News Briefing for Friday, December 12, 2014



How ‘Cromnibus’ Helps Blue Cross and Blue Shield

“Tucked away near the end of the 1,600-page spending bill is a long-awaited technical fix to the health overhaul law — one that benefits Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers and has been in the works since the bill was passed in 2010. The backstory: Many of the nonprofit ‘Blue’ health plans receive tax breaks on their expenses and reserves as part of a 1980s arrangement in which they lost their broader tax-exempt status. Under the 2010 health law, Blue plans had to spend at least 85% of their revenue from insurance premiums on medical claims to continue to qualify for the breaks. The provision in the “cromnibus” bill, which would keep the government running until next October, would let the Blue plans count spending on improving health-care quality toward the 85% threshold. Other sections of the health law already count quality improvement toward the threshold; if companies fall short, they are required to send rebates to consumers. The trade group representing Blue plans says the change is a long-overdue correction of a drafting error. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association officials pointed Wednesday night to an acknowledgement of the mistake then-Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) placed into the Congressional Record on March 24, 2010, the day after President Barack Obama signed the law. In the statement, Mr. Baucus said he intended to get clarification “in a technical corrections bill as soon as possible.”


GOP Memo: Spending Bill Reverses Summer Border Crisis Deal

“Conservative opponents of the $1.1 trillion spending package pending before the House are frustrated to find that it retreats from the negotiating position that Republicans staked out earlier this summer, when the House voted to address the border crisis. “There’s no fix to the ’08 law,” Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) told National Review Online. King was referring to a 2008 anti-human trafficking law that, unintentionally, made it difficult to return the Central American children to their home countries. When the influx of those children caused a crisis at the border during the summer, King and others in the House worked to pass a bill that provided President Obama with emergency supplemental funding, but only on the condition of changing that law. The CRomnibus pending before the House today provides more funding without that condition, according to a Republican memo. “The House CR/Omnibus bill contains $2.5 billion in available funding for federal agencies to accommodate illegal immigrant minors, relatives and self-professed refugees streaming across the border and into the US, answering the president’s supplemental spending request from this last summer,” the memo says. “The language mirrors that  of Senator Mikulski’s bill that was defeated this summer and does not include the language the House adopted this summer to try to compel the repatriation of illegal border crossers as a condition of funding.  The Obama Administration continues to allow virtually all illegal immigrants minors and adults to remain in the US, relocating them into cities and towns across the country.”


Obama Admin Now Selling At 7-Eleven

“This year, the Obama administration is trying to get uninsured Americans to sign up for Obamacare coverage by advertising on receipts at 7-Eleven stores. The Department of Health and Human Services is promoting the federal exchange,, at the bottom of 7-Eleven receipts in an effort to reach the demographic that remains uninsured, the agency announced Thursday. HHS launched a partnership with PayNearMe — a company that provides electronic payment processing for cash payments. The business allows people to make larger payments — they cite rent and utilities on their website — to participating businesses by allowing them to select the store online, print a barcode and take the “cash payment” to a store in exchange for a receipt. Those receipts will now feature an ad promoting, through the end of this open enrollment period on Feb. 15. “We know that the populations we’re trying to reach, many of the uninsured are those who…are unbanked,” Burwell told press Thursday while launching the program at a Washington, D.C. 7-Eleven, according to The Washington Post. “Those are the people that PayNearMe reaches. We want to try and reach those populations.” The administration warned that it would be even more difficult to reach many of the uninsured during the second open enrollment period. Last year, efforts focused on big-name celebrity appearances, such as President Obama’s appearance on Zach Galifianakis’ ‘Between Two Ferns.’ This year, they’ve moved to a retail-based effort follows HHS’ Black Friday ad campaign, where Westfield Shopping Centers, the National Community Pharmacy Association and the XO Group agreed to hand out Obamacare advertisements around the country. They’re targeting the “financially underserved” population with the ad campaign, HHS said in a statement. While the administration is trying to get more and more of the “unbanked” to purchase health coverage, top Obamacare officials don’t appear to be concerned with contingency plans if the Supreme Court rules next year that premium subsidies aren’t available at”


Claiming ObamaCare on IRS forms set to be taxing

The new year will usher in new ObamaCare provisions on tax forms that are poised to create costly headaches for millions of Americans and threaten to put the budget-strained IRS to the test. For the first time, tax filers will have to tell the IRS whether they have health insurance by checking a box. Those who aren’t covered will face a fine of either $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater. Those who bought ObamaCare insurance with a federal advance tax credit will have to do more paperwork to calculate if their actual income warranted such a benefit. “There’s a lot of potential failure points,” said Alan Cole, an economist with the Tax Foundation. “The big problem is if it turns out you got too large of a premium tax credit, the government will ask for it back,” Cole said.”



“A source familiar with state contracting procedures tells Breitbart News that Jonathan Gruber’s 2011 consulting contract for $329,000 with the state of Minnesota “is better written, more protective of the state in terms of deliverables and expecations, and much more hands-on and directional” than his 2014 personal services contract for $280,000 with the state of Vermont.

Gruber’s contract with Vermont “just hands Gruber a shopping list and doesn’t want to know when, where, or how he gets the groceries,” the source explains. Minnesota required Gruber to present “an itemized invoice for the services actually performed,” which had to be formally accepted by an authorized representative of the state. Vermont had “no accountability for specific measurement or targets; no requirement of itemized invoices.”

Vermont’s contract also fared poorly compared to Minnesota’s when it came to disclosure of work process. In Minnesota, at the direction of several state agencies including the Minnesota Department of Health, Gruber was required to “participate in an in-person meeting with MDOC, MDH and/or stakeholders to discuss the Gruber Microsimulation Model (GMSIM), including model assumptions, their adjustment to Minnesota market conditions, and sensitivity analyses and modeling results.” In Vermont, however, there was “no requirement for an understanding of Gruber’s assumptions, only what they want him to do,” our source told us. “The State and the Contractor,” the Minnesota contract reads, “shall meet weekly, in person or by conference call, to review progress on contract work, the status of specific project activities, identify and discuss outstanding issues, and identify any additional areas for research, modeling, or follow-up.”


New Video: Gruber Boasts of Helping to Write ObamaCare


6 Reasons Jonathan Gruber Definitely Wrote Obamacare


Jonathan Gruber reveals the arrogance of liberals


Newly-Elected GOP Senator Reaffirms He Wants Obamacare Repealed and Replaced

“Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) reiterated his support for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, without saying specifically whether he plans on voting to fund Obamacare in the continuing resolution (CR) funding bill that is up for vote in the House. asked: “The Oversight Committee questioned Jonathan Gruber yesterday on the false claims for Obamacare. Tomorrow the House votes on a CR that permits full funding of it. Will you vote to fund Gruber’s Obamacare?” “Well again, I support the repeal and replacement of Obamacare,” he replied.”





“A new Gallup poll finds that 51% of Americans oppose President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty plan for illegal immigrants versus 41% who support it. Among Hispanics, 64% said they approved of Obama’s executive amnesty plan, with 28% saying they disapprove. Among Hispanics born in America, 51% support Obama’s immigration plan, while 75% of Hispanics born in another country said they backed his executive amnesty policy.  Not surprisingly, opinions broke strongly along party lines. Among Democrats, 70% approved of Obama’s executive amnesty plan, versus 85% of Republicans who disapproved. Of concern to Democrats, the poll found that Independents disapproved of the plan by a 15-point margin.”


Fox Poll Reveals Hidden Opposition To Obama’s Amnesty

“A new poll by Fox reveals the untapped well of political opposition to immigration amnesty to resident Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty for million of illegals. The poll shows that immigration is Obama’s worst-rated area, where has only 36 percent support and 60 percent opposition — 2 points more than the 58 percent who oppose Obamacare. And the other questions in the poll show that his 36 percent support is much softer than the hard opposition from 60 percent of respondents. For example, one question showed that huge numbers worry that his amnesty will invite more illegals. Forty-nine percent of independents, 72 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats said it “very” likely that Obama’s “easing the immigration laws in this way will result in more people entering the United States illegally.” Only 10 percent of independents, 13 percent of Democrats and 4 percent of Republicans said they were “not at all” concerned, said the poll. The other respondents were neutral or didn’t care much about the issue. The people with strong responses matter because they’re likely to vote on the issue, especially once Obama’s Nov. 21 amnesty sets in.”


Fox News poll: Public overwhelmingly disapproves of Obama’s handling of immigration, healthcare

“Roughly six in ten Americans oppose the president’s handling of healthcare and immigration, both of which have been in the news lately.  Given the choice between keeping Obamacare intact and repealing the whole law, voters choose the latter option by a wide margin (38/58).  This suggests that liberals’ excitement over other polling indicating broad support for ‘fixing’ or changing Obamacare, rather than scrapping it altogether, is misplaced.  A substantial majority of Americans know that on balance, this law is fundamentally flawed.  That’s not a “branding” problem, as Kathleen Sebelius would have us believe, nor is a product of Obamacare’s historically botched rollout (Harry Reid’s preferred delusion).  The law simply is not working.  Fox’s survey finds that twice as many Americans have been directly harmed by the law than have been helped by it, which is right in line with other polling on that question.”





“House Republican leadership doesn’t seem to have the votes right now to pass Speaker John Boehner’s omnibus spending bill, and they just lost another major conservative with tons of influence in the House. As the leadership postponed the vote and put the House in recess subject to the call of the chair, presumably because they don’t have the votes, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) came out in public opposition to the bill because it funds “King Obama’s amnesty.” In a news release, Blackburn writes: Unfortunately, this spending package fails to take the necessary actions to defund the President’s lawless amnesty. As a result, I cannot vote in support of this measure. It is not fair that hard-working taxpayers in Tennessee will now have to compete for jobs with illegal aliens to whom the President is unilaterally granting work permits at a time when our workforce participation rate sits at a 36-year low and more than 90 million Americans are out of work. That is why I fought for and passed my bill in the House this summer to freeze the President’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. King Obama’s amnesty is turning America into a lawless open borders society.”



“Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) argued that “Republicans are going to lose the American people” “if we don’t draw some stark red lines” on the president’s executive action on immigration and at least force the Senate to vote against defunding the order on Thursday’s “Laura Ingraham Show.” Brat first talked about an amendment that he and other representatives pushed to defund the president’s immigration action, about which he said “we were told that we timed that too late,” even though the cromnibus itself was released very late, thus not giving Brat and others much time to get an amendment in. He added “we had 75 members on board yesterday on that amendment, and so the will of the people was not heard on that important amendment.” He argued that the GOP’s willingness to fund the executive action on immigration “doesn’t pass the basic smell test” and was “pretty bad” logic if the GOP believes that such action is unconstitutional.  Brat did not foist all the blame on the GOP, pointing out Senate Democrats prevented the House GOP from passing individual appropriations bills.  He did concede that while GOP defunding measures would be blocked in the Senate, the GOP should still try because it would force Democrats to vote for the president’s executive action on immigration and “Republicans are going to lose the American people if we don’t draw some stark red lines and stick to them, because they’re going to think we’re playing the same old game.”


Lee: Executive Action Contains Citizenship Loophole for Illegals

“Utah senator Mike Lee on Thursday argued that, contrary to the claims of the Obama administration, the president’s executive amnesty contains a loophole that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 4 million illegal-immigrant parents of U.S. citizens. “He and his administration have cleared the pathway to citizenship for millions of people who have crossed into our borders illegally,” Lee said. “They know that that’s what they have done, and it is illegal.”  Those currently the present in the U.S. illegally who would otherwise be eligible for a green card, including the parents of U.S. citizens age 21 and up, are required by law to leave the country for a period of three or ten years and then to reenter the country lawfully. According to Lee, the executive action made illegal immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens eligible for something called advance parole, which expedites their reentry into the country and, in Lee’s words, “will treat you as though you never left at all” — that is, the three- or ten-year punishment for entering the country illegally will never be triggered.  Lee concluded that illegal immigrants in this group who leave the country and reenter using advance parole “will suddenly become eligible to take advantage of a different way to become a citizen, getting what’s known as adjustment of status. Adjustment of status, which gets you a green card without having to leave the country, is available to parents of U.S. citizens so long as they crossed our border lawfully, which advance parole lets them do.”


Senator: Obama’s Amnesty Gives Illegals A Fast-Track To Voting Booth

“President Barack Obama’s Nov. 21 amnesty puts millions of illegals on a fast-track to citizenship, Utah Sen. Mike Lee announced Thursday. Obama and his administration “have cleared the pathway to citizenship for millions of people who have crossed our borders illegally,” Lee said in a Thursday speech on the Senate floor. “They know what they have done, and it is illegal,” he added. Obama’s amnesty allows illegals with U.S.-born children to briefly leave the country, perhaps for a business meeting in Canada, and then be given “advanced parole” by border officials that lets them legally return to the United States. Once they have legally returned under “advanced parole,” they can be immediately sponsored for a green card and citizenship by their adult child, he said. That process bypasses U.S. law that requires illegals to leave the country for 10 years before their U.S.-born adult children can sponsor them for citizenship, Lee said.”



“Talk radio host Laura Ingraham argued that the Republican Party’s omnbius spending bill was “subsidizing the next border wave” on Thursday. Ingraham read figures showing that $2.5 billion would be spent “to accommodate illegal immigrants and refugees and stated “when we subsidize something, We get more of it, and so the Republicans are subsidizing the next border wave in this omnibus spending bill. All together the omnibus push by Boehner contains $2.5 billion to accommodate illegal immigrants and refugees” she stated. Ingraham continued “at some point you do feel, do you not, like Charlie Brown one more time taking a run at that football. And you think Lucy is going to do right by you, she’s going to hold that football down and you’re going to run and you’re going to kick that thing for a field goal, and then what happens? We run and run and run, and we go to kick that ball really hard and we land flat on our backs.”


Amnesty Protestors Crash Capitol Hill Switchboard

“The Capitol Hill switchboard has been overwhelmed by calls to Congress. The 202 224-3121 number is jammed, likely by people protesting House Speaker John Boehner’s 2015 government funding bill, which allows funding for President Barack Obama’s unpopular decision to stop enforcing immigration law, and to award work-permits to at least 5 million illegal immigrants. Boehner’s effort to fund the $1.1 trillion bill and amnesty is being backed by President Barack Obama, whose deputies are pushing Democrats to support Boehner’s bill. The Daily Caller called the switchboard number at 3:28, and it was not answered for seven minutes. It is usually answered after a few seconds. When quizzed by TheDC, the switchboard operator merely said “there is high call volume.” She declined to describe the level of calls. “My job is to answer and transfer,” she said. TheDC called again at 3:50 and a second operator picked up the phone after nine minutes. When asked why there was a delay, the operator responded “apparently that is self-explanatory… there is more people in line than normal.”



“Conservative Representatives Dave Brat, Mick Mulvaney, and Matt Salmon have issued an amendment for consideration which states, “No funds in the $1 trillion bill, and no fees collected by key agencies, [can] be used to carry out or enforce Obama’s Nov. 20 executive action on immigration.” Although the House of Representatives’ Republican-led Rules Committee will almost certainly reject the amendment put forth, it is important for the American people to know that this unjust executive decree will be fully-funded once the passage of the spending bill is complete. It is without question that Obama’s executive amnesty must not be funded. Brat, Mulvany, and Salmon are finally holding Speaker Boehner’s feet to the fire with this proposed amendment, and their fight to defund illegal amnesty is most certainly not going unnoticed. The spending bill, as it stands now, is just another example of Boehner and the Establishment attempting to overlook our Constitutional Principles in order to pass a bill without pushback. When it comes to matters of extreme importance, such as illegal immigration, passing a bill which funds a push to grant blanket amnesty to all individuals who have broken the law of the land is unfathomable. The time is now for Congress to finally begin listening to the will of the voters and reject Obama’s executive amnesty by disallowing funding of this catastrophe. Members of Congress need to stand for something. According to a recent Gallup poll, 51% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s amnesty. But more importantly, on November 4th, millions of Americans went to the ballot box and rejected President Obama’s failed policies. While we know our current Commander-in-Chief has no intentions to listen to the will of the voters, it is about time Congress follows the lead of Representatives Brat, Mulvaney, and Salmon and passes spending bills which fund programs the majority of taxpayers agree with and promote.”


Steve King: Vote For Two-Month CR That Defunds Amnesty; It Will Pass House Now

“A vote on the omnibus appropriation that would have funded almost all of the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 was delayed on Thursday as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) scrambled to find the 218 votes needed to pass it. Many House conservatives were refusing to vote for it. The bill proposed by the House Republican leadership, which had been negotiated with Democratic leaders in the Senate, would fund President Obama’s unilateral amnesty at least through Feb. 27, when the part of the bill funding the Department of Homeland Security would expire. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told tonight he has proposed an alternative plan for a short-term CR that he believes could pass the House immediately, and if taken up by the Senate, could be sent to the president before the current CR expires at midnight. King’s plan would simply fund the government for two months, but prohibit funding for President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration. “My amendment that I offered at rules last night: Just turn it into a short term CR–perhaps 60 days–and leave all language in it that strips all the funding for DACA, for [Department of Homeland Security] memos, for the president’s other unconstitutional executive amnesty and put that in a two-month CR,” King told “Send it over to the Senate,” said King, “and if the Senate chose to strip my amendment off, we at least have everybody in the House had an opportunity to defend the Constitution rather than fund lawless, unconstitutional acts and we’d have everybody in the Senate on record. “And they’d have a chance to defend the Constitution and their oath of office too,” said King.”


Boehner Wins Funding For Obama’s Amnesty

“House Speaker John Boehner allied with top Democrats late Thursday to win a year’s funding for President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty, despite determined resistance from many Republicans and a wave of phone calls from a large slice of the GOP base. Fifty-seven Democrats joined with Boehner’s 162 Republicans to defeat 67 GOP conservatives. The 219-to-206 win tears a deep gash in Boehner’s Republican caucus, but it allows him to sideline the bitter immigration debate for a year while he pushes ahead with other business-backed priorities, such as trade bills. Immediately after the vote, the members of the House rose to applaud Democratic Rep. John Dingell, who is retiring after 59 years in Congress. “My job tonight is to say ‘Thank You and Merry Christmas,’” Boehner said as the applause ended. Boehner won after Democrats huddled for several hours, and decided to let some of their caucus back the $1.1 trillion government spending bill.”


Boehner: GOP Will Make ‘Direct Challenge’ Of Obama’s Immigration Orders Next Month

“House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) didn’t allow rank-and-file conservatives to attach language targeting President Obama’s administrative amnesty to the cromnibus, but he promised that a “direct challenge” is coming. “With a bipartisan vote, the House has passed a responsible bill to keep the government running and address the American people’s priorities,” Boehner said in a statement following the passage of the bill.  “This measure puts us on track to save taxpayers more than $2.1 trillion while protecting jobs and supporting our national defense.   In addition, by the House’s action, we are setting up a direct challenge to the president’s unilateral actions on immigration next month, when there will be new Republican majorities in both chambers.  The Senate should act on this bipartisan legislation in short order.”


Pelosi Extorts Boehner For Backing Obama’s Amnesty

“Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi is taking advantage of the decision by GOP House Speaker John Boehner to draft a 2015 government budget that funds President Barack Obama’s amnesty effort. Boehner’s initial effort to pass the $1.1 trillion funding bill — dubbed the “Crominibus” — failed after numerous Republicans rejected the bill because it funds the unpopular and potentially illegal national amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants. “It is clear from this recess on the floor that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus,” Pelosi wrote in an afternoon letter to her fellow Democrats. “This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision,” she wrote. She then urged her fellow Democrats to oppose the Boehner bill until he drops the two measures, both of which are also opposed by some Republicans. “However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill,” she wrote.”


Jeff Sessions: ‘We Are Going To Fight Harder Than We Ever Have Before’

Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) faulted the House for passing a $1.1 trillion spending package that does not include “any effective action to block” President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. “We are going to fight harder than we ever have before,” Sessions said in the statement. “Those who think that this issue will recede, or fade away, are mistaken. The voice of the American people will be heard.” Here is his full statement: For the sake of the Constitution and our constituents, Congress should fund the government but not fund the President’s unlawful amnesty.  In plain violation of law, the President’s order gives amnesty and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants – allowing them to take jobs directly from struggling Americans. Unfortunately, not only has Congress so far not attempted any effective action to block the President’s amnesty, but the legislation that passed tonight funds through September of next year many policies that the House itself rejected only a few months ago.  In effect, the omnibus provides the Administration with billions of dollars to carry out President Obama’s resettlement plan for illegal immigrants in U.S. communities.  The legislation also continues to allow the recipients of the President’s amnesty to receive billions of dollars in government checks in the form of tax credits and to participate in programs through myriad government agencies such as Social Security and Medicare. The American people are justly worried about their jobs, their schools, and their communities.  They have rightly demanded a lawful system of immigration that serves their interests – not the special interests.  They have correctly pleaded with their lawmakers to finally adopt immigration policies that put their needs – the needs of American citizens – first.  So, to them I say: we are only just beginning.  We are going to fight harder than we ever have before. Those who think that this issue will recede, or fade away, are mistaken.  The voice of the American people will be heard.”



“President Barack Obama believes he is “still not” king after enacting his executive amnesty and thinks it is hypocritical for Americans to oppose a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants.  Telemundo’s Jose Diaz Balart reminded Obama on Tuesday that he has said “over and over again” that, “I’m not king, I’m president of the United States.” Obama replied that he is “still not” king.  Referencing the numerous times in which Obama said he could not unilaterally change the country’s immigration laws, Obama said he was arguing “that I did not have the authority to simply not deport.” But Obama conceded that even though there will be “some deportations” after his executive amnesty is enacted, the likelihood that illegal immigrants who are not violent criminals will be deported is “gonna be much lower.” “We are not going to continue a process in which we hypocritically claim that these folks have no path to… get legal, at the same time, as we know, that they’re working in our restaurants, working in our fields, picking fruit, working in… our hotels where we stay, cleaning up our hotel rooms,” he said. “I think the majority of Americans want strong borders. But they also recognize people who’ve been here for a while, they deserve a chance to get out of the shadows and be held accountable by paying taxes.”



“On Tuesday, President Barack Obama implied that the high-tech industry is not telling the truth when it claims that there are not enough American high-tech workers to fill jobs.  “I’m generally skeptical when you hear employers say, ‘oh we just can’t find any Americans to do the job,'” Obama said on Tuesday at an immigration event in Nashville. “A lot of times what they really mean is that it’s a lot cheaper to potentially hire somebody who has just come here before they know better…” Despite evidence to the contrary, the tech industry has spent millions trying to get massive increases in the number of H-1b guest-worker visas, claiming that they “can’t find” Americans to do various tech jobs even though companies like Microsoft are laying off 18,000 American workers. Those coveted guest-worker visas would give tech companies an endless supply of cheap foreign workers who would, according to scholar Hal Salzman, become “indentured servants.”



“Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez seemed overcome by happiness when Texas Republican Pete Sessions flipped on his tough talk against Obama’s Executive Amnesty and said not one person should be “thrown out” or “deported.” In an article by Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle on Big Government, Sessions is quoted telling Democrats, “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.” Congressional travel records reveal a possible explanation for the “odd political bedfellows” of Gutierrez and Sessions as it appears they have been spending a lot of time traveling together on Congressional junkets. At least two expense reports filed by Sessions show him traveling with the pro-amnesty Gutierrez at the expense of the pro-comprehensive immigration reform group, the Ripon Society. The two trips, attached below, reveal Sessions and Gutierrez traveling together on expense paid trips to Dublin, Ireland and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Ripon Society appears to follow the immigration reform policies of Sen. John McCain and New Jersey Governor Chris Christi. During the Dublin trip Gutierrez, listed on the agenda as a member of the House Judiciary’s Immigration Subcommittee, participated in a panel discussion on highly-skilled workers and immigration.  Sessions led another forum on the “exchange of ideas for governance.” During the trip to Argentina, Sessions and Gutierrez appeared together in a panel discussion on “Priorities of the 113th Congress.” The two trips occurred over the past two years. It is not known at this time, how many other trips the two have taken together. It appears Gutierrez’ pro-amnesty dreams have rubbed off on the Congressman who  just two weeks ago railed against Obama’s Executive Amnesty action which granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. At that time, he called Obama’s actions “an egregious abuse of power that blatantly disregards the Constitution” according to an a Sessions press release obtained by Breitbart Texas.”



“After nearly 71% of illegal immigrants applying for a driver’s license in Nevada failed the written test in the first three days of the program this year, immigrant rights organizations are offering illegal immigrants classes before they can apply for licenses next year.  According to the Los Angeles Times, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) will provide free written classes while California state officials, who expect nearly 1.4 million illegal immigrants to apply for licenses beginning January 2, will work with the Mexican consulate to let illegal immigrants know they can buy low-cost insurance from the state.  To get a license, applicants will have to prove their identities and that they reside in California. In addition to the $33 fee, applicants must “provide a thumb print, pass vision and written tests and schedule a behind-the-wheel driving test.”  And applicants who also want to register a vehicle must show proof of insurance, which illegal immigrants can now obtain “through the California Low Cost Auto Insurance program under a state law passed this year.” To make illegal immigrants aware that they can now qualify for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program, the California Department of Insurance is reportedly “kicking off a Spanish-language marketing campaign” and will work with “Mexican Consulate offices and immigrant rights groups” to get the message out to as many illegal immigrants as possible.  California has reportedly budgeted “an extra $141 million” and opened “four new offices and hired more than 900 additional staffers” at DMVs “to help handle the expected flood of applicants.” The number of illegal immigrants applying for driver’s licenses reportedly spiked after Obama enacted his executive amnesty—”nearly 379,000 appointments were made between Nov. 12 and Nov. 30 compared with roughly 176,000 during the same period a year ago.”



“One of the country’s most prominent DREAMers believes that President Barack Obama needs to enact another round of executive amnesty even after she revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said her illegal immigrant mother would be allowed to stay in the country. Appearing on MSNBC with José Diaz Balart, Erika Andiola, who has confronted Republicans like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) about immigration, said her mother faces possible deportation but, “I was told by ICE she was going to be able to stay.”  Obama has recently emphasized that though his executive amnesty only covers about five million illegal immigrants, most of the seven million illegal immigrants not formally covered and who have not committed violent crimes will not face deportation.  Andiola was hopeful that since Obama had said “over and over again” that he could not unilaterally change the country’s immigration laws before enacting his executive amnesty, he could in the future enact another executive amnesty even though Obama said he did as much as White House lawyers told him he could do under law. Andiola said that Obama needed “better attorneys,” because “tons of attorneys” have told her that Obama could enact more executive actions to formally provide temporary amnesty to millions of more illegal immigrants.”



“On Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asked the Supreme Court to stay a ruling that would force the state to issue driver’s licenses beginning next Tuesday to DREAMers who received temporary amnesty under President Barack Obama’s 2012 unilateral Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  On Tuesday, the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco “denied a request by Brewer to keep on hold that panel’s July ruling against her ban while the state’s attorney general prepares a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.” According to the Arizona Republic, Brewer’s attorneys argued to Justice Anthony Kennedy “that the case raises issues of constitutional law relating to whether ‘a federal agency’s informal policy memorandum to ignore federal law preempts a long-standing state driver’s license law.'” There are reportedly 20,000 DREAMers in Arizona who received DACA and would qualify for driver’s licenses. Brewer “announced her ban on driver’s licenses on Aug. 15, 2012, the day deferred action took effect.”

If the Supreme Court does not intervene, “U.S. District Judge David Campbell in Phoenix can issue an injunction that would require the Arizona Department of Transportation to issue driver’s licenses” to DREAMers as early as next week.”



“Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) filed a bill in the Texas House of Representatives to increase fines for employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors when they should rightfully be classified as employees. This technique is often used by companies to work illegal immigrants as independent contractors avoiding the I-9 employment documentation process. The bill, HB434, was introduced by Ms. Thompson for the 2015 legislative session. It would create a first offense penalty of $100 per employee not properly reported according to a report by Scott Braddock. Subsequent violations would result in a penalty not to exceed $1,000 per misclassified worker for violations that occur after the initial reported violation. Companies, particularly construction companies, frequently misclassify workers as independent contractors when they fail to meet the standards of being an independent contractor. When this happens, the cheating company gains an unfair competitive advantage over companies who properly classify their employees and hire only legal workers. These same or similar companies will also use this misclassification process to bypass I-9 employee documentation requirements and hire workers who are not legally eligible to work in this country. This creates a huge magnet for illegal immigrant workers. “Companies that skirt the law in this way can fraudulently cut their labor costs by as much as about 30 percent,” Braddock wrote. “Firms that are playing by the rules are at a competitive disadvantage because they’re investing in the workforce while bandits make a mockery of the rule of law. This happens in other industries as well, but it is especially rampant in construction.”



“The law known as the Texas DREAM Act will face a “big revamp or repeal” according to one incoming State Senator. The measure passed into law during the 2001 legislative session and provides for in-state tuition for certain children of illegal immigrants. The law was a hot button issue during the primary and general election as well as the 2012 Presidential Campaign of Governor Rick Perry. State Senator-Elect Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) wasted no time in addressing the issue that also dogged her in her recent campaign that ended last Saturday night with her election to the Senate. She voted for the 2001 in-state tuition bill as freshman state representative. She spoke out against in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants during the campaign and is now ready to move forward on her campaign promise. “We are definitely looking to modify that bill, and Governor Abbott has told me he would sign it – whether that be a complete repeal or a toughening of the standards,” said Kolkhorst in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. Kolkhorst told the Chronicle she has spoken with Lt. Governor-Elect Dan Patrick and Governor-Elect Greg Abbott about the possible legislative actions on the issue. Both Abbott and Patrick have expressed their commitment to either reform or repeal the law. Abbott said, during a gubernatorial debate with State Sen. Wendy Davis, he would not veto a bill that would repeal the Texas DREAM Act, but his campaign staff said they would prefer to reform the measure. Patrick pledged to repeal the bill throughout his campaign.

The incoming Senator said she expects this will be one of several pieces of legislation relating to illegal immigration to come before the new legislative session which launches in January.  “Whatever role the lieutenant governor wants me to play on the issue, I will play,” Kolkhorst said.”


Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s lawsuit against Obama’s immigration order will head to court Dec. 22

“There’s a date for a court showdown between Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the White House. Dec. 22 is the date that U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell has set for a hearing in Washington D.C. on a request from the Maricopa County sheriff – who has a national reputation for his tough views on undocumented immigrants — to block President Barack Obama’s executive action granting some 5 million immigrants who are here illegally a three-year reprieve from deportation. The president’s executive order came after what he described as frustration over Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Arpaio’s lawsuit, which was filed on the same day, Nov. 20, that Obama announced his executive action, argues that the president’s unilateral move is unconstitutional, according to published reports. The president’s plan extends deportation relief and, by extension, work permits, to millions of undocumented immigrants, mostly those who have been in the country more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Obama also reordered law enforcement priorities and expanded an existing deportation deferral program for immigrants brought illegally as kids.”


Arab activist freed awaiting immigration sentence

“An Arab community activist has been released from a Michigan jail to await her sentence for failing to tell U.S. immigration officials about her conviction for bombings that killed two people in Israel in 1969. Rasmieh Odeh of Chicago paid a $50,000 bond and was released Thursday, about five weeks after her conviction in Detroit federal court. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain says he no longer believes she might flee the country. Odeh’s sentencing is March 12. The 67-year-old runs daily operations at Chicago’s Arab American Action Network. A jury last month convicted Odeh of failing to disclose her conviction for bombings in Jerusalem when she applied for citizenship in Detroit in 2004. She says she believed the questions about criminal history were limited only to the U.S. Odeh faces likely deportation after any prison sentence.”



Yet Another Poll Shows Americans Oppose Both The Policy And Procedure Of Obama’s Amnesty

“Fox News released a poll Wednesday showing that not only do a majority of Americans oppose the changes to immigration law President Obama made in November, but an overwhelming majority of Americans also oppose the way he made those changes. Specifically, when asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the recent changes Barack Obama made to how the United States government will handle illegal immigrants currently living in this country, including allowing more than four million illegal immigrants to remain temporarily in the United States to work,” 51 percent of Americans said they disapproved while only 43 percent approved. Then when asked, “Barack Obama issued an executive order to make the recent changes to how the United States handles illegal immigrants. Setting aside how you feel about the changes in policy, do you approve or disapprove of Obama bypassing Congress to make the changes,” 60 percent of Americans said they disapproved of Obama’s action while just 38 percent said they supported the move. These results mirror a CNN poll which also show that Americans oppose both the substance and the procedure of Obama’s executive amnesty. The Fox poll also found that 68 percent of Americans are concerned “that Barack Obama’s use of executive orders and acting withoutCongressional approval may be permanently altering our country’s system of checks and balances.”



“Speaker John Boehner’s more than $1 trillion omnibus spending bill is actually getting longer — it grew an extra 171 pages last night. “With the adoption of the rule in the House, the CRomnibus grew from 1,603 pages to 1,774 pages,” a congressional GOP aide tells Breitbart News. “The rule amended the bill to add some material on pensions that total 171 pages.”

The bill is stalled in the House right now and it’s unclear if Boehner and his lieutenants, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, will be able to save it. The bill has come under enormous criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. The extra pages were added during the House Rules Committee process, where that committee’s chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) agreed to insert them. Sessions is taking heat from the grassroots back home over his role in enabling Obama’s executive amnesty through this bill–and actually chose not to lead the debate on the rule on the House floor–opting instead for Boehner ally Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to face off against Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) earlier on Thursday. Still, he’s active behind the scenes. After Rep. Kerry Bentivolio switched his vote to allow to the “Cromnibus” to survive a procedural vote, a Roll Call reporter tweeted: “Sessions spots Bentivolio in the Rayburn subway. Says ‘You’re a good man, Santa.'”


Boehner Backs Bill, Condemns ‘Cromnibus’ Process (Video)

“The “cromnibus” came together with a last-minute backroom deal between Republicans and Democrats that forced the House to vote on the 1,603-page measure before anyone could reasonably read it, and plenty of lawmakers are upset — including Speaker John A. Boehner. “This is exactly the way I don’t want to do business,” Boehner said Thursday, just hours before the House was slated to vote on the funding package. The Ohio Republican campaigned for the speaker’s gavel by pledging to give lawmakers 72 hours before voting on pieces of legislation, and he’s previously been an opponent of pieces of thousand-page legislation. And while he’s recently been defending the process, Boehner noted Thursday that this wasn’t his best-case scenario. “Ideally, we would have been able to do this work one bill at a time,” Boehner said, referring to a regular appropriations process. But he said his hand was forced by Senate Democrats, who did not pass a single appropriations bill. “None,” Boehner emphasized. “Zero. Nada!” He stressed that the cromnibus plan was put together after consultation with GOP members. And he said no members should have objections to it.”


‘Cromnibus’ Strains GOP Principles on Open Process

“As the House prepares to pass a trillion dollar, 1,603-page “cromnibus” Thursday, at least one criticism can be applied to both Republicans and Democrats when the bill comes to a vote: few lawmakers — if any — will have read the entire thing. It’s not that a $1.1 trillion piece of legislation can — or should — be written in 140 characters like a tweet, or as a 4,543-word document, such as the Constitution. But the cromnibus, coming in at 289,861 words, represents a particularly challenging public relations moment for members of Congress. It’s precisely the style of legislating that Speaker John A. Boehner ran against when he campaigned for the leadership job, vowing to give members at least 72 hours to read any measure before a vote. And it’s the manifestation of the proverbial backroom deals that have angered so many voters for so long. Republicans have been strong proponents of the #ReadTheBill campaign — Boehner used the hashtag Wednesday, in fact — and the GOP has frequently castigated Democrats for dropping large pieces of legislation shortly before votes, particularly during the Obamacare days. As Rules Committee Democrats pointed out Wednesday, Boehner said in December 2010 that he didn’t believe “having 2,000-page bills on the House floor serves anyone’s best interest — not the House, not for the members and certainly not for the American people.” But Boehner defended the cromnibus process Wednesday morning, saying the bill had been negotiated in a “bipartisan, bicameral fashion,” and that legislators had worked as quickly as they could to get text of the trillion dollar deal to lawmakers. “When we get to the end of a two-year session of Congress, a lot of work gets built up that never gets across one floor or the other floor,” Boehner said. “And as a result, when we get to the end of session, members are trying to find a way to get their legislation across the finish line.” That won’t exactly reverse the narrative that the end of the year spending measure is, in congressional parlance, a “Christmas tree,” with individual lawmakers hanging their own parochial ornaments on the bill. It may, at least, challenge the storyline of a “do-nothing” Congress.”



“Nancy Pelosi came out swinging against House Speaker John Boehner’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, right after President Barack Obama urged Democrats in the House to vote for it.

“I was so really heartbroken—I don’t think I’ve ever said that word on the floor of the House, heartbroken—to see the taint that was placed on this valuable appropriations bill from on high,” Pelosi said in a House floor speech ripping into the bill. “The taint I refer to is what the president described in his letter today as ‘a rider that would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and weaken a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk,’” Pelosi said, quoting the president’s criticisms of the bill despite his endorsement of its passage. So when people are talking to you about what’s in the bill or this or that, I am going to say to you what you are putting your name next to if you choose to vote for this bill and why I’m so appalled. Well, I’ll tell you why. It was September 2008. Things were happening in the financial services industry. Lehman Brothers, down. Merrill Lynch, down. AIG, whatever. It all happened within a matter of days. I called the Secretary of the Treasury and I said, “how can we be helpful? What is going on?” He said it’s terrible. I said, “is one of the major financial institutions going down?” He said “it’s bigger than that. We’re in a serious meltdown.” Well, “why am I calling you Mr. Secretary [Hank] Paulsen?” The White House wasn’t ready for Congress to know about this.”



“Thursday on the House floor while addressing House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) 1,603-page, approximately $1 trillion omnibus spending bill, Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Now we are saying the exposure, the recourse with the U.S. taxpayer. Just plain wrong.”  “This is a ransom, this is blackmail,” she added. “You don’t get a bill unless Wall Street gets its taxpayer coverage.”


House Democrats Joining Warren’s Revolt

“Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) launched the kind of attack on the House cromnibus deal that has progressive activists hoping she’ll run for president, and House Democrats seem to be responding — although perhaps not in the numbers needed to block the bill. “I think it’s going to be a close vote,” Representative Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) tells National Review Online, adding that he opposes the $1.1 trillion spending package because of the Dodd-Frank legislative rider it includes. “The provision would no longer require that big banks separate trades in financial derivatives from traditional bank accounts, which are backed by the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),” according to the Hill. “The derivatives played a key role in the financial collapse.” Warren picked a fight with that change on Wednesday. “The House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” she said.”


“Wednesday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) explained why she was aligned with some conservatives in opposing the spending bill set to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives later on Thursday that would fund the government, at least in part, until Republicans are in control of the U.S. Senate. Warren told host Rachel Maddow her opposition is primarily due to a provision that would roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank law and make it possible for the FDIC to insure certain types of investments.”


Elizabeth Warren to GOP: Strip “Wall Street giveaway” from spending bill


Why rift on derivatives is blocking US budget bill

At the heart of the impasse in Congress over a must-pass spending bill is a provision involving the sorts of high-risk investments that ignited the 2008 financial crisis.


Progressives caucus urges ‘no’ vote on spending bill


Obama backs ‘cromnibus’ ahead of vote

“The White House on Thursday urged the House to pass a $1.1 trillion government spending package despite riders it opposes that would repeal a portion of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and loosen limits on campaign contributions. “The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 83, making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015, and for other purposes,” a statement of administration policy said. The statement was released about an hour before the House was scheduled to vote on a “cromnibus” spending bill, in an effort to win over critical Democratic votes and prevent a government shutdown. GOP leaders are expecting a number of conservatives to defect, so they’ll need Democrats to push the bill over the threshold.  Congress must pass a new spending bill before Friday, or the government will close.  In the statement, the White House said a provision on swaps that would allow banks to directly engage in derivatives trading would “weaken a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk.”

Obama Backs Cromnibus

“President Barack Obama would sign the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus,” with the White House urging Democrats to help put the bill over the top with passage of the bill in doubt later this afternoon. The rule for the bill passed narrowly 214-212 earlier Thursday. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the president’s support Thursday afternoon, saying the 1,600-page bill represented a compromise and included items the president did not support on campaign finance and regulating banks involvement in derivatives. But he noted that it does not undo Obamacare, does not stop the president’s executive action on immigration, or curtail his sweeping climate change agenda, among other items. The move could help sway Democratic votes in the House, where a number of Democrats have announced plans to vote know over the campaign finance and banking hitchhikers. Here’s the full Statement of Administrative Policy:

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 83, making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015, and for other purposes.  The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort to include full-year appropriations legislation for most Government functions that allows for planning and provides certainty, while making progress toward appropriately investing in economic growth and opportunity, and adequately funding national security requirements.  The Administration also appreciates the authorities and funding provided to enhance the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola epidemic, and to implement the Administration’s strategy to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as investments for the President’s early education agenda, Pell Grants, the bipartisan, Manufacturing Institutes initiative, and extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. However, the Administration objects to the inclusion of ideological and special interest riders in the House bill. In particular, the Administration is opposed to the inclusion of a rider that would amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and weaken a critical component of financial system reform aimed at reducing taxpayer risk.  Additionally, the Administration is opposed to inclusion of a rider that would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to allow individual donors to contribute to national political party committee accounts for conventions, buildings and recounts in amounts that are dramatically higher than what the law currently permits. Furthermore, the Administration is disappointed that the bill would fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, 2015, at last year’s levels.  Short-term continuing resolution funding measures are disruptive, create uncertainty, and impede efficient resource planning and execution. The Administration urges the Congress to enact comprehensive full-year appropriations legislation for all Government functions free of provisions that have no place in annual appropriations bills.”


Spending bill advances 214-212

“The House voted narrowly Thursday to advance a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The 214-212 vote paves the way for the chamber to debate and vote on final passage of the bill, which keeps most of the government open through fiscal 2015 and pays for the Homeland Security Department until Feb. 27. While the margin was narrow, GOP leadership aides say the overall spending measure is expected to pass more easily.  The deal averts a government shutdown which would have kicked in at midnight. It is now likely that lawmakers will be able to leave town for the Christmas and New Years break on time.”



“The final vote on Speaker John Boehner’s 1,603-page, more than $1 trillion omnibus spending bill is in jeopardy after members almost killed the bill on the rule. A total of 214 members voted for it, less than the majority of members in the House, but since all members weren’t voting, the 212 against the rule wasn’t enough to kill it. Time for voting had run out minutes before, and briefly the nays—those against the rule—had the majority. At least one Republican had switched a vote from being against the rule to for it, at which time the presiding officer used procedural chicanery to quickly call the vote passed. Republican Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Paul Broun (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Tom Massie (R-KY), Bill Posey (R-FL), Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and Steve Stockman (R-TX) held the line and voted no. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) switched his vote from nay to yay at the last minute. If the numbers that are being reported—50 to 60, maybe more—of Republicans hold on against the final passage of the bill later in the day, and all the Democrats who opposed the rule oppose the bill, the bill would fail on final passage. It remains to be seen what will happen. The mere closeness of the vote on the rule—normally a purely procedural matter, but necessary to bring the full bill to the floor of the House—is an embarrassment to House Republican leadership, who had been triumphantly claiming for hours on Thursday they had no worries about it at all. If the Boehner omnibus is killed for good later in the day, congressional leadership is planning to change tack and move forward with a three-month stopgap spending bill, or a clean Continuing Resolution.”


Breaking: Key test vote on “Cromnibus” passes — by two votes, after a last-second switch

“With all zeros showing on the clock, it was 213-213. A total embarrassment for Boehner, who’d spent the past two weeks twisting arms in his own caucus and begging Pelosi to twist arms in hers to get to a bare majority. In the end, he failed to get a single Democratic vote. But then, magic! Who was the man who switched from no to yes at the last second, sparing the GOP leadership a crushing defeat? Apparently it was … Kerry Bentivolio, the former reindeer rancher, actor, and conservative from Michigan who got elected to his first term in Congress two years ago after incumbent Thad McCotter failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and who then lost his own primary earlier this year to an establishment Republican — by more than 30 points. With today’s vote, I guess he figured there’s no sense delaying his return to the private sector by another week or two.”


Nail-Biting Vote Moves ‘Cromnibus’ Closer to House Passage (Video)

“The product of hours and hours of hard-fought negotiations could be lost Thursday if House Democrats decide, just hours before the government is to due to shut down, to band together and rebuff a trillion-dollar federal spending bill over two so-called “poison pill” policy riders. Judging by a nail-bitingly close vote on a procedural measure to bring the legislation to the floor for full consideration, Democrats could have leverage to get the riders scrapped, or at least kill the bill and force what could be a better or worse deal, depending who’s being asked: A three-month continuing resolution that would fund government operations into the new year. “If we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned. In a rare move for the House’s most senior lawmaker, Boehner voted on the rule to give his party another “yes.” Every Democrat voted with 16 Republicans against the rule to advance the “cromnibus,” with the GOP lawmakers voicing discontent over the lack of explicit language in the legislation to prohibit President Barack Obama from carrying out his executive orders on immigration. At a certain point, the votes were tied. At the very end, Republican leaders pressured two members to vote “yes.” One, Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, had been holding out until the last moment; Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, who will leave congress at the end of this session, changed his vote from “no” to “yes” as many of his colleagues booed with displeasure. The gavel came down and the final tally, 214-212, was called immediately after. The vote breakdown could be a harbinger for the Thursday afternoon vote on final passage, making the decision to proceed with debate on the bill a risky one for leaders, who have until now insisted that the votes were there to pass the bill.”


Michigan rep may have saved Christmas for Congress

“One of Michigan’s departing members of Congress — a former reindeer rancher and Santa Claus actor — cast the deciding vote Thursday on a bill to allow a $1 trillion spending deal to advance, a decision that may have saved Christmas for hundreds of legislators, staffers and reporters. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, who failed to get re-elected last month after losing the August primary to Dave Trott, switched his vote on a procedural resolution that allows a final vote Thursday in the House on a $1 trillion spending bill to fund most government operations through Sept. 30. Bentivolio made the change at the urging of House leaders, some of whom had held fundraisers for his re-election bid. The bill known as a rule passed 214-212, with 16 Republicans voting against including Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township. All 196 Democrats voted against it, though Rep. John Dingell of Dearborn briefly cast a vote in support before quickly changing it. House leaders warned that if the bill didn’t pass, Congress could be stuck in Washington, D.C., until Christmas to hammer out a new bill to fund the government. Paul Kane, a reporter at the Washington Post, wrote on Twitter: “Congressman Santa Clause (R-Mich.) switches vote for Boehner, saves Christmas maybe? Rules of debate pass, a defeat would’ve been deadly.” Timothy Cama, a reporter for The Hill, wrote: “Reindeer farmer Kerry Bentivolio saved Christmas by voting for the Cromnibus.” Bentivolio said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, began lobbying him to change his vote when about 170 Republicans had voted against the rule — and Republicans usually vote in favor of the rule. “He said, ‘Kerry you have to change your vote,’ ” Bentivolio recounted in an interview off the House floor with The Detroit News. He said some Republicans friends voted against the rule “and now they are mad at me. … I’m just trying to do my job. I don’t like sitting on the bench. I like to try to get things done.”


Sources: Leadership Promised to Pull CRomnibus

“I’m hearing from two sources, including one Republican lawmaker, that Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) provided one of the final, decisive votes needed to clear a crucial procedural hurdle because House leadership promised to pull the CRomnibus and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution that would push the entire funding debate into next year. An aide to House Speaker John Boehner said he made no such pledge. Stutzman’s office did not reply immediately to a request for comment. Rank-and-file Republicans who want the House to withhold funding for President Obama’s executive orders on immigration proposed such a short-term CR during a conference meeting Wednesday, but Boehner told them that Senate Republicans opposed such an idea. “The fact that the House has recessed tells me leadership is worried,” the House Republican source said, noting that they also had to recess during the summer border crisis fight — when a conservative revolt, rather than a Democratic one, forced them to modify their proposals. “That tells me that they are reevaluating,” the lawmaker suggested, with the likeliest options being whether to stick with the CRomnibus as written or move to a short-term continuing resolution. The decision likely will be influenced by how House Democrats respond to President Obama’s statement of support for the House bill. The Democratic caucus voted unanimously against the bill in today’s procedural vote, but they might be swayed by Obama’s support for the final legislation — the president released the statement following the tense rule vote.”


Republicans hit pause button on spending bill

“Republican leaders postponed a vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill, as opposition from liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans mounted and a deadline neared. The House concluded debate on the legislation at about 2 p.m. and then immediately recessed instead of voting on the measure, as had been planned. A stopgap spending measure to fund the government expires at midnight Thursday. Republican aides told the Washington Examiner the GOP leadership is trying to determine whether there are enough Democratic and Republican votes combined to win passage. “Leadership teams are still talking to their respective members,” said Mike Long, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “A vote is still planned for this afternoon.” The prospects for passage have dimmed in the last 24 hours, after it appeared bipartisan support would push the bill over the finish line. Republicans have long known they would lose dozens of conservatives, who are angry the bill does not block Obama’s recent directive to stem illegal immigrant deportations. But they did not count on the rising anger from liberal House and Senate Democrats who oppose a provision to roll back a Wall Street reform measure. Both Republican and Democratic leadership in both chambers signed off on the bill earlier this week. Earlier this afternoon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced her opposition to the bill because of the provision, which Democrats fought to pass while she was House speaker in 2010. Pelosi said Republicans pushed to include the provision in the bill because it is a must-pass measure to keep the government operating. “This is ransom, this is blackmail,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “You don’t get a bill unless Wall Street gets taxpayer coverage.”


Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote (Video)

“Unsure whether they have the votes to pass a trillion-dollar federal spending package, House GOP leaders on Thursday afternoon delayed a final vote on the “cromnibus.” They did so with mere hours to go until the government is set to run out of funding, and just before the House was scheduled to vote. GOP leaders called a recess to floor proceedings, with a GOP leadership aide confirming “no conference meeting [is] planned at this time.” The aide said “leadership teams are still talking to their respective members,” and noted, “We still plan to vote this afternoon.” It’s not clear, however, what they will be voting on. If Republicans can’t surmount the impasse, they could decide to proceed with swiftly moving a short-term continuing resolution through the chamber, which the Senate could also pass before 11:59 p.m., when current funding expires. In doing so, they would be throwing away months of hard-fought negotiations between appropriators and dashing dreams of a return to regular order when the GOP takes control of all of Capitol Hill in the new year. But House GOP leadership may have few other options. After barely winning a procedural vote to bring the spending bill to the floor for full debate and consideration, they realized they were in peril of not having enough votes for passage. Too many Republicans were prepared to vote “no” because the Feb. 27 sunset date for Department of Homeland Security funding was not enough to pacify concerns the cromnibus contained no language to explicitly bar President Barack Obama from implementing his immigration executive orders. Hopes that Democrats would be able to make up for the short-fall have also dimmed as the minority party fought back “poison-pill” policy riders rolling back the financial regulatory overhaul laws from the Dodd-Frank Act and loosening some campaign finance rules. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defied the White House’s call to pass the cromnibus during a scathing floor speech, in which she said she was “enormously disappointed” with the administration. Republican aides told CQ Roll Call that part of the reason for the recess was to give Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer a chance to whip votes on the Democratic side. A Hoyer aide denied this was the cause, saying House Democratic leadership is not whipping votes one way or another.”



“President Barack Obama is trying to save the failing 1,603-page omnibus spending bill that almost died a procedural death in the House. “President Barack Obama supports the passage of the nine-month, $1.1 trillion spending bill roiling the House,” Politico says in a breaking news alert. “The White House’s support comes as liberals were expressing opposition to the package because of a measure that weakens Wall Street regulation. The White House said it is opposed to that provision, but supports the overall package.” In a statement of administration policy, the White House publicly backed the bill: The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 83, making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015, and for other purposes. The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort to include full-year appropriations legislation for most Government functions that allows for planning and provides certainty, while making progress toward appropriately investing in economic growth and opportunity, and adequately funding national security requirements. The Administration also appreciates the authorities and funding provided to enhance the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola epidemic, and to implement the Administration’s strategy to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as investments for the President’s early education agenda, Pell Grants, the bipartisan,

Manufacturing Institutes initiative, and extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

It’s unclear if the White House will be able to save the omnibus bill. At least 50 to 60, potentially as many as 100, House Republicans will vote against the bill on final passage on Thursday afternoon. That means Speaker Boehner will need Democrat votes to make up the difference, and at this time, it’s unclear if he will get them. Many Democrats would have to break with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. who’ve come out against the measure.”

Breaking: White House says Obama will sign “cromnibus”; Update: Pelosi “enormously disappointed” in Obama

Obama Backs Spending Package



“White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tells reporters that in spite of the “respect and affection” that President Obama has for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, they have a difference of opinion about supporting the “Cromnibus” spending bill in Congress.  “It’s clear that we have a difference of opinion here,” Earnest said, shortly after Pelosi said she was “enormously disappointed” with the White House decision to support the bill. Shortly after a flurry of activity in the House of Representatives threatened the future of the so-called “Cromnibus” bill, the White House issued a statement of support for the bill, promising not to veto it if it’s passed by Congress. On the procedural vote, zero Democrats voted for the bill, which nearly failed due to scores of protesting conservatives. But Earnest signaled that there were a number of good reasons for Democrats to support the legislation.  “If there are Democrats who do choose to support this piece of legislation there’s ample reason for them to do so,” Earnest said, calling the bill a “compromise” and encouraged Democrats to “vote their conscience.”

Earnest Responds to Pelosi: “It’s Clear That We Have A Difference Of Opinion Here”


MSNBC’s Wagner Grills Earnest: You Call It A “Compromise Bill,” Nancy Pelosi Calls It A “Blackmail Bill”


Obama Opposes D.C. Marijuana Rider, But Will Sign Bill

“President Barack Obama opposes a rider on the “cromnibus” prohibiting the District of Columbia from implementing a voter referendum legalizing marijuana but will sign the bill anyway. That’s according to Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who said the president doesn’t believe Congress should assert its authority to undo the will of the District’s voters. He didn’t appear to say the word “marijuana,” but was asked about the rider by a reporter. You can read the full Statement of Administrative Policy backing the cromnibus at this link.”


Pelosi: GOP doesn’t have the votes

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent her colleagues a letter Thursday afternoon saying it’s “clear” that House Republicans do not have the votes to pass a $1.1 trillion spending package. Shortly after coming out against the package in a speech on the House floor, the California Democrat thanked her troops for giving Democrats “leverage” to demand changes. “This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision,” Pelosi wrote, referring to the two Republican amendments that have fueled the Democrats’ revolt. “However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill.” House GOP leaders delayed a vote on the funding package, after Pelosi announced her opposition, going behind closed doors to plan their next move.”


Pelosi Asks House Dems to Unite against Obama

“House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) urged Democratic colleagues to remain united against the spending package pending before the House, despite President Obama’s statement of support for the legislation. “It is clear from this recess on the floor that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus,” Pelosi wrote in an open letter. “This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision. However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill. Stay tuned.” Obama announced his support for the bill after it nearly collapsed on a procedural hurdle earlier today.”



“In a “Dear Colleague” letter to Democrats dispatched as a news release, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is highlighting that the delayed vote on the “cromibus” gives Democrats leverage. “It is clear from this recess on the floor that the Republicans don’t have enough votes to pass the CRomnibus,” Pelosi wrote. “This increases our leverage to get two offensive provisions of the bill removed: the bank bailout and big money for campaigns provision.” Earlier in the afternoon Pelosi railed against riders in the massive $1.1 trillion appropriations bill, saying they were being “blackmailed” into supporting a must-pass government funding bill that loosened Wall Street and campaign finance regulations.

“However you decide to vote in the end, I thank those who continue to give us leverage to improve the bill,” she continued in her letter. She concluded with “Stay tuned. NANCY”


Pelosi Goes Off On The White House Over Spending Bill


Nancy Pelosi ‘Enormously Disappointed’ With White House Move


Obama, Hoyer Split With Pelosi on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video)

“Just hours from a government shutdown that everyone once insisted would never happen, House Democrats emerged from an emergency caucus meeting Thursday night much the same way they walked in: without a unified strategy. Democrats are split on the “cromnibus” spending plan agreed upon by Republican House and Democratic Senate negotiators. The White House and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland want the cromnibus to pass. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California is against it, and she has significant backing from her caucus. Those who might be inclined to vote “yes” are keeping quiet, dodging reporters or saying they are still undecided.”


Collapse: Pelosi says Boehner doesn’t have the votes for cromnibus after GOP leaders delay final vote; Update: House to vote on cromnibus



“House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) says Speaker John Boehner isn’t going to get the Democratic votes—apparently at least 50—that he’d need to get his $1.1 trillion 1,774-page omnibus spending bill passed. “Rep Louise Slaughter: They tell me they need about 50 votes. I don’t think they’re going to get them,” Fox News’ Chad Pergram Tweeted. The government will shut down at midnight tonight if a deal isn’t reached and passed by both the House and Senate, then signed by the president. Current funding levels run out at 11:59:59 Thursday.  While Nancy Pelosi is working against the current package, the White House and President Obama are working for it. Obama’s aides are lobbying House Democrats to try to make up the difference, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer—who’s working with the White House—is telling Democrats ”that this omni is the best deal they could ever get because they still control half of Congress,” a source on the Hill with knowledge of discussions says. Hoyer is warning Democrats that “defeating it means they won’t get anything from the new GOP Congress.” But that, this source says, “raises the question: why on Earth are Republicans voting for it then?” More and more high-profile Republicans keep coming out against the deal, however. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced she’s publicly against it on Thursday, as did Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA). After the debate on the bill, since leadership didn’t have the votes necessary to pass it right away, leadership put the House in recess subject to the call of the chair while officials twisted members’ arms to try to get more support for the omnibus bill.”


GOP makes one-week funding backup plan

President Obama is personally making calls to push the $1.1 trillion spending bill.

“President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are personally calling House Democrats urging them to support the bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill.

With a government shutdown less than eight hours away, the White House is drastically stepping up its outreach to Capitol Hill in hopes of securing enough votes to pass the nine-month spending bill. Democrats have gotten calls from Obama’s cabinet and senior White House officials. These calls come as the House is in recess, with Republicans and Democrats trying to cobble together 217 votes to put government spending on autopilot until September 2015. The chamber recessed shortly after 2 p.m. to figure out if they could garner support for the larger deal, or whether they would need to pass a pared-back measure to avoid the second shutdown of the 113th Congress. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) were also twisting Republican arms to garner more votes, and the White House had surrogates calling Capitol Hill to drum up Democratic support. Republicans said they were making gains Thursday afternoon, but Democratic support was still flagging. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is firmly against the bill due to the loosening of Wall Street regulations that was tucked inside the legislation. It has angered many on the left and even President Barack Obama, who supports the package but opposes that element. Obama late Thursday announced his support for the bill at a critical time for the 1,600-page package, which just narrowly cleared a procedural hurdle in the House Thursday. Pelosi’s Democratic Caucus has united against the so-called “cromnibus,” which may force House Republican leaders to consider a smaller, pared-back spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. “The Administration appreciates the bipartisan effort to include full-year appropriations legislation for most Government functions that allows for planning and provides certainty, while making progress toward appropriately investing in economic growth and opportunity, and adequately funding national security requirements,” the White House statement read. Republicans will only bring the large spending package to the floor with assurances from a healthy number of Democrats that they will vote yes. The congressional leadership — and some Democrats — spent the early part of the afternoon gauging support, and both sides felt like they were making progress toward a vote on a larger package. The House went into recess Thursday afternoon, and GOP leadership said they expected a vote in the late afternoon or early evening.”



“Just hours before the government might run out of funding, House leaders delayed a vote on final passage of the so-called “cromnibus.” The vote was supposed to take place around 2:00, however leaders called for a recess, likely indicating they’re concerned about the vote count.

A GOP leadership aide told Roll Call that “leadership teams are still talking to their respective members” and indicated that they still intend to vote today. However, Roll Call notes it’s unclear whether they would vote on the cromnibus, or a short-term continuing resolution.

The government funding bill has taken hits from all sides. Conservative republicans are angry it does not block President Obama’s executive amnesty, and Democrats are concerned about the bills’ riders, specifically those dealing with Wall Street and campaign finance regulations.

A procedural vote to advance the measure barely squeaked by earlier in the day. Federal government funding expires at midnight.”


Pessimistic GOP whip member: Leadership mulling Plan B

“A member of the House Republican whip team predicted that Republican leaders would try to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government, due to a difficulty mustering enough votes to pass the $1.1 trillion cromnibus package. “If there is a cromnibus bill I will vote for it, but I’m not sure that there will be,” Representative Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.) told National Review Online. “I think right now we’re headed towards a CR.” Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) and Representative Michelle Bachmann (R., Minn.) made the case for a 60-day CR with an attachment that withholds funding for the implementation of President Obama’s executive orders. They emphasized that the procedure they’re describing would not require the bill to be sent back to the House if Senate Democrats blocked the attachment; it would, however, put Senate Democrats on record as supporting or opposing the executive orders. “There’s a lot of senators that are up for reelection in 2016 and that vote will be remembered by their constituents in 2016,” Bachmann told reporters.”



“As House Republican leadership scrambles to pass the controversial Obama-Boehner “cromnibus” spending bill, other parts of the federal government are getting ready, in case they need to shut down. As Chad Pergram of FOX News tweeted, “Out of an abundance of caution,” the Office of Management and Budget is “talking to agencies ‘to prepare for all contingencies including a potential lapse in funding.'” The House is in recess right now, and scores of conservatives are making it clear they won’t vote for Speaker John Boehner’s  proposed $1 trillion-plus, 1,000-plus page spending measure. He would need Democratic votes to pass the bill, and that doesn’t seem likely, either. The federal government would shut down at midnight unless the bill — or a short-term Continuing Resolution — is passed. Conservatives are indicating they would support a CR.”


HuffPo Editor On Possible Gov Shutdown: ‘This Time, It’s The Democrats’ Fault, Not The Republicans’ [VIDEO]

“So this is what it has come to: liberals blaming the Democrats for a possible government shutdown. Thursday afternoon, Huffington Post editor Howard Fineman said that if no budget deal is reached by the Thursday night deadline, the Democrats will be blamed for a government shutdown. Fineman made the comments on “Now With Alex Wagner”, hours after President Barack Obama signaled his support for the $1.1 trillion budget package, which was drawn up by Congressional leaders. The Huffington Post editor also opined that opposition from the Democratic base, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is the beginning of the “post Barack Obama politics in the Democratic Party,” noting that the Democrats have stood in concert with one another since Obama took office in 2009. “I actually think this is very important, significant moment because I think you’re seeing the beginning of post-Barack Obama politics in the Democratic Party,” said Fineman. ”What you’re watching is the Democratic Party fall apart after what was a period of discipline, for the most part, during the Obama years.”



“It will be forever known as the Obama-Boehner cromnibus spending deal no matter what happens tonight. Speaker John Boehner, well more than four hours after GOP leadership sent the House of Representatives into recess subject to the call of the chair because it didn’t have the votes to pass the 1,744-page, $1.1 trillion spending deal, remains defiant and won’t admit what many are already saying: He’s failed. Boehner’s insistence upon trudging forward with this comes amid hardcore resistance from powerful leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties, but he did find new friends in the White House. President Barack Obama is working to break Democratic opposition to the bill. Obama sent his chief of staff Denis McDonough to Capitol Hill to ask Democrats at a 5:30 p.m. conference meeting to support the bill. Republican leaders, according to Politico, say they need 40 Democratic votes to pass the bill. Boehner, moving forward here tonight with this plan instead of abandoning it amid the bipartisan opposition from both conservatives and liberals, risks a government shutdown.

Sources close to the matter tell Breitbart News that there are “strongly credible rumors” indicating Boehner has abandoned Republicans to form a full fledged partnership with the Obama White House in an effort “to get the votes tonight from House Democrats and Republicans alike for the CRomnibus.” “He believes he can get the votes without having to go to a full-CR or the defund-amnesty language,” sources tell Breitbart News.

Many conservative members have presented Boehner with a way out multiple times over the past couple of days. They’re offering up the idea of a short-term clean Continuing Resolution (CR) that serves as a stopgap spending measure until the new Republican majority takes over in the Senate. But Boehner is refusing to budge. He wants to work with Obama and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”


WH Chief of Staff Whips Democratic Votes for Cromnibus Bill

“White House chief of staff Denis McDonough materialized in the Capital basement Thursday evening to attempt to persuade House Democrats to back the $1 trillion cromnibus spending bill that would fund the government through September.  The president officially offered his support to the spending package on Thursday afternoon, though the administration said it opposed a rider in the bill that repeals a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation.  Democratic congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton told reporters that McDonough reminded the Democratic conference that, come January, they would have less leverage over the bill. In January, of course, Republicans assume control of the Senate. “But you know that that’s what he would say and that’s probably the case and people have to do a cost-benefit analysis,” Norton told reporters.  In all likelihood, the fate of the bill rests on how many Democrats McDonough and the White House can bring over to their side.”


Waters warns House Dems against intimidation as Obama chief of staff arrives

“Barack Obama spent the afternoon on the phone attempting to whip enough House Democrats to vote for the bill, while Nancy Pelosi declared herself opposed to the bill and whipped her caucus to stand firm. As noted in an update in the earlier post, Obama sent his chief of staff Denis McDonough to push Democrats to get back on board: Fox News is told that President Obama and Vice President Biden were calling House Democrats appealing for their support. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also arrived on the Hill late Thursday to meet with the Democratic caucus. Meanwhile, House GOP leaders were trying to sway conservative members who, for different reasons, were opposed to the package. Unclear is whether the push can produce a bipartisan majority to approve the package. Earlier in the day, the bill narrowly cleared an important procedural hurdle, on a 214-212 test vote. But the tight vote, which almost failed, exposed serious problems — all Democrats voted against it, while 16 Republicans defected. GOP leaders then delayed a final vote, signaling they did not yet have enough support lined up to pass the legislation. A spending bill of some kind is needed to avert a government shutdown after the midnight deadline. A senior House GOP source told Fox News it is “very close.” Pelosi’s public opposition has forced Obama to own the cromnibus in a manner not anticipated by the White House. They apparently surprised Pelosi with a grudging endorsement of the bill this afternoon, which Pelosi suggested was a form of “blackmail.” Obama and his team responded with a full-court press that has turned this into a test of Obama’s remaining political strength in Washington. If he can’t deliver a handful of Democrats on this deal, Obama will look impotent, and that will not bode well for the White House in its extended lame-duck status. Even the President’s usual allies are turning on him. Maxine Waters told her colleagues not to allow themselves to get “intimidated” into changing their votes shortly before McDonough arrived. Waters explicitly accused Obama of conducting that intimidation”


House Dem: WH Chief of Staff’s Sales Pitch Failed

“White House chief of staff Denis McDonough failed to convince a “significant number” of House Democrats to support the $1.1 trillion cromnibus, according to one lawmaker who listened to the pitch. “Absolutely not,” Representative Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.) replied when a reporter asked if McDonough was able to convince a “significant number” of Democrats to back the bill, despite a legislative riders related to Dodd-Frank and campaign finance laws that the House Democrats oppose. McDonough walked out of the caucus meeting unwilling to say anything other than “it was a great opportunity” to talk to the Democrats. “I really appreciate it,” he said repeatedly. Pascrell said he opposes the bill even though its failure would likely result in Republicans being able to renegotiate the appropriations package next year, when they control the Senate. “I think it’s always a good time to fight,” he said. That approach frustrates the House Democratic appropriators who worked to cut the deal with House Republicans and Senate counterparts. “It is true that if you are dead set against these provisions that came up at the last minute, you might think that the world begins and ends with defeating those add ons — or one of the two of those add ons — that that is the whole ball game,” Representative Chaka Fattah (D., Penn.) told NRO. “If you’re an appropriator like myself and you’ve been working all year on various parts . . . you may think that, hey, getting these appropriation items done is the most important even if you have to live with the add-ons.”


What’s the Dodd-Frank Fight That Could Shut Down the Government? (And What Does It tell Us About Liz Warren?)


House Dem: Elizabeth Warren is Getting Ready for 2016

“At least one member of the House Democratic caucus suspects that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) scuttled the cromnibus over a proposed change to the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law in order to boost her profile ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign. “I would not be surprised if Mrs. Warren’s position has something to do with the 2016 campaign,” retiring Representative Jim Moran (D., Va.) tells National Review Online, although he allowed that he was speculating. “I assume it does,” he says. Warren owes her success in driving the Democratic caucus as much to her rivals as her friends, he suggested minutes earlier.”


Elizabeth Warren Takes The Stage



“I am reliably informed that Speaker Boehner is energetically working with the Obama White House to entice Democrats to come aboard the CRomnibus — and is deaf to conservative Republicans who are pushing for a very short term CR with a mechanism for denying funding for President Obama’s lawless unilateral amnesty for illegal aliens. We’ll see what happens, but the Speaker evidently thinks he can get over the goal line by teaming up with Dems.”


House sets vote on spending bill

“House Republican leaders scheduled a vote Thursday night on a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

The vote comes after hours of closed-door negotiations on the bill, which GOP leaders are hoping to pass to avert a partial government shutdown after midnight.”



“Speaker John Boehner will “roll the dice” and bring the 1,774-page $1.1 trillion cromnibus spending deal bill to the floor on Thursday night, and if it fails—as many expect it will—then Republicans will pass a short-term Continuing Resolution that funds the government at current levels for three months. “House Republicans will roll the dice, vote on the cromnibus,” Politico’s Jake Sherman Tweets. “Move to three-month stop-gap bill if it fails.” “House Rs are really rolling the dice by voting on the omnibus, but they do have the 3-month CR ready,” Sherman added.

Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel told Politico earlier that he expects “the bill to pass with bipartisan support today, but if it does not, we will pass a short-term CR to avoid a government shutdown.”  “The length and other details of that bill have not been determined,” Steel said.

Sources across Capitol Hill tell Breitbart News that the CR fallback plan would fund the government until Feb. 27 next year, a few weeks after the new GOP-controlled Senate and emboldened House majority takes over.”


Rep. Labrador: ‘I’m Voting No’ on Omnibus Bill

“When, and if, the House of Representatives votes today on the $1.1 trillion bill to keep the government funded through next September, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) will be casting a “Nay” vote.”


Deputy GOP Whip Refuses to Say If He’ll Vote to Permit Funding for ‘Serious Breach of Our Constitution’

“Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the deputy Republican whip, refused to say today whether by voting for a continuing resolution that permits funding for President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty of illegal aliens–which House Speaker John Boehner has called a “serious breach of our Constitution”–he is voting to permit a serious breach of the Constitution. Cole refused to answer on the grounds that he did not “know” the reporter. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) also would not say if he would vote to permit funding for Obama’s amnesty.”


After Hours of Uncertainty, House Passes ‘Cromnibus’ (Updated)

“The House narrowly advanced a trillion-dollar spending bill Thursday night to fund nearly all federal operations through the end of the fiscal year. The measure passed 219-206 and now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have just a few hours to avert a government shutdown; funding runs out at 11:59 p.m. Sixty-seven Republicans joined 139 Democrats voting “no,” a volume of opposition ultimately not great enough to stymie the bill that was, by all accounts, controversial — even for those who voted “yes.” The outcome was even more of a win for GOP leaders than it might have been otherwise: Earlier in the day they were forced to postpone the vote indefinitely to make up for a shortfall on both sides of the aisle. A large number of Republicans said they would not vote for any bill that didn’t explicitly block President Barack Obama from implementing his executive orders on immigration, even though they were given a short-term extension of Homeland Security funding as a peace-offering. In the hours between recessing floor proceedings and bringing the cromnibus up for a final vote, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and his chief deputy, Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, worked to boost support among their ranks, according to a GOP leadership aide, who added that the number of committed “yes” votes on Thursday afternoon was greater by Thursday evening. But Democrats were the ones who ultimately held government funding in suspense. They were largely expected to help Republicans make up for a drop-off in votes, but they held firm against two policy riders they said were put into the cromnibus at the eleventh hour: One rolling back portions of the financial regulatory overhaul law known as Dodd-Frank, the other loosening campaign finance rules.”


House approves $1.1T bill financing government

“Republicans have muscled a $1.1 trillion bill financing government agencies through the House after President Barack Obama phoned Democratic lawmakers and urged them to back the measure. The House approved the measure late Thursday by 219-206. The compromise bill keeps agencies funded through next September. Many conservatives opposed it because it did not block Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration. A large majority of House Democrats opposed it because of provisions easing some restrictions on banks and allowing higher political contributions by big donors. Obama backed the bill and called wavering Democratic lawmakers to persuade them to help it pass. The bill must now be approved by the Democratic-run Senate. Funding for federal agencies was expiring at midnight. Lawmakers were ready to pass short-term legislation keeping government doors open.”

House Passes Cromnibus


Congress Temporarily Avoids Government Shutdown


Here Are the 67 Republicans Who Voted Against the Massive ‘CRomnibus’ Spending Bill

“The massive $1 trillion “CRomnibus” spending bill squeaked through the U.S. House of Representatives with a 219-206 vote on Thursday night. Among those voting against the unpopular spending bill were 67 Republicans, including conservative favorites like Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Dave Brat (R-Va.)”


Breaking Down the ‘Cromnibus’ Vote


With Obama’s Help, House Passes Boehner’s Amnesty Funding Cromnibus Bill

“President Barack Obama bailed out House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday night. After the House embarrassed Boehner by almost killing his 1,774-page $1.1 trillion cromnibus bill on a purely procedural vote earlier in the day, House Democrats pitched in to provide the votes to pass it. “My job tonight is to say thank you and Merry Christmas,” Boehner said in a rare floor appearance after the measure barely passed the House 219-206 after a day of pure chaos in Congress. Earlier in the say, every Democrat who voted on the rule voted against it. That nearly derailed the bill, as at one point there were enough Republicans to voting against the rule to kill it. Then Reps. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) and Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) switched their votes from nays to yeas on the rule, allowing the House to take up the cromnibus bill after a 214-212 vote. The presiding officer of the House had kept that vote open past the time allotted for the vote to twist arms of those two and more, and once they broke enough members to pass the rule they passed the bill. It’s worth noting that as the full House debated the rule, Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) was AWOL. Normally the chairman of the Rules Committee will champion a bill on the floor while debating against the Rules Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Slaughter showed up for the debate, but since Sessions disappeared amid massive criticism for his role in enabling this bill’s passage, Republicans needed to field Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)—a staunch ally of Boehner’s—to debate Slaughter.

After the rule passed, the full House debated the cromnibus bill for about an hour—then went into an unexpected several-hour-long recess from shortly after 2 p.m. until right about 9 p.m. as the fate of the final passage was in jeopardy. During this time, it was clear Boehner didn’t have the votes for final passage as about 50 or 60 Republicans were planning to vote against the bill—and the Democrats were in full revolt. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Financial Services Committee ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) worked to lead a revolt among House Democrats—and it became unclear whether Boehner would get the 50-plus Democratic votes he needed to pass this bill.”


Boehner and Obama Join to Pass Bill Funding Obamacare and Amnesty


Harry Reid Hails House Passage of Cromnibus

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) is glad that House Republicans passed the cromnibus rather than going to their fallback plan. “It’s not a perfect bill,” Reid said on the Senate floor, per Politico. “But this bill is so much better than a short-term CR.” Reid has plenty of reasons to be happy. The bill almost failed because of a change to campaign finance reform laws that he had inserted into the bill, according to a House Democrat. “Harry Reid wanted that in because he wants the political parties to take greater control of the electoral process, because if there is a vacuum than individual contributors who have their own agenda — oftentinmes its to deregulate their own industry or to cut their own taxes — they fill up vacuums,” retiring Virginia Representative Jim Moran told reporters after a House Democratic caucus meeting. “So, Reid and [Democratic National Committee chairwoman] Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others want people to be able to contribute to the political parties.” The campaign finance reform change has more often been regarded as incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handiwork. The change strengthens the ability of leaders in both parties to control their respective campaign processes. Representative Chaka Fattah (D., Penn.) said it wasn’t clear who inserted the controversial provision into the spending package. “Since no one has taken paternity ownership of these new items, we can’t even identify who ordered them,” Fattah told reporters, referring to the campaign finance change and the Dodd-Frank rider that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) denounced.”


Senate to consider $1.1T package Friday

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the Senate on Friday will consider the $1.1 trillion government-funding bill approved by the House. The Senate voted Thursday night on a two-day stop-gap funding measure to keep the government operating beyond midnight. The leader also wants to pass a defense authorization bill, a package of tax extenders, a terrorism insurance bill and confirm a group of nominees before wrapping up the 113th Congress.

He asked all 99 of his Senate colleagues to cooperate to pass the massive spending package by Saturday. “We’ll take up the long-term spending bill tomorrow,” Reid said on the floor shortly before 10 pm Thursday. “Senators will want to debate this legislation. We’ll have that opportunity. The Senate will vote on the long-term funding bill as soon as possible.” The omnibus will have to wait, however, until the Senate casts a final vote on the annual Defense Department authorization bill, which may take place as late as 4:30 p.m. Friday. Reid said he is in talks with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is delaying a final vote on the defense bill because of an objection over an attached federal lands measure, about speeding up the process. Reid hopes to pass the omnibus on Friday or Saturday and then move immediately to a one-year extension of various expired tax provisions. He said reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and a slew of pending executive and judicial branch nominees need to get done as well. “With a little bit of good fortune, we could complete the spending for the country for a fiscal year that’s fast upon us,” he said. “We could finish the defense bill and then look to doing the tax extenders and completing the work on TRIA, whatever that might be.”


Right And Left Outraged As ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill Heads To Senate

“The Washington Establishment is desperately hoping voters and lawmakers will forget about today’s ugliness, but the deception and shenanigans are different this time,” stated the conservative group Heritage Action. “This legislation funds President Obama’s unilateral, unlawful actions, which include granting quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.” “With this vote, a majority of the people’s representatives in the House have agreed to an unprecedented sell-out of the public interest,” stated the liberal organization Common Cause. “We are dismayed at reports that a majority of senators and the White House are prepared to support it; we implore them to reconsider.”


Why conservative Republicans consider the spending bill a betrayal


Krauthammer on “Civil War” Among Democrats: Pelosi, Warren Leading A “Rebellion” Against Obama


House Dem: GOP Gave Dems ‘Virtually Everything’ We Wanted

“Retiring representative Jim Moran (D., Va.) says that Democrats got “virtually everything” they wanted in the cromnibus package that’s going to a vote in the House tonight, as he praised the bill in terms that could double as the conservative critique of the legislation. Moran says that “the Republicans are indicating they need 80 Democrats” and he’s frustrated that Democrats won’t provide the votes. “In 20 years of being on the appropriations [committee], I haven’t seen a better compromise in terms of Democratic priorities. Implementing the Affordable Care Act, there’s a lot more money for early-childhood development — the only priority that got cut was the EPA but we gave them more money than the administration asked for,” Moran told reporters Thursday evening after exiting a Democratic caucus meeting in which White House chief of staff Denis McDonough tried to convince members to back the bill. “There were 26 riders that were extreme and would have devastated the Environmental Protection Agency in terms of the Clean Water and Clean Air Act administration; all of those were dropped,” Moran continued. ”There were only two that were kept and they wouldn’t have been implemented this fiscal year. So, we got virtually everything that the Democrats tried to get.” Moran warned Democrats that if the cromnibus failed, Republicans would be able to run over Democrats next year when they control the House and Senate.”


Marlin Stutzman Claims He Was Hoodwinked

GOP Rep: House Leaders Made False Promise to Get My Crucial Vote


Boehner CRomnibus Contains Tens Of Millions For Thomson Prison, The Potential Home Of Gitmo Terrorist


D.C. Marijuana Rider is Officially Chopped Liver


Military Footwear at Issue in ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill

“At issue is a 2012 Small Business Administration rule that combined some industry classifications and, in the process, might affect how footwear manufacturers qualify for defense contracts. Per a summary of the spending bill agreement: The agreement notes that the Small Business Size Standards adopted by the Small Business Administration on October 1, 2012 could have a detrimental impact on the domestic supply base for military footwear. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which is responsible for managing the acquisition of military footwear, aims to maintain the health of this supply base and preserve surge capacity for times of extreme demand. It is acknowledged that both of these goals may be affected by the new size standards. As such: The agreement directs the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act that provides an estimate of the impact of the new size standards upon the supply base for military footwear, the potential impact to maintaining adequate surge capacity within the supply base, and the steps that DLA will take to ensure that both this surge capacity and the overall health of the supply base will be maintained under the new size standards for the footwear industry.”


The Only NSA Reform To Pass Congress Is About To Be Removed In The Shutdown Spending Bill

“Ahead of a major vote on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers in Congress have quietly slipped in a provision overwriting legislation passed earlier this year that prevents the National Security Agency from conducting “backdoor” searches of Americans’ electronic communications. Congress on Tuesday night unveiled a combined continuing resolution/omnibus spending package, which lawmakers must come to an agreement on by the end of Thursday to avoid a government shutdown. Included in that “CRomnibus” spending bill is language overwriting an amendment overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives that slashes funding for NSA and limits its ability to search Americans’ online communications while surveilling foreigners. (RELATED: House Passes Bill To Cut NSA Funding, Close ‘Backdoor’ Surveillance) Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky co-sponsored the amendment, which passed as part of the 2015 Defense Appropriations Bill by a vote of 293-123 in June. The amendment places limits on the signals intelligence agency’s access to email, online browsing and chat histories, and prevents it from using its budget to compel companies and organizations to build backdoors into encryption products and standards. The Senate never passed the authorization bill, and as such, it was rolled into the last-minute congressional-leader drafted “CRomnibus,” which left numerous legislative provisions on the cutting-room floor in order to obtain enough bipartisan support for passage. “I’m watching the will of the people be subverted,” Massie said in a Huffington Post report. “Our representative democracy has been short-circuited with this omnibus.”



“Though school officials, nutritionists, parents, and students have decried First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch program, the $1 trillion CRomnibus (part “continuing resolution” and part “omnibus”) does not include relief from the unpopular meals standards after all. Daren Bakst at The Daily Signal notes that the spending bill does not include, as was anticipated, a temporary waiver, so that schools could get some relief from the onerous standards. As the Associated Press (AP) has reported, school officials have lobbied for a reprieve from the school meal regulations that have required an increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as limits on the amounts of sodium, sugar and fat. Breitbart News observed in September that an investigative report in Cincinnati found the First Lady’s school lunch requirements are wasting $4 million a day in food thrown away by children who dislike the meals. In addition, the same article pointed to a Harvard study of Mrs. Obama’s program that found “60 percent of fresh vegetables and 40 percent of fresh fruit are being thrown away.”


American Centrifuge to Get Funding Lifeline

“The omnibus spending bill moving through Congress would provide $97 million for domestic uranium enrichment to maintain the American Centrifuge Project though September. The troubled project, in Piketon, Ohio, is intended to produce uranium for both commercial and weapons use and enjoys the support of key Ohio lawmakers including Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptor. The project hit a snag last year when former lead contractor USEC announced plans to file for bankruptcy amid a depressed market for commercial uranium enrichment. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory took over management in May, though USEC – now under the name Centrus Energy – continues involvement as a subcontractor.”


Cromnibus bursts at the seams with special-interest goodies


The 7 Reasons The CRomnibus Is A Total Disgrace

“I’m going to put aside the policies, some of which I love and others I despise, to focus on the process. Consider the following:

–After literally months of doing almost nothing, Congress in its final days puts together a thousand page-plus bill and gives neither its members nor the public a chance to review it. And many of these are the same people who in the past have decried big bills that no one read.

–The legislation contains nonspending policies that should not be included in a spending bill.

–The legislation contains significant policy changes that Congress either has barely considered or hasn’t reviewed at all.

–The policy changes are the equivalent of earmarks – special provisions benefitting an individual, area, industry or company – even though they supposedly were banned several years ago.

–The bill, which supposedly is a combination of a continuing resolution (or CR) and omnibus appropriation (hence the name CRomnibus), is really neither. In reality, it’s nothing more than a catchall, Christmas tree bill that includes many of the things Congress couldn’t (or wouldn’t dare try to) get done in standalone legislation.

–Congressional appropriators, who used be famous for insisting that policy riders not be included in their legislation, are standing by silently and with their thumbs in unmentionable places while multiple nonappropriations provisions are added to their bill with impunity. This removes once and for all their claim to be protectors of the appropriations process.

–The House is planning on adjourning for the year without knowing whether the Senate will agree to what it passes. This take-my-ball-and-go-home attitude may be acceptable in a schoolyard but it definitely is not what you want Congress to do. This is especially the case when a government shutdown could be the result of the intransigence.”



“Laura Ingraham is blasting Republican House leadership over its support for a more than $1 trillion “Continuing Resolution-Omnibus” budget bill she calls “a 1,600 page bad joke.”

On her nationally syndicated radio program Thursday, Ingraham said that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “has managed to please Barack Obama and infuriate the base of the party” on the heels of last month’s significant Republican electoral victory by pushing the bad budget bill to a vote so quickly. A House floor vote is likely to be held Thursday after the House Rules Committee, chaired by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), reported the CR-Omnibus bill out of committee by a 9 to 4 party line vote late Wednesday afternoon.  Ingraham argued that instead of funding the federal government until the end of fiscal year 2015 in September, Congress should “pass a short term continuing resolution to push a budget to February or March, then get back to work department by department in a detailed budgeting process.” “This [bill],” she said, “is an act of utter disrespect for the normal course of budgeting.” Ingraham began her program with a clip of Speaker Boehner criticizing the rush to pass Obama’s Stimulus Bill in February 2009:  Here we are with 1,100 pages not one member of this body has read. What happened to the promise we are going to let the American people see what’s in this bill for 48 hours? She followed that with an audio clip of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s famous statement prior to the passage of Obamacare in March 2010:  We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”


Defeat the Omnibus

“The federal government’s funding authorization expires tonight at midnight, and the Republican plan to renew it bodes poorly for the GOP’s leadership of Congress next year. The proposal: Pass an omnibus spending resolution that funds most of the federal government into October of next year, while passing a separate resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security just through the end of February. The coalition of Republicans and Democrats supporting the “cromnibus” bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership with hundreds of riders to please both parties, might have been impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it now may be collapsing. (There may be a few days’ funding extension to make time for voting on the overall proposal.) Congress shouldn’t let the government shut down, but Republicans should neither acquiesce to President Obama’s unprecedented executive power grab nor give up control over the budget for well into the 114th Congress. Rather than this barnacled bill, Republicans should have offered Senator Harry Reid a short-term funding proposal for all of government besides the federal immigration bureaucracy, and a separate bill to fund the federal immigration bureaucracy that prevents it from implementing the president’s amnesty.”


CROmnibus: The $1 Trillion Betrayal (good)

“Well, since this monstrosity went public at around 8:30 Tuesday night, countless eyes have been poring over its provisions to make sure we don’t have to pass it to find out what’s in it. Following are some of the worst:

  1. Explanatory Statement

Right from the start, the very first provision indicates this is a new animal: Sec. 4 Explanatory Statement (P 4.) The explanatory statement regarding this Act, printed in the House of Representatives section of the Congressional Record on or about December 11, 2014 by the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the House, shall have the same effect with respect to the allocation of funds and implementation of divisions A through K of this Act as if it were a joint explanatory statement of a committee of conference. What it says in plain English is that the appropriations committee chairman will have authority to write in changes to any of the appropriations bills after the bill is passed. Usually this is done by a conference committee before the vote and indicates how and where they would like to see monies spent. This provision could allow the chairman to sneak in something or make other changes after the vote!

  1. Executive Amnesty Is Fully Funded

The bill withholds funding for 451 separate activities, but none for executive amnesty. It provides at least $2.5 billion to handle this year’s influx of approximately 252,600 illegals. Most of the programs existed beforehand, but the legislation makes clear that increases have been provided to cover the additional costs: Health and Human Services: $948 million for HHS’s Unaccompanied Alien Children program, $80 million more than fiscal year 2014, specifically to accommodate the “more than 57,000 children” apprehended in 2014. According to the Democrats, “It will also support legal services for children as they seek safety in the United States from extreme violence and abuse in their home countries.” This mantra is part of the Democrats’ effort to reclassify illegal aliens as “refugees,” a classification they clearly do not warrant. See p. 34 of Democrat bill summary. Social Security: The following convoluted language actually gives illegals greater access to Social Security. By limiting denials to individuals whose actions have “formed the basis for a conviction…” implicitly everyone else is eligible, including those 4.5 million amnestied illegals: None of the funds appropriated in this Act shall be expended or obligated by the Commissioner of Social Security, for purposes of administering Social Security benefit payments under title II of the Social Security Act, to process any claim for credit for a quarter of coverage based on work performed under a social security account number that is not the claimant’s number and the performance of such work under such number has formed the basis for a conviction of the claimant of a violation of section 208(a)(6) or (7) of the Social Security Act. (PP. 958-959). Department of Education: “$14 million for grants to all State educational agencies within States with at least one county where 50 or more unaccompanied children have been released to sponsors since January 1, 2014…” (P. 910) Furthermore, local agencies will be given subgrants for “supplemental academic and non-academic services and supports to immigrant children and youth.” Department of State: $932 million. Includes a provision to assist Central American countries in improving their border security. (PP. 1303 — 1306). No funds appear to be allocated specifically to this activity but the Democrats’ bill summary identifies $260 million “to respond to a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America coming to the U.S. The funds will be used to implement a prevention and response strategy focused on border security and the reintegration of migrants, as well as the causes of the migration, including programs to improve education and employment, support families, counter gangs, coyotes and drug cartels and professionalize police forces.” See p. 53. Note that the above does not refer to U.S. border security but that of Central American countries — an absurd gesture. The three Northern Triangle states of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador facilitated this year’s migration. Their borders are much tighter than ours. If they wanted to shut them down, they could. Flush $260 million.”


Rockin’ Reactions to the Cromnibus


Government for the strongest

“Intellectually undemanding progressives, excited by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — advocate of the downtrodden and the Export-Import Bank — have at last noticed something obvious: Big government, which has become gargantuan in response to progressives’ promptings, serves the strong. It is responsive to factions sufficiently sophisticated and moneyed to understand and manipulate its complexity. Hence Democrats, the principal creators of this complexity, receive more than 70 percent of lawyers’ political contributions. Yet progressives, refusing to see this defect — big government captured by big interests — as systemic, want to make government an ever more muscular engine of regulation and redistribution. Were progressives serious about what used to preoccupy America’s left — entrenched elites, crony capitalism and other impediments to upward mobility — they would study “The New Class Conflict,” by Joel Kotkin, a lifelong Democrat.”


Taxpayer-Backed Fannie And Freddie Ordered To Subsidize Low-Income Housing

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have yet to repay a $188 billion taxpayer bailout, but the Federal Housing and Finance Administration ordered the agencies Thursday to begin diverting some of their profits to low-income housing funds. Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the Financial Services Committee, slammed the move. ”Director Watt’s decision to activate the Fannie and Freddie slush fund may be an early Christmas present for Acorn-like, liberal housing activists, but it’s a lump of coal in the stocking of every American taxpayer,” he said in a statement Thursday. A 2008 law ordered Fannie and Freddie to pay a percentage of profits into the Capital Magnet and Housing Trust Funds, but the FHFA suspended payments that same year, because Fannie and Freddie were in such bad financial shape. But in letters to Fannie and Freddie Thursday, FHFA Director Mel Watt revoked the six-year suspension and ordered them to resume paying into the funds. Hensarling has already urged the FHFA not to revoke the suspension. “We believe that any money diverted from the GSEs to these Funds is money that would otherwise be used to compensate taxpayers for their investment,” he said in an April letter to Watt that was also signed by Republican Reps. Scott Garrett and Ed Royce. To keep Fannie and Freddie afloat in 2008, the Treasury purchased $188 billion of shares, essentially taking over the companies. They have paid the Treasury $163 billion in dividends on those shares, but are unable to buy the shares back from the Treasury. So technically they still owe taxpayers $188 billion. And taxpayers are still on the hook for any future collapse, since the government is essentially guaranteeing Fannie and Freddie’s finances.”


Boehner’s Spending Deals Have Increased Debt $3.8T in 3.8 Years

“The federal debt has increased by $3.8 trillion in the 3.8 years that have passed since House Speaker John Boehner cut his first spending deal with Senate Democrats and President Obama.

That works out to $32,938.38 for every household in the United States—including those taking federal welfare benefits—and $42,783.20 for every full-time year-round private-sector worker in the United States. In fact, the $42,783.20 that the federal government has borrowed per full-time year-round private-sector worker since Boehner cut his first federal spending deal exceeds the $41,916 that according to the Census Bureau was median annual earnings of full-time year-round private-sector wage and salary workers in 2013.”




Progressives Gnaw at the Curriculum

The undermining of AP U.S. history is typical of their work in our schools.




Fox News Poll: Voters worry about checks and balances after Obama immigration action

“Majorities of American voters think President Barack Obama exceeded his authority with recent executive actions on immigration — and are worried he may be permanently altering the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution.  That’s according to a new Fox News poll released Wednesday. By an 8-point margin, more voters disapprove (51 percent) than approve (43 percent) of the specific policy changes Obama made that will, among other things, allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain temporarily in the United States to work. Meanwhile, nearly three quarters think this easing of immigration laws will encourage more people to enter the country illegally (74 percent).  That includes 50 percent who believe Obama’s actions are “very likely” to result in more people illegally entering the U.S.  Even more voters are unhappy with how Obama made these changes.  By a 60-38 percent margin, voters disapprove of the president bypassing Congress to change how the government deals with illegal immigration.  In addition, a 54-percent majority thinks Obama “exceeded his authority” under the Constitution by making the immigration changes unilaterally.  Thirty-eight percent say he “acted within his authority.”  The poll goes on to ask what such actions mean for the country in the long term and finds more than two-thirds — 68 percent of voters — are concerned Obama’s use of executive orders and unilateral actions may be “permanently altering” our country’s system of checks and balances. That includes 42 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents and 93 percent of Republicans. Hispanic voters — who are almost twice as likely as white voters to approve of the recent changes Obama made on immigration (66 percent vs. 34 percent) — like how the president went about making the changes as well.  Fifty-six percent of Hispanics approve of Obama bypassing Congress compared to 29 percent of whites.  Even so, views among Hispanics are about evenly divided over Obama’s authority under the Constitution: 48 percent say he acted within his authority, while 44 percent say he exceeded it.  By two-to-one white voters say Obama exceeded his authority under the Constitution (62 percent-31 percent).”


Liberal worries grow about Obama power plays

“According to the latest Fox News poll, 43 percent of voters approved of President Obama’s temporary amnesty for some 5 million illegal immigrants. But when asked about the means by which he did it, support slipped to 38 percent. More tellingly, though, was that when asked whether they were concerned about the damage the action could do to the federal system of checks and balances, just 20 percent said they were not concerned that the president’s move was “permanently altering our country’s system of checks and balances.” Is it any wonder? Obama has been travelling the country to brag about the scope of his immigration actions and hyping the use of his executive power for years. He may have a serious trust deficit with voters, but Obama has at least been able to convince Americans of one thing: He means business when it comes to crushing Congress and expanding executive power.  “He’s created an alternative system of immigration that Congress explicitly refused to pass. And that’s what he’s making: law. He cannot do that. Congress makes the law, not the President.” – Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on “The Kelly File” Watch here.”


“Obama’s Anti-Gun Surgeon General Nominee Could Get Confirmation Vote”

President Barack Obama’s surgeon general pick will likely get a confirmation vote before the end of the year, after being blocked for much of the year because of his anti-gun comments. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged to schedule a confirmation vote for Dr. Vivek Murthy, a controversial nominee for the relatively low-profile position, The Hill reported. Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, had blocked the Murthy nomination, citing his anti-gun comments and overly political work as an Obama campaign advocate. A senior Democratic aide told CBS News that Murthy would likely get a vote during the final days that Democrats maintain control of the Senate. Before the November midterms, many red-state Democrats opposed Murthy’s nomination. But recently, Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jon Tester of Montana announced they would support his nomination. Murthy is the founder of Doctors for America, which grew from the campaign organization Doctors for Obama, which started in 2008. The organization has advocated for Obamacare, as well as the Obama administration’s failed push for expanding gun control laws in 2013. Doctors for America has referred to guns as a public health threat, and circulated a petition to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun laws.”



“A new USA Today/Pew Research poll finds that President Barack Obama’s core policy initiatives such as combating global warming and income inequality barely register as top concerns for most Americans.  In the wake of historic midterm election losses for Democrats, Obama unveiled two major global warming initiatives and said he would make the issue a major theme of his final two years in office. However, according to the latest USA Today/Pew Research poll, just 1% of Americans cite environment/global warming as their top concern.  Similarly, last year Obama hailed income inequality as “the defining challenge of our time.” Yet in the most recent poll, just 2% of Americans called distribution of wealth/income inequality the top problem confronting Americans. The findings pose a daunting challenge for an unpopular president with an agenda seemingly out of step with the concerns of most Americans. Indeed, more than 1 in 3 Americans (34%) cited economic issues as the nation’s top problem. As USA Today notes, Obama cannot “take credit for good economic news when so many Americans believe the country fundamentally has gotten off on the wrong track.”  That hasn’t stopped Obama from trying, however. For months, despite the fact that food stamp enrollments have remained above 46 million for 36 months in a row, Obama has continued to claim his leadership has lifted the U.S. economy.  “By every economic measure, we are better off now than when I took office,” Obama said in October.  Still, more Americans disapprove than approve of Obama’s handling of seven of eight specific issues (on energy policy it’s tied 41%-41%). The poll found that just 42% of Americans approve of President Obama.”


No time to quarrel: Kerry warns of climate ‘tragedy’


Massive defense bill clears Senate hurdle

“A sweeping defense policy bill that would give President Barack Obama authority to expand the campaign against Islamic militants cleared a major hurdle on Thursday.

The Senate voted 85-14 to move ahead on the bill despite objections from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and a few other Republicans to a provision to designate 250,000 acres of new wilderness. Inclusion of the unrelated land issue has divided GOP senators but is unlikely to scuttle the bill, which the Senate should pass and send to the president on Friday. The bill would authorize the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels for two years, and it would provide $5 billion for the fight against Islamic extremists. The bill would provide core funding of $521.3 billion for the military, including about $8 billion in additional authority, and $63.7 billion for overseas operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite Obama’s objections, the measure maintains the prohibition on transferring terror suspects from the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States. The bill would prohibit the retirement of the A-10 Warthog, the close-air support plane often described as ugly but invaluable. The Pentagon sought cuts in military benefits. Lawmakers compromised by agreeing to make service members pay $3 more for co-pays on prescription drugs and trimming the growth of the off-base housing allowance by 1 percent instead of the Pentagon’s deeper 5 percent recommendation.”


Omnibus shows Obama losing grip on Pentagon spending


Obama push leaves 136 prisoners held at Guantanamo

“President Barack Obama is driving a new push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center despite congressional opposition. A dozen prisoners recently transferred out since Obama vented his frustration to senior administration officials in a rare private meeting. Under Obama’s watch the prisoner population has been whittled down to 136, from a high near 700 and its lowest point since shortly after it opened in 2002. The reduction is part of Obama’s uphill push to try to fulfil the pledge he made on his first day in office to close the detention center for terrorism suspects on the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. “We’re working on it,” Obama said at a bookstore over the Thanksgiving weekend when a shopper expressed hope Guantanamo will close. The sudden surge in transfers during the past months comes after few detainees moved out earlier in the year. Fed up with the stalled progress, Obama summoned administration officials to the White House Situation Room on Nov. 19, delivering a lengthy lecture about why he wants to see it close, according to administration officials familiar with the meeting, which wasn’t on Obama’s public schedule. Half of the current Guantanamo population — 68 detainees — have been cleared for transfer. Administration officials say at least five more will be moved by the end of the year. The transfer of some of those detainees in particular is raising objections from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon. The California Republican wrote Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Wednesday saying, “The release of these detainees raises considerable questions and concerns about the risk to Americans.”


In Final Speech, Senator Coburn Issued This Powerful Warning to America

“After thanking a number of Senate members and personal staff, Coburn quickly turned to a more serious topic reminding the dozens of his colleagues gathered for the speech that most republics in history have perished. Strict adherence to the Constitution and the founders’ intent, Coburn said, was the only way the U.S. could buck that trend. “Can we cheat history?” he asked rhetorically. “Can we do something better than has been done in the past? “I honestly believe we can,” continued Coburn. “But I don’t believe we can if we continue to ignore the wisdom of our founding documents.”… Invoking the oath all congressmen recite before entering office, Coburn said there is nothing in that oath about bringing back so-called “pork” to home districts. “Your state is not mentioned one time in that oath,” he said. “Your whole goal is to protect the Constitution and its liberties. Its not to provide benefits for your state. Thats where we differ. That’s where the conflict with my colleagues has come.” Coburn also apologized for offending some of his fellow senators over the years but did not shy from taking a veiled swipe at his frequent adversary Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “Every senator has the power to introduce legislation and until recently offer amendments,” said Coburn. “No single senator should be able to decide what the rights of another senator should be. Thats tyranny. It has nothing to to with the history … of the Senate.” Coburn was likely referring to Reid’s practice of so-called “filling the tree,” a procedure by which he was able to control which amendments would be offered by which senators. Coburn also panned Reid’s decision to bend longstanding Senate rules to allow 51 senators to approve of President Obama’s nominees rather than 60.”


G.O.P. Donors Seek to Anoint a 2016 Nominee Early

“Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate. The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney. All three are believed to be capable of raising the roughly $80 million in candidate and “super PAC” money that many Republican strategists and donors now believe will be required to win their party’s nomination. But the reality of all three candidates vying for support has dismayed the party’s top donors and “bundlers,” the volunteers who solicit checks from networks of friends and business associates. They fear being split into competing camps and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a bloody primary that would injure the party’s eventual nominee — or pave the way for a second-tier candidate without enough mainstream appeal to win the general election…”


Republican Bigwigs Will Own the Tea Party

“Republican donors want to anoint a front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination early. According to the New York Times, they’re worried that too many potential candidates are seeking the “establishment” slot in the Republican primaries — Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie all have strong appeal to this group — and would like to settle on one candidate. They may not. But the track record says they will — and that whoever they settle on will end up carrying the party’s mantle in the presidential election. Historically, the establishment has tended to pick its candidate early in the primary season. This is a great advantage in making sure someone to its liking gets the nomination. In 2012, for example, Mitt Romney was already the choice of Republican donors, strategists and elected officials before a primary vote was cast. Anti-Romney forces in the party were split among several candidates and never picked one champion for their cause. Bob Dole benefited from the same dynamic in 1996. The rightmost faction of Republican voters tends to be divided among several candidates until late in the game, and that’s one reason every Republican nominee since 1984 has been at the ideological center of the party or slightly to its left. Why do the donors and bigwigs settle on their candidate earlier than the activists do? Partly because they’re more concerned about picking a winner. Compared to Tea Party ralliers, their support is more of an investment and less of a statement. The most ideologically minded Republicans are willing to back longshot candidates like Herman Cain (the former Godfather’s Pizza executive, never elected to anything, who ran for the nomination last time). The big-money people in the party are less sentimental. They might have liked Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, who also ran last time. But they never saw any signs he could win, and so they never helped him. The donor class, as a rule, doesn’t seek a candidate with whom it can fall in love. Its members weren’t enthusiastic about Romney, and some tried to persuade others, including Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, to get into the 2012 race. People in the party establishment are also easier to herd than the grassroots conservatives are, because they’re engaged earlier, they’re a smaller group and — crucially — they want to be herded. Six months before the primaries it can be hard to predict who’s going to catch fire in Iowa. It’s easy to see who’s got a national fundraising base. Picking a candidate early is one mark of the party establishment that separates it from the grassroots. Another is a limited imagination. Hence the painfully truncated list of people the establishment seems to be considering right now, dominated as it is by old Republican names like Romney and Bush. Republicans who oppose the establishment, and want to wrest control of the party from it, have on the other hand a surplus of imagination: That’s how they can talk themselves into the idea that candidates like Cain are viable. The news in the Times story is that big donors are worried that their consolidation process isn’t far enough along. That could mean this cycle will be different from previous ones. Perhaps the establishment will split and someone with more Tea Party appeal will have a better shot at winning the nomination. But you don’t see nearly as much angst among the Tea Partyers about choosing a single champion. Which means that they’re still more likely to be divided, and the party establishment will probably once again get the nominee it wants.”





“From the Tea Party Patriots: Yesterday, nearly 70 Republicans supported an amendment submitted by Rep. Mick Milvaney (SC) to the Rules Committee that would have stopped funding for the President’s executive amnesty. The Rules Committee refused to include that amendment in the rule set for a vote today. Moments ago, the following 53 Republicans voted for the rule and to advance the CR-Omnibus to final debate after they vehemently pleaded their case for the amendment yesterday. Essentially they have given in. One outgoing Congressman, Kerry Bentivolio even changed his vote at the last minute from No to Yes to ensure the rule passed. Mick Mulvaney, who submitted the amendment even voted to move the CR-Omnibus to final debate. Call these 53 now and tell them not to vote to fund the President’s executive amnesty!”


Tea Party Angered by Fundraising Change in Spending Bill

“One tea-party group voiced its support of the provision: Tea Party Patriots, whose co-founder Jenny Beth Martin praised the move away from using taxpayer dollars to fund presidential conventions. “If the political parties want to raise funds from major donors to be able to fund the conventions themselves, it seems to be a step in the right direction of removing another burden from the American taxpayer,” she said. But she criticized the spending bill as a whole, calling it a “massive, pork laden, amnesty promoting, thousand plus page bill that no one in Congress has read before voting on.”



“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.”


An Ominous Omnibus

““I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s taken the Republicans all of 35 days to drop that ball in spectacularly disappointing fashion,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this bill DOES fund Obama’s executive amnesty, and so much more.”