Two California Republican Congressmen Vote Against GOP Tax Reform

800px-US_Capitol_from_NWTwo California Republicans, Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), voted against the tax reform bill on Tuesday.

They were the only Republican members of California’s congressional delegation to do so. Every one of California’s Democrats did so, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) are also expected to vote against the bill.

Ten other Republicans also voted against the tax reform bill, most from other high-tax states, notably New York and New Jersey.

Both Issa and Rohrabacher are considered vulnerable in the 2018 midterm elections, after Hillary Clinton won their districts in 2016. Both are among seven Republicans in the Golden State who are being targeted by Democrats.

Issa was barely re-elected in 2018, and faces four Democratic challengers next year; Rohrabacher already faces seven Democratic challengers (plus two Republicans, one Libertarian, and an Independent) in next year’s primary. Notably, five of those Republicans still voted for the tax reform bill.

Rohrabacher has stated publicly that he opposes the tax reform bill because he is concerned that the partial repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, and the cap on mortgage interest deductions, could see taxes raised on some of the residents of his district despite the lowering of income tax and corporate tax rates.

Issa opposes the bill for the same reason, but also publicly blamed Governor Jerry Brown and California Democrats for the dilemma facing California taxpayers.

One Republican who switched from “no” to “yes” was conservative Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who voted against the original House version of the bill but supported the compromise bill drafted with the Senate because of revisions that addressed his concerns.

In a speech on the House floor, he said, in part:

The new version leaves the casualty loss, medical expense and student interest deductions intact.  No family needs to fear being ruined by taxes after a major declared disaster or illness, and graduates can continue to plan their lives knowing interest on their student loans will not be taxed.  The new bill eases the proposed limit on mortgage interest deductions and allows up to $10,000 of state and local taxes to be deducted – all important improvements for Californians.

Most importantly, the lower tax rates in this bill now more than compensate in almost every case for the remaining limits on state and local tax and mortgage interest deductions.  Even taxpayers who lose tens of thousands of dollars of deductions will still pay lower taxes than they do today.

The House will have to vote again on the bill, after two minor provisions in the legislation ran afoul of Senate parliamentary rules for reconciliation (which allows votes pertaining to budget issues to pass on a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority). Rohrabacher and Issa are expected to repeat their “no” votes.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

California University’s “Sanctuary” Policy a Threat to Federal Funding

FILE - In this July 17, 2007 file photo, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Judiciary hearing on the prosecution of Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, two former Border Patrol agents imprisoned for shooting a drug smuggler in the backside as he sprinted toward Mexico. Rohrabacher's suggestion Friday, June 10, 2011, during a trip to Baghdad, that Iraq repay the United States for the money it has spent in the country has stirred anger, with an Iraqi lawmaker ridiculing the idea as "stupid" and others saying Iraqis should be compensated for the hardships they've endured. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher last week warned UC President Janet Napolitano that the system’s sanctuary campus polices could jeopardize federal funding for research.

The Costa Mesa Republican denounced a recent announcement from UC that campus police would not be cooperating with federal officials in deportation efforts of undocumented immigrants.

“Your commitment to spending scarce resources to finance people illegally present in the United States is unacceptable and a flagrant misuse of taxpayer money,” Rohrabacher wrote. “This is an insult to Americans and legal immigrants who pay your salary.”

While sanctuary policies align with the state’s liberal lean, one of the main policy reasons supporters turn to is that by creating a space where deportation is off the table, undocumented immigrants are more likely to cooperate with police in other investigations.

“It is in the best interest of all members of the UC community to encourage cooperation with the investigation of criminal activity,” according to the UC statement. “To encourage such cooperation, all individuals, regardless of their immigration status, must feel secure that contacting or being addressed by UC police officers will not automatically lead to an immigration inquiry and/or a risk of removal.”

The UC system gets more than half of its research funding from the federal government, which Rohrabacher claimed is jeopardized by resistance to the upcoming administration.

“I assure you that, in the next session of Congress, those who receive and spend federal dollars in a manner that includes people illegally present in our country will find it difficult to obtain those funds,” Rohrabacher wrote.

The issue of sanctuary campuses is a small part of a bigger showdown between California and President-elect Donald Trump. While Trump campaigned heavily on a tough stance on immigration — which included mass deportation and the construction of a wall along the country’s southern border — California Democrats have since announced their intention to fight those efforts at every turn.

Though Rohrabacher initially supported a different candidate in the Republican primary, he eventually came around to Trump with a full-throated endorsement, even going so far as to call other Republicans “gutless” who backed away from Trump at times of turmoil. His name was even floated as a potential candidate for secretary of state, although he was not chosen.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

CA Congressmen Urge Federal Reform of Marijuana Laws

marijuanaThe federal government’s understanding of its own marijuana regulations are willfully “tortuous” and “an obvious stretch,” warned a bipartisan duo of California Congressmen in a sternly-worded letter to the Department of Justice.

An abuse of power

In the letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, Reps. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., requested that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz open an internal investigation into the department’s continued prosecutions of marijuana dispensaries, against what they said was the clear letter and intent of the law.

In its Appropriations Act for 2015, Congress had passed a provision introduced by Rohrabacher and Farr designed and intended to ward off federal interference with marijuana-related businesses operating legally under state law.

“We, the authors of the language, and our many colleagues — including those who opposed the amendment — laid on the record repeatedly that the intent and the language of the provision was to stop DOJ from interacting with anyone legitimately doing business in medical marijuana in accordance with state law,” wrote the Congressmen.

Signed into law by president Obama, the amendment received a second vote of approval from Representatives this summer. “As the marijuana provision is part of an annual funding bill that will expire,” noted the Huffington Post, “the lawmakers introduced an identical version again in June, which was reauthorized by the House of Representatives.”

In April, Farr and Rohrabacher had also demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder “stop prosecution of state-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries” in observance of the same provision, as the Orange County Register reported.

Federal legalese

But the Department of Justice chose to interpret the law in the most hostile manner possible, the lawmakers suggested, citing an April statement by DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Rodenbush said Rohrabacher-Farr, as the appropriations amendment was known, didn’t apply to prosecutions directed at persons or groups:

Rather, he said, it stops the department from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws,” contrary to some claims from people being prosecuted that the amendment blocks such prosecutions.

As the Times then observed, this “narrow interpretation of the law” had particularly strong implications in the San Francisco Bay Area, “where the Justice Department has initiated forfeiture proceedings against three medical marijuana dispensaries it considers to be in violation of federal law.”

Outgoing U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag had become notorious among pro-pot advocates and businesspeople, joining “the three other regional U.S. attorneys in California in cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries perceived to be large-scale commercial enterprises,” as Pleasanton Weekly recounted. One dispensary facing the brunt of Haag’s crusade, Harborside Health Center, met the news of her departure with what executive director Steve DeAngelo called “great relief and great satisfaction.”

“In Ms. Haag’s parting statement she said she felt her office had ‘accomplished most of our goals’ during her tenure,” DeAngelo said in a statement. “The one goal she most assuredly has not accomplished is closing down Harborside Health Center. We hope her successor will have a more finely tuned understanding of compassion and justice than Ms. Haag has displayed, and allow Harborside to focus on serving our patients instead of battling a court case that should never have been started.”

Conflicting actions

Although the Department of Justice could opt to ignore the mismatch between its conduct and the law, the law itself would hold them to account for doing so. At stake is the applicability of the Anti-Deficiency Act, as Farr and Rohrabacher argued; as Reason indicated, that law “makes it a crime to use federal money for purposes that are not approved by Congress.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com