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It’s increasingly likely that President Trump will finally notch his first major legislative victory. Reuters is reporting that “U.S. Republican senator Rand Paul on Friday appeared to back the Trump administration’s sweeping tax cut plan, saying he was ‘all in’ for massive tax cuts even as the Senate passed a key budget measure without his support one day earlier.”

Reuters then quoted President Trump’s tweet that said “The Budget passed late last night, 51 to 49. We got ZERO Democrat votes with only Rand Paul (he will vote for Tax Cuts) voting against.” Then President Trump tweeted “This now allows for the passage of large scale Tax Cuts (and Reform), which will be the biggest in the history of our country!” Still later, Sen. “Paul responded with his own tweet, saying, ‘I’m all in for tax cuts @realDonaldTrump. The biggest, boldest cuts possible – and soon!'”

As momentum builds for President Trump’s tax reform legislation, Democrats’ criticism will increase. Here’s what some Democrat senators are saying:

Tim Kaine (VA): “Senate Republicans held this vote on a sham budget to pave the way for their partisan tax plan. Based on what little we know about it, their tax plan could increase taxes on many hardworking Virginia families, put Medicare and Medicaid at risk, and increase the debt by $1.5 trillion. And I’m not okay with that.”

Cory Booker (NJ): “The Senate Republican budget resolution is an abomination. It threatens huge cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and essential programs that help poor families and people with disabilities — all to pay for President Trump’s effort to give massive tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy and well-connected.”

Heidi Heitkamp (ND): “Simply, this bill hurts rural America and that’s why I can’t support it. I’ve long said I want to work on comprehensive, smart tax reforms that help rural economies, and voting against this budget doesn’t change that. But for tax reform to work, Republicans and Democrats need to be at the table as it’s drafted, and any proposal must support workers, families, and retirees.”

Of course, Chuck Schumer wants to paint the tax reform as tax cuts for the wealthy:

“We’re going to also make our Republican colleagues vote on whether they want to raise taxes on the middle class,” Schumer said. “The President claims his tax plan will cut taxes, but it actually will raise them on millions of hard working families. Today, our Republican colleagues will decide whether they want to support those tax increases, or protect the middle class from paying more taxes.”

This show of solidarity will help bring President Trump’s tax reform initiative to a successful conclusion:

Monday, President Trump held a joint press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Click this link to read the transcript.) One of the things President Trump highlighted during the Q and A portion of the presser was how the Democrats’ obstructionism hurt with getting things done for the American people.

Specifically, President Trump said “Just so you understand, the Republican Party is very, very unified. When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support, we have nobody. We don’t have a vote from the Democrats. As an example: massive tax cuts — we may not get any Democrat votes. Now, we also may get three of four, but we may get no — for massive tax cuts. We’re the highest-taxed country in the world, and yet we may get no Democrat support. And that’s because they’re obstructionists and they just basically want us to do badly, but that’s not going to happen.”

This can’t get emphasized too much. Think about it this way. Even during the Obama administration, Democrats didn’t pass any reforms that made life better for Americans. Democrats passed the omnibus budget bill that funded the government. Democrats also passed the annual debt ceiling increase. After that, crickets.

That isn’t to say that Republicans shouldn’t get criticized. Susan Collins, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul certainly deserve criticism. They’ve lied to their constituents. They’ve let the American people down. McCain and Paul both deserve the highest criticism, though, because I didn’t expect much from Sen. Collins or Sen. Murkowski.

Democrats haven’t offered constructive, substantive policies. They’ve insisted on maintaining the status quo that’s failed the American people the past 8 years. When 2018 comes around, Democrats will have to defend that record of obstruction and advocating for the status quo. Forgive me if I don’t think that’s a winning message.

I can’t say that I’m surprised to hear that Sen. Franken is upset that Judiciary blue slips are soon disappearing. I said in this post that Sen. Franken had spent lots of political capital fighting against Justice Stras’s confirmation to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

After Sen. McConnell announced that blue slips wouldn’t be used as a one-man veto, Sen. Franken announced that he hasn’t given up the fight.

In a statement, Franken said “‘[I]n an attempt to stack the courts with right-wing judges, powerful special interests and conservative groups are pressuring Senate Republicans to kill off the blue slip’. ‘In the face of this pressure, I urge Chairman Grassley to demonstrate the same integrity that [past Democratic chairman] Senator [Patrick] Leahy demonstrated and to protect the prerogatives of all senators — Republican and Democratic alike.'”

What a whiner. I didn’t hear Franken tell President Obama or Sen. Reid that the judges that they stacked the DC Circuit Court of Appeal with were too progressive. Sen. Franken is the ‘senator with a glass jaw.’ Further, it’s a bit much to hear Sen. Franken say that Justice Stras is too conservative when retired Justice Alan Page said “We write to urge that the Senate Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Senate act expeditiously to confirm the nomination of Minnesota Associate Supreme Court Justice David R. Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Stras has all the attributes and qualifications necessary to make an excellent circuit court judge.”

I suspect that Sen. Franken is the extremist, not Justice Stras:

Franken has said he finds Stras too conservative to support. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals already has a number of conservative judges, he argued.

So what? As the last president said in the early days of his administration, “I won.” If Sen. Franken doesn’t like the judges that President Trump nominated, he should try running for president and winning the election. Apparently, Sen. Franken doesn’t like the part about elections having consequences except when Democrats win.

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Kim Strassel’s latest WSJ article perfectly illustrates the threat that the Swamp poses to America. The question that Susan Collins, John McCain and Rand Paul needs to be asked is whether they hate President Trump more than they love America. At this point, it seems like they hate President Trump more than they love America.

Ms. Strassel notes that “Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have also led revolts against bills, again based on shared criticisms. But what do the Arizona maverick, the Maine moderate and the Kentucky libertarian have in common? Very little. Well, very little save motivations that go beyond policy. And that is the crucial point that is missing from the endless analyses of the McCain-Collins-Paul defections on health care. The media has treated the trio’s excuses for killing their party’s top priority as legit, despite the obvious holes in their objections over policy and process. What in fact binds the three is their crafting of identities based primarily on opposition to their party or Mr. Trump.”

Ms. Strassel eviscerates the trio, writing “The press was fixated this week on Mr. McConnell’s bad week, which is an easy piece to write. But it ignores the obvious reality that the Triumvirate seems to have never had any intention of letting its party succeed. After all, a senator who intended to stand firm on “regular order,” as Mr. McCain said, would have informed his colleagues of that demand at the beginning, rather than allow his colleagues to set up for another vote and then dramatically tank it (again) at the last minute. A senator who voted for ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal in the summer on the grounds that anything was “better than no repeal,” in the words of Mr. Paul, would not suddenly engineer an unreachable set of demands for his vote on an even better repeal.” This will never be forgotten by Republicans:

Let’s state this clearly. By making up flimsy excuses for why they’re opposing a health care plan that would be dramatically better than the ACA, this trio is proving that they’re putting egos ahead of doing what’s right for the American people. In that way, Paul, McCain and Collins are as disgusting as Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi.

While there are other Republicans who haven’t enthusiastically supported President Trump’s agenda, this trio of traitors should be expelled from chairmanships and plum committee assignments. Rather than calling them “the Never-Trump Triumvirate”, let’s call this trio what they are: the trio who hate President Trump more than they love this nation. What a disgusting bunch. They’re more disgusting than the reptiles protesting during the National Anthem. They’re almost more disgusting than Antifa.

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As with most movement conservatives, I haven’t been Mitch McConnell’s biggest fan. In this post, though, I enthusiastically applaud Sen. McConnell for essentially telling Sen. Schumer to take a hike.

In Steve Benen’s post, it says “With this in mind, the Senate Democratic minority acknowledged yesterday that another tax-reform push is poised to get underway, and they released a letter presenting some benchmarks, including a package that doesn’t cut taxes for the top 1% and doesn’t increase the deficit.”

The Washington Post article quoted in Benen’s post says “Senate Democrats issued a call Tuesday for bipartisan talks on a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax code amid growing pressure from the White House for Republicans to implement aggressive tax cuts before year’s end. Democrats unveiled their request in a letter calling on the GOP to work with them to update the tax code without reducing federal revenue or cutting taxes on the wealthy.” First, it isn’t bipartisanship when the minority party tells the majority party what it won’t do. Demanding that Republicans not cut taxes on “the wealthy” is Democratspeak for raising taxes on small businesses. That’s a non-starter with Republicans.

Still, it’s a welcome demand from a political standpoint. If Republicans reform the tax code instead of just cutting taxes, “the wealthiest 1%” will lose virtually all of their deductions but see their marginal rates stay the same under the Democrats’ proposal. That’s the equivalent of a massive tax increase on the rich. According to Townhall’s Guy Benson, the top 20% of wage earners pay 70% of the taxes. How is that smart economics? How will that jumpstart the economy?

I doubt that Sen. Schumer will force vulnerable Democrats into voting for a massive tax increase for “the wealthy”. That’s his initial bluster but I can’t see him telling Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin III, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine, Jeanne Shaheen or Claire McCaskill to end their political careers.

If Sen. Schumer decides to bully vulnerable Democratic senators into voting against tax simplification, he’ll be the Senate Minority Leader for at least a decade. I don’t think that will happen because I don’t see him being that stupid.

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When I wrote this post, I hadn’t read Stephen Hayes’ devastating article about Sen. Chuck Schumer’s dishonesty. In the post, I wrote that Democrats put a higher priority on their PR stunt, aka “the Resistance”, than they put on protecting national security.

I wasn’t as cynical as I should’ve been. According to Hayes’ article, according “to six sources familiar with the negotiations over Pompeo’s confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republican leaders that he would allow Pompeo to be confirmed by voice vote on Inauguration Day, along with two other Trump nominees who have national security responsibilities. But Schumer broke his promise, these sources say, and offered an insulting excuse for having done so.”

Later in the article, Hayes wrote “McConnell consulted Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Intel committee member Tom Cotton, and the incoming Trump administration. Republicans agreed to delay Pompeo, whose team was happy to have an extra day to prepare. But the Republicans had a condition. If we agree to push back Pompeo’s hearing for a day, they told Schumer, you must agree to include him in the group of national security officials who will be confirmed by a voice vote on Inauguration Day, January 20. According to these sources, Schumer agreed, with alacrity, having secured the delay he’d sought.”

That didn’t happen:

But on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, Ron Wyden said he’d seek to delay Pompeo’s confirmation when the Senate convened late Friday afternoon. That evening Cotton, who is close to Pompeo from their time together in the House of Representatives, began calling his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Wyden, seeking to avoid the delay. Some of the calls were cordial. Others were testy.

The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50pm. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.

Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.

Sen. Schumer shouldn’t be trusted. He’s always been a snake whose word was worthless. Sen. McConnell should try to work with trustworthy Democrats while avoiding dealing with Sen. Schumer as often as possible.

Sen. Schumer is a liar. I don’t trust him whatsoever. If he tries filibustering President Trump’s SCOTUS nominees, I’d blow up the filibuster, then name it the Schumer Option. I’d explain that name by saying Sen. Schumer’s dishonesty forced the rule change.

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This article by CNN’s Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson is a worthwhile read. That doesn’t mean they don’t get some important things wrong, though.

It’s apparent that they think anyone calling themselves a TEA Party conservative agrees with Ted Cruz’s strategies 100% of the time. That’s apparent when they said “Despite the constitutional constraints on action in Washington and the presence of a Democratic President with a veto in the White House, they are furious that the GOP has failed to overturn Obamacare.”

Actually, I’m not upset with the GOP Congress for “fail[ing] to overturn Obamacare.” I’m furious with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner for not pushing the conservatives’ reform agenda. There’s no excuse for why they haven’t pushed Tom Price’s health care reforms. It’s filled with popular features that are infinitely more popular than the mandates in the ACA. There’s no excuse for not pushing Paul Ryan’s tax simplification legislation. Republicans and Democrats alike support tax simplification. Most importantly, it’s supported enthusiastically by small business entrepreneurs.

There’s no excuse for Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell haven’t pushed cutting government based on the GAO’s reports of duplicative programs. I’d love hearing Democrats defend programmatic duplication that runs into the tens of billions of dollars. (That isn’t a typo. It’s billions with a B.)

Finally, and I’m especially passionate about this, there’s no justification for not pushing Ron Johnson’s regulation reform. Sen. Johnson’s reforms aim to neuter something he calls “weaponized government.” When the EPA insists that a couple in Idaho can’t build their dream home on land they purchased because there’s a low spot somewhere on the property, that’s weaponized government. There’s nothing about that that lives up to “of, by and for the people.”

Though I’m upset with CNN, that’s nothing compared with how pissed off I am with Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell.

With Democrats and the Washington Post criticizing him for not bringing Loretta Lynch up for a confirmation vote, Mitch McConnell is still playing hardball:

The hardball tactics, coming in McConnell’s first 100 days as majority leader, pose some risks for a GOP majority determined to show it can govern. Democrats can win back the Senate in 2016 by winning four or five seats, depending on the outcome of the presidential race.

McConnell is facing rising pressure to allow a vote on Lynch, who Democrats this week noted has waited 160 days since her nomination for a confirmation vote.

Supporters launched a hunger strike this week, and The Washington Post editorial board on Thursday slammed the GOP leader for the “shabby treatment” of Lynch, who would be the first black woman to serve as attorney general. The Post wrote there is “no principled reason to link Ms. Lynch’s nomination to the passage of the trafficking bill,” and that she should get “immediate floor consideration.”

However, McConnell’s strategy also has benefits for the GOP leader and his conference, which has unified around him.

Republicans are irked that Democrats blocked the trafficking bill over language that would prevent money for a victims fund set up by the bill to be used for abortions, even after some Democrats voted for the bill in committee. Democrats later said they did not realize the abortion language had been included in the legislation.

The Washington Post Editorial Board said that there is “no principled reason” for denying a vote on Lynch. They’re wrong.

Actions have consequences. Democrats unanimously voted for the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in committee. Then the Democrats’ pro-abortion special interest groups descended on the Judiciary Committee Democrats like locusts descended on Egypt in the time of Moses. Immediately, Democrats started lying, saying that they didn’t know the 68-page bill contained Hyde Amendment language. That’s BS.

If Democrats want to continue pandering to Planned Parenthood, NOW and other abortion extremists, there’s a price to be paid. Breaking promises has consequences. Democrats broke their promise on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Until they stop pandering to these extremists, Mitch McConnell should let them know that lying isn’t acceptable.

There’s a simple solution to this. Democrats will get what they want the minute Republicans get what they want. If Democrats insist on getting everything, they’ll get nothing.

Finally, it’s disgusting that these Democrats are these abortion extremists’ puppets.

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Juan Williams’ pro-Harry Reid blinders are on full display in Williams’ latest column:

Republicans campaigned last fall voicing a constant refrain that voters should free them from Reid’s control of the Senate. McConnell promised that Republicans would prove they could govern once Reid’s hold had been broken. As the cynics say, “How did that work out for you?”

Frankly, I’ll take Mitch McConnell’s attempting to get things done over Reid’s one-man legislative branch veto anytime and it isn’t close. Harry Reid was and is a tyrant who should be in prison. He shouldn’t be praised.

Reid is now in the minority. He has announced he will not run again. But the GOP’s inability to get anything done in the Senate for three months and counting is leading to new appreciation for the much-maligned Reid. Compare Reid’s record to the GOP’s ongoing failure to pass legislation to stop sex trafficking, to approve highway trust-fund spending or to confirm an attorney general.

There’s no place in America’s heartland where people have a new-found appreciation of Harry Reid. Since when do celebrate a person who essentially stopped the deliberative process? Why shouldn’t such a tyrant be vilified for essentially preventing red state senators from representing their constituents?

There’s nothing virtuous about that type of tyranny.

As for not passing the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, place that totally at the feet of the Democrats. I wrote this article to highlight the fact that the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and was on its way to winning full approval in the Senate when Democrat-aligned special interest groups told the Democrats that having the Hyde Amendment, a provision that was in the bill from the start, in the bill was a deal-breaker. Dutifully like all puppets do, the Democrats who both co-sponsored the bill, and who voted for it in committee, voted to filibuster the bill.

There’s nothing virtuous about a political party that’s so wedded to its special interest supporters that it’ll turn its backs on victims of sex trafficking in exchange for ideological purity and additional campaign contributions.

Selling one’s soul for political expediency has a name but that name isn’t virtue.

“The corrosion of the Senate took place over many years,” McConnell said in an e-mail to Jennifer Steinhauer of the Times. “So restoring the institution to allow members of both parties and their constituents to have a voice in the legislative process will take longer than three months. But we’re making progress.”

And who is responsible for that “corrosion”? McConnell’s “progress” is slowed by the same political divisions among Republicans that gummed up the works when Democrats had the majority. Maybe Republicans will now acknowledge that Reid was never the problem. The real issue all along has been the GOP’s antipathy to the president.

Let’s be blunt. Harry Reid worked to protect President Obama and Democratic senators. Sen. Reid prevented legislation that got overwhelming support in the House from even getting debated in the Senate. Sen. Reid wasn’t the Senate Majority Leader from 2007-2014. He was the self-appointed emperor of the Senate.

Sen. Reid didn’t let Republicans represent their constituents. I won’t appreciate a tyrant who won’t let elected officials represent their constituents. That’s who Juan Williams thinks we should find a new-found appreciation for.

The mission statement of contemporary Republican Senate politics was issued by McConnell himself in 2010. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he proclaimed. In response, Reid limited votes on amendments to rein in the political circus and focus attention on legislation that could win passage. “All I want to do is legislate,” a frustrated Reid told me and a small group of columnists last summer.

Harry Reid lied and Juan Williams was gullible enough to believe him. Listen to this sentence:

In response, Reid limited votes on amendments to rein in the political circus and focus attention on legislation that could win passage.

TRANSLATION: Reid shut down debate because he didn’t want debate on issues that the American people disagreed with Democrats on. This wasn’t about reining in “the political circus.” That’s pure spin. This has everything to do with a) preventing Republican from presenting their ideas and b) protecting hard-hearted Democrats who didn’t want to listen to the American people.

Sen. Reid and President Obama are only part of the Senate’s problem. The Democrats’ special interests are another part of the problem as is Sen. Schumer, Dick Durbin and their shrinking band of puppets. It’s long past time we exposed the real cancer in the Senate. We have a republic, not an autocracy.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t bring up any other business until the Senate passes the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act:

When Democrats prevented debate on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, they objected to the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment in the bill. Here’s a little history on the Hyde Amendment:

In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions except if a pregnancy arises from incest or rape.[1] It is not a permanent law, rather it is a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services and primarily affects Medicaid.

The original Hyde Amendment was passed on September 30, 1976 by the House of Representatives, by a 207-167 vote. It was named for its chief sponsor, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois. The measure was the first major legislative success by the United States pro-life movement after the striking down of anti-abortion laws following the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Congress subsequently altered the Hyde Amendment several times. The version in force from 1981 until 1993 prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions “except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.

Fast forward to the day when the Senate was supposed to pass the bill. Suddenly, Democrats blocked the bill, saying that they were blindsided by the Hyde Amendment being in this 68-page bill. The Hyde Amendment had been part of the bill from Day One.

What’s especially interesting is that the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. Here are the members of the Committee. But I digress. Here’s a fair account of what happened:

WASHINGTON – A staffer in Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office was aware of a controversial abortion-related provision in a sex trafficking bill that has ground the Senate to a halt and stalled the nomination of the next U.S. Attorney General. Klobuchar is the primary Democratic cosponsor on the bipartisan bill that would establish a restitution fund for victims of human trafficking with money seized from convicted sex traffickers.

The bill was set to sail through the Senate after a brief debate last week until it suddenly stalled when Democrats announced that it contained what’s known as “Hyde Amendment” language they had been unaware of. The language prevents the use of the seized money to pay for abortions.

Up until now Democrats,

including Klobuchar
, claimed they were blindsided by the language that was included by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

It’s time for Democrats to give a little. In previous negotiations, they’ve insisted on Republicans caving. I’m happy that Mitch McConnell has locked up the Senate. If the Democrats won’t give on this, why should he give Ms. Lynch an up or down vote?

After getting elected in 2008, President Obama told Eric Cantor that elections have consequences right before President Obama jammed his stimulus bill down our throats. Now that President Obama got his ass handed to him in the 2014 election, President Obama has insisted that elections don’t have consequences. He’s about to find out that they do have consequences.

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