Tag: ted budd
Sen. Ted Budd

Republicans Demand Billions For Trump's Botched Border Wall

Congressional Republicans want to force the federal government to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to restart former President Donald Trump's failed border wall project.

First-term Republican Sen. Ted Budd of North Carolina told Fox News Tuesday that he is introducing the Build the Wall Now Act, which would require President Joe Biden's administration to resume construction of a massive wall along the nation's southern border. Fox said that the proposal, co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), James Risch (R-ID), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), would unlock more than $2.1 billion for wall construction and overrule any "legal impediments" to the process by codifying legal waivers issued by Trump in the process.

According to Fox, Budd said: "My Build the Wall Now Act ends this administration's excuses and forces them to restart wall construction immediately. It's time for a comprehensive solution to end the Biden Border Crisis, and this bill does just that."

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) introduced a similar proposal in the House of Representatives in January, with 38 Republican co-sponsors.

Newly sworn-in Alabama Republican Sen. Katie Britt on February 9 introduced her own proposal to appropriate $25 billion for construction of the wall. In a press release, Britt said her bill, which has six GOP co-sponsors, would be funded entirely "by eliminating the entitlement benefits and tax credits that illegal immigrants are using and fining those making illegal entry into the United States." The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has not yet evaluated that claim.

Each of the bills is intended to revive a project that was a signature broken promise of the Trump administration.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly told voters that he would quickly build a massive wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and that he would force Mexico to fund every penny of the project.

"We'll build the wall, don't worry, I promise. We'll build the wall. I promise, we will build the wall. If there's ever a second term, you'll say, Man, he got that wall built fast, we're going to put him up," he said at a rally in Waterbury, Connecticut, in April 2016. "So we'll see. We'll build the wall, don't worry."

That did not happen: Mexico declined to fund the project. In his quest to fund the wall, Trump tried to coerce Congress by forcing a partial government shutdown; he backed down after 35 days. Finally, he siphoned off billions of dollars in 2019 that had been appropriated for other construction and for military families, citing emergency powers.

Even after he found funding, Trump oversaw the building of just a few miles of new barriers, with most construction going to reinforce existing fencing. As of September 2020, USA Todayfound that of the 300 miles of wall that the administration claimed to have built, just 5 miles of it were new.

Biden ran in 2020 on a promise to halt the project, saying not another foot of wall would be constructed on his watch. After his inauguration, he immediately stopped construction and ordered that the funds that had been allocated for the project be redirected to others, including environmental cleanup at the wall construction sites.

Since assuming the majority in the House they won in the November 2022 midterm elections, Republicans have demanded significant cuts to "wasteful Washington spending" and even threatened to force a default on the national debt to force cuts.

But at the same time, Republican lawmakers have pushed for new policies that would make the budget deficit even larger by cutting revenue and increasing spending. The bills aimed at renewing construction of the wall on the southern border could add billions of dollars to the national debt.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several members of his caucus will visit the border this week to highlight illegal immigration.

"House Republicans can see first-hand how unlawful border crossings have sharply declined thanks to President Biden's new border plan," White House assistant press secretary Abdullah Hasan told Bloomberg.

"They can also see the additional progress that could be made if Republicans in Congress stop making this issue a political stunt and actually join the President in advancing real solutions – like comprehensive immigration reform," Hasan added.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

House Republicans Introduce National Abortion Ban

House Republicans Introduce National Abortion Ban

Sen. Marco Rubio is—so far—the only Republican senator up for reelection who has signed on to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s national abortion ban. But there’s a House version of the bill, too, and Rep. Ted Budd, currently running for Senate in North Carolina, is one of that bill’s 84 cosponsors.

Cheri Beasley, Budd’s Democratic opponent, responded quickly. “My opponent Congressman Ted Budd co-sponsored the Republican bill to ban abortion nationwide,” she tweeted, “I was taught that actions speak louder than words – and Budd has shown that he WILL lead the charge to take away our personal freedoms as Senator. Full stop.”

Abortion is currently legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks, down from the 24 or so weeks to the point of viability, which was the standard under Roe v. Wade. Graham’s 15-week ban would be a second curtailment of rights in the state.

According to an August poll done for Carolina Forward by Public Policy Polling, 27 percent of respondents thought that 20 weeks was “about right,” while 28 percent wanted fewer restrictions and 37 percent wanted more. That’s 55 percent who prefer something less restrictive than a 15-week ban. Which, again, Rep. Ted Budd, the Republican nominee for Senate in the state, has co-sponsored.

Rubio and Budd are in a position to have quickly gone on the official record in support of a national abortion ban. But every other Republican Senate candidate should be facing questions about what they would do if elected.

In Arizona, Blake Masters already answered the question: “Of course” he would vote for Graham’s national abortion ban. Masters may have already tried to back away from his most extreme abortion positions, but a 15-week federal ban is still within his new faux-moderate persona. Which only goes to show how extreme he really is.

Georgia’s Herschel Walker also came out in support of the national abortion ban, saying, “I believe the issue should be decided at the state level, but I would support this policy.”

Would Don Bolduc, the brand-new far-right nominee in New Hampshire, vote for Graham’s bill if he was elected to the Senate? He’s previously said he wouldn’t “vote contrary to pro-life.”

Would Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee, vote for a national abortion ban? A campaign spokeswoman dodged the question on his behalf, saying, on the one hand, “Dr. Oz is pro-life with three exceptions: life of the mother, rape and incest,” but on the other hand, “And as a senator, he’d want to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with the states’ decisions on the topic.” That’s conspicuously not a no.

What about Nevada’s Adam Laxalt? His campaign hasn't commented. Ohio’s J.D. Vance also seems to have kept his mouth shut on this issue since Graham introduced his bill.

A spokeswoman for Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson gave the top Republican nonanswer, saying, “As the senator has said many times he believes this is a profound moral issue and agrees with the Dobbs decision to allow the democratic process to unfold in each state to determine at what point does society has a responsibility to protect life.” But Johnson is the guy who originally suggested he would support a bill codifying marriage equality, then flipped, so his spokeswoman’s carefully noncommittal implication that he wouldn’t support Graham’s bill is definitely not anything to rely on.

Every one of these people, if elected, might well get a vote on a national abortion ban—they definitely would if Republicans take control of the Senate. And their answers on whether they’d vote for it range from “of course” to dodging to silence. Meanwhile, according to one poll, Americans oppose a 15-week abortion ban by a 27-point margin, 57 percent to 30 percent.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

GOP Senate Candidate Backed Predatory Lenders Who Paid Him Well

GOP Senate Candidate Backed Predatory Lenders Who Paid Him Well

North Carolina Republican Rep. Ted Budd opposed consumer protections against predatory lending, despite his own state prohibiting the practice.

North Carolina Republican Senate nominee Ted Budd has consistently sided with predatory lenders and the payday lending industry, even though payday lending is banned in his state. The industry has rewarded him with thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Budd, currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running against former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) this November for the open seat of retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr. He calls himself a "liberal agenda crusher" who "will work for everyday families, not the elite or political insiders."

But Budd's record indicates otherwise. He has consistently supported lenders who prey on lower-income individuals using abusive repayment terms and exploitative tactics, practices that have been illegal in North Carolina for more than 20 years.

Many financial services companies offer payday or "cash advance" loans, short-term loans carrying a high interest rate based on anticipated income coming on the borrower's next payday.

North Carolina is among the states that have cracked down on these practices. According to its Justice Department, "North Carolina has some of the toughest laws against unfair loans in the nation and was the first state to adopt a comprehensive law against predatory home loans."

The state has prohibited payday loans since 2001. After state officials closed a loophole in 2006, payday lending shops stopped operating in the state entirely.

Republicans in Washington, D.C., have pushed to overrule those and other state regulations, at the behest of the lending industry. A rule enacted at the end of 2020 by then-President Donald Trump's administration allowed lenders to partner with banks from other states to avoid state restrictions.

The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate overturned the Trump administration rule in 2021. Budd and almost every other Republican voted to keep it in place.

In March 2018, Budd signed on as a co-sponsor of an effort to repeal a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule cracking down on payday, car title, and other high-cost loans.

In July 2020 and again in February 2021, Budd introduced a "Freedom from Regulations Act" that would have placed limitations on the actions of independent agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

His spokesperson told the right-wing Epoch Times after the initial bill was filed that the effort was "focused on some of the most far-reaching and economically impactful regulations that independent agencies have implemented, like the CFPB's 2017 payday lending rule, the FCC's 'net neutrality' rule, the NLRB's joint-employer rule."

As Budd repeatedly sided with payday lenders, payday lenders repeatedly filled his campaign coffers.

He received at least $2,500 from the Community Financial Services Association of America PAC, the political arm for the payday lending industry's trade association. A spokesperson for the group did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the donations.

Budd's June 2022 campaign finance report noted thousands of dollars in PAC contributions from payday lending companies.

Some of the industry donations he received came within days of a key vote.

On May 4, 2017, Budd voted to advance the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 out of the House Financial Services Committee. The package, which was mostly aimed at rolling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, included a section determining that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "may not exercise any rulemaking, enforcement or other authority with respect to payday loans, vehicle title loans or other similar loans."

"They're trying to sneak in that provision," Diane Standaert, then executive vice president at the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. "It seems like they hoped no one would notice."

Several financial company executives donated to Budd that month, including at least one payday lender.

On May 31, he received $1,000 from Scott Wisniewski, the CEO of Western Shamrock Corporation, which offers paycheck advance loans and has been called a "predatory lender" by the advocacy group Texans for Public Justice.

A spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic nominee Beasley, who supports her state's ban, told the American Independent Foundation in an emailed statement, "Payday lenders have a long record of taking advantage of hard-working Americans, and it's unacceptable that Washington politicians like Ted Budd chose to take their campaign contributions instead of holding them accountable. In the Senate, I will always stand up to corporate special interests to protect North Carolinians from predatory lenders."

Budd has a history of siding with his donors over his North Carolina constituents.

He accepted contributions from pharmaceutical interests within days of voting against a bill to lower prescription drug prices in 2019 and took cash from the oil and gas sector a day before voting not to prohibit price gouging by the industry.

Budd's spokespeople did not respond to an inquiry for this story.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Rep. Ralph Norman

Republicans Fighting To Keep Confederate Statuary In Capitol

Reprinted with permission from American independent

A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to remove monuments to prominent racists and Confederate traitors from display in the U.S. Capitol. But a group of 12 House Republicans wants to give a state's congressional delegation the authority to veto the removal of its home state's statues.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) filed a bill on Tuesday to "prohibit the removal of a statue provided by a State for display in National Statuary Hall unless two-thirds of the members of the State's congressional delegation approve the removal."

Republican Reps. Brian Babin (TX), Mo Brooks (AL), Ted Budd (NC), Rick Crawford (AR), Jeff Duncan (SC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Kevin Hern (OK), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Thomas Massie (KY), and Steve Womack (AR) are original co-sponsors.

Under current rules, each state may select two statues of its own notable historical figures to be displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collection. The 100 statues are displayed in National Statuary Hall and other locations throughout the Capitol building.

Current honorees include Thomas Edison, Dwight Eisenhower, Helen Keller, Ronald Reagan, Will Rogers, Sakakawea (also known as Sacagawea), and George Washington. But they also include several former Confederate leaders and prominent racists, such as white supremacist and former North Carolina Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock, slavery defender and former Vice President John Caldwell Calhoun of South Carolina, and white supremacist and former Arkansas Sen. James Paul Clarke.

H.R. 3005, which passed in the House by a vote of 285-120, would require those states that currently display statues honoring individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America to remove and replace them. It would also require removal of the statues of Aycock, Calhoun, and Clarke.

Norman and his 11 co-sponsors of H.R. 4234 were among the 120 representatives, all Republicans, who voted against the bill.

Though those voting yes included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and 65 other Republicans, Brooks railed againstH.R. 3005 in a press statement titled "CONGRESSMAN MO BROOKS DEFENDS STATES' RIGHTS, RIPS INTOLERANT SOCIALISTS WHO SEEK TO TAKE DOWN CAPITOL STATUES THEY DON'T LIKE."

"Just as it would be wrong for Alabama and other states to dictate to New York and California who they must honor, it is similarly wrong and repulsive for New York, California, or other states to dictate to Alabama who we must honor," Brooks said. "I reject cancel culture and historical revisionism. ... Alabama, not New Yorkers, Californians, or anyone else, should decide who we wish to honor in Alabama's contribution to the National Statuary Collection. Socialist Democrat states should butt out!"

Brooks, Budd, Crawford, Duncan, Gaetz, Greene, Norman, and Womack each represent states whose statues would have to be removed should the Senate pass the bill and President Joe Biden sign it.

But if Norman's proposal passed, a 34 percent minority of a single state's delegation could block the removal of a statue, subverting majority rule in the House and even within the delegation itself.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.