Sam Brownback

Pence Breaks Tie to Confirm Brownback

Vice President Mike Pence broke a 49 to 49 tie in the U.S. Senate to confirm Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the Kansas City Star reports.

A final Senate vote to confirm the nomination likely could take place as early as Thursday, officially clearing the way for Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) to succeed Brownback as governor.

Brownback Will Get Another Shot at Trump Job

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is going to get another chance to join the Trump administration, the Kansas City Star reports.

“President Trump will formally renominate the Kansas Republican late Monday to become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom… Brownback was first nominated last July but failed to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate after resistance from Democrats over his record on LGBT rights.”

Newspaper Calls on Brownback to Resign

The Kansas City Star called on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who is still awaiting Senate confirmation to be the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, to resign:

The job you’ve been waiting on might or might not materialize now, we know, and you do, too.

That’s because those in your own Republican Party didn’t put a vote for your confirmation as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom on the Senate calendar by the end of the year.

They did not simply run out of time, either. After all, you were nominated by President Donald Trump in July, and dozens of other long-deferred votes on appointments were cleared in a flash before senators left town for the holidays.

Was it something you said, at that confirmation hearing for which you appeared so ill-prepared?

Brownback Nominated for State Department Post

President Trump “has formally nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom,” Politico reports.

“If confirmed, Brownback will serve effectively as the head of the Office of International Religous Freedom within the State Department. That office is charged with promoting religous freedom as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy.”

Kansas Rolls Back Brownback’s Tax Cuts

Kansas lawmakers rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) signature tax policy over his objections Tuesday night, “forcing into law tax increases to fix a budget shortfall and provide more money for schools,” the Wichita Eagle reports.

“The legislation ends the ‘march to zero’ income tax cuts that Brownback heralded for much of his time as governor. Income taxes will rise across the board but most tax rates will remain lower than they were before the 2012 tax cuts. The increases are expected to generate more than $1.2 billion for the state over the next two years.”

First Read: “Talk about a political sea change — the conservative state of Kansas raising taxes! — which up-ends a central GOP orthodoxy that cutting is always good and raising them is always bad. If you were looking for the breaking point for Republicans on taxes, we found it in Kansas.”

Brownback to Take Post In Trump Administration

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) will be named the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for Food and Agriculture, the Kansas City Star reports.

“A possible appointment to the Trump administration for Brownback has been rumored since November, but the governor has been tight-lipped about his prospects. His office would not confirm the accuracy of the report from Kansas Public Radio when asked for comment late Wednesday afternoon.”

Brownback Urges Trump to Copy His Tax Plan

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), “whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured.”

“Still, Mr. Brownback views his signature idea—eliminating the 4.6% state individual income tax for partnerships, limited liability corporations and similar businesses—as a national model.”

Brownback Beats Jindal as Most Unpopular Governor

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) “is the second-least popular governor is the nation, based on a new project that set out to find all governors’ approval ratings,” the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

“The findings, compiled by Morning Consult, showed only Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) was viewed less favorably than Jindal, who this week ended his presidential run.”

Brownback’s Brother Accused of Terrorizing Neighbors

The brother of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is accused of terrorizing his neighbors, the Topeka Capital Journal reports.

“Adversaries say he has woven a liquor-infused tapestry of fear colored by intimidation, abuse and lies. The saga features stalking, death threats, trespassing, drive-by gunfire, massive explosions, cattle theft, loan defaults, hit-and-run driving and marital strife… There is trepidation among acquaintances to speak freely, a point accentuated by the number expressing nervousness about reprisal if they were candid. There is genuine fear.”

Brownback Issues Executive Order on ‘Religious Liberty’

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) issued an executive order “prohibiting state government from taking action against clergy members or religious organizations that deny services to couples based on religious beliefs,” the Wichita Eagle reports.

“Among other things, the order is intended to protect religious organizations that provide adoption services for the state from having to place children with gay couples if that conflicts with their beliefs.”

New York Times: “The order comes nearly two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, paving the way for gay couples to marry across the country. It is the latest sign that the battle has shifted to the issue of religious liberties, and how much leeway people of faith have to opt out of providing services to or recognizing gay unions.”

Gridlock Taking Toll on Brownback in Kansas

“Despair about the tax-and-budget impasse overwhelming the Capitol exacted a toll on Gov. Sam Brownback (R),” the Topic Capital Journal reports.

“Brownback apparently choked up in a private meeting with House Republicans who sought an audience with the state’s chief executive to talk about a possible compromise to close a $400 million deficit and protect core government functions.”

Said one GOP legislator: “He got emotional. He was eager for us to come together as a party.”

Kansas Bans Spending Welfare on Cruise Ships

“Kansas welfare recipients will be unable to get more than $25 per day in benefits under a new law sent this week to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk by the state legislature,” the Huffington Post reports.

“The bill also prohibits welfare recipients from spending their benefits at certain types of businesses, including liquor stores, fortune tellers, swimming pools and cruise ships.”

Brownback Proposes Tax Hike Despite Rhetoric

“During his State of the State address Thursday Gov. Sam Brownback declared the state would continue its ‘march to zero’ on income taxes, but the budget and tax plans he unveiled Friday morning showed it would not be marching so quickly. Brownback proposed increasing overall taxes by $211 million for the next fiscal year, which starts in July,” the Wichita Eagle reports.

“The governor offered a proposal strikingly similar to the one offered by his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, during the election, which Brownback’s campaign had repeatedly attacked. Brownback’s plan would allow a very small reduction to tax rates for the lower income tax bracket to take place in 2016 and then freeze rates until state coffers are restored. He also proposes massive tax increases on liquor and tobacco products.”