Participants: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina
NOTE: Kiddie table debate begins at 7pm and includes the following candidates: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal
The publication Politico still won’t admit it, but evidence shows that it fabricated a story about Ben Carson and the West Point scholarship he was offered. Politico says it “stands by its reporting” when it changed the headline and content of the story. This is one of the most dishonest cases of media bias we have ever seen.
The Politico headline went from “Ben Carson Admits Fabricating West Point Scholarship,” which was false, to “Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied,” which is true but not news. Carson never claimed he applied. For Politico, the incident will go down in media history as a classic case of a false report being redone in such a way as to attempt to conceal the falsity of the original piece.
A post at Free Republic called the reporter, Kyle Cheney of Politico, a “graduate cum laude of the Dan Rather school of journalism.” But perhaps some of Politico’s editors were in on the deception. Only an apology followed by a full investigation will determine this.
At the same time, it’s important to go back and see how conservatives at such outlets as RedState were duped. “Certainly we all got burned by Politico on Friday,” said RedState writer Leon H. Wolf, a reference to the false Politico story about Carson “fabricating” the offer of a scholarship.
But only those people who accept Politico as Gospel got burned. One of them was RedState’s “Dear Leader” Erick Erickson, who thinks he is a mover and shaker in the Republican Party and is planning to create a multimedia empire with himself at its core.
RedState is the conservative media group which hosts the RedState Gathering, a forum that is supposed to determine who is and who is not a legitimate conservative candidate. Next year’s event is in Denver, Colorado.
Erickson, a Fox News contributor, disinvited Donald Trump to this year’s affair because he had said some nasty things about his colleague, Megyn Kelly, of Fox News. He didn’t invite Ben Carson at all.
For Erickson, the Politico story about the scholarship must have seemed like a perfect opportunity to destroy Carson. Lifting directly from the erroneous Politico headline and story, Erickson wrote that the Carson campaign was “admitting” a fabrication. Erickson predicted it was the beginning of the end of the Carson for president campaign.
Linking to the Politico story, he claimed “the media just drew serious blood.”
In the end, Erickson’s blood was all over the floor of RedState. It was a self-inflicted wound.
In much the same way that Politico rewrote the story and changed its headline, Erickson subsequently rewrote his story, putting lines through inaccurate statements he had made in his previous comments.
RedState managing editor Leon H. Wolf admitted as much in a story under the RedState headline, “Politico Outright Lies about Ben Carson.” But RedState had accepted and publicized the lies.
In his clarification, Erickson conceded, “The Politico’s representation of that [the scholarship] is demonstrably false and is not something Carson claimed.” It’s too bad Erickson didn’t read the Politico story before accepting its headline as true. As we noted, the allegation that Carson “fabricated” the offer of a scholarship was not backed up by facts in the story itself.
So why did Erickson swallow the phony story in the first place? Either he didn’t read the story and didn’t understand the facts were not what Politico claimed, or he jumped to conclusions based on what he thought he had read or wanted to be true. The latter means that he was looking for a way to force Carson from the Republican field for president. Either way, Erickson comes out of this looking like a total buffoon. So does his sidekick, Leon H. Wolf.
In fairness, Erickson took the bait like many others. But Erickson is supposed to be more sophisticated than that.
Politico on October 5 had referred to Erickson as the “influential conservative radio host and RedState editor” who was announcing that he was leaving the RedState website by the end of the year to focus on his radio career.
Erickson apparently thinks he’s so great that he’s going to become another Rush Limbaugh. Indeed, he sometimes substitutes for Rush Limbaugh. He has announced that he has a “vision” of “blending radio, the internet, and conservative activism.”
The flattering press clippings must have gotten to him, such as the magazine cover story about “The uncompromising conservatism of Erick Erickson.” It would be nice for his brand of conservatism to include a commitment to reporting the facts.
Erickson seems to think of himself as a major power broker in the Republican Party. But his ambitions are in the gutter as he attempts to recover from his smears of Ben Carson, garnered from a fraudulent story in Politico.
Politico owes Carson an apology, and so does Erickson.
Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee failed to make the cut for the main stage at next week’s Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate, a particularly harsh blow for the New Jersey governor who has struggled to gain traction in the presidential race after being seen as a rising GOP star in 2012.
The two Republican candidates failed to meet the 2.5 percent average polling threshold, meaning they’ll both be bumped to a 6 p.m. undercard debate on Tuesday, appearing alongside former Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Christie and Huckabee weren’t the only ones to get bad news in the Fox Business lineup. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore failed to register enough in four recent national polls to participate in the Nov. 10 event at all. They needed to get just 1 percent support in one of those polls. It will be Graham and Pataki’s first time not getting to participate.
Graham’s campaign fired off a statement, blasting the polling used to determine the lineup and saying they are “sincerely disappointed” in Fox Business and Wall Street Journal. “In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican Presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets,” Graham’s campaign manager Christian Ferry said in a statement.
Huckabee’s downgrade was a surprise, and was driven by his poor standing in the Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll included in the average of four recent national polls used to determine the lineup. That poll is little known and considered less transparent than other surveys. Huckabee tweeted his frustration, saying “I’m happy to debate anyone, anywhere, anytime.” (Huckabee also scored a damaging 1 percent in the better known Quinnipiac University poll conducted more recently.)
He continued in a second tweet, “We are months away from actual votes being cast and neither the pundits nor the press will decide this election, the people will.”
But it’s perhaps the most dramatic reversal of political fortunes for Christie, who was aggressively drafted for the 2012 presidential race, when he was seen as a refreshing, straight-talking alternative to the relatively stiff Mitt Romney.
This time around Christie has been overshadowed by the bombastic overtures of Donald Trump and has struggled to connect with voters yearning for a political outsider. At the beginning of the year, Christie boasted a polling average above 11 percent, second only to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, but has seen his numbers consistently slip since then.
Christie brushed off the development on Thursday evening, tweeting, “It doesn’t matter the stage, give me a podium and I’ll be there to talk about real issues like this: http://christiene.ws/1Nvu40o #BringItOn.” The tweet echoed the sentiment he expressed earlier on Thursday, when he said he wasn’t overly concerned about the prospect of being downgraded to the undercard stage.
“The bottom line is you need to be on a stage and debating. And so I will be on a stage and debating one way or the other, wherever they put me. You put one in the middle of the square in Manchester, I’ll do it there,” Christie said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday morning. “I’m looking forward to being in the debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday.”
The governor’s supporters are also attempting to shrug off the blow. They maintain that his relatively strong performance in the most recent debate, combined with rising favorabilities in Iowa and New Hampshire as well as a powerful viral video of him talking about drug addiction, insulated him from any kind of fallout.
“It doesn’t change one thing for me,” Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and a megadonor for Christie, told POLITICO on Thursday afternoon, before the lineup became official.
“What are the consequences? Well, you look at last week. Clearly he emerged in terms of the people that watched it as one of the strong guys of the debate. And I think he’ll continue to be that way and do that,” Langone said.
Langone stressed that Christie just needs to “hang in there” as more candidates drop out.
Trump and Ben Carson will be standing at center stage at the 9 p.m. main stage event. To Trump’s right will be Sen. Marco Rubio, then Bush, and then Ohio Gov. John Kasich. To Carson’s left will be Sen. Ted Cruz, then Carly Fiorina, and then Sen. Rand Paul.
The undercard debate will air at 6 p.m., and will be moderated by Fox Business’ Sandra Smith, Trish Regan and Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib. The main-stage debate will be moderated by Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo, along with Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker.
The GOP debates have created much controversy – and heartburn – for the large and unruly Republican field. Some of the candidates have accused the Republican National Committee of trying to use the debates to winnow the number of candidates, and contenders on the undercard stage have complained about the poor optics of the event.
Frustrations boiled over at last week’s CNBC debate, when the campaigns laid into the network over “gotcha” questions not focused on economics and designed to make the candidates look bad. An effort by the campaigns to show a united front and wrest control from the RNC and networks collapsed earlier this week.
Fox Business has sought to capitalize on the backlash, running a TV ad mocking the CNBC moderators.
“CNBC never asked the real questions, never covered real issues,” Fox’s commercial says. “That’s why, on Nov. 10, the real debate about our economy and our future is only on Fox Business Network.”
Bill Shine, senior executive vice president of programming for Fox, said in a statement Thursday evening, “FOX Business Network is proud to announce the lineup for the fourth Republican Presidential Debates and we look forward to discussing the important business and economic issues facing the country. We would like to thank the candidates, the city of Milwaukee and the Republican National Committee, and our partner the Wall Street Journal, for helping to organize and host these very important debates.”
Pataki, like Graham, had harsh words about being left out. “Running for the most important leadership position in the world shouldn’t be reduced to the level of ‘American Idol’ or ‘Survivor.’ The voters should decide our next president – not networks driven by ratings or national polls that are statistically irrelevant,” he said in a statement.
And Bush tweeted his support for Graham: “Disagree with debate rules that prevent @Grahamblog’s voice from being heard – his foreign policy message is an important one in particular.”
Christie next week could breathe more life into the undercard debate, which has been largely dominated by Graham in the past two debates. While Graham has landed some zingers in the events, he hasn’t delivered such a commanding performance to get a bump in the polls, leaving him frozen out on Tuesday.
Some of Christie’s supporters say the less-crowded stage could give the governor a standout moment. And one Republican fundraiser supporting Christie, who declined to speak on the record, said the absence of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from the GOP field and Bush’s drop in national polling are creating an opening for Christie.
“I don’t think it’s as big a deal as it would have been earlier in the cycle. He remains well positioned,” the fundraiser said. “I’m not sure that anyone on that stage will do anything that alters the terrain of the race in the first two states. And that ultimately is what this comes down to.”
Mikel Derby, a top Iowa lobbyist backing Christie, said he didn’t think it would be a net negative for him to be relegated to the undercard debate. “Even if he goes to the first debate, he’s going to get a lot more time, which is a lot more time for him to tell his story,” Derby said on Thursday afternoon before the news became official.
He also grumbled that a Christie fall to the earlier debate would be the fault of the national polling criteria rather than the candidate himself.
“So basically he’s being punished for not being as well known in places that aren’t going to have a huge impact on this election at this point,” Derby said.
The U.S. national debt jumped $339 billion on Monday, the same day President Obama signed into law legislation suspending the debt ceiling.
That legislation allowed the government to borrow as much as it wants above the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling that had been in place.
The website that reports the exact tally of the debt said the U.S. government owed $18.153 trillion last Friday, and said that number surged to $18.492 on Monday.
The increase reflects an increasingly common pattern that can be seen in the total U.S. debt level when the debt ceiling is reached.
At the end of 2012, for example, the government hit the debt ceiling, and the Treasury Department was forced to use “extraordinary measures” to keep the government afloat until the ceiling could be increased again. Those measures included decisions to delay issuances of certain debt instruments.
When the ceiling was finally lifted a little more than a month later, the debt jumped $40 billion in a day as the pressure to stay under the ceiling eased, and after nine days, the U.S. was $100 billion deeper in debt.
In February 2013, the debt ceiling was suspended until mid-May. Extraordinary measures were again used through mid October, and the official debt burden hovered in place for more than six months. When the debt ceiling was suspended again in October, the debt exploded by $300 billion the next day.
This time around, the national debt has been frozen at its ceiling of about $18.1 trillion since late January, longer than nine months. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that the government had somewhere around $370 billion worth of extraordinary measures to use this time around.
Hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer’s decision to throw his financial weight behind the donor-class 2016 favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), has sparked fresh questions about Rubio’s coziness with the financial interests funding his career.
Singer was a major financial force behind the Rubio-Obama amnesty and immigration expansion push in 2013.
As Politico reported at the time, Singer “quietly go[t] involved in the fight for immigration reform, making a six-figure donation… to the National Immigration Forum” – a George Soros-backed organization that lobbied for Rubio’s legislation to issue 33 million green cards to foreign nationals in the span of a single decade. The announcement of Singer’s endorsement highlights an intra-party tension that has emerged with new strength since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s inauguration as Speaker of the House.
There is a growing chasm between the more than 9 in 10 GOP voters, who want to see future immigration rates cut, versus GOP donors that are desperately seeking to install leaders in the White House and Congress who will further expand the nation’s already record breaking immigration rates that are transforming the country’s economy and electorate.
Upon the announcement of the Singer’s decision, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump tweeted:
I see Marco Rubio just landed another billionaire to give big money to his Superpac, which are total scams. Marco must address him as ‘SIR’!
Even though Rubio’s donors stand to make an enormous profit from a surge of low-wage migrant labor, Rubio has repeatedly denied that his wealthy backers have influenced his agenda. “People buy into my agenda. I don’t buy into theirs,” Rubio has said.
However, a review of several of Rubio’s top donors reveals that many of them have benefited from the Floridian’s rise to power.
Perhaps one of the most widely-criticized areas of Rubio’s campaign pledge to create “A New American Economy” on migrant labor is his support for tripling the controversial H-1B visa program.
Throughout his brief time in Washington – noted primarily for pushing the La Raza and Obama-backed amnesty bill through the Senate – Rubio has co-authored two pieces of legislaton that would massively expand the wage-depressing H-1B visa program used to replace American workers in white-collar jobs. His most recent bill – known as I-Squared – would triple the number of H-1B visas imported into the United States despite the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau reports 3 in 4 Americans trained in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are not employed in those fields. The Walt Disney Company used H-1Bs to lay off hundreds of American workers and forced them to train their low-wage foreign H-1B replacements. Disney’s CEO has endorsed Rubio’s I-Squared bill.
Lobbyists write the rules to benefit the rich and powerful. They buy off Senators like Marco Rubio to help them get rich at the expense of working Americans by using H-1B visas – so called “high tech” visas – to replace American workers in all sorts of solid middle class jobs… Senator Rubio works for the lobbyists, not for Americans. That is why he is receiving more money from Silicon Valley than any other candidate in this race. He is their puppet.
According to open-secrets, Goldman Sachs has been one of Rubio’s biggest financial boosters. Since 2011, Goldman Sachs was the top donor to Rubio’s campaign committee, contributing $53,200. Interestingly, Goldman Sachs is also among the top 50 corporate users of the H-1B visa, which labor experts call an “indentured servitude” program. According to USCIS data analyzed by Computerworld’s Patrick Thibodeau, Goldman Sachs is the ranked number 33 among the biggest users of the program.
Behind Goldman Sachs, Microsoft is the second largest contributor to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, donating $33,100. Similarly, Microsoft is the 12th biggest user of the H-1B program, having brought in 1,048 foreign workers on H-1Bs in 2013. Last year, Microsoft announced its plans to lay off 18,000 workers at the same time the company was lobbying to increase the H-1B program, prompting strong condemnation from U.S. Senator Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a top opponent of Rubio’s H-1B expansion plan.
Morgan Stanley has also been one of Rubio’s top financial contributors – having donated $47,564 to Rubio throughout his career. Morgan Stanley is the ranked 66th among the biggest H-1B users.
Larry Ellison, the founder and executive chairman of the Oracle Corporation, has been another one of Rubio’s financial boosters. In July, the WSJ reported that Ellison gave $3 million to the pro-Rubio super PAC. In June, Ellison hosted a $2,700 per-person fundraiser for Rubio. Oracle is the 20th biggest users of H-1B and has endorsed Rubio’s Gang of Eight and I-Squared immigration bills.
Beyond the controversial H-1B expansions, however, critics allege that Rubio’s donors have benefited in other ways from his immigration legislation. For instance, according to open-secrets, Carnival Corporation is one of the top 20 contributors to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, having donated $14,500.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Section 4606 of the Rubio-Obama immigration bill included a “backroom deal” that, “creates a new nonimmigrant Z visa to admit individuals who possess ‘specialized knowledge’ to perform maintenance on airlines and cruise ships” in place of American labor. Rubio’s top immigration lawyer during the Gang of Eight push was Enrique Gonzalez. Prior to working for Rubio, Gonzalez had formerly made his living, in part, by bringing foreign workers into the country on behalf of large corporations. Gonzalez had been a partner at the nation’s largest immigration firm Fragomen, where, as Bloomberg reports, “he helped Carnival, Viacom, and other companies obtain visas for their foreign workers.” Gonzalez features this Bloomberg article on his profile on Fragomen’s website.
Yet beyond Rubio’s legislative action on immigration, reports document how Rubio’s donors may have shaped many more of his policy platforms.
For instance, according to OpenSecrets, Fanjul Corporation is the fourth biggest contributor to Rubio’s campaign committee since 2011, donating $25,200. The Fanjul family has boosted Rubio throughout his career. As Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman reports, the Fanjul’s sugar empire “includes Domino and Florida Crystals… Donors associated with Florida Crystals have given Rubio at least $81,100 since 2009.” The Washington Post has described Jose “Pepe” Fanjul as part of Rubio’s “inner circle”: “Over the years, Fanjul has played a key role in raising money for Rubio and introducing him to well-heeled donors.” In April, the Fanjuls hosted a fundraiser in Palm Beach for Rubio. The cost of attending the reception and lunch was $2,700. Rubio’s closeness with the family has been well-documented, as The Daily Caller’s Joanne Butler notes, “It’s been reported that one of the first people Rubio greeted after making his presidential campaign announcement was Pepe Fanjul, Sr.”
The Fanjul family benefits from the federal government’s policies that protect of the sugar industry. The Daily Caller writes these protections have come at a cost to Americans:
While the Fanjul family has reaped the benefits of a protected sugar industry, other Americans have paid a price in lost jobs… What we have is a special interest group with lots of political muscle to protect its industry – to the detriment of 120,000 U.S. jobs lost over the past fifteen years.
Multiple reports have documented how the Fanjuls may have influenced Rubio’s votes. For instance, the Washington Post has described Rubio as a “major player” and one of sugar industry’s “names to know”.
Rubio, an outspoken defender of the sugar program… courted the Fanjul family during his 2010 Senate campaign. In his 2012 memoir, “An American Son,” Rubio credited a Fanjul fundraiser on Labor Day weekend in 2009 for helping him surpass a critical early fundraising goal. This year, 60 supporters paying $10,000 each gathered on the terrace of Pepe Fanjul’s Palm Beach home to toast Rubio.
“The Fanjuls might be considered the First Family of Corporate Welfare… they benefit from federal policies that compel American consumers to pay artificially high prices for sugar,” says a report by Time Magazine’s Donald Bartlett and James Steele.
While Rubio’s campaign rhetoric decries corporate welfare, he does not seem to mind it when it comes to the Fanjuls. As the Washington Examiner has observed, “In June 13, 2012, Rubio cast a very odd vote: he voted to save the indefensible federal sugar program… [It’s] relevant that the biggest sugar family in Florida, the Fanjuls, was supporting Rubio early in his long shot Senate race in 2010.”
The news of Singer’s endorsement may bring Rubio additional endorsements. Another donor Rubio has actively courted is Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Reports have questioned whether Rubio’s support for Sheldon Adelson’s bill to stop Americans from gambling online was intended to woo the GOP megadonor.
“Rubio signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill… raising eyebrows and prompting questions from reporters,” the Washington Post wrote. “The Florida senator has assiduously courted the billionaire casino mogul.”
Shortly after the news broke that Adelson was considering endorsing Rubio, Trump declared, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”
Adelson stands to benefit financially from Rubio’s policy of expansive immigration as well. Indeed, Nevada has the largest share of illegal immigrants of any state in the country (4.7 percent), and roughly one in five Nevada residents is foreign-born.
In a recent piece in New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait writes that Rubio is the candidate best positioned to enact the donor-class agenda. Chait writes: “Rubio has carved out a valuable niche in the Republican field as the candidate who will carry out the agenda of the party’s donor base, but who has the identity and communication skills to sell that agenda more effectively.”
Rush Limbaugh has similarly warned that “the donor-class push” is to “get rid of Trump, and have Rubio or Jeb win the White House.”
Limbaugh predicts that, with Paul Ryan as Speaker and Rubio as President, in the “first 12-to-18 months, the donor-class agenda [will be] implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want.”
As you probably know by now, the budget and debt ceiling deal I wrote about a few days ago has officially passed the House of Representatives. And while it’s true that it runs contrary to every principle that Republicans campaigned on when they convinced America to give them the majority in 2010, the policy and political implications of this legislation will be far-reaching with severe consequences.
So, how bad is it? In an opinion piece on Conservative Review, Daniel Horowitz gives seven reasons why this betrayal will probably be the end of the Republican party:
1. Increases Debt Ceiling Unconditionally
This bill suspends the debt ceiling through March 2017, granting this president another $1.5 trillion in debt authority after already amassing $7.5 trillion in debt. This, at a time when revenue is at record highs. There are now no external constraints on the amount of debt this president can accumulate in his final year.
2. Budget Control Act Permanently Terminated
The bill increases spending by $112 billion, thereby permanently overturning the only meaningful spending victory secured by conservatives over the past five years. There will be little leverage to preserve these cuts in the future. Spending was already slated to increase by $250 billion for the new year (from $3.677 trillion to $3.928 trillion); this bill will bump that increase to over $310 billion for 2016 alone. This is why Republicans have never cut spending. Despite record projected revenue of $3.5 trillion for 2016, they can’t balance the budget and will spend $4 trillion annually for the first time ever. In the era of “austerity,” the federal government is now growing by 8.4% despite the fact that the private economy is averaging 2.5% growth.
3. Rubber Stamps Obama’s Backwards Foreign Policy
Included in the increased spending is an extra $32 billion in war spending on top of existing appropriations. This comes on the heels of reports that Obama is commencing ground operations involving our military in the Islamic civil war in both Iraq and Syria. It is cowardly of Congress to not issue a declaration of war with specific policy demands from Obama dictating our strategic goals. Nobody can identify the mission – who we are fighting and with whom we are allying? Yet, this is Congress’ backdoor means of greenlighting this tepid and aimless effort without taking responsibility for supporting it or blocking it. As we’ve noted before, much of the money we send to the Middle East has wound up in the hands of Al-Nusra in Syria and Iranian-backed Shiite forces in Iraq. This budget allows Obama to invest more in failure, and worse – our enemies – because much of the OCO funds go to the State Department.
4. Paves the Way for More Spending with Enron Style Accounting
It would have been better had Congress not deceived the public with Enron-style accounting gimmicks to “offset” the cost of the bill. As Congressional Quarterly noted today, “Budget Deal Pay-Fors May Provide Template for Future Accords.” The political class thinks that a hodgepodge of notional and intangible offsets spread out 10 years from now are so clever. They will be emboldened to use the same gimmicks to bust even more spending caps, even in areas of the budget they’ve been cautious to do so until now.
5. We are at the mercy of Obama with no leverage
The most under-reported aspect of this deal is that it completely “clears the decks” of any budget bill for the remainder of Obama’s presidency, thereby taking the power of the purse off the table. As bad as the increased spending is for our fiscal solvency, the Obama policies are worse. There will be no budget to leverage against Obama’s growing amnesty, EPA overreach, foreign policy disasters, prison break, and dangerous clemencies. For example, Obama released 66,000 criminal aliens in 2013-2014, who had accrued a total of 166,000 convictions: 30k DUIs, 414 kidnappings, 11,000 sex assaults, and 395 homicides. They went on to commit at least 121 murders after being released. Who knows how high those numbers will go now that Obama has completely suspended deportations. Yet, conservatives will not have an opportunity to leverage DHS and Justice Department funding against his amnesty, which will likely grow more dangerous and lawless in his final year.
6. Paul Ryan Owns This Budget
Even if one buys into Ryan’s defense that he had nothing to do with the budget, a dubious assertion in itself, he clearly owns this deal for two reasons.
* First, the notion that the Speaker-elect cannot speak out against this travesty and demand it be halted is like saying that a newly elected fire chief is powerless against ordering his men to put out the flames of an arson that began the day before. Even if we accept that the debt ceiling deadline was sprung on him and cannot be stopped, there is no reason for him to agree to the budget deal, which does not come due for another six weeks. He certainly doesn’t have to agree to take the debt ceiling AND budget off the table for the rest of Obama’s presidency; he could have opted for a shorter-term bill so that he can show us the magic of his budget work and his amazing messaging skills. Now he will have no leverage to enact all of the fiscal reforms he will so eruditely articulate in the coming months.
* Second, Paul Ryan forged the original Ryan-Murray bill in 2013, which established the precedent that breaking the budget caps is a “must-pass” initiative. Until that point, Republicans had held firm. In that sense, this deal is merely the grandchild of Ryan’s original betrayal.
The fact that Ryan supported this excrement sandwich shows that he has no desire to actually force important conservative changes. He relishes the opportunity to “clear the barn” of any meaningful leverage so that he can discuss policy reforms in the abstract without having to fight for them in any significant way.
7. The Republican Party is Dead
Republicans have checked out from the fight against the consequential societal transformational issues for years: marriage, religious liberty, immigration, law and order, etc. They have made it clear now they will never fight for fiscal conservatism. Unless a true conservative is elected as president, the party is done.
As I wrote a week ago, the ascension of Paul Ryan to the Speaker’s job was reason enough to begin a new Conservative Revolution.The death of the GOP following this travesty of budgetary irresponsibility gives us one more reason to see it begin.
Rep. Paul Ryan has officially been elected as the 54th speaker of the House after he got the votes of 236 members by the full House of Representatives.
The vote was largely a formality after House Republicans nominated him for the position on Wednesday.
But even some conservatives who did not support Ryan said that after weeks of infighting, they were eager to move on and give Ryan the space to unite the party’s various factions and craft a legislative agenda.
Boehner gave a farewell address before the vote on Thursday, a day after the House approved a significant budget deal he negotiated with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. The legislation, which eliminates the possibility of a default and decreases the chance of a government shutdown, effectively gives Ryan a fresh start.
Now that the House officially taps him as speaker, Ryan is expected to praise Boehner and urge members from both sides to “put past behind them and begin the process of healing,” according to a Ryan aide.
Ryan began turning the page on Wednesday, telling reporters after his party’s internal vote that, “we are not going to have a House that looks like it’s looked the last two years. We are going to move forward. We are going to unify. Our party has lost its vision, and we are going to replace it with a vision.”
The 45-year-old Wisconsin Republican first worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide in 1992 and won his House seat in 1998 when he was 28.
He became known as a policy wonk and attracted national attention for his sweeping proposals to overhaul Medicare and restructure the tax code. In 2012, Mitt Romney picked Ryan to be his running mate on the GOP ticket. After Republicans lost that election, he returned to the House and ruled out running for president in 2016, instead settling into what he called his “dream job” as chairman of the House tax writing committee.
With the speaker’s title, Ryan takes on a national profile and the difficult challenge of corralling what has been an unruly and divided House GOP conference.
According to an aide familiar with his plans, in his first speech as speaker, Ryan’s message to his colleagues will be, “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated. If you have ideas, let’s hear them. A greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us.”
Looks like House Speaker John Boehner is going out with a raise – to the nation’s debt ceiling.
President Obama has struck a deal with Congressional leaders that will again increase America’s debt borrowing limit with no end to the spending in sight…
Boehner, working directly with Obama and his staffers, was vital to the agreement though other Congressional leaders were also involved.
The deal may be voted on Wednesday, which happens to be the same day Paul Ryan may be nominated by the House GOP conference to replace Boehner as Speaker.
According to CNN:
“Bipartisan congressional leaders and the White House struck a major fiscal deal in principle Monday that would raise the debt ceiling and lift budget caps on both defense and domestic programs, according to congressional sources familiar with the deal.
The final details are being ironed out and a bill could be introduced later Monday as negotiators draft the language to prepare for it for vote.
This deal would avoid a potential debt default on November 3, and it would reduce the chances of a government shutdown on December 11.”
Boehner and his office were vital in creating the framework for the debt ceiling increase.
“Boehner’s office negotiated many of the details directly with the White House, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid were also part of the discussions as the framework was developed, according to a source familiar with the talks.”
The article notes House Conservatives vehemently oppose the debt increase deal.
“Conservatives sharply panned the deal.
“It’s emblematic of five years of failed leadership,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan.”
Paul Ryan isn’t even Speaker of the House yet and he’s already broken one promise. Ryan said he wouldn’t run for Speaker unless he had the endorsement of the Freedom Caucus. He doesn’t have it, yet he is plowing ahead.
Ryan’s statement of intent illustrates why he likely will be a bad Speaker, and possibly a disastrous one. Ryan said in part:
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about our country, and it’s clear to me that we’re in a very serious moment…
Instead of rising to the occasion, Washington is falling short – including the House of Representatives. We are not solving the country’s problems; we are only adding to them. But now, we have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost…
We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like.
Ryan apparently believes that the role of the House is to “solv[e] the country’s problems.” This is wrong philosophically. Conservatives don’t look to Washington for solutions to America’s problems. They see Washington as part of the problem, not the solution. They mainly want Washington to get out of the way.
Ryan’s statement is also wrong on the facts. The House hasn’t failed to solve problems, and certainly hasn’t added to them. With Democrats in control of the White House and holding the power to filibuster legislation in the Senate, the House cannot enact laws. Under these circumstances, blaming it for not solving problems is ridiculous. It also happens to the Democrat/MSM line, not the line of any self-respecting Republican.
The House’s proper role has been to block President Obama’s attempts to enact legislation that will transform the country. Since the 2010 election, it has done so. The only near slip-up was the Paul Ryan’s flirtation with comprehensive immigration reform.
I’m not saying that the Republican House is without fault. Far from it. But to claim that it is adding to the country’s problems is unfair. Ryan has been drinking the Kool-aid doled out by Democrats and the mainstream media.
More fundamentally, Ryan has fallen into the trap that enables liberalism. He wants to do big things. He can do no big thing that is genuinely conservative because, to date and probably for the foreseeable future, the Democrats stand steadfastly in the way.
Thus, in order to do something grand, Ryan must collaborate with the Democrats. Conservatives almost never make out well in such collaborations. Immigration reform and sentencing reform are good examples of what to expect.
Speaking of which, with Ryan as Speaker, expect the House to pass John Conyers’ sentencing reform proposal. As Bill Otis and I explained, this sort of legislation would free thousands of felons, produce shorter thousands for tens of thousands going forward, and result in a large increase in crime, including violent crime.
Does anyone think Republican voters had this sort of legislation in mind when they conferred majority status in the House on the GOP? Of course not. The passage of this legislation would constitute a betrayal.
It is also nearly certain that Ryan will be gunning for amnesty. He may have agreed not to pursue it during Obama’s presidency, but it’s obvious that Ryan considers amnesty a moral imperative. Couple that with its support among the GOP’s biggest donors, and one can see that amnesty is in the cards under Speaker Ryan.
I’m surprised that Ryan mustered “super-majority support” within the Freedom Caucus. I’ll be shocked if Freedom Caucus members don’t come to regret giving him that support.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign is furious with 2016 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump over Trump’s comments that the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened on Bush’s brother former President George W. Bush’s watch. But a review of the basic facts of the situation – and Jeb Bush’s own writings – reveals that even the Bushes admit that “leaky” immigration enforcement was a major driving factor in leading to the terrorist attacks.
While Trump has attacked Bush before – describing the candidate as “low energy” – this line of questioning represents a new level in the war as Trump soars over Bush in recent polling, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has essentially replaced Bush as the establishment frontrunner. The latest Trump-Bush bout began in the most recent debate.
In the CNN Republican presidential debate, Trump blamed George W. Bush’s unsuccessful presidency for giving us President Obama, prompting an immediate response from Jeb Bush.
TRUMP: “Your brother – and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster, those last three months, that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected.”
BUSH: “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe. I don’t know if you remember…”
This exchange sparked a war of words between the two campaigns – culminating in Trump’s declaration that if he were president and were able to enact his immigration policies, 9/11 would not have happened under his watch.
On Fox News Sunday, Trump said:
Look, look, Jeb said, “We were safe with my brother, we were safe.” Well the World Trade Center just fell down. Now am I trying to blame him? I’m not blaming anybody. But the World Trade Center came down. So when he said we were safe, that’s not safe. We lost 3,000 people, it was one of the greatest – probably the greatest catastrophe ever in this country… I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I am extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe if I were running things, I doubt those – I doubt those people would have been in the country. So there is a good chance that those people would not have been in our country With that being said, I’m not blaming George Bush, but I don’t want Jeb Bush to say, “My brother kept us safe,” because September 11th was one of the worst days in the history of this country.
The Bush campaign was quick to attack Trump in response, declaring that “Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things as though he’s still on ‘The Apprentice’… My brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe.”
However, a review Jeb Bush’s 2013 book Immigration Wars reveals that Jeb Bush himself agreed with Trump’s argument and admitted that our “leaky” immigration policy was responsible for the attack.
In addition to the Mexican drug cartels, the fact that several of the 9/11 terrorists entered the country lawfully under a leaky immigration system has heightened national security concerns – so much so that immigration enforcement has been placed under the Department of Homeland Security.
Indeed, all of the the nineteen September 11th hijackers were voluntarily imported into the country on visas issued to them by our federal government. Almost all of the visas were issued in the predominantly Muslim country of Saudi Arabia. Four of the September 11th hijackers – Zacarias Moussaoui, Satam al Suqami, Nawaf al Hamzi, and Hani Hanjour – were visa overstays.
In a blockbuster 2002 report, National Review’s Joel Mowbray acquired the visa applications of 15 of the 19 hijackers and exposed how every single one of their applications should have been flatly rejected.
Brothers Wail and Waleed al-Shehri applied together for travel visas on October 24, 2000. Wail claimed his occupation was “teater,” while his brother wrote “student.” Both listed the name and address of his respective employer or school as simply “South City.” Each also declared a U.S. destination of “Wasantwn.” But what should have further raised a consular officer’s eyebrows is the fact that a student and his nominally employed brother were going to go on a four-to-six-month vacation, paid for by Wail’s “teater” salary, which he presumably would be foregoing while in the United States. Even assuming very frugal accommodations, such a trip for two people would run north of $15,000, yet there is no indication that the consular officer even attempted to determine that Wail in fact had the financial means to fund the planned excursion. They appear to have received their visas the same day they applied.
ABC News covered Mowbray’s report:
Abdulaziz Alomari claimed to be a student but didn’t name a school; claimed to be married but didn’t name a spouse; under nationality and gender, he didn’t list anything.
Three months later, Alomari followed his friend Mohamed Atta through airport security… heading for the World Trade Center.
Khalid Al Mihdhar, who helped crash the plane into the Pentagon, simply listed “Hotel” as his U.S. destination – no name, no city, no state – but no problem getting a visa.
“They were handing these things out gift-wrapped with ribbons on top,” Mowbray said. “[Al-Qaeda operatives] didn’t have to beat the system, the system was rigged in their favor from the get-go.”
By definition, had the visas been rejected or had the visa-overstays been deported, September 11th would not have happened.
Interestingly, even though George W. Bush remained in office for more than six years after the attack, millions of visa overstays were still not deported. In fact, the United States continues to churn out hundreds of thousands of visas to Muslim immigrants, some of whom have gone on to commit terror attacks in the United States.
As Center for Immigration Studies’ Executive Director Mark Krikorian wrote earlier this year, “This view, that foreign visa applicants rather than the American people are to be served, continues; the number of student visas issued to Saudis, for instance, is up more than 500 percent from 9/11.”
The Republican presidential candidates have taken starkly different positions on the issue of Muslim immigration.
For instance, while Donald Trump has repeatedly articulated a strong stance against increasing the number of Muslim immigrants voluntarily admitted into the country, Marco Rubio has adopted an entirely different position on the matter.
Although four of the 9/11 hijackers were visa overstays, Sen. Rubio authored legislation that would have legalized visa overstays and would have made them American citizens. At the same time, Rubio voted against a visa tracking system offered by his Republican colleague Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), which sought to prevent future foreign nationals from illegally overstaying their visas.
Rubio has also expressed support for expanding the resettlement of Muslim immigrants – on top of the annual 280,000 Muslim migrants the United States admits annually, which includes 100,000 Muslim immigrants who are brought in on green cards and will eventually be able to bring in their family members and vote in U.S. elections.
Moreover, while Trump has declared that he would be cautious about the Muslim migrants that are admitted into the United States on temporary visas, Rubio has introduced legislation that would substantially boost temporary visas to some of the most terror-prone regions of the world. Rubio’s legislation, however, does not include any corresponding enforcement measures to track foreigners brought into the country on temporary visas.
A review of recent terror activity – provided by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee – reveals that a number of attacks have been committed by Muslim immigrants admitted entry to the United States on visas.
A refugee voluntarily admitted from Uzbekistan and “living in Idaho was arrested and charged with providing support to a terrorist organization, in the form of teaching terror recruits how to build bombs.”
A college student voluntarily admitted from Somalia, “who later applied for and received U.S. citizenship, attempted to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon.”
An immigrant voluntarily admitted from Kazakhstan “with lawful permanent resident status conspired to purchase a machine gun to shoot FBI and other law enforcement agents if they prevented him from traveling to Syria to join ISIS.”
Politico reports some bad news for JEB! fans:
Jeb Bush’s campaign slashed hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries over the last three months as the struggling candidate’s fundraising machine slowed to a more middling pace, new campaign-finance reports indicate.
No longer able to raise unlimited sums with his super PAC, Bush hauled in $13.4 million in the third quarter of the year for his campaign. That’s more than all of his GOP rivals except Ben Carson. But Bush also spent more than many of them, leaving him with about as much money in the bank as Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz has more.
Bush’s campaign once saw its size and staff as its strength. But the newly released campaign-finance reports indicate it could be a liability if fundraising slacks further.
More than 60 Bush staffers might have had their salaries cut or their positions changed to reduce their income, compared with the second quarter of the year when Bush announced his candidacy, the campaign-finance reports show. The campaign did not want to discuss the numbers. But the pay cuts, depending on whether the salaries are divided on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, could have saved the campaign anywhere from $450,000 to nearly $900,000 per quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of the campaign’s payroll. The cuts have ranged from the small for some staffers ($12 a week) to large reductions for four of the top campaign chiefs who each took a $75,000 pay cut.
It looks like low-energy Jeb is going to go into energy-saving mode. So basically comatose.
That’s gotta hurt. This is exactly how the ending for Rick Perry began…
During an appearance at a Jon Huntsman “No Labels” event, a female audience member named Lauren Batchelder played the role of a female antagonist toward candidate Donald Trump.
However, Ms. Batchelder is not just an average audience member. She’s a paid political operative of the GOP and a paid staff member of Team Jeb Bush:
Within minutes of her scripted performance at the event, the producers of CNN were quickly editing soundbites and framing a narrative. That story was pushed into the media stream within hours. CNN’s Jeanne Moos was the delivery vehicle for the a hit piece.
Here’s the CNN narrative as presented yesterday:
However, as previously noted, it didn’t take long to discover that Lauren Batchelder was not just an ordinary audience member, she is actually a current staffer for Senator Kelly Ayotte and also working in New Hampshire on behalf of the Jeb Bush 2016 campaign.
Batchelder’s LinkedIn profile shows she is a Jeb Bush For President 2016 staffer.
Given Senator Ayotte’s position being pro-life, and contrasted against the framework of Ms. Batchelder’s line of questioning being completely opposite of the boss(es) she is working for, it doesn’t take long to figure out this was a planted Establishment GOPe hit job targeting Donald Trump:
Of course, Ms Batchelder quickly began scrubbing her social media history trying to hide who she works for. Almost all of her Twitter history is now deleted, but not before much of it was able to be captured. Several other profiles remain available:
From her Facebook Profile it appears Ms. Batchelder has quite a history as a Thespian Actress.
[You can read more of the texts within her deleted tweets HERE Not surprisingly most of them are disparaging toward Donald Trump and Ben Carson]
It is amazingly pathetic how the RINO Caucus has to operate in order to try and eliminate their political opposition.
Facebook Status: “With Jeb!”
12:43 AM – 13 Oct 2015
This is an embarrassing fail on behalf of the establishment GOP and in particular Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
This current fail also exemplifies how the broadcast media, specifically CNN, is willing to assist the republican cause when there is a mutual benefit to the elimination of an enemy.
However, it is also further evidence of the entire construct of the Jeb Bush alliance. There are eight candidates remaining in the race specifically to assist Jeb Bush and help him win the nomination. They are:
Marco Rubio (FL)
Carly Fiorina (VA)
Chris Christie (NJ)
John Kasich (OH)
Lindsey Graham (SC)
Mike Huckabee (AR)
George Pataki (NY)
Jim Gilmore (VA)
A vote for any of these fraud candidates will only result in a later endorsement of Jeb Bush and the transference of delegates to assist his nomination efforts. This was/is the original design of the road map created to help Jeb win in 2016. [Much More Here]
The 2016 plan is similar in many ways to how Mitt Romney was able to win the nomination in 2012. If you remove Donald Trump – Ben Carson becomes Herman Cain, Ted Cruz becomes Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush replaces Mitt Romney.
It is all by design, all of it; and the only thing standing between TEAM JEB and achieving this outcome is:
Hence the GOPe apparatus is going to use every trick they have deployed in the past to stop Donald Trump from winning the nomination.
Also, don’t be surprised to see them use the same tactics previously deployed against Senate Candidate Chris McDaniel in Mississippi 2014. Between now and removing their fingers from the grip of power, there’s going to be a SERIOUS Political WAR !
Via Breitbart. We’re at a delicate moment right now within the commentariat where sounding any critical note about Ryan is proof that you’re a wingnut who wants the House to burn rather than govern. So here’s proof that my RINO credentials are still in good order: I’ve always liked Ryan personally (who doesn’t?) and I admire him for having tried – and seemingly failed, alas – to raise public alarm about the crisis in federal entitlements. It’s no small thing either that the guy’s managed to earn the goodwill of people on both sides of the centrist/tea party divide within the House GOP caucus. How many other Republicans these days can say that? That’s 80 percent of the argument for why he’s the only man fit to be Speaker these days.
But his record is what it is. And his willingness to work with Luis Gutierrez, the most shameless, unapologetic amnesty shill in Congress, a man who once told a reporter that his only loyalty is to “the immigrant community,” is… not optimal. If you’re worried about the next Speaker being more willing to deal with the left on immigration than Boehner was, Ryan – who supported Marco Rubio after the Gang of Eight was announced in 2013 and who once co-sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill co-written by Gutierrez in 2005 – gives you plenty of reason to worry. In fact, Ryan allegedly met with House conservatives two years ago, when the Gang of Eight bill was still circulating, and tried to persuade them that comprehensive immigration reform would be good for America.
He’s a lot like his friend from Wisconsin, Scott Walker, on this issue, in other words. Walker was a comprehensivist who tacked hard right on immigration after he jumped into a race for a big national office. Would Ryan, under intense pressure to please the conservative members of his caucus as Speaker, follow suit? Gutierrez apparently doesn’t think so:
Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate and critic of the Freedom Caucus, said more needs to change than just the man or woman in the chair…
“We must assemble bipartisan coalitions to pass any meaningful legislation,” Dent added. “That’s the way this place has been operating. We have to accept that reality and move forward.”…
Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez on MSNBC called Ryan one of the smartest men in the GOP.
“He would be good for the country,” Gutierrez said. “He would be good for the Republican Party. Paul Ryan is the kind of individual that would work with people on the other side of the aisle and that’s what we need.’”
He and I don’t see eye to eye on any issue, Ryan once said of Gutierrez, except this one. Which raises the question of why Gutierrez, knowing that he’s toxic to border hawks and conservatives because of his immigration stances, would give Ryan the green light in a public forum. One theory is that he’s doing a friend a favor: He knows Ryan doesn’t want to be Speaker and he also knows that this little endorsement will help stoke resistance to the idea on the right, blocking Ryan’s path. That’s some favor in this case, though. If Ryan were Speaker, Gutierrez would have a direct pipeline to the most powerful man in the House on his pet issue. Besides, Gutierrez isn’t above reverse psychology when it comes to protecting his pro-amnesty Republican friends. Remember when he went to Eric Cantor’s district during his primary battle with Dave Brat last year and held a rally condemning Cantor and the House GOP for being so hard on illegals? Cantor was another guy whom Gutierrez had worked with on immigration reform. Realistically, there was no way he wanted to see Cantor upended. He likely held the rally because he knew that the spectacle of him denouncing Cantor as a border hawk would help Cantor with Republican primary voters who thought he was too soft on immigration. Gutierrez could have done the same thing here with Ryan, i.e. “He used to be reasonable but Paul’s succumbed to the same restrictionist attitudes that the rest of those conservatives have.” That would have helped Ryan with his righty critics. But he didn’t. Why not?
One thing to look out for as Ryan weighs what to do is the possibility that he’ll agree to serve only for a set term – say, until the next election. I think Ryan would hate the idea of being Speaker indefinitely, but if you sweetened the pot for him by giving him a freer hand to make deals with Obama on big-ticket items like immigration – and entitlement reform? – that might appeal to him. If he and Obama were both in a position where they were eyeing an exit from Washington in 2017, both might be willing to deal with an eye to their legacies, with Ryan bringing along (some) reluctant conservatives and Obama bringing along (some) reluctant liberals on “grand bargains.” If you’re worried about a bad deal on amnesty, that’s what I’d worry about. Exit question: The CNN article quoted above mentions that Mitt Romney is also urging Ryan to run for Speaker. Ever think you’d see Luis Gutierrez and Mr. “Self-Deportation” endorsing the same guy?
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who was considered the front-runner to replace John Boehner, stunned his Republican colleagues Thursday by abruptly withdrawing from the race, throwing the leadership battle into chaos.
McCarthy’s decision, announced moments before Republicans were set to nominate their candidate, will postpone the vote for speaker. McCarthy had been running against Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla., before he dropped out, and it’s unclear whether other candidates will now step forward.
While McCarthy, R-Calif., faced vocal opposition from some conservative members and groups, he was thought to have more than enough support to win the party’s nomination in the vote initially set for Thursday. Fox News is told McCarthy, in revealing his choice, simply told colleagues it was not his time.
His withdrawal rattled fellow lawmakers, particularly allies in leadership. But addressing reporters afterward, McCarthy said he thinks the party needs a “fresh face.”
“If we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to be 100 percent united.”
He said he will stay on as majority leader.
Chaffetz, speaking shortly afterward, said McCarthy’s withdrawal was “absolutely stunning.” Chaffetz said he would remain in the race. “I really do believe it is time for a fresh start,” he said.
Practically speaking, Republicans’ overriding interest is to find a candidate who can muster an absolute majority on the House floor in a full chamber vote, originally set for Oct. 29. While McCarthy was likely to easily win the nomination, it was unclear whether he could muster a majority – of roughly 218 members – once lawmakers from both parties vote for speaker.
McCarthy gave no indication of dropping out earlier in the day. “It’s going to go great,” McCarthy said Thursday morning. But he later suggested he was concerned he’d only be able to win narrowly in a floor vote later this month.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said McCarthy actually felt he couldn’t reach 218. Still, he said McCarthy’s backing will be the “most important endorsement” for whoever seeks the post.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, swiftly put out a statement saying he would not run, while saying he’s “disappointed” McCarthy dropped out.
Conservative groups, meanwhile, cheered the decision. FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said in a statement that McCarthy “dropped out of the Speaker race because of the House Freedom Caucus and grassroots pressure… This is a huge win for conservatives who want to see real change in Washington, not the same go along get along ways of Washington.”
He was referring in part to a decision Wednesday by the conservative House Freedom Caucus – with its 30-40 members – to back Webster as a bloc.
The speaker’s race already has seen several curveballs since Boehner suddenly announced his retirement at the end of the month and McCarthy swiftly positioned himself as the presumptive next in line.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy, McCarthy was seen to stumble in a Fox News interview where he appeared to link Hillary Clinton’s dropping poll numbers to the congressional Benghazi committee. His comments fueled Democratic charges that the committee is merely political, which GOP leaders deny.
Amid the backlash over McCarthy’s Benghazi remarks, Chaffetz entered the leadership race over the weekend.
Republicans have nearly 250 members in the House and on paper have the numbers to win against the Democrats’ nominee, likely Nancy Pelosi. But if the winning Republican nomineecomes out with a tally short of 218, he or she will have to spend the next several weeks trying to rally support to get to that number.
In a curious development, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., also sent a letter to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., urging a full vetting of all leadership candidates to avoid a repeat of 1998, when the conference selected then-Rep. Bob Livingston in November to succeed outgoing House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It then emerged Livingston had been conducting an affair. Jones asked that any candidate who has committed “misdeeds” withdraw.
Asked by FoxNews.com to elaborate, Jones said he doesn’t “know anything” specific about any of the candidates, but, “We need to be able to say without reservation that ‘I have nothing in my background that six months from now could be exposed to the detriment of the House of Representatives.'” He said he wants to make sure the candidates have “no skeletons.”
On the last day of the fiscal year, Congress approved a short-term spending measure that keeps the federal government operating through Dec. 11.
The bill passed easily in the Senate, 78-20:
The bill faced strong dissension in the House, where 151 Republicans voted against it because the bill does not cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood (vote roll call here).
President Barack Obama signed the spending bill late Wednesday.
The vote was notable in the House in that it provided a chance for candidates for upcoming leadership races to weigh in on a controversial issue in the caucus.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is the leading candidate to replace Speaker John Boehner, voted for the measure.
His only opponent for speaker, Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., voted against the bill, as did Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who is one of two lawmakers running for majority leader.
The other majority leader contender, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., voted for the spending bill.
Some House members believed that the vote on the continuing resolution, as the funding measure is known, would be telling in how potential new leadership may handle future issues.
Conservatives argued that leadership candidates would be judged on if they stood up to Planned Parenthood in the face of a potential shutdown.
“It’s unfortunate that this thing passed,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, in an interview with The Daily Signal. “But I think the most unfortunate thing is we should have back on July 14, when the first [Planned Parenthood] video came out, went full commitment to making this a national debate and really elevating it and going all in. We could have been in a position to win, but we didn’t, and this is the part that frustrates me.”
“Our new leadership has to commit, whoever that happens to be, to the same effort on things that we’ve told the voters we were gonna do – like we all told them we were pro-life, right? – we have to have the same intensity in getting those things done that we did on, for example, trade promotion. We have to demonstrate we are actually fighting on the things we said and have that full debate. And that’s what we are not doing.”
Taking a different view, Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, told the The Daily Signal that conservatives were wrong to try to hold up the spending measure to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Leadership will look feckless and ineffective if they try to appease the rejectionist members of this conference,” Dent said.
“Going forward,” Dent remarked, “leadership will have to find a way to move forward on five or six measures that must be resolved, including a budget agreement, tax extenders, the debt ceiling, and a long-term transportation measure. All will require a level of compromise required to move beyond the warfare and get to a better place.”
The continuing resolution funds the government at a rate of $1.017 trillion annually for the next two and a half months. Senate leaders argued the deal gives Congress time to negotiate a budget deal with the president, though Obama has been pushing Congress to break the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The continuing resolution also provides $74.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations and reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration, E-verify program, and Internet Tax Freedom Act.
Senate Republican leaders introduced a government spending bill last week that included a one-year moratorium on funding for Planned Parenthood. The legislation also directed the $235 million in savings derived from the government funding allocated for Planned Parenthood to be directed to community health centers.
That bill, however, was blocked in the upper chamber, after it failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance.