Bipartisan Trio Joins Forces in an Attempt to Claw Back War Powers from President

Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy and Mike Lee (U.S. Senators)

A bipartisan Senate trio is seeking to reassert Congress’ control over war authorizations and military power.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced the National Security Powers Act Tuesday, hoping to clamp down on presidential war powers that have expanded in recent years under presidents of both parties.

The bill requires the president to end foreign hostilities if they are not approved by Congress 20 days after they begin and cuts off funding if a president continues to act without congressional authorization. It gives Congress authority over weapons sales and allows it to prohibit the sale of weapons at its discretion, after former President Donald Trump irked lawmakers with his repeated sales to Middle Eastern allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Ohio Communities Gain Control of Wind, Solar Projects

Three wind turbines

Local communities in Ohio got a little more power regarding renewable energy projects after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that addresses wind and solar projects.

DeWine made Senate Bill 52 law and gave power to county boards on whether to allow or prevent certification of wind and solar projects. The legislation also establishes decommissioning requirements for certain wind and solar facilities.

“One of the most important things we can do as state legislators is to listen to the input of our fellow constituents,” Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, said Monday after DeWine signed the bill. “I can confidently tell you that Ohioans within Seneca County vehemently spoke out against a wind project being built within their communities – Senate Bill 52 being signed into law solidifies their right to local control over these types of projects.”

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Tensions over Capitol Police Funding Bill Hit Boiling Point in the Senate

Senate tensions over a Capitol Police funding bill are nearing a boiling point, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on an amount with just weeks before its funding runs dry.

The department said last week that its funding could run out as soon as next month, risking furloughs and sparking bipartisan concern. But while the House passed a $1.9 billion funding bill in May, partisan divisions in the Senate have stalled it, with Democrats insisting for even more funding and Republicans calling the House bill a nonstarter.

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s chair and ranking member, have both put forward plans only to see them shot down by one another.

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House Passes Resolution Creating Select Committee into Capitol Riot

The House approved a resolution Wednesday to create a select committee into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol weeks after Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan commission into it.

The bill authorizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to select eight members and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to select five in consultation with her. It passed 222 to 190, with two Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in favor.

Though the bill passed with bipartisan support, it was significantly less than the 35 House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan commission in May. House Republican leadership came out against the bill Tuesday, urging its caucus to vote no on the grounds that it would “pursue a partisan agenda and politicize the Jan. 6 attack.”

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Commentary: Big Tech Only Has Itself to Blame for Republican Rethinking of Antitrust

Smartphone with display of social media apps

There are few, if any, political issues that now generate the breadth and intensity of bipartisan backlash as does the rise of Big Tech.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, the major parties largely diverged on their specific grievances against the woke Silicon Valley monopolists who serve as gatekeepers for America’s 21st-century public square. Republicans, by and large, focused on censorship of conservative online speech. Democrats, by contrast, tended to focus on economic concentration; the five American corporations with the largest market caps, for example, are tech behemoths Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google Alphabet, and Facebook. This divergence has stymied efforts to rein in the Big Tech oligarchy on issues such as Section 230, the 1990s-era provision permitting platforms to engage in publisher-like content-moderation decisions without being legally treated as publishers.

Conservatives still have myriad concerns with Big Tech’s noxious brew of speech suppressions, shadow bans, and unaccountable deplatformings. Those concerns are both legitimate and justified by Big Tech’s ever-expanding list of misdeeds. But there is an emerging sea change in the way conservatives conceptualize the relationship between Big Tech’s unfettered content-moderation leeway and the sheer economic clout wielded by the relevant corporate actors.

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Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

Juneteenth Plaque

The Senate unanimously passed legislation Tuesday making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Juneteenth, already celebrated in the majority of states on June 19, commemorates the official end of slavery in Confederate states on that day in 1865. Though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, hundreds of thousands of slaves did not learn of their freedom until after the end of the Civil War.

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Senate Poised to Approve Billions for Well-Heeled Computer Chipmakers

Computer mother board

The Democrat-led Senate is poised to approve as early as Tuesday a China security bill that will earmark billions in taxpayer subsidies to the well-heeled computer chip-making industry, which saw record profits last year and doled out millions in lobbying fees and political donations.

The $54 billion in subsidies for chipmakers inside the 1,445-page U.S. Innovation and Competition Act has some seeing an unnecessary corporate welfare program that could benefit such iconic brands as Intel, Qualcomm and AMD and increase the government’s reach over free market business.

“This bill will increase government’s influence over the private sector while weakening America by increasing our debt,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), one of the legislation’s fiercest critics. “Democrats love spending other people’s money and growing government. I have no idea why any Republican would want to help them do that.”

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Ohio Holidays Could Pack More Punch with Fireworks

Fireworks in the night sky

It may not come in time for the Fourth of July, but Ohioans could add some excitement to certain celebrations if a bill passed Wednesday by the Ohio Senate eventually clears the House and gets signed into law.

Senate Bill 113 would allow people to have consumer-grade fireworks in the state and set them off on certain days and holidays.

Ohioans would be allowed to set off fireworks on New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4 and 5, along with the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend; Diwali; and New Year’s eve. Local communities, however, can eliminate any of those days or ban the practice entirely.

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Business Fairness Act Would Allow Ohio Businesses to Stay Open During Emergencies

Mike DeWine

Ohio businesses would be able to continue to operate during a public health emergency if a bill passed by the Ohio House clears the Senate and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

House Bill 215 would require businesses to comply with safety standards from government orders or regulations to stay open, but it does provide an avenue to keep businesses up in running in times of emergency.

“Small business owners had their worlds turned upside down when they were forced to shut down last year,” Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, said. “Getting this bill signed into law will send a strong message that Ohio will remain open for business and keep our economy moving forward.”

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Mark McCloskey, Lawyer Who Brandished His Rifle at Black Lives Matter Protesters, Floats Senate Bid

Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis lawyer who brandished his assault rifle at Black Lives Matter protesters as they marched through his neighborhood, floated a bid for Missouri’s open Senate seat.

“I can confirm that it’s a consideration, yes,” McCloskey told Politico Tuesday evening, adding that he had no official timeline for announcing his decision.

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Proposed Florida Vote-By-Mail Restrictions Scaled Back, But Opponents Not Swayed

Dennis Baxley

A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.

The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”

Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.

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Commentary: Ohio U.S. Senate Candidate’s Insider Record Clashes with Her Trump-Supporting Rhetoric

The antics of the Democratic Party make it easy to lose sight of other enemies, especially those standing right beside us. The fog of political war conceals not only the foes in the field but also fake allies. Jane Timken’s case is illustrative.

Timken recently announced her plan to run for the Senate in 2022, following incumbent Ohio Republican Rob Portman’s recent decision not to seek reelection. She served as vice chairwoman of the Stark County Republican Party until becoming the first female chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party in 2017. Timken resigned in February when Portman’s retirement presented her with a possible path to the Senate. High-profile praise from a few people in Donald Trump’s orbit has already come her way. 

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Ohio Legislature Passes Transportation Budget with Additional Allocations

The Ohio Senate approved more than $8 billion it hopes will spur both economic development and job growth while tackling the state’s transportation needs over the next two years.

The state’s proposed transportation budget passed the Senate unanimously Thursday with some adjustments made by the Senate, including additional money for public transportation, local road projects and emergency road repair. It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to reopen currently decommissioned weigh stations to serve as overnight parking areas for commercial truckers.

“This transportation budget makes critical investments in Ohio’s communities and local infrastructure,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima. “I am confident House Bill 74 will improve roads and infrastructure that Ohioans use every day and will enhance Ohio’s economy and promote job growth.”

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Missouri House Sends Bill Clipping Health Officials’ Emergency Powers to Senate

A bill that would require local governments to approve extensions of public health emergency orders after 15 days is ready for adoption by the Missouri House.

House Bill 75, sponsored by Rep. Jim Murphy, was perfected Wednesday in a floor debate and awaits only a floor vote to be transferred to the Senate, where a raft of similar bills are matriculating in committees.

HB 75, which has already passed through the House Special Committee on Small Business and Rules – Legislative Oversight committees, would allow local public health officials to order a closure for no more than 15 days.

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Democratic-Led Senate Votes 56-44 to Continue Impeachment Trial of Trump as Day One Concludes

The Democratic-led Senate formally voted on Tuesday to proceed with former President Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate following the first day of arguments.

The vote on the constitutionality of the trial of Trump was 56-44 in favor of moving forward with the trial. The second day of the trial begins at noon on Wednesday. There were six Republican senators voting yes with all Senate Democrats including Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

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Senate Confirms Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense

The Senate voted to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense, making him President Joe Biden’s second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

Austin was confirmed by a bipartisan 93-2 vote and will be the first black person to serve in the role. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Utah Sen. Mike Lee were the only senators to vote against his confirmation.

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Biden Calls Romney ‘a Man of Enormous Integrity,’ Years After ‘Back in Chains’ Attack

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday called Sen. Mitt Romney a “man of enormous integrity,” a stark difference in rhetoric from the presidential campaign trail in 2012, when Biden told an audience with many African Americans that Romney would “put y’all back in chains.”

At a press conference on Friday, Biden said that he spoke to Romney earlier in the day about his opposition to GOP-led efforts to question the results of the 2020 election.

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Eleven Republican U.S. Senators and Senators-Elect Join Growing Chorus in Congress Who Say They Will Challenge Electoral College Results Wednesday

Eleven more Republican U.S. senators and senators-elect from 10 states said they will contest the Electoral College results Wednesday over fraud concerns.

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the 11, made the announcement Saturday. Senator-Elect Bill Hagerty (R-TN), who was endorsed by President Donald Trump in the election, is working with her in the dissent.

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Eleven Republican U.S. Senators and Senators-Elect Join Growing Chorus in Congress Who Say They Will Challenge Electoral College Results Wednesday

Eleven more Republican U.S. senators and senators-elect from 10 states said they will contest the Electoral College results Wednesday over fraud concerns.

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the 11, made the announcement Saturday. Senator-Elect Bill Hagerty (R-TN), who was endorsed by President Donald Trump in the election, is working with her in the dissent.

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Commentary: Ossoff Must Be Defeated Yet Again

This week, I shared my thoughts on the evil soul of the White-hater, Jew-hater, Israel-hater, and overall despicable person Raphael Warnock. To summarize those 1500 words in 20 words: Warnock, who has the theological soul of a Warlock, regards the Wrong Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a modern-day Biblical “prophet.” In truth, Wright is so viciously despicable that even Obama, who once worshipped at Wright’s feet, fled from that church and left Wright as soon as the public learned what that White-hater, America-hater, and Jew-hater was saying each week from his true Bully Pulpit, the pulpit of a bully.

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Georgia’s Senate Runoffs Have Seen $272 Million in Ad Spending in Just 22 Days

Campaigns in Georgia’s two Senate runoff races have spent over $272 million advertising since Election Day, according to an AdAge analysis.

Incumbent GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have reserved $168.5 million worth of ads up to the Jan. 5 runoff, while their respective Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, have collectively reserved $102.5 million, the analysis shows. The sums do not include outside spending that has flooded the two races, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Georgia Democratic Senate Candidate Ossoff Initially Failed to Disclose Payments by Telecom Company Led by Official Opposed to Hong Kong Independence

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff of Georgia was compensated by a Hong Kong media company owned by an anti-democracy executive, a source of income previously undisclosed, The National Review said.

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Tillis Wins After Cunningham Concedes Race

Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham conceded the North Carolina Senate seat to Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis Tuesday.

Cunningham conceded the race Tuesday, a week after Election Day, after Decision Desk HQ projected that the 47-year-old challenger had lost the race for the only North Carolina Senate seat up for grabs in 2020.

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Commentary: A Republican Senate Will Keep Biden in Check? Oh, Please!

In February 2020, Mitt Romney became the first U.S. senator in history to vote to convict the president of his own party. Despite a laughable impeachment case concocted by House Democrats and clear evidence of corruption tied to the Democratic presidential candidate whom the impeachment effort was designed to protect, Romney nonetheless supported the removal of Donald Trump from the White House.

“My faith is at the heart of who I am,” Utah’s junior senator claimed while working up tears from the Senate floor on February 5. “The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.”

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Perdue-Ossoff Race, Control of U.S. Senate Heading Toward January Runoff in Georgia

Ongoing vote tallies in Georgia suggest the fate of the U.S. Senate race between Sen. David Perdue and Jon Ossoff, and, perhaps, control of the U.S. Senate, will be decided by a runoff election in January.

As of Friday morning, incumbent Republican Perdue leads Ossoff, a Democrat, by 98,410 votes, with a 49.84% to 47.84% advantage – below the more than 50% of the vote Perdue needs to avoid a runoff against Ossoff on Jan. 5.

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Democratic Sen Gary Peters Wins Reelection in Michigan

Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters won a second term Wednesday, multiple outlets reported.

Peters beat GOP challenger John James, a businessman and former Air Force pilot, by just 1.1 points, leading 49.6% to 48.5% when the race was called. Though the state was viewed as one of Republicans’ only senate pickup opportunities this cycle, most forecasts predicted Peters to win.

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Commentary: Republicans Leading in the Senate May Save America from Democratic One-Party Rule

States are still counting votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina — and with disputed deadlines currently allowing absentee ballots to still be received days after the election in Pennsylvania and North Carolina — it is simply too close to call the presidential race.

President Donald Trump carried Ohio, Florida and Iowa by big margins despite many mainstream news polls saying he would lose those states handily — which are little better than astrology at this point — and is still promising to take the race for the White House to the Supreme Court with litigation, presumably challenging any late ballots that come in.

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Republicans Will Put PPP Funding Back on the Floor for a Vote Despite Democrats’ Efforts to Block It, Sen. Blackburn Says

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told CNBC’s SquawkBox on Wednesday that Republicans will try again to pass their bill that would provide PPP and vaccine funding despite Democrats’ attempts to block the efforts.

CNBC asked Blackburn if she would vote for a deal if the White House and the Treasury Department reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12).

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Democrats Give ‘Panicked Stump Speech’ in Opposition to Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Marsha Blackburn Says in Opening Remarks at Confirmation Hearing

Democrats are “trying to create a panic” and turn Americans against Judge Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn said during opening statements Monday at the Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

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Court Pick Barrett Visits Senate Ahead of Confirmation Fight

President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a day of meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other pivotal Republican senators in preparation for her fast-track confirmation before the Nov. 3 election.

Joined by Vice President Mike Pence, McConnell said he was glad to welcome Barrett and “get the process started” on her confirmation. But the Republican leader declined to answer questions about whether the judge should recuse herself if legal challenges to the election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden land at the high court.

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Commentary: Dear GOP Senate, Please Get This Right!

As Jack Nicholson said in “Terms of Endearment,” you were just inches from a clean getaway.
Armed with a wholly unimpressive list of accomplishments from the past four years, with the exception of confirming hundreds of federal judges, you were prepared to return home to defend your paltry record with little more than the argument that the other side is much, much worse. Which, lucky for you, is true.

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Sherrod Brown and Four Other Democratic Senators Kneel at George Floyd Memorial

Five Democrat senators knelt during a moment of silence for George Floyd in a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) knelt, which lasted for eight minutes and 46 seconds, The Hill reported. That was the length of time fired Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck before he died. Chauvin faces a second-degree murder charge over the incident.

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Sen. Alexander Throws Lot in With Democrats to Try to Block President Trump’s War Powers to Respond to Attacks by Iran

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) threw his lot in with his Democrat colleagues Thursday to try to block President Donald Trump from using his war powers authority to handle attacks by Iran without begging for congressional approval first.

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Flashback: 152 Years Ago an Ohio Senator Stood One Vote Away From Becoming President During the Impeachment Trial of Andrew Johnson

U.S. Sen. Benjamin Wade of Ohio, the chamber’s president pro tempore, for a time stood one vote away from becoming president in the Senate’s impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

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Lawmakers’ and Media’s Impeachment Obsession Is Allowing Big Tech to Build a Surveillance State

Lawmakers are too busy wrestling with matters related to President Donald Trump’s impeachment to address issues related to the government’s deployment of facial recognition technology.

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The Battleground State Report: Potential Bad News for Democratic Presidential Candidates if Impeachment Moves to Senate for a Vote

During a live recording on Friday’s Battleground State Report with Michael Patrick Leahy and Doug Kellett – a one-hour radio show from Star News Digital Media in the early stages of national weekend syndication rollout – Leahy and Kellett talked through scenarios that could happen to the Democratic Presidential candidates that are Senators if the impeachment moves to the Senate.

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Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks Joins Leahy Live in DC to Discuss a Potential 2022 Senate Run and the Impeachment Inquiry

On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – live from the nation’s capitol Leahy spoke to Congressman Mo Brooks about some Alabama football his aspirations to run for a Senate seat in 2020.

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