Great News For America

Energy independence is wonderful, but in today’s technology age, there are other important areas where America needs to be self-sustaining. One of the them is the rare earth minerals used in the manufacture of our technology. On Wednesday (updated yesterday) The Epoch Times posted an article about one step that has been taken in this direction.

The article reports:

Owners of the Wheat Ridge facility for processing rare earth elements and critical minerals have received an operating permit that will enable minerals critical to advanced technology manufacturing to be mined and processed in the United States.

USA Rare Earth, LLC, and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. announced on June 18 that their Wheat Ridge, Colorado, facility has received its operating permit, with its pilot plant now in the commissioning process.

Texas Mineral said in a press release that the plant “will have the ability to produce the full range of high purity, separated rare earths as well as other critical minerals … which are essential for modern manufacturing ranging from defense applications to wind turbines, electric vehicles, smart phones, advanced medical devices, and the physical backbone of emerging 5G networks.”

The company says its objective is “to build the first rare earth and critical minerals processing facility outside China.”

The CEO of USA Rare Earth, Pini Althaus, said in a press release that the establishment of an independent, robust, and domestic rare earth metal and critical mineral supply chain is vital for the United States, “overcoming reliance on China.”

Congress and President Trump have both recognized the need to produce these minerals in America.

The article notes:

Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation (pdf) on May 28 to protect American mineral supply chains.

Gosar described critical minerals as the building blocks of our modern lives, as they are vitally important for special components in defense systems, health care applications, and energy generation technology.

“For years, our country has become increasingly dependent on China and other nations to fulfill our demand for minerals,” said Gosar. “The global pandemic has demonstrated the severe consequences of allowing this longstanding over-reliance on China to go unchecked.”

Waltz said that critical minerals are integral to our way of life.

“As coronavirus has unfortunately demonstrated, if China can threaten to cut off our pharmaceutical supply, they can do the same with their supply of rare earth minerals,” said Waltz. “We need to bring this supply chain back to America—and this bill will be an important step to do that.”

…President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13817 in December 2017, titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.” The order directed federal agencies to list critical minerals, develop strategies to reduce reliance on the minerals themselves and on foreign suppliers, and increase domestic production.

The positive impact of the coronavirus is that it reminded us that as a nation we need to be as self-sufficient as possible. It is encouraging to see steps being taken in this direction.

Refusing To Continue A Practice That Was Abused

Townhall posted an article this morning stating that the House Freedom Caucus will refuse to reauthorize the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court unless serious reforms are made. The FISA court was the vehicle used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration. The authorization to spy was gained by misleading the court, specifically by omitting the fact that Carter Page was a CIA asset–not a Russian asset and omitting the fact that Joseph Mifsud was an American asset–not a Russian spy.

The article reports:

Members of the House Freedom Caucus released a statement Wednesday morning vowing to vote against any reauthorization of the FISA court unless serious and substantial changes are made to the spying program. 

“Members of the Freedom Caucus have long called for reforms to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Recent revelations that FISA was severely and repeatedly used to spy on a presidential campaign are beyond the pale—if the government can misuse this system to spy on a presidential campaign, they can surely do it to any other American citizen,” members of the caucus said. “As Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people. The House Freedom Caucus will oppose any bill that does not meet a Constitutional standard for the protections of American citizens’ rights. We will also oppose any ‘clean’, short-term reauthorization of the current, harmful version of FISA.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus include House Oversight Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy and other long time critics of FISA. 

The FISA court was misused by the Obama administration, and unless it is seriously reformed, could easily be used for political purposes again. There needs to be a limitation so that the court could only use surveillance on foreign citizens–not Americans. Unfortunately, FISA misuse was one of many traps set in place by the Obama administration to hinder the progress of the Trump administration.

The article continues:

“Enhanced penalties for abusing the system and additional layers of certification from the Department of Justice and the FBI are insufficient to gain our support, particularly when, to date, no one has been charged with a crime for previous abuses,” the statement continues. “A proposal for additional scrutiny when elected officials and candidates are the target of investigations similarly misses the point: politicians don’t need more protection from government spying than their fellow citizens. More fundamental changes to standards of evidence and process that mirror as closely as possible our Article III courts are needed to gain our support.”

Yesterday the House reached a compromise on how to move a bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, forward for reauthorization of the program. It does not reform the system that was used as a political weapon against President Trump in 2016 and well into his presidency.

Until people are held accountable for past abuses of FISA, it should not be reauthorized.

I Thought This Was A Done Deal, Evidently It Is Not

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the budget deal the House of Representatives put forth under Paul Ryan. The deal was essentially the deal that was negotiated by the previous Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

The article reports:

In October, in his effort to “clear the barn” for Ryan, then-Speaker John Boehner helped negotiate a two-year budget deal with President Barack Obama and Democrats. It raised the 2017 spending level roughly $30 billion above the total lawmakers set in 2011 to control spending.

Though the majority of Republicans did not vote for the Boehner-Obama budget deal, the new House leadership has indicated spending bills for fiscal year 2017 must abide by the higher spending level prescribed by the October agreement.

But a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projecting trillion-dollar deficit levels by 2022 appears to be persuading more than just the usual suspects to ignore the budget deal and insist on a lower spending level.

Someone considerable smarter than I am observed recently that the current difference between Democrats and (establishment) Republicans is not over the size of the federal budget, but over who controls the money. Conservative Republicans are more interested in the size of the budget and want to shrink both government and government spending. The establishment Republicans have consistently ignored the conservative base that put them in office. That is going to become a problem for the establishment Republicans in the very near future.

The article further reports:

“I can tell you that Obamacare and the spending crisis are the reasons why I came up here and the reason I voted against the omnibus [spending bill] is because we got off Paul Ryan’s path to prosperity,” Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I will fight hard for a lower budget number, and I expect a great deal of my colleagues will do the same.”

Farenthold is referring to 2012 proposal authored by Ryan, R-Wis., when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee that reformed entitlement programs, cut taxes, and reduced spending.

While the conservative House Freedom Caucus is leading the charge to renege on the October budget deal and revert to the lower spending number set under the Budget Control Act of 2011, other GOP members also are concerned.

The Republican Study Committee, a larger group of conservative House members from which the Freedom Caucus sprang, will propose a budget that sticks to sequestration levels, its chairman says.

America cannot continue to spend money at its present rate. The deficit passed nineteen trillion dollars this week. I don’t even know how to write that number! Conservatives have been sending people to Washington since 2010 to cut spending. It is about time Washington heard their voices. If the people who are in Washington to represent us now do not represent us, we will have to send different people.

Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about the Gosar Amendment.

This is a Press Release from Congressman Paul Gosar from June 2015 regarding the Gosar Amendment:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after his amendment preventing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from implementing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation passed the House by a vote of 229-193 and was attached to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016:

“As the president reaches the end of his second term, he has made it clear that his top priorities during his waning days are furthering his far-left political agenda by forcing big government programs on the American people.  His new AFFH regulation is one of the most far-reaching attempts yet to punish communities that don’t submit to the president’s liberal ideology. American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government.

“Furthermore, HUD officials shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble. Local zoning decisions have traditionally been, and should always be, made by local communities, not bureaucrats in Washington DC. I am extremely pleased to see the House put a stop to this attempt by the Obama Administration to control a fundamental aspect of the American dream.”

Additional:

Congressman Gosar’s amendment is endorsed by Americans for Limited Government, Freedom Works, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers for Common Sense and Eagle Forum.

Americans for Limited Government supported the Gosar amendment stating, “Housing discrimination based on race has been illegal since the 1960s, and people should be allowed to choose for themselves where they live without D.C. bureaucrats nationalizing zoning decisions for political reasons.”

An amendment to this same appropriations bill blocking funds from going to this misguided rule successfully passed in the 113th Congress. More information on that amendment can be found HERE. Congressman Gosar appeared on Fox Business Network to discuss the issue.

In addition, Congressman Gosar’s bill, the Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act, H.R. 1995, rejects this overreaching rule is currently cosponsored by 20 members in the House.  

The AFFH regulation will increase local taxes, depress property values, and cause further harm to impoverished communities that are actually in need of these funds. According to reports, in 2012, this rule would have negatively impacted more than 1,200 municipalities throughout the country, costing these communities to forfeit millions that are meant help the neediest families. 

A trial run of the AFFH rule already took place in New York state. The rule was a failure and a local county was initially forced to forego $12 million in funds that would have benefited the community due to the impractical and unrealistic requirements associated with misguided agency regulation. The county had intended to use a large portion of these block grant funds to establish public housing for individuals in need.

Unfortunately, Paul Ryan abandoned the Gosar Amendment during the negotiations over the Omnibus spending bill.

Power Line explains how to fight the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation:

What, then, is the next move against AFFH. Stanley Kurtz, who has led the charge against it from the beginning ( and before) urges a nationwide campaign to insist that local governments turn down money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Only those localities that accept HUD money are subject to the AFFH rule. Thus, by turning that money down, they preserve their right to exercise the traditional role of local governments. In other words, citizens remain free, through their elected officials, to make most the important decisions about how they will live (though the feds still can be expected to attack that right through Fair Housing suits). Otherwise, they cede that right to the feds.

This is another illustration of the fact that government money does not come without strings. We also need to remember that the government has no money other than the money they take from the American people.

As Americans we are used to being able to choose where we will live. The AFFH will begin to take that right away from us. This needs to be an issue in the coming election–both in Congress and the presidential election. Paul Ryan gave our right to choose where we live away, we need a Speaker of the House that will take it back.

Who Voted To Represent The Voters?

This is the list of the Representatives who voted against John Boehner for Speaker of the House. These are the men who represented the voters. I have no idea who the other Representatives thought they were representing.

Republican Vote Roll Call AGAINST Boehner: –
24 & 1 voted present. This was the 1st & 2nd call.

Chris Gibson (NY) – R – nominated Kevin McCarthy
Scott Garrett (NJ) – R – nominated Webster of FL
Jeff Duncan (SC) – R – nominated Gowdy
Paul Gosar (AZ) – nominated Webster of FL
Scott DesJarlais (TN) – R nominates Jim Jordan – OH
Curt Clawson (FL) R – nominates Sen Rand Paul
Dave Brat (VA) R – nominates Jeff Duncan
Jim Bridenstine R – Nominates Gohmert
Tim Huelskamp (KS) R – votes for Webster
Walter Jones (NC) R – votes for Webster
Steve King (IA) R – votes for Webster
Tom Massie (KY) R – votes for Yoho
Mark Meadows (NC) votes for Webster
Richard Nugent (FL) R – votes for Webster
Gary Palmer (AL) R – votes for Sessions
Bill Posey (FL) R votes for Webster
Scott Rigell (VA) votes for Webster
Justin Amash – did not vote for Boehner
Rod Blum (IA) R – votes for Webster
Stutzman (IN) votes for Webster
Randy Weber (TX) votes Gohmert
Webster (FL) R votes for himself
Yoho (FL) R votes for himself
Louie Gohmert – Voted for himself
Brian Babin (TX) R – votes “present”