Senate Confirms Biden’s ‘Radical’ FTC Pick Criticized for Anti-ICE Stance

The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee Alvaro Bedoya to the empty fifth seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The 50-50 Senate vote was broken with a tie breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris, and gives Democrats a 3-2 advantage at the FTC. Bedoya, who is professor at Georgetown Law, was previously criticized by Senate Republicans for his past comments on social media and in other outlets opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after President Joe Biden announced his nomination.

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Rand Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.

According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.

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Americans Support Trump’s China Tariffs as Republican Senators Push to Remove Them

As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.

“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”

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GOP Sen. Collins Says She’ll Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she’ll will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, guaranteeing President Biden’s judicial nominee at least a slim path toward confirmation.

Jackson will need 51 votes in final Senate vote – with the chamber evenly split among 50 Democrats and 50 Republican. With no GOP support, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the decisive, tiebreaker vote.

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Arizona Senate Study Estimates 200K Ballots Counted in 2020 with Mismatched Signatures

Astudy of Maricopa County’s mail ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimates that more than 200,000 ballots with mismatched signatures were counted without being reviewed, or “cured” — more than eight times the 25,000 signature mismatches requiring curing acknowledged by the county.

Commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, the signature verification pilot study was conducted by Shiva Ayyadurai’s Election Systems Integrity Institute, which released its final report to the public on Tuesday. Ayyadurai is an engineer and entrpreneur with four degrees from MIT who bills himself as the inventor of email, a claim which critics have alleged is exaggerated.

Of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots that Maricopa County received and counted in the 2020 presidential election, the county reported that 25,000, or 1.3%, had signature mismatches that required curing, but only 587 (2.3%) of those were confirmed mismatched signatures.

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Postal Service Legislative ‘Fix’ Will Dump Workers on Medicare

A bill to “fix” the troubled United States Post Office (USPS) is on the verge of passage in the Senate but does it solve more problems than it creates? The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 3076 was scheduled for a vote earlier this month but was blocked by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) on a procedural technicality.  “We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott said of the bill.

Now it’s back and on track for a vote in the Senate.

The biggest financial liability facing the USPS is the legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance for its workers. Congress has found a way around that by dumping the future postal workers on to Medicare.

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Two Key Senate Races Moved in GOP’s Direction by Noted Election Handicapper Cook Political Report

Richard Burr and Michael Bennet

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted its forecasts for two 2022 Senate races in the direction of Republicans.

The report moved the North Carolina Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr moved from “toss-up” to “likely Republican.” And moved the Colorado Senate race, in which Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet is seeking a third term, from “solid Democrat” into the “likely Democrat” catagory.

The North Carolina GOP primary is now a competitive race between former President Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker, with (with Budd and McCrory currently deadlocked).

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Democrats, Environmentalists Stay Silent on U.S. Energy Independence Amid Ukraine Crisis

Democrats and environmental groups were silent when asked about the importance of U.S. energy independence in light of the energy market volatility caused by the Ukraine crisis.

Several Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who hold leadership roles on committees or subcommittees tasked with overseeing energy policy ignored requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday about the importance of promoting U.S. energy independence. In addition, five major environmental groups chose not to address the issue or stayed silent when asked about the issue.

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Senate Report Confirms Thousands of Americans Were Left Behind in Afghanistan Following Biden Regime’s Botched Withdrawal

Thousands of Americans were left in Afghanistan after the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal last summer, according to a stunning new report released by the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Biden administration officials claimed that number of Americans left behind was only 100-150.

According to the report, published by Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Biden Administration “did not hold a senior-level interagency meeting to discuss an evacuation or formally task the State Department (State) to contact at risk populations, including Americans, until August 14, just hours before Kabul fell.”

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Measure Directs $225 Million to Recruit, Retain Pennsylvania Health Care Workers

Pennsylvania Republicans highlighted legislation Wednesday that is moving through the General Assembly to direct $225 million to recruit and retain health care workers for hospitals and behavioral service providers.

Leaders of the House and Senate gathered on the lieutenant governor’s balcony between the two chambers for a news conference on House Bill 253, sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Tioga.

The legislation allocates $225 million to hospitals and behavioral and psychiatric service providers for retention and recruitment programs for staff. The bill is targeted specifically at nurses and other hospital employees, and it excludes hospital executives, administration, contracted staff and physicians.

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Commentary: Replacing the Irreplaceable Nancy Pelosi

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as he departs the U.S. Capitol after addressing the House Democratic Caucus, Thursday, October 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Last week there was quite a lot of news media chatter about swapping Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden on the 2024 Democrat presidential ticket, a fascinating concept that pundits couldn’t stop talking about. It didn’t receive nearly the headlines, but whispers involving the impending retirement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and her eventual replacement — have also begun in earnest.

Of course, there’s been no formal announcement that she’s leaving — either from the Speaker herself or the poohbahs at Democrat National Committee headquarters. But like all worst kept secrets, everyone with a brain and some knowledge of American politics understands that Pelosi shares characteristics with a ticking time bomb set to go off later this year.

With the prospects for Democrats holding the majority after this year’s federal midterm elections growing dimmer by the day, folks have initiated a political death watch for the soon-to-be 82-year-old gavel bearer. A large number of veteran party incumbents have officially indicated they’re heading for the exits after this session concludes. Combined with redistricting changes (after the 2020 census) and a basketful of “moderate” (they’re really not balanced, but that’s how the media refers to them) Democrats facing fierce headwinds in their swing districts, and the numbers bloodbath could/should be scary.

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Report: More than 50,000 Illegal Immigrants Released into U.S. Don’t Show for Court Hearings

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the McAllen station encounter large group after large group of family units in Los Ebanos, Texas, on Friday June 15. This group well in excess of 100 family units turned themselves into the U.S. Border Patrol, after crossing the border illegally and walking through the town of Los Ebanos.

More than 50,000 illegal immigrants released into the U.S. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to report to their deportation proceedings during a five-month period analyzed last year, according to a report provided by the Department of Homeland Security to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin. The report also states that ICE doesn’t have court information on more than 40,000 individuals it’s supposed to prosecute.

“Between March and August 2021, as a result of the Biden Administration’s failed border policies, over 270,000 illegal aliens have been dispersed into the United States with little chance for removal,” Johnson said in an announcement accompanying the report, which didn’t include data from the other seven months of the year.

Over the same time period, “over 50,000 illegal aliens – more than half of the aliens released into the interior of the United States under a Notice to Report (NTR) – failed to appear to begin deportation proceedings,” the DHS report states.

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End U.S. Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Mark Kelly and Tom Cotton

A Republican and Democratic senator introduced legislation Friday that aims to end U.S. reliance on rare-earth metals sourced from and produced in China.

The Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths (REEShore) Act would prevent supply disruptions and bolster domestic production of the minerals, according to Sens. Tom Cotton and Mark Kelly, the bill’s sponsors. They said the legislation is important for American national security and development of advanced technologies.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets,” Cotton said in a statement. “Ending America’s dependence on the CCP for extraction and processing of these elements is critical to winning the strategic competition against China and protecting our national security.”

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Iowa Capitol Reporters Lose Access to Senate Press Bench

Iowa Senate leaders have decided press will no longer have seating at the press bench at the front of the Senate chamber floor.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most state legislatures allowed access to the chamber floors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures April 2019 state-by-state report on media access and credentialing.

“Media access to the people who make laws is a critical component of representative government,” the Iowa Capitol Press Association said in a statement Friday. “Primarily for this reason, the Iowa Capitol Press Association is extremely disappointed in the Iowa Senate’s decision to move reporters out of the press work stations on the chamber floor and into the upstairs gallery.”

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Pelosi Plans to Run Again, Stay on as Democratic Leader, Despite Earlier Promise, Report

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly will continue on in her capacity as the chamber’s top Democrat after she turns 82 this year.

Pelosi will file and run for reelection in her northern California district next year (her 18th term) and is considering whether to stay in leadership, despite an initial promise to give up her role as top House Democrat, CNN reported over the weekend.

Pelosi will primarily spend the next year raising money for Democrats as they attempt to hold onto their narrow majority in the lower chamber.

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Senate Clears Way for Democrats to Lift the Debt Ceiling After Agreement Between Schumer, McConnell

Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell

A bill that would enable Democrats to raise the debt ceiling without overcoming a Senate filibuster passed the chamber Thursday afternoon with bipartisan support.

The debt ceiling provisions were attached to a bill that prevents automatic cuts to Medicare. Ironically, the legislation, which passed the House on near party lines Tuesday, required 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and passed after 14 Republicans joined Democrats in advancing it.

The provision was the product of a deal struck Tuesday between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Under it, Congress would pass a law allowing the debt ceiling to be raised with a simple majority this one time, and the bill’s passage puts the limit on a glade path to be lifted by Democrats alone ahead of Dec. 15, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned a default could occur.

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Congress Wants to Make Big Tech Responsible for Online Speech

Person on space gray iPhone

While there is agreement between large factions of both Republicans and Democrats that social media companies should be liable for certain third-party content hosted on their platforms, the parties differ on what that content should be, and why platforms should be liable in the first place.

Congress appeared no closer to finding common ground following a House Energy and Commerce hearing Wednesday, in which lawmakers considered several bills seeking to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Wednesday’s hearing made clear that Republicans and Democrats have drastically different solutions to hold Big Tech accountable,” Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Republicans are fighting for free speech, while Democrats continue to push for more censorship and control. Bipartisanship will not be possible until Democrats agree that we need less censorship, not more.”

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War Hero and Longtime Republican Leader Bob Dole Dead at Age of 98

Bobe Dole

Bob Dole, a son of the prairie from Russell, Kan., who survived grievous injuries during World War II to battle for decades as a Republican Senate leader and presidential candidate, died Sunday at the age of 98 after a battle with lung cancer.

His death was announced by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation founded by his wife and former North Carolina senator.

“Senator Robert J. Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years,” the statement said.

The family had announced in February he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was beginning treatments.

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Democratic Senate Bill Allocates $5 Million for ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at National Science Foundation

Black scientist with safety goggles and mask on

A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.

According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”

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Biden’s FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Wants to ‘Silence Dissent,’ Top Senate Republicans Say

Gigi Sohn

Senate Commerce Republicans are whipping opposition to the nomination of Gigi Sohn, one of President Joe Biden’s picks for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Biden nominated Sohn, former FCC counsel under Tom Wheeler and Ford Foundation alum, to an empty spot on the commission in late October, along with current acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to the permanent position.

While Republicans have been quiet in their response to the nomination of Rosenworcel, many are pointing to Sohn’s public statements on conservatives as reasons to oppose her confirmation.

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Commentary: Very Fine People

Large group of people storming Washington D.C. in protest on January 6.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, was one of the people who made their way into the chamber of the U.S. Senate in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to protest the Senate’s impending certification of state electors who would install Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. His name may not register, but his image will: he was the fellow bizarrely attired in a coyote-fur hat sprouting black buffalo horns; shirtless, showing his muscular but heavily tattooed torso; sporting black gloves and a red knapsack; face painted in vertical red, white, and blue stripes; and carrying an American flag on a spear.

The disorderly intrusion of several hundred protesters into the Capitol was quickly characterized by the media, and by many politicians, as an “insurrection.” Moreover, the accusation of insurrection was applied to the many thousands of Trump supporters in Washington that day who had nothing to do with the intrusion into the Capitol. And that characterization became the basis for the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump for supposedly inciting the “insurrection” and the impetus for Joe Biden to order 26,000 National Guard troops to defend Washington during his inauguration on January 20.

As it happened, there was no insurrection.

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Commentary: Taking the Infrastructure Bill Hostage Didn’t Work

Nancy Pelosi, AOC's mother and her all together

Back in August, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait blessed the strategy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to withhold their votes for the Senate’s bipartisan physical infrastructure plan until that bill was effectively linked to a bigger, broader, and surely partisan, measure investing in a range of items from climate protection to universal preschool. He argued that “ransoming the infrastructure bill” would turn the tables on the party’s moderates:

Historically, most partisan bills are shaped by the preferences of the members of Congress closest to the middle, and their colleagues on the political extreme simply have to go along with it. … This time, the left has real power. Progressives can credibly threaten to sink a priority that moderates care about more than they do.

Twice in the past two months, most recently last Thursday, the House progressives successfully executed this strategy, blocking attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation before an agreement is reached on the larger “Build Back Better” bill.

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