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President can now present trade bills to Congress for up or down vote…


President Barack Obama signed a bill giving him “fast-track” powers to conduct and conclude trade legislation. The bill was approved by Congress last week after months of contentious debate and several difficult votes.

In addition to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), as the fast-track bill is officially called, the president signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) act, extending aid to US workers who might lose their jobs as a consequence of free-trade deals.

The two bills were originally bundled together in both the Senate and the House of Representatives as a way of securing bipartisan support. However, Obama faced an uphill battle within his own party, as the House Democrats rejected TAA in order to hold TPA hostage.

After weeks of talks with party leadership and several close roll calls in both the House and the Senate, the bills were voted on separately and approved last week. Most Republican lawmakers backed the president, whose insistence on the trade deals strained relations with the Democrats’ traditional power base of labor unions and environmental groups.

It doesn’t matter that Republicans won the Senate because they haven’t actually limited government

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Right before Election Day last year, I wrote here at Rare that it wouldn’t matter if Republicans won the Senate (and thus control of the whole Congress) unless they actually made real cuts to the size and scope of government.

As I wrote then, many politicians in the Republican Party talk a good talk. The problem is that—for most of them—it’s nothing but talk. So I predicted that a GOP Senate win would likely produce more of the same: irresponsible spending, aimless war, reckless, feckless government all around.

Almost six months into our new Congress, I’m gonna go ahead and say I was right—and a poll released today suggests most grassroots Republicans agree. Republican (and independent) support of GOP leaders in Congress has declined in the last few months:

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In fact, “Republicans (36%) are about as likely as Democrats (38%) or independents (38%) to say Congress is accomplishing less than they expected.” Also noteworthy: conservative Republicans are the angriest at Congress and showed the biggest shift in (dis)approval of GOP leadership since February.

So let that be a lesson to the Republican Party: some Pollyannaish conservatives may be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt for a month or two. But if you want small government types to stick around, you’re going to have to actually make the government smaller.

Conservatives Would Be Better Off If Harry Reid Still Ran The Senate

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The whole case for reelecting mediocre Republicans has been, “Sure, they stink, but do you want a Democrat in office? They’re the lesser of two evils.” That’s an argument I’ve used many times myself. However, what happens when it’s no longer true? What happens if conservatives realize that they would be better off RIGHT NOW if Harry Reid were still running the Senate?

Because we would be.

Instead of reflexively saying, “That’s ridiculous,” think about what happened during the last congressional cycle.

Democrats refused to compromise with Republicans on anything and the GOP was desperate to show its opposition to Barack Obama’s unpopular agenda; so Republicans had little incentive to vote for bad legislation. That led to complete gridlock. Now that might not be the ideal outcome, but conservatives believe that no legislation is preferable to bad legislation.

Instead we now have a situation in America where Democrats pass far left wing legislation when they’re in charge, nothing happens when Congress is split and Republicans pass moderately liberal legislation to show they can “get something done” when they’re in charge.

Just look at what has happened since Republicans took over the Senate after spending the entire campaign cycle promising that they would fight Obama tooth and nail.

* After swearing that they’d stop Obama’s illegal executive amnesty by blocking DHS funds, the GOP Leadership in the House and Senate caved and worked with the Democrats to fund Obama’s amnesty despite the fact that the majority of House Republicans opposed it. The promise to fight executive amnesty was as important as George W. Bush’s “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge and the GOP didn’t even hold out for TWO MONTHS before it broke it.

* Despite the fact that they’ve PUBLICLY railed against Obama’s terrible nuke deal, Senate Republicans just voted to strip Congress of its ability to block Obama’s treaty with Iran. Publicly, they’re claiming that they’re holding Obama accountable, but in actuality, the bill they’re supporting will in effect allow him to do whatever he wants in Iran. Not only is it bad legislation that turns the Constitution on its ear, it’s insulting. They think everyone is so stupid that we can’t figure out what they’re doing.

* Even though Loretta Lynch said she agreed with Obama’s illegal executive orders, she couldn’t name any differences she had with Eric Holder, and she essentially said that she thought Obama had no limits under the law, she was confirmed as Attorney General with Republican votes.

* Republicans, including RAND PAUL – let me repeat that, RAND PAUL – are blocking an investigation that’s designed to kill fraudulent OBAMACARE subsidies to Congress. When even Rand Paul wants his fraudulent Obamacare subsidy more than he wants to protect the taxpayers, it doesn’t bode well for the country.

* The GOP is about to shove through a secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Not only have the details of the trade deal been withheld from the public (Remember how well it worked out the last time we had to “pass a bill to see what’s in it?”), but what we do know about it is disturbing. According to Jeff Sessions, it limits the power of Congress to amend all international trade agreements during the deal, it allows the President to change the deal after the fact without the approval of Congress and it is likely to massively increase the number of foreign workers coming into the U.S. Perhaps worst of all, it would provide a backdoor method to limit American sovereignty because a signed treaty supersedes American law. In effect, it gives the President the power to adopt certain foreign laws related to the trade agreement without getting the approval of Congress. This bill is a Frankenstein’s monster waiting to happen and the Republican Party is working with Obama in secret to bring it to life.

* If the Supreme Court kills the Obamacare subsidies (which is entirely possible), it will in effect kill Obamacare. Without the subsidies, the whole program will collapse. Instead of saying, “We didn’t vote for it and we told you it was unconstitutional from day 1,” Republicans are openly acknowledging that they plan to save Obamacare. After all these phony promises to repeal Obamacare, after all these votes, after all the polls showing that it’s unpopular, the GOP Leadership wants to buy into Obamacare so Americans can now blame BOTH PARTIES for the disastrous legislation.

Everything the Republicans have done since they won in November has been one long “Screw you” to the people who voted for them. They’re like a 0-16 football team that gets angry with their fans for failing to appreciate how wonderful they are despite the fact that they lose every game.

We live in a Bizarro world where the Republican politicians don’t work for the voters who put them in office. In the real world, the GOP Leadership in Congress along with most of the Republicans in the Senate work for whatever lobbyist is willing to give them the most money while the voters are treated like THEIR employees. They’re for sale and the voters have been sold out because our pockets aren’t deep enough to compete with the people giving them campaign contributions.

Well, in 2016 there will be an awful lot of Republican senators up for reelection and they’re certainly not going to have much of a record to brag about. Couple that with the fact that even the French in WWII put up a bigger fight than John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican “leadership” have so far and there’s really not going to be much of a reason for conservatives to vote for Republican senators. In fact, the only thing they ever seem to be able to offer is that, “Well, it’s better to have us in charge than the Democrats.” What happens if people realize that’s not even true anymore?

Even Democrats knock Obama Because They Want to Have a Say in His Bad Nuke Deal With Iran

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Yesterday the Senate was almost unanimous (with only one “no” vote) on a bill that would require Obama to submit his horrible Iran nuke deal to Congress before it is put into place. Yes, every Democrat in the Senate that voted on the bill voted against giving Obama carte blanche on the issue.

Sadly, even this bill won’t stop Obama from doing whatever he wants, but it is significant that even the Senate Dems couldn’t stomach the idea of not even raising a voice against Obama’s imperial presidency. It was a tiny voice, but a voice.

HotAir did a fairly good job explaining what the deal is with the bipartisan bill. It isn’t a good bill. But it is “better than nothing” and better than just giving Obama free reign with no checks and balances at all.

In theory, if the terms of the final deal reek even more than everyone expects, some of these 145 could peel off and Boehner would have a shot at a two-thirds veto override. In practice, there’s no earthly way that Democrats would abandon O after going to the mat for him with a public pledge of allegiance like this. The text of the letter could have been written by the White House press shop…

They’re backing whatever Obama and Kerry end up farting out because, contra what the White House has been telling the public for months, Democrats think a bad deal is better than no deal. No deal leaves war on the table as an option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program; a bad deal, which will make an Iranian bomb more likely, takes it off the table. A bad deal is better than no deal.

As for that Senate vote on Corker’s bill, the lone no vote came from Tom Cotton. Presumably the hawks who voted yes simply gave up after McConnell refused to give any of Cotton’s or Rubio’s poison pill amendments a chance to end up in the final bill. It was Corker’s text or nothing, and Corker’s text at least gives Republican a theoretical chance to block the final deal by convincing Democrats to help them form a two-thirds majority against it. That’s another “virtue” of a post-constitutional system. If your only choices are between congressional inaction, in which case Obama’s deal definitely gets implemented, and a weird scheme like Corker’s, in which case the deal almost definitely gets implemented, you go with the latter, right? Those are the choices facing our fightin’ Republican majority these days.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson–one of the more conservative members, though inconsistent lately–was all over radio this morning saying this was the best deal they could get but that it was nonetheless a bad bill. “Obama’s foreign policy has been a disaster for world security,” he said on WLS AM 89 out of Chicago this morning.

Sadly, what we find is that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell failed to put the stronger language in the bill and essentially made this bill pretty hollow.

Mitch McConnell, Obama’s lap dog

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McConnell’s Perfidy: Israel Under the Bus


Perfidy. Betrayal

The degree of outright treachery on behalf of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate — this time throwing Israel under the bus to please President Obama’s desire not to offend Iran — raises the obvious question.

What was the point of electing a GOP Senate? Can someone please remind?

Coming on the heels of the realization that the Senate Republicans were terrified to even oppose the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general – with McConnell himself, along with nine other Republicans – actually supporting her nomination? Which in turn followed the refusal of Senate Republicans to defund the Obama executive order on amnesty? And the earlier, 2013, refusal to stop funding Obamacare?

Again: What was the point of electing a GOP Senate?

This latest sell-out revolves around an attempt by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) to do exactly what they promised to do: amend the bill co-sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democrat Ben Cardin (R-MD) that would allow Senate review of a nuclear deal with Iran. Senator Rubio, who had earlier promised and then backed away from a plan to introduce an amendment to the bill in committee that demanded Iran recognize Israel has now joined with Cotton to have the Israel amendment voted on the Senate floor.

To upset Iran with even a non-binding amendment that supports the idea of an Iranian recognition of Israel is something Obama, and McConnell, refuse to do.

The response from Senator McConnell? He will move to cut off debate — thus short –circuiting the amendment procedure. Why? While the Rubio/Cotton move would be merely symbolic because of the procedure they are using to offer it — in fact President Obama wants nothing attached to this bill that would even come close to ruffling the feathers of the Iranian mullahs. Iran hates Israel and in fact wants it wiped off the face of the earth. To upset Iran with even a non-binding amendment that supports the idea of an Iranian recognition of Israel is something Obama, and McConnell, refuse to do.

In other words? The spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives. And the Senate Republican Leadership is cheering it on.

Without getting too far in the weeds, let’s recount where we are.

As headlined here in Politico:

       Iran bill in jeopardy after Cotton, Rubio try to force votes

The story began this way:

After being blocked by Democrats for several days, Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rubio (R-Fla.) used a parliamentary procedure to try to compel votes on amendments that would make Iran relinquish its nuclear facilities before getting economic sanctions relief and require that Iran recognize Israel’s statehood as a condition of any nuclear deal. The move blindsided Democrats who had been working with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to pass the bipartisan bill. Afterwards, Corker offered a grim assessment of the state of play. “We have been working very constructively with the other side of the aisle to bring up both very controversial amendments and amendments that will make the bill much stronger,” Corker told reporters. “With the actions that just occurred on the floor that may have changed the dynamic significantly.”

“Changed the dynamic significantly? Finally. Republican senators doing exactly what they were elected to do.

And how is this described? You have to love this.  As mentioned, the co-sponsor of this  betrayal of Israel is the Democrats’ Maryland Senator Ben Cardin. When Cardin realized that Rubio and Cotton had a serious chance of throwing a monkey wrench into the passage of the Iran bill with their amendment demanding Iranian recognition of Israel? As reported by CNN “Cardin’s voice rose with emotion as he pointed his finger” at Cotton and Rubio, accusing them of introducing  “poison pill” amendments that would derail the bill’s approval. In reality, as Cotton himself explained with perfect reasonableness:

I would say these are not poison pills. These are vitamin pills….We have been consistently blocked from bringing up these amendments for a vote. It’s fine if you want to vote no. But we need to vote. We need to vote now.

So what do we have here?

What we have is conservative frustration with the GOP Senate starting to boil over. Before the little kerfuffle cited above there was the introduction of this amendment, described at PJ Media as follows:

To require a certification that Iran has not directly supported or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or a United States person anywhere in the world

Simple enough, yes? Iran, as we write, is involved in supporting terrorism everywhere from Palestine to Iraq to Yemen and more. So now that the GOP has control of the Senate, how hard is it to get that amendment to the Iran deal passed? Actually it turned out to be impossible. Why?

No one answered this better than Mark Levin. Mark took to the airwaves to say this:

We have eight Republicans who voted ‘no’ on this amendment. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Just got reelected. Had gone back to Tennessee promising Tea Party groups he’s a real conservative… He’s a lying, no good for nothing. Dan Coats of Indiana who has announced he’s not running for reelection. So this man feels he’s as free to be as irresponsible as he chooses. The preposterous, pathetic egomaniac Corker, of Tennessee… The absolutely absurd Jeff Flake of Arizona. Lindsey Graham, who has the nerve to attack Rand Paul – he has the nerve to attack Rand Paul on foreign policy, when Lindsey Graham is helping to lead the way against this amendment! Orrin Hatch, an absolute unmitigated fraud. John McCain, who is up for reelection Arizona! – but you have an open primary system and he’s relying on non-conservatives and non-Republicans to get him the nomination the way Lindsey Graham did in South Carolina. And Senator Perdue from Georgia; I don’t get it, hopefully he’ll put out a statement and explain himself.

And there was more. The other day we mentioned in this space that Senator Rubio had decided to propose that aforementioned amendment to the Iran deal that would be offered as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shaped the Corker-Cardin bill. That amendment would demand that Iran recognize the State of Israel. Of a sudden, Rubio disturbingly backtracked. The amendment vanished, Corker’s bill emerging from the Committee without not only the Rubio amendment attached but with the amendment never even offered.  When word got out that Rubio was back, wanting to offer his Israel amendment on the floor of the Senate? Maryland Democrat Cardin, reported Mark Levin, sidled up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and told him that he, Cardin, would not allow a vote on Rubio’s amendment. What to do? Why, but of course, McConnell gave in. There would be no Rubio amendment. No showdown on the GOP-controlled Senate floor demanding Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist. Just silence.


Or so McConnell must have thought. Perhaps stung over his treatment in the committee process, Rubio came back again for another try. Along with Tom Cotton and what Politico describes as “the guidance of top conservative policy aides” the two used a procedural move to make a serious attempt to get this amendment voted on by the full Senate. Thus putting the Senate on record as to its support of Israel – or not – in this “deal” with Iran. Iran – a country that to this minute has pledged to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

President Obama wants none of this demand. So the word has gone forth to kill any ability to amend the Corker-Cardin bill. And Senator McConnell and the Senate GOP Leadership are bowing the Senate GOP knee.

The meaning was clear: nothing could be accomplished until the GOP controls the Senate, and beyond that the presidency.

If it has been said once, it has been said dozens of times by GOP officials, consultants and others. “We (only) control one-half of one-third of the federal government,” complained a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner way back there in 2011 when conservatives were demanding the Speaker use the power of the purse to get things done — or in the case of ObamaCare, undone. The meaning was clear: nothing could be accomplished until the GOP controls the Senate, and beyond that the presidency.  So — partial wish granted. As of election night in 2014, the first problem was solved. Republicans now have the Senate. And what happens? What happens is the kind of performance discussed above.

Make no mistake. Whether the issue is Ted Cruz’s attempt to defund ObamaCare in 2013, or the recent fight over defunding the Obama amnesty executive order or defeating Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general or now the Cotton and Rubio “vitamin pill” amendments to the Corker Iran bill, they all have the same source: conservative principle. Taking a stand on conservative principle and staying with it – win or lose.

Suffice to say, in a GOP Senate run by Mitch McConnell — he who just finished voting for Lynch’s nomination — there is only one thing for certain. Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio will now be pressured to, as the Old Bulls of yester-year used to say of the Congress, “go along to get along.” That philosophy is exactly what the conservative base of the GOP believes has gotten the country, not to mention the GOP itself, is so much trouble.

So as this is written? The U.S. Senate — the Republican-controlled US Senate – is about to throw Israel under the bus to appease Senate Democrats, President Obama – and ultimately the mullahs of Iran.

And you wonder why the conservative base is so furious with the GOP Establishment? Again, the obvious question:

Why bother electing — or in the case of the 2016 elections, re-electing — a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate?

– See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/05/mcconnells-perfidy-israel-under-the-bus#sthash.iookcRE7.dpuf


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Enlists a DC fixer who assisted banks that screwed US taxpayers to the tune of $150 billion

    After announcing he was forming a presidential exploratory committee last month, former Republican Florida Governor Jeb Bush quickly began pulling together a political operation of strategists, consultants and donors. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that DC insider Richard Hohlt, a Republican lobbyist, has become an informal member of the Jeb Bush campaign team. But the newspaper neglected to note that Hohlt is more than your average Washington influence-peddler.

Hohlt has been a key and somewhat infamous lobbyist for the financial industry, best known for assisting the corrupt savings-and-loan banking industry three decades ago in its battle with federal regulators—at a profound cost to US taxpayers. And in 2009, following the Wall Street-driven economic demise, Citigroup enlisted him to assist its efforts in Washington.

Hohlt has worked the halls of the nation’s capital for various corporate giants, including Chevron and Altria. But he is best known for assisting the S&L gang three decades ago. He kept regulators at bay on behalf of these thrifts, which were overextended and speculating with federally insured deposits. The ensuing S&L collapse, which happened during the Reagan and (first) Bush years, helped drive the US economy into the tank, launched a series of investigations, and yielded criminal convictions. As the New York Times reported six years ago, “Critics say that as a top lobbyist for the savings and loan industry in the 1980s, Mr. Hohlt blocked regulation of these institutions and played a pivotal role helping to prolong dubious industry practices that cost taxpayers $150 billion to clean up.” (Incidentally, an S&L run by Jeb Bush’s brother, Neil, went belly-up at a cost of $1 billion to taxpayers.)