The Senate Race That Is Turning The GOP Upside Down
The final chapter of the Texas Senate primary, long delayed due to court antics, will take place on July 31. If the polls are to be believed, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz will trounce Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.
This outcome would have been nearly unthinkable a year ago. The Lieutenant Governor’s post has immense power in the Texas scheme of things, and one does not lightly cross its occupant.
But times have changed. Cruz, a young (42), dynamic super-lawyer with an impeccable resume and, more importantly, a habit of listening to the Tea Party, is about to carry off the prize. In addition to generational change (Dewhurst is 67), the prospect of another Hispanic star is not to be underestimated in the ever-fascinating landscape of Texas politics.
Tune in to the podcast of Italian Tomatoes on Blog Talk Radio for a lively discussion of the dynamics of the race!
The House and the Senate were in session last week.
The Senate passed legislation that would extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for American families that earn $250,000 and less a year. (Taxes would increase for all other income brackets.) Republicans had offered a plan to extend the tax cuts for all income earners, but that measure failed on a 45-54 vote.
The House passed legislation that says no federal agency can “take any significant regulatory action” until the U.S. unemployment rate falls below 6 percent. According to Bloomberg/Businessweek the legislation would apply to “any regulation with a projected economic cost of at least $50 million, as well as to regulations determined by the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to have a materially negative effect on jobs, public health and safety, local and state governments, or the environment.”
What you paid
Last week taxpayers spent roughly $100 million on Congress. Click here for the full breakdown.
What you got
In addition to the legislation noted above, the House voted to pass five bills that will save taxpayers approximately $560 million over 10 years:[list type="arrow"] [li]
- H.R. 459, To require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States before the end of 2012. COST: $5 million over 2 years
- H.R. 6082, Congressional Replacement of President Obamas Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan.SAVINGS: $565 million over 10 years
- H.R. 3477, To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 133 Hare Road in Crosby, Texas, as the Army First Sergeant David McNerney Post Office Building. COST: $0
- H.R. 2039, To allow a State or local government to construct levees on certain properties otherwise designated as open space lands.COST: Unknown
- H.R. 2362, Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011. COST: $0
During the debate on the FY2013 defense spending bill, on roll call votes the House rejected 14 amendments to cut spending and approved 3 amendments to cut spending.
In addition to vote discussed above, the Senate began debate on a cybersecurity bill and confirmed Michael A. Shipp to be U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey.
American Spectator -
It could also give regulators even more power to misuse.
Will the continuing scandal over LIBOR insure Barack Obama’s re-election in November? It’s a distinct possibility.
There is considerable irony in the controversy over the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate, which cost Barclays Bank a $450 million fine for rigging between 2005 and 2008.
Not the least of that irony is that regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have just begun to wonder how widespread the practice became after 2008 when international banking plunged into its greatest turmoil and when the Obama presidency began. Not to mention the role that the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England played in abetting the fraud both before and after Mr. Obama took office.
Despite ‘Stalling’ Economy, Dems Relitigate Settled Practice On Judicial Process
SEN. REID: ‘In A Presidential Election Year, It Is Always Tough For Judges’
CRS: “The Senator who most frequently has asserted the existence of a Thurmond rule has been the current chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy.” (“Nomination And Confirmation Of Lower Federal Court Judges In Presidential Election Years,” Congressional Research Service, 8/13/08)
· “…a long-running practice employed by a Senate minority in an election year…” (Politico, 6/14/12)
· “…following the precedent set by Democrats, who cut off circuit court nominees in June 2004 and 2008…” (Roll Call, 7/30/12)
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “I want to be bi-partisan. We will institute the Thurmond Rule.” (Sen. Leahy, Remarks, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., 12/13/06)
· LEAHY: “It is a rule that we still follow, and it will take effect very soon here.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.1731, 3/7/08)
· LEAHY: “…we are now [June 12] way past the time of the Thurmond Rule…” (Sen. Leahy, Judiciary Committee, 6/12/08)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “In a Presidential election year, it is always very tough for judges. That is the way it has been for a long time, and that is why we have the Thurmond rule and other such rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.2829, 4/10/08)
· REID: “June is fast approaching. I believe that is the time set forth in the Thurmond doctrine.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.3012, 4/15/08)
Despite ‘Weak,’ ‘Sluggish’ Economy; ‘Paltry’ Job Creation
BEA: “Real gross domestic product … increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012…” (“Table 8. Real Gross Domestic Product: Percent Change From Quarter One Year Ago,” Bureau Of Economic Analysis, 7/27/12)
· “Economy weak in second quarter … The U.S. economy has never been so sluggish this long into a recovery.” (USA Today, 7/27/12)
· “The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling…” (AP, 7/27/12)
Current Unemployment Rate 8.2% (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/6/12)
· “Employers added a paltry 80,000 jobs last month…” (The Washington Post, 7/6/12)
· “The downbeat report is likely to put pressure on the Federal Reserve, Congress and the White House to do more to stimulate economic growth and new jobs.” (The Washington Post, 7/6/12)
President Obama’s Nominees Have Been Treated Fairly
32 of President Obama’s nominees have been confirmed so far in 2012. (“112th Congress-Confirmed Nominees,” The U.S. Department Of Justice, Accessed 7/10/12; PN1132, PN1196, PN1197, & PN1203)
28 of President Bush’s nominees were confirmed in all of 2008. (“110th Congress-Confirmed Nominees,” The U.S. Department Of Justice, Accessed 7/10/12)
In Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that voters in Northern Nevada are skeptical of politicians from the South like embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. Berkley has a New York accent and a flashy Vegas style that doesn’t sit well with some of Washoe’s more down-home residents. Up North, residents enjoy a good rodeo or chili cook-off and bask in the glory of the Truckee River, Lake Tahoe and the Sierras. They tend to be more conservative and take life a little slower than on the neon-flooded Strip, where Berkley once worked as a cocktail waitress. Berkley also is running her get-to-know-you campaign in Washoe in the shadow of a House ethics investigation.
- Meanwhile, the Cook Political Report says that Berkley’s ethics cloud will hurt her with voters in the Northern part of the state. The ethics investigation will be more problematic in the northern part of the state where voters don’t know her and are often skeptical of Las Vegas area politicians.
- Finally, the Las Vegas Sun reports that embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley continues to rely on the kidney care industry to fund her flailing campaign. Rep. Shelley Berkley has continued to rely on the kidney care industry as a substantial source of campaign funds in her U.S. Senate bid despite the ongoing ethics investigation into whether she pushed policies beneficial to the industry to help her husband’s medical practice. According to a Las Vegas Sun review of Berkley’s campaign finance reports, she has collected nearly $113,000 from nephrologists, dialysis companies and other kidney care professionals since launching her Senate campaign last year.
In Nebraska, Nebraska Television reports that the Nebraska Farm Bureau endorsed Deb Fischer. As a Valentine rancher, State Senator Deb Fischer’s campaign has energized farmers. Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said, “Really understands ag, understands farming and ranching, spent adult life in ranching and really understands the issues we face. And now the state’s biggest farm group is officially endorsing Fischer. She said, “Everyone who runs for office would like to have Farm Bureau endorsement. Agriculture is the biggest economic engine in the state of Nebraska.”
- Meanwhile, Deb Fischer responds to Senator Ben Nelson’s letter in the Omaha World-Herald by telling him that it’s time for the federal government to sell federal grazing land. In response to Sen. Ben Nelson’s July 18 letter, in which he questions my commitment to reform the federal grazing lease program that my husband’s family has participated in since the 1950s, I have consistently said that all options must be on the table in order to address our fiscal crisis, including the federal grazing lease program. I believe the best option is for the federal government to sell federal grazing land through open public auctions.
- Additionally, the Associated Press reports that Deb Fischer toured the wildfires that is damaging property in her legislative district. Republican Deb Fischer this week toured a northern Nebraska area the size of Omaha that has been burned by wildfire. Fischer has called for Congress to “further reduce the regulatory burden to provide immediate assistance.”
- Finally, Bloomberg reports that Bob Kerrey’s liberal allies in New York City have formed a Super Pac for him. New York is working on Bob Kerrey in Nebraska. A super-PAC funded partly by New York financiers is aiding Kerrey’s Democratic bid to win a Nebraska U.S. Senate seat with television and radio ads critical of his Republican opponent.
In New Mexico, KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports that Heather Wilson accurately claims that liberal Congressman Martin Heinrich voted for the job-killing medical device tax. New Mexico’s race for the open United States Senate seat, from which Democrat Jeff Bingaman is retiring at the end of the year, is heating up rapidly. Republican Heather Wilson is on television with her first advertisement attacking Democrat Martin Heinrich. The ad rips Heinrich for his votes on a medical devices tax , which was part of President Obama’s health care package. “Martin Heinrich warned the new medical device tax would burden small business and lead to job losses, but he voted for it anyway,” the ad’s narrator says. That much is true. … The ad correctly states Heinrich later voted against repealing the tax. “Martin Heinrich knowingly puts his left wing politics before jobs,” the ad says. “That’s too extreme for New Mexico.”
The original ad “Knowingly”:
- Meanwhile, Heather Wilson penned an op-ed to the Albuquerque Journal reminding voters how important the medical device industry is to New Mexico. If you have ever had your eyes checked, there’s a good chance the eye doctor used medical devices from Richmond Products. They sell more than 2,000 eye exam products to 1,000 clients around the world from their small building in southeast Albuquerque. I visited them in June and reaffirmed a strong conviction: The health care act was a mistake. It raises taxes, cuts Medicare, costs more and makes Washington more involved in our lives.
In Massachusetts, the Boston Herald reports that former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn appears in a commercial supporting Scott Brown, because he’s able to reach across the aisle to get things done. Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn appears in a TV ad debuting today praising U.S. Sen. Scott Brown — the latest attempt by the Republican incumbent to portray himself as an across-the-aisle team player. “Scott Brown is a person that I have a great admiration for,” Flynn says in the 30-second spot where he’s seated on the living room couch of his Southie home. “I have found him to be a regular guy, honest, hardworking. He’s also an independent voice.” Flynn was the Democratic Hub mayor from 1984 to 1993.
- Meanwhile, Brown is out with another radio report where he wishes the Bay State Olympians good luck in the 2012 Olympics. With the 2012 summer games officially underway in London, the Brown campaign today launched its latest Scott Brown Radio Report, called “Olympics.” The statewide radio ad will begin running today. … This year, Brown says he will be cheering on gymnast Aly Raisman from Needham, cyclists Shelley Olds from Groton and Evelyn Stevens from Acton and Karen O’Connor, an equestrian from Bolton. Yesterday, Raisman was the top scorer for the U.S. women gymnastics team with a total of 60.391 points, and will represent the United States in Thursday’s all-around competition.
Nevada Senator Dean Heller visited Kimmie Candy Company after its CEO Joseph Dutra sent samples of candy to Nevada Representatives.
Dutra says he’s honored to have Sen. Heller visit the small business, and says he wants elected leaders in officer who support companies like his.
“We need a government that pushes for small business, for business in general and we want the businessmen to feel like they’re the kings of the world because they take the biggest risk trying to make a business work,” says Dutra.
Senator Heller says he favors legislation that extends tax breaks for all Americans past the end of the year.
He says it would help small businesses like Dutra’s create jobs.
Bankrupting America’s Cartoon Highlighting National Debt
Gretchen Hamel, president of Public Notice Research and Education Fund, commented, “The national debt has become a national disgrace made even worse by Washington’s steadfast refusal to agree to a long-term strategy for fiscal responsibility. While our elected officials are content to play political games, the weight of the debt on our economy grows heavier.”