‘Small Government’ Republicans Want To Control D.C.’s Budget

‘Small Government’ Republicans Want To Control D.C.’s Budget

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) | REUTERS/Joshua Roberts


The House passed legislation Wednesday afternoon gutting a local ballot measure that would give Washington, D.C. more control over its finances. The vote took place on partisan lines, with Republicans voting for the measure and Democrats voting against it.

“The current D.C. government needs to be reined in,” said House Majority Leader Paul Ryan in a statement highlighting Republican arguments in support of the bill. “We will not allow Congress and the Constitution to be undermined.

“Congress has ultimate authority over the District,” he said, “and efforts to undermine this authority are in violation of the Constitution. There are real consequences.”

Lawmakers had voted 240-179 in favor of a bill that would prevent the District from spending tax dollars without congressional approval. The vote is the latest in a campaign that started in 2012 to give residents of D.C. greater autonomy in how to spend the city’s money, and is part of an effort by Republican congressmen to prevent the District from using local or federal cash to fund abortions or marijuana decriminalization (pot was legalized late last year in D.C.).

While the Republican-controlled Congress says it’s only reining in unconstitutional excesses, D.C.’s non-voting Congressional representative Eleanor Holmes Norton was understandably angered by legislation that nullified the 2012 Budget Autonomy Act, a ballot initiative aimed at giving more power to local government.

“It is profoundly undemocratic for any member of Congress in the 21st century to declare that he has authority over any jurisdiction except his own,” she said during a debate on the House floor.

But House Republicans have argued that the ballot initiative was a clear violation of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, a law passed in 1973 which devolved certain powers, like being able to elect a mayor and city council. But all laws passed by the District’s government had to be reviewed and approved by Congress before being signed into law, including yearly budget plans, hence the Republican bill aimed at overturning the Budget Autonomy Act.

President Obama has said he would veto any legislation that barred D.C. from following through on the overwhelming support the 2012 ballot initiative received from the city’s residents.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 5233, which would repeal the District of Columbia’s Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act of 2012,” read a statement of administrative policy sent out yesterday. “The Administration strongly supports home rule for the District and the President has long called for authority allowing the District to spend its own local taxes and other non-Federal funds without congressional approval … If the President were presented with H.R. 5233, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Prior to the vote, city officials had said they were planning to not submit their budget to Congress, as per the stipulations of the Budget Autonomy Act. Should Paul Ryan have his way, D.C. would be forced to submit its budget for approval, possibly at the cost of programs popular with residents of the District, including providing local funding for abortion access for Medicaid-eligible women, and establishing a regulatory framework for legal marijuana sales.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts


House Tea Partiers to the World: Burn, Baby, Burn…

Ron Sachs/Zuma; Amanda Lewis/iStock


Chaos, chaos, and chaos. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from the speaker’s racehas caused disarray—that is, greater disarray—within the House GOP conference. Hours after McCarthy’s announcement, there was no word of what comes next. Who might jump in? Would a caretaker candidate emerge? How long could Speaker John Boehner stay in the job? And, it seemed, the House tea partiers who had somewhat caused this crisis—they had succeeded in driving Boehner from the job and had deemed McCarthy insufficiently conservative—were yearning for more chaos. The House Freedom Caucus, the tea party GOPers, put out this statement:

Note that last sentence: “The next Speaker needs to yield back power to the membership for the sake of both the institution and the country.” In other words, we don’t want a speaker who is going to try to govern in a time of divided government; we don’t want a speaker who will endeavor to forge a compromise on behalf of the GOP conference and make the system work; and, as a government shutdown looms and a possible debt ceiling crisis approaches, we want a speaker who will step to the side and let the chaos reign. This is the congressional equivalent of “burn, baby, burn.”

10 things you need to know today: January 10, 2015

People leave tributes near the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The Week

Three Paris terror suspects, four hostages dead following raids, prosecutors recommend felony charges against David Petraeus, and more

1. Three terror suspects, four hostages killed in France
Near-simultaneous raids on Friday night ended two hostage situations stemming from Wednesday’s terrorist attack on Paris satirical publication Charlie Hebdo. Amedy Coulibaly, who shot a policewoman on Thursday, took over a Paris kosher market on Friday, killing four hostages. Coulibaly was linked to Said and Cherif Kouachi, the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdoattacks and later entered a standoff with police at a printing plant. Both brothers, along with Coulibaly, were killed in the raids. Officials are still searching for Hayat Boumeddiene, the common-law wife of Coulibaly. [The Associated Press]


2. Federal prosecutors recommend felony charges against David Petraeus
Officials announced on Friday that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors will seek felony charges against David Petraeus. The retired general stepped down from his post at the CIA in 2012, after it was revealed that he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Prosecutors will reportedly recommend charges against him for revealing classified information to Broadwell while he was CIA director. An indictment could send Petraeus to jail. [The New York Times]


3. House of Representatives passes Keystone XL bill
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 266-153 to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Friday. The bill next goes to the Senate, where Republicans now hold a majority. In November, the last Senate came up just one vote shy of approval on a similar bill. But, President Barack Obama has vowed that should a bill approving construction of the pipeline make it to his desk, he will veto it. The vote came after the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the legality of the pipeline’s route through that state earlier on Friday. [Bloomberg, Reuters]


4. Cuba releases imprisoned dissidents as part of U.S. deal
Cuban President Raul Castro’s administration released more than 30 political dissidents on Thursday, according to Cuban human rights sources and journalists. At least some of those freed are part of the 53 prisoners Cuba agreed to release in a deal with the Obama administration aimed at thawing relations with the Communist island nation. Neither the U.S. nor Cuba is releasing a list of the freed prisoners’ names, some of whom had been held since 2012. [The New York Times]


5. U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs in December
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its December 2014 jobs numbers on Friday, and it showed that the American economy added 252,000 non-farm, private jobs over the course of the month. The December numbers beat the 230,000 new jobs economists were expecting. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent in November, although average hourly earnings fell by 5 cents. Still, the figures were strong enough to make 2014 America’s best year of job creation since 1999. [TheWeek.com, CNNMoney]


6. China leads the pack in clean energy investments
Bloomberg released its annual report on clean energy investments on Friday, and it said China leads the pack. The country invested a record $89.5 billion in clean energy in 2014, while the U.S. invested $51.8 billion. Overall, investments in renewables, biofuels, and “energy-smart technologies” rose to $310 billion in 2014, up 16 percent from $268.1 billion in 2013. [Bloomberg ]


7. Police Commissioner Bratton confirms NYPD work slowdown
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton admitted on Friday that a work slowdown had occurred in New York City in recent weeks. “We’re coming out of what was a pretty widespread stoppage of certain types of activity, the discretionary type of activity by and large,” Bratton said. Criminal summonses, along with traffic tickets, were down 90 percent compared to last year. The slowdown was viewed by many to be a protest against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — some officers who attended the recent funerals of two slain colleagues turned their backs on the mayor during his eulogies at each. [WNYC, The Washington Post]


8. Mitt Romney tells donors he may run for president in 2016
Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a group of donors on Friday that he is considering running for president in 2016. Romney had previously told reporters he would not run again. But he said unrest abroad and the health of the economy are issues that could force him to step into the race. [The Wall Street Journal]


9. SpaceX successfully launches Falcon rocket toward ISS
SpaceX successfully launched its unmanned Falcon rocket toward the International Space Station on Saturday. The first-of-its-kind attempt to recover the leftover booster, however, was a failure. “Close, but no cigar this time,” billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter. The company attempted to land the Falcon’s leftover booster on a floating platform off the coast of Jacksonville, but the rocket missed its target. Due to arrive on Monday at the ISS, the Falcon rocket is carrying $133 million of much-needed supplies to the astronauts aboard. [The Associated Press]


10. Exercise injury may have left Harry Reid blind in one eye
Senate minority leader Harry Reid announced on Friday that a New Year’s Day exercise accident may have blinded him in one eye. Reid, 75, broke three ribs and suffered a concussion after a resistance band he was using to exercise snapped. The band also hit him in the eye, which Reid said caused a blood accumulation that is currently making it “hard to see.” But, Reid added that the injury won’t stop him from running for reelection in 2016, and that “no one has to question my physical ability.” [USA Today]

New Year, New Congress

U.S. House of Representatives – Stock Photo

ABC News – The Note


  • FIVE THINGS THE GOP CONGRESS EXPECTED TO TACKLE: New Republican majorities poised to take control of Capitol Hill this week have a to-do list that will challenge the White House during President Obama’s final two years in office. Here’s a look at five items the GOP Congress is expected to tackle in the coming months, many of which are expected to face intense opposition from the White House, courtesy of ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: http://abcn.ws/1IfwNnZ
  • COWBOY CHRISTIE: Chris Christie is staying true to his childhood sports allegiances. The New Jersey governor doesn’t root for either of his state’s two NFL teams, the Jets and Giants in East Rutherford. He doesn’t root for the Philadelphia Eagles, either, a popular team in southern New Jersey. He cheers for the Dallas Cowboys, a divisional rival of the Giants and Eagles. Last night marked Christie’s most visible appearance yet: the Cowboys’ first playoff game in five seasons, according toABC’s DAN GOOD. Dallas scored a late touchdown to take a 24-20 lead against the Detroit Lions. And there was Christie, in a burnt orange sweater, trying to get a high five, and settling for a group hug with Jones and his son Stephen. http://abcn.ws/1vQAOIS
  • WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Four more House Republicans have decided not to support John Boehner’s reelection bid for House Speaker, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON reports. Reps. Steve King, Marlin Stutzman and Paul Gosar – who all voted for Boehner in 2013 – have decided they can’t support Boehner again in tomorrow’s vote. Rep. Dave Brat, who knocked off former Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary last year, has also decided to vote for someone else. That makes nine members who have announced their opposition so far, meaning 20 more will have to step forward to throw the vote to a second ballot.


ABC’s RICK KLEIN: This was supposed to be the week that was about results, not process. But a rough holiday break removed that possibility from what was supposed to be a triumphal week for House Speaker John Boehner. Before he gets settled into a third term as speaker, he has one Republican member resigning after a felony conviction, and a top member of his leadership team under intense scrutiny for a not-really-that-long-ago speech in front of a white supremacist group. Then there’s the leadership challenge – a personal affront to Boehner, since the real time to run for House speaker would have been in GOP leadership elections shortly after Republicans expanded their majority to its new historic level. Ted Yoho/Louie Gohmert/Steve King won’t stop Boehner from continuing to serve as House speaker. But Boehner will once again have to tame the impulses of his own fractious conference, before his expanded House majority even votes on a bill. What’s that say about the year ahead?

ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Republicans are one day away from assuming their new majority in the Senate and their expanded grip on the House. A new era of divided government is dawning in Washington, which will shape the final two years of President Obama’s time in office. The burden of governing, not simply saying no to the president’s agenda, now rests with Republicans. Yet before they get started, John Boehner is trying to extinguish questions about whether he will be crowned as speaker of the House. Pockets of opposition are percolating, with at least nine GOP members saying they won’t back him, but it will take 28 votes against him to send it to a second ballot. Don’t expect a conservative coup. Until a center of gravity emerges from the Tea Party wing, Boehner appears safe. And he, along with Mitch McConnell, will drive the new Republican majority.

ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: It’s 2015. Where are we on 2016? Let’s re-cap. Jeb Bush is “exploring the possibility,” releasing his e mails, and raising money in Greenwich this week. Mike Huckabee left his Fox show because he can’t “rule out another presidential run.” Bobby Jindal will be in Iowa tomorrow for two closed door meetings with politically connected pastors. George Pataki will be in New Hampshire next week for what is described as a “multi-day trip” to the first primary state. And at the end of the month will be the first “cattle call” of the season with a large group of potential 2016ers heading to Des Moines for the Rep. Steve King and Citizens United sponsored Iowa Freedom Summit. Chris Christie will be in attendance, although he has been spending quite a few evenings in Dallas, cheering on his Cowboys, even if it does surprise his New Jersey constituents. On the Democratic side, the only person making any official moves is Jim Webb who has launched an exploratory committee, but thar’s it. As for others, including Hillary Clinton, and possibly a slew of other GOPers, we’re in the waiting before the waiting period.


REP-ELECT MIA LOVE: STEVE SCALISE SHOULD STAY HOUSE WHIP DESPITE KLAN CONTROVERSY. Representative-elect Mia Love, R-Utah, the first black woman elected to Congress as a Republican and one of the GOP’s 74 fresh faces scheduled to be sworn in tomorrow, says that despite the controversy surrounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Lousiana, she thinks he should remain a leader to the newly reinvigorated party, ABC’s ALI DUKAKIS notes. The third-highest ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, Scalise came under fire last week after he reportedly attended a civil rights workshop organized by a group of alleged white supremacists in 2002. Of note among the organizers was David Duke, the then-president of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) and former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. When asked by ABC’s MARTHA RADDATZ on “This Week” what her initial reaction to the news was, Love said, “My first thoughts [were] this was 12 years ago. It’s interesting that it’s coming up now??? I found that really interesting.”

FAUCI: 2015 WILL BE ‘BAD YEAR’ FOR THE FLU. Flu season has hit the U.S. particularly hard this year and the widespread outbreak has officially been declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High flu activity is reported in 22 states, with increased hospitalizations across the country, according to ABC’s KARI REA. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said yesterday that Americans are in for a rough flu season. “If you look at the trajectory, it’s not going to be a good year. It’s going to be a bad year,” Fauci told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week.” “How bad it’s going to be will depend on how it actually evolves.”

U.S. COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: WAR WELL WORTH FIGHTING. Raddatz spoke with Army General John Campbell about the new US and NATO mission in Afghanistan. WATCH:http://abcn.ws/1xHTa2E

IS MIKE HUCKABEE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? The ‘This Week’ powerhouse roundtable weighed in the former Arkansas governor’s big announcement on Fox News and potential White House run. WATCH:http://abcn.ws/14mVd2r


@PhilipRucker: As Huckabee eyes WH run in 2016, he faces financial & organizational hurdles.@costareports & @danbalz explore: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/huckabees-challenge-in-2016-growing-a-national-campaign-from-the-grass-roots/2015/01/04/173e1b08-9453-11e4-aabd-d0b93ff613d5_story.html?hpid=z5 ???

?@JenniferJJacobs: Bobby Jindal to meet tomorrow with Iowa pastors in Cedar Rapids (again) & DM.http://dmreg.co/1BmVGxM

@wpjenna: Tomorrow will end four months of enforced limbo for former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell:http://wapo.st/1Bq4lQ9

@TheFix: The political reporters you need to follow in the early caucus and primary states. Good stuff here.http://ow.ly/GNTMO

@tackettdc: The long shadow of Mario Cuomo’s 1977 defeat http://nyti.ms/1ypUqKI



The Huffington Post

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll

A new survey of 25 GOP-held districts shows dwindling favorability for Republican members of the House in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

The survey, conducted by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and funded by MoveOn.org, is the third in a series of polls that indicate Democrats have a shot at taking back the House of Representatives in the 2014 election cycle.

The results of the latest survey show that incumbent Republicans in 15 of the 25 districts polled trail generic Democratic candidates. When combined with the results of the previous surveys, the polls show that generic Democratic candidates lead in 37 of 61 GOP-held districts.

When voters were informed their Republican candidate supported the government shutdown, 11 more districts flipped and one race became a tie.

Democrats in the House only need to see a net increase of 17 seats in order to take back the majority. This poll indicates that Democrats could see an increase of as many as 49 seats.

Public Policy Polling indicated several caveats to the results. The surveys were conducted during a high-profile budget crisis debate, a year before the elections will take place. And incumbent Republican candidates were compared to “generic Democrats,” who may not represent the actual candidates each district will see.

“Democrats must recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in individual districts if they are to capitalize on the vulnerability revealed by these surveys,” Public Policy Polling’s Jim Williams said of the caveat, “and they must maintain a significant national advantage over Republicans.”

Recent polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and NBC/Wall Street Journal are consistent with the survey’s claim that the Republican party took a hit from the fiscal crisis. Pew found that more Americans blamed Republicans for the shutdown, and NBC/Wall Street Journal found that the Republican party was “badly damaged” by it.

As Punishment For Opposing Anti-Abortion Bill, Male Michigan House Leader Bans Two Female Reps From Speaking

State Rep. Barb Byrum (D)

It’s safe to say that Republicans are out of control on the state and federal level.  Seriously, how misogynistic is it to ban two Democratic women for voting against a bill?  Where is their guarantee of “first amendment rights” as ensured by The Constitution?

Think Progress

A male Republican House leader in Michigan silenced two female Democratic state legislators on Thursday after the pair tried to advance a measure that would have reduced access to vasectomies.

While discussing a bill that would erode the availability of abortion, Reps. Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown introduced an amendment to apply the same regulations to vasectomies that GOP lawmakers wanted to add to abortion services. The debate grew heated, as Republicans sought to gravel down the women. Byrum was not permitted to speak in favor of the measure and Brown was repeatedly interrupted. “I’m flattered that you want to get in my vagina, but no means no,” she said. The next day both were silenced. Watch their comments:

Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas (R) was “uncomfortable with me saying vasectomy,” Byrum explained, noting that no one told her why she had been banned or how long it would last. “I can only assume it’s because I stood up for my district and women in Michigan yesterday,” she added.

Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger (R), said the women “will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”

Town Hall Attendee Asks GA Republican When Someone Is Going To Shoot Obama

There are crazies, and then there are the craziest!


An audience member at a town hall hosted by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) on Tuesday asked the Tea Party congressman who was going to shoot President Barack Obama.

The unidentified town hall attendee’s question got a big laugh from the audience, reports Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald.

But Broun didn’t exactly condemn the remark, according to the newspaper report.

“The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year,” Broun said in response to the question. “Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Broun had asked the audience who had driven the farthest to be at the meeting and let the winner ask the first question, according to the newspaper. The reporter couldn’t hear the question himself, but Broun’s press secretary confirmed that the question was about when someone was going to shoot the President.

“Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on,” Broun’s press secretary Jessica Morris told Aued.

You may remember Broun as the member of Congress who skipped the State of the Union Address in favor of live Tweeting about Obama’s “socialism” from his office.

Rep. Anthony Weiner Calls On Republicans to Defund Their Own Health Care Plans

Crooks & Liars

Since as Rachel Maddow noted on her show [last night], John Boehner decided to allow open debate and endless amendments during the House debate on the budget, we got to see Anthony Weiner giving this speech. Rep. Weiner asked the House Republicans to defund their own health care plans since they don’t want every day Americans to have the same options that they have as members of Congress.

I still want single payer but if we’re going to argue about how completely hypocritical Republicans are on this issue, Congressman Weiner is exactly right. There are a couple of models you can take with reforming the health insurance industry and with making sure you provide affordable services to everyone in the country. You either have the government replace the insurance industries and they manage the plans or you still have everyone pay in to private corporations and you regulate the insurance industries the way utility industries are regulated and they are not allowed to make excessive profits from those who are covered.    More…

Tucson Tea Party Leader Blames Gabrielle Giffords for Getting Shot

This can’t be good from any perspective…

Moral Low Ground

Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries has disgustingly blamed US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for her own shooting. “It’s political gamesmanship,” he explained to Britain’s Guardian. “The real case is that she [Giffords] had no security whatsoever at this event. So if she lived under a constant fear of being targeted, if she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hatred that was seething, why would she attend an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever?”

That’s not all. In addition to the six people murdered by gunman Jared Loughner last Saturday, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge, Humphries says there is another victim of the massacre: the Tea Party movement, and Humphries himself. He says the tragic killings are “evolving into a conspiracy” to destroy the Tea Party and silence criticism of the government.

Unfortunately, enemies of the Tea Party have been using the same militant, threatening rhetoric against Humphries as his organization is notorious for. “Too bad it wasn’t your family that was killed,” one said. “We hate you and we’re going to stand against you and we’re going to use our First and Second Amendment rights to stop you,” vowed another. The local sheriff has warned Humphries to avoid public places; he won’t be attending tonight’s memorial service for the victims of Saturday’s slaughter.


Speaking of Tea Party reaction to the tragedy in Tuscon, AZ:

Roy Sekoff On GOP Dilemma: Tea Party Delivers Both ‘The Energy And The Crazy’


“What we’ve seen from the Tea Party and Sarah Palin is that they excel at playing the victim,” Sekoff said. “The danger there is that since they feel so victimized, they’re just going to get louder, and they’re going to ratchet it out, and they’re going to make more outrageous comments like we’ve seen right there.”

Sekoff explained that the popularity of the Tea Party movement exemplifies the divide between traditional conservative values and the radical right currently at work within the Republican party. “This really speaks to the identity crisis the GOP is facing right now,” he said.

Sekoff continued, “The energy and the dynamism is really with the Tea Party, but so is all the crazy and the outrage. And that’s where the danger lies.”