American Bridge/PFAW Launch Spanish Language Web Ad On Scalise And The GOP

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise entered the new year in a media firestorm after it came to light that he had given a speech at a David Duke-run white supremacist organization back in 2002. And matters only got worse for him when it was reported that he had once referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.”

But what’s most astonishing in this ordeal was not the revelation that a single Congressman has white supremacist ties — ugly as that fact may be — but that an entire party has chosen to stand by him as a member of their House Leadership in the aftermath. It’s not something that voters will soon forget.

Watch the new Spanish language web ad from American Bridge and People For The American Way, which is running as pre-roll in Colorado and Virginia targeting Hispanic voters.

Read more after the jump.

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 […]

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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.

In case you’ve forgotten (but really, with these two, how could you?), Bachmann and King have a long and colorful history of making divisive, offensive, sometimes hate-filled comments […]

Read more after the jump.

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.

Read more after the jump.

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.”

In addition to giving Senator Cruz a platform for his obstructionist agenda, AFP is poised to spend the most of any outside group supporting Republicans in this fall’s midterm elections. It’s clear that the Kochs and AFP want to keep the entire GOP on Cruz control.

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. Even Speaker Boehner himself must see the irony of his phony attacks — just last week, after having his border crisis bill tanked by members of his own party, Boehner’s House Leadership issued a statement saying that “there are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action.” Where Congress fails to act, which these days, seems to be just about everywhere, the president is forced to take necessary action well within the legal bounds of the presidency to prevent disaster; faux outrage and a wasteful lawsuit will hardly change that fact.

Read more after the jump.

Republicans Still Unwilling To Protect Voting Rights and LGBT Equality One Year After Supreme Court Rulings

One year after major Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, conservative leaders are still denying equal rights for all Americans by failing to address the issues raised by these cases.

After the Supreme Court struck down a critical provision of the Voting Rights Act, or VRA, there has been little appetite among conservatives in Congress to fix the sections of the law that have been almost universally considered the most successful part of the landmark civil rights legislation. The VRA enjoyed bipartisan support when it was reauthorized in 2006; House Speaker John Boehner said at the time that the law had been “an effective tool in protecting a right that is fundamental to our democracy.” However, in the face of extreme opposition from the Tea Party, conservatives have either questioned the need for a legislative fix or ignored the issue entirely.

Sadly, the inaction on this issue – which has led to the passage of voter suppression laws in several states – is almost certainly politically motivated. As Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, bluntly stated in 1980, “our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” In fact, analysis has shown that election fraud, particularly the in-person voter impersonation that supposedly prompted tougher voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent. In addition, the voters who are disproportionately affected by voter ID laws – the poor, students, Africans Americans and Hispanics – all tend to vote for Democrats.

Read more after the jump.