December 22, 2014

Fmr FBI Asst Director: ‘Race Provocateurs’ Incited Violence Towards Police

Ronald T. Hosko — a former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and current president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund — issued a statement Sunday condemning the brutal murder of two New York Police Department officers and placing the blame for their deaths on “race provocateurs.”

“While the criminal who shot these officers down is ultimately responsible for their murders, a thoughtful society must examine the social circumstances that fostered such outrageous criminal conduct,” Hosko stated. “To those who have chosen to incite violence against law enforcement through the reckless vilification of police officers — shame on you.”

Hosko then went on to single out racial activists, the media and even government officials for fostering a hostile anti-police sentiment that led to the deaths of two officers Saturday.

“From race provocateurs looking for five minutes of fame, to those in the media who wantonly mischaracterized and sensationalized recent criminal cases, to the government officials who have repeatedly made statements designed to undermine legitimate law enforcement efforts across our nation – it’s time to reexamine your own words and actions and take your share of responsibility,” the statement continued.

However, he did not specifically name who those individuals might be.

Hosko concluded his statement with a call to understand the difficult job cops have and how their lives are threatened on a daily basis.

“Men and women in uniform wear a target every day; law enforcement is under daily attack from those who seek to evade responsibility. Morale among those who serve is damaged and divisions are only widened when the facts are buried in an anti-police narrative,” Hosko wrote.

The retired FBI agent previously served as the assistant director of the Criminal Investigation Division until April 2014. The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit dedicated to representing the interests of law enforcement officials nationwide.

Source

December 19, 2014

True The Vote Appeals Dismissal of Lawsuit Against IRS

True the Vote, a Houston, Texas-based non-profit organization focused on “voters’ rights and election integrity,” has appealed a U.S. District Court’s order dismissing their lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Breitbart Texas has learned. The lawsuit had alleged that the IRS had improperly delayed granting True the Vote’s application for 501(c)(3) status and targeted them as a conservative organization, but the opinion, issued by Judge Reggie B. Walton in October, found that the IRS had taken sufficient “remedial steps to address the alleged behavior.” In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, True the Vote representatives shared why they believe their appeal is valid and represents an important issue for conservative grassroots organizations to follow.

“The IRS targeting scandal is not over and neither is our effort to seek justice in the federal courts,” said True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht in a statement provided to Breitbart Texas. “Since the dismissal, ‘lost’ emails specific to our case have been found and assertions that the agency changed its ways have yet to prove true by any verifiable manner. Until the Court fully addresses the IRS’ wrongdoing, the risk of future political abuses without consequences will only compound.”

In 2010, True the Vote filed an application for 501(c)(3) status, which is the section of the IRS code conferring tax-exempt status on qualifying non-profit organizations. As Breitbart Texas reported, years went by without the application being approved, while Engelbrecht and King Street Patriots, another tea party group with which Engelbrecht was affiliated, found themselves facing invasive demands for records and information from not only the IRS, but also the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

After news broke in May 2013 that the IRS admitted they were targeting the 501(c)(3) applications from conservative organizations for “special scrutiny,” True the Vote filed suit against the IRS, and that September, finally granted True the Vote’s application. When it was revealed in July 2014 that the emails from Lois Lerner’s computer had been allegedly “lost” in a hard drive crash, True the Vote  filed a motion seeking emergency discovery, to obtain documents and other evidence on an expedited basis due to concerns about spoliation of evidence.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, True the Vote communications director Logan Churchwell said that this lost evidence was crucial to their case. Churchwell said that the IRS opposed the emergency discovery request, presenting the testimony of three computer experts who all said that Lerner’s emails were “lost to the universe” and not recoverable. Judge Walton denied the emergency discovery request, and True the Vote expected that the case would then move into a regular discovery process. However, to their surprise, the court then dismissed the case entirely, skipping the discovery issue entirely and holding that the issue was now moot because True the Vote had their 501(c)(3) status and the IRS had promised they had reformed their procedures.

Churchwell told Breitbart Texas that their main concern was that the IRS’ promises of reform were nothing but empty words. “We have a concern over ongoing and future injury especially given the widespread and long term discrimination by the IRS against conservative groups,” he said. “We haven’t seen any changes in policy. [Instead] we are seeing a culture in the IRS that constantly wants to grow its power and influence into further speech policing.”

“Our goals and political beliefs have not changed,” added Churchwell. “What’s the risk it’s going to happen again, to us or the next guy? Where’s the actual evidence that this isn’t going to happen again?”

True the Vote’s Notice of Appeal was officially filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Thursday, December 18. The IRS has a short period in which to file their objections. Breitbart Texas will continue to follow this story.

December 18, 2014

Raul Castro Demands Obama Executive Action on Embargo in Victory Lap Speech

The people of Cuba received unprecedented news today, though they were unable to hear of the United States’ reforms in diplomacy with Cuba from President Barack Obama. Instead, they were treated to an address by dictator Raúl Castro, in which he celebrated that the reforms will lead to “sustainable socialism” and urged President Obama to lift the embargo entirely through executive action.

Castro spoke simultaneously to the Cuban people as President Obama delivered his remarks, explaining the release of both USAID worker Alan Gross– who had been subjected to various abuses in Cuban prison for attempting to connect Cuban Jews to the Internet– and three Cuban spies convicted of crimes in the United States. He described the release of the three spies as a promise kept by “Comrade Fidel” and addressed them by their first names.

For Castro, he explained, the new diplomatic relations were a sign that Cuba can “resolve differences through negotiations without renouncing to even one of our principles.” He heralded “the heroic cuban people” for “remain[ing] loyal to our ideals of independence and social justice.” The new reforms, he continued, would help in “the actualization of our economic model to construct a prosperous and sustainable socialism.”

Castro noted that “this decision by President Obama deserves the respect and recognition of our people,” without indicating any specific measure Cuba would taken in removing its economic sanctions and limits on the American people. Instead, he placed the blame squarely on President Obama’s shoulders, and urged unilateral executive action:
The economic, commercial, and financial blockade that provokes enormous human and economic damage to our nation must cease. Even though the measures of the blockade have been made by law, the President of the United States can modify their application through his executive powers. We propose to the United States government to adopt mutual measures to improve the bilateral climate and advance towards normalization of links between our countries, based on the principles of the international rights and the UN Charter. 
Castro only expressed a “will to dialogue” about both economics and human rights, demanding the United States “remove obstructions to the families of both nations regarding trips, direct postal service, and telecommunications.” He did not discuss his own unilateral executive actions in September severely limiting travel by Cuban Americans into the island and limiting the free flow of necessary goods from Cuban Americans to the needy on the island.

The White House has not responded to the request for executive action. Watch Castro’s full comments (in Spanish) below:

Source

December 17, 2014

Federal judge rules Obama amnesty order unconstitutional power grab

A federal judge Tuesday ruled parts of President Obama’s deportation amnesty to be unconstitutional, with a scathing memo dismantling the White House’s legal reasoning and arguing that Mr. Obama tried to steal Congress’ lawmaking powers.

The ruling doesn’t invalidate the policy immediately because it was part of a case over a single illegal immigrant’s deportation, but it could serve as a road map for other federal judges who are considering direct challenges to the president’s policy.

Judge Arthur J. Schwab, sitting in the Western District of Pennsylvania, said Mr. Obama has some discretion in how to enforce laws, but by setting out a comprehensive system to grant tentative legal status to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, the president has strayed into trying to write the laws, which is a power reserved for Congress.

“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore is unconstitutional,” Judge Schwab wrote.

Immigrant rights advocates said the ruling was a shocking overstep of the court’s authority. Indeed, the Obama administration has argued in federal court in Washington that judges have no power to review the president’s decision-making.

Judge Schwab issued the ruling the same day the Senate voted to confirm Mr. Obama’s pick to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that the president instructed to stand down on most deportations.

Sarah R. Saldana was confirmed on a near party-line vote, overcoming objections from Senate Republicans who said approval of the nomination amounted to a show of support for the president.

Mr. Obama’s policy would allow up to 5 million illegal immigrants to apply for “deferred action,” a proactive notice that they won’t be deported, and would grant work permits to allow them to compete for jobs legally.

To qualify, illegal immigrants would need to show they were brought to the U.S. as children, or to show that they have children who are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the country.

The White House defends the policy as a reasonable use of Mr. Obama’s powers to set priorities for enforcing laws, and to stop the breakup of families because of deportation.

It now faces multiple legal challenges in federal court in southern Texas and one in Washington, D.C.
The D.C. challenge, filed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is moving quickly. The judge has scheduled a hearing on a preliminary injunction next week.

The Obama administration filed a brief late Monday in the D.C. case defending the policy.

Joyce R. Branda, the acting assistant attorney general who is leading the case, argued that Congress has provided too little money and the administration can deport fewer than 400,000 immigrants a year out of the total population of more than 11 million.

Ms. Branda said given that, it makes sense for Mr. Obama to set priorities, including proactively telling millions of illegal immigrants that they are in no danger of being kicked out. That policy allows immigration agents to focus on the other illegal immigrants whom the president deems serious cases, or on those crossing the border this year and beyond.

“Federal courts sit to decide cases and controversies, not to resolve disagreements about policy or politics,” the administration’s attorney said.

Indeed, one major hurdle for those challenging Mr. Obama’s policies is showing that they have standing to sue by proving they have been injured. Sheriff Arpaio says he will be injured because Mr. Obama’s policy will mean more illegal immigrants in his county committing more crimes and using more services — an argument some lawyers doubted would carry weight with the court.

The Pennsylvania case suggests, however, that others could have standing to sue and signals that the president’s legal argument may not be as strong as Mr. Obama has asserted.

One of the administration’s key arguments is that the policy doesn’t create any rights and that the illegal immigrants who gain tentative status could be deported at any time.

Judge Schwab refuted that, saying Mr. Obama couched his policy as a moral imperative to keep families together, so it is not easy to reverse.

The judge also repeatedly used Mr. Obama’s own words against him. He listed the times the president said he didn’t have the power to take the kinds of actions he has now taken.

The case before Judge Schwab, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, involved an illegal immigrant, Elionardo Juarez-Escobar, who was deported in 2005 but sneaked back into the U.S. and ended up in Pittsburgh, where his brother, a U.S. citizen, owned a landscaping company.

Juarez-Escobar went to work for his brother but was snared in a traffic stop by local police this year. He was reported to federal authorities, who charged him with re-entering the U.S. illegally.

Judge Schwab wanted to know why Mr. Obama’s amnesty didn’t apply to Juarez-Escobar, who pleaded guilty to the illegal re-entry charge. Judge Schwab has said Juarez-Escobar could be allowed to change his plea.

The judge questioned why Mr. Obama’s policy applied only to parent-child relationships and not to Juarez-Escobar, who has a “close bond” with his brother.

The judge said Juarez-Escobar appears to be “more ‘family’ than ‘felon,’” which would seem to make him a low priority under the president’s deportation policies.

Immigrant rights advocates said the judge was stretching the limits of the case to rule against the president.


“It’s shocking that a federal judge would use an unrelated criminal case to take it upon himself to declare the lawful, discretionary decisions of a sitting president unconstitutional,” said David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “I’m confident that this ill-advised and poorly reasoned opinion will be corrected by the Court of Appeals.”

The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment on the decision.

In the D.C. case, administration attorneys argued that the policy is designed to carry out, not to thwart, what they believed was Congress’ intent that the Homeland Security Department go only after recent border crossers and more serious criminals in the interior of the U.S.

The Justice Department also disputed Sheriff Arpaio’s claim that the policy would lead to more illegal immigration.

Larry Klayman, an attorney for Sheriff Arpaio, said the judge in that case should grant a temporary injunction to halt the policy.

“We’re seeking to preserve the status quo, and there’s absolutely no harm to the Obama administration and the government to preserve the status quo,” Mr. Klayman said. “They are rushing to create law, unconstitutional law, in effect, claiming they have an unbridled right as a policy to do whatever they want because they’re trying to jump the gun on the new Congress.”

Source

December 16, 2014

Senate Republicans need to decide whether they're led by McConnell or Cruz

For all of their foresight on other matters, America's founders were somewhat taken aback by the natural development of political parties. It happened anyway, even during George Washington's presidency. And although party ideology has fallen along different lines at various points in American history, it has long governed the allegiance of a majority of American voters in elections.

In legislative matters, party ideology takes the form of the modern party caucus system. In order to achieve their goals, partisan lawmakers collaborate, choose leaders, and agree on strategies in advance.

On Saturday, lawmakers demonstrated why this system evolved and is necessary. Two conservative senators, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, discarded the caucus system and put their own tactical plan into action without warning. It did not prove helpful to their cause.

Cruz and Lee derailed a bipartisan agreement on procedure Friday night. Their actions removed the only major obstacle to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., confirming several minor Obama nominations that Republicans strongly opposed. Because Republicans lacked the votes to block the nominations in question, their best and only leverage was to insist on the use of all debate time, running out the clock on the lame duck Congress. It seemed likely that Democratic senators would not tolerate losing their Christmas just so that Obama could get his surgeon general confirmed.

Cruz's and Lee's parliamentary freelancing gave Reid all he needed to advance the schedule by two full days and guarantee the confirmation of these nominations. In exchange for making Reid's job easy on ramming the nominations through, all Cruz and Lee got was a symbolic floor vote against Obama's executive action on immigration. It drew the support of only 22 senators. One reason was that if it had succeeded, their motion would not have prevented Obama's executive action but, rather, would have killed the underlying omnibus bill and caused a government shutdown.

Many people believe that party leaders set the ideological tone of their caucuses. This is not quite accurate. The leaders' constituents — the caucus members — are the ones who set that tone and choose the caucus's shared goals by consensus. What the leaders do is choose tactics for achieving the caucus's goals. They play the role of the football coach or the general.

Every army has disagreements among its leaders, but they must agree on tactics to effect their strategy. Every football team must agree on the next play if it is to work. In the Senate, caucus leaders are chosen precisely to make such decisions. The weekend's events demonstrate that some Republicans are not playing on the same team. This was not a simple, common occurrence of senatorial independence, but rather open defiance of caucus strategy — a decision by junior officers that their own tactical decisions take precedence over those of generals who were chosen for the job.

When this happens, games and battles are lost. Before Republicans take the majority in the Senate next month, they should make up their minds about who is in charge. Otherwise, they face the prospect of losing again and again.

Source

December 15, 2014

Spending bill battle exposes intraparty rifts among Democrats, Republicans

Congress cleared the $1.1 trillion spending bill over the weekend, overcoming objections from senators on the left and the right in a marathon Saturday session that exposed continued rifts among Democrats and Republicans.

President Obama supports the bill. He faces a Wednesday deadline to sign the legislation before funding expires for most basic government operations.

The bill’s passage was a victory for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. Despite some hiccups, the leaders pushed the bill through their chambers on fairly comfortable votes, giving them a chance to claim victory.

Those hiccups, however, presage problems for both parties. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, joined a liberal rebellion that embarrassed Mr. Obama last week. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, scuttled a deal arranged by Senate GOP leaders, thus allowing Democrats more time to approve key nominees before they lose control of the Senate at the end of the year.

“The chasm in the Republican Party is huge,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday morning, hours after the spending bill cleared despite Mr. Cruz’s objections.

The vote was 56-40, with 31 Democrats, 24 Republicans and one independent backing the legislation and 21 Democrats, 18 Republicans and one independent opposing it. Had they banded together to filibuster, they could have blocked the bill, but that could have precipitated a government shutdown that neither party wanted.

The bill was unveiled late Tuesday. It passed the House on Thursday and cleared the Senate about 10 p.m. Saturday, meaning lawmakers and watchdogs had less than 100 hours to scrutinize the 1,600 pages of legislation, plus another 1,200 pages of explanations.

The measure funds the Defense Department and basic domestic needs including education, the Internal Revenue Service and health care through Sept. 30.

The exception is homeland security money, which is provided only through Feb. 27. Republicans insisted on the stipulation, saying they want to return early next year and try to halt Mr. Obama’s deportation amnesty by tying it to the rest of immigration enforcement money.

Mr. Cruz, though, tried to take a stand on that issue over the weekend, scuttling a deal that would have passed a short-term bill to keep the government open and given senators the weekend off, to return Monday.

Democrats were giddy over Mr. Cruz’s tactics, which sparked a war of words on Twitter between his staff and senior Republican and Democratic aides.

Mr. Cruz’s side claimed victory, saying it got senators to go on record on whether they believed the spending bill was unconstitutional because it included funding for homeland security, which would carry out Mr. Obama’s amnesty plans.

Mr. Cruz lost support overwhelmingly, on a 74-22 vote. Even some Republicans who said Mr. Obama’s policies were illegal voted against the senator from Texas, arguing that a constitutional objection doesn’t apply to a spending bill.

“While the president’s executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency,” said Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican. “The Constitution gives Congress the power to fund the government, so to assert that the House-passed spending bill is unconstitutional is not only inaccurate but irresponsible.”

But Mr. Cruz said in a statement that he picked a good fight and forced senators to take a stand.

“The Constitution matters, and we must defend it. That is why we have fought so hard to ensure this vote,” he said.

The vote total, however, showed a strong rejection in both parties of either his tactics or his constitutional analysis.

Democrats couldn’t resist piling on. Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson issued a statement thanking Mr. Cruz for helping them speed up a number of nominations.

Much of the last week’s fighting in the Senate has dealt with timing of votes rather than the substance of the issues. Republicans are trying to use the few days left in the year to prevent Democrats from installing several dozen nominations before Republicans take control.

By coming in Saturday, Mr. Reid was given an extra two days.

Mr. Cruz’s staff said Mr. Reid would have fought for the nominees anyway.

Mr. Reid told colleagues he thought going through the exercise would pay dividends for the Senate as a whole.

“What we’ve gone through here the last day or so, I think is going to help us next year,” he said.

Source

December 12, 2014

Tea Party Reacts to Obama-Boehner Omnibus Passage With Defiance; Vows to Remember Yes Votes in 2016

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, isn't wasting any time. Minutes after the House passed a controversial omnibus spending bill, she tweeted: "Speaker Boehner & House GOP leadership have found a way to needlessly squander political capital, after being handed a historic majority."

The bill, literally crafted behind closed doors in cigar smoke-filled rooms by a handful of legislators and staffers, fully funds President Obama's unconstitutional executive actions granting amnesty to illegal aliens.

The House of Representatives passed the 1,700-plus page, $1 trillion-plus CR-Omnibus budget bill by a 219 to 206 margin late Thursday night, barely two hours before the clock struck midnight and the federal government would have shut down.

Only 162 Republicans voted for the bill, while 67 opposed it. The bill passed because 57 Democrats -- encouraged by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden -- crossed the aisle to vote yes. 

Tea Party reaction to the vote was uniformly negative and defiant.

"Rather than negotiate & govern from a position of strength & defend the Constitution against a lawless autocrat," Martin continued, "he has punted on 1st down."

"It’s shameful, it’s senseless, and it will be remembered," Martin concluded.


Remembering which Republican members of the House voted for the bill in 2016 is exactly what conservative icon Richard Viguerie had in mind when he tersely tweeted out moments after the bill passed: "target list for 2016 Republican primaries to be found in this roll call YES vote = Primary challenge."

With 162 YES votes, Viguerie is suggesting a very large list of incumbent Republican targets. But Tea Party activists around the country already appear up to undertaking the challenge.

Ben Cunningham of the Nashville Tea Party summarized the sentiment among the thousands of local Tea Party groups around the country. "I am not sure why we ever expected any different behavior from 'establishment Republicans,'" Cunningham told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.

"It seems ridiculously naive with just a minimum of retrospection," Cunningham remarked.

"Power always takes precedence over principle and it always will," Cunningham noted. "The question now is this: will we simply be assimilated like all the other activist groups that came before, adjusting to 'reality' and being 'pragmatic,' or will we resolve to take back our stolen birthright of a Constitutional Republic?"

One last minute rider in particular--a provision that would effectively raise the amount that high net-worth donors can contribute to political party committees from $97,250 to $777,600--raised the ire of Tea Party groups and conservative Super-PACs on the right and public interest groups and Super-PACS on the left alike. They correctly concluded the rider would give the Republican and Democrat Party establishments huge advantages in battles with primary challengers to incumbents.

The very existence of the rider in the legislation was not known until after the full bill was posted online late Tuesday. By Wednesday, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin sounded the alarm on his syndicated program.

By Thursday morning, Tea Party groups and activists around the country were in full attack mode, hitting hard against the bill on all fronts--opposing the amnesty funding, the pork laden riders, and the campaign finance rider.

Among those Tea Party Republicans who voted against the CR-Omnibus were retiring Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Representative Steve King (R-IA), Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), and Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN.)

Senator-elect Tom Cotton (R-AR) cast one of his final votes as a member of the House in opposition to the CR-Omnibus.

Newly elected Representative Dave Brat (R-VA), who also won an election to fill out the term of the establishment Republican he upset in the June Republican primary, former Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), cast one of his first votes as a member of Congress against the bill.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass some time next week.

Source

December 11, 2014

$500 billion a year in taxes lost to loopholes

An estimated $500 billion — "more than enough to balance the federal budget," according to Sen. Tom Coburn — are lost annually because the U.S. tax code is so complicated and unwieldy.

“You can’t find two tax accountants that will give you the same tax return on your taxes,” Coburn said. “The best thing you can do is sunset this tax code.”

Coburn's comment Tuesday came as he released a report titled "Tax Decoder" that detailed more than $900 billion in loopholes in the federal tax code. It also identified $5 trillion of tax expenditures over the next five years.

Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service spent more than $10 billion to enforce tax collection, according to Coburn’s report.

The report outlined the tax code's complexity, highlighting its span of 9,000 pages in 2012 and its more than 4,600 changes from 2001 to 2012.

Taxpayers spend $10 billion in tax preparation services each year. In 2010, 89 percent of filers used either preparers or software to complete their taxes, according to the report.

Of the 4.8 million tax filers that earned $200,000 or more, 15,000 paid no taxes to any national government in 2011. More than 1,600 filers that earned at least $1 million paid no income taxes, according to Coburn’s report.

“Everybody should participate,” Coburn said. “Let’s make it fair for everybody.”

Hollywood filmmakers, gambling losses at casinos and sports teams’ owners writing off the depreciating value of their players are examples of how some of the tax expenditures are used.

"Look at all the things they don't look at," Coburn said.

Yankee Stadium, the second-most expensive baseball stadium ever built, received $942 million in tax-free financing. The $1.2 billion stadium for the Dallas Cowboys was financed by government bonds, according to Tax Decoder.

Many tax-free universities received the same benefits for their sports stadiums.

The report also identified tax-free, nonprofit charities that benefited from loopholes.

For example, Lady Gaga’s nonprofit, the Born This Way Foundation, raised $2.6 million, but donated only $5,000 in 2012. Kanye West’s charity went without a single monetary donation in 2010,  according to the report.

Likewise, the Cancer Fund of America donated $890,000 to cancer patients, but gave $5 million to the founder’s family and spent $80 million on fundraisers over a 10-year period.

Despite facing the world’s highest corporate tax rate, companies also benefited from tax breaks.
For example, from 2008 to 2012, 111 Fortune 500 companies paid either no taxes or received a refund, the report read.

Additionally, corporations kept $2.1 trillion overseas. General Electric, for example, banked $110 billion abroad.

Source

December 10, 2014

Fact-Checking Jonathan Gruber's Latest Excuse

Economist Jonathan Gruber testified under oath before Congress this morning. When it came to his previously uncovered statements about subsidies and state exchanges--an issue now before the Supreme Court--Gruber offered the following excuse in his opening remarks [emphasis added]:
I would also like to clear up some misconceptions about my January 2012 remarks concerning the availability of tax credits in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges. The portion of these remarks that has received so much attention lately omits a critical component of the context in which I was speaking. The point I believe I was making was about the possibility that the federal government, for whatever reason, might not create a federal exchange. If that were to occur, and only in that context, then the only way that states could guarantee that their citizens would receive tax credits would be to set up their own exchange.
Back in July when video and audio of Gruber connecting subsidies to state exchanges he made a similar claim to the New Republic about what his thought process might have been:
At this time, there was also substantial uncertainty about whether the federal backstop would be ready on time for 2014. I might have been thinking that if the federal backstop wasn't ready by 2014, and states hadn't set up their own exchange, there was a risk that citizens couldn't get the tax credits right away.
The first problem with this excuse is that Gruber never said anything in his remarks about the federal backstop not being ready in time. In his January 10, 2012 speech at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Gruber chose to close his remarks by listing three ongoing threats to the law. In order, those threats were the Supreme Court, the 2012 election and the states failing to set up exchanges.

Because Gruber is complaining about context, it seemed important to make clear that no extenuating context was removed from his remarks. The following clip is an expanded version of those remarks. Cuts for length have been clearly indicated with a flash. As you'll hear, he makes no mention of a delayed federal exchange. For the record, there is no mention of this before he offers his list of threats to the law and no mention in the Q&A that comes afterwards. The full audio is here for those who feel the need to check.



Finally, it's worth pointing out that Gruber's excuse really can't be reconciled with his 2012 statement. For one thing, he was explicit that the threat was about the states. He said, "only about ten states have moved forward aggressively in setting up their exchanges." He went on to say that 2013 was going to be a "crazy year" as states rushed to set up exchanges. If he believed the states who hadn't begun the process could be ready in time, albeit via a mad scramble, why not the federal government?

And there's another problem. Gruber gave a specific example about what it would take to insure state residents got their subsidies. He said, "when the voters in states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians of the state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars that they'll eventually throw the guys out." Gruber is not describing a delay in getting subsidies, he is describing a denial in getting them, a stalemate for which the only solution would be an election of new leadership more than a year after Obamacare's launch date.

Gruber may believe he misspoke but his explanation about missing context doesn't fit with the actual content of his remarks.

Update: Hot Air's Allahpundit reached the same conclusion about Gruber's remarks:
Clearly, Gruber knew at the time that the feds might have to build their own exchange for those states; and yet, instead of saying “no biggie, federal consumers can get subsidies too,” he says the opposite, that the fact that consumers in those states can’t get subsidies should put political pressure on the state legislatures to think twice and build their own exchanges. The guy’s lying, straight up.


 Reason's Peter Suderman also has a post about this. He points out that the question Gruber was asked to prompt the other clip about state-based exchanges explicitly presumed a federal backup was available. So much for that excuse. Suderman also points out that Gruber's explanation is "odd given that the federal government is required by law to [set up an exchange] if a state does not." Good points.

Source

December 9, 2014

Solar Eclipse: 112 Solar Companies Have Closed Their Doors In 5 Years

Since 2009, 112 solar energy companies in the United States and European Union have declared bankruptcy, closed their doors or been acquired by competitors under suboptimal conditions, according to a list put together by Greentech Media.

To date, 76 solar companies have “closed, gone bankrupt, become insolvent” and another 36 have “ended up in assignment for benefit of creditors, or have been acquired in less than positive circumstances,” according to Greentech’s Eric Wesoff.

Greentech has been monitoring solar company closures since 2009, when only some five companies went bankrupt or closed and 5 more were acquired by other companies. But the number of bankruptcies and closures shot up dramatically by 2012 and 2013 to 38 and 20, respectively.

“That was when solar manufacturing overcapacity and price pressure brutally culled the field,” writes Wesoff. “The 2014 dead pool is much smaller and much less painful to view.”

So far in 2014, only eight solar companies have closed their doors while another four have “ended up in assignment for benefit of creditors, or have been acquired in less than positive circumstances,” according to Wesoff.

Wesoff argues, however, that while the list is somewhat “macabre” it’s a good sign for the industry as “solar companies left standing in 2015 are the firms with effective business plans and value to add to the marketplace.”

Solar industry bankruptcies became a hot-button issue in 2011 after Solyndra declared bankruptcy. The company went broke after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees from the Obama administration.

Solyndra was quickly followed by Abound Solar and other green energy companies backed by the federal government. Abound got a $400 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration, but only used $68 million before the government cut off funding in the wake of Solyndra’s scandalous bankruptcy.

Executives from Solyndra and Abound blamed China for their financial woes. They argued a flood of cheap solar panels from China were undercutting their ability to compete, since Chinese panels could be made more cheaply than U.S.-produced panels.

“With over $30 billion in reported government subsidies, Chinese panel makers were able to sell below cost and put Abound out of business before we were big enough to pose a real competitive threat to China’s rapidly growing market share,” Abound Solar CEO Craig Witsoe told Congress in 2012 after his company had declared bankruptcy.

In the years following the demise of Solyndra and Abound, U.S. solar panel producers successfully lobbied the Obama administration to slap tariffs on panels imported from China. In July, imposed tariffs between “26% and 42% on equipment made by several Chinese solar-panel makers,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The move has helped spur domestic solar manufacturing by making their more costly panels more economically viable. WSJ notes that Chinese panels “have been far cheaper than those produced in other countries, driving down overall prices in the U.S. by about two-thirds since 2010.”

Chinese panels now cost about “68 to 73 cents a watt, compared with an average of 83 cents for panels made in Europe, Japan and the U.S.,” WSJ reports.

In 2013, the EU came to an agreement with China on solar panel exports, but companies, led by German-based SolarWorld (which also led the tariff fight in the U.S.), are already accusing Chinese companies of selling panels below the minimum-allowed price.

Aside from high tariffs, solar panel producers benefit from a slew of federal, state and local subsidies and mandates aimed at increasing green energy production.

For example, solar panel users can get a 30 percent federal tax credit for “qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer,” according to the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Most states also have what are called Renewable Portfolio Standards. These are mandates that utilities get a certain amount of their power from green energy sources, like solar and wind, each year. California currently has the most aggressive RPS, requiring utilities to get 33 percent of their power from green energy by 2020.

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December 8, 2014

House GOP Leaders Trick 216 House Republicans into Accidentally Supporting Obama's Executive Amnesty

In a lengthy interview on Friday afternoon, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) exposed how House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise strengthened President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty with procedural trickery former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber would envy—and they did it all in the name of pushing a bill that they told Republicans would block Obama’s executive amnesty. 

What’s more is that a series of interviews and recent developments indicate that Boehner’s gambit here is placing several of his top lieutenants—including at least two committee chairmen—at political risk of serious primary challenges just a few months after newly elected Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) beat now former House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a Republican primary.

Gohmert said most members had no idea what they were actually voting for when 219 members—216 of which were Republicans—approved a measure, H.R. 5759, first put forward by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), but subsequently dramatically altered by leadership officials in the Rules Committee process.

“I was a cosponsor of the original Yoho bill. I thought it was a very decent bill, it was very short—it was only about a page and a half—and it basically said that anything the president did in violation of current law including what he’s done with ordering work permits for people who are illegally here, it’s illegal,” Gohmert said. 
It’s outside the constitutional bounds. If you came through the Speaker’s lobby on the way to the House floor as so many people do, there’s tables there in the Speaker’s lobby that have copies of all the official bills we are taking up that day. There was official copies of H.R. 5759 out there—and they were the short page and a half bill that Representative Yoho had originally filed. But the night before there was an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 5759—what that means is that it’s a new bill. It’s different but it’s going to substitute in its entirety the original bill. It had some of Yoho’s original language in it but they eliminated from the title the word "amnesty" and replaced it with "executive overreach." Then they had a bunch of ‘findings’ that sounded tough that make it clear the president is not authorized to do what he did. Section One is the short title of the bill. Section Two is the findings that got added, which sounded tough. Section Three is the operative section though.
Gohmert walked Breitbart News through the text of Section Three of the new bill line by line, explaining how each word fits into the legal patchwork of immigration law before getting to the key additions that were made without notifying many of the members who voted for it.

“They added another section called ‘exceptions.’ And the exceptions part says this ‘shall apply except’ and then there’s three parts,” Gohmert said while reading the actual text of the bill on the phone with Breitbart News. 
The third one is "for humanitarian purposes where the aliens are at imminent risk of serious bodily harm or death." That’s what they added. Well, this president has been arguing for months that the things he’s doing is because these people are at imminent risk of serious bodily harm and that’s why he’s doing them. So actually by adding this exception it gives the president for the first time a solid statutory basis to argue that providing those work permits is now legal.
Gohmert said that this addition gives President Obama a foot in the door for a legal argument justifying executive amnesty.

“By adding that exception to the original bill, we would now give the president the statutory authority to do what he’s doing to issue these work permits,” Gohmert said. “I know that this language is in there for people claiming asylum and for refugee status, but not ever for providing work permits. But by adding this to this bill that’s supposed to claim his effort to provide work permits is illegal, unconstitutional, and inappropriate, the exception that was added gives him a statutory basis for arguing his work permits are now statutorily allowed.”

“I understand that the president issued a veto threat if we were going to pass this, but I think that was to give this bill more credibility after this language was added,” Gohmert added. “I understand Harry Reid said he’s never going to take this up. But if Harry Reid took it and passed it in the Senate, and the president signed it, then I think it gives the president a statutory basis to argue he has the power to issue these work permits now.”

Gohmert says that even he doesn’t think that it should be interpreted as such—just that it gives the president something to lean on. “I don’t necessarily agree that this should be interpreted that this exception gives the president the authority to do what he’s done,” Gohmert said. “What I’m saying is this gives him the argument that it does.”

However, Yoho’s office challenges the assertion that this loophole that was inserted into his new bill—which his office does admit was an “alternative” bill, different than his original legislation—would give the president such a legal argument.

Yoho spokesman Brian Kaveney told Breitbart News that “that exception already exists under the Executive's constitutional foreign affairs powers – Chinese in Tiananmen Square, Cubans in the 1960s, etc.”

“Obama is not using a humanitarian argument for his actions; he is citing prioritization and prosecutorial discretion for his legal bases,” Kaveney said. 
Even if he were using a humanitarian argument, his actions would not fit these exceptions. Previous presidents simply granted voluntary departure to certain children and spouses to match congressional legislation – clearly much different than what Obama is attempting to do. Even Obama would have a hard time explaining how 5-8 million people, already here, are under threat of imminent risk of serious bodily harm or death. That exception was specifically written that way to pay respect to the foreign policy powers previously discussed but limit any other wild interpretation.
Yoho’s bill is the centerpiece of Boehner’s plan to pass a longterm CR-omnibus strategy that funds Obama’s executive amnesty until at least March 2015, and probably forever.

Nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham cut Yoho to pieces in an interview last week in which Yoho had no idea how to explain what he was doing.

“Congressman, you know I like you,” she told him. “We’ve had you on before. But I’m just going to say it because I say the truth.”

“All right,” Yoho responded.

“I think you’re getting played here,” she said. "I really do." 
Congressman, you are giving the establishment the cover that they desperately crave because they know America is onto this. We’ve been played for fools before. "We’re going to fight for you, we’re going to stop this. Da da da. We have limited ability to do this. We don’t have Congress, we’re gonna wait until January to do this." Then we find out it’s an omnibus spending bill that funds the whole government until the end of next summer, taking away a lot of opportunity to really hone in on those specifics. So my question here is a simple one, because I think you are one of our real hopes here—I really do.
“Well, I appreciate that,” Yoho interjected.

“In March, has Boehner guaranteed to you he will pick up where Jeff Sessions left off, because Sessions has the right play here—he knows how to deal with this,” Ingraham asked. “Has he pledged to you he will replace this bill with the Sessions bill?”

Yoho ducked in his response. “We haven’t gone that far,” he said. “And again, Laura, what we’re dealing with is crisis management up here. Over and over again.”

Gohmert said that it was House GOP leadership who made the changes to the Yoho legislation and they did so through the Rules Committee.

“All I know is that someone from our leadership sent the Rules Committee on Wednesday night, right before the Rules Committee met, emailed them this new version—the new version—of 5759 and so that’s what the Rules Committee took up late the night before, this amendment in the nature of a substitute,” Gohmert said when asked if he knows who made the specific alterations. “I don’t know who specifically sent it to Rules, but this was sent to Rules from someone in our leadership saying this is the new bill, it’s an amendment in the nature of a substitute and this is what we want to come to the floor tomorrow.”

“Normally it would be from either the Majority Leader’s office or the Speaker’s office,” Gohmert added when asked which person from GOP leadership would have done this. The Majority Whip Scalise’s role in this, Gohmert said, was whipping votes for the original—not the alternative—Yoho bill.

“We were being whipped—or asked if we were going to vote for the Yoho bill—a day before they even put this new language, the amendment in the nature of a substitute, up,” Gohmert said. “That went up on the Rules Committee website late on Wednesday night, but on Tuesday they were asking people if they were going to vote for the Yoho bill. They were doing a whip count. They were doing a whip count on the Yoho bill without people even knowing what they were going to be adding to it.”

Yoho’s office admits that other congressional offices were involved in the alterations to his legislation, but won’t name names. “A few conservative offices reached out to us regarding wanting to make language more explicit and make sure it statutorily makes sense,” Yoho spokesman Brian Kaveney said. 
We also wanted to focus on the fact that this was an overreach. The humanitarian exception was added because given Rep. Yoho's strong Constitutional views, we did not want our bill to overreach into the foreign affairs powers that presidents have (again, not saying we agree, but these powers have been affirmed by jurisprudence). Without this exception, we risked having a possible constitutional flaw that might have threatened the bill. That was a determination and decision that was made by our office, given Rep. Yoho's Constitutional principles.
Kaveney has not responded to followup requests for comment to say which “conservative offices” were involved in these changes or if those “conservative offices” included anyone from leadership. It’s worth noting that Yoho did vote against Boehner for Speaker at the beginning of the last Congress and may do so again in the future.

Kaveney did, however, insist on making clear that Yoho’s original bill was his own creation—and something he took to leadership, not the other way around.

“We took this bill to leadership. Not the other way around. We are the ones who asked them to bring this on the floor,” Kaveney said.

Members were not provided the new text of the bill before they were asked to vote on it, either—something that should infuriate Americans, Gohmert said.

“I checked with the clerk before I left the House floor yesterday to see if there were any copies that were made available for members with these new changes on there,” Gohmert said. 
The clerk said that they had to make the changes on their own copy but if someone wanted them to make them a copy, they’d certainly make them a copy—but they’d have to leave the floor and go into an adjoining office and make a copy. But the copies that were available did not have these changes in there. If you wanted to see this, you’d have to do it one of two ways—you’d have to know to go the Rules Committee website and download what they actually approved for the House floor very late Wednesday night. The only other way would be to go to the Clerk’s desk there right below the Speaker’s and say you would like a copy not of 5759, but of the amendment in the nature of a substitute. If you asked for the bill, you would get 5759—which we did not vote for. But if you asked for the amendment in the nature of the substitute, you would get the newly penciled language.
When asked if this is getting into “you have to pass it to find out what’s in it” territory—the famous line from then Speaker Nancy Pelosi about Obamacare—Gohmert said, “that’s what concerns me.” Gohmert said this bill and the recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was packed with legislative pork and federal land grab provisions, are violations of Republicans’ promises to the American people in the wake of Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare passage.

“There were not three days for members to review this language,” Gohmert said. 
There were not three days to review the NDAA, and I voted against the NDAA because we didn’t know everything that was in it. That’s a big bill and it of course it is very important—and I didn’t have time to read it. It was again provided to Rules Committee the night before, and yes I understand that much of it was work was that done by our Appropriations Committee. I get that. I understand that. But it was not available in sufficient time for anybody who did not help write it to pick it up and read it start to finish before they voted on it. That’s something we promised in 2010: If you give us the majority, we’re going to read the bills and we’re going to give sufficient time for people to read the bills. But as I talked to people on the House floor yesterday and I asked: "Did you read this exception that got added to the Yoho bill?" Most of the people did know there was an exception. [They said,] "no, I’ve read it; there wasn’t an exception." Well, yes there was an exception. My staff had printed it out for me from the Rules Committee’s website of what they actually approved to go to the floor. I was wanting an actual copy to be made available for members on Thursday, but there were no such copies of the amendment in the nature of a substitute made available to members.
During the Rules Committee hearing at which Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) made the changes to the original Yoho bill via the amendment in the nature of a substitute on behalf of McCarthy and Boehner, Sessions made a crucial mistake during a back-and-forth with amnesty advocate Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).

In the hearing, Pete Sessions said that House Republicans “intend to push a bill” in the next Congress that would in effect create a legal open borders situation “that would operate under the activity of trying to do under rule of law.”

“What we would do in the House, move to the Senate, move to the President – and Mr. [Bob] Goodlatte [the Judiciary Committee chairman] is committed in his job to do the right thing and to work with the Administration,” Pete Sessions said. “But that, even in our wildest dream, would not be to remove any person that might be here unless they were dangerous to this country and committed a crime; and we would not even – that was never even in a plan that I thought about.”

A moment later, Pete Sessions further described his plans as pure open borders where anyone who wants to come to America to take U.S. jobs from anywhere in the world can do so. “I’m going to use my assets and resources in the new year to work with this Congress, including [Democratic Rep. Jared] Polis [of Colorado], to have a well understood agreement about what the law should be, and how we as communities, and farm communities, and tech communities create circumstances where we can have people be in this country and work, and where not one person is quote ‘thrown out’ or ‘deported;’ where we do keep families together, but what we do is we do so under a rule of law of an understanding,” Pete Sessions said.

Pete Sessions, a top ally of Speaker Boehner’s who runs the Rules Committee which has enormous power over the legislative process in the House by setting the terms of debate of legislation on the House floor, survived a primary challenge earlier this year from conservative Republican Katrina Pierson. Pierson, a Tea Party activist and first-time congressional candidate, got into the race a bit late and didn’t have a ton of money—and despite a drubbing in the liberal media over some things from her past, managed to garner 36 percent of the vote in the primary.

Videos that broke via Breitbart Texas in the days right before the primary showed Pete Sessions supports amnesty for illegal aliens so he can “accommodate” them, something Pierson hammered him over. Pierson told Breitbart News in response to Sessions’ latest pro-amnesty and open borders comments during the recent Rules Committee hearing to push through Yoho’s bill that she’s considering another run against him in 2016—something that, assuming she has the funding up front, she could give Sessions a much more organized run for his money this time around.

"If we have a country left come 2016, and Pete Sessions is still in office, I may consider another run,” Pierson said in an email.

The plan Pete Sessions said he’ll be backing with all his power seems to be emerging in the House. Reuters on Sunday published an exclusive report detailing how GOP leadership is coalescing behind a plan amounting to amnesty for millions of illegal aliens; it would first start with a border security bill but “may lead to other steps the House of Representatives could contemplate to repair parts of U.S. immigration law.”

Ingraham suggested on her radio program on Friday that Pete Sessions’ stance for open borders as he laid out during that Rules Committee hearing is an indication he may be doing consulting work for Central American nations seeking to send more of their citizens to the United States legally or illegally.

“Is Pete Sessions working with Guatemala and Honduras to bring more people into the country?” Ingraham asked. “You might as well be. He's putting a welcome mat for anyone who wants to come into this country illegally today.”

Ingraham challenged Pete Sessions to come on her program to discuss his immigration stance, “to see if he'll have a conversation with me about what they're planning to do with this immigration reform, what they're planning to do to sell out American worker.”

What House leadership is planning to introduce early this coming week, and to push for a vote on sometime this week, is a plan that funds all of government except for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the end of the 2015 fiscal year in September. It splits DHS funding off into a shorter term bill that ends sometime in March, giving off the impression that the new Republican U.S. Senate and emboldened House GOP majority will fight the funding for Obama’s amnesty then. 

Even so, Boehner has not pledged he will fight it then—and most conservatives believe that he will avoid the battle at that time especially after what Boehner’s allies did to get the Yoho bill passed—and the lengths to which Boehner’s lieutenants are going to mislead the Republican conference and the American people about the nature of blocking funding for Obama’s amnesty.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) has been chief among those using the factually incorrect argument that Congress can’t block funding for Obama’s amnesty because the agency that is handling it, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is funded primarily by fees. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) thoroughly debunked Rogers’ claims that Congress can't block this funding because of the fee-based structure of USCIS in a report compiled for incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). But Rogers continues to peddle the falsehood in public more than a week after CRS proved him wrong, telling Fox News’ Chad Pergram for an article published late last week that Congress can’t block the funding.

“There’s nothing more that I would like to do than defund USCIS,” Rogers claimed to Pergram. “I wish I could but we have to find another way to do what we want to do.”

Ingraham has vowed to seek a suitable primary challenger to Rogers in this upcoming election cycle, something that the United Kentucky Tea Party says they’re working on looking for—broken exclusively by Breitbart News then subsequently highlighted by the New York Times. The vows to seek a Rogers primary challenger come after a Breitbart News investigation which discovered his campaign contributor General Dynamics is seeking the contract to print all the work permits, Social Security cards, and other documents Obama plans to give illegal aliens under the executive amnesty, and that the company expects to do so at a facility inside Rogers’ congressional district in Corbin, Kentucky, should it get the contract.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) is quoted opposite Rogers in Pergram’s piece, noting that Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus promised to block the funding for Obama’s amnesty if voters delivered the GOP the U.S. Senate majority, as they did, and that Boehner’s team said they would fight Obama’s amnesty “tooth and nail.”

“I’m not happy,” Mulvaney said. “Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said we were going to do everything we can to fight the president. The Speaker and his spokesman said we were going to fight it ‘tooth and nail. To defund would be fighting tooth and nail. I can understand going home and saying we tried and it didn’t work. But we have to at least try.”

Gohmert said that what the House should do is pass a short-term Continuing Resolution—killing the omnibus appropriations bill altogether—with the language blocking Obama’s amnesty in it. That's something Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the incoming chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, has pushed for too. 

“I think we ought to do a short-term CR but include the defund language in it,” Gohmert said. “That’s what we ought to do next week. And when I say ‘short-term’ I don’t mean March. As you know, the president’s already got a facility in Virginia and is hiring a thousand people to start issuing those permits. This can’t wait until March. We have to do this now. And I do want to mention if this president worked as diligently and faithfully on helping our veterans and helping those trapped in Benghazi as he has rushing in to getting these permits issued for people illegally here, this country would be a lot better off.”

The Yoho bill was designed to let Republicans “vent their frustrations with President Obama's unilateral move,” The Hill’s Cristina Marcos wrote, with the goal being it will allow Boehner to tamp down opposition to the omnibus bill from within his own party. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) said it would less expensive and just as effective for House Republicans to "send the president a Hallmark card saying we don't like your immigration ideas."

Boehner knows he may need Democrat votes to pass the omnibus spending bill, and, according to several reports last week, his leadership team met with top Democrats including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer—Pelosi’s right-hand man—to work out a deal to get Democrats to back the plan. But with this development—that Boehner and his allies substantively altered the cover vote bill in a way that helps the legal argument for Obama’s amnesty—there may be enough Republican opposition that develops in the coming days to derail Boehner’s plans once again.

Gohmert notes there are quite a bit of similarities between this fight right now and the fight right before the August recess in the House over whether to send Obama more money for the border crisis or whether to block funding for his first executive amnesty, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“This reminds me of what happened this summer when we had a good group of Republicans who put together the points that we believed in, the principles that we believed in about border security and immigration,” Gohmert said. 
They put together some very good principles that we all as Republicans in the House agreed on. Then the Speaker assured everybody that we had a bill getting drafted up that incorporated those principles. I asked to get the name or names of those who were drafting the bill to encapsulate those principles and I was not given the name or names. I expressed concern that it might be the person that Mr. Boehner hired from John McCain’s office who had worked on amnesty for John McCain. I was called down for that. But I knew that the Judiciary Committee which has general oversight over immigration did not do the bill. I knew that the immigration subcommittee did not do the bill. And so I never could find out who actually drafted it. And so they had a Whip Team going around asking people, asking Republicans, "will you vote for the new border bill that encapsulates all our principles that we agreed to unanimously?" Well, they whipped the bill without anyone ever seeing the bill.
Because members were telling leadership they would support the border crisis principles—but were unclear what was in the actual legislation—leadership’s plan fell apart hours before the vote. It was Scalise’s first massive failure as Majority Whip because leadership thought they had the votes to pass the bill but, at the last minute, had to cancel the scheduled vote and keep Congress in for an extra day before the August recess.

“So they had a good whip count on Tuesday of the last week of July without anyone ever seeing the bill—and I didn’t get it until Tuesday night, my staff got it that afternoon,” Gohmert said. 
I read it that Tuesday night and finished about 2 a.m., then laid down and got back up at 5 a.m. and re-read it and knew that it was as bad as I thought it was the first time I read it. Wednesday was all about trying to let our members know that this bill does not encompass our principles. In fact, it does just the contrary. Once enough people were able to look at it, they said, "wait, I can’t support this. I didn’t agree to that." Then the Speaker went from having the votes to pass to not having the votes to pass it. We were able to back off and sit down and a number of us cleaned up the parts that were de facto amnesty. By Friday night around 10 p.m., we were able to pass a decent border bill. But this seems a little bit along those same lines—that "gee, we’re going to get people to commit to pass a bill without ever seeing what it is that we’re going to pass."
After the House got together around the conservative bill—from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)—the Democrats melted down entirely on the House floor. The sergeant-at-arms had to remove an unhinged Pelosi, who chased Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) across the floor of the House, wagging her finger in his face in anger.

Yoho’s office even says his bill wasn’t enough.

“Rep. Yoho would absolutely support legislation that goes after funding,” Yoho’s spokesman Kaveney said. “Again, we are simply tackling this from a different angle. Everyone was talking about funding. Rep. Yoho wanted to try something different. In addition to, not instead of.”

While it remains to be seen what exactly will go down, Gohmert said the Democrats will likely come even more unhinged than Pelosi's midsummer performance if Republicans buck Boehner’s CR-omnibus strategy next week.

“If we do what we should next week, and stand firm on our convictions, we might get to see former Speaker Pelosi chase Tom Marino and maybe someone else up the aisle,” Gohmert joked at the end of the interview.

In the meantime, Senator-elect Tom Cotton (R-AR)—currently a House GOP member—is urging Americans to burn down Congress’s phone lines in the effort to blow up Boehner’s plans to back Obama’s amnesty.

“Call your Congressman and call your Senator,” Cotton said on Ingraham’s radio program on Friday. 
I assure you having been in the Congress that Congressmen and Senators listen when the people they serve, their bosses, are calling them and asking them to vote in a certain way. I can assure you, and it’s been the case on immigration before. In 2007, there were reports that the Capitol switch board actually stopped working because so many people called, and asked their Senators and Congressmen to stop an amnesty bill going through at the time, and it stopped. And it helped in 2013 when the House was on the verge of considering something like the Gang of Eight bill in the Senate, so I would encourage you to call your Senator, call your Congressman next week and in the new year.
And on Fox News on Sunday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—the incoming chairman of the Budget Committee—said that “there is no way” any members of the House or Senate will be able to actually read “this huge bill” when leadership introduces it. Leadership has been keeping the omnibus secret until now and, still as of Sunday evening, hasn’t introduced it.

“There’s going to be thousands of pages passed maybe Monday night in the House,” Sessions said. 
But what we do know is it will allow the president to move money around and fund his executive amnesty program. We just discovered last week that they were renting a building across the river here Crystal City [Virginia] hiring a thousand people to process these identifications of illegal people. They’ll be given a photo ID, a Social Security number, allowed to participate in Social Security and Medicare, and be able to work anywhere in America taking any job in America—we don’t have enough jobs today, so this will be 5 million more people. So I was hoping and still hope that the House will put real language in their bill that controls that. Some say it can’t be done, but it was done on Guantanamo for years now. We have refused to fund and provide the president money to close Guantanamo because it would result in a release of dangerous terrorists.
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