How Things Actually Work In Washington

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the confirmation vote that will eventually take place to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Judge. The article explains exactly how things work in Washington. If Judge Kavanaugh has enough Republican votes to be confirmed, he will probably receive a few votes from Democrats in favor of his confirmation. This has nothing to do with his qualifications or what those Democrats believe about his willingness to uphold the Constitution–it has to do with their election prospects in 2018. If there are enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh (and the votes of Democrats will not change the outcome), Democrat Senators from states that voted for President Trump will probably vote to confirm. If there are not enough Republican votes to confirm Judge Kavanuagh, all of the Democrat Senators will vote against him. The good of the country or the man’s qualifications have nothing to do with the way they will be voting. That should give all of us pause.

The article includes a quote from Senator Joe Manchin on the vote:

“I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards, a family person who’s very involved in his community, has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does.

“Most importantly. . .I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time, I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process. .”

The article notes:

A new poll released on Tuesday by Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) found that 59 percent of West Virginia voters want Manchin to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

I looks to me like Manchin will do so unless something is discovered that causes one or two Republican Senators to defect.

The same poll finds that 56 percent of Indiana voters want their Senator, Joe Donnelly, to vote to confirm the Kavanaugh. Sen. Donnelly has not, to my knowledge, praised the nominee the way Sen. Manchin has. But Donnelly echoed Manchin when he said, “I work for the people of Indiana and I want them to have a voice in this.”

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Sen. Heidi Heitkamp begins to make mildly pro-Kavanaugh statements. The poll I cited above found that 68 percent of North Dakota voters want Heitkamp to vote to confirm Kavanaugh. If that number holds, the pressure on her to comply will be enormous.

Stay tuned.

Get out the popcorn!

I Wouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet

The Hill is reporting today that Democrat Conor Lamb has declared victory in the House of Representatives race in Pennsylvania. It is quite possible that he has won, but all of the votes have not been counted yet, and the race is extremely close. This race is a beautiful example of the fact that every vote counts. When it is all over, it will be very close.

There are a few things to look at in this race. Conor Lamb is a very attractive candidate. He is a Marine and a former federal prosecutor. The Democratic candidate ran as a conservative, but when you look at his website, his views are not necessarily all that conservative. He sounds like another tax and spend Democrat. Mr. Lamb is not pro-life–according to The Weekly Standard, he has stated that he does not support proposals to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the point at which fetuses can feel pain. His website states that he wants to fix ObamaCare (not repeal it), forgive student debt, encourage more green energy, support unions, spend on job training, and spend on infrastructure.

It is obvious that Conor Lamb wants to be another Joe Manchin. However, the thing to remember is that Joe Manchin votes with the Democrats when his vote is needed. He votes with the Republicans when the Democrats do not need his vote. Electing a conservative Democrat to the House of Representatives does not in any way make the House any more conservative–the new house member will tow the party line when asked. Nancy Pelosi will become Speaker if the Democrats gain the majority in the House. Impeachment proceedings against President Trump will begin (Lord knows on what basis), and the tax cuts will be taken away from average Americans. Conor Lamb successfully (and smartly) avoided nationalizing his race. However, that does not mean that the consequences of electing Democrats will not be national.

A Step Forward On The Keystone Pipeline

The Washington Times is reporting today that a Senate filibuster of the Keystone Pipeline has failed, and the pipeline will be voted on later today.

The bill passed with both Republican and Democrat votes. The article reports:

The nine Democrats who sides with Republican on the pipeline vote were: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Mr. Hoeven and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee, said if Mr. Obama does eventually veto the bill they’ll try to find ways to attach it to other energy legislation the president wants, hoping to get him to sign it through a compromise.

I would think they would have learned by now that this this president does not compromise.

I hope this bill eventually gets past President Obama. It is the beginning of energy independence for America. It will provide cheap energy, which has the potential of making America a more attractive place to do business. The oil that the Keystone Pipeline will carry is going somewhere. I would be better if it were going to America.

The Latest On The Keystone Pipeline

Building the Keystone Pipeline would not only affect American energy at home, it would drastically change the energy picture overseas. On Thursday, the Washington Examiner posted an article showing the latest movement on the Pipeline. Building the Keystone Pipeline now would be the easiest and most painless way to stop Russian aggression into Europe–increased American energy at lower prices would collapse the Russian economy.

The article reports:

On Thursday morning, Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan and Jon Tester agreed to co-sponsor a bipartisan bill by Republican Sen. John Hoeven and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu that would give pipeline company TransCanada the go-ahead to start work. Another Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, signed on in the weeks after the State Department’s January determination that the pipeline would have minimal environmental impact. And seven other Democratic senators — Mark Pryor, Claire McCaskill, Mark Begich, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, and John Walsh — were already co-sponsors. In all, 11 Senate Democrats, some of them facing tough re-election campaigns this fall, have put their names on the pro-Keystone bill.

…Previous efforts to pass a Keystone bill have fallen short, and Hoeven cautions that a desperate White House lobbying effort might yet stop the new momentum with perhaps a vote or two to spare. But the tide has turned, and the pro-Keystone forces believe they are on the road to victory.

“If we don’t get this bill now,” says Hoeven, “I think we’re going to get it after November.”

Some of the movement on the part of Democrats has to do with the election in November. It will be interesting to see where these Democrats stand if they are still in office after the 2014 election.

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Please Remember This In November

On Friday the Washington Free Beacon reported that Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a Republican attempt to restore military pensions cut in last month’s budget deal. The Democrats denied a vote on an amendment that would have ended the loophole that allows illegal aliens to obtain millions in tax refunds and restored the cuts to military pensions.

The article reports:

Among them (the Republican Amendments)  was Ayotte’s (Sen. Kelly Ayotte R., N.H.) measure, which would repeal cuts to military pensions by ending a loophole in the tax code that allows illegal immigrants to receive the Additional Child Tax Credit. Her attempt to get a vote failed 42-54, with only one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), voting with Republicans.

“It’s a sad day when a common sense amendment to responsibly pay for legislation that helps struggling Americans, repeals unfair military retirement benefits and reduces the deficit can’t even get a vote in the Senate,” Ayotte said in a statement.

The amendment would have repealed a provision in the budget deal that hits military retirees with a 1 percent decrease in their annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), which could cost servicemembers up to $124,000 in lost retirement pay. Federal civilian retiree pensions were not cut.

The budget agreement also did not exempt disabled military retirees despite early assurances from the House Budget Committee. The cuts will save an estimated $6 billion over 10 years.

There were no cuts made to the pensions of either Congress or civil service employees. Civil servants have unions–the military does not. Cutting military retirement pay is a disgrace.

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The End Of The Judicial Filibuster

On Thursday the Senate voted to end the filibuster for most presidential nominees.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

The vote was a landmark moment for the Senate, a tradition-bound institution that is slow to change and prides itself on giving power to the minority party. Dozens of senators were seated at their desks as the day’s proceedings began, a rarity.

The key midday vote was 52-48, with all but three Democrats—Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—voting for the change and all 45 Republicans opposed.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted his thoughts on the vote yesterday.

The article at Power Line reminds us:

At a fundraiser earlier this month, he told liberal donors that he is “remaking the courts.”

Recognizing that the filibuster stood in the way of a full radical makeover, Obama personally lobbied three Democratic Senators who were undecided about whether to eliminate it. Obama reportedly told them “how important this was to him and our ability to get anything done for the rest of the term.”

The White House stressed the need to confirm three new judges for the D.C. Circuit, which rules on a wide swath of regulatory issues. Stymied by Congress, Obama plans to push his left-wing agenda through regulatory overreach. He needs liberal judges to prevent the resulting rules from being overturned.

Paul Mirengoff explains in the article that the value of the decision by the Democrats in the Senate to change the rules about filibusters is that is confirms that fact that our courts have become political entities. He celebrates the fact that the passage of this law exposes the fact that our courts have become political. As Americans, we can now go about the business of electing people who will begin to undo the damage that has been done to our government by politicizing our courts. Every Senator who opposed this measure during the Bush Administration and supported it now should be voted out of office just on the basis of being a hypocrite.

Just a side note on this article. I went to my usual site of Thomas.gov to look for more information on the filibuster change. Thomas.gov has been altered considerably and is no longer as user-friendly as it used to be. I am hoping that this is a step in the direction of improvement of the site and not an attempt to make it more difficult for people like me to find out what is going on in Congress.

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Some Major West Virginia Democrats Will Not Attend The Democrat National Convention

The National Journal reported yesterday that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, Representative Nick Rahall and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will not be part of the West Virginia delegation to the Democrat Convention in Charlotte in September.

The article reports:

“I intend to spend this fall focused on the people of West Virginia, whether that’s representing them in my official U.S. Senate duties or here at home, where I can hear about their concerns and ideas to solve the problems of this great nation,” Manchin said in a statement. “I will remain focused on bringing people together for the next generation, not the next election.”

President Obama’s policies toward coal are very damaging to West Virginia, which has an economy based on coal production.

As Breitbart.com reported earlier this month:

President Obama wants to steer electricity generation away from coal to natural gas. The only problem with that is our system is set up for coal, coal is abundant and coal is easier to get. While the market may naturally gravitate to natural gas as it becomes easier to get through fracking, something the Left has demonized and is fighting, we’re not there yet.

This is a definite threat to the economy of West Virginia, and the leaders of West Virginia are correct in taking that threat seriously. Part of their responsibility as state officials is to protect the welfare of their state. It is totally understandable that the leaders of West Virginia will not be at the Democrat Conventions. It is also interesting to read the comments at the bottom of the article at the National Journal. It is also a good idea when you read comments on news articles that campaigns have people whose only job is to comment on articles that mention some aspect of the campaign.

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A World Of Misleading Headlines

Tampa Bay Online posted this headline last night:

GOP senators vote to defeat Obama’s jobs bill 

The New York Daily News reports:

Senate Republicans vote to kill Obama’s $447 million jobs bill

Those are two examples. If you choose to look, I’m sure you can find dozens. Let’s look at the facts. This the current breakdown of the Senate: Democrats: 57, Republicans: 41, Independents: 2. Because of the filibuster, it takes 60 votes to get anything voted on in the Senate.

The New York Daily News reports:

The $447 billion plan died on a 50-49 tally that garnered a majority of the 100-member Senate but fell well short of the 60 votes needed to keep the bill alive. The tally had been 51-48, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., switched his vote to “nay” so that he could force a future revote.

Power Line reports:

the bill stalled with Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) joining all 46 voting Republicans to oppose the motion. …

At least three Members of the Democratic Conference who voted to move the legislation forward, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.), said they would have opposed its final passage absent significant adjustments.

I realize that I am being picky, but considering this will be a campaign issue in 2012, I think it’s a good idea to get the facts straight at the outset. The only bipartisanship was against the bill. All the Republicans voted against cloture, but two Democrats joined them. All but two of the Democrats voted for cloture, but some Democrats said they would not vote for the bill unless it was changed significantly. The Republicans did not block this bill–the Democrats were simply not able to get the support of all their members and make a case good enough to get a few Republican votes. It’s not gridlock–it’s simply a bad bill that did not pass!

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