The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.
50% of New Jersey voters would choose Hillary Clinton over Chris Christie if the election were held today.
45% of likely voters favor suing the administration over Obama’s immigration overhaul.
52% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.
58% of Americans want to see Obamacare repealed—a record high.
52% of Americans believe it’s more important to protect gun rights, compared to 46% who say gun control is more important.
60% of Americans oppose President Obama bypassing Congress to make changes to immigration law.
Elections: The 2014 midterm elections finally came to an end on Saturday after Sen. Mary Landrieu lost her seat by double digits to Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. That Republican pickup means the GOP gained nine seats in the Senate, commanding a 54-46 majority starting in January. Senate Republicans are already debating whether or not they should restore the filibuster. Attention has also shifted to the 2016 election. According to WaPo,Rick Santorum is running for president again and a new Q-poll shows Hillary Clinton “mows down” Chris Christie and other GOP presidential hopefuls in the Garden State.
Gruber Hearing: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber was in the hot seat on Tuesday to explain his controversial comments regarding the Affordable Care Act. During the House Oversight Committee hearing, Chairman Darrell Issa, Rep. Trey Gowdy and other congressional Republicans hammered the MIT professor for his role in deceiving the American people to pass the law. Gruber repeatedly used a rehearsed apology for his “inexcusable comments” but insisted he was not the “architect” of the law, despite being paid more than $5 million for his consultation work law through federal and state grants.
Interrogation Report: Senate Democrats released a highly partisan and controversial report this week on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques post-9/11. The report concludes that the methods used were not effective in acquiring intelligence—a finding that was slammed by CIA operatives and called an ‘egregious falsehood’ by the man who oversaw the program. CIA Director John Brennan also pushed back, providing context for why EITs were adopted in the first place. He admitted, however, that the causal relationship between the use of EITs and intelligence is “unknowable.” Meanwhile, Americans working on counterterrorism operations overseas are on high alert, as Republicans warned the report’s release could endanger their lives, incite violence, and be used by terrorists as a recruitment tool. And finally, in an attempt to stay relevant, war on women expert Sandra Fluke weighed in, making an unintelligible comparison between the report and sexual assault/police brutality against men of color.
Cromnibus: Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the liberal crusade against the spending bill all week over business-friendly deregulatory provisions, but the media covered her plan to shut down the government very differently than they did last year’s. The $1.1 trillion spending bill passed in the House, 219-206, with just hours until the deadline. Earlier in the day it was nearly killed on a procedural vote, but President Obama had Boehner’s back. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is “enormously disappointed” with the legislation over language she says weakens restrictions in Dodd-Frank. Marijuana supporters in D.C. are also upset, as the deal reached blocks legalization in the District. The bill has now moved over to the Senate, where lawmakers have given themselves a two-day extension of current funding to get the bill passed. Sen. Jeff Sessions has vowed to fight against the amnesty funding in the bill.
On the Hill: Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), bid an emotional farewell speech on the floor Thursday. And Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the Senate’s most liberal and insufferable members, is planning to step down, according to sources close to the California Democrat.
Immigration: President Obama’s executive amnesty will be paid for by millions of legal immigrants, giving illegal immigrants a free and expedited path to legal status. Twenty-four states have now joined Texas’ lawsuit challenging the president’s immigration program, which could be stopped before it even starts if the motion prevails. Interestingly, the judge hearing the challenge foresaw this summer’s humanitarian crisis at the border.
Health Care: The shortage of primary care physicians continues under Obamacare, which is more unpopular than ever before. Yet somehow, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius thinks all the law needs is a rebranding. And with tax season on the horizon, the CBO said it will be a chaotic and frustrating time for many Obamacare consumers.
Global Security: The Islamic State, which John Kerry is now referring to as ‘Daesh,’ claims to have a ‘radioactive device’ in Europe. The terrorist group is responsible for the most deaths worldwide in November, when jihadists conducted 664 attacks that killed more than 5,000 people in 14 countries. While Islamic extremism shows no signs of abating, morale in the U.S. military is alarmingly low.
Media and Culture: Like World War II hero Louie Zamperini’s survival, the film “Unbroken” took years of patience and endurance. Zamperini’s daughter doubts anyone today could survive what her father did.
In Other News: Judicial Watch documents show Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, met with the Election Crimes Division at the DOJ just one month before the 2010 midterms. Over in The Badger State, unions are up in arms as Wisconsin GOP weighs right-to-work law.
Graphics by Feven Amenu.