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Tag: elise stefanik

McCarthy Weirdly Parrots QAnon Rhetoric: ’The Storm Is Coming’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

"The storm" is a term that the far-right conspiracy theorists of QAnon are fond of using, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy used that term during a July 29 press conference when he was criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's support of a mask mandate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The mandate came from Capitol Physician Brian Monahan, and Pelosi has said that she will "honor it." But McCarthy, obviously pandering to anti-masker extremists and coronavirus deniers in the MAGA movement, is vehemently opposed to the mandate. Monahan is calling for the House mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 surge that has been attacking the United States, especially in red states with low vaccination rates.

McCarthy, during his July 29 speech, was standing near Rep. Elise Stefanik — who chairs the House Republican Conference — when he said, "If you are vaccinated and you get the variant, there's .003 percent you'd go to the hospital. There's a greater chance you'd get hit by lighting. For some reason, Pelosi thinks the storm is coming."

The fact that McCarthy used a QAnon term was not lost on Vox's Aaron Rupar, who tweeted:

Pelosi expressed her frustration with McCarthy's anti-masker views when, on July 28, she told reporters, "He's such a moron."

House Republicans Explode As Capitol Police Enforce Masking Rules

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republicans vehemently criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after Capitol Police officials announced they would begin enforcing COVID-19 safety rules once again.

"In today's edition of Pelosi's abuse of power, Capitol Police have been directed to arrest staff and visitors to comply with her mask mandate for vaccinated individuals," Florida Rep. Kat Cammack tweeted.

"To be clear: Pelosi is directing police to ARREST vaccinated people who aren't wearing masks," added House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. "This isn't about science—it's about power and control."

Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik claimed in a separate tweet that Pelosi was an "authoritarian" for reissuing the mask directive, while Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs called it "insanity."

"Threatening arrest for not wearing a mask is unlawful and tyrannical!" he wrote.

Other Republican lawmakers dared the House Speaker to punish them for not complying.

"Nancy Pelosi has lost her damn mind, arresting staff and visitors for not wearing masks? This is the People's House, not her House," tweeted Florida Rep. Byron Donalds. "Let me make it easy for you, Speaker Pelosi, my office, and my visitors won't comply — have an issue with that? Come see me."

The barrage of complaints came after the Capitol Police issued a memo citing the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance urging vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in public indoor settings to curb the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, and a decision by Congress' attending physician to require mask use in the federal building.

The CDC made its determination based on new evidence that some fully vaccinated people may still contract and spread the Delta variant.

House rules, adopted by the majority of its members in accordance with the Constitution, already require face mask use in the chamber. That rule had been eased prior to the latest public health data for vaccinated members, but was tightened again after two GOP lawmakers announced they had contracted COVID-19 in the past two weeks (one had been fully vaccinated, the other had previously had the disease).

The Capitol Police memo stated that any "visitor or staff member" found not wearing a mask would be "denied entry to the House." If an unmasked individual continued trying to circumvent the rule, it read, they could be "subject to an arrest."

Many of the Republicans lashing out on Thursday have made efforts in the past to frame themselves as defenders of "law and order."

In a July 1 tweet, Stefanik branded herself "the North Country's Law & Order Candidate."

And in February, Biggs claimed only Republicans could be considered "the party of the Constitution, law and order, freedom, and smaller government."

On Wednesday, Republicans spent more than an hour of House time making repeated failed motions to adjourn the work day, in protest of the mask requirements. During a floor speech, Texas Rep. Chip Roy suggested that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down" over the reintroduced safety measures.

On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said that she had directed staff to work from home over the requirements, tweeting, "No one should be arrested over a mask. We should follow the science not Speaker Pelosi."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

As Job Growth Doubles, Republicans Insist Biden ‘Failed’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republicans spent Friday morning attacking President Joe Biden over the latest jobs numbers, suggesting the figures, which were slightly lower than predicted, constituted a failure.

The U.S. economy in fact added 559,000 jobs in May — more than double the number added the month before. The improving employment data comes as new unemployment claims have dropped to new pandemic lows in recent weeks, in the wake of Biden's American Rescue Plan and a successful COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Though the new job totals were slightly below the economists' predictions of around 650,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent — better than those same economists' 5.9 percent expectation.

House Republicans tried to spin this progress as a great disappointment.

"Economy falls short of expectations with 559,000 jobs added in May," the official House Republican twitter account complained.

"As we emerge from the virus, our economy should be booming, but today's lackluster jobs report shows President Biden's policies have stalled our recovery," wrote House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "Bidenomics is bad for America."

"Yet again, President Biden's jobs report misses the mark - further proof that the Democrats' socialist economic agenda DOES NOT WORK," Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the House Republican Conference chair, tweeted.

"Joe Biden's economy misses again," tweeted Colorado Rep. Ken Buck. "This is what happens when you disincentivize work."

"The May jobs report missed the mark by 100k jobs. Enough is enough," saidRep. Barry Moore of Alabama. "It's time for Biden to stop incentivizing unemployment and get Americans back to work."

Without evidence, Republicans blamed disappointing April jobs numbers — added employment of just 266,000 — on the $300-a-week emergency unemployment insurance payments provided under Biden's American Rescue Plan, suggesting they were somehow encouraging workers to stay home.

But William Spriggs, the AFL-CIO's chief economist, noted that was not actually happening. "Labor force flow data show we are in a steady pattern of unemployed workers being able to land jobs. The early exits last Spring reflected the large share of temporary layoffs," he wrote. "The flat trend shows there is nothing related to UI benefit supplement changes."

After strong job growth under President Barack Obama, Donald Trump saw a net loss of about 3 million jobs during his term — the worst numbers since Herbert Hoover. While Trump presided over job growth prior to the coronavirus and its resulting economic shutdown, even his best month pre-pandemic was just 378,000 new jobs (in February 2018).

Biden has already regained a substantial number of the jobs Trump lost: more than 2.1 million in just four months.

He has also proposed an American Jobs Plan which would create and sustain millions more jobs over the next decade. Republicans have objected to it, instead offering just a small fraction of the new investments in infrastructure Biden requested.

Despite sustained GOP attempts to label Biden a failure, the American public is simply not buying it. A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released last Monday, found that 62 percent approve of his job performance and the same number approve of his handling of the economy.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Congressional Republicans Frustrated As Biden Rides Strong Approval Ratings

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to claim that President Joe Biden is already a failure, just a few months into his presidency. But a new poll shows the American public is not buying it.

"It took less than 5 months for President Biden and Speaker Pelosi's Socialist Democratic Agenda to fail," New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the new chair of the House Republican Conference, tweeted on Tuesday. "Unemployment is up, inflation is rising, & our economy is crippled by unnecessary spending."

Unemployment is actually down since Donald Trump left office in January and the economy is growing.

But that has not stopped numerous Republicans from making similar attacks on Biden.

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff tweeted Thursday that Biden's "policies are failing the American people. We need a President who will open up our economy and get people back to work."

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Friday — incorrectly — that "Biden is failing so fast that his own voters are ready to vote for Trump in '24," apparently unaware of Biden's strong approval ratings.

Some GOP lawmakers have specifically singled out his immigration policies for ridicule.

"The border policies of the Biden Administration are a complete failure and are leading to a massive increase in illegal immigration – with no end in sight," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina charged on May 11.

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn on May 6 claimed a drop in deportations was "a failure of leadership."

Others have attacked Biden's handling of jobs and the economy.

"The Dems' 'COVID' recovery plan to pay people MORE on unemployment assistance than they made in their previous job is killing small businesses," wrote Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas on April 26. "This socialist policy was doomed to fail."

"In just four months, Biden has created four crises," claimed Alabama Rep. Barry Moore, citing the "Biden Border Crisis, Economic Crisis, Energy Crisis, National Security Crisis," as alleged examples. "This administration is failing the American people."

But the repetition of the claim does not appear to have swayed the public.

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released Monday, found 62 percent job approval for Biden.

His handling of immigration (53 percent approval), the economy (62 percent), stimulating jobs (62 percent) and curbing the pandemic (70 percent) also enjoy broad approval.

This comes as unemployment claims have dropped to pandemic lows and most American adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Still, despite the strong public support for Biden, Republicans are fighting against his agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on May 5 that ""One-hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration."

And Republicans reportedly are pulling back from infrastructure talks, upset that Biden wants to spend $1.5 trillion more than they do. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told Politico on Tuesday that Republicans won't come up to "anywhere near the number the White House has proposed" for the American Jobs Plan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Suddenly, House Republicans Are Upset By Greene’s Anti-Semitic Remarks

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Several House Republicans are distancing themselves from comments by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) comparing COVID-19 prevention efforts to the Holocaust. But faced with her long record of antisemitic and racist comments last February, the same lawmakers voted against stripping Greene of her committee assignments.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that his caucus did not stand with Greene's latest rantings: "Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language."

McCarthy was referring to a series of comments by the first-term representative opposing mandatory vaccination and wearing masks, which she said, "create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable."

She likened this to Nazis forcing Jewish people to wear gold stars and then putting them into gas chambers.

"I agree with @GOPLeader," responded Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson. "There is no comparison to the Holocaust & we must stand firmly against anti-Semitism in any form."

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the new House Republican Conference chair, tweeted that "Equating mask wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust belittles the most significant human atrocities ever committed. We must all work together to educate our fellow Americans on the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust."

"I am no fan of mask mandates, but comparing them to the Holocaust is over the top & out of line," wrote Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler. "I stand with our Jewish brothers & sisters & condemn these disgraceful comments."

"Any comparisons to the suffering and torture that so many endured are misguided, insulting, and minimizes the atrocity of the Holocaust," said Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

"Mask mandates are not even remotely comparable to the discrimination and persecution Jews faced during the Holocaust and to insinuate the two are similar is disgraceful," said Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina. "Given the rise of antisemitism around the world today, I find this comparison even more appalling."

"Comparing mask-wearing to the horrors of the Holocaust is unconscionable. Such bombastic rhetoric crosses the line of political discourse, adds to the recent uptick of anti-Semitism across the world and must be condemned," wrote Ohio Rep. Troy Balderson.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas said Greene's comments were "stupid and insulting to Holocaust survivors," urging her to "Just stop. Members of Congress should think before they speak."

"I never ever compare anything to the Holocaust, unless it is the Holocaust," noted Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee.

In a CNN interview on Sunday, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan said "any comparisons to the Holocaust, it's beyond reprehensible" and that her "hyperbolic speech" fuels antisemitism.

But while the GOP caucus may now be outraged, 199 of its members — including every one of those ten — voted against holding her accountable for a long history of other antisemitic, Islamophobic, and racist behavior.

Prior to her 2020 election to Congress, Greene professed that Muslim Americans "do not belong in our government," that Black people are "lazy" and make "bad choices," that a prominent Jewish banking family caused deadly California wildfires with secret space lasers, and that "the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males." She also shared an anti-Muslim video on social media that claimed that Jews were trying to destroy Europe via "immigration and miscegenation."

On Feb. 4, her colleagues voted to take away Greene's committee assignments as a punishment for conduct that did not "reflect creditably on the House." But just 11 Republicans joined 219 Democrats in voting for that resolution.

McCarthy and the GOP leadership defended her at the time, taking no action on their own and standing by Greene. In November, he demanded Americans give her an "opportunity" to serve before judging her.

Greene offered a pseudo-apology on Tuesday, somehow blaming Democrats for her problems.

"I'm sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about. And they are America last in every single way," she tweeted.

McCarthy and his caucus might soon get another chance to punish Greene. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) said Tuesday he is drafting a resolution to censure her for her actions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Stefanik’s First Leadership Speech ‘Wildly Inaccurate’ On Jobs

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Trump acolyte, was just elected to replace booted House Republican Caucus Chair Liz Cheney. In her first speech minutes after securing her new leadership position Stefanik delivered a "wildly inaccurate" claim, CNN reported.

"We see the worst jobs report in over 20 years," Stefanik said.

"I just want to note something also that was just wildly inaccurate," CNN's Poppy Harlow said on-air after the speech. Stefanik was "talking about the economy, blasting this economy, saying we just got 'the worst jobs report in 20 years.' That is not true, not even close to true, we'll keep monitoring this we'll be right back."

One year ago America, under Stefanik's top supporter, President Donald Trump, America did see "the worst jobs report in U.S. history."

Listen to Stefanik's speech:

McCarthy: Nobody Is ‘Questioning The Legitimacy’ Of The 2020 Election

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday that no one is "questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," even as multiple members of his own party, including Donald Trump, continue to do exactly that.

"I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," McCarthy said at a news conference outside the White House, where he met with President Joe Biden on Wednesday. "That's all over with. We are sitting here with the president today."

McCarthy made the comment just hours after Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her House leadership role for her outspoken criticism of Donald Trump and his lies of a stolen election.

Cheney accused members of her own party of going down an authoritarian path by not calling out voter fraud lies, saying in a Tuesday night speech that Republicans need to "speak the truth. Our election was not stolen. And America has not failed."

House Republicans are likely to replace Cheney with is Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who is still calling Trump "the president."

On January 6, the day of the Capitol insurrection, Stefanik lied about voter fraud, falsely claiming in an "open letter" to her constituents that "more than 140,000 votes came from underage, deceased, and otherwise unauthorized voters — in Fulton County alone."

It's a lie Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said was outrageous.

"The suggestion that one-fourth of all ballots cast in Fulton County in November were illegal is ludicrous," Raffensperger told CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale.

What's more, McCarthy's claim that no one is questioning the outcome of the race came two days after Trump himself issued yet another lie-filled post on his new blog claiming there was widespread fraud in the election and that he, not Biden, won.

McCarthy himself has worked to raise doubts about the election outcome.

On November 6, one day before the race was called for Biden, McCarthy said in a Fox News appearance that "President Trump won this election, so everyone who's listening, do not be quiet. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes."

McCarthy also backed a since-failed lawsuit from the Texas Attorney General that sought to invalidate the votes in states Biden won. And he later was one of the 147 members of Congress to vote to block certification of Joe Biden's win — based off lies of fraud and irregularities in the election.

Ultimately, the consistent lies from Trump and the GOP about a stolen election have led Republican voters to believe Biden's win was illegitimate.

An Economist/YouGov poll from the end of April found 74 percent of Republican voters don't believe Biden legitimately won the election.

It's something Cheney said in her Tuesday speech she is afraid of.

"I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former President's crusade to undermine our democracy," Cheney said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Real Steal Is Coming — In 2024

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength. — George Orwell, "1984"

Welcome to the funhouse world the Republican Party is building. Up is down. Black is white. Lies are truth.

The great cause that Republicans are uniting around is "election integrity." That's rich. The reality is that somebody did attempt to steal the 2020 election — Donald Trump. During the days and weeks following his loss, he brayed endlessly that the outcome was fraudulent, laying the groundwork for an attempt to overturn the voters' will.

From the White House, he made multiple calls to local election officials demanding that they find votes for him. He dialed up members of local canvassing boards, encouraging them to decertify results.

At a time when Trump's toadies were calling for legislatures to ignore the popular vote and submit alternate slates of electoral college votes, he engaged in flagrant election interference by inviting seven Michigan state legislators, including the leaders of the house and senate, to the White House on November 20. What did they discuss? You can surmise from their statement issued after the meeting: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and, as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors..."

Trump phoned a Georgia elections investigator who was conducting a signature audit in Cobb County and asked her to find the "dishonesty." If she did, he promised, "you'll be praised. ... You have the most important job in the country right now."

The then-president phoned Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger 18 times. When he finally got through, he wove a tangled theory of voting irregularities that crescendoed to a naked plea to falsify Georgia's vote: "So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes."

Trump entertained ideas such as declaring martial law, seizing the nation's voting machines and letting the military "rerun" the election. He turned loose his Kraken-conspiracy nuts and his pillow man to spread lies about Dominion Voting Systems, Black-run cities like Philadelphia and Chinese bamboo ballots.

The Trump campaign and its allies filed more than 60 lawsuits challenging election procedures and lost all but one. Pennsylvania was found to have erred in extending the period to fix errors on mail-in ballots. The case was a matter of three days and a small number of votes that would not have changed Pennsylvania's outcome.

And then came the ultimate attack on election integrity — the violent attack on the Capitol and on members of Congress and the vice president as they were fulfilling their constitutional duties.

Leaving no doubt about his intentions for the riot, Trump told a crowd in February that the only thing that prevented the violent mob from successfully hijacking the official tally of the Electoral College votes was the "cowardice" of Mike Pence.

Today, we stand on the precipice of the House Republican conference ratifying this attempt to subvert American democracy. They are poised to punish Liz Cheney for saying this simple truth: "The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system." In her place, they will elevate Iago in heels, Elise Stefanik, whose claim to leadership consists entirely of her operatic Trump followership.

Let's be clear: The substitution of Stefanik for Cheney is a tocsin, signaling that the Republican Party will no longer be bound by law or custom. In 2020, many Republican officeholders, including the otherwise invertebrate Pence, held the line. They did not submit false slates of electors. They did not decertify votes. They did not "find" phantom fraud. But the party has been schooled since then. It has learned that the base — which is deluded by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin — believes the lies and demands that Republicans fight. As my colleague Amanda Carpenter put it, the 2024 mantra is going to be "Steal It Back."

If Cheney must be axed because she will not lie, then what will happen if Republicans take control of Congress in 2022 and are called upon to certify the Electoral College in 2024? How many Raffenspergers will there be? How many will insist, as Pence did, that they must do what the Constitution demands? How many will preserve any semblance of the rule of law and the primacy of truth?

With this sabotage of Cheney, House Republicans are figuratively joining the January 6 mob.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense." To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.