BREAKING: Speaker Ryan Calls On Gianforte To Apologize

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has addressed the altercation between Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event in Montana. Gianforte allegedly “body slammed” Jacobs are the reporter asked about the Republican health care plan.

“There is no time that a physical altercation should occur with the press or just between human beings,” Ryan said in a press conference televised on CNN. “That is wrong and it should not have happened.”

“Should the gentleman apologize?” Ryan asked rhetorically, “Yeah, I think he should apologize.”

Ryan was somewhat open to Gianforte’s side of the story, saying, “I know he has his own version and I’m sure he’s going to have more to say, but there is no call for this under any circumstance. The people of Montana are going to decide today who they will send to Congress.”

When asked if he would seat Gianforte in the GOP caucus if he wins today’s special election, Ryan answered, “If he wins, he has been chosen by the people of Montana…. I am going to let the people of Montana decide who they want for their representative. That’s not our choice. The people of Montana decide that.”

 

 

 

 

 

What (Or Who) Is Bugging House Republicans?

President Trump has hinted that there are “tapes” of his conversations with James Comey, but the Oval Office apparently isn’t the only place in Washington that is bugged. Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an account of a June 2016 meeting of the House Republican leadership in which Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Cal.) joked about Donald Trump being on the Russian payroll. Now House leaders are concerned that there might be more revelations from past closed door sessions.

Axios reports that Republicans are scrambling to determine the source of the leak even as they wait for the next shoe to drop. “The unknown is frustrating,” said one GOP aide.

The Post story notes that the conversation occurred on the day after news broke that Russians were responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The conversation reportedly took place shortly after McCarthy and Speaker Ryan had met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman, who had discussed Putin’s tactic of “financing people in our governments to undo our governments” and using “very sophisticated” propaganda throughout Europe.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher (R-Cal.) and Trump,” McCarthy joked. “Swear to God.” McCarthy also speculated that the hack of the DNC was to steal Democrat opposition research on Donald Trump.

The Post reports that the remark drew laughs before Speaker Paul Ryan interjected, “This is off the record,” and admonished those present, “No leaks…. This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Rohrabacher, like Trump, has a reputation as a defender of the President Vladimir Putin and the current Russian regime. In November 2016, Politico profiled Rohrabacher as “Putin’s favorite congressman.”

Adam Entous, the author of the Post story, says that the article was based on both a written transcript and “a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post.” If Entous’s claims of a recording are accurate, it is possible that either someone at the meeting was recording the conversation or that a bug had been planted in the room.

There are two prime suspects for the source of the recording. One is that a bug was planted by a member of the Ukrainian delegation. The “Kiev, Ukraine” dateline of the Post story lends some credence to this possibility, but the Axios sources within the GOP say that it is unlikely since security teams regularly sweep the capitol for bugs and, to their knowledge, none has been found.

A more likely possibility, the sources say, is that the meeting was recorded by Evan McMullin, a leadership aide last June who became an independent presidential candidate. Jonathan Swan, author of the Axios story, says that his sources say that the Post denied that McMullin was the leaker and that there is no evidence that he was responsible. If McMullin was the leaker, it is unclear why he would wait to use the tapes now rather than during his presidential campaign.

Regardless of where the recording originated, Republican leaders are concerned about what leaks may come next. If the leaker was McMullin, he attended many private meetings and would have had the opportunity to record reams of sensitive information. If the bug is still active, it could be used to undermine GOP legislative strategies.

Leaks have become commonplace in Washington over the past few years. From the Russian leaks of Democratic emails to disaffected staffers leaking embarrassing information about Donald Trump to the president’s own leak of classified information to the Russians, it seems that no one in Washington can be counted on to keep a secret.

Sad: Why Obamacare repeal will never happen

The latest news on Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare is not good. After failing with their first effort, Republican House members seem to have fallen short yet again with Plan B.

Chances for success this time around looked good initially, after House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (NC) and Tuesday Group co-chair Tom MacArthur (NJ) announced they had reached an agreement on legislation that would supposedly meet the approval of both the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party.

It was Meadows’ conservative group that spearheaded opposition to the previous bill, though a significant number of moderates also joined them in that effort. This time it’s the moderates – including MacArthur’s co-chair Charlie Dent – who say they will vote against the bill in its current form.

From The Hill:

“Centrists opposed to the new bill are largely echoing Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who said the negotiations between Meadows and MacArthur only exacerbated his earlier problems with the bill … Dent, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, said he worried that people with pre-existing health conditions might be left without insurance because of the changes, something supporters of the bill have fiercely denied.”

Already more than 20 Republicans have stated they would not support the bill. If 23 Republican House members oppose it, Democratic support would be needed for the bill to pass – and the likelihood of that happening seems to be virtually zero.

The sad truth is that Obamacare will likely never be repealed. Oh, we may get some watered down meaningless bill that claims to do something, but the bulk of the ACA will never go away – and there are at least two major reasons for that.

First, Speaker Paul Ryan has thus far proven incapable of bringing the factions of his party together. In fact, one might argue that Paul’s questionable methodology of keeping the initial healthcare proposal under lock and key for as long as possible points to an unwillingness on the Speaker’s part to even attempt uniting House Republicans.

“ ‘I think we’re making very good progress. … We’re going to go when we have the votes, but that’s the decision we’ll make when we have it,’ Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Thursday at his weekly news conference.”

Which sounds an awful lot like a pre-emptive excuse for pulling yet another healthcare bill before it receives any official consideration. Apparently, the Speaker graduated from the leadership school of ‘Where are my people going, that I may lead them?’

Second, now that the insurance industry has taken its place among programs controlled by the federal government, any efforts to root it out would be met with heavy resistance – far more resistance than many members of Congress are willing to face.

Again from The Hill:

“Many vulnerable Republicans are running scared. One moderate Republican was overheard in a House cafeteria this week telling an aide: ‘If I vote for this healthcare bill, it will be the end of my career.’ “

Therein lies the problem. And though it’s easy – and correct – to lay blame on career politicians putting self-interest above what’s right, we must remember that if they didn’t have to answer to a self-interested populace, those representatives might be less concerned about having to buy votes every other year.

So as much as it may pain us to say it, Obamacare is probably here to stay. Just as Social Security did, it is quickly becoming an untouchable political third rail.

Conservatives and Donald Trump Owe Paul Ryan Some Thanks Today

Conservatives and even people in the White House love to attack Speaker Paul Ryan as “not one of us,” but the truth is he is owed a great deal of thanks today. I saw it first hand in Georgia over the past several months.

As David Drucker accurately notes today, Paul Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund saved the Georgia special election for the GOP.

For the past several months, Jon Ossoff got a complete pass. The Republicans were ripping each other to shreds. Everybody was piling on Karen Handel. Then several of them shifted to attacking Bob Gray. None of them laid a glove on Jon Ossoff.

The Speaker’s super PAC got involved and started an air war against Ossoff. The guy had so much money he was even running ads on my radio program, which costs a pretty penny. The Speaker’s PAC responded in kind. An Ossoff ad often began being followed by a Congressional Leadership Fund ad attacking Ossoff.

On top of that, the PAC also funded a ground game of door to door workers. I know several people who were involved in that effort. They walked the district reminding voters that there was an election and the Democrats had a chance to win. They raised awareness of the importance of the race while the GOP was distracted.

Only after the Congressional Leadership Fund started attacking Ossoff did Republican awareness increase about what was as stake. Only then did Ossoff’s numbers start declining.

Republicans spent over three quarters of the race attacking each other and Ossoff got a completely free pass.

I’m sure some will hate to do it and some will even complain that I am overstating the case. But I saw it first hand and those of us in the metro-Atlanta area heard the ads. They were the only ones shutting down Ossoff’s momentum. Speaker Ryan, more than just about anyone else, saved Georgia’s sixth congressional district.

Will Democrats Shut Down the Government?

Another year, another looming government shutdown.

This year it is Democrats who are threatening to shut down the government to block funding for President Trump’s border wall. Fresh from their victory in blocking reform of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats say that they will filibuster the annual appropriations bill if it includes money for construction of the wall. The bill must pass before April 28 to avoid a shutdown.

“I thought we were going to get a check from Mexico,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in Politico. He added that the wall will “accomplish nothing. That’s $30 billion that can’t go into cancer research, diabetes research and veterans care.”

In recent memory, it has been Republicans who have threatened to shut the government down. The most recent example in 2013 followed several shutdowns during the Clinton Administration. While Democrats have been guilty of fomenting shutdowns, we must look all the way back to 1990 for the last example of a Democratic Congress shutting down the government under a Republican president.

While government shutdowns are not uncommon, they also are not popular with voters. Virtually every poll that asks about a government shutdown shows the voting public overwhelmingly opposed to and angry at the prospect. While shutdowns can be popular among the partisan base, most voters want the parties to work together for the good of the country.

When the Republicans shut down the government for 16 days in 2013, they not only failed to achieve their goal of defunding Obamacare, they also saw the party’s approval rating fall to a historic low. A year later, Obamacare’s skyrocketing increases in health insurance premiums and chronic problems with registration on exchange websites saved Republicans from an electoral drubbing. They weren’t so lucky in 1996 when Republican-led shutdowns arguably cost Bob Dole the presidency and ushered in a second term for Bill Clinton.

If Democrats haven’t learned from past shutdowns, Republican leaders apparently have. “We’re not going to have a government shutdown,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said on CBS last month. “The president doesn’t want to have a government shutdown.”

Ryan suggested that the battle over appropriations for the wall could be delayed until next year since plans for the wall have not been finalized. “The big chunk of money for the wall, really, is…next fiscal year’s appropriations because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed, saying on Fox News that he was “very confident” that a shutdown could be avoided and argued that the Democrats had the most to lose from a potential shutdown. “I would advise President Trump: ‘Don’t worry about them sticking that label on you. Congress owns the government shutdown brand,’” McConnell said. “There’s no incentive, frankly, for either side to go to the brink.”

Republicans say they intend to keep controversial items out of the appropriations bill. Funding for the wall will be delayed and a measure defunding Planned Parenthood is likely to be inserted into the budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered. This may mean that Democrats are left with no hot button issues to demonize in the appropriations bill.

Nevertheless, Democrats in the past have shown a propensity for overreach. Overconfidence after the health care battle and an irrational emotional response to the mere existence of the Trump Administration could lead Democrats into a shutdown battle over nothing.

With President Trump’s approval rating at 35 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Democrats would run the risk of blowback from a shutdown. The strategy might make the president more popular at their own expense. A maxim attributed to Napoleon is, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.” Democrats would be smart to follow the French emperor’s advice.

Tantrum-Throwing Schumer Demands That The House Kick Nunes Off His Committee

In his latest childish fit, Senator Chuck Schumer took to the floor of the Senate on Monday to demand that House Speaker Paul Ryan replace Rep. Devin Nunes as head of the House Intelligence Committee after Nunes presented information to President Donald Trump suggesting that then-candidate Trump had been subject to secret wiretapping.

“Unfortunately, the House Intelligence Committee has come under a cloud of suspicion and partisanship,” Schumer said, making his case against Nunes. “A few months ago, Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters at the request of the White House to tamp down stories on the links between the Trump campaign and Russia, which is exactly what his committee is now investigating. This past week, Chairman Nunes broke with committee process and tradition to brief the president on information he learned but hadn’t yet shared with the committee. Now we learn this morning that Chairman Nunes was at the White House the day before that event — doing what? We don’t know.

“You cannot have the person in charge of an impartial investigation be partial to one side,” Schumer declared. “It’s an inherent contradiction. And it undermines decades of bipartisan cooperation on the Intelligence Committee, which handles such sensitive information paramount to national security.”

Nunes became a lightning rod for controversy when he went directly to the president with the information he had, while he has yet to present that information to the committee. Democrats, like Schumer of course, argue that Nunes’ actions constitute a breach of protocol, while Republicans brush the claims off as irrelevant to the investigation.

What will Speaker Ryan and/or President Trump do in response to Schumer’s demands, and more importantly, will they make Schumer cry – again?

Rep. Massie: Swampcare “Worse Than Obamacare”, Voting “HELL NO”

Libertarian-leaning Republican Congressman from Kentucky Thomas Massie does not appreciate being pressured by the GOP establishment leadership into voting for the Trump/Ryan “Swampcare” bill. In fact, yesterday, he got so fed up, that he announced on Facebook that he was changing his vote on the bill: from “NO” to “HELL NO.”

Representative Massie has been a consistent outspoken opponent of the proposal that would tweak Obamacare. On today’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, he said that Paul Ryan’s bill is “worse than Obamacare.” When he asked about the repercussions of the GOP bill being voted down today, his response was equally as strong: “The consequences of passing this in the House and the Senate and signing it is much worse for the Republican Party than the consequences of this bill going down today. I hope that it goes down today.”

Representative Massie, who referred to the bill as “Obamacare Lite” (we prefer “Swampcare,” but to each their own), is a liberty-loving, gun toting inventor and engineer. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He represents Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District, and was endorsed by both Rand and Ron Paul when he first ran and won election to Congress in 2012. He currently runs a cattle farm, drives a Tesla, and lives with his family in a solar-powered home that he built himself.

Where can we find a few more Thomas Massies?

BREAKING: Vote On “Swampcare” Bill Postponed By Paul Ryan

BREAKING: Due to continued opposition by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, House Speaker Paul Ryan has postponed today’s highly anticipated vote on the bill proposed by the moderate wing of the party that would tweak Obamacare. These conservative legislators insist that the bill does not go far enough, and are upset that the “full repeal” of Obamacare that was promised during the 2016 campaign cycle seems to suddenly be off the table.

The House Freedom Caucus met with President Donald Trump today to discuss the bill and try to arrive at an agreement. However, as things currently stand, no proposal has been presented that comes anywhere near the full repeal that the American People were promised by GOP leadership for the past seven years. The members of the Freedom Caucus remain insistent that a bill that does nothing but tweak the bill in a few minor ways is unacceptable and will not be allowed to go to the Senate for a vote.

House Leadership is currently saying that the vote may happen tomorrow, but that is unlikely given the total lack of any progress so far.

How do you feel about Paul Ryan’s proposed healthcare plan? Do you support the House Freedom Caucus’ efforts? Let us know by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter and tagging @TheResurgent