Category Archives: Congress
By United Press International
Senators who John McCain, R-Ariz., once called “whacko birds” are the real Republican mainstream, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, daring McCain to prove him wrong.
Cruz, a freshman senator endorsed by the Tea Party movement and the libertarian Republican Liberty Caucus, said on the Senate floor Thursday he and fellow deficit-hawk Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida were not a crackpot fringe for standing in the way of negotiations with the House to reconcile the two chambers’ competing U.S. budget proposals.
Indeed, they represent the GOP majority philosophy, Cruz said.
Cruz, Paul, Lee, Rubio and other conservative lawmakers with close Tea Party ties say they adamantly object to the appointment of a House-Senate conference committee to bridge the vast gap between the House and Senate budget versions unless the lawmakers are guaranteed negotiators won’t agree to link a budget deal to a debt-limit increase.
If that were to happen, such an agreement would let a debt-ceiling increase be approved in the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority, rather than the 60-vote supermajority usually needed for controversial measures.
McCain, a senator since 1987, called his upstart colleagues’ defiance obstructionist and said their demand for a guarantee showed their ignorance of how the Senate works.
“It’s not the regular order for a number senators — a small number, a minority within a minority here — to say they will not agree to go to conference,” McCain said Thursday.
“We’re here to vote, not here to block things,” he said. “We’re here to articulate our positions on the issues and do what we can for the good of the country and the let the process move forward.”
He said the budget blockade was the latest example of the small senators group pursuing a strategy that will “paralyze” the Senate process. He said it could provoke Democratic leaders to take extreme steps to change Senate rules to crack down on delaying tactics.
McCain previously criticized Tea Party tactics on other issues, including efforts to block votes on Cabinet nominations and gun-control legislation.
Two months ago he told The Huffington Post he considered them “whacko birds” after they filibustered John O. Brennan as President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the CIA until he guaranteed Washington wouldn’t use aerial drones to kill Americans in the United States.
“I think it can be harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They’re not,” McCain said in the Post interview, published March 7.
Cruz said Thursday McCain was “impugning all 45 Republicans in this body” by suggesting Cruz and his colleagues were a small troublemaking minority of the GOP for continuing to stand in the way of the House-Senate conference committee and pressing the debt-ceiling issue.
“There may be more wacko birds in the Senate than is suspected,” Cruz said.
He challenged McCain to test the senatorial waters by seeing how many Republican senators are willing to sign a statement saying they supported letting the Senate raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority.
“I believe he will find that his representation to this body — that it is only a minority of Republicans that oppose that — is not accurate,” Cruz said.
Cruz challenged McCain, saying if the Arizona Republican can produce a document showing a majority of the Senate GOP supported the McCain position, “I will offer here and now to go to a home game of my Houston Astros wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks hat.”
Congressman Paul Gosar issued this statement after participating in yesterday’s hearing on the Obama Administration’s Benghazi scandal:
“If we do not hold the Obama Administration accountable for their egregious failures, Benghazi will happen again. Today’s hearing demands further investigation into this attack; as new information shattered the Obama Administration’s lies surrounding Benghazi.”
“Today, the State Department’s Mr. Hicks told me directly that the administration’s statements and misrepresentations hurt U.S. credibility in Libya and shamed the government we are trying to support.”
Rep. Gosar continued, “I will not stop until we are confident we know all we can to prevent future tragic events similar to Benghazi and the rotten political spin that followed.”
By U.S. Reps. David Schweikert, Matt Salmon and Paul Gosar
America is a nation of immigrants.
In our relatively short history, millions have left their homelands and traveled great distances to be a part of a grand experiment called America. Today, we are a melting pot of traditions, cultures and ethnicities – all united by a shared belief in the freedom and opportunity that we call the American Dream.
But we are also a nation of laws and fairness. Ours is a land where people can come, work hard and be successful regardless of where they come from, so long as they play by the rules and earn their way honestly. It is our belief in the rule of law and our belief in opportunity that makes the American Dream possible.
Both of these traditions are intertwined into our history and both must be preserved as we embark on the debate over immigration reform.
There is no question that our immigration system is not working, and debates on how to reform it spurs deep emotions for those on all sides of the issue.
But reform should not be driven by emotion alone. To successfully implement immigration reform, we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal: immigration reform must strengthen America as the flagship of freedom in the world.
Reforming our immigration system must start by streamlining and expanding legal immigration for skilled workers. American businesses are plagued by a shortage of skilled and educated workers particularly in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.
Currently, only 13 percent of green cards are awarded based on economic considerations. This needs to change. We should be encouraging skilled workers to come to America to help grow American businesses and boost our economy.
Additionally, we need to reform and streamline our temporary work-visa program. To the extent that American businesses find themselves in need of low-skilled labor, we can and should expand this program. Not only will this help our economy, but it will also discourage illegal immigration by offering immigrants legal employment opportunities.
However, any temporary work-visa program must include enforcement mechanisms to ensure temporary workers do not overstay their visas, add to the ballooning cost of entitlements and increase the population of illegal immigrants already in the country.
Which brings us to the most contentious part of the immigration debate: what to do with the 11 million immigrants who have come here illegally? To answer this question, we must return to the two principles that have guided our nation from its inception to this day.
The desire to make a better life for oneself and one’s family is certainly admirable, but we should not reward those who have broken our laws at the expense of the millions of immigrants who have played by the rules and are patiently waiting their turn in line. Simply put, those in our country illegally should not have a unique path to citizenship not available to those who have chosen to abide by our laws and attempt to emigrate legally.
At the same time, there is no benefit to keeping 11 million illegal immigrants trapped in the shadows. In fact, it is in our country’s interest to know who they are and where they live.
Reforming our immigration system to address the status of the 11 million people in our country illegally should focus on normalizing their legal status without access to federal benefits or a special pathway to citizenship.
Finally, real and objectively verifiable border security must be a part of any legislation. If we cannot stem the tide of illegal immigration, we are destined to repeat the cycle of amnesty again and again.
In 1986, Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform, granting amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants, while promising that it would solve our country’s illegal immigration problem. Today, we have 11 million illegal immigrants, and we are on the verge of repeating the same mistakes.
We have an opportunity to learn from those mistakes and reform our immigration system in a way that preserves America’s tradition of fairness, freedom and equality. We hope Congress will not squander that opportunity.
In the spirit of the Statue of Liberty that declares, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” we welcome those who want to lawfully be a part of the American Dream.
But it is up to us to protect that dream, to respect the rule of law and to make sure future immigrants and future Americans have a place to call home. It is up to us to preserve the American tradition of fairness and laws that keep us the most prosperous, strongest nation on this Earth.
Transcript of Thursday’s interview of Mark Steyn on the Hugh Hewitt radio program:
HH: I begin this Thursday as I do those in which we are lucky with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read all that Mark writes at http://www.steynonline.com. Mark, do you think it’s possible the ball cap bombers are stupid enough to still be in the country?
MS: Well, that’s an interesting question, Hugh. I mean, in theory, they’re, four hours after the explosions, they could have driven north and crossed a sleepy Canadian border crossing and been out of the country. On the other hand, if they are foreign visitors to the United States, since 9/11, there’s been the introduction of a vast range of facial recognition stuff. Everybody who’s not a U.S. citizen has to have his eyeballs photographed, fingerprinted, and photographs taken when they enter the United States. And if that stuff’s going to work, you’ve got to believe that they’ve cross-referenced these pictures with the photographs of people who entered the country recently and have tried to leave it recently. So I suspect the FBI already know the answer to that question.
HH: Now Andrew McCarthy said on this program yesterday, former federal prosecutor of the Blind Sheik, that if you have to go public with the photos, you’re in a pretty bad spot from an investigatory position. Do you agree with that?
MS: Yeah, I think that’s true. And just to go back to what I was saying earlier, I think that means that they’ve run them all through the immense number of new databases and new security checks that have been introduced since 9/11, and they’ve come up empty. And that’s why they’re standing in a room in Boston saying does this still ring any bells with anybody?
HH: Any reaction to the video, Mark, as it was played less than an hour ago?
MS: Yeah, I mean, I think this is an interesting question. I mean, I don’t want to prejudge anything here, and I find it rather weird the way people have been desperate that the killer should fit their particular biases. This guy who wrote this article at Salon saying I hope and pray that it is a white male American. Obviously, the guys in the baseball caps didn’t look like white male Americans. It doesn’t mean anything. They could be native-born Americans of one particular ethnicity or another. They could be a foreign student studying in Boston. But here’s the point. It would be, the idea that this would be a kind of official credentialed, card-carrying member of al Qaeda terrorist attack would mark a real change in strategy for al Qaeda. I remember shortly after 9/11 standing on my town common the Saturday after 9/11, and there was a little sort of town fair and people selling this and that and all the rest of it, and saying to a neighbor of mine, you know, that if I was these guys, I’d blow up somewhere like here next, in other words, to say that nothing is safe. We can not only take out the great iconic landmarks of New York, but you can go to some nowhere town in the middle of Nowheresville, and we’ll kill couple of people there, too. And they didn’t do that, al Qaeda. They’ve gone for big iconic targets, whether it’s in the U.S. or the London Tube bombings. And to do something like this in Boston, where they just, they kill a relatively small number of people, it would mark a change, a real change if this was to be any kind of official al Qaeda act.
HH: And more, we will follow in the weeks ahead. Now I want to switch over to leadership. I wrote a column at Townhall.com today, Mark, after the President’s rant in the Rose Garden yesterday. And I’m mad at the Republicans as well, and in the House, Dave Camp, who leads Ways And Means, is blocking tax reform in order to do a deal with Max Baucus. And I just look around Washington, D.C, and I see a complete collapse of leadership. But yesterday in the Rose Garden was the worst. What did you make of the President’s fit of pique yesterday?
MS: Yeah, it was interesting to me. It reminded me a bit of, in a less dramatic way, of Bill Clinton when he’d been grilled by the Grand Jury, and made the mistake of going on national television afterwards when he was still steamed about it. And he let loose on TV for about three minutes. And for just those three minutes, for the first time, America glimpsed the real Bill Clinton, petulant, whiny, unlikable. And that was exactly the mistake that Obama made yesterday, a glimpse of a side of him that he’s held very carefully under control now for the five years he’s been on the national stage. And so in that sense, I think it was a big mistake. The other thing is I think this just reveals what happens when you elect a guy as national leader who comes from a perfect left wing bubble. The voting precinct he lives in, in Chicago, voted, I think it was 97% Democrat. He’s not used to a world where you have to take the views of your political opponents seriously. And the idea that simply be demagoguing the issue, by virtue of the fact that he demagogued it so effectively, the opposition should have caved and let him have his way, I think he illustrated why in a sense, he’s at odds with the American Constitutional order, which has a big degree of bipartisanship and compromise and reach across the aisle type stuff built into it. This is not a guy who does that kind of thing.
HH: Now the American Constitutional order also calls, regular order is the catch phrase of the day, it calls for the House passing a tax bill, being sent to the Senate, the Senate does what it does, sends it back, you have a conference, they agree or they don’t, if they do agree, it goes to the President and he signs or he doesn’t, and they come back and they have a veto override. That’s regular order. And John Boehner, the Speaker, has said he’s pledged to it. But underway in the House right now, Mark, and I know you’re sitting in for Rush tomorrow, and I hope you hammer the House Republicans, and especially Michigan’s David Camp on this, they are sitting on tax repeal. They’re not doing it because Dave Camp wants to do a big deal with Max Baucus. Why in the world do the Republicans want to do anything with Max Baucus?
MS: No, I don’t get that, and I take what you say. I have a respect for the U.S. Constitution, and I have a respect for Congressional procedure. But there’s no doubt that basically we’re living in a world where Congress and the executive are winging it. That’s what they’ve been, they’ve been doing what they want. The President never offers a budget on time, the Senate never offers a budget at all, I mean, basically, the idea…and then every so often, they’ll dredge up some bit of cobwebbed parliamentary procedure and decide that they’re going to stick to it. But essentially, the Republicans who are the majority in the House have been unable in the last two years to make that majority mean anything. And the disenchantment on the right, the disenchantment on the right is real. I mean, what would be the point? I mean, there’s a fatalism on the right that a lot of people think they’ll lose the House in 2014, but that even if they win the House, big deal. What do they get? What do they have to show for it?
HH: Well that, this comes down to the leadership of House Republicans. I think Cantor and McCarthy and Paul Ryan are doing a fine job, but I think the Speaker is old school, and he lets these committee chairmen do or do nothing as they care, and I frankly have had it with them. I don’t know why anyone gets excited about House Republicans anymore. Do you know anyone, anyone at all in our world of broadcast and commentary who is excited about the House Republicans?
MS: No, but I don’t really know anybody who’s excited about them in the…you know, the people who have to go knock on doors, the people who have to make phone calls, the people who have to ensure that there’s turnout when you don’t have a glamorous celebrity at the top of the ticket like Obama. And I remember a few years ago, Newt Gingrich came and gave a speech in New Hampshire. And this was just before 2006. And he was asked, you know, why has the Republican House been such a disappointment? This was in the Denny Hastert days. And he said well, what you have to remember is the Republicans aren’t used to being in the leadership and running the House. Now at that point, they had been running the House for over a decade.
MS: It was the time of the new Iraq Constitution. The Iraqis are supposed to get the hang of free constitutional responsible government in 20 minutes, but the Republican Party can’t be expected to get the hang of it in a decade. And it sounds pathetic. The one thing one has to admire about the Democrats, they did it when they took over here in my own state in New Hampshire, is they don’t just think it’s about occupying the corner office and having a driver, and having a fancy title on your business card. They use it. From the word go, they’re passing this and they’re passing that. Obama was obvious, the country didn’t want Obamacare. He got out his mallet, and he hammered it down the American people’s throat regardless. The Republicans never show that determination.
HH: No, they don’t, and as a result, they’re going to give up that which they do not use. Mark Steyn, look forward to hearing you tomorrow on the national, the absolutely legal immigration show tomorrow as Mark sits in for Rush. Don’t miss that, America.
By Andrew Thomas
It was, if nothing else, a fitting metaphor for the size and nature of the work before them. On March 27, 2013, four members of the “Gang of Eight,” a group of U.S. senators who have banded together to seek immigration reform, toured the Arizona-Mexico border. It was what Politico termed their “spring break” trip: Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, back in their home state of Arizona, hosting two fellow members of the Gang of Eight, Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
“In the last several years we have made improvements on the border,” McCain told the press later. The senators spoke of the need for more technology on the border, though they declined to say what future border security measures would be installed as part of their legislation, which was still being negotiated.
As they flew over the border near Nogales, a city that straddles both sides of the international border, they saw something that captured the magnitude of the problem. They saw a woman climb the border fence successfully. Senator McCain tweeted the event and informed the public that the Border Patrol later apprehended her.
Even as such events remind the nation of the severity of the situation, the senators remained confident a deal can be struck for new immigration legislation. One of the few known and certain components of the legislation being drafted is amnesty. The gang has agreed in advance the bill would grant probationary legal status to all illegal immigrants immediately—meaning they can remain in the country legally.
Yet as Republican establishment leaders treat this enterprise as the political salvation of the Grand Old Party, some observers are starting to question the very premise of the efforts. After all, if the political goal, accepted at its practical core, is to secure more Hispanic votes for Republicans, is this legislation truly the path to such success?
The Myth of the Romney Debacle
When we drill down below the conventional wisdom, and in particular when we examine hard polling data from Hispanic Americans, we find things are not as we have been told. The Republican Party’s challenges with Hispanics are of long standing and seemingly not connected to illegal immigration, but instead involve broader issues with the party’s platform and brand.
Consider first the much-discussed exit polls showing low Hispanic support for Mitt Romney in last year’s election. The results of a Fox News exit poll were typical. It found that 71 percent of Hispanics voted for President Obama and 27 percent for Mitt Romney. A Pew Research analysis of multiple exit polls confirmed this margin.
But grand political lessons should not be drawn from a single election. Here, we find Pew’s data much more illuminating, for they compared Romney’s showing to that of past Republican presidential nominees. This was not a one-time debacle because of GOP immigration rhetoric, but rather a long-term pattern of Republican inefficacy.
In 2008, John McCain won only 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. That too was not his fault; it is in fact a typical percentage for Republicans in the modern era. In fact, the average percentage of the Hispanic vote won by a Republican candidate for president for the past nine presidential election cycles, going back to the first Reagan victory in 1980, is just 32.9 percent.
Bob Dole fared the worst, losing to Bill Clinton among Hispanics by 51 points (72 percent to 21 percent). No serious observer would contend that Bob Dole was or appeared to be an anti-Hispanic bigot.
George W. Bush received a greater share of the Hispanic vote. In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, he lost the Hispanic vote by 27 and 18 points, respectively. But there were important differences. First, he received a higher share of the overall vote than McCain and Romney. Bush was the former governor of Texas, and performed especially well among Hispanics in that state who were his former constituents. And Bush was not running against Obama, a racial minority with whom Hispanic voters naturally found common ground.
In other words, Romney did not nosedive because of tough anti-immigrant GOP rhetoric swirling around him. He merely performed slightly lower than average against America’s first minority president.
Advocates of immigration reform as a brand-fixer for Republicans overlook broader issues that are at work. Hispanics favor a larger role for government than do white Americans or Republicans. And these differences are not going away.
Hispanic voters make political decisions as other Americans do. A Pew Research survey last year asked Hispanic registered voters to name the most important issues facing the country. Fifty-five percent listed education as “extremely important.” This was followed in descending order by a familiar litany of other top concerns: jobs and the economy (54 percent), health care (50 percent), federal budget deficit (36 percent) and taxes (33 percent). Immigration fell between deficits and taxes at 34 percent.
Accordingly, freshman Senator Ted Cruz, a virtual unknown at the start of his come-from-behind campaign in the Lone Star State of Texas registering just one percent in the polls, wrote in the Washington Post last January that the GOP should stand for “opportunity conservatism” by conceptualizing and articulating “every domestic policy with a single-minded focus on easing the ascent up the economic ladder.”
Further, he explained, “Under the Obama administration, the unemployment rate climbed above 10 percent among Hispanics last year and to 14 percent among African Americans. Yet Republicans never talked about this.”
However, Hispanics favor a larger role for government than the population as a whole. A 2012 survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Foundation found two out of three Hispanics favored a “larger federal government with many services” over a “smaller federal government with fewer services.” For all American adults, in contrast, 55 percent preferred a smaller federal government with fewer services and only 40 percent supported a larger federal government.
An Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll in 2011, echoing Ronald Reagan, offered more confirmation. Forty-two percent of white Americans, a plurality in the poll, agreed that “in the current economic environment government is not the solution to our economic problems, government is the problem.” Only 17 percent of African Americans and 25 percent of Hispanics felt the same.
In a Latino Decisions poll in 2012, 61 percent of Hispanic voters supported Obamacare, with only 25 percent who want it repealed. This contrasts with solid, sustained opposition to the law by a majority of Americans overall and white voters in particular.
Finally, the overwhelming Hispanic vote for Obama reflected a common belief that he and his party would do a better job of addressing the whole range of issues facing the country. Hispanic voters concluded Obama would better handle the economy, the chief issue for all voters of all races in 2012. A Latino Decisions poll, taken on November 5, 2012, the eve of the election, found that, when asked which candidate and political party “do you trust more to make the right decisions and improve our economic conditions,” 73 percent of Hispanic voters chose Obama and the Democrats and only 23 percent selected Romney and the Republicans. Those results mirrored almost precisely the election returns among Hispanic voters according to exit polls.
There is, then, a broader dissonance between the Republican Party and Hispanic voters on issues well beyond immigration. Hispanics prefer bigger government, even as this is antithetical to the core tenets of the Republican Party platform. Even the most committed Republican immigration reformers in Congress are not proposing that the GOP jettison its limited-government stance and rhetoric.
A Path to Lasting Political Success
The assumption that immigration reform will improve Republican political prospects is, then, questionable at best. George Hawley, a political science professor at the University of Houston, recently published a study which further reinforced this conclusion. He found that Republican incumbents seeking reelection to Congress who had supported liberalizing immigration laws did not fare better in the 2006 elections than did Republican Congressmen who opposed such legislation. In fact, Hawley concluded that the reform-minded Congressmen averaged less than 30 percent support from Hispanics—nearly identical to the totals that Mitt Romney gained from Hispanic voters in the presidential race six years later.
Hawley argues that the Republican Party may lose some of its base voters by trying to win over Hispanic voters, who are more in line with the Democratic Party on other issues besides immigration reform.
What, then, are Republicans to do? They risk alienating the base they have, which allows them to remain competitive nationally and win and retain a majority in Congress, by going along with amnesty. Furthermore, they will always be “outbid” by Democratic leaders, presumably, when it comes to accommodating illegal immigration.
A better approach is to be true to core Republican principles and accentuate areas of commonality with Hispanic voters, of which there are many. For example, a vigorous national defense benefits all and offers fertile common ground. Hispanics understand the need for deficit reduction as a way to provide for the needs of future generations, something that accords with love of family.
A “common ground” approach presents a more likely path to long-term political success than turning the Republican Party into the “me too” amnesty party.
Your government has failed you… Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China.” These are alarming words. But that’s the analysis of our current cybersecurity status by Richard Clarke, the United States’ former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism. Indeed, the theft of digital information alone is said to cost American companies in the neighborhood of $250 billion every year. As one of only three members of Congress who currently holds a patent, I am keenly aware of the importance of intellectual property protection, a goal that is impossible without effective cybersecurity.
But while the economic effects of cyberattacks are already staggering and unquestionably must be addressed, the true threat is the prospect of a hacker — whether operating alone or backed by a rogue regime — infiltrating vital components of our infrastructure and wreaking havoc. The topic is a timely one. Just yesterday, it was reported that computer networks at major South Korean institutions, including banks and broadcasting networks, crashed simultaneously. Though unconfirmed, all signs seem to point to a cyberattack originating in North Korea.
A recent project by Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, has highlighted just how ever-present the threat is. Earlier this month, the company set up 97 “honeypot” systems all over the world that appear to hackers to be vulnerable networks, computers, and websites. Deutsche Telekom created a map showing, in real-time, the number of attempted cyberattacks these systems were enduring, as well as the point of origin of the attempted attacks. A visit to the online map indicates a continually-flashing catalogue of world-wide attempted cyberattacks — with sometimes half a dozen or more attempted attacks occurring every second.
It is an overwhelming problem without one single, simple, comprehensive fix. But any attempt to address the issue absolutely must include provisions to facilitate voluntary information sharing. When cyberattacks occur, the entities affected must have an efficient and effective means of sharing relevant information with other companies that could find themselves at-risk, as well as with authorities. By pooling all of the information we have about the sources and nature of various cyberattacks, we are far more able to effectively respond, if not avoid the attacks entirely.
But in the midst of all the discussion above, we must not miss the forest for the trees by ignoring a less discussed threat to our infrastructure and electric grid: the prospect of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of either natural or man-made origin that could disable any electrical components on a catastrophic scale. Whether originating from the sun — we are currently in the middle of the “solar maximum,” during which the sun is expected to be most active — or from a rogue regime like Iran — which has conducted tests consistent with EMP attacks — such a burst of electromagnetic energy could disable large swaths of America’s electric grid and become the ultimate cybersecurity threat.
The threat has received attention from organizations ranging from NASA, the National Association of Scientists, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. All of them reached the same conclusion: our civilian electric grid is vulnerable to EMP. Ongoing and largely successful efforts over the years have hardened much of our critical defense apparatus to electromagnetic pulse. However, in the continental United States, the Department of Defense depends upon an unsecured civilian grid for 99 percent of its electricity supply, without which it cannot successfully effect its mission. Thus our ability to defend the homeland, as well as much of our ability even to function as a modern society, would be greatly compromised should we find ourselves unprepared in the face of a major unexpected attack or a solar event like the 1859 solar superstorm (or Carrington Event) that caused aurorae worldwide, and knocked out telegraph systems — the only major electrical system in the world at the time — all over Europe and North America. Telegraph systems were so overwhelmed by the burst of energy that fires were started by the sparking telegraph pylons. Another large solar event occurred in 1921, and the National Academy of Sciences predicts this effect will recur globally approximately once every 100 years. In other words, we could be due for another occurrence.
It is time we take the relatively inexpensive steps necessary to make our transformers and other major grid components survivable to such a threat to our national security.
To that end, as Chairman of the Congressional EMP Caucus, I introduced the SHIELD Act (H.R. 668) last Congress and will soon reintroduce it in the new Congress. The bill would finally take the first critical measures to protect our grid from a potentially catastrophic electromagnetic pulse.
We live in an almost miraculous digital age. Unfortunately, our modern electric technologies are far more susceptible to cyber attack and electromagnetic pulse than ever before, and we are far more reliant on those systems than ever before. This year, even as we witness what NASA has called “unexpected” solar activity, along with the threat posed by radical regimes with nuclear weapons capability, may we seize the opportunity to finally begin to systematically address all dangerous cyber threats, including those that could be precipitated by a major man-made or natural electromagnetic pulse, and begin to ensure that our reliance on digital systems is finally matched by our ability to defend those systems.
To borrow an analogy from Credence Clearwater Revival’s song “Fortunate Son,” Will Portman is a fortunate son. He’s a senator’s son.
When he told his father, U.S. Senator Rob Portmann (R-Ohio), he is homosexual, the elder Portmann came out in support of same-sex “marriage.” He’s the same Sen. Portmann who was under consideration for a vice-presidential running mate by Mitt Romney.
The son’s struggle with same-sex attraction is certainly unfortunate.
But the father’s response is troubling. Instead of offering to help his son, he selfishly does an about face and wants to impose same-sex “marriage” on the nation. He selfishly wants to take away the religious freedom of people who will be punished for opposing same-sex “marriage.” Just because of his own son.
I have no doubt the senator loves his son. But the way he shows it is misguided, and his personal family situation should not adversely impact the entire nation. He’s imposing his personal family situation on the country, and this is selfish and wrong.
The same thing happened in San Diego a few years ago. The mayor decided to support same-sex “marriage” after learning his daughter gave in to same-sex attraction. So he and the city council passed a resolution to impose their will on the city.
It’s time for selfish politicians to realize their personal family situations do not justify the imposition of same-sex “marriage” on their constituents. Especially when the majority of Americans support marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Queue up Credence on Youtube:
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son
By Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
Following the rules may not matter to the President’s party–but writing them certainly does. Why? Because, as Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) explains, that’s where the real legislating is done. “If you let me write the procedure and I let you write the substance,” said Democratic Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), “I’ll [beat] you every time.” Congressman Salmon harkened back to that quote in a bold new op-ed for the Washington Times, where he challenges the conservatives to rise up and “dare to be fiscally responsible.”
Salmon, who returned to Congress this year after serving three terms in the mid-90s, says he was driven back to Washington by America’s shocking financial situation. A situation, he points out, that is more dysfunctional than ever. Back in the day, Rep. Salmon explains, conservatives were willing to challenge the GOP leadership when they got “off track.” The strategy was simple. “One tactic we used was to vote against House rules on specific bills that did not uphold conservative principles.”
Essentially, the rules–like the one governing whether members could add amendments to the government’s short-term funding bill–decide how long the bill’s debate is and how many attachments will be allowed. For reasons unknown to most voters, members will support a rule to a bad bill and then vote against the actual legislation. Congressman Salmon wants to know why “a self-described fiscal conservative would enable the passage of the bad bill by supporting the rule?”
From now on, he writes, “I will vote against the rule for bills that increase spending without offsetting spending cuts and encourage my other conservative colleagues to do the same. Similarly, if House leadership brings any more bills to the floor without first securing the support from the majority of the GOP conference, I will take the same action. If enough of my conservative colleagues in the House join me, we can unilaterally put an end to the growth of government…”
Republicans need to start a revolution, Salmon says–and we agree. This is one of the most conservative Houses of Congress ever–but its power is being squandered by GOP leaders who are unwilling to take the necessary risks to limit government and save America. More members need to rise up–as Rep. Salmon and 15 others did in the CR debate–and challenge a GOP leadership that is more focused on preserving the majority than using it to get America back on track. Voters have had enough of Republicans babysitting the nation’s decline. It’s time to move from a party who’s scared to a party who dared.