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Posts tagged ‘Cathy McMorris Rodgers’

Rep. Hastings Announces Retirement In Wake of Debt-Ceiling Vote.


Image: Rep. Hastings Announces Retirement In Wake of Debt-Ceiling Vote

 

By Todd Beamon

Rep. Doc Hastings on Thursday became the latest House Republican to announce his retirement — two days after he was part of a critical coalition of House leaders, made up of retiring GOP members and representatives primarily from Northeastern states, that backed a controversial bill to raise America’s debt ceiling without restrictions.

“Last Friday, I celebrated my 73rd birthday, and while I have the ability and seniority to continue serving central Washington, it is time for the voters to choose a new person with new energy to represent them in the people’s House,” Hastings said in a statement.

First elected in 1995, Hastings is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and recently called for overhauling the Endangered Species Act, charging that the 40-year-old law has been abused by environmental groups seeking to restrict development in the name of species protection.

The announcement came a day after GOP Rep. Gary Miller, 66, of California said that he was retiring after more than 15 years in the House because of family issues.

Hastings is now the 24th member of Congress to say that this year would be his last. He joins 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats to disclose their impending departures from Capitol Hill.

In the House, he is the 11th Republican and 18th member overall to announce his retirement.

But on Tuesday, Hastings and Miller joined with Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and 23 other House Republicans to support a one-year extension of the nation’s borrowing authority — agreeing to President Barack Obama’s demands for a debt-limit increase without any conditions.

Boehner backed the legislation, which won on a 221-201 vote. Two Democrats, John Barrow of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah, joined the GOP in rejecting it.

Besides splitting the House leadership — the No. 4 Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the highest-ranking House GOP woman, was among the leaders to vote “no” — the vote rankled conservatives, tea party supporters and rank-and-file Republicans.

The Senate Conservatives Fund even charged that Boehner should be replaced as speaker.

These groups were further outraged the next day when the Senate voted — after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and Minority Whip John Cornyn, of Texas, led an assault on a filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz — to pass a similar debt bill on a straight 55-43 party-line vote.

In the House, the 28 Republicans voting for the measure included six who are retiring at the end of the year. Besides Hastings and Miller, they are Howard Coble, N.C.; Buck McKeon, Calif.; Jon Runyan, N.J.; and Frank Wolf, Va.

“You’ve got retirees, the leadership and Republicans in safe districts with a Northeastern bias,” political analyst and pollster Doug Schoen explained to Newsmax on Thursday.

“Basically, the votes they gave were enough to get it passed — and they didn’t want to put anyone at risk,” he added. “It was retirees, leadership, and Northeastern moderate Republicans who could take the vote without a problem.”

Others in the top House leadership who supported the debt ceiling bill included Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Mich.; Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Calif.; Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Ky.; and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Calif.

Those Northeastern Republicans on board included four from New York — Reps. Chris Collins, Michael Grimm, Richard Hanna, Peter King — as well as three each from neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Seven California House members backed the measure.

“Put it another way: For the Republican base, this is toxic — and the way the process was organized was to insulate the party and its grass-roots as much as possible to avoid any political problems,” Schoen told Newsmax.

The primary problem was avoiding another federal government shutdown, similar to the partial one that lasted 16 days in October and cost taxpayers $1.4 billion — especially when the GOP could possibly retake the Senate in this fall’s congressional elections.

“It goes back to their basis thesis: We get through this. We don’t fight on an issue we can’t win because, ultimately, this election is moving in our direction — and we don’t need to have a problem like the problem we had with the government shutdown.”

Political strategist Dick Morris described the House skirmishing on Thursday as “phony” and “fraudulent.”

“Boehner went to his caucus and said: ‘Hey guys, let’s approve the debt limit in return for pretty-good spending cuts or other restorations,'” Morris told John Bachman on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “The House Republicans said, or enough of them said: ‘We’re not going to vote for a debt-limit increase under any circumstance. You could balance the whole budget and we’re not going to go for it.’

“He didn’t have his 218 votes to pass it — and he couldn’t get any Democratic votes if there were cuts,” Morris said of Boehner.

The Ohio Republican then put together the GOP coalition to support the clean bill.

“All of these Republican congressmen can now go to their primary opponents from the tea party and say, ‘Hey, I voted against raising the debt limit’ — knowing darn well that they were willing to vote for it if they needed it,” Morris said.

Schoen saw it another way.

“The Republican Party did not want to vote to increase the debt ceiling,” he said. “Because they are in the majority, they had to provide some votes — in this case, 28 — to go along with near-unanimous Democratic support to get it done.

“The leadership understood that it was in their interest, long-term, to increase the debt ceiling without any riders or any possibility of paralyzing the government,” Schoen added. “The vast majority of Republicans, for a variety of reasons, disagree.

“For John Boehner, this became a practical step to avoid more political harakiri.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Republicans Call Debt-Ceiling Vote ‘Missed Opportunity’ for Sanity.


Image: Republicans Call Debt-Ceiling Vote 'Missed Opportunity' for Sanity From left: Reps. Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn and Paul Broun

By Todd Beamon

House Republicans told Newsmax on Tuesday that they opposed Speaker John Boehner’s plan for a one-year extension of the nation’s borrowing limit without restrictions because it would not hold President Barack Obama and Democrats accountable to work toward greater fiscal responsibility.

“This is a missed opportunity,” said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin. “We need to pay our bills today and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow.

“I’m disappointed that the president and Senate Democrats refuse to get serious about our fiscal challenges,” Ryan said.

“Raising the debt ceiling without any guarantee of future spending cuts is irresponsible and only makes our nation’s debt problem worse,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee.

Rep. Paul Broun, of Georgia, said he voted against the bill because “we cannot continue to fuel the president’s spending addiction by increasing our nation’s borrowing limit and leaving our children and grandchildren with bills they simply cannot afford to pay.”

The House vote on the “clean” spending bill was 221-201, with only 28 Republicans supporting the measure. Two Democrats, John Barrow of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah, joined the GOP in rejecting it.

The vote marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal approach of House Republicans over the past three years, culminating in October’s 16-day partial government shutdown, which cost taxpayers $1.4 billion.

Discussions this time had concerned linking the debt ceiling to defunding Obamacare — part of last year’s unsuccessful effort — or to a repeal of planned cuts in military pensions.

Under the legislation, the debt ceiling would be suspended until March 15, 2015, allowing the government to keep borrowing beyond its current $17.2 trillion limit. Afterward, however, the new ceiling would equal the amount of debt the government has accumulated in total.

The Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on the legislation.

The vote even split the top GOP leadership, with Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California backing the measure.

But the House’s No. 4 Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the highest-ranking GOP woman in the lower chamber, rejected the bill, along with Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“We can continue to ignore the problem of out-of-control spending, or we can address it,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Unfortunately, the Democrats who run Washington refuse to seriously address our crushing debt in any other way than higher taxes, which isn’t fair to those in eastern Washington and across America.

“If President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate refuse to address our spending addiction when a debt limit increase is requested, when will they?” McMorris Rodgers asked.

Lankford said, “I could not vote to increase our national debt ceiling because the legislation did not offer long-term spending reforms or a plan to prevent having this same debate in the future.”

“We must stop pretending our national debt is not a major issue even though it already exceeds a completely incomprehensible amount,” he added. “On behalf of my daughters and future generations, I will not support taking the easy road today but make it harder in the future,” Lankford said.

Said Walden, “Previous debt-limit negotiations have resulted in historic agreements that reduced spending. I stood ready to work in a bipartisan way on another such agreement, but the Democrats have been unwilling to discuss even modest proposals to reduce the deficit.”

In addition, the Club for Growth and other conservative groups had urged legislators to reject the measure.

“When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt-ceiling increase vote, we thought it was a joke,” the Club for Growth said on its website. “But it’s not. Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party.

“This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support,” the club said.

The Senate Conservatives Fund said in a fundraising letter that Boehner should be replaced.

“Republicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose,” the group said on its website. “These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged conservative efforts so many times that Republicans now have no leverage.

“Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage,” the group said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told Newsmax that the House failed to “heed the warning that reaching the debt ceiling provides” and did not “use this speed bump on the road to national bankruptcy as an opportunity to deal with the root cause of our debt crisis: out-of-control spending.”

“By passing the unconditional increase in the debt ceiling that the president demanded, the answer to this question sadly appears to be no,” Hensarling said.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma noted how Obama has refused to negotiate with Republicans over the debt limit. He reiterated that position heading into this round of talks.

“Every negotiation requires a negotiating partner, but the president has remained intransigent and refused to find common-sense solutions,” Cole said. “I have shown time and again that I am willing to work in a bipartisan manner to solve our nation’s most pressing economic problems, and I will continue to do so.

“The legislation presented today is not that solution,” Cole said.

Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said that “major reform is needed in an area that is swiftly consuming our GDP and is moving our entitlement programs toward insolvency. With today’s vote, we continue to show an addiction to spending and a negligence to address the root of our spending problems.”

Blackburn’s “Volunteer State” State colleague, Rep. Diane Black, was even more blunt.

“Our looming debt crisis threatens the security of the nation we leave behind for future generations,” she said. “Without needed reforms to address the drivers of our debt and deficits, the bill simply gives President Obama a blank check to continue borrowing against our children and grandchildren’s future.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

McMorris Rodgers Seen as Rising Star After SOTU Response.


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who delivered the first GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, is getting rave reviews from her fellow Republican colleagues about her future in the GOP.

“She’s one of our best messengers,” Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma told The Hill. “She an attractive and able spokesperson. Just look at her political skills, how far she’s come.”

“It’s hard not to see a very bright future,” he added.

Story continues below video.

McMorris Rodgers was elected by her colleagues to chair the Republican conference in November 2012, making her the No. 4 Republican in the House and the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress.

A former Republican aide to the House leadership said she managed to avoid the curse that others have faced after delivering State of the Union responses in the past.

“She certainly did an excellent job in her response, which is something that a number of alleged presidential contenders cannot say,” the aide told The Hill. “The State of the Union response platform has been more of a trapdoor than a springboard for future political success.”

Robert Costa of The Washington Post said that McMorris Rodgers’ response was “largely” successful.

“The challenge for McMorris Rodgers will be whether she can seize the moment and build the national profile that so far has eluded her,” Costa wrote. “It’s an open playbook for McMorris Rodgers.”

“With all she had to offer Tuesday for a party that is struggling to close the gender gap and rebound from back-to-back defeats in national elections, it’s a wonder she hasn’t appeared on the scene sooner,” he added.

Some suggest that she would be a great choice as a vice presidential candidate or a top office in Washington state. According to The Hill, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney considered having her join his ticket before he decided on Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. However, Romney did appoint her as his liaison to the House in 2012.

McMorris Rodgers is also the first woman to give birth to three children during her five-term tenure in office.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Courtney Coren

Priebus: GOP Must Add, Not ‘Divide and Subtract’.


The Republican Party should focus on basic mathematics to build its base, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

“We have to grow our party through addition and multiplication. We can’t divide and subtract,” Priebus told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The Republican Party game plan should involve working on all aspects within it to move forward, Priebus suggested. Republicans need to work on strengths to build “where we’re strong,” while also “building our party where we’re weak,” he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

The GOP has been engulfed in divisions between conservative and moderate factions regarding its direction. Conservative tea party members, who want smaller government, have been at odds with more moderate party members.

Priebus said the door to the party should be wider to welcome “all aspects of our party.”

Traditionally, a Republican offers a single response to a president’s State of the Union address. This year, Republicans aired three responses after President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday evening.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state;  Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; and Utah Sen. Mike Lee offered three separate Republican counterpoints to Obama’s address.

Priebus said the tea party response by Lee was good for the party as a whole.

“I think it’s a positive thing for the Republican Party, for the tea party, to put in a good Republican, giving a good Republican response. Saying this president isn’t delivering on his promises, and that there’s a better way. And there’s a Republican senator that’s explaining the better way. How is that not good for our party?” Priebus asked.

When a party is “five years out of the White House,” it’s expected there will be “a lot of voices,” Priebus explained. He said his challenge is “to keep all of those different voices in the same room and speaking out of same hymnal.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Obama to Pitch Ideas in Speech for Spurring ‘Upward Mobility’.


President Barack Obama will urge the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to do more to help poor and middle-class Americans move up the economic ladder.

Both Obama and congressional Republicans view that issue as a high priority, a rare point of agreement between the two sides. But the Democratic president and Republicans disagree on the remedies, setting up a debate that Obama will discuss in his State of the Union address to Congress.

In the speech, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Obama will push an agenda for increasing economic upward mobility and propose aid to the long-term unemployed, an increase in the minimum wage and an expansion of early-childhood education.

After Obama’s speech, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, will deliver a response on behalf of her party. She will likely emphasize free-market ideas for improving prosperity.

Senator Marco Rubio and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, two Republicans who are both seen as potential 2016 presidential candidates, spoke this month on proposals for helping people climb out of economic hardship.

Rubio has suggested shifting responsibility for many federal benefit programs to the states. Ryan has floated the idea of providing a single benefit to low-income families, modeled on one in Great Britain.

The problem of economic stagnation is expected to be a theme in congressional election campaigns this year.

Analysts said social mobility was a potent political issue because the United States has long seen itself as a place where anyone with grit and determination can succeed.

In recent years, however, the wages of many low- and middle-income workers have held steady or fallen on an inflation-adjusted basis. The slow growth after the 2007-2009 recession has exacerbated this trend.

At the same time, the wealthiest and most highly educated Americans, referred to as the “1 percent,” have grown more prosperous.

 

Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern about studies showing that economic mobility in the United States lags that of some other industrialized economies, calling into question the nation’s reputation as a land of opportunity.

More than 40 percent of American men born into the poorest one-fifth of earners remain there, a 2006 study led by Finnish economist Markus Jantti showed. In Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden, only about 25 percent of such men stay in that income segment.

American sons of low-income fathers are more likely to remain stuck in the bottom tenth of earners as adults than are Canadian sons, University of Ottawa economist Miles Corak said in a study published in 2010. In the United States, 22 percent of men born to low-income families stayed in that category, while the same was true of only 16 percent of Canadians.

In 2012, former U.S. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger published a study that linked income inequality with low levels of upward mobility. He devised a chart he named “The Great Gatsby Curve” after the fabulously wealthy protagonist of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It showed the United States toward the upper end of the range of both inequality and low economic mobility, along with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. At the opposite extreme, with low inequality and high mobility, were Denmark, Norway and Finland.

A study from a group led by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty added a new wrinkle to the debate with its finding that American children’s chances of moving up the economic ladder had not changed much in the past few decades. The study also made clear that children’s prospects were tightly linked to their parents’ socio-economic status – more so in the United States than in some other leading economies.

“It’s not so much that we’re losing the American dream,” said Harvard economist Nathaniel Hendren, one of the study’s authors. “It’s did we ever have it, and do we want it?”

The focus on economic mobility builds on a pledge Obama has emphasized over the past two years: to improve the standing and security of the middle class.

The theme is newer for Republicans, who failed to capture the White House in 2012 in part because many voters perceived their party’s candidate, Mitt Romney, as dismissive of the struggles of the poor and working classes.

But analysts say a promise to boost economic mobility could resonate across the ideological spectrum.

“The idea of the United States being exceptional in its ability to promote economic opportunity or the notion of the nation being suited to help people rise is very much part of our national ethos,” said Erin Currier, director of economic mobility for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Americans feel strongly that the United States should be the land of opportunity.”

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Rep. McMorris Rodgers: Senate Playing Games With Shutdown.


As the clock continued to tick towards a federal government shutdown at midnight Monday, Republicans and Democrats held their ground during the Sunday political talk shows, refusing to budge on differences in a spending bill that includes a one-year delay implanting Obamacare.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference, told CNN’s “State of the Union” the fault lies with Democrats if the Senate refuses to pass the government spending bill before the deadline.

McMorris Rodgers also criticized the Senate for leaving Washington over the weekend. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until 2 p.m. on Monday, and the vote has yet to be scheduled.

“They’re the ones who are playing games,” Rodgers said. “They need to come back.”

The House passed a continuing resolution early Sunday to keep the government operational until Dec. 15, but did not include money to fund Obamacare for one year.

The Democratic-controlled Senate is refusing to pass any spending bill, which would effectively shut down the government, unless Obamacare funding is included.

“People are panicked in this country over Obamacare,” McMorris Rodgers said. “We’re pushing the Senate to listen to the American people.”

Former Rep. Artur Davis, a Democrat turned Republican from Alabama, also appeared on CNN and said Republicans have won the public relations war against Obamacare.

However, attaching Obamacare’s death sentence to legislation that keeps government operating is a political tactic that would likely backfire against Republicans, Davis said.

“There’s no question Obama has an incredibly weak hand – if you had said six months ago his approval ratings would be in the low-to-mid forties, no one would have bought that,” Davis said.

“I think the Republicans win the substance on Obamacare. I’m not convinced the Republicans win on brinkmanship,” Davis said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Audrey Hudson

GOP Address: Obama Intent on Continuing Same ‘Foolishness’.


President Barack Obama’s demands to increase the nation’s debt limit without having bipartisan discussions about addressing spending is the same “foolishness” that has caused the nation’s current problems, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in the weekly GOP address.

The Washington state Republican, giving the address as a government shutdown once again looms over Capitol Hill, said lawmakers have a “golden opportunity” to fix problems coming out of Washington, but that won’t happen without cooperation.

“By an overwhelming margin, Americans believe any debt ceiling increase should be coupled with solutions that help solve our debt and grow our economy,” Rodgers said. “Republicans have put forward a plan that does just that.”

The Republican plan couples a one-year delay on Obamacare with “cuts and real reforms to build a 21st century economy – from approving the Keystone pipeline and fixing our outdated tax code.”

However, on Friday, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to temporarily finance the federal government through mid-December and to pay for Obamacare for the next year — dealing a major blow to Republicans who backed a House-backed resolution that would have stripped funding for Obama’s beleaguered healthcare plan.

The final vote was 54-44 with two abstentions, along party lines. The amendment to strip the Obamacare funding from the House bill was sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.

The Senate’s version will be sent back to the House, where House Speaker John Boehner has said that the lower chamber will not pass a bill that does not defund Obamacare. However, he also has said that he has “no interest in seeing a government shutdown.”

In addition, Obama reiterated at the White House on Friday that he will not sign any legislation that requires him to “gut or repeal” the healthcare law.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said. The president added that the Obamacare exchanges on which Americans can buy insurance, “will be open for business on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there is a government shutdown. That’s a done deal.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans have not said what changes they plan to make to the continuing resolution bill, reports The Washington Post. Conservatives in the house have already stopped plans by Boehner and other House GOP leaders to tie the battle in with the fight to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, and stopped efforts to vote on the debt ceiling before the spending matter is decided.

Boehner plans to meet with other Republicans at noon Saturday in the Capitol basement, The
Post reports.

Rodgers insisted in her Saturday morning address that tying in an increase in the debt limit with efforts to curb spending is a common-sense measure that has been used by presidents from both parties, but President Barack Obama isn’t cooperating.

“Unfortunately, the president is now demanding that we increase the debt limit without engaging in any kind of bipartisan discussions about addressing our spending problem,” she said. “He wants to take the easy way out — exactly the kind of foolishness that got us here in the first place.”

Obama’s stance on spending has changed from just a few years ago, Rodgers pointed out.

“President Obama himself worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction deal tied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011,” Rodgers said. “It has its flaws — including the ‘sequester’ the president devised and insisted on — but it has cut spending.”

But “every major deficit reduction effort of the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit,” she said.

“President [Ronald] Reagan did it in 1985 when he signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction bill,” Rodgers said. “Five years later, President [George W.] Bush reached a budget deal with a Democratic Congress that included a debt limit increase. President [Bill] Clinton reached a similar agreement with a Democratic majority in 1993, and with a Republican majority on the balanced budget agreement of 1997.”

Failure to come to an agreement will hit every day Americans the hardest, Rodgers said.

“As we know, it’s hard working people like you who would ultimately pay the price for business as usual through higher taxes, higher prices, and fewer jobs,” she said.

But passing the Republican plan, Rodgers said, is more important than at any other point in recent history.

“Every major deficit reduction effort of the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit,” she said. “This time should be no different. If anything, it’s more important than ever if we’re serious about getting people working again and protecting our children’s future.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Obama Seeks Syria Support from Former Foe McCain.


President Barack Obama is inviting former foe Sen. John McCain to the White House, hoping one of Congress’ most intractable foreign policy hawks will help sell the idea of a U.S. military intervention in Syria to a nation deeply scarred by more than a decade of war.

Having announced over the weekend that he’ll seek congressional approval for military strikes against the Assad regime, the Obama administration is now trying to rally support among Americans and their congressman and senators.

Monday’s meeting with McCain is meant to address concerns of those who feel Obama isn’t doing enough to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s government for an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says included sarin gas and killed at least 1,429 civilians, more than 400 of whom were children. On the other side of the spectrum, some Republican and Democratic lawmakers don’t want to see military action at all.

Obama’s turnabout on Syria sets the stage for the biggest foreign policy vote in Congress since the Iraq war.

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. received new physical evidence in the form of blood and hair samples that shows sarin gas was used in the Aug. 21 attack. Kerry said the U.S. must respond with its credibility on the line.

“We know that the regime ordered this attack,” he said. “We know they prepared for it. We know where the rockets came from. We know where they landed. We know the damage that was done afterwards.”

Kerry’s assertion coincided with the beginning of a forceful administration appeal for congressional support.

On Capitol Hill, senior administration officials briefed lawmakers in private to explain why the U.S. was compelled to act against Assad. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also made calls to individual lawmakers.

Further classified meetings were planned from Monday to Wednesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans a meeting Tuesday, according to its chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. The Senate Armed Service Committee will gather a day later, said Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the panel.

McCain, the candidate Obama defeated for the presidency in 2008, said Obama asked him to come to the White House specifically to discuss Syria.

“It can’t just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles,” the Arizona Republican told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

In an interview with an Israeli television network, he said Obama has “encouraged our enemies” by effectively punting his decision to Congress. He and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have threatened to vote against Obama’s authorization if the military plan doesn’t seek to shift the momentum of the 2 ½ year civil war toward the rebels trying to oust Assad from power.

Obama is trying to convince Americans and the world about the need for action.

So far, he is finding few international partners willing to engage in a conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the past 2½ years and dragged in terrorist groups on both sides of the battlefield.

Only France is firmly on board among the major military powers. Britain’s Parliament rejected the use of force in a vote last week.

With Navy ships on standby in the eastern Mediterranean ready to launch missiles, Congress on Sunday began a series of meetings that are expected to continue over the next several days in preparation for a vote once lawmakers return from summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept. 9.

Senior administration officials gave a two-hour classified briefing to dozens of members of Congress in the Capitol on Sunday.

Lawmakers expressed a range of opinions coming out of the meeting, from outright opposition to strident support for Obama’s request for the authorization to use force.

Among Democrats, Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan said he’d approve Obama’s request and predicted it would pass. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said he was concerned the authorization might be “too broad.” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration still has “work to do with respect to shoring up the facts of what happened.”

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said she was concerned about what Congress was being asked to approve. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the war resolution needed tightening.

“I don’t think Congress is going to accept it as it is,” Sessions said.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Newsmax Exclusive: The 25 Influential Women of the GOP.


Who are America’s most influential Republican women? Newsmax magazine has the answer.

Newsmax looked at leading women in politics, the media, and other fields to compile a list of the 25 most influential Republican women for the August issue’s cover story “The GOP 25.

Leading off is Kelly Ayotte, the senator from New Hampshire who is an emerging force in Congress. Ayotte won by a landslide in 2010 even though New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns spent nearly $2 million in attack ads against her.

No. 2 on the list is former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Although she is not currently in office, Palin still holds sway with evangelical women, and her endorsements in GOP primaries reflect an ability to back winning candidates. A single Palin tweet can still shake up the political landscape.

Another political heavyweight among the 25 is Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. As chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, she holds the No. 4 position in the House leadership hierarchy and is one of the most powerful GOP women on Capitol Hill.

Media figures on the list include author and commentator Peggy Noonan, whose Wall Street Journal columns consistently provide an informed, intelligent defense of conservative ideals.

Another commentator on the list is Laura Ingraham, author and permanent guest host on the highest-rated cable news talk program, “The O’Reilly Factor.” Ingraham also is arguably the most successful woman in the male-dominated arena of political talk radio.

Among the political consultants in the 25 is Mary Matalin, who helped run George H.W. Bush’s campaign and served as an adviser to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Business leaders on the list include Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a former candidate for governor in California. Many observers believe it is only a matter of time before Whitman is asked to put together a winning team at some level in Washington.

Other women in the GOP 25, in addition to those mentioned, are New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine; former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; political-law attorney Cleta Mitchell; Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; former Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley; Tennessee Rep. Diane Black; former Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Liz Cheney; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; business executive Carly Fiorina; GOP strategist Ana Navarro; Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser; “The View” former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck; former RNC Deputy Chairwoman Maria Cino; and commentators Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.

Newsmax also looks at the “Up & Comers” among Republican women, and the trailblazers like Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, who set the bar for exceptional first ladies.

Newsmax magazine is one of the most popular and influential news publications in America. It has been honored with a Gold Eddie Award in the News/Commentary category of Folio magazine’s prestigious journalism awards, the Eddies, and a Charlie Award, the highest honor from the Florida Magazine Association, in each of five categories including Best In-Depth Reporting.

Ben Stein says Newsmax reveals the “unafraid, uncomplicated, bare-knuckles truth about today’s dangerous world.”

Among the other articles in the August issue:

• An excerpt from author and columnist Conrad Black’s new book “Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership.”

Black asserts that America seems to have lost its vocation for greatness in the absence of any rivals, but he is confident that with better leadership, the American eagle will rise again.

• Newsmax magazine looks at the impact that revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program could have on the economy. Privacy advocates are calling for restrictions on the type and amount of personal information the online companies are allowed to collect and share. Given that the online sector accounts for nearly 6 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, the potential impact is huge.

• Political strategist Douglas Schoen’s “Unconventional Wisdom” column maintains that Vice President Joe Biden could be a real contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, and previews the Hillary Clinton-Biden battle that may be brewing.

• “Cold War Heats Up in the Arctic” examines the struggle over which nations will control the Arctic’s coveted oil reserves and rare-earth metals.

• And an article on zero-interest credit cards discloses how Americans can take advantage of the boom in card offers, which feature zero interest on both purchases and balance transfers.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jim Meyers

Hispanic Christians Press Lawmakers on Immigration Reform.


Corina Zuniga
Corina Zuniga, pastor of Fuente de Agua Viva (Fountain of Living Waters) church in Pasadena, Texas, attended the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (June 20). She hopes members of Congress can reach common ground on immigration reform. (Adelle M. Banks)

With a July 4 deadline looming for an immigration reform vote on Capitol Hill, politicians and clergy at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast Thursday pushed lawmakers to reach common ground.

“It’s the right thing to do, it’s the Christian thing to do but it’s also an incredibly practical thing to do,” said Vice President Joe Biden, addressing about 550 attendees.

He cited a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate immigration bill that showed that reform would reduce the federal deficit by $197 billion in the first decade after the bill’s passage, and $700 billion after 20 years.

Many of the leaders attending the breakfast at the end of the three-day biennial conference had spent the previous day on Capitol Hill pressing for passage of immigration reform.

“We’ve been at this for a long time and we see it as the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time,” said the Rev. Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, a national Hispanic organization that hosted the biennial breakfast. “If we can’t get it moving forward now, it means we will remain in this strange situation for years to come.”

The predominantly evangelical group drew both Democrats (Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) and Republicans (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas).

Cornyn agreed that reform was necessary, citing people who have died trying to cross U.S. borders or been pressed into sexual slavery when they reached this country. But he cited different statistics from the CBO, which said that the proposed Senate bill would cut illegal immigration only by 25 percent. “Obviously, it needs some work,” he said.

The Rev. Becky Keenan, co-pastor of Gulf Meadows Church in Houston, said immigrants are aware that with reform comes responsibility. “We want to enjoy the benefits of this nation and do not expect a free ride, only an equal opportunity,” she said in a prayer at the gathering.

Another Texas pastor who attended the breakfast said she is hopeful for a meeting of minds at the Capitol after seeing a member of her church get deported and his American-born children follow him to Mexico.

“I don’t believe that either extreme has the answer or it’s such a great problem that it can’t be solved,” said the Rev. Corina Zuniga, pastor of Fuente de Agua Viva (Fountain of Living Waters) church in Pasadena, Texas. “But we have to come to that common ground where we can find a place that can be a start.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

ADELLE M. BANKS/RNS

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