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Rep. Cheney Blasts GOP Members For ‘False Statements’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is publicly criticizing more than a dozen members of her own caucus who skipped work last week and lied about it. The GOP Congress members claimed in official filings that they were absent due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they actually were attending a right-wing political convention.

"No member should be filing false statements," the Wyoming representative told CNN on Friday. "When you get into a situation where members are signing letters, no matter if they're Republicans or Democrats, saying that they can't be here in person because of the public health emergency and then going someplace else, I think that raises very serious questions and I think it's an issue that has got to be addressed."

Thirteen House Republicans took advantage last Friday of proxy voting rules — designed to let members work from home to curb the spread of the pandemic — to attend the CPAC conferencein Orlando, Florida.

Reps. Jim Banks (IN), Lauren Boebert (CO), Ted Budd (NC), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Mark Green (TN), Darrell Issa (CA), Ronny Jackson (TX), Mike Kelly (PA), Ralph Norman (SC), Devin Nunes (CA), and Greg Steube (FL) each filed a letter last week with the House clerk certifying that they were "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House Chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency."

Each designated a colleague to serve as their proxy, skipping Friday's lengthy debate on whether to pass the American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.

According to CNN, each also attended the Orlando conference.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) told the network on Friday that he had hoped to take a vacation in Tucson, Arizona, and considered using the proxy voting system, but felt that it would be dishonest to do so. "Trust me I was tempted, but I didn't think it would be right because I knew in the end I would have to answer was it COVID related? No, it's not."

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) also questioned whether it was a legitimate use of the rule. After learning that Gosar would be skipping votes for CPAC, she told CNN she urged him to "find someone else to carry your proxy," explaining, "I was not going to vote anyone's proxy who was traveling for other reasons and not to come vote."

Last year, House Democrats adopted the temporary proxy voting system — over the fervent opposition of the Republican minority — after several members tested positive for the coronavirus.

At the time, the House Republican caucus filed a lawsuit to stop the proxy voting system, arguing that it was unconstitutional. The majority of GOP members signed on as named plaintiffs.

Since the start of this year, all but 21 of the plaintiffs have withdrawn their names from the suit. Several of the lawmakers who previously signed on as plaintiffs have since taken advantage of the proxy rules themselves — either when they themselves were absent or to cast votes on behalf of absent colleagues.

Cheney's position as the No. 3 House Republican has been on tenuous ground since she voted to impeach Donald Trump in January. She survived an attempt to remove her from the leadership post on Feb. 3, but has since faced more criticism inside the GOP for her comment that Trump has no "role in the future of the party or the country."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

House GOP Fights Pandemic Relief But Demands Big Hike In Military Spending

The top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are demanding a massive increase in the defense budget for 2022 — days after voting against pandemic relief.

In a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday, the committee's top Republican — Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama — and the ranking members of all seven subcommittees demanded a three to five percent increase in Pentagon spending.

The government already spent $741 billion on defense in Fiscal Year 2021.

The legislators asked Biden "to reject demands from many on the left to cut or freeze defense spending at current levels." Instead, they asked that he "continue the progress made under the Trump administration to rebuild our military by requesting a 3 to 5 percent increase over the inflation adjusted FY21 enacted level."

The letter was signed Rogers and Reps. Michael Turner (OH), Doug Lamborn (CO), Rob Wittman (VA), Vicki Hartzler (MO), Elise Stefanik (NY), Trent Kelly (MS), and Jim Banks (IN).

Every one of the eight voted on Saturday against Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Hartzler explained her opposition as being based on fiscal responsibility. "By pushing this bill through Congress in the name of 'relief,' we are recklessly gambling with our future while expanding our national deficit by trillions," she said, adding "now is not the time to go further in debt by passing wish-list pork for the Speaker disguised as 'COVID relief.'"

Banks objected to the bill as well on those grounds as well, predicting that every American's "share of the national debt would rise by $6,000" and average wages would decline.

With a record debt of more than $28 trillion and an estimated 2020 deficit of over $3 trillion — plus an ongoing pandemic — progressives are urging cuts to the defense budget.

Though all eight Republicans have long been backers of military spending, they have also attempted to present themselves as deficit hawks, committed to balancing the budget and reigning in the growing national debt.

A spokesperson for Banks said in an email that he has proposed a five-year balanced budget plan, which would include enough in offsets to cover this increase. Spokespeople for the other lawmakers did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

But Wittman is a co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget and wrote in 2019 that "The longer we fail to address our nation's spending problem, the harder it becomes to solve the problem of our country's crippling debt."

Rogers said in 2011: "This debt will be more than just a heavy burden we will place on the backs of our children and grandchildren."

Hartzler called in 2016 for "a budget that balances, puts Americans' priorities first, and truly addresses the enormous debt racked up after years of failed top-down policies from [the Obama] administration."

Banks said in 2019: "Our exploding federal debt is one of the gravest national security threats facing our Nation and has the potential to significantly harm future generations of Americans."

Just last month, Kelly urged "we must do everything in our power to eliminate wasteful spending and seek ways to reduce the national debt," adding that as a member of the Budget Committee, he looked forward "to implementing fiscally conservative solutions to government spending."

And Lamborn, Stefanik, and Turner each have sections on their official website issue pages about their commitment to deficit and debt reduction.

In 2017, seven of the eight also voted for Donald Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which slashed tax rates for corporations and billionaires while adding about $1.9 trillion to the deficit over ten years.

Stefanik opposed it because it reduced a state and local tax deduction, impacting New Yorkers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Even Republicans Are Growing Frustrated With Rep. Greene’s Pointless Antics

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) attempted again on Wednesday to send the entire House of Representatives home without legislating. But unlike the two times she tried the legislative maneuver last week, she now appears to have ticked off a number of her GOP colleagues.

At about 9:30 in the morning — before the House could complete consideration of the For the People Act of 2021, a package of voting and election reforms, or the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 — Greene made a motion to adjourn the House for the day.

The first-term representative said this was "in objection to the Democrats' radical agenda" and done "to let them think about the consequences of their actions."

The roll call vote on her unsuccessful motion wasted about an hour, disrupting the day's deliberations and committee hearings.

Last week, she used the same delay tactic twice to try to adjourn the House during consideration of LGBTQ rights legislation. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) scolded her at the time for "trying to get out of work early." Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) noted that Greene's tactics had impeded a Committee on Foreign Relations markup session and a classified briefing.

House GOP leaders encouraged their members to vote with Greene on Wednesday, according to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

But unlike last week, when every House Republican backed her firstmotion to adjourn and all but two voted for her second, 18 Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus to defeat her motion on Wednesday. Those GOP dissenters included Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the embattled House Republican Conference chair.

And based on Greene's angry tweets, a number of GOP members complained to her about disrupting the day's work. "Some GOP members complained to me that I messed up their schedule," she wrote. "I'm not sorry for interrupting fundraising calls & breakfast. GOP voters are tired weak Rs."

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) rejected Greene's arguments, tweeting, "Most of us are able to think about things like legislation without having to stop doing our jobs for the day."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) also expressed his frustration, tweeting at Greene: "You are so mighty! You must feel powerful making random motions to adjourn that waste taxpayer funds and money."

He mocked the fact that she had all of her committee assignments stripped over her racist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic conduct last month, writing, "Did you know you can also make random motions to adjourn when you are in House Committee hearings? Oh wait..."

But Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who earned even Donald Trump's enmity last year for his parliamentary obstruction, endorsed Greene's tactics on Wednesday, and suggested that they are her way of retaliating for her punishment.

"Some congressmen are upset they had to interrupt their fundraisers this morning to vote on this," he tweeted. "Maybe they shouldn't have voted to strip her of all committee assignments?"

After losing her committee positions, Greene defiantly said serving on House committees would be "wasting" her time, bragging, "Now I have a lot of free time on my hands so that I can talk to more people and build a huge amount of support."

Instead of doing that, she apparently is just trying to stop anyone else from getting work done.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation

Rep. Cawthorn Deflects Sexual Misconduct Allegations As 'Democrat Attacks'

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) claims that recent reporting on sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against are really about the media and Democrats wanting to deflect from sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Buzzfeed News recently reported interviews with more than two dozen witnesses who "described or corroborated instances of sexual harassment and misconduct on campus, in Cawthorn's car, and at his house near campus" when Cawthorn was a student at Patrick Henry College in Virginia. Cawthorn has denied the allegations against him.

Appearing on the conservative Newsmax TV, Cawthorn replied "absolutely" when host Chris Salcedo asked if the story has surfaced to try to "give cover" to Cuomo, a Democrat.

"It just makes so much sense that they're going to start attacking a Republican," Cawthorn said, alleging that the story appeared only because "they're unable to defend their own governor in New York."

Cawthorn said Democrats are also promoting the story because "they're unable to defend any of their policy positions," and "they're just going to come spewing attack ads and starting to lie about other Republicans."

Contrary to Cawthorn's claims, however, Democratic leaders have not swept the allegations against Cuomo under the rug. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with other high-profile Democrats, have called for an independent investigation into the allegations. Pelosi said the claims against Cuomo are "serious and credible."

From the Mar. 2 edition of Newsmax TV's "The Chris Salcedo Show":

CHRIS SALCEDO, Newsmax: Do you see that the political Democrat-socialist operatives at places like CNN and MSNBC and others are trying to use this old story to try to give cover to Governor "COVID" Cuomo?
MADISON CAWTHORN: Oh, absolutely, once we just had the nursing home scandal that was going on inside of New York but now we have other allegations of his own, which are coming out.
And you know what? I generally believe that everyone's innocent until proven guilty but it just makes so much sense that they're going to start attacking a Republican because one, they're unable to defend their own governor in New York, kind of what they said should be a model governor for everyone across the country, and also they're unable to defend any of their policy positions.
And so therefore, they're just going to come spewing attack ads and starting to lie about other Republicans, which is the normal Democratic playbook. Because all they can do is appeal to emotion because their policy agenda has no real sense.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.