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Posts tagged ‘United States Senate’

McCain Bashes ‘Ignorant’ Obama Ambassador Nominees.


Sen. John McCain admits it is “kind of entertaining and amusing” to see how “ignorant” some of President Barack Obama’s ambassador nominees are about the countries they will be serving in, but it’s also worrying, he says.

“[I]t’s also really disturbing because it’s a disservice to our country to send that kind of unqualified candidate to represent us and our interest there in these countries,” the Arizona Republican said Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” 

McCain appeared to be having a good time grilling a trio of nominees earlier this year who clearly knew little to nothing about the countries where they are set to serve.

Norway ambassador nominee George Tsunis had positive words for the country’s president even though it doesn’t have one. It is a constitutional monarchy. He also stumbled through an answer in which he said that the Progress Party was denounced by the government. McCain reminded him that the Progress Party is part of Norway’s coalition government.

Story continues below video.

Video of that exchange has gone viral in Norway, McCain told Van Susteren, and “Frankly, the Norwegian people are not very happy about getting that kind of ambassador to represent the United States in their country.”

He and other Republicans are objecting to the nominees, he said, but Democrats have the majority. And since Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the “nuclear option” last year, nominees now need only 51 votes. Republicans have only 45 members in the Senate.

The appointees to Norway, Argentina, and Iceland all admitted they had never been to the countries to which they were being appointed. Another thing they have in common is big political donations to Obama’s re-election campaign.

On Wednesday night’s “Daily Show,” host Jon Stewart then noted that the future Norway ambassador raised $850,000, while the Argentina nominee raised $500,000 and the Iceland nominee raised $1.6 million.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., last week was confirmed by the Senate to be ambassador to China by a 96-0 vote. Baucus is not an Obama campaign bundler, offering Stewart hope that he knows more about that country because of the business and political sensitivites between them and the United States.

“I am no real expert on China,” Baucus said in a clip.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Dems Hope to Force House Vote on Minimum Wage Hike.


House Democrats said Thursday they will try to highlight GOP resistance to a higher minimum wage with a tactical maneuver meant to bring new attention to an issue they consider a political winner.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said her party will push a “discharge petition” when Congress returns from its recess on Feb. 24. If Democrats can persuade roughly two dozen Republicans to sign the petition, it would force GOP leaders to allow a House vote on the wage issue.

Most Republican lawmakers oppose a higher minimum wage. They say it prompts employers to cut down on hiring, a claim Democrats dispute.

It’s by no means clear Democrats can collect enough signatures in the House, where they hold 200 seats to the Republicans’ 232. Three seats are vacant.

Pelosi’s announcement, at a House Democratic retreat in rural Maryland, might displease immigration reform advocates who want priority given to a discharge petition on that subject. Pelosi said a discharge effort may come later for immigration, but “right now we’re starting with the minimum wage.”

Democrats say most Americans favor both a higher minimum wage and sweeping changes to immigration laws. They say Republican leaders thwart the public’s will by refusing to allow House votes on these topics.

President Barack Obama and many congressional Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

An AP-GfK Poll in January found 55 percent of U.S. adults favor an increase in the minimum wage. Just 21 percent oppose it, and 23 percent are neutral.

Democrats say it’s frustrating to see polls show widespread support for their proposals — including a higher minimum wage and an immigration overhaul — even as Republicans appear likely to retain their House majority and possibly gain control of the Senate in this year’s elections.

Some strategists want congressional Democrats to find new ways to underscore their differences with Republicans, and paint Republicans as obstructionists.

“The minimum wage is one of the illuminating contrasts we have,” Rep. Steve Israel, of New York, told reporters at the party’s retreat. He chairs the committee overseeing Democrats’ House races.

Earlier, Republicans dismissed the idea of Democrats getting enough petition signatures to force a House vote on a Senate immigration bill that would grant new pathways to legal status for millions of immigrants.

“This scheme has zero chance of success,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “A clear majority in the House understands that the massive Senate-passed bill is deeply flawed.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he believes nearly all House Democrats would sign a petition seeking a vote on a higher minimum wage. If all 200 Democrats did so, they would need 17 Republicans to join them.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Useless Obamacare Website Completely Unable To Fix Enrollment Errors.


Washington Post: Tens of thousands of people who discovered that HealthCare.gov made mistakes as they were signing up for a health plan are confronting a new roadblock: The government cannot yet fix the errors.

Roughly 22,000 Americans have filed appeals with the government to try to get mistakes corrected, according to internal government data obtained by The Washington Post. They contend that the computer system for the new federal online marketplace charged them too much for health insurance, steered them into the wrong insurance program or denied them coverage entirely.

obamacare-meme-traitor-marxist-liberal-white-house-occupier

CLICK HERE TO SEE NANCY PELOSI’S SOLUTION FOR FIXING THE OBAMACARE MESS.

For now, the appeals are sitting, untouched, inside a government computer. And an unknown number of consumers who are trying to get help through less formal means — by calling the health-care marketplace directly — are told that HealthCare.gov’s computer system is not yet allowing federal workers to go into enrollment records and change them, according to individuals inside and outside the government who are familiar with the situation.

“It is definitely frustrating and not fair,” said Addie Wilson, 27, who lives in Fairmont, W.Va., and earns $22,000 a year working with at-risk families. She said that she is paying $100 a month more than she should for her insurance and that her deductible is $4,000 too high.

When Wilson logged on to HealthCare.gov in late December, she needed coverage right away. Her old insurance was ending, and she was to have gallbladder surgery in January. But the Web site would not calculate the federal subsidy to which she knew she was entitled. Terrified to go without coverage, Wilson phoned a federal call center and took the advice she was given: Pay the full price now and appeal later.

Now she is stuck

“I hope,” she said, “they really work on getting this fixed.”

The Obama administration has not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working. In recent weeks, legal advocates have been pressing administration officials, pointing out that rules for the online marketplace, created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, guarantee due-process rights to timely hearings for Americans who think they have been improperly denied insurance or subsidies. source – Washington Post.

by NTEB News Desk

Obama Orders Military to Review Sexual Assault.


President Barack Obama is ordering a review of the military’s response to sexual assault in the armed forces.

Obama says in a statement provided to The Associated Press that his administration has “an urgent obligation” to respond. The president is giving military leaders a year to report on their progress in responded to the crime — including in the military justice system.

The president’s remarks are his first on legislation that would crack down on sexual assault passed by the Senate late Thursday.

Obama says if he doesn’t see progress, he will consider further reforms to “eliminate this crime from our military ranks.”

Obama isn’t specifying what other reforms he would consider. The Senate is debating legislation that would take authority for prosecuting attackers away from commanders.

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

Scott Brown Takes Heat in NH on Assault Weapon Ban.


Image: Scott Brown Takes Heat in NH on Assault Weapon Ban

By Melissa Clyne

Though he hasn’t announced any plans to run for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire, Scott Brown is causing a stir in in the Granite State.

The moderate Republican and former senator from Massachusetts headlined a state GOP holiday party in Nashua that drew supporters and protesters, many of them gun-rights activists who take issue with Brown’s position favoring a federal ban on assault weapons,The Boston Globe reports.

“His coming here is calculated disrespect, just as if he went to Saudi Arabia with pork chops in his suitcase,” protester Jay Simkin told Politico. “If he wants gun control, he should stay in Massachusetts.”

Brown, who also is pro-choice, changed course on the gun control debate after last year’ deadly shootings in Newtown, Conn. His move angered Second Amendment purists.

“If it’s Brown, flush it down,” one protester’s sign read. Others featured scrawled slogans such as “Keep New Hampshire Scott Free” and “Brownbagger go home to Mass.”

Brown has a vacation home in the Granite State, where he is relocating full-time,  sparking speculation that he plans to run for office from his new state.

Republicans there are looking for someone to challenge incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the former governor elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008.

Brown has been coy about his intentions, but polling data collected before the launch of troubled Obamacare showed him trailing Shaheen by four percentage points, according to USA Today. His chances are thought to have risen since national outrage over policy cancellations and skyrocketing premiums.

“I didn’t think she was all that vulnerable,” Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy told USA Today. “I feel a little bit differently about that now. But having said that, Republicans need a candidate and they don’t have one right now.”

In Massachusetts, Sen. Elizabeth Warren unseated Brown in 2012. He won the seat in 2010 in a special election.

A popular governor, Shaheen supported the Affordable Care Act, a decision that is coming back to haunt her in the form of a vicious TV spot skewering her and the president for the failed initiative.

“Obamacare, as you know, is a mess, and it’s really dramatically affecting people’s everyday lives,” Brown said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Homosexual and Transgender Employment Bill Threatens Religious Liberty.


Peter Sprigg
Peter Sprigg

In November, the U.S. Senate passed a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that creates a special status for sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

ENDA unjustly interferes with the liberty of employers in the free market to determine their own standards for employment, based on characteristics that (unlike race or sex) primarily involve voluntary conduct (the choice to engage in homosexual conduct or the choice to present one’s self as the opposite of one’s biological sex).

In addition to this underlying threat to the free market for employment, however, ENDA poses a specific threat to religious liberty as well. The theologically orthodox teaching of both the Christian and Jewish faiths has always been that, in keeping with the teachings of Scripture, sexual relations between persons of the same sex are contrary to the will of God.

While the vast majority of employers would not consider an employee’s sexual orientation relevant, many religious organizations motivated by and proclaiming those faiths will logically seek employees whose conduct is consistent with the moral standards they teach. Such employers include not only churches and synagogues, but also schools, parachurch ministries, religious charities and nonprofits, and even profit-making corporations that sell religious products.

Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity at the local and state levels usually contain at least something that passes for a religious exemption, but the scope of those exemptions varies.

In some cases, the exemption has been applied only to clergy but not to other church employees. In other cases, church employees may be exempt, but those at religious nonprofit organizations are not. Or religious nonprofits that primarily proclaim the gospel may be exempted, but those that engage in “secular” activities (such as feeding the poor or educating children) are not.

Even if all religious nonprofits could be exempted, such laws rarely, if ever, exempt profit-making corporations—even though a Christian bookstore or Bible publisher may see its mission as being just as religious as any nonprofit ministry. (Lawsuits over the HHS mandate in Obamacare have shown that profit-making corporations have legitimate concerns about federal mandates that would force them to compromise moral principles.)

Advocates of ENDA argue that its religious exemption is relatively broad. The 1964 Civil Rights Act law exempts religious organizations from the ban on employment discrimination based on religion. ENDA would exempt any organization that qualifies for that exemption from ENDA’s provisions as well.

The exemption in the 1964 act was based on the reasonable grounds that organizations motivated by their faith should be free to give preference in hiring to those who share that faith. There is largely a social consensus that such flexibility in hiring furthers the free exercise of religion already guaranteed by the Constitution.

However, advocates of ENDA are people who fundamentally believe it is never reasonable to make moral distinctions between homosexual relationships and heterosexual ones. This is not a point of consensus—it is precisely the point in dispute. Therefore, it is reasonable to doubt whether ENDA’s advocates—or enforcers—will be generous toward employers that decline to employ people who engage in homosexual conduct.

Even if the rights of all religious employers are fully protected, a threat to religious liberty would remain. This is because there is no exemption in the bill for religious employees. Under ENDA, anyone who expresses the personal moral conviction that homosexual conduct is wrong would be vulnerable (or make their employer vulnerable) to charges of creating a “hostile work environment” for homosexual co-workers. That person would be at risk of being disciplined or even dismissed.

This is no mere hypothetical—there have been numerous examples already. Allstate insurance fired attorney Matt Barber (now with Liberty University Law School) for online writings against the homosexual agenda done on his own time. Gallaudet University suspended administrator Angela McCaskill merely for signing a petition to allow a referendum in Maryland on the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Fox Sports Southwest recently fired Craig James as a college football commentator after only one appearance—for positions he took while running for the U.S. Senate a year and a half earlier. This is why I have contended that ENDA would drive Christians “into the closet” even as it brings homosexual and transgender individuals out.

Conservatives are sometimes accused of trying to legislate morality. In this case, however, it is ENDA that seeks to legislate morality at the federal level—but it is the morality (or immorality) of the sexual revolution, which directly contradicts the sexual ethics of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Any member of Congress seeking to protect religious liberty should reject ENDA.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Peter Sprigg is senior fellow for policy studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared inThe Christian Post on Friday.

McCain: Anti-Budget Colleagues Lack “Intellectual Integrity”.


Sen. John McCain rebuked Republican colleagues who plan to vote against the budget deal as lacking “intellectual integrity,” the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

“My only response to that is that I respect their vote but I’d like to know what we do in order to avoid another shutdown of the government,” the Arizona Republican said.

“I have concerns about the budget deal, everybody I think does because of the nature the way business is done, but to somehow vote against it without an alternative to keep the government from shutting down, then I think lacks some intellectual integrity.”

McCain said he would vote for the bipartisan budget bill, which has already been passed in the House.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cynthia Fagen

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