Monday, January 6th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
House GOP leaders have made it crystal clear that it is their intention to pass an amnesty bill based upon every liberal premise of the immigration issue. The only question is timing. Conservatives must sound the alarm and acknowledge that engaging in the upcoming primaries is the only way to preempt Obamacare 2.0 in the lame duck years of Obama’s tenure.
When talking with many grassroots activists throughout the country this primary cycle, it seems that many conservatives are fooled by the false sense of security that a GOP-controlled House would never pass amnesty. After all, why would Republicans reward a lawbreaker – a president who has ostensibly placed a moratorium on border security and immigration enforcement – with the biggest political victory of his second term?
After the government shutdown in October, I felt the same way. There was no way Republicans would play ball with Democrats on immigration after President Obama and Senator Harry Reid conducted themselves with such contempt during the budget battle. But like many others in the movement, I was temporarily overlooking the fact that our party is controlled by undocumented Democrats.
Immediately following the budget battle, we began to see news reports about Speaker Boehner promising a push for amnesty after the primaries are settled. We saw Rep. Eric Cantor hold up the Dream Act as a paradigm of positive conservative legislation. We watched in shock as John Boehner suddenly hired one of the key staffers involved in writing the Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill to be his top policy advisor on immigration. And we saw Rep. Paul Ryan, a rabid supporter of open borders, forge a budget deal for an extra year, clearing the schedule to focus on immigration over the next two years.
Now, the New York Times is reporting that John Boehner is planning to act on his tantalizing open border dreams, albeit through a surreptitious strategy. Knowing that conservatives are repulsed by anything comprehensive in nature, aides to the Speaker told the Times that he plans to push a “step-by-step” approach. In case you were wondering, that step-by-step approach doesn’t include reforming our out-of-control refuge and asylum policy, building the fence, cutting off the welfare spigot, clarifying birthright citizenship, ending chain migration, or reducing our record high levels of low skilled immigration before making other changes. It includes a list of liberal priorities couched with some shiny objects that will never make it in the final bill, especially with Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate and the White House.
And speaking of Democrat control, why are the same people who told us we can’t block bad legislation with control of just the House now suggesting that we can pass conservative immigration legislation with such little power?
The question answers itself. These people do not share our values. This intra-party battle is not just about strategy; it is about substance.
Indeed it is hard to sit back and watch Republican leaders remain silent as Obama hamstrings our border agents, suspends laws of Congress, and even harbors illegal immigrants in his own family. Instead of debating how much enforcement they will demand from Obama, Republicans are already negotiating how much amnesty and chain migration they will unilaterally cede to the President.
If conservatives remain silent, all of the incumbents will coast to reelection and the current leadership will remain intact. Even if Boehner retires, Reps. Cantor, McCarthy and Ryan will pursue amnesty with even more alacrity. That’s why conservatives must work to change leadership.
In addition to engaging in every contested primary this year, conservatives need to commence a discussion with sitting members regarding their plans for next year’s leadership elections. Instead of waiting until the last minute, there needs to be a well-organized effort beginning this year to block the current leaders from retaining or obtaining power during the next Congress.
After three years of failed promises from the Pledge to America, and now with the new push for amnesty by the big four players (John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan), it’s time for new leadership. Make no mistake about it, if we are saddled with Boehner and Cantor for leaders, or if Paul Ryan replaces Boehner as Speaker, we will witness the fundamental transformation of America through immigration deform. It’s time we start bringing individual members out of the shadows and document their plans for leadership elections. Otherwise we will all be disenfranchised by an opposition party that joins with a very ambitious lame-duck president who has nothing to lose by pushing a sweeping amnesty bill.
Monday, January 6th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
Later today, when the Senate votes on the nomination of Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Republicans will have an opportunity to shed the image of stubborn allies of Wall Street and stand with the free market. Republicans should oppose the confirmation of Janet Yellen, who has been known to support Bernanke’s aggressive stimulus policies at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), unless Democrats agree to some critical reforms of this powerful institution.
There is something fundamentally wrong when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve can serve as essentially an unelected fourth branch of government, wielding power over our purchases, savings, and national debt. During her confirmation hearing, Yellen declined to say how long she plans to keep interest rates so artificially low. She also failed to answer how and when she plans to sell off the Fed’s huge balance sheet, which has quadrupled since 2008. Most disturbingly, she obdurately rejected any plan to inject congressional oversight into this unaccountable and unelected creation of Congress. This is simply irresponsible.
We have a prime opportunity to hold the Fed and their special interests’ feet to the fire over their manipulation and dangerous economic game of distorting our economy.
It’s never good to make abrupt and drastic changes in monetary policy, but we must not be dissuaded from proposing reforms just because the stock market will have a tantrum – the same repetitive threat that is used to force Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans need to begin advocating for the repeal of Humphrey-Hawkins, which charges the Fed with a dual mandate to achieve maximum sustainable employment and keep prices stable. The Fed should focus solely on price stability. Once they lack the ability to administer to Wall Street what the Dallas Fed Chair Richard Fisher refers to as “monetary morphine,” there won’t be any wild swings in the stock market in anticipation of such harmful meddling.
After three rounds of ‘quantitative easing’ and two rounds of ‘operation twist,’ the Fed has a balance sheet of almost $4 trillion — purchasing $40 billion in treasuries and $45 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month. The governing body of the Fed has not offered any comprehensive plan to sell off these assets without incurring a loss. The endless bond buying is distorting the housing market, yet Washington politicians seem to have forgotten the tough lessons learned from the previous housing bubble and continue to allow it to happen.
Additionally, the perennial policy of keeping interest rates near zero is hurting retirees all for the purpose of putting a short-term band-aid on the ailing economy. It’s almost impossible for seniors to find low-risk investments that will allow their savings to keep up with the rate of inflation. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute shows that households lost $360 billion in net interest income from the monetary manipulation, with seniors losing roughly $2700 per year. Also, record-low interest rates have incentivized banks to sit on their money and not offer loans to startup businesses, exacerbating the existing tightness in the credit market due to Dodd-Frank.
The artificially low interest rates have done nothing to spawn organic growth in the economy, except for juicing up the stock market in the short-run, benefiting the special interest corporatists at the expense of the people.
To make matters worse, the ability of the Federal Reserve to service the national debt with artificially low interest rates on treasuries has allowed the Obama administration to grow harmful government programs like Obamacare. If government expenditures would be limited to the amount of tax revenue, it would be much harder for liberals to expand the role of government in private enterprise. Each increase in spending would require a commensurate increase in taxes.
Friday, January 3rd, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections
Over the past few years, it has become abundantly clear to the conservative grassroots that the Republican establishment in Washington is broken and no longer represents the party’s values. We embarked on the 2014 election cycle with a goal to help recruit or support candidates who will serve in the Ted Cruz model – men and women who are willing to stand up to the leaders of both parties to represent constitutional values. Well, 2014 is upon us and we could not have anticipated more success.
Thus far, we have helped recruit or support candidates who are mounting historic primary challenges to some of the most powerful and longest serving members of Congress, as well as game-changing fighters running in Democrat or open seats. If elected, these candidates will send a shock throughout the D.C. political swamp. They will be more than just a vote; they will serve as a voice for the country class and break all ties with the ruling class of both parties.
We could not have done this without the support of all our followers and readers. But 2014 is going to require an even more robust commitment from the movement. If we do not defeat enough of these establishment Republicans, President Obama will succeed in two of his goals - initiatives that will fundamentally transform the fabric of this nation – preserving Obamacare and passing amnesty/immigration deform.
The leadership in the GOP and their ruling class enablers in the consultant and lobbying crowd have made it clear that they will pass amnesty and block any effort to fight Obamacare in the budget or debt ceiling bills. It behooves us all to remind them that their jobs are tenuous; that they merely serve at the pleasure of those who elect them.
Please help us begin the new year with a bang and lend support to our slate of candidates. We have four Senate candidates and four House candidates, with a number of promising prospects on the way. In the coming weeks, we hope to unveil a new website with information on all our candidates and how you can help volunteer working the phones or knocking on doors in the contested states and districts.
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes
Congress plans to kick off the new legislative session the same way it ended the last one. They will continue to spend more money.
When Congress voted on the Ryan-Murray budget deal before adjourning for Christmas, members were only signing off on the topline discretionary spending figures, not the individual accounts for all the departments and agencies. They agreed to repeal part of the sequester for the next two years. Consequently, discretionary spending will increase from $967 billion to an annualized level of $1.012 trillion for the remainder of FY 2014. Congress will now work on passing an omnibus bill with 12 appropriations bills rolled up in one massive piece of legislation, which will reflect the topline figure in the Ryan-Murray deal.
Now, as The Hill reports, the appropriator cardinals are working frenetically to divvy up the new spending among their favorite portions of the government pie.
“Congress is set to unveil a giant spending bill next week that staff for appropriators have been preparing on a near daily basis throughout the holiday break.
Aides say progress on the $1 trillion, 12-part omnibus legislation has been better than expected at the subcommittee level, and that their goal remains to pass the bill through both chambers by Jan. 16 to prevent a government shutdown.
The secretive process has members anticipating rushed votes when they return next week, as congressional leaders race the clock.”
Thursday, December 26th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
Here’s is a thought for a slow vacation week. Congress’s approval rating has dipped into the single digits. Anyone with any intellectual honesty – whether liberal or conservative – should agree that we need wholesale change in the ranks of leadership in both parties. Yet the Chamber of [Government-Run] Commerce is prepared to spend $50 million in order to protect the status quo.
The Wall Street Journal published an extensive story over Christmas detailing some of the efforts of party leadership and their corporate allies to keep the Republican Party a small tent – one which stands for nothing and appeals to nobody:
Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.
GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014′s midterm elections. […]
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.
“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”
Well, if the Chamber is looking to avoid loser candidates they should start by pulling the plug on their support for Mitch McConnell. He is losing to a liberal Democrat in a state Republicans carried by 23 points last year. That’s a loser candidate if I’ve ever seen one.
Yes, indeed the Chamber is full of many ironies. They supposedly represent business interests, yet they continue to perpetuate the powers that be in Washington – the very same forces that stifle business growth. With their candidates, they help perpetuate Obamacare, which kills small businesses. With their candidates, they help Democrats win on every debt ceiling fight, so that the federal government has unlimited money to propagate job-killing regulations. And with their candidates, they ensure that we re-elect the current crop of failed GOP leaders who have given Democrats a defacto super-majority in the Senate.
Most amazingly, they are also spending millions of dollars pushing for amnesty and an unlimited supply of Democrat voters. These voters will help defeat their chosen Republican incumbents, thereby countermanding this year’s $50 million campaign.
In reality, the Chamber doesn’t stand for free markets or limited government. They stand with the special interests and venture socialists as long as it helps the bottom line of their clients. They are attracted to the strongest political forces on the block like flies are attracted to cow pies. Hence, they will do anything in their power to protect the status quo.
Folks, if you like the status quo in Washington, the Chamber of Commerce has $50 million in banal political ads to sell you in the upcoming primary season. Are you buying?
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues
Senator Mitch McConnell would make an excellent magician. He has a penchant for disappearing during the toughest moments of a battle and deftly distracting attention to an issue not in contention at the time.
During the summer, when conservatives were marshaling support for a unified message of funding the government minus Obamacare, McConnell was completely absent. When cornered by the media to comment on the defund fight, he would always talk about the importance of keeping the spending cuts from the Budget Control Act – the issue that was not in dispute at the moment.
Over the past few weeks, the point of contention indeed revolved around the replacement of sequestration. From day one, it was clear that there was a bipartisan agreement to countermand the spending cuts, with the only dispute centering on which offsets would be used in the budget chicanery. After speaking so strongly about the importance of the sequester cuts during the defund fight, one would have expected McConnell to use his magnificent power to stop this deal in its tracks.
Yet, not only did he decline to say a word during the formulation of the deal, he waited until after the bill passed the House and Senate (at least the critical cloture vote) to even put out a statement opposing it. Needless to say, he never whipped against the vote, allowing Democrats to easily pick off enough Republicans to ensure that the spending cuts would be eliminated, paving the road for a permanent repeal of the sequester in the future.
How else do we know that McConnell’s no vote on Ryan-Murray was more a function of a ‘hope yes, vote no’ strategy? At the same time he is telling defense contractors to help him beat back tea party challengers who will cut defense spending, McConnell votes against the deal that will reinstate some funding for defense contractors (on the backs of disabled veterans)!
Now after disappearing from the scene of the crime during the fight over the budget, McConnell is feeling the pressure to, once again, project illusions onto a future battle. He is actually saying that Republicans will fight hard on the debt ceiling:
“I doubt if the House, or for that matter the Senate, is willing to give the president a clean debt-ceiling increase,” McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, said. “The debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings everyone together and gets the president’s attention.”
This is akin to the arsonist giving advice on how to extinguish a fire. McConnell completely destroyed our leverage with Democrats in October. He has made it clear that he is so scared of brinkmanship he is even willing to clamp down on those in the party who push for it. He created the “McConnell plan,” which gives members a defacto non-binding protest vote against the debt ceiling as a popular concession for giving Obama what he wants. Democrats have already made it clear that the McConnell plan will serve as the baseline for future negotiations.
Either way, why should Democrats fear a fight with McConnell when they know his Wall Street bundlers are pushing their very own fallacious talking points about defaulting on our credit and crashing the stock market?
Moreover, when McConnell surrendered to Harry Reid in October and gave him a clean debt ceiling increase, he failed to ask for one concession – that the Treasury be denied the ability to circumvent the debt ceiling law with “extraordinary measures.” Consequently, the real deadline is not on February 7, but as late as June or July. There is no way in the world McConnell would have the moxie to pick a fight that close to the midterm elections. And assuming the debt ceiling goes past McConnell’s May 20 primary, he will have no need to pretend to be conservative anyway.
But fear not, wait until the summer and Mitch McConnell will have another trick up his sleeve to distract from his capricious leadership.
Cross-posted from RedState.com
Friday, December 20th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Issues
2013 has been a rough year for conservatives.
This year began with the passage of the $620 billion tax hike, along with $332 billion in stimulus spending. It ended with Republicans in both houses helping pass a bill that raises taxes, raises spending, makes it easier to raise taxes in the future, destroys our leverage for two years, screws disabled veterans, and paves the road for amnesty.
Worst of all, despite Harry Reid’s egregious assault on the filibuster, Republicans obsequiously gave him the votes for all of the end-of-year votes needed to adjourn for Christmas. Despite the fact that Harry Reid has completely shut down the amendment process Republicans were all too eager to give him 60 votes on every piece of legislation this month. Between the unified Democrat front and the lack of leadership among Senate Republicans, 2013 has turned out to be the year of the Democrat supermajority.
Republicans have helped Democrats pass tax increases, debt ceiling increases, funding for Obamacare, the unconstitutional Violence Against Women Act, an internet sales tax, amnesty, special rights for sundry sexual identities (ENDA), a massive farm bill, and some radical nominees.
In October, when House Republicans stood strong in the effort to defund Obamacare, Senate Republicans openly scoffed at them and joined with Senate Democrats to sabotage the fight.
Senate Republicans were so amiable to Harry Reid’s every whim that he decided to go for the kill at the end of the year. He pulled the nuclear option and abolished the filibuster on almost all presidential nominees. Republicans responded by working with him to pass the raw budget deal and the NDAA.
We thought the House was much better than the Senate, but amazingly, only 62 Republicans voted against a deal that was so easy to oppose.
In theory, one can accept the establishment’s argument about this year’s failures. With only control of the House of Representatives, we shouldn’t have high expectations. But if we win back more control in 2014 and 2016, things will change.
However, in order to accept that excuse one would have to buy into the lie that the schism within the party is only over strategy, not ideology. What lays waste to that notion is the inexplicable, yet inexorable, push for amnesty legislation on the part of the GOP establishment.
Along with Cantor’s vocal action on the Dream Act and Boehner’s hiring of a new pro-amnesty immigration staffer, we now have confirmation from Paul Ryan that the budget deal will indeed clear the lane for amnesty next year.
Let’s engage in a thought exercise for a moment – one which is predicated on the assumption that Republican leaders share our values but are merely hamstrung by control of just one branch of government. GOP leadership contends that we cannot block and tackle bad pieces of legislation and pernicious government programs with their current scope of power in Washington. Yet, somehow, we are to believe that Republicans can actively pass new immigration reform built upon conservative principles with Barack Obama in the White House?
To paraphrase Speaker Boehner, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
Even if you are sympathetic to some form of amnesty under the right circumstances, if you had any shred of conservatism in your soul you would wait until we have someone in the White House who can be trusted to faithfully execute the law and not seek a political victory.
So why would Republicans push amnesty above every other priority? Why not work on something more unifying, such as repealing the ethanol mandate, an endeavor which has bipartisan support?
Sadly, it is quite evident that these people do not share our values. Immigration is just one issue, but it exposes the great establishment lie that the entire intra-party squabble revolves around strategy. It revolves around core values. Our core values are liberty, free markets, a strong civil society, strong national sovereignty, and following the Constitution as it was originally conceived. Their values are money and power. When the two competing ideals overlap, they will be happy to join us. But when those two goals clash, which they often do, they will give voice to the other side – either passively or vocally.
If we don’t rebuild the party from the bottom-up, no degree of electoral success during the 2014 and 2016 general elections will change our current trajectory.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, News, Uncategorized
It’s not even 2014 and Mississippi conservative Senate candidate, Chris McDaniel, is already tied with incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the polls. According to a new Human Events/Gravis poll, Cochran and McDaniel are all tied up at 40% apiece. It is pretty unprecedented for a challenger to be polling this well against a 35-year incumbent so early in the race.
The poll also showed that only 39% of Republicans definitively approved of Cochran. This poll is in line with previous surveys that show Chris to be very competitive. This is why we were so proud to endorse him early on in this race. Chris is truly an impressive candidate, and with voters itching for a more effective conservative voice in the Senate, he has a solid chance to become a U.S. Senator next year.
Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections
The latest poll from Kentucky, conducted by Public Policy Polling, completely countermands the conventional wisdom that McConnell is a shoo-in to win the primary. In addition, the poll shows that McConnell is indeed the weaker candidate to go up against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election. Here are some of the highlights:
- Senator McConnell is leading conservative Matt Bevin 53 to 26 percent in the primary. Previously, McConnell has led by 39 and 47 points; now he is only up 27 points. A strong majority, 61%, still have no opinion of Bevin. It is quite clear that as Bevin raises his name ID, he will make this race competitive.
- How unpopular is Mitch McConnell? Barack Obama lost the state by 23 points and 116 of 120 counties last year. Even 40% of Democrats voted against the President in the Democrats primary of 2012. Yet, Mitch McConnell sports an identical 31% approval rating statewide. Even among Republicans his approval has dropped to 47%. Clearly, primary voters are getting the message that McConnell is a finger lickin’ fraud.
- Matt Bevin is stronger against Grimes in the general election than Mitch McConnell. Bevin keeps Grimes down to 38% of the votes, while against McConnell she polls 42%. It is likely that once Bevin grows his name recognition, he will perform much better.
- Only 30% of voters really think that Rand Paul supports McConnell.
- Kentucky Republicans say they like Rand Paul better than Mitch McConnell by a 59/27 margin.
Monday, December 16th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Debt
The past three years of GOP control in the House have been marked by the rallying cry of fighting “the next time.” With every budget deadline comes a degree of leverage from which Republicans can extract concessions on reducing the size of government. Yet with every budget battle, House leadership shirks from the fight and blithely points to the next battle – the debt ceiling – as the consummate opportunity to push for reforms. After all, a budget battle raises the stakes of a government shutdown.
Then when we reach the debt ceiling, GOP leaders echo the scandalous lies of the Democrats with regards to defaulting on debt. Default is much more serious than a plain government shutdown, claim the wizards of smart. But just wait until the next budget battle and we’ll cut trillions in debt, not just billions.
Finally, in October, Republicans made it clear they would never hold up a debt ceiling or a budget bill. At least that was the message telegraphed to the Democrats. Yet, amazingly, Paul Ryan is still playing the game. After punting on two years’ worth of budget leverage points, Ryan is feeling the pressure to put on a brave face about his promises for transformational reforms. As such, he is rallying the troops on the next debt ceiling fight:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday said Republicans will insist on more concessions for raising the debt limit in early 2014, indicating that the fiscal ceasefire he brokered in a budget deal may not last long.
“We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit,” Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt-limit fight.”
The two-year budget agreement Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) did not increase the nation’s borrowing authority, which officials project will next be exhausted sometime in the spring.
“One step at a time,” Ryan said. “Patty Murray and I knew we weren’t going to solve every problem, like the debt limit problem.”
House and Senate Republicans will discuss their debt-limit strategy at separate party retreats in January, Ryan said.
Sorry, Paul. You already gave up your leverage. Democrats know that you are scared to death of brinkmanship, and will never have an incentive to come to the bargaining table unless we replace you and your buddies at the head of the dais.
Moreover, the debt ceiling deadline will probably not mature until well into the summer. Although the debt ceiling law will be reinstated on February 7, Republicans failed to block the Treasury from using extraordinary measures to push off the “crisis date.” By the time they exhaust their payment shifts, it will be too close to the midterm elections. Leadership will never take any risks that late in the year.
As an aside, it’s a real shame that Republicans couldn’t block extraordinary measures as one concession from the October fight. In February, American workers will begin dealing with the initial shock of diminishing take-home pay due to higher withholdings for health insurance. The outrage over Obamacare will grow from those affected by the private market to the vast majority of workers who will pay more for health insurance in the employer market. But that opportunity perished in the McConnell surrender bill.
Finally, there is one other reason we will never see Republicans fight on the debt ceiling. They badly want to pass amnesty. There is no worse distraction from amnesty than a budget battle. One of the few positive results of the October showdown after Senate Republicans sabotaged it was that amnesty was killed for the remainder of the year. The K Street establishment is not about to make that mistake again.
There will be no next time unless we shake up the party in the upcoming primaries.