to derail and obstruct the cabinet picks of President Trump are, to my knowledge, unsurpassed in history. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this; but, I am. Egged on by their far left base and the fact that the party as evidenced by their elected representatives has moved from the center-left to the left leaves them no option but to fight a series of losing battles in these confirmation battles.

I thought I’d compare the Trump cabinet picks and Senate confirmation process with the Obama cabinet and confirmation process for his first term in order to document how the process has changed in the last eight years. First up, Obama 2008-09.

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Robert Bentley, governor of Alabama, appointed Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions as Senator. Strange is expected to take the oath of office today, bringing the total number of Republicans in the US Senate to 52. He will serve as US Senator from Alabama until 2018, when a special election will be held to fill the […]

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Probably the least-watched Senate race in the US right now is the one in Illinois. It features Senator Mark Kirk (R) vs. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D). Sen. Kirk is known for being surprisingly flexible and is able to easily put his foot in his mouth or his cranium up his own derriere. He once described […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Will a Mark Kirk Victory Keep the Senate in GOP Hands?

 

Official PortraitPiggybacking off yesterday’s post from Canadian Cincinnatus on hotly-contested US Senate races, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois faces a formidable challenger in Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Kirk squeaked by in 2010, helped by a contentious race for governor at the top of the ballot. Even though the gubernatorial election was lost, Kirk received enough help from it to carry him to his first victory, though in a squeaker: he won 1,779,000 votes to his opponent’s 1,719,000 (the gubernatorial election was similarly close). And let’s recall that 2010 was a good year for Republicans.

Let’s jump ahead to 2014. In the governor’s race that year, we had a much stronger Republican, Bruce Rauner, who won a slightly-more-comfortable victory with 1,823,627 votes to the Democratic incumbent’s 1,681,343. But while Rauner has been fighting for deep structural reforms to the state government, Kirk has been working against conservatives and Republicans in Washington. Kirk thinks his victory in 2010 and Rauner’s in 2014 means he can do well this year, but Rauner’s attention and resources have been spent elsewhere, and the governor has generally been quiet about the US Senate race. It’s not without reason.

Turing to this year’s Senate primary results, Rep. Duckworth received 1,220,128 votes in a three-way race where 1,859,257 were cast. Kirk, meanwhile, faced a single challenger (whose name I had never seen until I voted) and won only 931,619 votes (70 percent) out of 1,320,190 cast. Kirk’s votes look even less impressive when you compare it to those in the presidential primaries held on the same day. Short version: Of the Republicans who showed up to vote on primary day, only 65 percent voted to re-nominate for their incumbent senator to retain his seat.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. This Is a Test

 

shutterstock_95619505Were Justice Scalia to have died earlier, our case for having the next president select the his replacement would have been much more difficult; the longer the seat remains vacant, the more time the Left has to use its influence and muscle to pressure the Senate to do its bidding. But were he to have died later, our case would have been strengthened; the shorter the length of the vacancy, the more plausible our arguments in favor of waiting would appear to the general public.

Regardless, he was taken from us when he was taken. We have a winnable fight on our hands, but it will still be a fight. The obstacles in our path are formidable, but not insurmountable. With conviction, shrewdness, and fortitude, we can win this battle; without them, the last fragile barrier shielding us from despotism may well disintegrate before us.

Thus, I can’t help but suspect that the Almighty called His servant home when He did to see if we have the strength and conviction to preserve what remains of our republic. For our leaders in Washington who always seem content to postpone the battle until some magical future day, the fight is now and we must fight hard now.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Will Republicans Hold the Senate in 2016?

 

shutterstock_198818447This year’s US Senate races are probably as important — if not more important — than the presidential contest that has taken-up all the attention so far. Currently, the Senate consists of 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats (including Sanders and King). Of the 34 seats up for election in 2016, Republicans hold 24 to the Democrats’ mere 10.

That means Republicans go into the election with a guarantee of holding only 30 seats, while the Democrats are assured no fewer than 36. Given these favorable terms, it’s at least possible that the Democrats can net an additional five seats and regain control of the Senate. At the very least, we shouldn’t take the Senate for granted.

Of those 34 races, 25 strike me as safe. Republicans can be assured of 17 (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah) while Democrats are all-but-guaranteed eight (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington). This would give the Republicans 47 seats and the Democrats 44.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Mike Rounds, Earning That Senate Seat

 

RoundsWe have a bad habit when it comes to US Senators: the guys we pay the most mind to tend to be the ones who demonstrate the best stagecraft (as I write this, Rand Paul is filibustering the Patriot Act on the Senate floor). That has its place, but there’s also a lot to be said for the guys who roll up their sleeves and do grunt work that’s vital for the country but probably won’t ever earn them a single vote. Put South Dakota freshman Mike Rounds in that latter category. As far as I’m concerned, he can have that seat as long as he wants it. From Lydia Wheeler at The Hill:

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) is planning to introduce a resolution Wednesday to create a committee to review rules enacted by federal agencies. The Regulation Sensibility Through Oversight Restoration, or RESTORE, Resolution would establish a Joint Select Committee to review new rules, hold hearings on the effects of those already in place and recommend ways to reduce regulatory overreach. The committee will also analyze whether it’s feasible for Congress to create a permanent committee to review all rules with economic impacts of $50 million or more before they are enacted.

Short answer: Yes, it’s feasible. Some may dare to say it’s obligatory.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. It’s Not All About You

 

494px-Michelangelo_Caravaggio_065As babies, we all start life as profound narcissists: other people — particularly Mom & Dad — exist only for our benefits. As we mature, however, we slowly learn that the world is not about us. Our siblings, we realize, are just as much entitled to our parents’ love; our parents, in turn, have their own lives, which began before ours; our friends have families as central to their existence as ours are; as we reach adulthood, we realize that billions upon billions of people live long, meaningful, lives without ever having ever given us a second’s thought.

Unfortunately, such thinking is not inevitable and, in certain professions, gets in the way of things. As Dan Drezner points out in his Washington Post column today on the controversy over when (or if) the US Senate should release its report on CIA torture and rendition during the Bush Administration, the delusion that the world turns on your word is easy to find among the members (current and former) of the upper chamber:

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, and the director of Human Rights Watch all think the report is necessary to prevent the United States from committing the same egregious mistakes in the future, then that countermands the magical thinking needed to accept the worst-case scenarios regarding its publication.