Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Now that Hurricane Harvey has finally passed, leaving behind in Houston and East Texas a level of devastation unprecedented in U.S. history, the political games around securing taxpayer money at the local, state and national levels to help pay for the rebuilding effort will begin. Given that Harvey wrought destruction from Corpus Christi all the way up the coast through the Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange Golden Triangle and into the Piney Woods communities of East Texas, we are talking about an area that is home to at least 8 million Texans. Contrast this to Katrina, which, as terrible as it was, impacted New Orleans and surrounding areas that were home to just over 1 million Louisianans.
- Normally in such situations, the most heated politics revolve around federal funds. The federal government does have a disaster relief budget in its normal funding, but it will only be able to scratch the surface of a recovery and rebuilding effort that will be required for the nation’s 4th largest city and surrounding areas. So, it will be up to the Texas congressional delegation to develop a proposal for a supplemental funding bill to shepherd through congress. As we have seen in the past, such supplemental appropriations bills can become controversial, and vehicles for all members of congress to try to attach their own pet pork-barrel spending proposals.
- In the wake of Katrina in 2005, the Louisiana congressional delegation, led by then-Senators Mary Landrieu andDavid Vitter, swung for the fences, bringing forward an initial proposal for a massive $250 billion appropriation that included funding for things like $35 million in marketing funds for the state’s seafood industry, $8 million for alligator farms and a $40 billion request for the Army Corps of Engineers, which normally spends about $400 million in the state. This breathtaking money grab came after the George W. Bush Administration had worked with congressional leaders to push through $62 billion in Katrina-related recovery funding.
- Twelve years later, now comes Hurricane Harvey, and a trail of devastation that is many times the size of the impact of Katrina. Partisan politics in the nation’s capital were already polarized in 2005, but the situation today makes the politics of a dozen years ago seem like patty-cake by comparison. A Texas delegation dominated by Republican members will have their work cut out for them in securing a supplemental appropriation that is sizable enough to truly help, and will need its Democrat members to work to secure vote from their own party, as many, many budget hawks in the GOP caucus will refuse to support any proposed legislation.
- The Texas delegation will also need to strongly oppose efforts to turn a supplemental bill into a pork-barrel vehicle, as the national news media will be looking for any excuse to demonize members who represent a state that voted heavily for President Donald Trump. Things could get especially uncomfortable for Senator Ted Cruz if he decides to become a sponsor for a supplemental, as he strongly opposed the supplemental bill for relief efforts for the Northeastern U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
- But as is the case related to any disaster such as Harvey, opportunities present themselves as well. For example, the Texas delegation will have an opportunity to ally itself with the Louisiana delegation related to a supplemental, given that Harvey also caused widespread damage to the Eastern half of the Pelican State. Care will have to be taken not to revive some of the hair-brained pork barrel stuff that made its way into the Landrieu/Vitter Katrina bill in 2005, but the alliance of the two state delegations would help to build a strong base of support in congress.
- For the Trump Administration, the opportunity relates to the President’s campaign promise of a national infrastructure spending bill. The President has often spoken of his desire for a bill in excess of $1 trillion over ten years to help rebuild the country’s decaying system of roads, bridges and other key infrastructure. The scale of the devastation in Texas and Louisiana from Harvey could serve as an anchoring point to the building out of a comprehensive national proposal.
- Never have so many major “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects presented themselves in any region of this country at any single time as we are about to see manifesting themselves in Texas and Louisiana in the weeks to come. It’s still a little too soon for the politicians to begin talking about all of this now, but as the flood-waters recede and the true scope and scale of the devastation becomes visible to television cameras, the political gamesmanship will and should begin in earnest.
Just another day in everything is politics America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- The Democrat Party left him. – West Virginia Governor Big Jim Justice announced yesterday that he will be changing his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. This move is most likely motivated by simple political survival instincts, as Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by an enormous margin over Hillary Clinton. Justice’s shift means that the GOP now controls 34 of the 50 governor’s offices in the country, and controls both the governorship and legislatures in 26 of 50 states. This is the legacy of the abuses of the Obama years. Thanks, Barack!
- Et tu, Joe? – One can only wonder how much longer it will take WVA’s Senator Joe Manchin to make a similar political calculation. Manchin is without doubt the most moderate Democrat in the senate today, and would likely vote with the Republicans well over half the time were he left to his own devices and not often held hostage to hardcore partisan politics. He’d better think fast, since he’s up for re-election next year in what has become one of the reddest red states in the country since his last election bid in 2012, thanks mainly to public reaction against Barack Obama’s aggressive efforts to kill the state’s coal industry.
- Are we past the Senatorial trading deadline? – Speaking of party switchers, nominally Republican Sen. From the News Media John McCain told the Arizona Republic on Thursday that he is in talks with one party’s senate leader about reviving the whole Gang of 8 Immigration “Reform” (i.e. open borders and amnesty) plan! Of course, that party leader is Chuck Schumer, not Mitch McConnell. Hey, here’s an idea, how about the Republicans just offer to trade John McCain for Joe Manchin, and call it even? At least then, both men would be inhabiting their natural environments.
- McCain logic 101. – Oh, but the Senator From the News Media wasn’t done. He also has decided that the whole 16 year ongoing fiasco in Afghanistan is all the fault of …wait for it…DONALD TRUMP! Yes, Senator, because everything was always great in Afghanistan for the 15 years prior to January 20, right? My goodness.
- By the way, if you are sitting there thinking that McCain’s latest bits of mendacity might mean that he is not in his right mind due to his fight against a very aggressive form of brain cancer, think again. This is McCain in his right mind – it’s just that his right mind has always been wrong.
- Bloomberg is reporting that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has concluded all by himself that Susan Rice is just a wonderful person whose national security top secret clearance needed to be renewed, and taken action to unilaterally renew it himself. Isn’t that great? Just further proof that some folks just need firing, and John Kelly needs to get busy.
- They’re a determined bunch. – A year ago today, congressional Republicans were the single most hated segment of the Washington DC establishment. They got lucky, though, as the Trump Campaign bailed them out of what otherwise would have been a major defeat at the polls. But they have squandered that good fortune, and are now, a year later, right back into the same situation, thanks in large part to their refusal to move on the major elements of the Trump agenda. In its latest poll released yesterday, Quinnipiac places congressional public approval at a record low 10%, down from 18% in March. It wasn’t easy to squander such a golden opportunity, but it is impossible to overestimate the ability of a bunch of Republicans to screw up a good thing. Great work, guys and gals!
- Oh, yeah, and Special Swamp Creature Robert Mueller leaked that he has convened a grand jury so he can start issuing subpoenas now. The Swamp is intent on taking this President down, and perfectly willing to take the country down with him if need be. Don’t kid yourselves otherwise.
Just another day feckless Republicans America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Well, the news media covered for him as long as they could, but the news finally came out yesterday that Senator John McCain’s “surgery for a blood clot above his eye” that would only have him absent from the Senate for a week turns out to actually be an initial surgery for a very aggressive form of cancerous brain tumor called Glioblastoma. While we will no doubt continue to see “optimistic” reports from doctors about the Senator’s condition, the truth is that this is a very, very grave situation. I won’t pretend to be a fan of Senator McCain – I’ve often mocked him as The Senator From The News Media, and found his behavior while George W. Bush and Donald Trump were serving as Presidents to be inexcusable. But many consider McCain to be a national hero, and few human beings have fought and survived against the brutality that he has suffered during his life. I wouldn’t wish his current battle on my worst enemy. Godspeed.
- Let’s talk about congressional Republicans. A year ago today, Republicans in congress were possibly the single most-detested part of the ruling class in Washington, DC. They had, as a group, made more false and failed promises to voters over the previous seven years than almost any such collective group of politicians in American history. They were headed at that point for a thrashing at the voting booths, with “experts” and polls indicating the GOP would lose its Senate majority and could possibly lose the House as well, if Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in a landslide in the presidential contest.
- But a funny thing happened on the way to electoral disaster: Donald Trump ran what was certainly an unconventional compaign, but one that was also a rousing success. The media-promoted and projected Clinton landslide became a crushing defeat for her, and it also bailed the GOP congress out, allowing the Party to retain control of both houses of congress.
- Suddenly, congressional Republicans were back. Contrary to the prevailing “wisdom” among DC “experts”, it wasn’t the GOP that was falling apart and doomed to ultimate destruction, it was the Democrats. And it wasn’t just in Washington: the results of the 2016 elections gave the GOP control of 2/3rds of the nation’s governorships, 2/3rds of the nation’s legislative chambers, and the Party was about to cement a narrow, 5/4 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court with the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch.
- Even better, the election results presented congressional Republicans with a golden opportunity to redeem themselves, to repair their stained reputations by finally, at long last, keeping their collective word to repeal and replace Obamacare. They had an opportunity to cement their majorities and build on them in the upcoming 2018 mid-terms if they could also pass a strong tax reform bill, and demonstrate to the American voters that the GOP could indeed be an effective governing party.
- And that, of course, is where it has all fallen apart. Since January, under the utterly ineffective leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the congressional GOP has done nothing to repair its image, little to keep its promises, nothing to prove to the American people that it deserves to be the majority party in the national legislative body.
- Worse, the GOP congress has proven that its repeated votes to repeal Obamacare while Barack Obama presented a certain veto were nothing more than cynical political theater, and meant nothing at all. It is now obvious that liberal senators like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have no desire to do anything about the Obamacare disaster at all, and that Mitch McConnell has no ability or real desire to exert control over his senate caucus on this issue.
- If you want proof of that latter contention, realize that McConnell, if he really wanted to get to a majority vote on Obamacare, could be threatening Murkowski with the loss of her chairmanship of the Senate Energy Committee or Collins with the loss of her coveted chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have no qualms about resorting to such measures to ensure their troops march in lockstep when they need votes. By refusing to do so, McConnell proves that he is simply not serious about the Obamacare issue.
- To this point, the GOP congress has looked like an old Keystone Cops movie, with members running in all directions, showing no discipline, having no leadership, resolving no issues of import. If this continues, then Republicans will go into the 2018 midterms once again sporting the status as the most hated subset of the DC ruling class.
- And this time, they won’t have Donald Trump to bail them out.
- Having said all of that, I still believe that the Senate Rs will somehow get to 50 votes on a flat repeal of Obamacare with a 2-year window before it recesses in mid-August. I believe this because they have almost all voted to do this in the past, when a veto was ensured, and it is in their political best interest to repeat that vote now that a repeal would be signed. If they can’t even do that, then those members who refuse to repeat that repeal vote had better start looking for something to do in their post-senate careers.
Just another day in disastrous Republican congress America.
That is all.
- Today’s Required Reading: George Soros, that evil old leftist radical who funds Black Lives Matter and other U.S. leftist violent protest groups, essentially owns the Democratic Party, and who has played such a large role in the flooding of Europe with Muslim immigrants, is now buying up district attorneys around the country. Great report on his latest efforts to destroy the free world here.
- Can we get the WaPo and NYTimes to quit making stuff up about Comey now?: Guy Benson, one of the handful of real journalists still working in Washington DC today, posted video on Twitter yesterday from James Comey’s May 3 sworn testimony to congress. In response to a question, Mr. Comey clearly and unequivocally states that no one in the Trump or any other administration, not the President or anyone else, has ever asked him to stop any investigation, ever. Period. In response, the WaPo and NYTimes issued several more made-up stories about Comey based on nothing but unidentified, anonymous “sources”. Because that’s all they know to do anymore.
- Cats everywhere are cringing in fear…: The Daily Mail reports that officials in China have banned the selling and consuming of dog meat at the nation’s annual Yulin festival, at which dog meat has traditionally been the dish of choice. The government is not planning to ban the killing and serving of any other types of animals that people in the Western world tend to name and treat like family members these days. I swear I don’t make this stuff up.
- If this surprises you, you just don’t understand the real ability of House Republicans to screw up any one car parade.: It was revealed yesterday that House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t actually sent the much-vaunted Obamacare repeal and replace bill to the Senate yet. Why? Because he’s afraid he may have to put the matter up for another vote, depending on how the score from the Congressional Budget Office turns out. Next time someone tells you Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, refer that person to Paul Ryan.
- Meanwhile, in an obvious effort to change the subject and calm the financial markets, Ryan and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady started talking about their tax reform effort again, holding a meeting with business leaders from around the country. Can’t wait to see how many times they’re planning to hold votes on that one.
- They’re just “leaving”. Get it?: The fake journalists at The Atlantic filed a report titled “American Trees Are Moving West And No One Knows Why”. Naturally, the fake reporter quotes fake climate scientists who state with all certainty that climate change – which is responsible for everything from acid indigestion to thinning hair on desert jumping rats – accounts for “no more than 20%” of this mysterious tree migration. Seriously, you have to read this story to believe it.
- Tired of winning yet?: ICE reports that arrests of illegal immigrants at the southern border are up by 40% this year over the same period in 2016. As reported earlier, the agency also estimates that total illegal border crossings are down by more than 75% in the same year-over-year measure. If we could count on the next Democrat elected to the presidency to continue to simply enforce U.S. immigration law, no fence would be necessary. Unfortunately, we all know we can’t count on any such thing.
Just another day in winning despite the fake news media America.
That is all.
As the United States Senate finally begins taking up joint resolutions designed to reverse a handful of regulations implemented during the waning days of the Obama Administration, it’s worth discussing the indispensable role the Congressional Review Act (CRA) has come to play in halting regulatory excess, and more importantly, upholding the rule of law. While the merits of some of the regulatory actions targeted for reversal are certainly arguable, others lie so far outside the governing statutes that their reversal, either by congress or the courts, was almost inevitable from the day of their initial proposal.
Read the Rest Here.
President Trump and the House of Representatives are acting on oil and gas issues…: …but the Senate doesn’t appear to have gotten the memo.
In his first six weeks in office, President Donald Trump has issued executive orders on the following actions that impact the oil and gas industry:
- directing the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline;
- directing the State Department to expedite the cross-border permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline;
- directing the EPA to reconsider its vastly over-reaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule making, which is currently on appeal at the federal appellate court level; and
- directing the EPA to reconsider elements of the Obama Clean Power Plan.
During those same six weeks, the House of Representatives has taken Congressional Review Act (CRA) votes to reverse the BLM Venting and Flaring regulation, and the BLM Planning 2.0 regulation. In addition, the House has begun the process for reversing the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) Mineral Valuation Regulation. Upon learning of that effort, ONRR on Feb. 22 suspended planned implementation of that rule, pending congressional action and/or the outcome of ongoing litigation related to it.
Meanwhile, in the United States Senate…the crickets are chirping.
Read the entire piece here.