The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.
64% of Americans want Congress to fix Obamacare's subsidy eligibility flaw if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with conservative challengers this spring.
71% of registered Virginia voters support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
4.6—the percentage decrease in violent crimes reported for January through June of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, according to the FBI.
70 years ago Auschwitz was liberated.
$2 trillion – the amount Obamacare will cost taxpayers over the next decade.
$10.2 billion – the amount Obama’s executive amnesty will cost taxpayers in Earned Income and Additional Child tax credits over the next decade.
62-- the number of senators who voted to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, enough to finally pass in the upper chamber.
Campaigns and Elections
Well, Mitt Romney has decided he will not run for president a third time, saying that he doesn’t want to make it “more difficult for someone else to emerge who many have a better chance of becoming … president.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on the other hand made a splash at the Iowa Freedom Summit this past weekend, and a pro-Walker PAC unveiled its debut ad. Team Hillary, meanwhile, can’t agree when to make her 2016 announcement. And since the potential opposition is so weak, she may end up skipping out on primary debates altogether. At the state level, Matt Bevin, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger last year, decided to run for governor in Kentucky at the last minute.
House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul introduced a new “very tough, very strong” border security bill late last week. The National Border Patrol Council spokesman called it ineffective, however, which may have something to do with the fact that Border Patrol agents weren’t even consulted. Also a problem is that no one can really say how secure our borders really are. Although it’s safe to say they aren’t very secure, as the White House’s immigration policy left one dead in Arizona this week. Nevada and Tennessee, meanwhile, have joined Texas’ challenge to Obama’s executive amnesty, bringing the total number of states fighting it to 26. The White House said this week, though, that preserving Obama’s executive amnesty is the only ‘bright line’ for them in the upcoming DHS funding bill.
School Choice Week
National School Choice Week kicked off on Sunday, the time each year when the spotlight is on providing all children effective education options. At a rally in Washington, D.C., House Speaker John Boehner shared his story, explained why he’s for school choice, and encouraged the students at the rally to keep up the good fight. Townhall also caught up with Jim DeMint, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee to hear what their solutions are to Common Core.
Loretta Lynch Takes the Hot Seat
Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, testified on Wednesday as part of her confirmation process for U.S. attorney general, replacing outgoing AG Eric Holder. Lynch dodged questions from lawmakers about the DOJ’s role in the IRS targeting scandal, arguing that since she hasn’t been briefed, she cannot comment. Also notable was that she believes illegal immigrants have the right to work in the U.S., and that Obama’s executive amnesty is, in fact, legal. During a separate follow-up confirmation hearing on Thursday, a number of heavy hitters were witnesses, including investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht, among others. Clarke testified about the broken relationship between the DOJ and local law enforcement and called on Lynch to repair the rift; Attkisson detailed the government intimidation she has experienced under the Obama administration and called on the new attorney general to reject such damaging policies and practices. Sen. Chuck Grassley wonders if her qualifications can transfer to correcting the many serious problems at the DOJ.
The White House
It wasn’t a great week for the Obama administration. They’re still pretty mad House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to speak. And piling on to some of the terrible figures you saw in the Closing Numbers section, a new study found that Obama’s unemployment policies have actually increased unemployment. A new CBO report also shows that thanks to spending increases in major health care programs (yes, Obamacare included), deficits are set to explode in 2017, just as Obama leaves office. And much to the president’s dismay, most of his SOTU proposals have a very slim chance of becoming law, which is great news for the rest of us. One of his proposals to raise taxes on the middle class was a totally hypocritical reversal anyway though.
Terrorism seems to be gripping every corner of the world, and yet the White House continues to deny it. Rather than heed objections from top military and intelligence officials to release five high-ranking Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (who’s now being charged by the Army with desertion), the White House moved forward anyway. They were OK with that swap because according to White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, the Taliban is not a terrorist group. Rather, they’re using the term ‘armed insurgency,’ even though that very terrorist group killed three Americans in Afghanistan the next day. While we’re on the topic of terrorist groups, let’s not forget about the Islamic State, which continues to hold an American aid worker hostage; and Boko Haram, which AFRICOM’s commander is waiting on U.S. officials to develop a counterinsurgency plan. As if Nigeria wasn’t dealing with enough already given the terror group’s increased attacks, experts are warning that the upcoming elections may trigger even more bloodshed in the nation. We’re all going to need the war on terror survival guide.
This week’s Townhall exclusives:
I had a chance to catch up with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which is doing amazing work to help our nation’s military and first responders. You may have heard about a group raising enough money to pay off the mortgages for the families of slain NYPD Officers Ramos and Liu; well, this is that group. Take a minute to get to know them—it’s worth it.
In a feature-length article, Cortney O'Brien and Sarah Seman make the case for why everyone should be a feminist. Don't cringe, you'll see what they mean.
In this week’s edition of Capitol Source, Sarah interviews advocates on both sides of the marijuana debate as they discuss the pros and cons of legalization.
The NRA invited Townhall to their headquarters in Virginia this week. Check out photos of some members of the team trying out a number of different firearms.
And finally, if you need a Friday pick-me-up, check out Katie’s photos of all the wonderful service dogs that were at this year’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week.
Graphics by Townhall Graphic Designer Feven Amenu.