As President Obama prepares to announce the overhaul of U.S. immigration law through executive fiat tonight in a prime-time address, Republicans are trying to come up with ways to either stop him or to push back against the move.
Last night on The Kelly File, Republican Ted Cruz called this a "moment of testing," said we are witnessing a constitutional crisis and suggested the Senate block all of President Obama's nominations, except for those crucial to national security, until he rescinds his executive order.
"We are are witnessing is a constitutional crisis, what President Obama is doing is he's defying the law, he's defying the constitution," Cruz said. "If the President goes forward with this, if he goes forward with unilaterally defying the Congress elected by the people, defying the American voters, then it is incumbent on Republicans in Congress to use every single constitutional tool we have to defend the rule of law...this is a moment of testing and I am hopeful we will see Republicans in Congress stand up and side with the people against a lawless President."
"The President is behaving in an unprecedented way. There is not in recent times any parallel for a President repudiated by the voters standing up and essentially telling the voters, 'go jump in a lake,' he's going to force his power," Cruz continued. "The new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should stand up and say, 'If you disregard the constitution, if you disregard the law, if you issue this executive amnesty, the new Congress for the next two years will not confirm a single nomination, judicial or executive other than vital national security positions until you end this illegal amnesty.' Now that's a big and dramatic step, it's never been done before in Congress but the framers put in place checks and balances and the confirmation power is a tremendously potent authority given to the Senate. The Senate majority leader has the unilateral ability to stand up and say, 'If you defy Congress, if you defy the American people none one of your nominees will get confirmed.'..We [also] need to use the power of the purse."
Cruz also pushed back on rumors of a government shutdown reminded viewers that the only person pushing for a shutdown is President Obama.
Yesterday in an op-ed published in POLITICO, Cruz reminded the country that the President is not a monarch and therefore we shouldn't allow him to rule like one.
"When the president embraces the tactics of a monarch, it becomes incumbent on Congress to wield the constitutional power it has to stop it," Cruz wrote. "Congress, representing the voice of the people, should use every tool available to prevent the president from subverting the rule of law."
President Obama will make his announcement at 8 pm eastern from the White House. Townhall will have full coverage of his remarks.
The Keystone XL Pipeline didn’t pass. Democrats are pulling advertisements in the state. Several publications have all but declared her tenure in the Senate over. And now a new poll shows her down by double digits:
A new Louisiana survey released by Vox Populi Polling today found that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy leads Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu 53 to 42 percent, with 5 percent unsure. In addition, Cassidy is up big with Independents, winning with them 58 to 31 percent over Landrieu. Cassidy has seen a big bump after the Nov. 4 open primary. In our recent Oct. 13-14 survey, Cassidy led Landrieu 48 to 44 percent in a head-to-head, with 8 percent unsure.
Deliciously, her Keystone XL Pipeline gambit backfired. Badly:
On the heels of last night’s United States Senate vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it is interesting to note that voters aren’t moved by Mary Landrieu’s efforts to bring the legislation before the Senate for a floor vote. When asked if it made voters more likely to vote for the incumbent Democrat, 39 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Bill Cassidy and 32 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Mary Landrieu.
Remember, Cortney will be in Louisiana this weekend covering the Cassidy campaign. Be sure to follow her coverage and analysis of the race.
The runoff is scheduled for December 6th.
Democrats are the party of the middle class; that’s an axiom liberal politicians and pundits pound away on the Sunday morning talk shows pervasively. Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal reiterated such sentiments at the liberal Netroots Nation last summer. Yet, is it still true?
One of the many reasons House Democrats are less than enthused about Rep. Nancy Pelosi remaining as House Minority leader is that they felt her messaging didn’t resonate with middle class voters.
As for the gender gap, Republicans in the most competitive races this cycle won women voters, split them equally, or lost by single digit margins. That’s not exactly an apocalyptic reading of the tealeaves.
I looked at the exits polls for women voters and those making $50k-$100k a year, which is a good range to represent the middle class vote, for all the competitive Senate and gubernatorial races this cycle.
Colorado Senate Race: Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R)
Arkansas Senate Race: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Tom Cotton (R)
Kentucky Senate Race: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)
North Carolina Senate Race: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and Thom Tillis (R)
Iowa Senate Race: Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst (R)
Alaska Senate Race: Sen. Mark Begich (D) and Dan Sullivan (R)
Virginia Senate Race: Sen. Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R)
Louisiana Senate Race: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), and Rob Maness (R)
Georgia Senate Race: Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R)
Kansas Senate Race: Sen. Pat Roberts (R), Greg Orman (I), and Randall Baston (L)
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Mary Burke (D)
Michigan Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and former Rep. Mark Schauer (D)
Illinois Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Bruce Rauner (R)
Georgia Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Jason Carter (D)
Kansas Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Paul Davis (D)
Florida Gubernatorial Race: Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Charlie Crist (D)
With the exception of Crist and Brownback, every Republican in these competitive gubernatorial and senate races won the middle class vote. It could be due to the fact that Democrats had no national message to rally around given President Obama’s dismal approval numbers. While critics can deride the results by saying the field in 2014 was much more favorable to Republicans, Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alaska were not sure bets, despite Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alaska being states where Romney won by 10+ points or more in 2012.
In Iowa, the Democrats were incredibly effective in maximizing turnout in the 2008 and 2012 elections; they ended up winning the state in both years.
North Carolina is a state that splits right down the middle; Colorado has the same level of volatility regarding elections.
Virginia was a curveball given that this was supposed to be a Warner beat down, which never came to fruition on election night. Instead, he barely won re-election in a state that, like North Carolina, has become purple.
It seemed as if the middle class abandoned the Democrats. But do Democrats have some serious work ahead to win these voters? I take you back to Molly Ball’s piece in the Atlantic, where she noted that the GOP wins the over $50k demographic on a regular basis; based on national exit polls, the Democrats have only won the $50k-$100k voting bloc twice since 1994, once in 2006 and again in 2008; both being Democratic wave years.
OK, let’s include the working class, which expands the category to Americans who make less than $100k.
Alaska: 47/46 Begich
So, even with the working class vote included, Republicans were able to either be competitive or win them outright. As you can see, overall, Democrats enjoy strong support with those making less than $50k a year, which explains how some of the comfortable leads Republicans had with the $50k-$100k demographic were chipped away. Yet, that’s mostly attributed to black and other minority working class voters; it’s the massive bloc of white working class voters that left the Democrats in droves.
In all, it looks like the Democrats, for all their economic populism, have hit a ceiling in their messaging. That being said, liberals are hoping to re-engage with this lost cohort that has drifted towards the Republicans. If not, winning future elections could become more difficult.
Then again, Republicans shouldn’t take this group for granted either. America’s working class is more diverse and has more characteristics to it that didn’t exist in the Reagan era (via Washington Monthly):
[I]f by blue-collar jobs we mean jobs that involve routine and repetitive tasks, require limited skills, are closely supervised, and offer no autonomy during working hours, then it turns out that half of all white male workers and 40 percent of white working women are blue collar. Far from working on factory floors, more and more workers are employed in service-sector jobs like health care, leisure and hospitality, and, particularly, professional and business services.
If Democrats cannot figure out how to appeal to today’s working-class voters, then they don’t deserve to lead. Nearly all of the people in these jobs have not seen a raise in years. The majority of them, who now work in the service sector—maids and housekeepers, waitresses and hostesses, cooks and dishwashers, counter attendants and ticket takers, janitors and hairdressers and child care workers—earn, on average, about $400 a week.
In some instances, today’s post-industrial members of the working class need the same things from government that their counterparts did in the industrial era: a safe workplace, affordable health care, and a sound pension system, for example. But other issues are comparatively new.
Female labor force participation now equals male participation. A majority of households are made up of unmarried couples and parents, and mothers are the sole or primary providers in 40 percent of American homes. All the issues surrounding the balancing of work and family life, including child care and pre-K education, speak directly to the needs of today’s working class.
As with anything in politics, nothing is permanent. Republicans may have benefitted from Democrats dropping the ball, but with this complex mesh of issues that makes up the new American working class; there are plenty of inroads Democrats can take.
Earlier this year, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was caught dead-to-rights in a brazen lie that undermines the White House's legal stance in a critical Supreme Court case. In recent days, the Gruber cancer has spread. A string of videos emerged showing the MIT economist spewing venom at Obamacare opponents, candidly confirming numerous conservative critiques of Obamacare (on cost containment, "keep your plan," taxes, and redistribution), and gleefully celebrating the law's lack of transparency -- which he deemed a great political boon to Democrats, by allowing them to deceive "stupid" American voters. Democrats have clumsily attempted to disclaim Gruber as one of their own, disavowing his comments, and trying to downplay his role in shaping their unpopular law. They've been exposed as frauds at every turn. Gruber wasn't just an influential insider throughout the entire process; he was arguably the central policy cog in the Obamacare wheel. Fox's Special Report broadcast an excellent review of Grubergate earlier in the week, and now CNN's Jake Tapper has added another unsparing report into the mix:
At a town hall meeting where he campaigned for health care legislation in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to voters that he did not want any tax on health insurance plans he perceived as wastefully generous to ever impact average Americans. But in recent comments by one of the men who helped draft the legislation, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that is not only precisely what will happen -- but that was the intention of the tax. White House officials had no comment, despite repeated requests by CNN...Gruber said the only way those pushing for Obamacare could get rid of the tax subsidy for employer provider health insurance was to tax the more generous, or Cadillac, plans -- "mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it's a tax on people who hold those insurance plans." The second way was have the tax kick in "late, starting in 2018" and have its rate of growth tied to the consumer price index instead of to the much higher rate of medical inflation. Eventually, the 40% tax on the more expensive plans would impact every employer-provided insurance plan..."This was the only political way we were ever going to take on one of the worst public policies in America." By 2018, Gruber said, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the trillion dollars that repealing the tax will take from the U.S. Treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt. This is obviously exactly what Obama told voters in 2009 he had "taken off the table."
A new NBC poll shows Latinos do not overwhelmingly support President Obama's decision to thwart Congress on amnesty through executive action.
Nearly half of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s expected plan to take executive action that would potentially allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the United States, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Latinos are divided, with 43 percent supporting the action and 37 percent opposing it. But the sample size here is small (just 110 Latino respondents), so the numbers have a high margin of error.
There's just a six percent difference in Latinos who do and do not support the President's plan to rewrite immigration law with an executive order. Notice how NBC was sure to add a note questioning the numbers due to a small sample size, ignoring that the margin of error could also result in more Latinos being against executive amnesty.
Despite what the media would have us believe, immigration reform is often at the bottom of the priority list for Latino voters and a majority want enforcement before a comprehensive overhaul.
By a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent, Hispanic voters oppose allowing illegal immigrants to obtain federal benefits, including Obamacare benefits, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached.”
When asked to choose which of four issues — the economy, immigration reform, education, or health care — is most important to them, registered Hispanic voters said immigration reform was their lowest priority. Just 31 percent ranked the issue first or second, compared with 62 percent for the economy, 57 percent for health care, and 45 percent for education. Non-registered voters, on the other hand, ranked immigration reform as their highest priority.
Generally speaking, registered Hispanic voters were far more likely to support tougher security and enforcement measures than non-registered voters. For example, 64 percent of registered voters said they supported employment verification to determine if job applicants are lawful residents, compared with just 46 percent of non-registered voters. Additionally, 55 percent of registered voters backed increased border-security measures (fencing, drones, police, etc.), compared with 45 percent of non-registered voters.
Regardless, President Obama is moving forward and will announce his plans for executive amnesty Thursday night at 8 pm et in a prime-time address from the White House.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came under fire for refusing to permit Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to vote by proxy in the Democratic caucus. Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War, is eight months pregnant and was unable to travel to Washington for the vote due to her pregnancy. Pelosi refused to allow Duckworth to vote by proxy, saying that the exception may spark a "slippery slope."
The Daily Show's host Jon Stewart feels otherwise. In a segment titled "Petty Woman," Stewart skewers Pelosi for her hypocrisy of previously touting the importance of voting (including early voting), filing briefs on behalf of pregnant women, and being awarded by women and family groups for refusing to permit Duckworth to vote. Stewart accuses Pelosi of engaging in petty inter-party politics, as Duckworth did not support Pelosi's preferred candidate to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Stewart raises good points. It's absolutely absurd that Pelosi wouldn't grant a pregnant woman an exception. The "slippery slope" argument is essentially moot--there simply are not that many pregnant congresswomen to merit alarm. This was politics at its worst, and Duckworth was effectively stripped of her vote. That is not right. (Pelosi's candidate lost, by the way.)
Kudos to Stewart for telling it like it is.
As the White House and leading Democrats continue to distance themselves from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, Congress is moving in and wants to put him under oath for questioning.
In an interview on Fox News last night, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, who sits on the House Oversight committee, said "of course" Gruber needs to testify in front of a Congressional committee.
"He used taxpayer money to lie to tax payers and when it was all over he made fun of them. Of course he needs to come in front of a congressional committee and answer our tough questions about what he did, where all of the money went to. Lets hope that happens, there's a timing to it, but lets hope it happens and I think it will," Jordan said. "He was the man, the American people know he's the man. He lied to the American people using their tax dollars to do so, of course he needs to answer our questions.
Gruber was paid $5 million in taxpayer money through state and federal grants and paychecks for his work as a consultant on Obamacare.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz will replace Congressman Darrell Issa as chairman of the House Oversight Committee when the new Congress begins in January.
Our immigration system has been broken for decades -- and every minute we fail to act, millions of people who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to live right by the law and contribute to our country.
So tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation to lay out the executive actions he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at WhiteHouse.gov/Live.
Politico has some additional details on the executive order itself, which will reportedly affect some five million “undocumented immigrants”:
The executive actions will cover 4 million undocumented immigrants who would qualify for deferred deportations by using criteria such as longevity in the United States and family ties, according to sources briefed on the discussions. Another 1 million would receive protection through other means, two sources said.
UPDATE: The jury's still out on this one.
Does Pres Obama’s speech address or ignore the many times he’s said he cannot do what he is about to do?— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: This could get awkward.
JUST IN: Obama has invited senior lawmakers to dinner tonight at the White House to explain his #immigration decision, several aides say— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: By the way, the Washington Post editorial board has already advised against this course of action. Oh well.
UPDATE: Republicans aren't just going to forget, Mr. President:
Post executive action on immigration, Obama wants to keep working w/ Congress toward “a bipartisan, comprehensive bill,” he says. @CQnow— Jennifer Scholtes (@JAscholtes) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: Republicans will not be attending the White House dinner tonight after all.
All you need to know about Obama, immigration, and future bipartisan chances? There's a dinner at the White House tonight. Democrats only.— Matt Viser (@mviser) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: Yup, no Republicans allowed.
Confirmed: Obama didn't invite top GOP leaders to attend his #immigration dinner tonight with senior Democrats.— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: A new poll shows the president's impending unilateral action is opposed by "almost half of Americans."
UPDATE: No words.
UPDATE: Taking to the pages Politico Magazine, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggests ways congressional Republicans can respond:
If the President announces executive amnesty, the new Senate Majority Leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.
This is a potent tool given to Congress by the Constitution explicitly to act as a check on executive power. It is a constitutional power of the Majority Leader alone, and it would serve as a significant deterrent to a lawless President. Additionally, the new Congress should exercise the power of the purse by passing individual appropriations bills authorizing critical functions of government and attaching riders to strip the authority from the president to grant amnesty.
UPDATE: Eighteen Democrats are going:
About 18 congressional members will join Obama for dinner on immigration action - just Democrats— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) November 19, 2014
UPDATE: Flip-flop of the year?
Almost half of Americans, 48 percent, disapprove of President Obama's decision to grant executive amnesty to an unknown number of illegal immigrants, according to a new NBC News poll, while just 38 percent support the idea.
The full poll will not be released until tonight, and Obama will not announce the specifics of his amnesty plan tomorrow, but NBC News has shared the wording of their executive action question with Townhall:
There are a number of problems with this question:
1) Obama will not be signing an "executive order" tomorrow. Not all executive actions are "executive orders." For example, Obama's first executive amnesty program, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was not done by "executive order."
2. That first sentence completely primes the respondent into thinking Obama's executive action is perfectly normal. After all, the question asserts as fact that "a president ... can put some regulations into effect that do not require Congressional approval." No mention is made of whether the presidential action is actually supported by Congressional statute. And Obama's executive amnesty is absolutely not supported by statute. Obama is citing his executive "prosecutorial discretion" power as the legal basis for this amnesty. Congress has never empowered the president to unilaterally choose which groups of illegal immigrants he will enforce the law on, and which groups he will give amnesty to.
3. Since Obama's executive action is based on inherent presidential power and not Congressional statute, there is no law Congress could pass "to take its place."
Here is how a question on Obama's immigration action should be worded:
"President Obama has unilaterally created a new executive immigration program without any input from Congress. The program gives work permits and Social Security numbers to many illegal immigrants and requires most states to give them driver's licenses too. Do you support or oppose this new program?"
That would be a fair question. Hopefully other news organizations will hit closer to the truth.
With the Ferguson grand jury announcement imminent, National Guard units and police are making sure law and order is kept in the city. Last summer, the city was marred by protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.
Gov. Jay Nixon recently declared a state of emergency in Ferguson ahead of the grand jury report; so it appears as if the lights are on, but nobody’s home.
In a press call with reporters this week, Matt Sledge, a reporter from the Huffington Post, asked Gov. Jay Nixon “Does the buck ultimately stop with you when it comes to how any protests are policed?”
“Um, we’re, um, I, you know, it, uh, our goal here is to, you know, keep the peace, and allow all voices to, uh, to be heard,” said Nixon. “I’d prefer not to be a commentator on it.”
When asked what official or agency would be in charge of response, Nixon couldn't give an answer.
“Well, I mean, it uh, clearly… (4-5 seconds of dead air) I feel good about the… we worked hard to establish unified command, to outline our responsibilities now with the additional assets provided by my order today of the Missouri National Guard we have worked through, uh, a number of, uh, operational issues the folks have and, uh, I’ll only say, uh, our efforts today are on top of a lot of last hundred days to make sure we’re prepared for any contingency.”
Curtis Kalin of CNSNews.com commented on this rather brain dead response, saying:
Suffice it to say, Nixon doesn’t seem to think he is in charge of the very plan he crafted and codified in executive order. Furthermore, he was unable to tell anyone who is in charge. The situation in Ferguson will likely be chaotic. The blundering leadership of Missouri’s governor will surely exacerbate that chaos.
Let’s hope not. The grand jury decision will be delivered in the coming days.