President Trump Signs Bipartisan Modern Fish Act Into Law

This legislation was over two years in the making. This will simplify federal law with respect to recreational fishing.

The Modern Fish Act was signed into law on December 31st, 2018, by President Donald Trump.

Over 11 million Americans partake in recreational saltwater fishing—with the activity being heavily concentrated in the southeastern U.S.

In what is being celebrated as a victory for recreational fishing and boating, this law will be bring much-needed clarification and reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. While the bill is not entirely perfect, various stakeholders agree this new law will clarify any confusion previously inset in the law and bring recreational fishing management into the 21st century.

The Modern Fish Act was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on December 17th, and by overwhelming approval in the House (350-11) on December 19th, 2018.

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Gabriella Hoffman

@Gabby_Hoffman

The is now law thanks to @POTUS @realDonaldTrump’s signage. An incredible victory for recreational fishing in America before the new Congressional session begins. Press release c/o @sportfishpolicy

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In a press release issued by the Center for Sportfishing Policy and various stakeholders, they heralded the new law as a fix to the problem of regulating recreational fishing like commercial fishing. Anglers, boaters, and others vested in these industries long argued for distinctions to be made between between recreational and commercial fishing, especially in how they are regulated.

The law adds “more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.”

“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”

“This is historic for the recreational boating and fishing community, capping years of hard work to responsibly modernize recreational saltwater fisheries management,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Modern Fish Act is a critical first-step solution towards establishing a framework for expanding access to recreational saltwater fishing, while ensuring conservation and sustainability remain top priorities in fisheries management. We thank President Trump and Congress for making the Modern Fish Act the law of the land and look forward to working with them in the coming years to advance policies that protect and promote recreational saltwater fishing.”

“The recreational fishing industry is grateful to see this legislation enacted,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, as well as NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils, to improve the management and conservation of our marine fisheries.”

“The Modern Fish Act signed by the President provides an opportunity for significant, positive change on behalf of millions of recreational anglers who enjoy fishing in federal waters,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We look forward to working with NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils and the states to fully implement the provisions of the bill and improve federal fisheries management for America’s saltwater anglers.”

“CCA is proud to be a part of this important coalition, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress who stood by us during the intense, sometimes contentious negotiations on this legislation,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “There is still work to be done, but this is a valuable first step. We are hopeful this opens the door to an ongoing discussion of tools and processes that can be developed to better manage recreational fisheries in federal waters in all regions of the United States.”

What is the Modern Fish Act?

Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018, or Modern Fish Act, is a bill that would accomplish the following if passed. Now that it’s law, it’ll set out to accomplish the following per Center for Sportfishing Policy’s press release:

  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

Prior to the Modern Fish Act being passed, data collection methods of saltwater fishing catches were Byzantine at best. For example, those who partook in the data collection process in sync with federal managers had to rely on landline phone surveys. Moreover, Draconian standards that harmed recreational fishing interests like cancelled seasons, reduced bag limits, and unnecessary restrictions were commonplace. This led to economic upheaval, job uncertainty, and endless headaches.

Anglers and boaters are optimistic the new law will prevent this from happening again.

Why was this needed?

This law was needed for several reasons.

The first being the need to recognize the impact recreational fishing has on our country economically and with respect to conservation efforts.

Much like hunting, fishing bolsters conservation efforts. Why not have laws that better reflect this too? Anglers, hunters, and shooting sports enthusiasts helped fund a minimum of 60 percent of conservation funding through excise taxes under the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. Excise taxes are taxes paid when purchases are made on a specific good in the form of licenses, firearms, and tackle to be collected by the Interior Department to be distributed to state wildlife agencies for habitat and wildlife conservation efforts. Better management and science-based policies encouraged by the Modern Fish Act will bolster resources and fish species, not see an end to them.

The second reason for the Modern Fish Act was to bring recreational fishing management to the present day. ​The 1976 Magnuson-Stevens law set out to chart out the course of commercial fishing but never tackled recreational fishing adequately, and arguably, to its detriment.

Recognizing serious deficits in federal recreational fisheries management, a group of stakeholders came together in 2014 in the form of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, or the Morris-Deal Commission. The co-chairs of this commission were Johnny Morris (founder of Bass Pro Shops) and Scott Deal (president of Maverick Boat Group). They drafted a report titled “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” that laid the groundwork for many of the provisions and recommendations found in the Modern Fish Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted in a December 2018 report — the 11th Fisheries Economics of the United Statesreport — that in 2016, both commercial and recreational fishing generated over $212 billion in sales and contributed $100 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. It also noted that these two industries supported 1.7 million jobs across the country.

Here’s a breakdown of both industries’ economic impact by the numbers from the same report:

9.8 million saltwater anglers took recreational fishing trips in 2016 — a 9 percent increase in anglers from 2015. Saltwater recreational fishing supported 472,000 jobs, generated $68 billion in sales impacts across the economy, and contributed $39 billion to the GDP, all metrics that increased 7 percent from 2015 measurements.

The commercial fishing and seafood industry — harvesters, processors, dealers, wholesalers, and retailers — supported 1.2 million jobs in 2016, generating $144 billion in sales impacts and adding $61 billion to the GDP. The domestic harvest produced $53 billion in sales, up 2 percent from 2015, and supported 711,000 jobs across the entire American economy. Sea scallops had the largest revenue increase in 2016, bringing in $46 million in landings revenue.

​Recreational anglers, much like commercial anglers, play a central role in our economy. It was time the law recognized their contributions and importance too.

How does it help recreational anglers?

While groups like Audobon Society accused this law of going “against all common sense and ignores science by weakening the requirement on how many fish are caught each year” and forecasted overfishing if it were to pass, recreational anglers and boaters don’t see it that way. It’ll empower them to further practice science-based, sustainable fishing practices ever further.

Recreational anglers are conservationists who abide by catch limits, seasons, and practice sustainable fishing methods. To suggest otherwise, like Audobon, radical environmentalists, and some in commercial interests have put it, is simply false. There are bad actors who disrespect fishing rules across the country, but they are in the minority and shouldn’t be lumped in with responsible recreational anglers. The majority of anglers —myself included—are law-abiding and don’t want to see our fisheries decimated. If fish were to be harvested unsustainably and with little regard to conservation methods, all of us — fish and humans — would suffer. No angler wants to see this happen, let alone any recreational angler.

Preservation and overfishing are extremes that should never become the norm in this country. Many anglers believe in catch-and-release and partake in reasonable put-and-take practices that don’t undermine fishing populations. Their contributions, like those in commercial fishing, are important to sustain this country and conservation efforts.

Anglers felt extremely marginalized under the Obama administration as the former president routinely sided with radical environmentalists keen on seeing the end of the fishing industry. One ESPN columnist noted in 2010 that Obama’s ocean policies could kill sport fishing altogether.

During the Obama administration, fisheries management councils heavily placed limits on what recreational saltwater anglers could harvest in the Gulf of Mexico—particularly on red snapper (where seasons went from three days to 46 days under the Trump administration).

In a March 2018 article in USA Today, the author noted how President Trump and his secretaries in Commerce and Interior sought to restore recreational fishing privileges in previously off-limit territories once available to sport fishing. Here are some of the measures passed after the new administration came to power:

  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross personally approved a plan in June extending the recreational fishing season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico from three to 42 days even though his own agency warned it would lead to significant overfishing.
  • In July, Ross again intervened. This time, he sided with New Jersey to loosen restrictions on the harvest of summer flounder, known as fluke,over the objections of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Commission Chair Douglas Grout said he was “very much concerned about the short and long‐term implications of the Secretary’s decision on interstate fisheries management.”
  • In the fall, the South Atlantic  Fishery Management Council, working closely with the Trump administration, allowed recreational snapper fishing from Jupiter Inlet Florida to the North Carolina-Virginia border for the first time since 2014. Kellie Ralston, Florida Fishery Policy Director of the American Sportfishing Association, called it “a victory” for anglers while environmentalists called it a “risky move” given that red snapper in the South Atlantic is still recovering.

As a result of the Modern Fish Act’s passage into law, recreational fishing will get a boost, see increasing participation numbers, and continue to bolster our GDP. It’s encouraging to see Congress and the Trump administration pass landmark legislation that adds to and not subtracts from recreational fishing.

Judge: President Trump Doesn’t Have to To Say Why He Shrinks National Monuments

This is a win for true conservation and public lands use.

 

In a huge blow to radical environmentalists and similar obstructionists, a judge ruled that President Trump doesn’t have to publicly disclose his reasoning for shrinking national monuments.

 

U.S. District Judge David Nye ruled Monday that records held qualify as protected presidential communication.

 

A group called Advocates for the West had sued the Trump administration for 12 documents with respect to its decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah: Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monuments in Utah. The contention was over the designation of Bears Ears and Grand Escalante as national monuments by outgoing President Barack Obama in December 2016 and President Bill Clinton in 1996, respectively. The former’s action was unprecedented and rightly met with controversy. As a result, this issue has divided the sportsmen community—but it shouldn’t have to.

The law that governs public lands designation is the Antiquities Act of 1906—a law that has been greatly misinterpreted by those keen on promoting preservationist policies. Trump scaled back these two monuments because they signaled bad interpretation of the Antiquities Act’s (1906) provisions, specifically Section 2. It reads:

 

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

 

This bolded section makes the motion to scale back well within presidential authority: national monuments “shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Shouldn’t this be interpreted correctly? Presidents Clinton and Obama didn’t believe so.

 

Bears Ears National Monument originally comprised 1,351,849 acres, but shrunk it by 85% in December 2017. Grand-Staircase Escalante originally comprised 1,880,461 acres, but was reduced by 47% . These sweeping designations of large areas, not “smallest area” per Section 2, give the president license to shrink monuments. In fact, other presidents have ordered the shrinking of national monuments in a grand fashion—including Presidents Eisenhower, Truman, Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge. Why the hysteria?

 

Brookings Institution argued President Trump is within his right to shrink (or designate) national monuments to his liking:

 

On its face, that is correct. The Antiquities Act does not engage the issue of diminishment. However, that does not mean that such power cannot be implied.

 

Others argue that a 1976 statute, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, limits the president as it engages diminishment directly—noting limitations on the Secretary of the Interior to modify existing protected areas. Two challenges emerge from this argument. First is that the law is explicit in limiting the Interior Secretary’s powers and not the president’s power, even though Congress had constitutional authority to limit the president’s powers explicitly. Second, Congress, in engaging limitations broadly, listed numerous areas of law in which the executive branch would be restricted from diminishment (or abolition) and failed to include the Antiquities Act in that list.

 

 

It is true that the first part of the law grants the president the power to establish national monuments. The second part of that grant could easily be interpreted to imply the power to diminish. That section notes, “the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Here, a president is charged to make this area as small as is needed.

There is a great distrust of federal government from those in Western states, and this unilateral land grab by outgoing President Obama in December 2016 added fuel to this already raging fire of distrust. Here’s what retiring U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch wrote about the his mishandling of the Antiquities Act then:

 

When Obama declared the Bears Ears National Monument, he ignored the years of work that Utah’s congressional delegation spent fighting to pass legislation to protect the region through a fair and open process.He ignored the state legislature and the governor. He ignored the stakeholders and local residents who were striving together to find a workable solution. He ignored the best interests of Utah and cast aside the will of the people — all in favor of a unilateral approach meant to satisfy the demands of far-left interest groups.

With the stroke of a pen, Obama locked away an astonishing 1.35 million acres, a geographic area larger than the total acreage of all five of Utah’s national parks combined. He did so citing his prerogative under theAntiquities Act— a century-old law intended to give presidents only limited authority to designate special landmarks. Instead of exercising restraint under the act, Obama — and indeed, many of his predecessors — wielded this law as a blunt instrument for executive overreach.

Does the scaling back of monuments mean the president stole our land? Nope. Does this mean public lands will be automatically sold to private developers? Nope. (In fact, that argument can be challenged because the federal government itself sells land to the highest bidder. Ouch!) Is this is a detriment to accessing public lands? Absolutely not. However, when the government sections off too much land under federal designation, it’ll create a strain on public lands access. Eventually, national monument designations could turn into National Park designations—which limit opportunities to hunt and fish, for example. There should be a balanced approach to allowing public lands access without using the power of the purse of the federal government to infringe on people or states in the process.

 

There are currently efforts in Congress to address overreach currently inset in the original Antiquities Act through H.R. 3990, or National Monument Creation and Protection Act. It’s unlikely this bill will get any consideration or be deliberated on at this time.

 

I think President Trump should be applauded for striking a balance between federal power and state’s rights. We will keep tabs on future public lands or conservation-minded policy developments here at The Resurgent.

Why Is The FBI Ignoring A Congressional Subpoena?

The FBI is and has been ignoring a subpoena from Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and has done so since it was issued August 24.

This past Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan R-WI announced he supported Chairman Nunes, and stood behind the subpoena 100%:

“We’ve had these document requests with the administration, the FBI in particular, for a long time, and they’ve been stonewalling,” Ryan said in an interview with Reuters. “The FBI and the Justice Department need to give Congress the documents it has been requesting, and they need to do so immediately.”

While it’s always important for Congress to strenuously enforce its outstanding subpoenas, one has to wonder why they are being put in this position by the Trump Administration in the first place.

It is puzzling why a GOP congressional committee is having a difficult time with a GOP led Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Session, (a former Republican senator), who was appointed by President Trump, and was the first senator to endorse his candidacy. Furthermore,  FBI Director Christopher Wray had served in more than one role within President Bush’s administration and was appointed by President Trump for his current position.

So, why are two Republicans now serving in President Trump’s administration resisting a subpoena which is seeking information about the Russian Steele Dossier. Which as we all know by now, is a Trump opposition research document, funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

There are a few reasons, which while understandable, cannot be supported nor condoned. Each of these reasons involve one of the players in this ongoing saga:

  1. Christopher Wray: You’d think Director Wray would have no problem complying with the subpoena. He wasn’t there during the time in question, being a a litigation partner with King & Spalding. However, there is no doubt this is going to be a huge embarrassment to the FBI.  It is possible that some in the FBI might lose their jobs, or be demoted. There is no question this is a huge black eye,  and morale has to be a concern for the newly appointed Director. I believe he is waiting on a directive from his superiors at the Department of Justice ordering him to comply. Waiting on an order would give him some semblance of cover inside the department. This would allow him to show he put his people and the department first, but in the end had no choice but to obey his boss at the DOJ.
  2. If that is the case, then why hasn’t the DOJ stepped in and ordered the FBI to obey the House Intelligence Committee subpoena? It is quite possible Attorney General Session, having recused himself from all things Russia and Hillary Clinton, can’t legitimately climb over that Chinese wall in an attempt to push past this imbroglio.
  3. If this is the case, then the responsibility falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As U.S. Attorney, appointed by President Bush, he was the lead DOJ supervisor for the secret FBI investigation into the corruption case. He worked alongside then Director Robert Mueller, and with Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Additionally, he appointed Mr. Mueller to his current position of Special Counsel in charge of the ongoing Russian collusion investigation.

It would appear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is responsible for disregarding the congressional subpoenas. This wouldn’t be surprising, given the fact that he has done the President no favors since being appointed. His decision to appoint Mueller was hasty at best, at worse it was a shot across the President’s bow. Perhaps he is just another swamp creature inhibiting the administration’s progress.

It is incumbent on the President to order the Deputy Attorney General to obey these and future subpoenas forthwith. This disrespect for the rule of law and Congress gives the appearance of either a chaotic DOJ or a disloyal one. Heaven help us if it’s both.

 

Mark Cuban Would Run as a Republican for President

In an interview with Fox News’ OBJECTified host and TMZ publisher Harvey Levin that aired last night, billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he may run as a Republican against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Levin asked him if he’d run as a Democrat or a Republican, to which he answered “Republican.” He also noted that he is “fiercely independent.”

“Probably Republican,” he said. “Because I think there’s a place for somebody who is socially a centrist, but I’m very fiscally conservative, but I think there’s better ways now to make governments smaller.”

“Again using technology, government as a service can have a dramatic impact on how we live our lives,” he added. “If you don’t understand technology and you don’t understand the impact it has on jobs that technology is having and will continue to have, then you’re gonna run into some severe roadblocks.”

Cuban has been highly critical of President Trump. They have regular back-and-forth spats on Twitter. Earlier this year, Cuban told CNN to view President Trump’s tenure as “political chemotherapy.”

In the past, Cuban has taken both conservative positions and not-so conservative positions.

In 2014-2015, he communicated his discontent with net neutrality laws. In contrast, last fall he said paying higher taxes is the most patriotic thing a wealth person could do. Hmmmm. Conservatives will wonder how he will reconcile these contrasting issues if he touts fiscal conservatism.

Speaking of technology, Cuban has signed on to an interesting venture: the Mercury Protocol. Here’s more about it:

Modern communication is outdated. Centralized communication platforms built on private servers are only as secure as their weakest defense, user privacy is habitually violated as service providers sell behavioral data to advertisers, and content is restricted to a single platform.

The solution is the Mercury Protocol, an open-source project for communication platforms to utilize decentralized blockchain technology at minimal cost. Any communication platforms that integrate the Mercury Protocol will be able to exchange messages and content, increase user privacy through pseudonymity, leverage tokens to encourage user participation, and provide stronger network security than any private system that has a single point of failure.

 

This actually looks really interesting and forward-thinking.

Cuban is also noteworthy for his involvement with Shark Tank, which is a highly addictive show if you’ve watched it. Cuban and his fellow “sharks” are at times ruthless to aspiring entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, they help launch people to success.

It’ll be interesting to see if Mark Cuban is testing the waters or simply teasing the American public with this exclamation to run for president. Time will tell.

 

Trump Wanted More Nukes

A report has now come out that during President Trump’s meeting with military officials on July 20th, he expressed a desire to increase the size of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.  He was being briefed on military readiness and was shown a slide depicting the decreasing number of American nuclear weapons when he said he would like to increase the stockpile to its peak levels in the 1960s.

Trump’s comments apparently unnerved some officials who were present and may be the reason that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”  They fear that an increase in the size of the American nuclear arsenal would cause a new nuclear arms race and violate treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.

These treaties include the following:

  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT): This treaty calls for good faith efforts on the part of recognized nuclear states (U.S, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France) to decrease their nuclear stockpiles.
  • New START: This treaty is between the U.S. and Russia and limits deployed warheads to 1,550, deployed delivery vehicles (sea-based, land-based, and air-based) to 700, and the total of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles to 800.  It took effect in 2011 with a deadline of February 2015 for compliance.
  • Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: This bans ground-launched intermediate range (500 to 5,500 kilometers) ballistic and cruise missiles.

Currently, the United States has about 4,000 nuclear weapons, but – as can be gleaned by the above treaties (particularly New START) – most of these are not deployed.  These non-deployed weapons/warheads are classed as “inactive” (capable of being put in service between 6 and 24 months) and “extended hedge” (capable of being put in service between 24 to 60 months.”  For deployed weapons and delivery systems, the U.S. has nearly 1,400 warheads, 700 delivery vehicles, and 800 deployed/non-deployed delivery vehicles (this is in compliance with New START).

Nuclear weapons treaties such as New START and the ones which proceeded it (SALT, START, SORT, etc…) are a convenient way for the signatories to get rid of old weapons and modernize its arsenal.  Since both sides, U.S. and Russia, commit to force reductions, then the less-desirable weapons can be culled from the arsenal.

However, many of the U.S.’ weapons and delivery systems were designed in the 1960’s and 1970’s and have not been sufficiently modernized since that time.  There are also shortages in technical know-how by American engineers regarding nuclear weapon design.  President Trump’s call for an increase in the number of weapons could be better channeled into modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to make it safer and more efficient.

 

Trump’s latest judicial picks have Cruz and Cornyn smiling

Conservatives may differ in their overall assessment of President Trump, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on the right to complain about the judicial nominees put forward by the Chief Executive thus far. As our own Dan Spencer noted back in July, “Trump is on course to reshape the judiciary in a notably conservative direction, even if he doesn’t get any more appointments to the Supreme Court.”

Among the latest entries are two well-known Texans with strong conservative credentials and close ties to some of the Lone Star State’s most popular federal figures, both selected to fill vacancies on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Dallas appellate lawyer James Ho emerged from a field of a half-dozen contenders for two open Texas seats on the court, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.” – Houston Chronicle

The selection of Willett and Ho met with praise from both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. The Texas Senators – both of whom serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee – had recommended the nominations.

“I am thrilled to support the nomination of Don Willett and Jim Ho to the Fifth Circuit,” Cruz said in a press release. “I have been close friends with them both for decades, and I know them personally to be brilliant lawyers and principled conservatives.”

Also from the Chronicle story:

“Both of these gentlemen will do an outstanding job once confirmed,” Cornyn said. Ho worked as Cornyn’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cornyn said both are viewed as conservatives who will strictly interpret the law. “I’m confident that both Judge Willett and Jim Ho will be that kind of judge,” he said.

Two other nominees – both from Louisiana – were nominated for spots on the 5th Circuit Court. Kyle Duncan was lead counsel in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, and Kurt Englehardt is the current Chief Justice for Louisiana’s Eastern District Court.

In addition to the four 5th Circuit nominees, The White House announced nominees for five other federal court seats on Thursday.

Cruz’ statement went on to note the importance of selecting conservative judges for federal court positions, particularly in the wake of Obama administration nominees.

“Our country learned under President Obama just how fast liberty recedes when judges decide cases based on personal preference rather than the law as written. I am encouraged that, with these individuals on the Fifth Circuit, the tide will steadily turn back towards the rule of law. I commend the President for these nominations and hope that my colleagues in the Senate quickly confirm all of them.”

For Dreamers – DACA is a Pipe Dream

Much has been written about President Trump revoking the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Order put into action by the Obama administration.

An equal amount, or more, has been written about the meeting in the Oval Office with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. After conflicting reports of what was agreed upon during the conversation, and after a few days have past, it appears the President agreed to only continue conversations.

A careful study of the stakeholders involved seems to show any sort of DACA-Dreamers success to be remote at best. There appear to be simply too many obstacles for compromise to take place.

Left alone, President Trump, and both the Democrat and Republican leadership could probably come to a deal. While there are differences those are manageable.

Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Schumer would like to see immediate amnesty for the Dreamers, but would settle for a path to citizenship. They are content to leave out the vast majority of illegal aliens in this DACA bill. They are happy to throw money at “border security” as long as specific funding for the border wall isn’t included.

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan would ideally like an overall more comprehensive immigration bill, but will settle for Dreamers. They can’t agree to immediate amnesty, but are more than willing to work on language about a path to permanent status if not citizenship. Given the fact they don’t want to fund the border wall either, they are more than happy to fund increased undefined “border security” and call that a victory.

The President first and foremost wants this off his desk, with something that can be considered a win. He’s seems fairly flexible, but is quite cognizant that his base will be watching this very closely. If Sen. McConnell and Rep. Ryan give him cover on a bill, and if that bill doesn’t have immediate amnesty, he’ll undoubtably sign it. He has already indicated border wall funding doesn’t have to be in the bill.

But…there are three other stakeholders in this quagmire, and it is those three who will ultimately doom passage.

Progressive socialist Democrats do not want Democratic Party leadership negotiating with the President at all. From their perspective, “no” isn’t good enough, “hell no” might not be either. (Townhall)

Despite reports indicating President Trump’s positions on amnesty and DACA are shifting to the left, many in the progressive movement recoil that any discussions are occurring at all. Campaign Director Justin Krebs at the far-left group MoveOn.org maintains that “nothing Trump has done should change the fact that he’s pursuing a toxic agenda” and that “Democratic leaders should not forget that.” Murshed Zaheed, of CREDO  Action, went further claiming that the California and New York representatives were often “out of touch with the zeitgeist of the progressive movement.” Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia cautioned Democrats dealing with Trump. “Let’s not fool ourselves, he is this person we know, and I just think there must be both political and moral limitations with how far we’re willing to cooperate with that.”

But, that’s not their only reason, and it is this reason around which their 2018 campaign theme revolves. (Townhall)

Progressives are furious at  Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In the far left’s minds, the two are “normalizing” President Trump as they continue to negotiate immigration with the Republican president.

Think about that for a moment, having learned nothing from Hillary Clinton, the entire Democratic campaign theme is “We’re not him!!”. Which is why they can’t abide leadership allowing the Oval Office to claim victory for any deal, no matter how weak the claim.

The California liberal combined with the various hispanic organizations and hispanic Democrats are adamant that they will not sit still for any half-measures. They don’t want a stand-alone DACA bill at all. Rather, they are insistent having a place at the table, with their demands being given priority.  (Politico)

Democratic leaders are facing fresh trouble with their left flank after cutting their latest deal with President Donald Trump to protect Dreamers. Hispanic lawmakers were blindsided by the Wednesday night announcement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that they’d support legislation to help the nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants in exchange for an unspecified boost in border security. And immigration activists were frustrated to see Democrats claim victory only days after calling for a stand-alone vote on a path to citizenship for Dreamers. The concerns are particularly acute in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, where some members worry Democratic leaders — despite getting Trump to drop demands for a border wall in the talks — have already given away too much in the nascent negotiations and say their members are being shut out of key talks.

What do they want? First of all a clean bill without border security (Politico)

“This is bulls**t,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas). “If what we’re going to do is address DACA, we ought to do that on its own and we ought to address border security on its own.” Some members want to draw up a list of 10 or so border security provisions the caucus won’t accept as part of any bipartisan deal.

For these open border devotees, only a guaranteed path to citizenship will suffice. (Politico)

Immigration groups want to see more than just a fix for the nearly 700,000 individuals affected by DACA; they want a path to citizenship for more than 1 million that would be provided under the DREAM Act.

Some of these activist are so energized, they disrupted an event last night where Rep. Nancy Pelosi was speaking (Wash Post)

Protesters angrily confronted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday — and she tried in vain to quiet them — about her emerging agreement with President Trump to provide legal protections to young undocumented immigrants. The protesters demanded “a clean bill” — meaning that the Dream Act would get an up-or-down vote on its own without any language regarding border security attached. They “demanded” that Pelosi show a commitment to protecting “all 11 million” undocumented immigrants believed to be in the country. “We are not a bargaining chip!” the protesters chanted, according to local reporters. “All of us or none of us,”

These enraged protestors have evidently turned on Democratic leadership, and consider them to be part of the problem (Wash Post)

“We demand accountability. Democrats are not the resistance of Trump. We are!” they shouted.

Then there are the conservative border security hawks who consider President Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall and to stridently enforce illegal immigration to be sacrosanct. (Townhall)

For President Trump’s part, his own base is just as angry. Many are claiming the president is betraying his promises. Many Trump voters are worried that border wall, the cornerstone of his campaign, will not happen. “The base will leave him. They can’t support him anymore,” said Rep. Steven King if a wall is not completed.

In particular Rep. Steve King and Ann Coulter was loudly vocal about their displeasure with President Trump negotiating with the Democrats. (Townhall)

“The base will leave him. They can’t support him anymore. I am talking about my constituents in Iowa that will say you need to be behind trump. I am. I support his entire agenda. I support the agenda Trump had when he went into office and I support almost every piece of the agenda, except the amnesty piece being dangled, and that’s so destructive to a first world country,” Rep. Steve King, an early supporter of Trump on the campaign trail, said during an interview with CNN Thursday morning. “If you do not have the rule of law or respect for that law, the people writing the immigration laws are the people breaking them. We had a protest here, DREAMers coming up demanding we give them amnesty. What right do law breakers have to make demands from the citizens of the United States of America. If anything, they should be pleading for it and not demanding.” “This was a straight up promise throughout his campaign,” King continued. “It looks to me like he’s preparing to keep Hillary Clinton’s campaign promise rather than his own.”

Ann Coulter was even more harsh with her condemnation, tweeting: (Townhall)

“At this point who DOESN”T want Trump impeached?”, and “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.”

These border security hawks will be very upset if a DACA deal includes any path to citizenship. They consider that de facto amnesty. They also do not want legislation without funding for a border wall. These conservatives have been burned far too often by “future funding” promises by the Democrats, and are going to insist on border funding first. Also, any discussion about “chain migration” is not on the table. Lastly, they will not ever allow those to morph into a general amnesty bill. That would be a craven Rubio-esque betrayal in their mind.

So, there you have it. The problem for those who would be willing to compromise in order to make a deal happen is they do not have the numbers to get the deal done. Conservatives in the House would revolt if Paul Ryan brought up a general amnesty deal, or agreed to DACA legislation without border security and wall funding.

Likewise on the left, there are far too many liberals who don’t want to see any deal with the White House, who along with the open borders advocates make up a sizable voting bloc opposing Schumer and Pelosi.

It’s hard to see how DACA moves forward, whether its this year, or first quarter 2018. There are too many players with disparate views, and while there might be other obstacles, these alone appear to make Dreamer legislation a pipe dream.

 

Cruz on tax reform: “Simpler, flatter, fairer”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz issued a press release today outlining seven key principles he sees as crucial to reforming the federal tax code.

Among the items mentioned are the establishment of a single “low flat tax rate”, a reduction in the corporate tax rate, and simplification of the tax code so that those filing can “file their returns on a postcard”.

“Now is our moment to remake our tax system from the ground up, employing conservative principles to create a new tax code that is simpler, flatter, and fairer,” Sen. Cruz said. “Much like Ronald Reagan, today’s conservatives hold to the simplest of ideals: that the best-utilized tax dollar is the tax dollar that goes uncollected. The best place for a taxpayer’s money is with that taxpayer, not the federal government.”

Cruz presented his seven elements earlier today during the keynote speech at a Tax Foundation event. Those elements are “based on three key principles of growth, simplicity, and fairness”.

Though the list is rife with conservative ideals, getting such a proposal through Congress and past President Trump will be a monumental task. Trump is scheduled to discuss tax reform over dinner with his new liberal friends “Chuck and Nancy”, neither of whom is likely to endorse any of the seven items on Cruz’ list. Add to that the fact that establishment Republicans seem either unwilling or unable (or both?) to enact substantive change and … well, you get the picture.

But we can always hope – and more importantly, we can call and email our elected officials and get the word out via social media that regular, everyday Americans want and need serious, conservative tax reform.

The “seven critical elements” as they appeared in the press release:

  • Create a Low, Flat Rate: Currently there are seven individual tax brackets, with rates as high as nearly 40 percent. We should have one low flat tax rate.
  • File Taxes on a Postcard: Each year, more than 90 percent of taxpayers seek help to prepare their returns, either through tax preparers or tax preparation software, costing them $99 billion. Simpler, flatter taxes will save Americans time and money, and allow them to file their returns on a postcard.
  • Allow Immediate Expensing: Domestic capital investment increases productivity, which results in more jobs and higher wages. And that means higher living standards for American families.
  • Lower the Corporate Rate: Companies are leaving the United States in droves, and taking their jobs with them. By lowering the corporate rate to 15-20 percent, America becomes competitive with the rest of world.
  • Encourage Repatriation: Current law discourages companies from bringing home foreign earnings. Moving to a territorial system would ensure foreign earnings are not double-taxed.
  • End the Death Tax: More than 99 percent of U.S. employer firms are small businesses, many of them family-owned. The death tax establishes a burden that prevents families from being able to keep their businesses running from one generation to the next, and should be put to an end.
  • End the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): The AMT applies to four million households, and requires millions of taxpayers to calculate their taxes twice, once under the regular tax code and again under the AMT. Ending the AMT will drastically simplify taxes for millions of American families.

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