A House staff member started yelling about the Freemasons in the midst of a crucial vote in Congress, Ben Jacobs reports.
A stenographer climbed the dais of the House of Representatives and started ranting in the last minutes of the House vote to end the government shutdown.
The House stenographer, who has been identified by other outlets as Dianne Reidy, “had kind of a crazed look” in her eyes according to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) when she ascended the dais---just below Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who was presiding over the House at the time---as the minutes ticked down in the crucial vote. The microphones in the chamber were off so that what she was saying was unintelligible on the floor and to viewers on C-SPAN.
After Reidy was escorted out of the House chamber by several staffers from the House Sergeant at Arms office, she shouted “He will not be mocked” referring, presumably to God. She went on to proclaim that the United States “was not one nation under God, had it been, the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Lord Jesus Christ.” Her outburst visibly disturbed a number of members and staffers, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), both of whom ran out of the chamber after her. Reidy was eventually hustled into an elevator by staffers.
The Arizona senator described a provision inserted into the debt deal appropriating $2 billion for a Kentucky dam as "disgusting."
The final Reid-McConnell deal to end the government shutdown and avoid hitting the debt ceiling includes a few other provisions. One is mandating a budget conference, another sets new rules for income verification on Obamacare, and the third authorizes almost $2 billion in additional funding for a dam in Kentucky, the home state of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And John McCain is not a fan of that one.
McCain trashed the provision to The Daily Beast: “These people are like alcoholics. They can’t resist taking a drink. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It should have gone through the normal legislative process. Its their legislative reputation even more and makes it even more difficult for me to vote for the overall bill—which I will. It shows that there are people in this body who are willing to use any occasion to get an outrageous pork-barrel project done at the cost of millions and millions of dollars. It’s disgusting.”
The Olmsted Lock and Dam project would enable additional barge traffic on the Ohio River and would have a major impact on the regional economy. The Washington Post has reported that the bill is a longtime priority of the Kentucky delegation to Congress and has the support of President Obama. McConnell has long supported it as well and, in a 2011 statement to the Louisville Courier Journal, a McConnell spokesman emphasized “the importance of the Olmsted Locks and Dam project, not only to Kentucky’s economy, but the nation’s.”
In a statement after the Senate passed the Reid-McConnell deal by a vote of 81-18, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted that the funding for the dam “was not an earmark” and essential to saving $80 million in taxpayer money on the project.
After a brief meeting, House Republicans were resigned to accepting the Senate deal on Thursday, ending the government shutdown and avoiding possible default.
“We’ll live to fight another day” was the message that Speaker John Boehner shared with House Republicans this afternoon.
After receiving a spontaneous standing ovation when stepping to the microphone in a meeting to discuss the Reid-McConnell deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, Boehner told members to “go out and vote for [the deal]” and said all of leadership would be voting together in favor of it. Although only members of the leadership spoke, there still was a note of defiance in the room as Majority Leader Eric Cantor reminded the room that everyone in it had campaigned against Obamacare.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, addresses reporters at a news conference in the U.S. Capitol about the deal to reopen the government and avert the debt ceiling crisis on October 15, 2013. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call, via Getty )
Both moderates and Tea Partiers took very different lessons from the conflict that led to a 16-day government shutdown. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who led the much ballyhooed moderate revolt that petered out before the shutdown, savaged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). King said Cruz was the mastermind of the strategy eventually adopted by the GOP and had gotten nothing out of the shutdown, save “probably some campaign contributions.” In the New York congressman’s opinion, the fight was always hopeless; he condemned the opinions of those who thought Republicans simply needed to stick together more closely as "baloney." When asked if he thought conservatives in the House caucus had learned a lesson from this, all King said was “hope springs eternal.”
The deal reached Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government is now expected to proceed smoothly through both houses of Congress after Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he would not do anything to delay it.
Cruz, the first-term Texas Republican who has been spearheading conservative strategy in the government shutdown fight and gained national attention with his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor in late September, emerged from a meeting of the Senate Republican conference Wednesday saying that he would not delay a vote. Cruz told assembled reporters that while he opposed the bill, "There is nothing to be benefited by delaying this vote a couple of days versus having it today." In the senator's opinion, "the timing of the vote will make no difference in the outcome so I don't intend to delay the timing of the vote."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-UT), who first elected to the Senate in 1976, was also ready to end the standoff which started in an attempt to defund Obamacare. "It's time to act like adults," Hatch said. "Sooner or later the adults have to come forward and do what's best under the circumstances and that's what we're doing." Hatch bemoaned the new pattern of government by crisis in Washington, saying, "It's a crazy way to govern and not the best way to govern and I think it hurts this country."
Start buying gold, stockpiling guns and getting acquainted with the taste of human flesh—the United States may hit the debt ceiling.
After Tuesday started with a potential deal negotiated by Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell in the Senate, Speaker John Boehner tried to counter with his own proposal out of the House. Boehner's bill would have raised the debt ceiling through early February and reopened the government through December 14. In return, it would prevent the Treasury form taking any "extraordinary measures" to avoid default, implement the Vitter Amendment to prevent congressional staff from getting employer subsdized health care and set the stage for a Christmas fight over contraception.
The bill seemed to be derailed once Heritage Action, the powerful right wing organization headed by former Senator Jim DeMint announced it would oppose the bill. Within 15 minutes of that news, a planned meeting of the House Rules Committee to set the terms of the debate was cancelled. Just as it was set to start, Pete Sessions, the chair of the Rules Committee announced the delay, saying members needed more time to call their constitutents to avoid "misunderstanding." Within two hours, Republicans announced they were going home for the day and would try again tomorrow.
Even if the government reopens this week, it may shut down in less than two months in a fight over contraception.
Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) told reporters Tuesday that the new House bill to end the government shutdown and prevent a default intentionally funds the federal government only through mid-December—an attempt to wage another fight over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The debt limit would be extended into early Feburary.
Womack, a second term representative from Northwest Arkansas, said risking another government shutdown 10 days before Christmas "boils to conscience protections that basically become compromised on the first of Janauary." He said that "a provision goes into effect [on January 1] that is violation of conscious beliefs of members of our party." He was specifically referring to the contraception mandate that requires almost all employers, save churches and houses of worship, health insurance which covers contraception. Womack did express his hope that Congress would come to a budget deal before that deadline and return to "regular order."
This provision of Obamacare has been deeply controversial and has been met objections from religious institutions not directly affiliated with a church as well as businesses whose owners have moral objections to providing contraceptive coverage. Many Republicans have derided the contraception mandate as an attack on religious freedom.
Neither Mike Lee or Ted Cruz showed up to a crucial luncheon Tuesday.
According to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), neither Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) nor Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) attended the weekly luncheon held by Senate Republicans on Tuesday.
Lee and Cruz have been the two Republicans in the Senate most vocal in the attempt to use a government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare. The two senators, who were among the Republicans that McCain derided as "wackobirds" earlier this year, are the most likely to use Senate rules to attempt to delay any legislation to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. Unless a bill is given "unanimous consent," it is required to be debated for 30 hours. Such a delay would put the government perilously close to default once the debt ceiling is breached on Thursday.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) expressed his hope that such delaying tactics would not be used, although he admitted it's "not virtually impossible to know." However, Thune acknowledged that individual senators had the rights and prerogratives to throw up procedural hurdles.
The nearly half-decade movement to repeal and replace the medical device tax reached a crescendo on Tuesday.
Many House Republicans streaming out of their caucus on Tuesday expressed a guarded optimism about the newest proposal from Speaker John Boehner to avoid a default and to end the government shutdown. Their problem is that many is not enough for the proposal to pass.
Boehner's proposal would reopen the government through mid-January and keep the government from hitting the debt ceiling until February 7. It would also include longer-term negotiations on the budget, limiting the ability of the Treasury to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default; a two-year delay in the medical devices tax that is part of Obamacare; and would deny health-care subsidies to government officials as a modified version of the Vitter Amendment.
The Tea Party’s vanguard defended the shutdown to social conservatives, including a comparison of their fight with Obama to an ancient battle against Muslims. By Ben Jacobs.
Shutdown? What shutdown?
While the government shutdown wasn’t discussed much in a morning session featuring 2016 presidential hopefuls like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio at the Values Voter Summit, it was a major topic during the afternoon part of the program.
During a congressional town-hall featuring three right-wing congressmen, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), and followed up by a speech from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the partisan conflict over the Affordable Care Act and Washington’s budget impasse was discussed at length to an audience of social-conservative activists. It was even compared to an eighth-century battle between Christians and Muslims.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, implied that Sen. John McCain is a supporter of al Qaeda.
In his opening statement at a town hall forum during Washington, D.C.’s Values Voters Summit, an annual conservative meeting, Gohmert attacked a certain Arizona senator—who was very clearly not Jeff Flake—as “a guy who's been to Syria and supported al Qaeda and rebels.” Gohmert also criticized McCain for meeting with former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi before supporting military intervention in North Africa as well as the senator’s past support for former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
McCain, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, is a decorated Naval veteran who spent six years being held by the North Vietnamese as a prisoner of war.
Pro-immigration reform protestors heckled Senator Ted Cruz at a conservative conference today.
Ted Cruz drew approximately a dozen hecklers while speaking at the Values Voters Summit on Friday. The hecklers all tried to ask Cruz why the Texas senator, who is the son of a Cuban immigrant, did not support immigration reform or as the first heckler asked, “a pathway to citizenship.” The hecklers, scattered throughout the audience started by interrupting Cruz’s speech one at a time every few minutes. Eventually, the remaining protestors finally all stood up at one time. None were able to get out more than a sentence before being removed from the room by security as the crowd chanted “USA, USA, USA.” Cruz jibed on stage that the hecklers were all part of the President Obama’s political staff and that the Organizing for America offices must be empty today.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, speak to the media after the Senate voted to pass the continuing resolution on September 27, 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, via Getty)
One of the hecklers, Salvador Cervantes, a Mexican immigrant from Arlington, Virginia who has lived in the United States for 28 years, told the Daily Beast that he was there as an activist with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Cervantes, a U.S. citizen who mentioned that other protestors were DREAMers, said that he say this “a an opportunity to ask Cruz about immigration. He had tried to schedule a meeting with Cruz and visited his office a number of times to no avail. At this point, Cervantes said he thought his best bet was simply to pay $75 to register for the Values Voter Summit and try to shout his question from the audience.
Cruz never did address comprehensive immigration reform in his speech, but after the hecklers had been removed from the audience, he spoke about the United States as a nation of immigrants.
By not mentioning Obamacare in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Paul Ryan angered many on the right.
Is Paul Ryan a RINO?
Some conservatives were howling over Ryan’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday where the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and current chair of the House Budget Committee suggested his plan to solve the current stalemate in Washington over the government shutdown and debt ceiling. Ryan suggested significant entitlement reform and specifically pointed to areas where he thinks Democrats and Republicans can find consensus. But, despite talking about ways to cut government spending and implement tax reform, the Wisconsin congressman angered tea partiers by not mentioning the word “Obamacare” once.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Getty
The result was immediate outrage. Erick Erickson saw this as Republican leaders selling out the base yet again, another blogger on Erickson’s site, Red State, called the op-ed “a confirmation of our worst fears . . This is the road to cave city.” The Senate Conservatives Fund, the Ted Cruz-backed right wing PAC, tweeted in rage at Paul Ryan “Obamacare is the #1 job killer and it will bankrupt our country. Your plan does nothing to stop it.” Ryan’s op-ed also met disapproval from Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action who said at a breakfast on Wednesday morning “This is a fight about Obamacare. The attention of Republicans and conservatives needs to be back on Obamacare and not on other ways out of this situation.”
The Obama administration has been loathe to draw any connections in public between al Qaeda and the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. A new State Department designation of an Egyptian terrorist however makes that link. Eli Lake reports.
The U.S. government is now acknowledging, at least indirectly, a significant al Qaeda connection to the 9-11 anniversary attacks on the U.S. mission and CIA station in Benghazi.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest on September 11, 2012. (Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters)
On Monday, the State Department designated the Mohammed Jamal Network (MJN) and its founder, Mohammed Jamal as terrorists. The Wall Street Journal first reported on October 1, 2012 that fighters affiliated with MJN participated in the Benghazi attacks. The Daily Beast and other news outlets have since confirmed the report.
Seth Jones, the associate director for the international security and defense policy center at the RAND Corporation, told the Daily Beast, “There was at least one member and may have been more members from the Mohammed Jamal network on the compound for the attack on Benghazi along with members of Ansar al-Sharia and members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”
Even House Republicans who would be willing to vote for a budget without restrictions on Obamacare won't do anything to make that happen. Ben Jacobs reports.
The government shutdown won’t end anytime soon and there is no prospect of House Republicans yielding on their demands to delay the implementation of Obamacare in exchange for funding the federal government.
Although Speaker John Boehner claimed in a morning interview on ABC’s The Week that there weren’t enough votes in the House to pass “a clean CR, “which simply continue to fund government at sequestration levels; whip counts based on public statements from Congressmen disagree. At last count, there are over 20 House Republicans who have said that they would vote for “a clean CR,” if it was brought to the floor. They are mostly moderate and largely veterans of Capitol Hill. In fact, in this list, compiled by Huffington Post, all but two are from states that Barack Obama won in 2012. However, while they would vote such a CR, they won’t lift a finger to bring such a bill to the floor of the House and support any of the necessary procedural moves to do so.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to the media at 1:00 am with U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (L) at his side after the House of Representatives voted to send their funding bill with delays to the "Obamacare" health care act into a conference with the Senate, prompting a shutdown of portions of the U.S. government in Washington on October 1, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
The latest maneuver by the Democrats is something called a discharge petition. If a majority of the House sign a letter demanding that a bill be brought to the floor, it gets voted on. For a variety of reasons, both procedural and tactical, the bill that Democrats are demanding be discharged is one sponsored by Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), a member of the House Leadership. Of the 200 Democratic congressman, 195 have signed on. Zero Republicans have. Rep Bill Young (R-FL), one of the 20 plus in favor of clean CR, told The Daily Beast that he was “not going to sign a discharge petition, I’ll vote based on what comes to floor.” In other words, he’s for it---but only if John Boehner says it’s ok to vote for it.
The problem for House Republicans is that they have backed themselves into a corner. It seems President Barack Obama won’t yield on delaying (and wounding) the signature accomplishment of his administration---which happens to be called Obamacare. It’s now about winning, or the appearance of winning, as conservative Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman told the Washington Examiner last week ““We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” The attitude is that now that they’ve gone to war, they have to fight to the death regardless.
This is even shared by those like Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA) who has long advocated for a clean CR. Nunes shares the view of most Republicans that now the fight has begun, they have to stick together, regardless of the consequences. He told The Daily Beast last week “Most of us are pretty much convinced, now that we’ve entered of valley of death we should probably stay and run together.”
The valley of death is a phrase made famous in Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, a poem about a British cavalry brigade that, because of command errors, launched a futile and bloody charge during the Crimean War.
House Republicans refuse to concede a "clean CR" to fund the government, but the Democratic Senate will not accept anything else. Ben Jacobs reports.
The government shutdown may have closed the Alamo* in San Antonio, but that's not stopping some Republicans on Capitol Hill from reenacting the 1836 fight to the death, according to one House Democrat. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) told The Daily Beast that in an effort to somehow delay or defund Obamacare, as a condition of passing a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government, “these folks [think they're] are at the Alamo, they’re going to shoot their way out or die trying.” House Republicans are continuing to insist that they will not pass “a clean CR” that would simply continue appropriate money at existing sequester levels for the next six weeks under any conditions.
As polling revealed that Americans overwhelmingly put the blame on the current standoff in Washington D.C. on the GOP and John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, admitted to reporters on Monday night that “we can’t win.” On Tuesday, Republicans attempted yet another gambit in their effort to regain the political high ground, by introducing "mini-CRs" in the House to fund specific parts of the federal government. The three resolutions, which would have funded veterans benefits, national parks and museums, and the government of the District of Columbia, were introduced in the House under a suspension of the rules. This meant they required two-thirds majorities to pass, instead of a simple majority. All three failed.
This was part of a new strategy spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who, with Ted Cruz, has been one of the leaders in the push to tie funding the government to defunding Obamacare. Lee told The Daily Beast Monday night that he was “pushing for a series of segmented funding bills that will keep the government funding in most areas.” Lee, who said he had been talking to House members “for a long time,” thought “if we got those passed in the House, I see no reason why some of those couldn’t pass in the Senate.”
After President Obama announced a shift in approach to the conflict in Syria, Josh Rogin joins ‘The Daily Rundown’ on MSNBC to offer his take on whether the move was too little, too late.