Category Archives: McCain

Breaking: Senate rejects all DACA bills – Epic Fail

Just as I predicted, the U.S. Senate has rejected all the proposed DACA bills in an epic fail. The New York Times reports, Senate Rejects Trump’s Immigration Plan (with additional reporting from The Hill):

In a stern rebuke to President Trump, the Senate on Thursday decisively rejected a White House rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws that would have bolstered border security, placed strict new limits on legal migration and resolved the fate of the so-called Dreamers.

The measure by Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, was patterned after one that the White House proposed, but the 39-60 vote was 21 votes short of the 60 votes required for the Senate to consider it. Mr. Trump had threatened to veto any other approach.

But the rejection of the president’s plan was bipartisan: Democrats refused its get-tough approach to legal immigration, while many conservative Republicans opposed its pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

What happens now in the Senate immigration debate is unclear. Before the vote on the White House plan, senators turned away two more modest measures to protect young immigrants known as Dreamers. Neither the plan drafted by a broad group of centrists nor one written by Senators John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, secured 60 votes.

The “Common Sense” bipartisan centrist measure, backed by Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) and other Republicans, won 54 votes.

Two other amendments were rejected before the vote. The first, a bipartisan proposal from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) , fell in a 52-47 vote. The second measure [from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)], which would have cracked down on sanctuary cities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws, also fell in a 55-44 vote.

The Senate’s failure leaves Congress with an uncertain path on immigration ahead of a March 5 deadline set by the president.

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Congress is broken: Debate over DACA fix devolves into Kabuki theater

I’m not surprised, but disappointed, that the Senate debate on immigration and a DACA fix has devolved into Kabuki theater. They are simply going through the motions of “stylized movements, dances, and songs in order to enact” a tragedy — a Senate bill that is DOA in Paul Ryan’s House, and under a veto threat from the white nationalist in the White House. It is a futile effort.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos sums it up succinctly. Democrats need to make Republicans walk their talk and vote on a clean DREAM Act:

The so-called “Common Sense” bipartisan group of senators finally, decided on their plan late Wednesday, ignoring veto threats from both the White House and the House Freedom Caucus, intent on making a deal for the sake of a deal regardless of lasting harm it could do to immigrant families. See, the New York Times Senators Strike Bipartisan Deal on Immigration Despite Veto Threat, and this from the Washington Post, Bipartisan group reaches deal on immigration, fulfilling some Trump demands:

The self-dubbed “Common Sense Caucus” of senators late Wednesday circulated legislation that would fulfill Trump’s calls to grant legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants and would appropriate $25 billion for southern border security construction projects over the next decade—not immediately, as Trump wants. The bill also would curb family-based immigration programs, but not to the extent Trump is seeking, and would not end a diversity visa lottery program that he wants eliminated.Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy is set to intensify Thursday. The new bipartisan plan is slated for a vote, as is the GOP proposal sought by Trump, another Republican bill that would punish “sanctuary” cities and a bipartisan idea that would significantly water down Trump’s demands. […]

In an interview late Wednesday, a senior administration official denounced the bipartisan bill, calling it a “giant amnesty” that did nothing to secure the border, and vowed the White House would strongly lobby against it Thursday.

They’re conceding family reunification, a concession that Dreamers themselves have rejected. Meanwhile, Trump is not really denouncing the effort in a tweet, saying “Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working hard to come up with a solution to DACA,” but mostly bragging about his economy[.]

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No deal on DACA or immigration is possible

Last week, President Trump proposed a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, but holds them hostage to his ransom demand that Democrats support $25 billion for border security, including his proposed border wall, and strict new limits on legal immigration. Trump’s immigration plan draws harsh reviews from left and right, and some conservatives label him ‘Amnesty Don’:

The 1.8-million figure would go well beyond the nearly 700,000 immigrants currently covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, expanding the protections primarily to cover people who were eligible for DACA but did not apply.

The White House designed that element of the plan in hopes that it would provide a strong enticement for Democrats, who offered little sign of support on Thursday.

But the plan quickly generated opposition from some Republican conservatives.

“Amnesty comes in many forms, but it seems they all eventually grow in size and scope. Any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening Pandora’s box,” said Michael A. Needham, the head of Heritage Action for America, an influential conservative group. “That should be a nonstarter.”

And even before details of the plan emerged, blowback was building among parts of Trump’s base.

“Immigration Shock: Amnesty Don Suggests Citizenship for Illegal Aliens,” read a headline on Breitbart News, the conservative, nationalist website once run by Trump’s former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

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Sen. John McCain joins Sen. Jeff Flake in defending the free press from Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ assault (updated)

Senator Jeff Flake announced earlier this week that he will give a speech Wednesday regarding our “Dear Leader’s” penchant to portray the free press as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase employed by Joseph Stalin to silence the media. Sen. Jeff Flake hangs the Stalin label on Trump for attacking the free press.

Today, Sen. Flake’s seatmate, Senator John McCain, joins him in defending the free press against Donald Trump’s attacks on the free press in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Mr. President, stop attacking the press:

After leaving office, President Ronald Reagan created the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to recognize individuals who have fought to spread liberty worldwide. Nancy Reagan continued the tradition after her husband’s death, and in 2008 she bestowed the honor on human rights icon Natan Sharansky, who credited Reagan’s strong defense of freedom for his own survival in Soviet gulags. Reagan recognized that as leader of the free world, his words carried enormous weight, and he used them to inspire the unprecedented spread of democracy around the world.

President Trump does not seem to understand that his rhetoric and actions reverberate in the same way. He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing “fake news awards” upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with. Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2017 was one of the most dangerous years to be a journalist. Last year, the organization documented 262 cases of journalists being imprisoned for their work. Reporters around the world face intimidation, threats of violence, harassment, persecution and sometimes even death as governments resort to brutal censorship to silence the truth.

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Congressional Republicans are running interference on the Russia investigation

If you spent your New Year’s weekend binge watching football games like I did, you may have missed some important reporting in the New York Times regarding the Russia investigation that blew away Dear Leader’s false narrative (fake news) and conspiracy theory that the Russia investigation is a “phony democratic excuse for losing the election” that began with the Steele dossier “funded by some combination of Russia, the Democratic Party and the FBI.”

It turns out that the Russia investigation actually began with Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos — now a cooperating witness in the Special Counsel’s investigation — getting drunk one night and telling the Australian ambassador to Britain that the Russians “have dirt on Hillary Clinton” before the DNC knew that it had been hacked by the Russians. After the DNC learned of the leaks and Wikileaks began publishing the emails from the DNC, the Australians contacted the FBI about the earlier statement of George Papadopoulos, which triggered the FBI investigation.

The opposition research into Donald Trump by Fusion GPS was originally funded by the Washington Free Beacon before Christopher Steele was hired, and later was funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign after Christopher Steele was brought on. Based upon what Christopher Steele, a well-respected former British MI-6 agent specializing in Russia, was learning from his contacts it was Steele who alerted the FBI to the Russian attack on the election. The Steele “dossier” confirmed much of what the already opened FBI investigation into the Trump campaign was finding.

Fusion GPS provided all of its information to the Senate Judiciary Committee in more than 10 hours of testimony months ago, but the committee has failed to release the transcript of testimony, despite assurances from committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley that the transcript will be released. This is where things stand today.

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McSally’s Holding Pattern

By Michael Bryan

Arizona has become one of the few states that are key to control of the U.S. Senate in 2018. With Flake declining to run for re-election and McCain facing the end of his life, both of Arizona’s Senate seats are in flux at a time when electoral tides are strongly disadvantaging Republicans. When McCain inevitably lays down his duties and resigns, one would expect there will be a wide field of both Democratic and Republican candidates vying for Arizona’s two open Senate seats.

One of the most salient players in this drama has remained purposefully and stubbornly obscure as to her next moves, however: Representative Martha McSally. While it is widely known that her ambition, and her current intention, is to move up to the Senate, she has remained stubbornly non-committal regarding launching a campaign for Flake’s seat in 2018.

She is certain to run for Senate; she has already recruited (and McSally’s political shop is running the nascent campaign of) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Lea Márquez-Peterson to try to succeed her. Since it seems certain that she plans on departing her current office for the Senate, but is passing up weeks of fund-raising and earned media in a primary against her main rival for the nomination for Flake’s seat, Kelli Ward, what could explain her current passivity?

McSally simply doesn’t plan to enter the primary for Flake’s seat. She expects to take over McCain’s seat, likely well before the primary election next year — probably before the end of this year.

Appointment to replace McCain provides several advantages to McSally. She would likely quash any primary challenge merely by occupying the seat, especially if she is perceived as McCain’s own choice to replace him. Even if she does not quash all opposition, incumbency conveys powerful advantages against both primary and general election challengers. Appointment to McCain’s seat also avoids an unpleasant primary contest with Ward, which would serve to further irritate the far-right Trumpian faction of Arizona’s Republicans, whom McSally has already irritated more than once.

Governor Ducey, likely with the knowledge and blessing of McCain, must be planning to appoint McSally to fill McCain’s seat when he resigns due to his failing health. It is unlikely that McSally would sit on the sidelines like this if she did not have assurances that the appointment to McCain’s seat was hers.

So, I make a few predictions:

  1. McCain will announce his immediate resignation from the Senate before or at the end of this session of the Senate on December 29, 2017.
  2. McCain will make it known that McSally has his support to be appointed to his seat.
  3. Ducey will appoint McSally to McCain’s seat.
  4. McSally will run for the remainder of McCain’s term in the 2018 election substantially or completely unopposed in the Republican primary.