REPORT Gavels for Sale: GOP Committee Chairs Call To Order An Extremist Congress

 “Gavels for Sale: GOP Committee Chairs Chairs Call to Order and Extremist Congress.”

Bridge Project today released a new report on the House and Senate committee chairs who are leveraging their leadership positions to peddle extreme policies, promote the Koch brothers’ agenda, and conduct partisan investigations.

This latest batch of committee chairs is increasingly hostile towards the agencies that they oversee while raking in millions in campaign donations from the industries that they are responsible for regulating. These chairs have continued the model perfected by Congressman Darrell Issa, who honed the GOP’s strategy of using chairmanships for partisan witch-hunts rather than legitimate oversight.

Despite trumpeting the diversity of their freshman class, the GOP leadership team looks like an episode of Mad Men. You have to dive into the subcommittee level to find any legislators of color and only two of the 40 committees are chaired by women.

This Congress is on track to become the most […]

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NEW REPORT — By Fair Means Or Fowl: How The GOP’s Fight Against Lame Duck Confirmation Votes Bucks Tradition

Despite public calls for bipartisanship after their electoral gains, Congressional Republicans continue to use every means possible to block the Obama administration from governing. Beyond their legislative roadblocks, Republicans are obstructing routine approval of qualified and noncontroversial nominees and judges. A scan of recent history shows that confirming presidential nominees in a lame duck session has been as much a fall tradition as the pardoning of a turkey, until now.

President Obama has put forward quality candidates for consideration. There are dozens of critical vacancies in the executive branch, including the surgeon general, an assistant secretary for homeland defense, and a bevy of ambassadorships critical to our national security. Many of these nominees are long-overdue for a vote and their absence is impeding the government’s ability to function.

There are also currently dozens of judicial vacancies on the US Court of Appeals and US District Courts. The price we pay for these vacancies is steep. According to a recent Brennan Center for Justice study, judicial vacancies “slowed the court’s ability to resolve motions and try cases, which drove up litigation costs, caused evidence to go stale, made it harder to settle civil cases, and in some instances, pressured clients to plead guilty.”

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Michele Bachmann & Steve King

Renowned xenophobes Reps. Steve King and Michele Bachmann have announced a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border today as part of their offensive offensive against President Obama’s action on immigration. Ever the moderate, Bachmann warned of “millions of unskilled, illiterate, foreign nationals coming into the United States who can’t speak the English language.” While King, who’s proposed a legal change to prevent the issuing of new visas, defended his obstructionist stance with a mature “we can do anything we want to.” After Speaker John Boehner’s five minute press conference on the matter this morning, Bachmann and King are effectively left as the de facto spokespeople for the Republican Party, driving their narrative and policy direction on the matter.

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Taking (Executive) Action: GOP’s Leadership Failure Leave Immigration Up To Obama

In a press conference following the midterm elections, President Obama reaffirmed his intention to use executive action to begin tackling our nation’s immigration problem. New media reports shed light on private negotiations on immigration reform between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner that began soon after the 2012 election. Speaker Boehner was likely feeling the pressure after a Republican National Committee-commissioned “autopsy report” of their electoral losses declared their party “must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform” in order to win future elections.

As the year-long negotiations progressed, Speaker Boehner needed political cover to maneuver within his party, prompting President Obama to continue to compromise in pursuit of House support for the already-passed bipartisan Senate immigration bill:

  1. No public criticism of Republicans members on immigration policy
  2. No trips in 2013 to battleground states with large Hispanic populations
  3. Back piecemeal reforms rather than one big bill overhauling immigration policy
  4. Defer executive action until after the summer

After what seemed to be a good faith effort by both sides, Speaker Boehner, yet again, just couldn’t deliver the votes, particularly from the extreme Tea Party members of his caucus. To further impede the process, the Republicans apparently reversed course on the necessity of immigration reforms after their recent electoral gains. When Speaker Boehner and future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released outlines of their upcoming legislative agendas, immigration reform wasn’t included. Similarly, even Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, backed away from the idea of compromise.

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Americans for Prosperity wants to keep the GOP on Cruz control

After he shut down the government last year, and derailed House Republicans’ attempt to pass a bill in response to the Mexico border crisis this summer, it’s evident that Senator Ted Cruz is responsible for pushing the GOP even further to the far right. His extreme-Conservative-or-nothing approach to governing is now driving the Republican agenda on critical issues like health care and immigration reform.

Just ask the Koch brothers’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, who are so convinced of Cruz’s leadership that they’re hosting him twice this month. Tonight, Senator Cruz will be joining a phone “chat” with AFP’s president Tim Phillips, where “grassroots activists” can learn how they, too, can help grind the work of government to a halt. Later this month, Cruz is the headliner for an AFP summit that promises attendees the opportunity to hear from lawmakers “leading the charge against big government.”

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American Bridge Releases Report On House Republicans’ Dishonest Attacks Over Executive Actions

Throughout the Obama presidency, House Republicans have consistently blockaded progress on crucial issues, only to blame inaction on the president. Then, when the president takes executive action, they accuse him of unprecedented lawlessness, culminating with their latest combo-stunt: a ludicrous lawsuit and talk of impeachment.

There’s only one problem: President Obama’s actions, necessitated by a recalcitrant House, are both precedented and lawful. Indeed Obama has issued executive orders at a slower rate than any president since Grover Cleveland. Ronald Reagan used executive action to ease immigration standards for Nicaraguan exiles, George H. W. Bush to delay the deportation of Kuwaitis during the Iraqi occupation, George W. Bush to protect Salvadorans after an earthquake, and the list goes on. The only thing that is unprecedented is the inefficiency of this Congress, which is on track to be the least productive in history.

In a new report today, Bridge Project exposes the absurdity of the attacks on President Obama’s executive actions. As Republicans continue to use inflammatory rhetoric to portray the president as an out-of-control tyrant, reality paints an entirely different picture.

Read more after the jump.