Ohio Lawmakers Prepare for the First Week of Lame-Duck Session

After taking a break over the summer and part of the fall for the general election, lawmakers are returning to the Ohio Statehouse to consider many different bills before the two-year session of this general assembly ends in December.

The committees and floor votes which occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, work to conclude urgent or unfinished bills that lawmakers have introduced. Once the session ends, lawmakers will either overlook or reject the bills and legislators, returning incumbents, and newly-elected officials will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

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Commentary: Democrats Face Historic Headwinds in Tuesday’s Midterm Elections

Regardless of all that wispy smoke Democrats and their allies in the news media are blowing, key polls suggest Republicans are still likely to win back control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections and have a better than even chance to take over the Senate.

Historically, one of the strongest indicators – perhaps the strongest indicator – of how a party will do in midterm elections is the job approval rating of the incumbent president. Parties of presidents who are down in the polls usually lose congressional seats. Parties of presidents up in the polls generally gain seats in the midterms.

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Ohio Voters May Be in New House, Senate, and Congressional Districts Due to Redistricting

Ohio’s journey to develop maps for the legislative and congressional voting districts has put many voters in new Ohio House, Senate, and Congressional districts for the upcoming election.

When voters go to the polls next week they may notice that they have different lawmakers representing them at the Statehouse and in Washington.

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Democrat Tim Ryan Now Says He’s in Favor of Ohio State Issues 1 and 2

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) now says he is planning to vote “yes” for State Issues 1 and 2 making him the fourth and last leading statewide Ohio candidate to do so.

When asked previously about the state issues Ryan stated he had not “read them” and intends to “dig into them before I make a decision.” Vance has endorsed both state issues, calling them “common sense.” Republican Governor Mike DeWine and his Democratic contender Nan Whaley have also said they will vote for both ballot initiatives.

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Ohio’s U.S. Senate Race in Virtual Dead Heat

Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and Republican control of at least one Ohio U.S. Senate seat remains a tossup as the Nov. 8 general election creeps closer.

The most recent Suffolk University and USA Today poll shows Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance in a dead heat, keeping with poll numbers from a variety of organizations over the past month.

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Proposed Ohio House Bill Looks to Eliminate ‘Third Grade Reading Guarantee’

House Bill 497 sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Phil Robinson (D- Solon) would eliminate student retention under Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.

Ohio’s Third-Grade Reading Guarantee is a program utilized to identify students who are behind in reading from kindergarten through third grade. Since the 2013-14 school year, third graders must obtain a 685 score or higher on a standardized reading test or they will be held back a grade.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Expand Paid Parental Leave for State Employees

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 360, aims to increase paid parental leave for state employees.

State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the bill which would extend paid parental leave for state employees from six weeks to twelve weeks for parents of newborn or adopted children. This bill would also eliminate the waiting period of two- weeks which is required prior to accessing paid parental leave.

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Ohio Senate Bill Looks to Address Teacher Shortage by Employing Veterans

A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 361, aims to address the current teacher shortage by allowing veterans to become teachers without having a background in education provided they pass a particular set of criteria set forth in the bill.

State Senator Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction) sponsored the bill, which allows a veteran to become an educator by completing four years of service, being honorably discharged, or receiving a medical separation.

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Herschel Walker Denies ‘In Strongest Possible Terms’ Paying for Abortion, in Report Threatening Senate Bid

Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker says he will file a defamation suit Tuesday morning against a news outlet for its report that he paid for a woman’s abortion over 10 years ago – an allegation he says he denies in “the strongest possible terms.”

The report was published Monday by the Daily Beast, based on an allegation from an ex-girlfriend and could have a major impact on Walker, who’s a strong anti-abortion candidate, and his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock. 

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Bill Clinton Warns Democrats Not to Let ‘Defund the Police and Socialism’ Hurt Them This Election

Former President Bill Clinton warned the Democratic Party that it shouldn’t let “defund the police and socialism” damage their chances of winning the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton was asked how the U.S. should handle existing threats to its democracy.

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New Ohio Senate Bill Aims to Make ‘Swatting’ a Felony

In response to 8 Ohio schools going into lock down on Friday, due to an internet hoax that sent false reports about active shooters on their campuses, additional support has been gathered for Senator Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) bill (SB292) to stop ‘swatting’ and making fake emergency calls a felony in the state.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘swatting’ is: to make a false report of an ongoing serious crime in order to elicit a response from law enforcement (such as the dispatch of a SWAT unit)

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Senate Delays Vote on National Same-Sex Marriage Bill Until After Midterms

A highly contentious vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage at the federal level has been put on hold until after the November midterms, as the legislation struggles to garner 60 votes in support.

Politico reports that the bipartisan group of senators working on the bill, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, made their announcement on Thursday. They had previously been considering a vote on the legislation as soon as Monday of next week, but determined that they could not garner enough Republican support to overcome a possible filibuster that would kill the legislation.

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Republican Senators, Manchin Revive Trump-Era Energy Reform

The Senate voted to reinstate rules helping expedite the construction of energy infrastructure that persisted under former President Donald Trump, eliminating a final rule that was previously imposed by the Biden administration.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a united Republican caucus to pass a Resolution of Disapproval in a 50-47 vote by using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the Biden administration’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, according to Senate logs. The move will accelerate federal permitting for the development of crucial future energy, mining, and infrastructure projects.

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Senate Approves Sweden and Finland’s NATO Entry

The United States Senate voted to approve a treaty to allow Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.

The treaty received bipartisan support and was passed with 95-1 votes in favor of expanding NATO, The New York Times reported. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced their support for the ratification of the treaty and the growth of the organization.

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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Faces Uncertain Future in the Senate

The U.S. House passed a bill to codify same-sex marriage late Tuesday, but whether it will pass the Senate remains up in the air.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” passed the House 267-157 with 47 Republicans voting in favor. The legislation would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. That law has been largely gutted by the Supreme Court but still remains on the books.

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Legislation Could Create Licensure Reciprocity in Ohio

Ohio moved a step closer to recognizing business licenses from other states, which could help with an ongoing labor shortage, a Columbus-based policy group believes.

The House and Senate each passed versions of bills that would adopt universal occupational license recognition before the summer recess, a move The Buckeye Institute believes will make the state more attractive to newcomers and allow employers more options to fill open spots.

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Senate Confirms Biden’s ‘Radical’ FTC Pick Criticized for Anti-ICE Stance

The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee Alvaro Bedoya to the empty fifth seat on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The 50-50 Senate vote was broken with a tie breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris, and gives Democrats a 3-2 advantage at the FTC. Bedoya, who is professor at Georgetown Law, was previously criticized by Senate Republicans for his past comments on social media and in other outlets opposing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after President Joe Biden announced his nomination.

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Rand Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Package

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.

According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.

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Minnesota House and Senate Pass $25 Million Broadband Expansion Bill

It will cost Minnesota taxpayers $25 million in fiscal year 2023 to expand high-speed broadband access across the state if the governor signs a bill both legislative houses passed this week.

HF 4366, an omnibus agriculture and housing bill, includes increasing availability of grant funding for broadband from 50% to 75% of the total cost of a project, or up to $10 million, rather than a $5 million limit. Under the bill, the Office of Broadband Development must report to broadband policy and finance committees’ leaders by the end of 2022 how the bill changes the number and amounts of grants awarded.

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Americans Support Trump’s China Tariffs as Republican Senators Push to Remove Them

As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.

“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”

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GOP Sen. Collins Says She’ll Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she’ll will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, guaranteeing President Biden’s judicial nominee at least a slim path toward confirmation.

Jackson will need 51 votes in final Senate vote – with the chamber evenly split among 50 Democrats and 50 Republican. With no GOP support, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the decisive, tiebreaker vote.

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Ohio House Passes Bill Aimed at Nuclear Power Development

“In recent years, there has been a global shift in attitudes toward the development of new nuclear technologies to deploy scalable clean energy,” Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, said. “This legislation will bring Ohio to the forefront of advanced nuclear innovation and strengthen our domestic supply chains. This legislation is a proactive measure to tell the federal government Ohio is here to be a solution to find a clean, carbon-free energy source.”

The new authority, according to a news release, would be responsible for the development of advanced nuclear reactor commercialization, isotope production and nuclear waste reduction.

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Arizona Senate Study Estimates 200K Ballots Counted in 2020 with Mismatched Signatures

Astudy of Maricopa County’s mail ballots in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election estimates that more than 200,000 ballots with mismatched signatures were counted without being reviewed, or “cured” — more than eight times the 25,000 signature mismatches requiring curing acknowledged by the county.

Commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, the signature verification pilot study was conducted by Shiva Ayyadurai’s Election Systems Integrity Institute, which released its final report to the public on Tuesday. Ayyadurai is an engineer and entrpreneur with four degrees from MIT who bills himself as the inventor of email, a claim which critics have alleged is exaggerated.

Of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots that Maricopa County received and counted in the 2020 presidential election, the county reported that 25,000, or 1.3%, had signature mismatches that required curing, but only 587 (2.3%) of those were confirmed mismatched signatures.

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Postal Service Legislative ‘Fix’ Will Dump Workers on Medicare

A bill to “fix” the troubled United States Post Office (USPS) is on the verge of passage in the Senate but does it solve more problems than it creates? The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 3076 was scheduled for a vote earlier this month but was blocked by Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida) on a procedural technicality.  “We can’t afford to add stress on our already enormous national debt with poor financial planning, which I think this bill absolutely does,” Scott said of the bill.

Now it’s back and on track for a vote in the Senate.

The biggest financial liability facing the USPS is the legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance for its workers. Congress has found a way around that by dumping the future postal workers on to Medicare.

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Two Key Senate Races Moved in GOP’s Direction by Noted Election Handicapper Cook Political Report

Richard Burr and Michael Bennet

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted its forecasts for two 2022 Senate races in the direction of Republicans.

The report moved the North Carolina Senate race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr moved from “toss-up” to “likely Republican.” And moved the Colorado Senate race, in which Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet is seeking a third term, from “solid Democrat” into the “likely Democrat” catagory.

The North Carolina GOP primary is now a competitive race between former President Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker, with (with Budd and McCrory currently deadlocked).

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Democrats, Environmentalists Stay Silent on U.S. Energy Independence Amid Ukraine Crisis

Democrats and environmental groups were silent when asked about the importance of U.S. energy independence in light of the energy market volatility caused by the Ukraine crisis.

Several Democratic leaders in the House and Senate who hold leadership roles on committees or subcommittees tasked with overseeing energy policy ignored requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday about the importance of promoting U.S. energy independence. In addition, five major environmental groups chose not to address the issue or stayed silent when asked about the issue.

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Ohio Businesses Could Get $25K in Tax Breaks to Train Truck Drivers

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would give employers $25,000 in tax credits to train new drivers in an effort to help companies across the state alleviate a growing truck driving shortage.

House Bill 197, backed by trucking and business organizations, now heads to the Senate. It passed the House, 97-0, this week.

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Senate Report Confirms Thousands of Americans Were Left Behind in Afghanistan Following Biden Regime’s Botched Withdrawal

Thousands of Americans were left in Afghanistan after the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal last summer, according to a stunning new report released by the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Biden administration officials claimed that number of Americans left behind was only 100-150.

According to the report, published by Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Biden Administration “did not hold a senior-level interagency meeting to discuss an evacuation or formally task the State Department (State) to contact at risk populations, including Americans, until August 14, just hours before Kabul fell.”

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Bill Strips Ohio School Districts’ Ability to Challenge Property Valuations

Ohio State House

Property owners could be spared challenges to property valuations from local school districts and the potential of higher property taxes if a bill recently passed by the Ohio Senate clears the House and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Amended House Bill 126 stops local school districts from initiating challenges to property tax valuations and appealing a decision from the board of revision to the board of tax appeals if a property owner filed a challenge.

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) called the legislation an overreach, while the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Realtors Association supported the bill and recently penned an opinion piece on it.

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Commentary: Replacing the Irreplaceable Nancy Pelosi

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as he departs the U.S. Capitol after addressing the House Democratic Caucus, Thursday, October 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Last week there was quite a lot of news media chatter about swapping Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden on the 2024 Democrat presidential ticket, a fascinating concept that pundits couldn’t stop talking about. It didn’t receive nearly the headlines, but whispers involving the impending retirement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and her eventual replacement — have also begun in earnest.

Of course, there’s been no formal announcement that she’s leaving — either from the Speaker herself or the poohbahs at Democrat National Committee headquarters. But like all worst kept secrets, everyone with a brain and some knowledge of American politics understands that Pelosi shares characteristics with a ticking time bomb set to go off later this year.

With the prospects for Democrats holding the majority after this year’s federal midterm elections growing dimmer by the day, folks have initiated a political death watch for the soon-to-be 82-year-old gavel bearer. A large number of veteran party incumbents have officially indicated they’re heading for the exits after this session concludes. Combined with redistricting changes (after the 2020 census) and a basketful of “moderate” (they’re really not balanced, but that’s how the media refers to them) Democrats facing fierce headwinds in their swing districts, and the numbers bloodbath could/should be scary.

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Report: More than 50,000 Illegal Immigrants Released into U.S. Don’t Show for Court Hearings

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the McAllen station encounter large group after large group of family units in Los Ebanos, Texas, on Friday June 15. This group well in excess of 100 family units turned themselves into the U.S. Border Patrol, after crossing the border illegally and walking through the town of Los Ebanos.

More than 50,000 illegal immigrants released into the U.S. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to report to their deportation proceedings during a five-month period analyzed last year, according to a report provided by the Department of Homeland Security to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin. The report also states that ICE doesn’t have court information on more than 40,000 individuals it’s supposed to prosecute.

“Between March and August 2021, as a result of the Biden Administration’s failed border policies, over 270,000 illegal aliens have been dispersed into the United States with little chance for removal,” Johnson said in an announcement accompanying the report, which didn’t include data from the other seven months of the year.

Over the same time period, “over 50,000 illegal aliens – more than half of the aliens released into the interior of the United States under a Notice to Report (NTR) – failed to appear to begin deportation proceedings,” the DHS report states.

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Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End U.S. Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Mark Kelly and Tom Cotton

A Republican and Democratic senator introduced legislation Friday that aims to end U.S. reliance on rare-earth metals sourced from and produced in China.

The Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths (REEShore) Act would prevent supply disruptions and bolster domestic production of the minerals, according to Sens. Tom Cotton and Mark Kelly, the bill’s sponsors. They said the legislation is important for American national security and development of advanced technologies.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets,” Cotton said in a statement. “Ending America’s dependence on the CCP for extraction and processing of these elements is critical to winning the strategic competition against China and protecting our national security.”

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Iowa Capitol Reporters Lose Access to Senate Press Bench

Iowa Senate leaders have decided press will no longer have seating at the press bench at the front of the Senate chamber floor.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most state legislatures allowed access to the chamber floors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures April 2019 state-by-state report on media access and credentialing.

“Media access to the people who make laws is a critical component of representative government,” the Iowa Capitol Press Association said in a statement Friday. “Primarily for this reason, the Iowa Capitol Press Association is extremely disappointed in the Iowa Senate’s decision to move reporters out of the press work stations on the chamber floor and into the upstairs gallery.”

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Pelosi Plans to Run Again, Stay on as Democratic Leader, Despite Earlier Promise, Report

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly will continue on in her capacity as the chamber’s top Democrat after she turns 82 this year.

Pelosi will file and run for reelection in her northern California district next year (her 18th term) and is considering whether to stay in leadership, despite an initial promise to give up her role as top House Democrat, CNN reported over the weekend.

Pelosi will primarily spend the next year raising money for Democrats as they attempt to hold onto their narrow majority in the lower chamber.

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Senate Clears Way for Democrats to Lift the Debt Ceiling After Agreement Between Schumer, McConnell

Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell

A bill that would enable Democrats to raise the debt ceiling without overcoming a Senate filibuster passed the chamber Thursday afternoon with bipartisan support.

The debt ceiling provisions were attached to a bill that prevents automatic cuts to Medicare. Ironically, the legislation, which passed the House on near party lines Tuesday, required 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, and passed after 14 Republicans joined Democrats in advancing it.

The provision was the product of a deal struck Tuesday between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Under it, Congress would pass a law allowing the debt ceiling to be raised with a simple majority this one time, and the bill’s passage puts the limit on a glade path to be lifted by Democrats alone ahead of Dec. 15, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned a default could occur.

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Congress Wants to Make Big Tech Responsible for Online Speech

Person on space gray iPhone

While there is agreement between large factions of both Republicans and Democrats that social media companies should be liable for certain third-party content hosted on their platforms, the parties differ on what that content should be, and why platforms should be liable in the first place.

Congress appeared no closer to finding common ground following a House Energy and Commerce hearing Wednesday, in which lawmakers considered several bills seeking to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Wednesday’s hearing made clear that Republicans and Democrats have drastically different solutions to hold Big Tech accountable,” Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Republicans are fighting for free speech, while Democrats continue to push for more censorship and control. Bipartisanship will not be possible until Democrats agree that we need less censorship, not more.”

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War Hero and Longtime Republican Leader Bob Dole Dead at Age of 98

Bobe Dole

Bob Dole, a son of the prairie from Russell, Kan., who survived grievous injuries during World War II to battle for decades as a Republican Senate leader and presidential candidate, died Sunday at the age of 98 after a battle with lung cancer.

His death was announced by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation founded by his wife and former North Carolina senator.

“Senator Robert J. Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years,” the statement said.

The family had announced in February he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was beginning treatments.

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Democratic Senate Bill Allocates $5 Million for ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at National Science Foundation

Black scientist with safety goggles and mask on

A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.

According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”

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Biden’s FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Wants to ‘Silence Dissent,’ Top Senate Republicans Say

Gigi Sohn

Senate Commerce Republicans are whipping opposition to the nomination of Gigi Sohn, one of President Joe Biden’s picks for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Biden nominated Sohn, former FCC counsel under Tom Wheeler and Ford Foundation alum, to an empty spot on the commission in late October, along with current acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to the permanent position.

While Republicans have been quiet in their response to the nomination of Rosenworcel, many are pointing to Sohn’s public statements on conservatives as reasons to oppose her confirmation.

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Commentary: Very Fine People

Large group of people storming Washington D.C. in protest on January 6.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, was one of the people who made their way into the chamber of the U.S. Senate in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to protest the Senate’s impending certification of state electors who would install Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. His name may not register, but his image will: he was the fellow bizarrely attired in a coyote-fur hat sprouting black buffalo horns; shirtless, showing his muscular but heavily tattooed torso; sporting black gloves and a red knapsack; face painted in vertical red, white, and blue stripes; and carrying an American flag on a spear.

The disorderly intrusion of several hundred protesters into the Capitol was quickly characterized by the media, and by many politicians, as an “insurrection.” Moreover, the accusation of insurrection was applied to the many thousands of Trump supporters in Washington that day who had nothing to do with the intrusion into the Capitol. And that characterization became the basis for the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump for supposedly inciting the “insurrection” and the impetus for Joe Biden to order 26,000 National Guard troops to defend Washington during his inauguration on January 20.

As it happened, there was no insurrection.

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Commentary: Taking the Infrastructure Bill Hostage Didn’t Work

Nancy Pelosi, AOC's mother and her all together

Back in August, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait blessed the strategy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to withhold their votes for the Senate’s bipartisan physical infrastructure plan until that bill was effectively linked to a bigger, broader, and surely partisan, measure investing in a range of items from climate protection to universal preschool. He argued that “ransoming the infrastructure bill” would turn the tables on the party’s moderates:

Historically, most partisan bills are shaped by the preferences of the members of Congress closest to the middle, and their colleagues on the political extreme simply have to go along with it. … This time, the left has real power. Progressives can credibly threaten to sink a priority that moderates care about more than they do.

Twice in the past two months, most recently last Thursday, the House progressives successfully executed this strategy, blocking attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation before an agreement is reached on the larger “Build Back Better” bill.

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Ohioans a Step Away Again from Legal Fireworks

Fireworks in the night sky

The Ohio General Assembly lit the fuse for legal fireworks for a second time this year after Gov. Mike DeWine extinguished the first attempt with a veto.

The House and Senate passed House Bill 172, allowing for Ohioans to shoot consumer-grade fireworks at certain times of the year. DeWine vetoed a similar bill in July, saying it would make the state one of the least-restrictive fireworks states in the country.

The bill, which passed the Senate, 26-5, and the House, 72-23, on Wednesday, now heads to DeWine, who said in July it was in the public interest to veto legislation that would have legally allowed the discharge of fireworks on 25 holidays during the year.

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Attorney General Garland Grilled by GOP Senators over Department of Justice Memo Targeting Parents at School Meetings

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday faced a litany of hard-edged Senate questions about agreeing to allow federal law enforcement to investigate alleged incidents of outspoken parents at school board meetings.

Garland, in a memo, agreed to responded to a Sept. 29 letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking that the FBI, Justice Department and other federal agencies to investigate potential acts of domestic terrorism at the meetings. Parents across the nation have been voicing their concerns about the curricula being taught to their children, in addition to instances like the one currently playing out in northern Virginia, in which there was an apparent coverup of the sexual assault of a female student in a bathroom.

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Ohio Senate Secures Gun-Ownership Rights During Emergencies

Tom Schaffer

The Ohio Senate has solidified gun rights, limited government power in an emergency and clarified knives are included in the right to bear arms.

Senate Bill 185, which passed 23-7, stops the state or local governments from confiscating any lawfully owned gun during a declared emergency. Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said it protects Ohioans’ right to protect themselves and does not add any new gun rights.

“This legislation will protect the rights of Ohioans to their firearms recognizing their natural right to self-defense, as well as to feed their families during times of declared emergencies,” Schaffer said.

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General Assembly Keeps Foreign Languages, Home Economics in Ohio Schools

Cleveland Metropolitan School District 8th grade students read with their kindergarten buddies and help the young learners discover the joy of reading.

Foreign languages, business education and home economics still will be a required part of curriculum in Ohio schools after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously to stop a proposal from the Ohio Department of Education that would have allowed them to be eliminated.

The Senate concurred with House Concurrent Resolution 35 to stop a plan that would have changed the state’s administrative code to eliminate those required courses of study, a change put forth by the State Board of Education. The House passed the resolution, 95-0.

Wednesday’s vote marked the first time in 25 years the General Assembly stopped a rule from going into effect, according to Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who serves on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

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New Capitol Video Contradicts Justice Department, Media Narrative on January 6

Over the objection of Joe Biden’s Justice Department, a lengthy video clip showing U.S. Capitol Police allowing hundreds of people into the building on the afternoon of January 6 has been released to the public.

In July, Ethan Nordean, an alleged Proud Boy member charged for various crimes now held in a Seattle jail awaiting trial, petitioned the court to remove the “highly sensitive” designation on surveillance video that recorded Nordean entering the building with permission by U.S. Capitol Police. A group called the Press Coalition, representing news organizations including CNN, the New York Times, and the three major broadcast news networks, filed a motion in September to intervene in Nordean’s case and make the video footage public.

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House Approves Debt Ceiling Increase, Temporarily Delaying Nationwide Default

The House on Tuesday voted to lift the debt ceiling by $480 billion, temporarily averting widespread economic calamity after weeks of partisan gridlock and sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The House briefly interrupted its weeklong recess to pass a rule governing debate for three separate bills to which the ceiling raise was attached. It passed on a party-line vote given Republicans continuing opposition to lifting the ceiling.

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