Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said accounts of him dating teenage girls whose parents gave him permission to date them when he was in his thirties is fake news. “Let me be clear,” said Moore. “It’s not true that I dated the teenage girls whose parents gave me permission to date them.” Moore also said there’s nothing wrong with him as a man in his thirties walking around shopping malls by himself as the press accused him of doing. “The press is wrong to say I innocently and lawfully walked around malls by myself as a man in my thirties,” he said. Moore, 70, is an evangelical Christian who has been an uncompromising critic of homosexuality. He was the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court before he was removed from office in 2003 for defying a court order to take down a statute of the Ten Commandments he had erected on the courthouse grounds. More.
The U.S. Congress came together in a bipartisan fashion today to condemn the acts of gun violence that will plague the country in the months and years ahead. “We condemn the senseless taking of innocent life that we will experience in the future,” the resolution reads. “We call on all Americans to come together during these times of national trauma that will inflict us, probably twice a year if not more frequently.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the sponsors of the resolution, says it’s a step in the right direction for lawmakers to get all of their future condemnations of acts of gun violence out of the way at once, because that will free up time for other legislative priorities. More.
Weary lawmakers in the Senate, still bruised and battered from previous repeal and replace bills that swept through the chamber, are gearing up for yet another potential direct hit as the Cassidy-Graham bill strengthens into a Category 5 bill. “We’re already rationing our time and energy to get things done after dealing with the previous three bills—‘repeal-and-replace,’ ‘partial repeal,’ and ‘skinny repeal,'” says Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose no vote on the previous measures has been credited as a key to the chamber’s recovery after the unusually heavy repeal-and-replace season. Storm preparation[/caption]Collins said the Senate was just starting to make progress on other priorities like tax reform after devoting weeks to cleaning up after the previous bills, but that progress could be upended if, as predicted, Cassidy-Graham hits the chamber as a Category 5 bill. More.
California Republican Duncan Hunter, an anti-immigration hard-liner in Congress who said last week that, while President Donald Trump might be an a**hole, he’s at least “our a**hole,” lashed out in anger today at reports that his a**hole has struck an immigration deal with Democrats. “So, my a**hole isn’t my a**hole after all?” he told reporters at the Capitol this morning. “I wake up, look in the mirror, and I find there’s no a**hole attached to my backside and instead find it attached to the backside of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer?” Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schumer (D-N.Y.) are the House and Senate minority leaders, respectively. More.
After he or someone on his staff liked a porn video on his Twitter account, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said his office had reported the incident to Twitter. “The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter,” said Catherine Frazier, Cruz’s communications aide. What else has his office reported to Twitter? We investigate. More.
Crafting Health Bill in Secret Necessary to Keep Cheering People From Delaying Passage, McConnell Says
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says it’s necessary for Republicans to write their bill to replace Obamacare in secret because having millions of people cheering them on while they hammer out the details would unnecessarily slow the legislative process, an injustice to the 23 million Americans waiting impatiently to lose their health insurance. “We owe it to all of the struggling Americans who stand to lose their coverage to move as quickly as we can,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol today. McConnell said many additional people will see their premiums go up and their level of coverage go down, so it’s understandable that lawmakers don’t want to take any longer than is absolutely necessary to pass the bill. “We still have to reconcile our bill with the House bill, so we’re champing at the bit to get our bill out there,” McConnell said. More.
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) in an NPR interview this morning refused to say whether everyone in the United States is entitled to eat food, drink water, occupy space, and breathe air. “People are given bootstraps for a reason,” Smith told NPR’s Scott Simon in an interview about federal budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration. “If we’re not willing to pull ourselves up by them, why do we have them? Why do we have these bootstraps?” “Not everyone is born with bootstraps,” Simon said. “We have people who are born into poverty who don’t get adequate nutrition, don’t have heat in the winter . . . .” “But they have bootstraps,” said Smith, “because God wants us to pull ourselves up by them. Government isn’t a shoe store for poor people.” More.
Exasperated by President Donald Trump’s repeated preference for Russian national interests over those of the United States, all 48 Democratic lawmakers in the Senate sponsored a bill, “The Put America First Again Act of 2017,” to require the President to look out for American interests. “We believe the President of the United States, among all Americans, should put American interests first,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the minority leader in the Senate, said in introducing the bill. “We think it’s the least he can do.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the bill a “desperate act of grandstanding” by the Democrats and said it has as much chance of getting brought up on the Senate floor as a health care bill that would make insurance better and cheaper for more Americans. More.
Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress say they’re flabbergasted they couldn’t pull out a win yesterday by passing a bill that no one wanted and that would make the lives of Americans worse. “Who would have thought that a bill that strips health insurance away from 24 million people, raises the premiums for everyone else, and allows insurance companies to pay for less care couldn’t generate enough votes to pass?” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last night after pulling the plug on his signature health care reform bill. Ryan said he’s stunned that his fellow Republicans didn’t want to commit political suicide by making the lives of their constituents worse by publicly voting “yea” for his bill, called the American Health Care Act. More.
McConnell: ‘Have to do it’Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress has little choice but to censure President Donald Trump for accusing his predecessor, without evidence, of conducting surveillance on him during the 2016 campaign. “There has never been a greater debasement of the presidency than what we have seen in the last two weeks,” said McConnell, who as recently as this weekend joined President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Louisville, Ky. “For one president to accuse another of what amounts to a criminal act, and to do so even though all of the country’s considerable intelligence resources are at his fingertips, is to perpetrate one of the greatest violations of our nation’s trust we have ever seen.” More.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former prosecutor who led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, says he is ready to “pull out all the stops” to learn whether laws were broken when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn held talks with Russia about lifting sanctions while Barack Obama was still president. “If the contacts were in fact about the lifting of sanctions, then that would be a clear violation of U.S. law and appropriate steps would have to be taken,” says Gowdy, who earned a reputation in Congress for his tough prosecutorial approach when he led the special committee on what Hillary Clinton knew and didn’t know about the raid on the U.S. embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens. More.
Saying war with China or any other country will require the combat leadership of a certain seven-year Navy veteran, Senate Democrats this morning introduced the “Stephen K. Bannon Combat Leadership Act of 2017.” Under the bill, Stephen K, Bannon, a top advisor to President Donald Trump and an acknowledged “lover of war,” will have to “lead troops into battle in the first, second, and third waves of attack against enemies of the United States in any theater of war of his devising.” The legislation names “the South China Sea” as a potential “theater of war” but also says other areas of the world would qualify as long as “the lives of U.S. troops are at stake as a result of war started by Stephen K. Bannon.” More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the decree by President Donald Trump to institute martial law in the United States “to protect Americans from foreign and domestic enemies” is an unfortunate necessity given the state of the world, but he took issue with the “hasty and sloppy” execution of the law. “Should the Administration have put out guidance earlier to minimize confusion? Yes, I think it could have,” Ryan said. “The order was clearly drafted in haste—I get that, given the threats we face from people who want to harm American liberty and freedom—but the people on the ground that must carry it out should have had detail instructions. The result was the confusion and unnecessary mistakes that characterized the rollout.” More.
After what they call eight years of failed American foreign policy by the Obama administration, House Republican leaders say it’s time to spin off the country’s diplomacy and statesmanship to the private sector. “The United States was built by our world-leading companies,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a press conference in the Capitol this morning. “The government doesn’t build Chevrolets. General Motors does. The country doesn’t make computers. Apple does. Today, it’s time to unleash our private sector on our foreign policy and do what our government has never been able to do: create peace and prosperity around the world.” Under the plan Ryan and other leaders unveiled, the heads of GM, AT&T, Citibank, and other multinational corporations would work with leaders of countries around the world to replace war with peace and confrontation with cooperation. More.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says he has asked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C) to start the process of impeaching Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton even though she hasn’t won the presidency yet because waiting could enable her to govern should she win more votes in November than her Republican rival Donald Trump. “I acknowledge it’s unprecedented to start impeaching a president before the president is elected, but we live in unprecedented times and we must act to protect the American people before a president commits an impeachable act that we know the president will commit,” says Ryan, who made his announcement at the Capitol this morning. More.
Disgraced former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert says he’s ashamed of his behavior decades ago, when he acted inappropriately with underage boys as their teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill. But he also defended himself, saying the Republican party has a long history of its members condemning people for marital infidelity and sexual “deviancy” while secretly engaging in the practices themselves. “Everyone knows the Republican party is full of closet homosexuals and serial marital cheaters even though it touts itself as the family-values party,” Hastert, 74, said after his admission in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. “I can show you a list as long as my arm of Republicans in Congress who lie about their sexual identity and cheat on their spouses while condemning others for doing the same.” More.
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday applauded U.S. wildlife officials for their decision not to set aside protected habitat areas for an endangered species of bats. “All of America’s wildlife are important, and we’re as worried about our bat population as anyone, but if we had to let one species go, it should probably be the bats,” Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chair of the committee, said yesterday. “While we hope the Department of Fish and Wildlife can work out a way to protect imperiled bats, if they can’t, we understand.” “Not all animals get protected habitat, it’s as simple as that,” said Jim Costa (D-Calif.), a senior member of the committee. More.
The judge picked to replace Antonin Scalia on the nation’s highest court, Merrick Garland, couldn’t make it more clear that President Obama is intentionally trying to change the country into something most Americans wouldn’t recognize, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday. “To come forward at this time with a distinguished judge who has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats for his professionalism and meticulous respect for the law exposes Obama for what he is,” said McConnell (R-Ky.). “There should no longer be any question that Obama intends to drive his agenda as far as he can in his remaining months in office, and we need to stop that before he leaves our country permanently changed.” More.
As a boy growing up in Alabama, Georgia, and then Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would occasionally go a week or two without getting beat up by other kids, a book released this week claims. “Not every week was ‘beat up Mitch McConnell week,’ Rex Doane says in Mitch McConnell: Little Snively Punching Bag (Knobe: 2016), “but most weeks were. McConnell usually had a cut lip, bent glasses, or bandaged nose, and on a typical weekend he could be found cowering under his kitchen table when one of his classmates walked by his front yard.” McConnell has come a long way since then, and Doane, in his detailed account, paints a portrait of a man’s journey from punching bag to the lawmaker who uses his position as leader of the United States Senate to block as much of the legislative agenda of President Barack Obama as he can.” More.