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Posts tagged ‘Michael Grimm’

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.

Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism.


Image: Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism

By Greg Richter

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.,  is among the lawmakers who don’t buy a New York Times report over the weekend that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous act fueled by anger over an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The former Marine and FBI agent says the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was without a doubt a military operation, and anyone with a military background could recognize it as such.

“This was a methodical, military attack. This was not some group of individuals that was upset,” Grimm said Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”“These were trained individuals. This was a military op.”

The attackers were weaponized, trained, and methodical, Grimm told CNN. If a YouTube video had gotten ordinary citizens upset, they might have thrown Molotov cocktails or rocks, he said. Someone might have even had a firearm or an AK-47, he said, but there would not have been the same amount of weaponry as the attackers had.

The Times story also concluded that al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, was not involved in the Benghazi attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary.

“The New York Times is wrong,” Grimm said. “And I would not say that’s a Republican point of view. For me, this is apolitical.”

Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have been briefed on Benghazi have “tangible evidence, empirical data” that show the attacks had al-Qaida ties, he said.

“If al-Qaida is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, then they’re a terror proxy for al-Qaida” even if they call themselves by another name, Grimm said.

Al-Qaida, he said, has “morphed” since the 9/11 attacks and now funds other groups that can act in its stead. He said he has seen secret intelligence documents that tie al-Qaida to the attacks, even if somewhat tenuously, but said he cannot divulge publicly what those documents say.

Grimm said the Times report may spur further investigation, especially because the United States should get to the bottom of how security was handled in Benghazi. Unless such threats are recognized, he said, the lives of innocent Americans are placed at risk and the country appears weaker in the eyes of terrorists.

He said the United States was right to offer security help to Russia in light of two  bombings linked to the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But the United States could lack authority on the world stage, he said, unless it can honestly discuss its own security breaches in places such as Benghazi.

“For Russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security,” he said.

Still, the United States should not have second thoughts about attending the games, Grimm said.

“When we stop doing things like the Olympics, then they’ve won. We can’t allow that to happen,” Grimm told CNN. “We can’t live in a state of terror or panic. But you do have to take the appropriate precautions.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

TSA Reverses Decision Allowing Knives on Planes.


Image: TSA Reverses Decision Allowing Knives on Planes

Knives, scissors, cigarette lighters, and other items Confiscated from passengers are shown at Reagan National Airport in Washington. The small implements were banned after 9/11.

By Courtney Coren

The Transportation Security Administration has reversed a decision to allow short-blade knives onto airplanes, following relentless criticism from lawmakers and consumers.

According to a statement released Wednesday by TSA, the plan approved by Director John Pistole to allow knives with blades less than 2½ inches long and other items that could be used as weapons was abandoned after listening to concerns of law enforcement, passengers and “other important stakeholders,” Politico reported.

The plan would have allowed not only knives, but other items such as golf clubs and baseball bats that could have been turned into weapons. The goal behind the plan was to free up more security agents to focus on explosives rather than small items that Pistole felt no longer were a threat to airline safety because enough onboard aircraft security had been put in place to address the possibility of a hijack attempt with a small weapon.

Lawmakers were bothered that Pistole did not discuss the decision with them before announcing it.

Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts offered an amendment to a Homeland Security spending bill Wednesday to prohibit small knives on airplanes. It may have been the impetus behind the TSA reversal.

The two congressmen noted in a joint statement that Pistole had “finally acquiesced to the outcry and groundswell of opposition in Congress.”

“This is a victory for every single person who sets foot on a plane, and a reaffirmation that the government listens to the people,” Markey said.

Despite the TSA reversal, Grimm said, he and Markey do not plan to withdraw their amendment.

“There’s nothing that stops them from reversing themselves again in the future,” he told Politico. “So we’re going forward with it to put this thing to rest once and for all.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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