Senator Mitch McConnell Discusses Inflation Reduction Bill On Fox News’ Special Report Show

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on Fox News Special Report w/Bret Baier (08/03/22) to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act currently being negotiated in the U.S. Senate. Senator McConnell said he found the way Democrats characterized the bill “laughable”, because in his opinion, the bill actually increases inflation. Senate Democrats appear poised to approve the measure on a straight party vote.

Senator McConnell said this about the Inflation Reduction Act (0:27): “First, I think all of us were somewhat shocked by Senator Manchin’s reversal of positions he’d taken as recently as last week, against raising taxes. This raises taxes, it increases the burden of taxation on lower income people significantly. Calling it inflation reduction bill is rather laughable. Independent analysis indicates it actually increases inflation in the next two years, and may have an impact over ten years, and their policies from last year have already produced 40-year high inflation, so it’s a terrible package. It appears as if they are all in line, but one, it will be up to Senator Sinema from Arizona, who’s quite independent, to determine what the final contours of the bill are.”

Asked about the charge by irate Republicans, that he was “played” by Democrats regarding the reconciliation bill, McConnell responded (1:28): “Reconciliation is something done by one party only. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent the Democrats from doing a bill that only they will vote for, so it’s not a question of being played here, what’s the story line here is that Senator Manchin had agreed to something that he had said publicly and privately over the last two weeks that he would never agree to. We’re not involved in the reconciliation bill. There won’t be a single Republican vote for it. There’s nothing we could do to deter it, other than to criticize it publicly, and that’s what we’re doing right here.”

Host Bret Baier then cornered Senator McConnell with a very interesting question as to why he has repeatedly cited renowned economists Larry Summers and Jason Furman on ways to tackle the current record inflation, yet now he refuses to follow their advice that the Inflation Reduction Act will help reduce inflation? Senator McConnell accused the economists of trying to appease President Biden. He specifically said (2:41):“The quotes they used me in, were Summers’ observations about what they [Biden Administration] did last year. Two trillion dollars they dumped on the economy, that both Furman and Summers predicted would produce rampant inflation, and it did. What they’ve done this year is kind of fall in line, and I assume they wanted to get back on the White House Christmas card list, but people who are not active Democrats, independent observers have said it has no impact on inflation, at all, over the long term, and actually increases it slightly in the short term. So Furman and Summers were certainly helpful as active Democrats in describing last year’s bill, but this year they’re sort of falling in line because I think they want to get back in the good grace of the White House.”

Asked about criticism from House Republicans, some of whom don’t want him as Senate Majority Leader any more, over what they perceive as him being “played” repeatedly by Democrats, and making President Biden look good, McConnell responded(3:55): “Well, I guess they’ve forgotten the Supreme Court that I’ve helped usher into–three new Supreme Court justices, the 2017 tax bill…I think just because you have closely divided government doesn’t mean you do nothing. The past two administrations tried to achieve bipartisan infrastructure, didn’t get it done, we needed to rescue the post office. Just because it’s a Democrat in the White House, I don’t think means Republicans should do nothing that’s good for the country. In the meantime, on the big issues, we are totally opposed to what this administration is trying to do, but on things like school safety, mental health, infrastructure, postal reform, why would we not want to make progress for the country no matter who’s in the White House?”

Asked about reservation by some Republicans, that expanding NATO to include Sweden and Finland, increases the likelihood of sending our troops into combat in Europe, Sen McConnell responded (5:08): “The NATO alliance is the most successful military alliance in world history. The way to prevent Americans from having to actively get involved in combat is to prevent it in the first place, and that’s what NATO is about. It won the cold war without firing a single shot. Putin has succeeded not only in actually expanding NATO and making it even more effective as a deterrent. Remember Reagan said peace through strength, and that’s what NATO is all about, and that’s why Finland and Sweden add a lot to NATO.”

Asked to pick between the Russia-Ukraine war, and the situation at our southern border, which one was a bigger national security threat to the United States, McConnell said both were threats that needed to be dealt with seriously–probably not the answer Fox News viewers obsessed with the southern border, wanted to hear.

Importantly, when asked about his earlier prediction that there would be a “red wave” in this year’s midterm elections, McConnell appears to have had a change of mind (probably due to Kansas), saying now that it will be a “very tight” election. McConnell specifically said (7:02): “I think it’s going to be very tight, we have a 50-50 Senate now, we have a 50-50 nation, and I think when the Senate race smoke clears, we are likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with either up slightly, or the Democrats up slightly”–a far cry from the “red wave” talk we heard earlier in the year from McConnell and his fellow Republicans.

Asked about the Kansas abortion vote heard around the world, McConnell responded (7:35): “I think what the Supreme Court has done is said people who are elected by the American people are going to deal with this highly sensitive issue, and it will be playing out all year, and I don’t think we really know until the end of the year, what kind of an impact putting this issue back into the hands of those of us who are elected, as opposed to nine unelected judges, will have on the country. We’re in the process of finding that out…It tells us that there are a lot of people interested in the issue in Kansas, there’s no question about that.”

Asked whether he would survive his leadership role if “Trumpified” candidates(J.D. Vance, Oz, Blake Masters, Ted Budd etc) win this November, Sen McConnell responded (8:37): “I’ve been elected eight times without opposition. I don’t own this job, and there’s always an election every two years for leader. If anybody wants to challenge me, have at it.” McConnell added that he will still hang on as Minority Leader if Republicans don’t take over the Senate this Fall.

Asked whether, given his lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, there is a single issue the modern Republican Party gets right, which the old Republican Party got wrong, McConnell was all over the place. He didn’t give an answer that specifically answered the question.

Bottom line folks, the key takeaway from Senator McConnell’s interview on Fox News is that the “red wave” fantasy is gone. Republicans now acknowledge that even with the challenging economic times, and President Biden’s low approval numbers, the 2022 midterm elections will be very competitive. Reasonable politicos will agree that given historical trends re midterms, the fact that Dems are even still in the ball game, tells you all you need to know about the state of affairs at Trump’s GOP. 

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Moderate House Dems Shoot Down AOC’s Intel Oversight Amendment

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On 12/9/21 Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) introduced an amendment(Amendment 148 to H.R. 5314–Protect Our Democracy Act), that would have restored the oversight powers Congress always intended the Government Accountability Office(GAO) to have, including over our intelligence agencies. Our intelligence agencies, as everyone knows, are notoriously impervious to any Congressional oversight, and often hide behind a vague 1988 Department of Justice opinion to justify their need for secrecy. Rep Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment would have taken away that cover, ensuring much-needed transparency from our intelligence agencies. Surprisingly, 23 Centrist Democrats voted with House Republicans to kill her amendment.

As Rep Ocasio-Cortez correctly pointed out on the House floor, given the kinds of abuses we’ve witnessed during Trump’s presidency, it is only prudent that we restore GAO’s oversight powers over all federal agencies, including our intelligence agencies. Any reasonable person would agree, that it is foolhardy to assume that former President Trump abused all other federal agencies for his selfish political interests, except our intelligence apparatus, the easiest ones to abuse given the secrecy with which they are allowed to operate.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor: “Since it’s creation in 1921, the Government Accountability Office(GAO) has had the purview to conduct oversight of all federal agencies with the goal of reducing waste, fraud and abuse, and holding accountable bad actors. However and unfortunately, most of our intelligence agencies today are not fully cooperative with the GAO, pointing to an outdated and vague 1988 Department of Justice opinion. Our amendment would allow the GAO to act as a check on this behavior, not creating new powers, but restoring the power Congress always intended the GAO to have. This amendment is welcomed by many in the intelligence community, who want to protect their important work and resources from abuse, particularly after the last presidency we just endured. We drafted this amendment in partnership with the community and I’m proud to have the support of Representative Adam Schiff who serves as the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact many of my colleagues have already taken a stand in support of this legislation because in 2010, the House passed a virtually identical amendment.”

The amendment failed with a final tally of 233 nays, 196 yeas, with 4 members not voting. Among the 233 nays were 23 Centrist Democrats who Yours Truly is compelled to name. The nay Dems included Reps Cynthia Axne(IA), Cheri Bustos(IL), Matt Cartwright(PA), Angie Craig(MN), Antonio Delgado(NY), Val Demings(FL), Jared Golden(ME), Josh Gottheimer(NJ), Chrissy Houlahan(PA), Conor Lamb(PA), Susie Lee(NV), Elaine Luria(VA), Tom O’Halleran(AZ), Chris Pappas(NH), Kurt Schrader(OR), Kim Schrier(WA), Terri Sewell(AL), Mikie Sherrill(NJ), Abigail Spanberger(VA), David Trone(MD), Filemon Vela(TX), Jennifer Wexton(VA), Susan Wild(PA).

Ever since the Patriot Act was enacted after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, there have been growing calls from civil libertarians and others, for there to be some checks on the almost absolute powers we granted our intelligence agencies after the 9/11 attacks. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple–power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fast forward to the Trump administration and the abuses we witnessed occurring across all federal agencies–(DOJ being used for the Big Lie, Military on Black Lives Matter protesters in DC, numerous abuses of DHS, “failure” by our intel agencies to anticipate Jan 6th insurrection)– and the need to look into our intel agencies becomes an absolute necessity. It’s against this backdrop that Rep Ocasio-Cortez, with the support of many in the intel community, are pushing for more transparency. One would assume given these set of circumstances, that more oversight would be a no-brainer for Democrats, but apparently not.

Concerns about possible abuses of our intel agencies run the gamut, from the mundane warrantless snooping of our electronic communications (emails, texts, voicemails, etc), to much more serious allegations that if proven, constitute serious violations of our commitments under the United Nations Conventions Against Torture(CAT). These include allegations of 24/7 organized stalking, non-consensual for-profit human experimentation on people entered on terrorism watchlists by weapons manufacturers and others in Big Tech(remote neuromonitoring), militarized attacks on civilians(usually watchlisted) with directed energy weapons, manufactured terrorism cases, etc. These are serious human rights violations that can only come to light through proper oversight. It also bears pointing out that similar egregious abuses have in the past been attributed to our intel agencies, a recent good example being the non-consensual experimentation on U.S. civilians using radiation. President Clinton in 1995, did the just and moral thing by not only exposing this inhumane conduct, but also making whole the surviving victims. The same can be done today.

Bottom line folks, Rep Ocasio-Cortez deserves a lot of praise for pushing for reform on a topic most politicians, and quite frankly the mainstream media, have been terrified to venture into. One only hopes that she musters the courage to push on with it, despite the recent setback on the House floor. Simply put, time has come for our intel agencies to be subjected to some real oversight.

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