February, 2015

Jeb Bush Nailed It at CPAC

The Fix: “Bush was, by far, the best that I’ve seen him in his just-started presidential campaign. Gone was the somewhat-bumbling, uncertain speech-giver. (He did make a weird reference to campaign finance law and an odd joke about the weather in Miami, for what it’s worth.) In its place was a politician of conviction who had total command of who he was and what he believed. CPAC is a win for Bush — the first one in front of people who might actually vote in a Republican primary he’s had.”

House GOP Fails to Pass Homeland Funding Bill

“House Republicans fell short of votes on Friday to advance a three-week bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, 203-224,” Roll Call reports.

“Just hours before the agency is set to shut down, GOP leaders must now decide whether to risk a revolt in their ranks and put the Senate-passed, six-month spending bill on the floor that does not include language to block President Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders.”

The Hill: “The vote is a shocking defeat for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team, who had scrambled to bring the three-week funding bill to the floor ahead of the looming deadline.”

National Journal: Here’s what a Homeland Security shutdown would look like

Russian Opposition Politician Shot and Killed

Former Russian deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a leading opposition figure, was shot dead in Moscow, the BBC reports.

“An unidentified attacker shot Mr Nemtsov four times in central Moscow.”

“He had earned a reputation as an economic reformer while governor of one of Russia’s biggest cities, Nizhny Novgorod. Falling out of favour with Yeltsin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, Mr Nemtsov became an outspoken opposition politician.”

Justice Dept Ramps Up Scrutiny of Campaign Finance

“The Justice Department is stepping up scrutiny of the increasingly cozy ties between candidates and their outside allies, a move that could jolt the freewheeling campaign finance atmosphere ahead of the 2016 elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“The department’s move comes as complaints have stalled before the Federal Election Commission, which has not moved ahead with any coordination investigations since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 triggered a proliferation of big-money groups.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Rather than cursing the darkness, reflexively screaming ‘amnesty,’ and calling for deportation of a population the size of Ohio, they need to light a candle and show the way forward on this complex issue. And they must do this in a way that solves the problem and does not doom the Republican Party to political irrelevance in the future.”

— GOP pollster Whit Ayres, quoted by the Washington Post.

Walker Would Not Require Colleges to Report Rape (Updated)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) “proposed budget — which would cut $300 million dollars out of the state’s beloved public university system — has a non-fiscal bombshell tucked in between its insane pages,” Jezebel reports.

“Under Walker’s budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker’s plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it.”

Huffington Post: “Walker’s two-year spending plan does not appear to replace the rape reporting requirements with anything, and it’s out of step with federal law. Colleges are currently required to incorporate prevention programs and information about sexual assault reporting options in orientation per the Violence Against Women Act.”

Update: Jezebel updates the story noting the University “requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant.”

Clinton Begins to Staff Up

Hillary Clinton’s advisers “are in serious discussions with nearly a half-dozen operatives to fill key roles such as political director on a likely 2016 presidential campaign,” the New York Times reports.

“The prospects are mostly people who have worked with Mrs. Clinton before… The conversations reflect a fast-moving effort by Mrs. Clinton to build a campaign as a number of Democratic Party operatives are vying for position.”

Boehner Is Trying to Buy Time

First Read notes House Republican leaders have finally come up with a temporary solution to fund the Department of Homeland Security and end their immigration showdown.

“The reason this is the politically smart way for the House GOP leadership to go is that the three-week extension gives Republicans time to find how the 5th Circuit is going to rule on the Obama administration’s request for a stay on the immigration action. If the 5th Circuit does NOT give the administration a stay, then in three weeks, funding DHS for the rest of the year will be a layup. So Boehner is trying to buy time, but will his conference give him the time?”

Quote of the Day

“These are Americans. You are talking about, in the case of ISIS, people who are beheading individuals and committing heinous crimes, who are the face of evil. To try to make the relationship between them and the unions is inappropriate.”

— Rick Perry, in an interview with NBC News, criticizing Scott Walker’s comparison of union protests with the Islamic State.

The Unrepresentative Supreme Court

During a lecture in Arkansas, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “commented that four of the court’s justices represented every borough of New York City but Manhattan. And of the nine justices, six were Catholic and three were Jews,” the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

But he added: “We weren’t meant to be representative. We decide the meaning of what the people adopted in statutes and the Constitution.”

House GOP Moves to Avoid Partial Shutdown

House Republicans “presented a plan for a stopgap bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for three weeks, raising hopes of averting a looming shutdown of the agency,” the Washington Post reports.

“Facing a Friday-night-into-Saturday-morning shutdown deadline, the plan might ultimately win support from lawmakers in both parties on Friday. But its passage would only continue a standoff between the House and the Senate over longer-term DHS funding.”

Politico: “The coming March logjam represents a major failure for the Republican Congress. GOP leaders vowed to avoid them, but legislative cliffs are back.”

Walker Plans Another Foreign Trip

“Just weeks after traveling to London, White House hopeful and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced a nine-day, three-nation trade mission to Western Europe,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“As a governor, Walker’s natural weak point in a potential 2016 campaign has been a lack of foreign policy experience, and his taxpayer-funded trips abroad could provide either an answer to his critics or further confirm their doubts. So far, the Walker administration has not released the cost to taxpayers of the four-day trade trip to Great Britain.”

Reid Is Still Controlling the Agenda

Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “uncompromising posture during the flap over homeland security funding and his emerging plans for an upcoming fight over immigration make clear he’s doing little to change the hardball style that defined his tenure as majority leader. This despite losing control of the chamber after last fall’s Democratic debacle and tamping down a coup among centrists seeking his ouster,” Politico reports.

“The 75-year-old Reid, who may seek reelection next year and is in his second stint as minority leader, is betting that Republicans are so nervous about being blamed for a crisis in Washington — as they have been repeatedly before — that they will capitulate again. Naturally, his unyielding stance has maddened Republicans.”

More Unreported Gifts Found for Schock

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) “attended dinner and drinks in 2011 at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and at a swank nightclub London — and never disclosed receiving a single gift on his financial disclosure form,” Politico reports.

“Schock, a fourth-term Republican congressman with a prized seat on the Ways and Means Committee, has hired lawyers and a crisis communications firm amid a burgeoning scandal over his high-spending ways and potential misuse of official and campaign funds. His office said it is performing an internal audit of his official accounts in response to questions over whether he improperly spent money from his House office budget and failed to report gifts.”