Typical: Bette Midler wishes for VIOLENCE against Sen. Rand Paul for DOING his job

(National SentinelFilibuster: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took to the floor of his chamber Thursday evening to rail against a two-year budget deal being negotiated between members of both parties because it substantially raises spending and will likely add to the national debt.

“When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party,” Paul said at one point on the Senate floor, during a speech that slowed down the budget approval process ahead of a midnight government shutdown deadline.

“But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty,” he added.

Republicans were critical of Paul because his effort led to the government being shut down — at least temporarily. At this hour it remains shut down until President Donald J. Trump signs budget legislation that passed both chambers of Congress.

Despite what anyone may think of Paul’s efforts and statements, that is what his constituents elected him to do — fight for the principles upon which he ran, say supporters.

But should disagreement invoke violence? Actress Bette Midler thinks so, according to a tweet she sent Thursday evening referencing a recent violent attack upon Paul by a neighbor that left him with six broken ribs.

“Where’s Rand Paul’s neighbor when we need him?” she said.

A spokesman for the senator was blunt in his response.

“I guess some people think felony assault, six broken ribs and other internal injuries are funny. That makes them pretty disturbed,” Chief Strategist Doug Stafford told the Gateway Pundit in response to the tweet.

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Report: Obamacare, Medicaid expansion CONTRIBUTED to country’s OPIOID epidemic

(National SentinelBig Government: A new Senate report blames, in part, the nationwide opioid epidemic on the expansion of Medicaid under the Obamacare law.

The report, by the Senate Homeland Security called “Drugs for Dollars: How Medicaid Helps Fuel the Opioid Epidemic,” provides evidence of Medicaid fraud and how the Medicaid program has contributed to the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic is the nation’s most pressing public health crisis. Although there are many factors contributing to the epidemic, and while Medicaid undoubtedly assists in treating opioid abuse, this examination presents evidence that the Medicaid program itself is also playing a role in driving the opioid epidemic,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the panel.

“This facet of the opioid epidemic cannot be ignored. It is my hope that HHS and CMS will do a thorough review of Medicaid and work to stem the opioid epidemic,” he added.

Key Findings of the report are:

  • Medicaid has contributed to the nation’s opioid epidemic by establishing a series of incentives that make it enormously profitable to abuse and sell dangerous drugs.
  • At least 1,072 people have been convicted or charged nationwide since 2010 for improperly using Medicaid to obtain prescription opioids, some of which were then resold on the nation’s streets. The number of criminal defendants increased 18 percent in the four years after Medicaid expanded, 2014-2017, compared to the four years prior to Medicaid expansion.
  • The criminal activities range from beneficiaries simply selling opioids they obtained through the Medicaid program to more attenuated health care fraud involving Medicaid reimbursement.
  • The cases reflect massive frauds and bizarre twists, from a $1 billion scheme to defraud Medicaid and Medicare involving numerous health care providers, to a New York doctor and oxycodone distributor who blamed her actions on an alternative personality named “Nala.” 

  • Prosecutors are increasingly targeting suboxone—a drug that treats opioid addiction but itself can be addictive—meaning that the epidemic has reached the point where people are defrauding Medicaid using the very drugs designed to help the victims.
  • The case numbers are a conservative estimate, because evidence shows crime is under-reported; health care fraud in particular is rarely detected, including by government agencies; most health care fraud investigations never lead to prosecutions; and Medicaid anti-fraud efforts have fallen short. 
  • More than 80 percent of the 298 separate Medicaid-opioids cases identified were filed in Medicaid expansion states, led by New York, Michigan, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio. The number of criminal cases increased 55 percent in the first four years after Medicaid expansion, from 2014 to 2017, compared to the four-year period before expansion.
  • Other preliminary data suggests a connection between Medicaid expansion and opioid abuse. Drug overdose deaths per one million people are rising nearly twice as fast in expansion states as non-expansion states, while opioid-related hospital stays paid for by Medicaid massively spiked after expansion.
  • Medicaid spending to treat victims is escalating, especially in expansion states. Spending on a single opioid overdose medication, for example, increased an astonishing 90,205 percent between 2011 and 2016, with costs rising “most notably after 2014.”
  • Other federal programs are also being exploited to obtain or sell opioids.  In preliminary research, majority staff found 243 instances in recent years of opioid-related Medicare fraud.  In November 2017 alone, the Department of Veterans Affairs had 60 ongoing criminal investigations concerning diversion of opioids.   Majority staff also found instances of opioid-related fraud in the food stamp program involving dangerous drugs such as oxycodone, vicodin, hydrocodone, and morphine.

As for Obamacare itself, critics of a key requirement of the law — reimbursements depending on “Patient Satisfaction Scores” — have also been blamed for an increase in opioid prescriptions and abuse.

As Time magazine reported in April 2016:

As part of an Obama­care initiative meant to reward quality care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allocating some $1.5 billion in Medicare payments to hospitals based on criteria that include patient-­satisfaction surveys. Among the questions: “During this hospital stay, how often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain?” And: “How often was your pain well controlled?”

Essentially, Obamacare’s Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates are at least partially tied to how well a patient scores his or her pain management.

In order to receive better scores — and higher reimbursement — doctors and primary care providers had a tendency to prescribe more painkillers.

“The government is telling us we need to make sure a patient’s pain is under control,”  Dr. Nick Sawyer, a health-­policy fellow at the UC Davis Department of emergency medicine, told Time. “It’s hard to make them happy without a narcotic. This policy is leading to ongoing opioid abuse.”

The National Sentinel‘s editor-in-chief J. D. Heyes said the Senate report’s findings don’t surprise him.

“Once again we find that big government manipulation of the private sector creates more problems than it ever solves,” he said. “It’d be nice if Congress would — especially Democrats — would learn this lesson.”

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Is there new evidence Comey LIED in sworn testimony to CONGRESS over scandalous TRUMP probe?

(National SentinelConflict: During sworn testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee June 8, 2017, after he’d been fired by President Donald J. Trump, former FBI Director James Comey testified that he had only had two interactions with President Obama.

One, he said, was an hour-long conversation with Obama on policing, law enforcement and race. The other was a “brief” encounter to say goodbye on Obama’s way out the door, according to published testimony.

Via Politico:

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): And so in all your experience, this was the only president that you felt like in every meeting you needed to document because at some point, using your words, he might put out a non-truthful representation of that meeting.

COMEY: That’s right, senator. As I said, as FBI director I interacted with President Obama, I spoke only twice in three years, and didn’t document it. When I was Deputy Attorney General I had a one one-on-one with President Bush been I sent an email to my staff but I didn’t feel with president bush the need to document it in that I way. Again, because of the combination of those factors, just wasn’t present with either President Bush or President Obama.

…SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH (D-NM): Mr. Comey, prior to January 27th of this year, have you ever had a one-on-one meeting or a private dinner with a president of the United States?

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COMEY: No. Dinner, no. I had two one-on-ones with President Obama. One to talk about law enforcement issues, law enforcement and race, which was an important topic throughout for me and for the president. Then once very briefly for him to say goodbye.

But on Monday night during an interview with Fox News, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Rep. John Radcliffe, R-Texas, appeared with host Martha McCallum to discuss some of what they discovered after reviewing 50,000 text messages exchanged between anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Among those, Gowdy said, was a message exchange discussing Comey’s plans to “brief the president” about an ongoing investigation close to the November 2016 election.

“And I saw an interesting text that Director Comey was going to update the President of the United States about an investigation,” Gowdy said.

“I don’t know if it was an Hillary Clinton investigation because that had been reopened in the fall of 2016 or whether it was the Trump investigation. I just find it interesting that the head of the FBI was gonna update the President of the United States who at that point would have been President Obama,” he said.

Nowhere in the published transcript of Comey’s testimony does he mention briefing Obama about an ongoing investigation.

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PATHETIC: Even after deadly train crash in Washington, Chuck Schumer HOLDS UP Trump’s Railroad Admin pick (Video)

(National SentinelHold-up: Democrats in the Senate have been using the arcane confirmation process to hold up a number of President Donald J. Trump’s nominations for federal posts, including his pick to head up the Federal Railroad Administration, Ronald Batory.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is blocking Batory’s confirmation over his demand that Trump and Republicans agree to spend billions of federal dollars for a major tunnel project between New York and New Jersey.

Schumer’s action comes despite a major Amtrak derailment in Washington state earlier this month in which three people were killed.

In 2015, an Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia in 2015 killed seven and injured several hundred people.

Batory is an experienced and respected former railroad executive, having spent four decades in the industry.

He was unanimously approved by members of the Senate Commerce Committee in early August, however, Schumer has been blocking the process of bringing Batory to the full Senate for confirmation vote.

The latest action by Schumer came late Thursday afternoon, when he objected to a motion by Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) for unanimous consent to have a vote on Batory’s nomination, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

There was some speculation that Schumer would drop his objections following the derailment in Washington state, but the senior New York senator has continued his obstruction.

Thune told reporters he was s”deeply frustrated” that a “non-controversial, highly qualified nominee has been languishing in the Senate for over four months due to objections by a handful of Democrats over a parochial issue entirely unrelated to the qualifications.”

He also took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the New York Democrat.

“[Schumer] said that the Department of Transportation is not pushing federal PTC hard enough,” Thune said. “Well, if you truly believe that DOT needs to do more, why is he, along with a few of his colleagues, standing in the way of Mr. Batory’s nomination?”

“When finally confirmed [Batory] will play a significant role in successful Positive Train Control implementation,” he said.

“The time for playing political games with this agency should be over,” Thune said just before Schumer blocked the nomination.

“I’m beyond words to explain why we are objecting to someone who is unanimously approved out of the committee to run an incredibly important safety agency,” Thune said after the objection. “I hope this is the last time.”

The Trump administration was equally dismissive of Schumer.

“Sadly, just days after a deadly derailment Sen. Schumer has yet again chosen to prioritize politics over safety,” one unnamed staffer told the Free Beacon.

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MERRY Christmas! Senate passes Trump Tax Bill

(National Sentinel): Tax Reform: The Senate passed President Donald J. Trump’s tax plan on a 51-48 vote in a midnight showdown that saw every Democrat vote against it, making the measure the most significant reform in three decades.

Earlier Tuesday, the House passed the measure on a 227-203 vote, in which 12 Republicans joined all Democrats to oppose the bill.

The House will have to re-vote on the measure, however, after Democrats complained about two minor provisions. That vote is expected today.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was not present to vote on the measure after having returned to his home state for rehab following chemotherapy for his brain cancer.

The $1.5 trillion tax cut will apply to nearly all income levels, analysts said, slashing top rates for businesses especially, while providing them with new breaks as well. The bill also reorganizes tax rates for individuals.

Trump celebrated the bill’s passage in a tweet, writing, “The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history Tax Cut and Reform Bill. Terrible Individual Mandate (ObamaCare)Repealed. Goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote. If approved, there will be a News Conference at The White House at approximately 1:00 P.M.”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/943362605258813441

As NBC News reported:

The GOP bill lowers individual tax rates, including the top bracket to 37 percent from 39.6, while doubling the standard deduction and replacing personal exemptions with a $2,000 partly refundable child tax credit. It eliminates various deductions while limiting others on state and local taxes and mortgage interest. It also exempts larger inheritances from the estate tax, doubling the thresholds to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for married couples.

Also, there are major healthcare implications. The measure abolishes Obamacare’s individual mandate, meaning Americans will no longer be penalized for not buying health insurance.

Another provision pertaining to 529 savings accounts, which are now used for college tuition, was changed to help finance home schooling.

“After eight straight years of slow growth and underperformance, America is ready to take off,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said following the vote.

The bill will “put the American economy in a better position,” House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said, because “workers benefit, wages go up.”

The markets seem to agree. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been setting new record highs for months in anticipation the tax measure would pass and cut rates for businesses and corporations.

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Tax bill FAIL: Some high earners would top 100%

(National SentinelTax Deform: Under the Senate’s version of tax reform, some high earners could pay in excess of 100 percent after a certain level of earnings, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Senate conferees are working to amend the provision, but if they don’t succeed, that means some high earners will pay $100 or more in income taxes for every $100 in earnings after a certain level.

On the broader level, House and Senate negotiators are attempting to reconcile their versions of the reform bill, as they look for ways to pay for eliminating the most contentious provisions.

Formally, the House and Senate conference committee meets on Wednesday in an attempt to hammer out compromises.

The possible marginal tax rate of 100 percent comes from combining tax policies aimed at benefitting businesses and families while denying those benefits to the highest earners. Some critics see that as punishing the rich, which is what they say the current tax code does.

As income rises and the tax breaks phase out, it will mean each dollar of income after a certain level will be taxed at regular rates, along with a hidden marginal rate on top of that, the paper said.

“That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profit that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance,” the WSJ reported.

As incomes move much higher, they will exit those phaseout ranges and marginal tax rates would go down again.

WSJ noted further:

Consider, for example, a married, self-employed New Jersey lawyer with three children and earnings of about $615,000. Getting $100 more in business income would force the lawyer to pay $105.45 in federal and state taxes, according to calculations by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. That is more than double the marginal tax rate that household faces today.

If the New Jersey lawyer’s stay-at-home spouse wanted a job, the first $100 of the spouse’s wages would require $107.79 in taxes. And the tax rates for similarly situated residents of California and New York City would be even higher, the Tax Foundation found.

“I would expect a huge tax-gaming response once people fully understand how it works,” said David Gamage, a tax law professor at Indiana University and a former Treasury Department official. He added that business owners have an easier time engaging in such tax avoidance than salaried employees do.

“The payoff for gaming is huge, within the set of people who both face these rates and have flexible enough business structures,” he told the WSJ.

Other tax experts also sounded an alarm about the final bill’s hefty tax increase for certain earners.

Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for the Senate Finance Committee, said the two analyses raise a valid concern.”

“With any major reform, there will always be unusual hypotheticals delivering anomalous results,” she continued. “The goal of Congress’ tax overhaul has been to lower taxes on the American people and by and large, according to a variety of analyses, we’re achieving that.”

“This is a big concern,” said Scott Greenberg, a Tax Foundation analyst. “It would be unfortunate if Congress passed a tax bill that had the effect of making additional work and additional income not worthwhile for any subgroup of households.”

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Moore accuser ADMITS she forged yearbook post: Report

(National SentinelAlabama Senate Race: A woman who accused Alabama GOP Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore of unwanted sexual advances when she was a teen has admitted during a media interview that she forged a portion of his alleged signature in her yearbook.

As reported by Breitbart News, Beverly Nelson and her attorney Gloria Allred have used the yearbook as evidence that Moore was romantically attracted to Nelson when she was in high school in the late 1970s and he was an adult district attorney in Etowah County.

In an appearance with Allred on ABC News‘ “Good Morning America” program on Friday, however, Nelson admitted that she added “notes” to the alleged message left by Moore since.

She has claimed that in 1977 Moore groped her in the parking lot of a restaurant where she worked.

“Nelson admits she did make notes to the inscription,” ABC News tells us. “But the message was all Roy Moore.”

“Beverly, he signed your yearbook,” ABC News reporter Tom Llamas says.

“He did sign it,” she replies.

“And you made some notes underneath.”

“Yes,” Nelson said.

Critics immediately pounced on the admission, with many demanding to know why Nelson and Allred weren’t upfront about Nelson’s changes when the accusations were made and the yearbook introduced as evidence.

Moore and his attorneys have called the signature completely false and requested weeks ago to have an independent handwriting expert examine the yearbook.

“We demand that you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so that our expert and you can send you expert as well, so that our expert can look at it, not a copy on the internet,” the campaign attorney, Phillip L. Jauregui, said last month.

“The actual document so we can see the lettering. We can see the ink on the page. We can see the indentations and we can see how old is that ink. Is it 40 years old or is it a week old?”

He said that he did not want to “make any allegations,” but mentioned that the two “77s” signed in the yearbook should be looked at. Also, Moore has said he never signed his name followed by the letters “D.A.,” for district attorney.

“We’re going to present evidence that we think is important on the issue whether Roy Moore signed the yearbook,” Nelson’s lawyer, Allred told ABC News Friday.

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Franken resigning from Senate; makes sure to blame HIS sexual misconduct on…Trump

(National SentinelSexual Congress: Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced he would resign his position during a speech on the Senate floor Thursday amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

During his speech, Franken compared his situation to that of President Donald J. Trump, who has also faced allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

“There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said, the latter a reference to Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“But this decision is not about me, it’s about the people of Minnesota,” he claimed, adding that “politics is difficult.”

Franken also claimed to be a “champion of women,” despite being accused by at least eight different women of sexually abusing or harassing them.

“I am proud that during my time the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,” he said.

Sources told WCCO that Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, a Democrat, leads the list of potential Franken replacements until Minnesotans elect a replacement in 2018. That replacement would serve until 2020, when Franken was due for re-election.

Franken is the second Democrat to announce they are retiring from office. Long-serving Rep. John Conyers of Michigan announced earlier this week he would be stepping down amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.

His son is expected to run for his seat, though reports noted that he was arrested for  domestic assault, but not prosecuted.

As for Trump and Moore, both have denied the allegations against them. In Moore’s case, he has called his accusers “criminals” and has threatened legal action against them and the Washington Post, which first published accounts of four women who said Moore pursued them when he was an adult and they were teens.

In one case, one accuser said he kissed her and touched her inappropriately when she was 14 and he was 32.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has again called on Moore to step aside, though Trump has lent his support to Moore, saying the people of Alabama should decide whether he’s being truthful or not.

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Trump gives Roy Moore full endorsement

(National SentinelSpecial Election: President Donald J. Trump has voiced his full support for GOP Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore ahead of a special election to be held Dec. 12 to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old seat.

Trump tweeted several reasons for supporting Moore, including that his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, is a “puppet” of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/937641904338063361

Previously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP members of the Senate had called on Moore to drop out of the race after he became engulfed in a sexual harassment scandal last month.

The Washington Post reported that he attempted to date teenage girls when he was an adult. The paper also reported that Moore, then 32, kissed and fondled a 14-year-old, based on her account.

Moore has strenuously denied all charges and has said he may sue the Post and his accusers. Also, some holes have appeared in witnesses’ accounts and other allegations since the Post’s report.

Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a primary earlier this year.

Since Moore’s allegations surfaced, several allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior among many Democrats have surfaced as well.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., was accused by Los Angeles journalist Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor for TalkRadio 790 KABC, of kissing and groping her in 2006 without her consent as they returned from a USO event in the Middle East.

She also published a photo showing Franken appearing to grope her breasts. He has since been accused by an Army vet who claims he groped her in 2003.

Also, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has been accused by former staffers of sexually harassing and abusing them. Conyers has settled with some of the women using a special taxpayer-funded congressional account that few Americans knew existed before these scandals surfaced.

Neither man has expressed any interest in resigning.

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Trump tax cut WIN: Senate approves one of prez’s top legislative priorities

(National SentinelTax Reform: After failing all year to move President Donald J. Trump’s legislative priorities such as repealing and replacing Obamacare and funding for his proposed border wall, Senate Republicans finally delivered a victory for the White House and the GOP in general by pushing through a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

After 11th-hour dealing with some Republican holdouts, the Senate approved the measure early Saturday, putting tax reform on track for putting the bill on the president’s desk by Christmas, after reconciliation with the House-passed version.

“Big bills are rarely popular. You remember how unpopular ‘Obamacare’ was when it passed?” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, in response to a reporter’s claim that the tax measure was not popular with Americans.

He added the legislation would prove to be “just what the country needs to get growing again.”

Trump thanked McConnell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, for pulling the legislation together. “Look forward to signing a final bill before Christmas!” he tweeted.

As for the claim that tax reform legislation isn’t popular, the historical record suggests otherwise.

According to Gallup, which has tracked the issue since February 1956, most Americans in a majority of years since have said they believe they pay too much in federal income taxes.

The last recorded survey — April of this year — found that 51 percent of Americans felt like they paid too much federal income tax, compared with 42 percent who said their income tax burden was “about right.”

The 51-percent figure is down from 2016, when 56 percent of Americans said they paid too much.

In addition to lowering tax rates, the Senate version also does away with Obamacare’s individual mandate, meaning Americans would no longer be forced to purchase health insurance by law.

Also, the bill allows drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is believed to hold vast reserves but which has blocked for decades by Democratic congresses and administrations.

As to the growth aspect, an analysis of both the House and Senate versions by Rachel Greszler, a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, found each of them significantly lower the top tax rate for businesses.

“This will help make America more competitive with the rest of the world, and will result in more and better jobs as well as higher incomes for all Americans,” she wrote.

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GOP senators cave, side with Dems on ‘stronger’ gun background checks following Texas church shootings

(National SentinelGun Control: Republican senators surprised many of their constituents on Thursday when they sided with Democrats on a bill that would somehow strengthen existing gun background check laws following the Texas church shootings earlier this month.

Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Fox NICS Act compelling federal and state officials to report criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The bill comes after

Devin Patrick Kelly, the gunman who opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas, had been court-martialed in the Air Force on a domestic violence conviction in 2012.

By law, the Air Force was required to report that court-martial and conviction to the FBI, but failed to do so, thus allowing him to dodge background checks and purchase several firearms over the course of a couple of years.

Critics of the new legislation say even if it was already in place, it, too, would not have stopped the shootings because the problem isn’t the law, it was that Kelly’s conviction was simply not reported.

“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in a statement.

FO-300x250-1Murphy, one of the most vocal advocated for gun control on Capitol Hill, said the bill “marks an important milestone that shows real compromise can be made on the issue of guns.”

“Under the bill, federal agencies and state[s] would be required to create implementation plans focused on uploading all information that would prohibit a person from buying a gun under current law to the background check system,” Circa News reported.

“Agencies that fail to upload relevant background records would face consequences under the bill. For example, political appointees at agencies that fail to comply would be prohibited from receiving any bonus pay,” the news site said.

Also, the legislation rewards states that comply with requirements by giving them preference for federal grants and additional incentives.


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In addition, the legislation funds more federal bureaucracy via the creation of a Domestic Abuse and Violence Prevention Initiative.

Critics say they don’t believe the new incentives are going to make much of an impact, and that the problem of non-reporting will remain.

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Graham: ‘I’ve heard enough’ regarding Roy Moore charges; changes his mind regarding guilt

(National SentinelSexual Allegations: Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’s “heard enough” regarding charges of sexual misconduct by U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama Judge Roy Moore, adding in an interview this week that he “believes” his accusers.

“We’re in a political environment,” Graham told Fox News host Shannon Bream, adding that initially he’d been willing to give Moore the benefit of doubt.

But then the allegations kept coming, and became more specific.

“[When] the allegations first came out I said, if true he should step aside. I’ve heard enough. I believe the women,” he said.

“He was barred from a mall. His behavior was so extreme in his thirties that apparently the Gadsden mall put him on the no-fly list,” the South Carolina Republican said. “That tells me a lot. I don’t know anybody personally who’s been banned from a mall.”

Continuing, Graham said he was also worried about the potential make-up of the Senate if Moore loses, and it looks like he will, according to the most recent polling data.

FO-300x250-1

“But when you put the whole puzzle together it’s pretty hard not to believe it,” he said, “it has a ring of truth and we’re gonna lose a seat we shouldn’t, and to my good friends in Alabama, your decision in the next coming weeks will determine whether or not Trump’s agenda’s successful because I don’t think Mr. [Doug] Jones [Moore’s Democratic challenger] could be an effective senator given the baggage he has, and looks like Mr. Jones is on course to win, and he’s not gonna help us at all.”

“He’s not going vote for anything on this agenda, tax reform,” Bream said of the Democratic candidate, “repealing Obamacare in part or full.”

“[Senator] Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is the biggest winner if Roy Moore loses and Trump’s the biggest loser,” Graham responded.

“Well, what if Roy Moore wins? You know there’s a lot of talk about expelling him from the Senate,” Bream continued.

“You don’t want to prejudge,” Graham said, “but I think most people up here have taken a hard look at this and believe that there’s a lot to the accusations.


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“And you know, again, if your behavior is so creepy you can’t go to the mall, it’s pretty hard to come to the Senate.”

Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations and has said they are part of an organized political campaign against him.

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Report: White House considers replacing embattled Roy Moore with AG Jeff Sessions

(National SentinelSpecial Election: The Trump White House has reportedly floated the notion of replacing embattled U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore with Attorney General Jeff Sessions ahead of a special election in Alabama next month.

As The New York Times reports, two different White House officials said that the idea has been debated as more sexual misconduct charges arise against Moore, who defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Luther Strange in a primary earlier this fall.

The notion is that Sessions would either run as a write-incandidate under that scenario, or he could get appointed to the post — his former Senate seat — by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey if Moore goes ahead and wins the election next month and then is ousted from office.

Senior GOP leaders in the Senate, who have implored Moore to step down, have said they would likely censure him if he wins the election or expel him from the chamber.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is supportive of the concept and discussed it on Monday with Vice President Mike Pence, according to GOP party officials briefed on their talk,” Circa News added.

Pence and McConnell are said to have talked about the option during a phone call that day that was principally focused on the Republican tax cut proposal.

Sessions remains very popular among Alabama Republicans. Plus, he’s had a falling out with President Donald J. Trump when he decided earlier this year to recuse himself from any investigations into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign last year.


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Trump publicly criticized Sessions for that decision over the summer, leading some to speculate that the president was preparing to fire his AG. Sessions, however, was an early supporter of Trump during the GOP primaries last year.

The Times noted that trading Sessions for Moore would mark a win-win for Trump and McConnell.

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Steve Forbes: RINOs in Senate ‘betraying’ Trump over tax cut plan

(National SentinelTaxes Reformed: Economist Steve Forbes, founder of the noted financial publication bearing his name, criticized the Republican tax play during an interview with Fox News on Friday, calling it a “betrayal” of President Donald J. Trump.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Fox Business host Trish Regan that despite differences in tax reform bills in the House and Senate, everyone was “on the same page” and that differences were, in fact, “minor.”

Forbes obviously did not believe that, and bashed the reform plan overall.

“You’ve got more complexity now, you’ve got huge differences…it really is a betrayal of President Trump. The Republicans should have had a simple tax cut if you weren’t gonna do a flat tax, instead of getting all of these things, they’ve got everyone upset, so they should go back to basics,” Forbes said.

The one-time GOP presidential contender went on to offer his advice on how Republicans should move forward.

“Do the 15 or 20 percent corporate rate, cut rates on the personal side across the board immediately, make it effective immediately,” he said.

He concluded by calling the lawmakers currently working on the reform effort “inmates at the asylum,” adding that more could have been accomplished if Trump weren’t in Asia on his 12-day trip.

When all is said and done, Forbes projected that the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate will be “bad — the worst of both sides.”

Critics of the legislation agree, especially conservatives.

Dr. Gina Louden, a member of the President’s Media Advisory Board, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention for Trump, wrote at FoxNews.com that the Senate version of the bill tosses “swamp water” on the president’s “successful economy.”

“Leave it to the Senate to take a flaming hot Trump economy and throw swamp water on it! The booming stock market speaks for itself,” she wrote. “The version of tax reform legislation unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday is another indication that the swamp is alive and well. This is a repeat performance of the failure of Congress to get health care done.”


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For one, she said, the Senate version delays the corporate tax cut — vital to jump-starting hiring and investment — from 35 percent to 20 percent until 2019 versus the House bill that would cut the rate to 20 percent next year.

“Effectively, the Senate tax bill calls for a slightly lower top tax rate for individuals of 38.5 percent, versus the 39.6 percent in the House bill. The Senate measure also would double the estate tax exemption, but not repeal the tax, as House Republicans proposed,” she added.

Conservative columnist George Will added: “Today’s bill, which is 429 pages and is apt to grow, is an implausible instrument of simplification. And it would worsen the tax code’s already substantial contribution to ‘moral hazard.'”

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Democrats continue to hold up Trump’s federal court nominees

(National SentinelJudicial Branch: Democrats in the Senate have been doing all they can to slow down President Donald J. Trump’s nominees to the federal bench, and they are continuing to do so even as vacancies pile up.

In fact, the Washington Times reports, Democrats can currently draw out debate on nominations for as long as eight weeks.

The Senate spent the entire week this week debating several of Trump’s nominees, confirming just five of them:

At that rate, it would take nearly eight weeks of working every day and doing nothing else — no tax overhaul, no year-end spending bills, no debt increase, no Children’s Health Insurance Program extension — to confirm the 47 other judicial nominees the president has pending.

If the president were put forth the 100 nominations for the remaining federal court vacancies, it would take four months to get all of them approved, again with the Senate doing nothing else.

Republicans hold a majority in the Senate so it isn’t as if Democrats can do anything to stop Trump’s nominees. However, the length of time it is taking to get them confirmed is frustrating to the GOP.

“Democrats have shown that, in most cases, it is far too much time, because even though we have to spend all of the time, they use very little of [that time] talking about the nominees,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming.

He has proposed a measure limiting debate on lower court nominees to just two hours, though appeals court nominees would still be subject to the full 30 hours. Republicans agreed to just such a proposal in 2013 when they were in the Senate minority.

Now, however, Democrats are saying they won’t make the same agreement with Republicans, the Times noted.

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