Category: Congress

Democrats Are Weak Across The Board In Washington

This article by Patrick Howley originally appeared in The American Spectator:

The Democratic Party’s political institutions are showing massive weakness, as the party seeks to move forward from its across-the-board loss in this month’s elections. Incoming Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is taking over as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), it was announced Friday. Van Hollen is a mere senator-elect, and his prior stint as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) was less than spectacular: He oversaw the stunning Democratic defeat at the hands of tea party voters in the 2010 midterms and resigned in failure.

Van Hollen has a tough gig to pull off.

Roll Call notes:

“Tough” is one word to describe what Senate Democrats face in 2018. The party will have 23 seats to defend, as well as two seats held by independents who caucus with the Democrats. By comparison, Republicans will only be defending eight seats.

Ten of the states where Democrats will be up for re-election were won by Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election, including Montana, represented by outgoing DSCC Chairman Jon Tester.

Van Hollen’s appointment comes on the heels of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s surprising announcement that he will run for chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which has been fraught with turmoil. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ouster as DNC chair during the party’s convention in Philadelphia — following WikiLeaks revelations that she colluded against Bernie Sanders in the primaries — led to the dysfunctional interim reign of Donna Brazile as DNC chief. Even before the shakeup, the DNC was at least temporarily insolvent and relying on the sugar-daddy kindness of John Podesta’s Hillary Clinton campaign in order to stay afloat.

Ellison is one of the most left-wing members of the House, and his ascendance signals the continuance of a damaging trend in Democratic politics. The exclusionary progressivism of Hillary Clinton’s campaign doomed it to failure. The campaign even ignored husband Bill’s advice to target white working-class voters, citing a demographic shift in the party that senior progressives thought would be enough to justify cutting blue-collar Midwesterners out of their coalition altogether. Bill, as he usually was on his own campaigns, was right. The Democrats appear to be doubling down on being wrong.

With Nancy Pelosi running for re-election as minority leader after yet another House loss, Democratic divisions are beginning to form. Some House Democrats are reportedly pushing to strip Pelosi of the power to appoint the new DCCC head and instead elect their new House political leader themselves in an open vote.

The structural damage to the Democratic machine has clearly been done, and the party seems incapable of realizing its own political mistakes. The influence of heavyweight progressive-movement donors continues to bind the party to its losing left-wing identity. While Bernie Sanders’ small-donor movement presented an opportunity for the party to grow and change, his downfall at the hands of Wasserman Schultz is causing those donors to repudiate the party of Obama and Clinton.

The Republicans have a tremendous opportunity to knock out the Democratic political operation in long-reaching ways over the next two years. The GOP should seize the opportunity. Despite its big Trump-driven win, those demographic shifts the progressives talk about are definitely real and will keep the Democrats in long-term contention.

Feckless Republican leadership helped to create the disenchantment that led to Trump’s populist win in the primaries. Feckless Republican leadership at a time like this — when so much opportunity exists for GOP exploitation — will only cause the party of Lincoln to miss yet another YUGE opportunity for gain.



Chuck Schumer Bends The Truth On Carried-Interest Tax Loophole

The Trump administration is signaling its commitment to close the carried-interest tax loophole as part of his effort to “Drain the Swamp” in Washington, D.C.

The carried-interest tax loophole allows hedge fund managers to pay taxes on their personal fund profits at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. Advocates on both sides of the aisle have called for hedge fund managers to pay a higher rate on those earnings.

Since the election, the President-elect and his tax adviser Steve Moore have been steadfast in their pursuit of closing the loophole.

“The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country,” President-elect Trump said on the campaign trail. “These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky. The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder.”

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer identified the carried-interest loophole as a point of potential cooperation between Trump and Senate Democrats.

Schumer said, “Surprisingly, on certain issues, candidate Trump voiced very progressive and populist opinions. For instance, getting rid of the carried interest loophole, changing our trade laws dramatically, a large infrastructure bill.”

“I hope on the promises he’s made to blue collar America on trade, on carried interest, on infrastructure, that he’ll stick with them and work with us, even if it means breaking with the Republicans who have always opposed these things,” Schumer said.

But Schumer is bending the truth. Republicans weren’t the ones who singlehandedly rescued the carried-interest loophole the last time it had a real chance to be destroyed. Schumer was. Schumer is one of the loophole’s biggest longtime defenders.

Schumer privately told hedge fund managers that he was going to block the capital gains tax hike when his own party tried to get it done back in 2007. At the time, the hedge fund industry was bankrolling Schumer’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to the tune of $1 million a month.

Here is the New York Times from July 30, 2007:

In June, senior House Democrats separately proposed raising the tax rate on the investment gains of fund managers — known as “carried interest” — to the ordinary income tax rate of as much as 35 percent, from the capital gains rate of 15 percent.

If adopted, the House proposal would more than double the tax rate for most of the compensation received by the partners at private equity and hedge funds and would raise billions of dollars annually in tax revenue.

Mr. Schumer discounted any suggestion that the campaign contributions from the industry had influenced his thinking, and said he had heard from industry executives who supported some of the proposals to raise their taxes. But interviews with people in and outside the industry indicate that there is overwhelming opposition to the measures and that any support from within the industry ranks is token.

Dems Plot To Attack Tom Price In Confirmation Battle

Democrats on Capitol Hill are already gearing up to fight on Trump’s pick of Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Georgia congressman became a Republican star during the Obamacare battles. Now he will be America’s man in Washington making sure that Obamacare gets repealed and replaced.

But Democrats crafted a talking point in secret meetings that they plan to use against Price in his Senate confirmation battle: “Tom Price Wants To Privatize Medicare.”

That talking point showed up in the Washington magazine The Nation in an article entitled “Donald Trump Is Coming For Your Medicare.”  The article compared Price and Speaker Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans.

Expect Democrats to lead with this talking point in Price’s confirmation battle, which is extremely important to the cause of repealing Obamacare.

When the Trump administration goes to battle against Democrats in January on the Obamacare issue — and on Price’s confirmation hearings — Price will be able to explain himself pretty well on the issues.





Eric Cantor Rumored To Be Planning Senate Run

Establishment Republican Eric Cantor appears to be plotting a political comeback in the 2018 Virginia Senate race.

The former House majority leader garnered ink coming out of the Virginia state party’s annual Richmond meeting.

The Washington Post reports:

“[T]he more interesting news — or, more accurate, rumor — is that former House majority leader Eric Cantor may be assembling a team to make a run at the party’s 2018 Senate nomination.”

Cantor lost his House seat in a 2014 primary to current Congressman Dave Brat, an economics professor whose win helped lay the intellectual groundwork for populist nationalism’s ascendance in the Republican Party.

Voters sent Cantor a clear message that his pro-establishment policies — including his refusal to stop the plague of mass illegal-alien amnesty in the United States — would no longer be tolerated in a changing Republican Party.

The news of Cantor’s possible comeback isn’t too concerning. After all, other Virginia politicians will get their own chance to take swipes at Cantor as the early process of the Virginia Senate race moves along.

How about Dave Brat?