July, 2014

Bonus Quote of the Day

“In order for Washington to work better, and for Republicans to work better, and for Republicans to come together to defend conservative principles, we need to build relationships between both chambers and I’m working hard to do so.”

— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), quoted by the Washington Post, on his efforts to derail the border bill that failed in the House of Representatives.

Sessions Helped Tank Border Bill

“Some Republicans frustrated over the last-minute collapse of support for a border bill have been blaming Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But it turns out they may have the wrong Republican senator in their sights,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“A number of sources on Capitol Hill say lobbying by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions helped sway that state’s House delegation against the bill, leading to the collapse… Aides said that Sessions’ behind-the-scenes and public opposition to the package played an outsize role in its failure.”

Said one staffer: “If you think this had more to do with Sessions than Cruz, I could say absolutely, there’s no doubt about it.”

House GOP Delays Recess

“House Republicans plan to delay their August recess to stay in Washington until they have enough votes to pass a bill responding to the border crisis,” The Hill reports.

“GOP leaders pulled legislation from the schedule Thursday after it became clear the votes weren’t there to pass a $659 million supplemental funding bill. But just as it appeared the conference would leave town for a five-week recess having done nothing to respond to the crisis, Republicans held a closed-door conference meeting and emerged staying they would extend their workweek to try to get something done.”

House GOP Leaders Pull Border Bill

“House GOP leaders have postponed a vote on the border supplemental — a sign they don’t yet have the votes to pass it,” Roll Call reports.

“The $659 million bill intended to deal with the crisis of child migrants coming across the border would have been followed by a vote on separate legislation prohibiting President Barack Obama from granting deportation relief and work permits to any more illegal immigrants.”

The Hill: “The decision is another defeat for House GOP leaders, who have repeatedly failed to bring their members in line on tough votes.”

Washington Post: “The pulling of the bill marked an embarrassing failure in the first real test of the new leadership team that takes office Thursday following Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s resignation as majority leader.”

CIA Admits Spying on Senate Committee

“An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “The admission from the CIA was in sharp contrast to the defiant position that Brennan had taken when the dispute first surfaced publicly in March. At the time, Brennan warned that lawmakers would regret accusing the agency of wrongdoing.”

Congress Continues Its Streak

Pew Research: “As of Wednesday the current Congress had enacted 142 laws, the fewest of any Congress in the past two decades over an equivalent timespan. And only 108 of those enactments were substantive pieces of legislation, under our deliberately broad criteria (no post-office renamings, anniversary commemorations or other purely ceremonial laws). That’s two fewer than the previous Congress — itself not generally considered a model of productivity — had managed by this point in 2012.”

Heritage Action Issues Call to Arms

Wall Street Journal: “Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, spent last year’s August recess banging the drum for Congress to defund the 2010 health law, barnstorming the country to fuel conservatives’ discontent with GOP leaders in Washington. The resulting standoff briefly shuttered the government.”

“This year, the group is issuing a broader call-to-arms, challenging conservatives to renew their commitment to an agenda that champions a more-robust foreign policy and elevates marriage and religious liberty, as well as the same free-market economic populism that characterized its earlier initiatives.”

Democrats Work to Shore Up Black Vote

“The DCCC has undertaken a new black voter outreach initiative — which the committee says is the most expansive and expensive project in the history of the DCCC — that has consisted of demographic focus groups, battleground polling, ad testing and renewed ground game in black neighborhoods,” the Washington Post reports.

“In 15 of the top 25 House seats being targeted by the DCCC this cycle, African Americans make up at least 10 percent of the voting-age population. In close races that will likely be decided by just a few points, the DCCC believes boosting turnout among those black voters by just a few points could keep them be competitive in places they would otherwise lose this year.”

Walker Gets Big Win Against Unions in Wisconsin

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Gov. Scott Walker’s signature labor legislation Thursday in just one of the three major rulings issued by the court on union bargaining, election law and same-sex couples,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“In addition to ruling that Walker’s labor law is constitutional, the state’s highest court also upheld the state’s voter ID law and upheld a 2009 law providing limited benefits to gay and lesbian couples.”

Virginia Wrongly Questions Status of 125K Voters

“The Virginia Department of Elections has erroneously mailed notifications to about 125,000 registered Virginia voters raising uncertainty regarding their voting status,” the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

“The letter, dated June 23 and signed by Secretary of the State Board of Elections Don Palmer, informs the recipients that records show they may also be registered to vote in another state and that state law requires them to update or cancel their voter registration when they change residences.”