Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Weekly Report from Washington for 6/25/18
The House and Senate both return on Monday, and both will be done with their work on Thursday. Then they’ll both take next week off for the Fourth of July recess. The Senate will return on Monday, July 9, and the House will return on Tuesday, July 10.
LAST TWO WEEKS ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House returned to work on Tuesday, June 12, and took up and passed two bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Wednesday, June 13, the House passed another two bills under Suspension.
On Thursday, June 14, the House took up and passed H.R. 5788, the Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act, and H.R. 5735, the THRIVE Act.
On Friday, June 15, the House took up and passed H.R. 2851, the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act.
And then they were done.
The House returned on Tuesday, June 19, and took up and passed two more bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Wednesday, June 20, the House took up and passed H.R. 5797, the Individuals in Medicaid Deserve Care that is Appropriate and Responsible in the Execution Act. Then the House took up and passed H.R. 6082, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act.
On Thursday, June 21, the House took up H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act. This was the Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill that was considered the more conservative of the two immigration bills the House would consider. It failed, by a vote of 193-231, with 40 Republicans voting against.
Then the house took up H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. It passed, by a vote of 213-211, with 20 Republicans voting against.
Then the House took up and passed the Rule governing consideration of H.R. 6136, the Ryan “compromise” immigration bill.
Then the House took up and passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act. This bill was an omnibus package containing more than 50 individual bills that were all wrapped together. The bill passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, 396-14.
And then they were done.
THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
The House will return on Monday, with first votes set for 6:30 PM. At that time, the House will attempt to take up 20 bills under Suspension of the Rules.
On Tuesday, the House will attempt to take up another bill under Suspension.
At some point during the week, the House will also take up H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019, and a Motion To Go to Conference on H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019.
And we still don’t know when it will happen, but as of this writing the House GOP leadership still intends to bring to the floor H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, also known as the Ryan Amnesty bill.
LAST TWO WEEKS ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate returned to work on Monday, June 11, and voted to pass the Motion To Proceed to H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019. The Senate stayed focused on the NDAA for the entire week. Well, not actually for the entire week, because they took their last vote on an amendment on Thursday, June 14, at 2:13 PM, and were released thereafter.
The Senate returned to work on Monday, June 18, after a three-day weekend, and resumed consideration of H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019. That evening, at 6:06 PM, the Senate voted to pass H.R. 5515 by a vote of 85-10.
Then the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the Motion To Proceed to consideration of H.R. 5895, the three-appropriations-bill “minibus” that had already passed the House. The Senate debated and considered amendments to the bill on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Then, on Wednesday, June 20, the Senate attempted to take up the president’s $15 billion rescissions bill that had passed the House. The Motion To Discharge failed, by a vote of 48-50, when Republicans Susan Collins of ME and Richard Burr of NC both crossed party lines to vote with the Democrats. Collins had announced her opposition to the clawbacks earlier; Burr apparently decided to vote against the measure because he was denied the opportunity to vote on his proposed amendment.
So now the 45-day privileged window has passed, and any attempt to being back the rescissions bill in the Senate will be attempted with a 60-vote threshold.
The Senate then returned to consideration of H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill. They worked until about 3 PM Thursday, then called it another good week and went home for the weekend.
THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:
The Senate will return Monday, with the first vote set for 5:30 PM. That will be a vote on final passage of H.R. 5895, the minibus appropriations bill. Then the Senate will vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to consideration of the Farm Bill. Later in the week, the Senate will consider more nominations and the Water Infrastructure bill.
Several developments on the FBI front over the last two weeks.
The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees released a new memo in advance of testimony from the Department of Justice Inspector General declaring that “foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails – including at least one that was classified as “secret” – and also declaring that foreign actors also accessed the private email accounts of some of her staffers.
Two days later, on Thursday, June 14, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 568-page report went public. The document documents major missteps in the FBI’s and DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and reveals unbelievable bias toward Clinton and against then-candidate Donald Trump on the part of key FBI officials leading the investigation.
Further, the IG report heavily criticized then-FBI Director James Comey for his actions during the investigation, and found that other senior bureau officials showed what Horowitz called a “willingness to take official action” to prevent Trump from becoming president. Comey was labeled “insubordinate” by Horowitz, who said Comey flouted DOJ tradition and practices when he decided that only he had the authority and credibility to make decisions and speak on behalf of DOJ.
In particular, the report highlighted lead FBI agent Peter Strzok and the bias he held against Trump. A new text message to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, was particularly galling. On August 8, 2016, less than two weeks after the official opening of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, Page texted Strzok plaintively: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” He responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Horowitz wrote that Strzok’s text, along with others, “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” He continued, the messages “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”
Horowitz then testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees. I’ve included a link in the Suggested Reading to a 15-minute clip of Trey Gowdy grilling Horowitz. It’s quite illuminating.
The report is really too long for me to do a deep dive in this format. So let me just say I’ve included an awful lot of links in this week’s Suggested Reading, and you can find a link to the report itself, should you care to read it.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has subpoenaed FBI Agent Peter Strzok to appear before the Judiciary Committee later this week.
So much to say, where to begin?
Big developments on two fronts in the immigration wars – one focused on executive action, one on legislative action.
On the executive action front, on Wednesday, June 20, President Trump advanced in the opposite direction, signing a hastily drawn up executive order ending the policy of separating illegal immigrant families at the border. He told reporters in the Oval Office before he signed the order that his “zero tolerance” policy would remain in place, but that the order allows children and their parents to remain together in custody.
The order directs the Department of Homeland Security to keep family units together while the parent or parents await trial for crossing the border illegally, except in those cases where U.S. officials may be concerned that parents “would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.”
The order also directs the Department of Justice to expedite immigration cases involving families, and asks the Department of Defense to provide space on military installations to house illegal immigrant families in detention.
As might be expected, there was confusion after the order was signed. And it took the White House a few days and at least a couple of meetings to get things settled – and, to be honest, I’m not sure they’re settled yet. Customs and Border Patrol officials interpreted the order to mean that they should no longer refer to the Department of Justice illegal immigrant family units apprehended at the border, because DOJ doesn’t have enough facilities to deal with the flow. Department of Justice officials insist otherwise.
The Department of Justice has been ordered to request a modification to the 1997 Flores settlement that mandates children can be kept in detention for no longer than 20 days.
Expect the lawsuits to begin this week.
Meanwhile, on the legislative front, House Republicans decided to move forward on their plans for a vote on H.R. 4760, the Goodlatte-McCaul bill. By doing so, they vitiated the discharge petition that threatened to throw control of the House floor to the opposition and force votes on four separate bills, including the so-called “DREAM Act.”
Late on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump went to Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans. The House GOP leadership was hoping he would put the pressure on them to vote for the Ryan “compromise” bill, but instead he merely said he would sign whatever bill they sent him.
Late Wednesday afternoon, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows – who has been participating in the negotiations in the leadership offices over the Ryan “compromise” – was seen berating Speaker Ryan on the House floor. Meadows was apparently upset that the version of the Goodlatte-McCaul bill that would be brought to the floor the following day was not the modified version of Goodlatte-McCaul, but an earlier version. He was royally steamed, and even threatened in his anger to sign the discharge petition. Later, under questioning from reporters, he backed off that threat.
So, on Thursday, the House of Representatives finally took a vote on H.R. 4760, the Goodlatte-McCaul bill. This was the immigration reform that was considered more “conservative” by the media, presumably because it did not contain a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Nevertheless, the bill went down to defeat by a vote of 193-231, with 40 Republicans voting against it.
After the bill’s defeat, the House GOP leadership decided to postpone the vote on the Ryan “compromise” bill, deemed the more “moderate” of the two bills because it DOES contain a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. They first announced they would postpone the vote until the following day, Friday, and then gathered for a special meeting of the House GOP Conference Thursday afternoon in hopes that they could find 218 votes to pass the Ryan bill.
Instead, after two hours in conference, the House GOP leadership announced the bill would be held over until this week. They haven’t committed to a particular day, which is another way of saying they aren’t sure when or if they’re going to get to 218 on the whip count – but if they do, they’re planning to move the bill right to the floor.
Moreover, we will likely see a vote on a narrower bill designed to overturn legislatively the Flores settlement, so that children may be detained with their parents for longer than the 20 days that the Flores settlement currently allows. And we may even see a second vote on a modified Goodlatte bill.
President Trump may have complicated Ryan’s job. On Friday, the president tweeted that Republicans should just give up on trying to solve the immigration problem via legislation, and on Sunday, he tweeted that illegal border crossers should be turned back at the border. The exact quote is: “We cannot allow these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents …”
Stay tuned. We’re not out of the woods yet.
Tea Party Patriots Action Honorary Chairman Jenny Beth Martin on Wednesday released the results of a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted for TPPA June 15-19 by John McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. We had a special Facebook Live session last Wednesday morning to release the results of the survey.
The survey results make clear that as House Republicans consider their votes on the Goodlatte-McCaul bill and the Ryan ‘Leadership’ bill, they should be aware that voting for either bill – both of which contain amnesty for a certain class of illegal immigrants – will endanger their reelection campaigns. These new survey results prove the point: Likely voters do not support amnesty, and will punish Republican Congressmen who vote for it.
By a margin of 42% to 25% among ALL likely voters – and by a margin of 61% to 18% among GOP voters, and 59% to 19% among Trump voters – voters would be LESS LIKELY to vote to re-elect a GOP Member of Congress who voted to provide amnesty for a group of illegal immigrants. That would be a tremendous loss of support among GOP base voters. And for what? The incremental ‘gain’ Republican Congressmen may think they’re getting by voting for amnesty is virtually non-existent. Among Clinton voters, for instance, the 30% who say they’d be more likely to vote for a Republican who voted for amnesty are negated by the 26% who say they’d be less likely, and the same is true for Democrats, where 30% said they’d be more likely to vote for a Republican Congressman who voted for amnesty, while 28% said they’d be less likely. That’s a virtual wash on the gain side. A Republican Congressman who votes for amnesty is playing with fire.
Allowing a group of illegal immigrants to ‘jump the line’ via amnesty – whether through a renewable work authorization permit that provides legal status, or a pathway to citizenship – is simply not fair or right. It violates the rule of law, insults the hundreds of thousands of potential legal immigrants who have waited years for a chance to enter the United States legally, and acts as a magnet to lure more illegal immigrants. And on that point, there is wide agreement.
Fully 75% of ALL likely voters do not think it is fair or right to allow a particular group of illegal immigrants to ‘jump the line,’ compared to just 11% who think it is fair. And those numbers hold across virtually all demographic subgroups – among Trump voters, the margin is 86% who say it’s not fair, to just 8% who say it is; among GOP voters, it’s 87% to 8%; even among 2016 Clinton voters, by a margin of 62% to 16%, and among Democrats, by a margin of 61% to 18%, voters don’t think it’s fair.
Americans have seen this kind of proposed deal before, and they’ve been burned – in 1986, when Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants in exchange for a promise to secure the border and end illegal immigration. The amnesty was granted, but the border was never secured, and illegal immigration continued, virtually unabated, for the next three decades. It’s no wonder they don’t trust the government to follow through on its promise to secure the borders and end illegal immigration.
Not surprisingly, by a wide margin – 50% to 33% — voters do not trust the government to follow through on a promise to secure the border and end illegal immigration in exchange for amnesty for a group of illegal immigrants now. And again, House Republicans should pay attention – among Trump voters it’s 41% who trust against 48% who don’t trust; among GOP voters, it’s 41% who trust against 49% who don’t trust; among conservative voters, it’s 36% who trust, against 53% who don’t trust; and among voters over 55 years of age – a key group in any midterm election – it’s just 28% who trust, against a whopping 56% who do not.
And Republican Congressmen should know that Americans just do not support a pathway to citizenship for a group of illegal immigrants. The plurality believes illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for being illegal immigrants, and just less than a third would even support the idea of a legal status for DACA recipients. The Ryan ‘leadership’ bill contains a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Voting for that bill is a recipe for disaster. House Republicans should not succumb to the pressure campaign being waged by the media and the left – the American people want them to stay strong.
Just over one in five likely voters – 22% – supports a pathway to citizenship for the so-called ‘Dreamers.’ And just under one in three – 32% — supports a legal status. But a full 38% believes they should receive no reward. Here’s where House Republicans should really pay attention: Among Trump voters, fully 60% oppose a reward, while just 7% support a pathway to citizenship, and among GOP voters, 59% oppose a reward, while just 8% support a pathway to citizenship. Voting for the Ryan bill would be a self-inflicted wound from which few Republicans could recover.
The survey was widely distributed to the media, and directly to key Members of Congress, so they could have fresh information at their fingertips as they debated the various legislative options facing them.
Last Thursday, Judicial Watch released newly obtained internal IRS documents revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials – including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner – to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”
This comes from notes of a meeting held on April 30, 2013, less than two weeks before Lerner publicly acknowledged for the first time that the IRS had been targeting conservative and tea party organizations based on their political beliefs.
Judicial Watch had previously reported on the April 2013 meeting. At that time, Sen. McCain issued a statement pushing back against what he called “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.” The IRS, said Judicial Watch, had redacted the notes of that meeting, but Judicial Watch found the notes among subsequent documents released by the IRS.
Henry Kerner, the McCain staffer who suggested browbeating organizations into submission via financially ruinous audits, still works for the government – as Special Counsel in the Office of Special Counsel, a position to which he was appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate. Given that the incriminating document was just released last week, I’m fairly certain that the president had no idea when he made this appointment that Kerner had taken such a position.
On Tuesday, June 12, President Trump made history, as he became the first American President to meet with a North Korean leader. During the day-long meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, they signed an agreement committing the United States to ambiguous “security guarantees” to ensure the stability of the Kim regime in exchange for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. President Trump then, at the request of Kim, cancelled scheduled joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
While the document the two leaders signed does not specify either what steps the U.S. committed to in order to ensure the security of the Kim regime, or the steps North Korea must take to achieve full denuclearization, it does commit the two nations to holding further discussions between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a “relevant” North Korean official “at the earliest date possible.”
We’ve had more primary elections since we last talked.
In the June 12 primary elections, TPPCF endorsed three incumbent Republicans for reelection – Dave Brat for another term in VA-07, Mark Sanford for another term in SC-01, and Jeff Duncan for another term in SC-03. Brat and Duncan won, but Sanford was defeated.
In primary elections that will take place Tuesday, June 26, TPPCF has endorsed Lee Bright in the runoff in SC-04, Andy Coleman in the open seat in OK-01, and Mike Kennedy for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in UT.
JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: