Senator Ted Cruz Apparently Calls Majority Leader Mitch McConnell A Liar

  

Is the Senate rhetoric heating up?

On Friday, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took an unusual step, according to Yahoo News: He called his own party leader a “liar.” Several times.

Cruz’s message on the Senate floor was on a complicated topic: He accused Senate Majority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., of lying to him and other senators about offering an amendment on the controversial-among-conservatives Export-Import Bank, a government agency that provides financing to American companies trying to send goods abroad that might not get loans from private banks.

The authorization for the bank has already expired, and Republicans would like to make sure it’s not renewed.

However, the Senate now is now getting ready to vote Sunday on an amendment to revive the bank as part of its consideration of a long-term transportation bill currently before it.

“If the actual issue is down in the legislative weeds, Cruz’s delivery and intention could not have been more geared to the broad media spotlight,” writes Merideth Shiner of Yahoo News.

Cruz dramatically accused McConnell of breaking a promise to him and also of being beholden to special interests and no better for conservatives than his Democratic predecessor (Senator Reid).

“Today is a sad day for this institution,” Cruz said, launching what would become a 20-minute speech on the floor. “The Senate operates based on trust. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, these 100 senators have to be able to trust that when a senator says something, he or she will do it. Even if we disagree on substance, that we don’t lie to each other.

“The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us,” he said.  “What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator but what he told the press over and over and over and over again was a simple lie.”

The Hill: McConnell Fails To Deliver

According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is failing to deliver.

After just over a month, McConnell is reportedly on the brink of breaking his promise to avoid shutting down government agencies, according to The Hill.

At the same time, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) continues to lash McConnell and Republicans in the Senate for failing to ram through a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that blocks the White House plan to halt deportations.

Just last December, McConnell claimed: “We don’t intend to engage in rhetoric nor actions that rattle the public.”

McConnell has already had to break his pledge to return the Senate to “regular order.”

He celebrated getting more votes on amendments on the Keystone XL bill than had been allowed in all of last year, but he shut down Democrats seeking to debate the pipeline.

“That led to complaints that he was in a hurry to help several Republicans get going to California for a weekend retreat with billionaire donors Charles and David Koch,” says The Hill.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters that McConnell went “Right back to a process of shutting everything down, even stopping people from having 60 seconds to speak about their amendments.”

“There is no sign that McConnell intends to reverse the ‘nuclear option’ rules change made by Democrats when they held the majority. McConnell had complained bitterly when Democrats made that shift but now shows no sign of wanting to switch the rules back again,” says The Hill.

“Sen. McConnell promised the moon but delivered a box of rocks,” said Adam Jentleson, the spokesman for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Minority Leader.

“The Republican Senate has started off as the least productive, most partisan, most contentious Senate in recent memory,” said Jentleson. “From bypassing committees on every single bill so far to trying to silence senators who dared to disagree with him to failing to hold a single Friday vote, Sen. McConnell is running a closed and partisan process that is extremely unproductive for the middle class.”

More:

http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/233365-juan-williams-mcconnell-fails-to-deliver-in-senate

Did The GOP Just Propose Obamacare To Replace Obamacare?

Secular Talk

According to PoliticusUSA, the Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an appearance on 60 Minutes, the lowlight of which was their complete inability to discuss the Republican alternative to Obamacare.

“Speaker Boehner went on a dodge and weave filibuster when asked what the Republican alternative to Obamacare was…”

McConnell Refuses To Allow Debate On Amendments To Make Time For Koch Bros Forum

According to PoliticusUSA, Senate Democrats are livid because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly cut off debate on the Keystone XL bill so that Republicans could attend a weekend conference with the Koch brothers.

Democrats accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of shutting down a Senate that was supposed to be run in a more open way than under the previous administration.

Politico: “They also wondered aloud if Republicans were trying to wrap up all Keystone business to accommodate a conference scheduled for this weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., that’s affiliated with the billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch.”

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The Koch Brothers’ American Recovery Policy Forum In Palm Springs

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According to Politico, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida offered an early glimpse of the GOP presidential primary debates at a forum Sunday in front of hundreds of donors affiliated with the Koch network.

They mainly focused their economic attacks on President Barack Obama while showcasing their own differences on foreign policy.

The three 2016 Republican presidential contenders laid out their arguments on issues such as the minimum wage, income inequality, tax reform and relations with Cuba at a resort in Palm Springs, California during the American Recovery Policy Forum, which was organized by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.

The group oversees the political operation created by the billionaire industrialist megadonors Charles and David Koch.

The forum was moderated by ABC’s Jonathan Karl and was part of the annual winter meeting of the Kochs’ political operation. It was live-streamed to the media, giving the public a first-time peek into the usually secretive event.

Chron.com:  “Cruz and his rivals, seated in couches and free from the clamor of a presidential debate, discussed Cuba policy, the need for a minimum wage and the successes and failures of Mitt Romney in a low-key back-and-forth in California. The trio sparred a bit over the need for the GOP to address income inequality, with Cruz saying it remained obvious that the widening gap demanded attention.”

The Washington Post:  “The panel, moderated by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, took place at a private meeting of wealthy donors hosted by Freedom Partners, a tax-exempt group that serves as the hub of a political network supported by Charles and David Koch and other conservative financiers. In a first, the organization shared a live Web stream of the event with news organizations.”

Oddly, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell seemed to shut down the debate on the Keystone XL and wrap up business in order to make time for the Koch meeting in California.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/koch-forum-rand-paul-marco-rubio-ted-cruz-114588.html#ixzz3Px8zw768

GOP House Passes Bill Setting Up Possible Shutdown War Over Immigration

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According to TPM, government shutdown wars are back with a vengeance.

House Republicans started up a possible new standoff on Wednesday with passage of legislation that overturns President Barack Obama’s executive actions on deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.

The bill passed 236-191, with 10 Republicans voting against it and 2 Democrats supporting it.

The legislation passed on Wednesday is tied to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which expires on Feb. 28. According to TPM, the department will partially shut down if a bill isn’t enacted by then.

However, PoliticusUSA states that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have toned down conservative expectations over the idea of a possible DHS shutdown.

Is Cruz To Blame For Senate Confirmations?

According to the AP,  Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has given President Barack Obama the gift of the confirmation of 12 judicial appointments not long after the voters had delivered the Democrats a lump of coal in midterm elections.

Cruz, a Republican, disputed the claim through his spokesman on Monday.

But there was no disagreement that Democrats, who must relinquish their power to Republicans in January, were in position to confirm not only the judges, but 11 other appointees before the Senate wraps up work for the year.

Among them are nominees that Republicans have sought to block for two relatively high-profile posts – Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, and Sarah Saldana as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

(Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the agency that will oversee the new administration policy on immigration that Cruz wants to defund.)

At the root of the dispute is a combination of the Senate’s all-but-indecipherable rules, Cruz’s attempt to use their them to his advantage, and a bipartisan desire of many lawmakers to finish work for the year and return home for the holidays.

“My concern about the strategy he employed is that it has a result he didn’t intend,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said of Cruz’ maneuverings on Friday night.

Some officials said Cruz was personally informed by GOP aides that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was primed to take advantage if he went ahead.

Under the Senate’s rules, Cruz’s maneuver allowed Reid to begin the process of confirming nominations on Saturday at noon — when lawmakers had been scheduled to be home for the weekend.

According to officials in both parties, had Cruz not made his move when he did, Reid would have had to wait until Monday night — over 48 hours later.  Republicans said they felt that Reid’s rank and file would not have been willing to remain in Washington in that case, and only four or five nominees would be confirmed instead of 23.

MSNBC Up With Kornacki video.

House Appropriations Committee: Defunding Executive Actions On Immigration ‘Impossible’

US President Barack Obama at Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 37th Annual Awards Gala

According to The Hill, it would not be possible to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration through a government spending bill, the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday.

In a statement released by Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) before Obama’s scheduled national address, the committee said the primary agency responsible for implementing Obama’s actions is funded entirely by user fees.

As a result, the committee said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency would be able to continue to collect fees and carry out its operations even if the government shut down.

“This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications,” the committee said in a statement. “Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to ‘defund’ the agency.”

Sources:

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/224837-appropriations-panel-defunding-immigration-order-impossible

McConnell Tweeted PACs Illegally

According to CNN, “Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, CNN has learned, a practice that raises questions about whether they violated campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.

“…The profiles were publicly available but meaningless without knowledge of how to find them and decode the information, according to a source with knowledge of the activities.”

TYT video.

MSNBC wrote:  “At least two outside groups and a Republican campaign committee had access to the information posted to the accounts, according to the source. They include American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove; American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the campaign arm for the House GOP.

“Just minutes after Moody asked the National Republican Congressional Committee about the scheme, the Twitter accounts were quickly deleted.

“And that doesn’t seem suspicious at all.

“The real trouble…is with the cypher. Using our hypothetical, if you’re the operative and I’m the super PAC staffer, and you publish the tweet for me to read, you might plausibly be able to argue that you weren’t deliberately sending me secret info, since your Twitter message was available to literally anyone who knew where to look.”

More:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/politics/twitter-republicans-outside-groups/

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-hatched-twitter-based-scheme-skirt-election-laws

They’re Playing Games: Series Of Possible Budget Showdowns Coming

According to the Washington Post, Congressional Republicans said Friday that they might create a series of showdowns over funding the government to try to force President Obama to back down on his plans on immigration reform.

Instead of passing a spending bill in the coming days that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, Republicans are considering a short-term measure that would expire early next year, according to more than a dozen top lawmakers and their aides.

When Congress reconvenes in the new year, Republicans would then pass other short-term bills, each designed to create a forum to push back against the president and, possibly, gain concessions.

The efforts are seen by Republicans as ways to pressure Obama to relent and pull back his expected executive orders to change immigration policy, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported.

Asked whether the threat of budget conflicts would have any effect on the president’s thinking, the White House referred to comments Obama made on immigration Friday in Burma, where he said Congress has had ample time to act on immigration reform.

Obama said he stands by his statement that if Congress failed to act, “I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try to make the system work better. And that’s going to happen. That’s going to happen before the end of the year.”

Republican leaders also see a short-term funding measure as a way to placate conservatives within their ranks, who have urged an aggressive response against what they see as an “unconstitutional overreach by the president.”

It is still unclear how issuing executive orders, which has been done by all U.S. presidents, constitutes”unconstitutional overreach” by the president.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has been a longtime critic of the House GOP leaders, encouraged them to pursue the short-term spending bills for as long as possible until the president changes course.

The WP reports that representative Steve King wants to do the minimum necessary and follow the constitution.

“We cannot allow this to be implemented,” King said. “I would like to do the minimum necessary and follow the Constitution. I would not take a shutdown off the table.”