Overwhelming Support for Anti-LGBT Discrimination
The Republican National Committee’s platform committee on Monday passed a wide swath of anti-LGBT amendments that were even more extreme than many of their own members had anticipated. Among them was a vote for an amendment calling for the First Amendment Defense Act to become law. FADA, as the bill in Congress is called, coincidentallyÂ is the subject of a hearing by the powerful House Oversight committee Tuesday morning at 10 AM.
The Amendment was easily passed by the GOP platform committee. AÂ Family Research Council vice president tweeted the news:
â€” JP Duffy (@JPDuffy) July 11, 2016
The legislation is a so-called “religious freedom” bill that would give any person, along with most companies and corporations the right to discriminate against LGBT people, especially same-sex couples, if they say the have a deeply-held religious belief against LGBT people.Â
Drafted in response to the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage ruling, theÂ First Amendment Defense Act would also gut protections LGBT people and same-sex couples have. It would allow employers to deny spousal and parental rights, including those given under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. It would allow non-profits and even government contractors the right to discriminate against anyone who is LGBT, if not doing so would violateÂ their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Along with passing the amendment calling for FADA to become law, the GOP platform committee passed aÂ plank that effectively says children raised in a “traditional” family are better off than children raised by same-sex parents or single parents.
SubcommitteesÂ voted for amendmentsÂ that call for to the Bible being taught in schools and voted for transgender people to use the restroom of the gender they were assigned at birth. The full platform committee voted toÂ keep a call for a ban on same-sex marriageÂ in their 2016 national platform, and voted toÂ supportÂ anti-LGBT conversion therapy.Â They also voted toÂ defineÂ marriageÂ the union of one man and one woman, only.Â
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McCarthy Now Blaming Likely Shutdown on Fentanyl, President Biden, and His Own House Republicans
Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a raucous gaggle with reporters Tuesday afternoon blamed the increasingly likely shutdown of the federal government on fentanyl, President Joe Biden, and his own House Republicans.
Political experts have said the Republican Speaker could avoid a government shutdown, which will happen at midnight on Friday if legislation is not passed, by making a deal with Democrats and a small number of House Republicans. Doing so would likely cost him his job.
Asked on Tuesday by CNN’s Manu Raju, “Are you ruling out a clean CR without any border security?” McCarthy immediately launched in to a diatribe.
“You know what’s so concerning here? What do you tell to the families that tomorrow morning are gonna wake up and their child’s dead? Because fentanyl came across?” he asked the CNN reporter (video below). “What do you tell to that border agent that you saw the other day? Now his network doesn’t believe it but he’s all in blood. Or the cartels, the billions of dollars that they’re making. Or to the young girls that get raped?”
Another reporter, seemingly frustrated, interjected and asked, “But what do you tell the workers who are concerned they’re gonna get furloughed next week because there is no agreement in your chamber, sir?”
“Well, I know. It’s easy,” McCarthy claimed. “All the President has to do is say, ‘You know what, as one of my fundamental jobs as the President of the United States is to secure our border.'”
Another reporter, ignoring the Speaker’s apparent obfuscation, loudly asked, “Speaker McCarthy if we see the rule votes fail later today, is it possible to even move on to a CR [continuing resolution] for you?”
“Oh, yeah, I never give up,” McCarthy said smiling.
“I know that,” she replied, “but do you think you have the votes?”
Again, not delivering a straight answer, McCarthy smiled and replied, “Oh, I’ve got a lot of things I can try.”
CNN’s Raju reported that McCarthy, when asked about the “math,” meaning if he has the votes to keep the government open, said: “What’s concerning to me is that there are people in the Republican Party who will take the position of President Biden against what the rest of Americans want.”
That could suggest some Republicans have indicated they would vote with Democrats on a bill to keep the government from shutting down.
Raju also reported he asked “Speaker McCarthy if he believes he could survive a vote to oust him from the speakership, as [Rep. Matt] Gaetz has threatened, and he said: ‘I don’t count that vote.'”
NPR’s Joel Rose has reported, “Close to 90% of … fentanyl is seized at ports of entry. Immigration authorities say it is smuggled mostly by U.S. citizens, as well as other travelers who are legally authorized to cross. Virtually none is seized from migrants who are seeking asylum.”
On Monday The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote: “The U.S. government will almost certainly shut down on Oct. 1, the work of ultraconservative holdouts who want to ‘burn the whole place down,’ as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put it. Yet, for now, Mr. McCarthy does not appear willing to take away the matches. He could sideline the objectors by calling House Democrats and agreeing to pass bipartisan legislation to fund the government.”
Watch McCarthy below or at this link.
When asked if he has the votes for a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown if the House rules vote fails, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says, “I’ve got a lot of things I can try.” pic.twitter.com/byzQP5XUCc
— The Recount (@therecount) September 26, 2023
House GOP Shutdown Demands Include Gutting Billions From Dept. of Education, Costing Over 200,000 Teachers Their Jobs
As House Republicans move closer to shutting down the federal government at midnight on Friday the details of their spending cut demands are becoming clearer, including their largest single target: the U.S. Department of Education, and specifically, a program that funds schools for low-income children.
As Semafor’s Jordan Weissmann explains, “Republican hardliners are pushing the government toward a shutdown so that they can force frontline members of their party to take a symbolic vote in favor of cutting federal funding for low-income public schools by 80%.”
Calling Tuesday “a big test for House Republicans,” The Washington Post reports the House “will vote on a procedural motion — a rule — to advance four of the 11 remaining individual spending bills the House hasn’t passed. If the vote fails, the chamber’s Republicans will seem even more unable to govern.”
“The vote is a last-minute play to appease a small group of hard-line Republicans and demonstrate that the party is working to enact deep, year-long spending cuts — but it will do nothing to prevent a government shutdown on Sunday,” The Post warns. “The only viable way to prevent a shutdown — which now seems likely — is to pass a continuing resolution, or CR.”
House Republicans want to cut spending “by $58 billion more than the amount to which President Biden and McCarthy agreed in May when they struck a deal to raise the debt limit, according to an analysis by Bobby Kogan and Jean Ross of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.”
About one-quarter of that $58 billion, if Republicans get their way, would come from the Dept. of Education, which has long been a target of the GOP. Many Republicans in recent years have called to get rid of the agency entirely.
“Removing the agency that protects students’ civil rights and distributes federal education funds has received an increasing amount of Republican support in recent years, including from Donald Trump,” The American Independent reported in March, when 161 House Republicans voted in support of eliminating the Department of Education.
Now, House Republicans want to cut “a single program that provides funding for low-income schools, known as Title I education grants,” The Post adds, gutting it “by nearly 80 percent, saving $14.7 billion.”
“Democrats have warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts could cost up to 224,000 teachers their jobs, and teachers unions have mobilized to lobby against them,” The Post notes.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona posted a map detailing how many teachers could lose their jobs under House Republicans’ proposal.
Extreme House Republicans are threatening to shut down the government unless they can cut education programs that support 26 million students by 80%.
Here’s what this means for your state ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zhfmYPPYqa
— Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) September 22, 2023
See the Secretary’s post above or at this link.
Menendez Quickly Losing Support as Flood of Democratic Senators Call on Him to Resign ‘For the Good of Our Country’
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include Senator Booker, the latest Democrat to call on Sen. Melendez to resign, and to update the tally.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is losing support as more of his Senate Democratic colleagues formally call on him to resign after he was indicted again, this time on federal bribery charges that included allegations of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gold bars.
As of Tuesday morning, at least ten Democratic U.S. Senators have now called on the twice-indicted senior Democratic Senator from New Jersey to resign, as they cite the gravity of the charges against him.
U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) was the first to call on Menendez to resign, on Monday. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT) followed later that day.
On Tuesday morning, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Tester (D-MT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) all called on Sen. Menendez to resign. by 11 AM, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also called for him to resign.
Minutes later, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Senator Menendez’s Democratic New Jersey colleague, also called for him to resign. The New York Times reported Sen. Booker’s decision “to condemn Senator Robert Menendez underscores the deepening crisis Mr. Menendez faces after his indictment.”
According to the Dept. of Justice, Sen. Menendez, along with his wife Nadine Menendez, not only are alleged to have received bribes, he is charged with doing so in a scheme “to use his official position to protect and enrich” those he allegedly accepted funds from, and “to benefit the Government of Egypt.”
“Among other things,” the DOJ alleged, Senator Menendez “agreed and sought to pressure a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to protect a business monopoly granted to” a New Jersey businessman “by Egypt, disrupt a criminal case undertaken by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office related to associates of” another New Jersey businessman, “and disrupt a federal criminal prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey against” a third New Jersey businessman.
Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman on Sunday called Sen. Menendez “a walking national security threat.”
“Imagine US official charged with selling US secrets, embassy security, US defense policy – and showing up for work the next day,” he added.
“From a purely legal perspective, Menendez appears to be a dead man walking,” Goodman continued. “The kind of forensic and documentary evidence in the Indictment is exceptionally strong for these types of cases. It looks inevitable that he will be going to prison.”
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