The US Capitol is on lockdown after a visitor opened fire, shooting and wounding a police officer – just hours after an active shooter drill in the government building.
Staffers in the visitor center were ordered to shelter in place just before 3pm (Eastern Time) on Monday as police secured the area.
One officer was hospitalized with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. The suspect was taken in to custody within minutes of the first shot being fired, the Associated Press reported.
There was confusion as the shooting came soon after a scheduled active shooter drill, which staff had been notified about via email. Read the rest of this entry »
Joel Gehrke writes: Patty Murray, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the Senate, threatened today to provoke a government shutdown this fall if the Republican-controlled Congress won’t agree to a budget more in line with President Obama’s priorities.
“Republicans have a choice,” Murray said in a Wednesday speech, per the Huffington Post. “They can either work with us early on a bipartisan budget deal that will set the topline budget levels and allow the Appropriations Committee to work on bills that can be signed into law. Or, they can wait until we reach a crisis, until we approach or hit another completely unnecessary government shutdown — and work with us then.”
DAMAGE CONTROL: Ted Cruz Under Fire for Admission that He Files Tax Return Every Year, Even Though He Opposes the IRSPosted: March 24, 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz, having revealed that he files a tax return, and pays federal income tax to the IRS, even though in his newly-announced bid for the White house, he is actively campaigning against the IRS, finds himself in the midst of a firestorm of criticism and mockery. “Ted Cruz is a hypocrite. How can he attack the IRS, and at the same time, admit that he pays taxes?”, said a spokesman for ThinkProgress. “Any candidate that pays taxes with one hand, and attacks the agency that collects taxes and investigates citizens with the other hand, is not qualified to be president.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz revealed on Tuesday that he and his family will pay federal income tax to the IRS, an agency he claims he wants to shut down, and in observance of federal laws the Republican presidential candidate has vowed to oppose should he win the White House.
The claims in the Daily Beast story are completely 100% unsubstantiated
Mollie Hemingway writes: This week, a group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas (pictured above, with a kitten, in Iraq) issued a very brief open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the differences between mere executive agreements and international treaties ratified by the Senate. It’s a fairly basic letter that includes reminders about the Constitutional system under which we operate. I couldn’t begin to speculate why, but the media lost their collective minds over this letter. Along with other Democrats and progressive activists. You can read the breathless, outraged, totally-over-the-top headlines if you’d like to see this melt-down in action.
Now, that’s fine. That’s their business. To be completely honest, and not that you care, I’m not the biggest fan of such letters myself. I mean, they’re not as bad as Nancy Pelosi going to Syria to undermine Bush’s foreign policy, Jimmy Carter helping North Korea get nuclear weapons, Ted Kennedy secretly asking the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election or any of the many other interjections we’ve seen, but I think it’s generally a good idea to yield to the president on foreign negotiations, even if it’s a really bad president who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag if the stakes involved, oh I don’t know, going ahead with Iran as a nuclear power.
“What he sure as MOTHERFREAKING FREAK doesn’t say is that he’s a senator, that he thought it was a dumb idea to sign the letter, that he signed it and then realized it was a bad call or that he represents the ‘some’ in the headline.”
But let’s look a little deeper at just one part of this media campaign against Republican senators. It comes from Tim Mak of the Daily Beast and it looks like he’s got an explosive story:
Whoa. Check that out. Republicans now “admit” that the letter was “a dumb idea”! That’s huge. And “some Republicans who signed on” are now “realizing” it was a bad call? I can’t wait to read this story — taglined “HINDSIGHT” for extra flair — can you?
“Other than this low-level staff aide who didn’t even say he thought the letter was a bad idea, much less a dumb one, we have two Republican Senators who always opposed the letter and then also a Democratic Senator who didn’t like the letter…”
What are their names? Which of the senators are changing their minds and “admitting” and “realizing” that the media were right after all? Who are they?
Oh dear. That’s … weird. Very weird.
“So, in other words, we have a story that in no way supports the headline. Not even close…”
Hunh. Tim Mak’s story doesn’t even claim a single senator changed his mind. Not even close. Yikes.
Um. So it turns out that the only people quoted in the story against the letter are people who always opposed the letter. There’s also a quote from an unnamed, completely anonymous “Senate Republican aide” who doesn’t in any way say anything even remotely close to the claims made in the headline or anywhere else in the piece. Read the rest of this entry »
November 22, 2014 – Finally, the first biting political spoof from Saturday Night Live in a while: the Bill from Schoolhouse Rock explains to a student how he becomes a law, only to be violently beat up by Barack Obama and his new best friend, “Executive Order.” Even then, the poor Executive Order still thinks he’s used for simple things, like declaring holidays and creating national parks, until Obama informs him that he’s going to be used to grant amnesty to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His only reaction: “Whoa.”
THE HAMMER: to Bret Baier on Special Report
“The reason Obama has waited is because, according to his own words which he has said repeatedly for six years, he is not allowed under the constitution to do what he’s now proposing to do. He has said this over and over again. He’s said I’d like to do all these things, but under the constitution, I do not write the laws. If any of this is true, this is a wholesale canceling of a law passed by Congress. If it is to be canceled, if it is to be reformed, it has to be done.”
“This is a constitutionally odious proposal. He knows it and he admitted it himself. As a matter of policy, I think it’s a terrible idea. I’m not against legalization, but I am against legalization before you’ve done anything serious about controlling the border. Otherwise this is an advertisement to the whole world, particularly Latin America where it’s easy to get across the border, that you come into America illegally. It’s up to you, we do not control our borders. And then if you wait long enough and you make strong enough case and there’s enough pressure, we will legalize you.”
“He’s waited [to do this] because it’s illegal. If they were a Republican who is in the White House and says I waited and waited, I demanded abolition of the capital gains tax and the Congress wouldn’t do it, so i’m ordering the IRS: no collection of capital gains. If congress wants to pass a law to override that, I invite that. You would be up here as everybody would and say this is unconstitutional, it is an impeachable offense. That’s what he’s doing. He himself has admitted that year after year up till now, with two years left, all the elections behind him. He doesn’t care.”
“I know there are some folks who wish I could just bypass Congress. I can’t.”
THE REPUBLAGEDDON of 2014 Puts Tiny Dent In Presidential Ego, Nukes Fragile Ties Between Obama and Senate DemocratsPosted: November 6, 2014
“Tension blew up Tuesday when Krone’s comments about Democrats’ dismal showing in the 2014 midterms went public. He accused Obama of paying “lip service” to concerns about helping finance the midterm elections and said the president was an anchor that took down Democrats across the country, costing them the Senate majority.”
The Fix’s Chris Cillizza writes: Less than two months after their most joyous moment together, the relationship between the Obama White House and Senate Democrats went off track and has never recovered.
“The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent. What else more is there to say?”
— Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone
“It was an unusual breach of Washington decorum that stunned a political community used to the shadowy ‘background’ comments from ‘senior administration officials’ or ‘senior Senate aides.’ In general, staffers do not say such things on the record about a sitting president, especially from the same party.”
Instead of basking in the victory glow of President Obama’s impressive 2012 reelection and an improbable two-seat gain for Democrats, they found themselves at the edge of the now infamous “fiscal cliff.”
“Krone’s move wasn’t some rogue operation of a staffer gone wild. He is a close and loyal aide to Reid, having met him years ago when he — Krone — was a telecommunications lobbyist and executive.”
Washington was consumed by negotiations over a huge stockpile of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts that were set to kick in at the end of the year. The two months between Election Day and New Year’s Eve were a period of intense, partisan negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had pulled back from the talks, leaving the White House, in the person of Vice President Biden, to cut a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The final vote on the package seemed like a bipartisan triumph: 89 senators supported the deal, which included the permanent extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for most workers. But the vote masked a vast underlying tension among some of the players. Read the rest of this entry »
Headline Quote: Megyn Kelly
The Innovation 15: Our Most Science- and Tech-Friendly Members of Congress
So maybe things aren’t that great. The 113th Congress of the United States is on track to enact just 251 laws in its two-year session, the least productive Congress since 1973. If a bill attempts to do anything more than rename a post office, it’s likely to languish in committee, ignored, while lawmakers sling partisan dung over budgets and borders. Not a great environment for innovation-minded legislation trying to become law. But it’s midterm- election time in America, and 33 Senate seats and every seat in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. Read the rest of this entry »
Fred Barnes writes: President Obama is famous for proclaiming a “pivot” to a new issue—to the economy, to jobs, to Asia. By my count he has announced more than 20 pivots during his presidency, invariably to matters that bring political benefits and away from those that don’t.
The story of this year’s campaign in the dozen or so races that will decide who controls the Senate is uncomplicated. Republicans have a single talking point: Their Democratic opponents are partisan clones of Mr. Obama. Democrats often rely on one response: Pivot to an issue that has nothing to do with the president.
The pivot strategy has also been a major feature of Democratic campaigns that conclude with Tuesday’s midterm election. And it is understandable why Democrats have employed it. Redirection is the best response they could come up with to the Republican charge that they are closely tied to Mr. Obama and his policies.
“Watching Democrats struggle to escape Mr. Obama’s ideological grip was the most fascinating aspect of the campaign. They have tried everything from identifying with prominent Republicans to openly rejecting Mr. Obama.”
Democrats would rather not discuss their relationship with the president, much less dwell on it. He is unpopular and so are his major policies (ObamaCare, national security, the economy). So candidates pivot to another issue. We saw this strategy at work in Louisiana’s Senate race last week. Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu , trailing Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in most polls, suddenly raised the explosive issues of racism and sexism. She insisted that racism makes Mr. Obama unpopular in Louisiana and sexism causes her re-election to be a struggle.
“Over the weekend, Mr. Obama was still trying to pivot, this time to make the campaign agenda more liberal.”
Pivoting can be a clever strategy—when it works. And no Democrat has been more effective at adopting it than Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Six months ago, she was viewed as vulnerable, even doomed. Not only had she voted for the president’s health-care law, but she had also declared publicly that North Carolinians could keep their current insurance policies and doctors. For a while, she hid from reporters to avoid talking about her vote. Read the rest of this entry »
“First of all, I don’t agree with the odd-makers. I predict we’re gonna — we’re gonna keep the Senate. I’ve been in sixty-six, sixty-seven races all told. And I’m not getting the feeling that the odd-makers are getting.”
— Vice President Joe Biden
…But if Republicans do take the Senate — which the forecasting models of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and many others predict — Biden believes it will have little to do with the Obama administration….(more)
[UPDATE: Enjoy Charle’s C.W. Cooke’s Let’s Not Cancel the Midterms]
Mystery Campaign Captures Attention of Undecided Low-Information Voters in Ambitious Bid for Global DominationPosted: October 29, 2014
November Surprise: Decisions on Immigration, Iran and Other Hot Issues that were Delayed for Political Reasons will be Coming SoonPosted: October 29, 2014
The problem, as the Founders saw it, is to prevent the president or Congress from acquiring unchecked power, as they will inevitably try to do. The solution was to divide powers between the executive and the legislature and hope that they would be constrained by countervailing institutional interests. But Harry Reid is a “party man,” not a “Senate man.”
Mr. Lipson is a professor of political science and director of the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security at the University of Chicago.
Charles Lipson writes: With the midterm elections looming, the White House has delayed controversial decisions and appointments. That makes sense politically. The administration doesn’t want to force Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Michelle Nunn, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, or other embattled Democrats to defend presidential actions right now, or worse, to oppose them publicly. But as soon as the voting is done (perhaps after runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia), several big shoes will drop. Here are the most likely ones.
Obama’s Post-Election Policy Blowout
1) Immigration. How many millions will the president let in? On what terms? One hint: The Department of Homeland Security recently ordered more than four million green cards and visas for next year and says it might order another 29 million for future years.
“All of these matters have been high-profile and potentially deeply divisive. That is precisely why the White House is postponing any announcements. When the administration finally does speak, it will unleash a political storm, even if Democrats hold the Senate.”
The cards would give immigrants who are here illegally the right to continue living and working in the U.S. legally—and perhaps receive a variety of federal and state benefits. Should the president unilaterally issue these cards, there will be a brutal debate over the wisdom of this policy, whether it extends to welfare benefits, and whether the president has the constitutional authority to issue so many cards without specific congressional approval.
“If Republicans win, those winds will reach hurricane force, since the president will likely try to ram everything through a lame-duck Congress. If that happens, consider boarding up the windows.”
2) The next U.S. attorney general. The president wants a crusader on progressive causes and a reliable firewall to protect him, just as Eric Holder has done. Rumor has it that he wants Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been the point man on racial preferences. Read the rest of this entry »
Hiding Politically Unpopular Policies from Voters, Obama Puts Top Priorities in their Proper Place: The Back of the BusPosted: October 18, 2014
“This whole place is paralyzed. Everything was kicked down the road.”
President Obama is taking time out from his much-trumpeted “year of action” to observe a period more important to his Democratic allies in Congress: the season of campaigning.
One by one, the Obama administration is setting aside key priorities, in the hope that voters won’t do the same to his fellow Democrats.
“We wish they would be as good as their rhetoric. We want them to step up and deliver. If they don’t, who’s going to?”
— Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch
Immigration reform, once deemed a pressing back-to-school item, will wait at least until the winter holidays.
Enrollment in Obamacare will start six weeks later than last year.
The climate will warm at the same rate, with new regulations pending. [Reality check: Globe hasn’t warmed in 19 years]
“It looks like the president and the Democrats are playing politics with people’s lives.”
— Frank Sharry, America’s Voice, one of many pro-amnesty, open-borders pressure groups.
The latest addition to the not-to-do list came this week, when the White House put off an announcement on the president’s nominee for attorney general, a pick he has been privately thinking about a long time.
White House aides smile and defend the strategy, saying privately that they’re trying to be sensitive to the concerns of Democrats, especially senators in tough election races.
“He promised me a dollhouse. Democrats are playing politics with everything! I hate Obama!”
— Daughter of celebrity Obama fundraiser
The White House is trying to avoid being held responsible for Democrats losing control of the Senate in the midterm election in three weeks, especially when administration officials still hope to get a few things done during the final two years of Obama’s presidency and will need help from Democrats who remain in office. Read the rest of this entry »
That’s Show Business: Harry’s Cynical plot to keep the Senate
Everything you’ll see from the Senate in the next few weeks will be complete bullshit. POLITICO grinds out the story on the Senate leaders’ familiar playbook. Here’s the money quote:
Reid has scheduled votes on a politically populist agenda devised by Schumer aimed at forcing Republicans to block bills aimed at wooing students, women, seniors and the middle class. Democrats have repeatedly put forth bills that have little chance of passing — like on increasing the minimum wage, gender pay equity, contraception access and student loan assistance. And even when there are efforts they actually support — such as Obama’s executive action on immigration — Democratic leaders have lobbied the White House to punt on the issue to avoid hurting their vulnerable incumbents and candidates in red states. Read the rest of this entry »
Mysterious “interceptor” cellphone towers that can listen in someone’s phone call despite not being part of any phone networks have turned up near the White House and Senate.
“It’s highly unlikely that federal law enforcement would be using mobile interceptors near the Senate.”
A company that specializes in selling secure mobile phones discovered the existence of several of the towers in and around the nation’s capitol.
“My suspicion is that it is a foreign entity.”
— ESD America CEO Les Goldsmith
“It’s highly unlikely that federal law enforcement would be using mobile interceptors near the Senate,” ESD America CEO Les Goldsmith told the technology website Venture Beat on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] DESPERATION: Nancy Pelosi: ‘Civilization as We Know It Would Be in Jeopardy’ if GOP Wins SenatePosted: September 13, 2014
Bill Maher spoke with Nancy Pelosi tonight in his live D.C. show, Pelosi said, “It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if Republicans win the Senate.” and talked with her about all things midterm-related. But Maher also challenged Pelosi on how “warmongers” appear to be the dominant voice not just in the GOP, but in the Democratic Party too.
Maher brought up the predictions that the Democrats will lose the Senate in November, and asked Pelosi if things are so gridlocked in that chamber anyway, “why do I care if they lose the Senate?” Pelosi said (somewhat jokingly), “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy.”
Pelosi said Democrats need to turn out, but Maher said they generally don’t, because no one votes to say “thank you,” but “the angry people” (a.k.a conservatives) always come out in droves. Read the rest of this entry »
EXCLUSIVE: Nearing Retirement, Harry Reid’s Unusual Behavior Fuels Increased Speculation about Recreational Drug UsePosted: September 3, 2014
“When I move my hand…like this…pretty colors…”
(WASHINGTON D.C.) Rumors are swirling in both Democratic and Republican campaign headquarters about Senator Harry Reid‘s alleged use of psychoactive drugs, recreationally, including hallucinogens, though what kinds remain uncertain. In the last few months, in advance of Reid’s near-certain retirement as Senate majority leader, Reid’s mood appeared to be melancholy, say sources close to the Senator.
“His attacks on the Koch brothers seemed increasingly insincere, as though he were just going through the motions,” said a campaign staff worker, who spoke to punditfromanotherplanet on the condition of anonymity.
Others near the Senator concur. “Even while blocking bills from reaching the floor, helping to raise money for negative TV ad campaigns, engaging in partisan attacks against Republican opponents in public, and complaining about president Obama in private, his voice seemed hollow, his posture, defeated,” said a reporter who covers the Capitol.
In recent weeks, however, according to close observers, Reid’s demeanor has improved. “He smiles for no reason, sings quietly to himself, and carries on stream-of-consciousness monologues to anyone who will listen”, complained a staff member. Reid’s mood is elevated, some say, to the point of euphoria, which has caused concern among his closest supporters. Read the rest of this entry »
William Kristol weighs in:
…the overwhelming reason to kill the bill is that it’s not going to become law anyway. The president and the Senate leadership have made clear they’ll never accept it. So what’s the point of passing it? Leadership’s answer is—well, we’ll get credit for trying to do something. But will they? From whom? The mainstream media? Then the media will focus on what further compromises the GOP leadership will accept in September, on why Republicans won’t go to conference with the original Senate bill or parts of it, and on splits in GOP ranks about immigration…
…The president’s approval rating is slipping to historic lows. Let it continue to slide. Don’t bail him out by jamming though a bill that divides Republicans, will confuse voters, won’t become law anyway, muddies responsibility for the border fiasco, and takes the spotlight off what should be the focus of the August recess–President Obama’s failed policies and Congressional Democrats’ support for them…(read more)
[VIDEO] Comedy Gold: Liberal Media Panel Blames Ted Cruz, American People for Harry Reid’s Do-Nothing LeadershipPosted: July 27, 2014
At The Corner, Tim Cavanaugh writes: Why has the Senate been unable to pass anything? According to an extraordinary panel of mainstream media personalities, it’s the fault of Republicans, or of the American people.
On a Sunday discussion on NBC’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory railed against the “Do-Nothing Congress” and played a brief clip of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz pointing out Read the rest of this entry »
Michelle Malkin writes: Three cheers for right-wing obstructionism. Can we have more, please, and louder?
This week’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s illegal recess appointments is a double smackdown. First, it’s a rebuke against arrogant White House power-grabbers who thought they could act with absolute impunity and interminable immunity. Second, the ruling is a reproach of all the establishment pushovers on Capitol Hill who put comity above constitutional principle.
In a nutshell: The high court determined that Obama lawlessly exceeded his executive authority when he foisted three members onto the National Labor Relations Board in 2012, during what Democrats declared was a phony-baloney Senate “recess.” In reality, the Senate was holding pro forma sessions over winter break precisely to prevent such circumvention. The ability to convene pro forma sessions is a power retained in both the House and Senate. It’s a time-honored, constitutionally protected tradition.
No matter. Our imperial president and his crafty lawyers declared that the Senate wasn’t in business despite the Senate’s declaration that it was, and the White House rammed through the appointments of Terence Flynn, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block while the Senate took a brief weekend break in between the pro forma sessions. The steamrolling gave the NLRB a quorum — and a green light to issue hundreds and hundreds of legally suspect decisions. Read the rest of this entry »
Taking executive action to address immigration issues is a step President Obama said he
takes gleefully, because he prefers it to governing responsibly, and lawfully, as presidents have for two centuries reluctantly has to take because Congress was elected by the people, and has the authority to act on their behalf of Congress’s lack of action.
One Is The Loneliest Number – Three Dog Night
Following reports that John Boehner told the president he will not bring immigration reform for a vote this year, the president said he “would love nothing more” than to
take all my marbles and go home, because they’re all so mean to me not have to act unilaterally and be able to sign legislation instead.
“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” he said in the Rose Garden on Monday.
“I’m lonely, and nobody likes me “I would greatly prefer to rule as an autocrat, or a beloved cult leader, and represent only those who agree with me, and make up laws as I please Congress actually do something.”
“I take executive action only when
I feel like it we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and the Senate refuses do do anything Congress chooses to do nothing,” the president continued. He chastised House Republicans for injuring his self-esteem and making him feel like giving up failing to “pass a darn bill.” Read the rest of this entry »
For Roll Call, Daniel Newhauser reports: The lawsuit could set up a significant test of constitutional checks and balances, with the legislative branch suing the executive branch for ignoring its mandates, and the judiciary branch deciding the outcome.
Boehner told the House Republican Conference during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning that he has been consulting with legal scholars and plans to unveil his next steps this week or next, according to sources in the room.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said further action is necessary because the Senate has not taken up bills passed by the House targeting executive actions. The House has passed a bill expediting court consideration of House resolutions starting lawsuits targeting executive overreach and another mandating that the attorney general notify Congress when the administration decides to take executive action outside of what has been authorized by Congress.
“The president has a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy,” Steel said. “The House has passed legislation to address this, but it has gone nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate, so we are examining other options.”
It remains unclear which executive action or actions the House would challenge, but Obama has given Congress ample targets. In the last several years, he has issued executive actions halting deportations of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the country as children, extending the family and medical leave benefits to gay couples and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. He has also worked around legislative deadlines for enacting provisions of the Affordable Care Act and issued other executive actions relating to the environment and the gender and race pay gap.
Obama has said he takes executive action because of a divided Congress’ inability to pass laws targeting important issues of the day. Congressional Republicans contend such actions are unconstitutional and thwart Congress’ power. Read the rest of this entry »