Congress

Congress approves spending bill

Featured image This morning at around 5:30 a.m., the House approved a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, not just for the military but also for domestic programs. The vote was 240-186. The Senate had already passed the deal by a vote of 71-28 (John McCain did not vote). In both chambers, the dissenters were a mix of hard core leftists who objected to not »

Another problem with the spending deal

Featured image The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why: A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only »

S***hole politics

Featured image Rich Lowry has an insightful post about the politics of the S***hole Controversy. He reminds us of the context in which the controversy arose: “[Lindsey] Graham brought Trump a deal with [Dick] Durbin that basically had nothing in it for immigration restrictionists.” This was bound to backfire. Graham may have believed that the warm and fuzzy signals Trump sent out during the televised conference earlier in the week were other »

Trump yearns for good old days of earmarks and getting along

Featured image In discussing President Trump’s gabfest yesterday with congressional leaders about DACA legislation, I failed to note a fascinating sidebar. Several times, Trump told the assembled legislators that earmarks should be revived because they promote good will and cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. The first time Trump said this, it produced raucous agreement. One member (I couldn’t tell who) exclaimed: “Sign me up for that.” Earmarks, of course, were the bugaboo »

Congressional Dems and Repubs chase their tails in meeting with Trump

Featured image Today, President Trump met with leaders of both parties from the Senate and House to discuss DACA legislation. The press and the cameras were there for the opening statements with the understanding they would be excused shortly thereafter. However, Trump either decided to let them stay or forgot to kick them out. (I believe he let them stay because he wanted Americans to see him conduct a meeting in “presidential” »

Who was that masked source?

Featured image Picking up from where I left off yesterday in “Jim Sciutto’s got plenty of nothing,” I want to invite readers to take a look at the Trump/Steele dossier for themselves. I have embedded it at the bottom of this post. Consider the the dossier was bought and paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign through the campaign’s general counsel at the Perkins Coie law firm, which contracted GPS Fusion, which »

McCabe remembers to forget: A comment

Featured image One of our most knowledgeable law enforcement readers is a retired FBI Special Agent. Yesterday morning he wrote in response “McCabe remembers to forget” with excerpts from emails to friends. (The Examiner’s invaluable Byron York reports on McCabe’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in his column posted late last night.) I think our reader takes off from Lee Smith’s riveting Tablet column “Did President Obama read the »

McCabe remembers to forget

Featured image FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe appeared to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee yesterday. He testified for some seven hours. McCabe is of course now best known as the “Andy” featured in the text message sent by FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Following up on a discussion with Page in “Andy’s office,” Strzok referred in an August 2016 message to an “insurance »

Both chambers pass tax reform

Featured image On Tuesday, the House passed the GOP tax reform bill by a vote of 227-203. Then, around midnight, the Senate passed a very similar bill, 51-48. The Senate voted strictly along party lines, with John McCain unable to participate. The Senate bill differs slightly from the House version because the Senate parliamentarian ruled that three provisions of the House version violate the Senate’s Byrd Rule, which governs what types of »

Female Trump accusers seek congressional hearing

Featured image Three of the women who, in the Fall of 2016, accused Donald Trump of sexual assault have publicly called on Congress to investigate their allegations. The women are: Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of kissing her on the lips without consent in 2005; Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of moving his hand up her skirt decades ago; and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, who accused Trump of entering »

The strange case of Trent Franks [UPDATED]

Featured image Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, is resigning from the House. He came under pressure to resign from Speaker Paul Ryan after it was revealed that he asked two staffers if they would bear his child. Franks says that he and his wife have long struggled with infertility. After having twins with a surrogate, the couple wanted additional children. He viewed the staffers as potential surrogates. Franks’ conduct towards the »

Jason Lewis meets the press

Featured image Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer host the weekly news review Almanac on our local PBS affiliate. This past Friday night they invited John’s and my congressman — Minnesota Second District Rep. Jason Lewis — to discuss the tax bill he had voted for. In the land of Lake Wobegon, Eric and Cathy are above average Minnesota journalists. They nevertheless carry on their discussion with Jason at a low level, I »

Rep. Gutierrez to retire

Featured image Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the Democrats’ point man in the fight for amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, will announce that he’s retiring after 13 terms in office, according to the Washington Post. The Post reports that Gutierrez has scheduled an afternoon news conference in Chicago to make a “major announcement regarding the March 2018 Democratic Primary election and the national political landscape.” Presumably, he will announce his »

Sexual harassment or hurt feelings?

Featured image Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Houston, is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). These days, he’s crusading to impeach President Trump. The “reckoning” for accused sexual harassers, including CBC founder Rep. John Conyers, thus comes at a bad time for Green. A decade ago, he was an accused sexual harasser. The accuser was the director of his Houston office, Lucinda Daniels. The two had sex together. That’s »

The Conyers Conundrum for Democrats

Featured image There are starting to be calls coming from House Democrats for Rep. John Conyers to resign over the allegations of sexual harassment, with the principal reason being that he paid a dodgy settlement (who pays severance to a “temporary employee”?) out of his office account, rather than through the House Office of Compliance, where the other $15 million in settlements have been paid out.  This seems to be a rather »

The Future Looks Bleak

Featured image The traditional criticism of Democrats is that they have no solution to any problem except money. Taxing and spending is their sole policy. That critique is valid. The corresponding stereotype of Republicans is that they can’t govern. Based on the experience of the last 10 months, that criticism is also valid. President Trump has done a very good job, but the Republican Congress has been a disaster, unable to deliver »

Monkey business at the CBO?

Featured image The mainstream media almost never mentions the Congressional Budget Office without adding the adjective “non-partisan.” But the CBO is staffed by folks who, in real life, are probably partisan. And given the pool from which its staff is drawn, most very likely are partisan Democrats. Are its findings infected by partisan bias? I don’t know. But something funny is going on with the CBO’s assessment of the impact of repealing »