All 14 California Republicans in House Hold the Line on Tax Reform

Kevin McCarthyAll 14 California Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the Senate’s version of a new budget bill that prepares the way for tax reform.

They did so even though one of President Donald Trump’s proposed reforms is an end to the state and local tax deduction (SALT), a $1.8 trillion boost that would hit high-tax, Democratic-dominated states like California, whose high earners benefit disproportionately from the deduction.

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had warned California’s Republican delegation that they would be hurting their own state if they voted for the budget. According to the Sacramento Bee, she called them potential “accomplices” in hurting California taxpayers, describing tax reform as “really an urgent time for the state of California.” She advised them they would have more leverage over the final legislation if they voted no.

But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) disagreed, telling the California Republican Party convention in a speech over the weekend: “I don’t think it’s fair that somebody else subsidize poor management of California or New York policies. … No longer can Sacramento say, I’m gonna raise the rates, just cause I’ll have the federal government subsidize it. They will have to be held accountable for when they want to raise taxes higher.”

Some representatives, like vulnerable Mimi Walters (R-CA) of Orange County, seemed undecided. Capital Public Radio quoted her spokesperson as saying: “The Congresswoman’s top priority is putting more money back into the pockets of middle class Californians. …  She will carefully review any change to the SALT deduction to determine the impact on hard working taxpayers in need of tax relief.” In the end, however, Walters, too, held the line.

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

Poll: 70% support Trump’s immigration policies, want Americans hired first

As reported by the Washington Examiner:

Most Americans support President Trump’s immigration reform plans that aim to cut illegal entries and boost the hiring of legal Americans, according to a new survey just being circulated.

Despite charges from Democratic leaders like Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi that the “vast majority of Americans” decry Trump’s America First focus, the new survey shows that many of the president’s policies are supported by 70 percent to 80 percent of the public.

And they reject the media’s description that the new White House list of immigration reforms issued Sunday night is “hardline.”

Said a Trump official, “The administration’s immigration priorities represent the mainstream view of the overwhelming majority of Americans.”

Late Sunday, the White House offered a list of demands in return for a deal that would let some 700,000 recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals stay in the U.S.  …

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Leading House Democrat tells Pelosi to step down

As reported by NBC News:

A high-ranking House Democrat on Thursday called on Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California to step down as minority leader to make way for a new generation.

“Our leadership does a tremendous job,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, “but I do think we have this real breadth and depth of talent within our caucus, and I do think it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders, and I want to be a part of that transition. I want to see that happen.”

Sanchez, the fifth-ranking Democrat in the House, was interviewed on C-SPAN by two reporters who asked her about the current makeup of Democratic leadership.

Sanchez specifically called out Pelosi; the House minority whip, Steny Hoyer of Maryland; and the assistant House minority leader, James Clyburn of South Carolina, when asked who should leave their leadership positions. …

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Poll: State Dems want to oust Pelosi in 2018

Voter Views of California’s Three National Leaders in Washington

Pelosi:  State Democrats favor their party choosing someone else to serve as House leader after the 2018 elections.

Feinstein:  While voters rate her job performance positively, fewer than half are inclined to support a re-election bid.

Harris:  The freshman Senator’s job marks now exceed Feinstein’s, but most want her to remain in the Senate rather than run for president in 2020.

Data from Berkeley IGS Poll – Institute of Governmental Studies

California Democrats favor their party choosing someone other than Nancy Pelosi as House leader after the 2018 elections

California Democrats were asked their opinions about whether Nancy Pelosi should remain as House leader after next year’s elections or whether it would be better for their party to choose someone else. When posing this question, voters were divided into two random subsamples, with half asked the question under the scenario that the Democrats regain control of the House in the 2018 elections, and the other half asked the question assuming the Democrats do not regain control of the House.

In both settings, larger proportions of the state’s Democratic rank-and-file prefer their party to choose another Democrat as House leader rather than Pelosi. Were the Democrats to regain control of the House in 2018, 44% prefer their party choosing someone other than Pelosi as Speaker, while just 30% would like Pelosi to serve in that role. If the Democrats don’t regain control of the House next year, the proportion favoring the Democrats to choose someone other than Pelosi as their House leader grows to 50%.

Table 5

 

To view the entire poll, click here

 

Democrats Talk Openly About Challenging Nancy Pelosi’s Leadership

Nancy-Pelois-denied-CommunionHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing unprecedented pressure, as frustrated Democrats have begun — for the first time in seven years — to talk about replacing her after a series of disappointments at the ballot box.

Pelosi was hailed as a driving force behind Democrats’ victory in 2006, when the party seized both houses of Congress and set the stage for victory in the 2008 presidential election. She became the first female Speaker of the House, and set about centralizing power in the Speaker’s office, ruling her caucus with unquestioned authority and promoting an unapologetically liberal agenda.

However, Pelosi’s role in the Obamacare debacle of 2009-10 helped provoke the Tea Party wave, sending her party to historic defeat and costing her the Speaker’s gavel. Amazingly, Pelosi did not resign at that point, and dispatched several would-be challengers, most notably Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), who later lost his seat to a Republican. She also fended off a challenge by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) after 2016. Pelosi has been a prolific fundraiser for the party, even if she has also become a lightning rod for criticism and a useful political foil for Republicans to run against.

Ironically, Pelosi’s power within her caucus only grew as the Democrats lost seats, because most of the losses were in conservative swing districts. That left a core of liberal representatives from major cities, and blue states such as New York, Illinois, and Pelosi’s home state of California. There has been no political constituency in the caucus for an ideological alternative to the left-wing agenda that Pelosi and her coterie have continued to push even in defeat.

The high expectations that Pelosi set for Tuesday’s special election in Georgia may prove to be her undoing. Early in the week, with Jon Ossoff expected to win, Pelosi let it be known that she expected to take back the Speaker’s gavel after 2018. But Republican Karen Handel surged to victory, partly by tying her opponent to Pelosi.

As reality hit home, some Democrats began to break the taboo around challenging their leader. MSNBC analyst Matthew A. Miller tweeted: “No Dem wants to say it publicly, but taking their top bogeyman Pelosi off the table would help too. Fair or not, it’s the truth.”

Now, other critics are beginning to emerge.

“It’s time for some change. I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). And Rep Filemon Vela (D-TX) told Politico: “I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top … Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.”

But Pelosi also has her defenders — and she will not go easily.

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 piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

A Supreme Court Litmus Test from Our Founders

Photo courtesy Envios, flickr

Photo courtesy Envios, flickr

As the March 20 start of confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch approaches, Americans have been hearing about litmus tests. For instance, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have set up a standard of “being mainstream” in their eyes and respecting precedents they like, ignoring whether they violate the Constitution.

However, there is a far more relevant litmus test – our founders’ views of American government under the Constitution justices pledge to defend. They are worth reviewing as a primer for where attention should focus on any nominee for the Supreme Court.

Samuel Adams: The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution … it is our duty to defend them against all attacks … to maintain the rights bequeathed to us.

Patrick Henry: Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.

Thomas Paine: A constitution is not the act of a government but of a people constituting a government … . All delegated power is a trust, and all assumed power is usurpation.

James Wilson: Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.

Benjamin Franklin: An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges and advantages, is what every part is entitled to.

Thomas Jefferson: A sound spirit of legislation … banishing all arbitrary and unnecessary restraint on individual action, shall leave us free to do whatever does not violate the equal rights of another.

John Dickinson: We cannot be free, without being secure in our property … we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent, others may, as by right, take it away.

George Washington: [Government] has no more right to put their hands into my pockets, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into yours.

John Adams: The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. …“Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” … must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be … made free.

Richard Henry Lee: It must never be forgotten … that the liberties of the people are not so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power.

James Madison: The powers of the federal government are enumerated … it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.

John Taylor of Caroline: Every innovation which weakens the limitations and divisions of power … makes [government] strong for the object of oppression.

Alexander Hamilton: A limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing. … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.

Joseph Story: The Constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes for which those powers were conferred.

James Otis: An act against the Constitution is void.

George Mason: Flagrant violations of the Constitution must disgust the best and wisest part of the community.

Mercy Otis Warren: Any attempt [to] subvert the Constitution … cannot be too severely censured.

Our founders clearly revealed their central purpose was defending Americans’ rights and liberties against encroachment, particularly from overbearing government. That is the Supreme Court’s primary function. Therefore that should the central litmus test focus in evaluating Judge Gorsuch, as well as any other nominee, to the court tasked with preserving and protecting the highest law of the land.

Gary M. Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network. His books include “Lines of Liberty” (2016), “Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies” (2014) and “Apostle of Peace” (2013).

Hillary Clinton gets away with reinforcing gender stereotypes

hillary-clinton-biopics-cancelled-ftrThere was always something odd, and slightly dated, about Hillary Clinton’s promoted reputation during her years as first lady. Women were not a novelty in the workforce in 1992, but you would have thought so to hear the fawning excitement over Mrs. Clinton’s career. She was said to be the most intelligent. The most accomplished. The most influential, qualified, powerful … . The list went on and on, as if some husbands apologize with publicists instead of diamonds.

In 2008, when Nancy Pelosi was the first female speaker of the House of Representatives in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton was not the first woman ever to run for president. But she seemed to get all the press for being the groundbreaking, ceiling-shattering feminist. Nancy Pelosi was treated by the media as the Ethel Mertz of the story, the perpetual second banana who delivers the set-up lines for the star comedienne.

“Comedienne” is considered sexist today, so let me correct that to “comedian.” I don’t want to use a politically incorrect term that offends women, although I am a woman, and that should buy me some slack on these issues but it probably doesn’t.

The rules are so difficult to figure out.

For instance, Hillary Clinton was asked during the recent debate if it was time to change the role of the president’s spouse.

Mrs./Sen./Secretary Clinton answered generally, and then said, “With respect to my own husband, I am probably still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.”

What in the name of Gloria Steinem was that about?

To get a sense of what an outrageous statement that is, imagine the response if a Republican man, or any man, had said he believes that as president, Hillary Clinton will probably choose the flowers and china for state dinners.

Great Betty Friedan, he’d have been strung up with the nearest microphone cord, right there on the spot, and his head would have been impaled on a tall can of hair spray as a warning to the others.

And what Hillary Clinton said next was even more startling. “I will certainly turn to him as prior presidents have,” she said, “for special missions, for advice, and in particular, how we’re going to get the economy working again for everybody, which he knows a little bit about.”

Mother of Bella Abzug! Did the woman who might become the first female president of the United States just say her husband knows more than she does about the economy and jobs? What on Gaia’s green earth was she thinking?

The answer is in the polling data. The Quinnipiac University poll just revealed publicly what a candidate polling privately would already have known: by 53 to 43, voters think Donald Trump “would do a better job handling the economy” than Hillary Clinton.

Some time ago, a conservative-leaning friend of mine, a woman, said she would vote for Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat. “Why?” I asked. “Because we’ll get Bill back to run the economy for eight years,” she told me.

How many voters think that? How many voters would vote for that?

Who knows, but with my own eyes, I saw the woman who once snarked that she wasn’t “some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” who once sneered at women who “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” announce to the country that as president of the United States, she’d handle the dishes and her husband would handle the money.

Holy Alice in Wonderland!

###

TAX REBELLION: Obama Abandons Plan To Tax Americans’ College Savings

President Barack Obama is abandoning his proposal to eliminate Section 529 – the popular tax break used by millions of Americans to save for college — following a big backlash, not only from Republicans and parents, but also from his own Democratic allies.

“Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support, as well as the president’s broader package of tax relief for child care and working families,” a White House official said Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, Obama and his advisers were lobbied directly by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi while she flew with the president on a flight from India to Saudi Arabia. Other Democrats, including House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, were also big critics of the proposal.

So-called 529 plans (named for a part of the tax code) are a popular way for many Americans to save for higher education, as any withdrawals made from the plans are not subject to taxation as long as they are used to pay for college. The plans were a part of the 2001 Bush tax cuts, and Obama himself voted to make them permanent in 2006, using them to save $240,000 for his daughter’s educations. According to the College Savings Plans Network, about 12 million children are estimated to be the beneficiaries of such accounts, spread across 7 million households. (RELATED: Obama Pushing Taxes He Fought Against In The Senate And In His Book)

Obama had argued that 529 plans primarily benefit high earners, but critics argued that it was also a popular option for millions of middle-class households as well. Just hours before the White House caved on Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner slammed the proposal, saying that the plans ”help middle-class families save for college, but now the president wants to tax those plans.”

Some state treasurers spoke out as well, since their states have tried to encourage college savings by offering to match contributions to the plans up to a certain dollar amount.

While the White House countered that any loss for the middle class from 529 reform would be offset by other college affordability proposals the president was making, the backlash ultimately proved too great and forced the president into a hasty retreat.

“This was a textbook case of the broad middle class of the country rising up in a true brushfire rebellion,” Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. ”Oh, and if this was a dress rehearsal for increasing taxes on IRAs and 401(k)s, consider the experiment a failure.”

While the 529 tax hike is gone, Obama is still pushing for an increase in the capital gains tax rate, and for the closure of a loophole that reduces the amount of capital gains tax paid on inherited assets. These increases, it is hoped, will in turn provide the money to fund several proposals Obama has made to try reducing the cost of college, such as expanding tuition tax credits and providing two free years of community college.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Boxer Exit Begins CA Youth Shift in Congress

Girls may run the world, as in the Beyonce song, but women run California’s congressional delegation. More specifically, older Democratic women — but that could change soon.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement announcement earlier this month kicks off a major demographic shift in California’s congressional delegation, as aging Democratic women move closer to retirement. Democratic women are the oldest group in California’s congressional delegation from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

California’s Congressional Delegation: Democratic women oldest group

The 104 women in the 114th Congress make up 19 percent of the members. In California, that percentage doubles — with women claiming 21 of 55 slots, or 38 percent.

Those numbers don’t tell the full story. There’s only one Republican woman from California in Congress, Rep. Mimi Walters of Orange County. Twenty Democratic women represent California in Washington, D.C. — near parity with their 21 Democratic male counterparts. Yet that parity is likely in jeopardy due to one factor: age.

At 81 years old, Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of the United States Senate. She isn’t alone. Of the 15 members of California’s congressional delegation that are 68 years old or older, Democratic women take up 11 slots. The average age of California’s representatives in the 114th Congress, including both U.S. Senators, is 59 years old. For Democratic women, that figure jumps nearly a decade to 67 years old.

Even when you exclude Boxer and Feinstein from the tally and just go with House members, Democrats from California bring up the average age of the delegation. Five of the six oldest members of California’s congressional delegation are Democratic women:

  • Rep Grace Napolitano of El Monte, age 78;
  • Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, age 77;
  • Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, age 76;
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, age 74;
  • Lucille Roybal-Allard of Commerce, age 73.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, another 73-year-old California Democrat, is a few months older than Roybal-Allard.

year of the woman

1992 Year of the Woman

Many of California’s Democratic women first claimed a spot in Congress in 1992’s “Year of the Woman.” While the history books highlight the record number of women elected to the U.S. Senate, California also sent Lynn Schenk, Jane Harman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Anna Eshoo and Lynn Woolsey to the House of Representatives.

Robin Swanson, a California political strategist who has worked for the state’s top Democratic politicians, is optimistic that California is ready for another wave of women.

“We’re long overdue for another Year of the Woman,” she said.

More Democratic retirements around the corner

The remaining members of the class of 1992 are now among the oldest members of Congress and are, obviously, more likely to retire.

When asked about a possible retirement in 2016, Napolitano’s office was unambiguous. “Congresswoman Napolitano is not retiring,” said Jerry O’Donnell, her press secretary. “She plans to run for re-election.”  Despite her advancing years, Napolitano isn’t slowing down. Last week, she reintroduced H.R. 291, “W21: Water in the 21st Century,” a plan to provide “new incentives and investments to help local water agencies, residents and businesses to conserve, recycle and manage limited water supplies.”

A spokesperson for Capps was less emphatic, saying it was still too early to know whether the eight-term Central Coast congresswoman would call it quits this term.

“It’s been less than two weeks since the 114th Congress began, so her focus isn’t on 2016 yet,” said Capps’ spokesperson Chris Meagher. Her focus is “on representing the people of the Central Coast and fighting for the issues they care about.”

Intra-party challengers not waiting for retirements

Even if Capps and Napolitano decide to seek reelection, they could face upstart intra-party challengers —  thanks to California’s Top Two primary system. Older House Democrats have faced spirited challengers from younger politicians in the last two election cycles.

In 2012, then 80-year-old Rep. Pete Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat and 31-year-old challenger Eric Swalwell. Last November, Ro Khanna came within a few points of knocking off 73-year-old Rep. Mike Honda.

Age was a clear factor in both races, where the younger challengers portrayed the seasoned veterans as out-of-touch, especially on technological issues. Honda, according to emails obtained by San Jose Inside, needed his government staff’s help to “set up his personal Netflix account.”

In 2016, state-level politicians eager to move up California’s political food chain could get impatient, knowing un-elected Democratic challengers, such as Swalwell and Khanna, have cut in line.

Shift in Congressional demographics: 113th to 114th Congress

The 113th Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service:

  • An overwhelming majority of Members of Congress with a college education.
  • The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business and law.
  • Most Members identify as Christians, and Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation.
  • Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented.

In the 114th Congress, according to The Hill:

  • There is a record number of female lawmakers at 104, alongside 430 men, following the departure of former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).
  • Lawmakers have an average age of 57. The Senate is older than the House, with an average age of 61 to the lower chamber’s 57.
  • Democrats on average are older than Republicans in both chambers, at 62 to 60 in the Senate and 59 to 54 in the House.

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com