House Republican leaders delay vote on immigration bill until next week in the face of opposition

House rejects hardline immigration plan

The House of Representatives on June 21 voted down a conservative immigration bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). 

House leaders abruptly postponed a vote Thursday on a broad immigration bill intended to unite GOP moderates and conservatives, acknowledging they lack the votes to pass the measure despite a growing uproar over separating migrant families at the border.

A fractious GOP conference and President Trump’s equivocations hamstrung leadership as they tried to rally support for their Republicans-only bills. The vote was delayed until next week on the bill that would provide $25 billion for Trump’s long-sought border wall, offer a pathway to citizenship to young undocumented immigrants and keep migrant families together in detention centers.

Earlier in the day, the House rejected a hard-line measure, 231 to 193, that would have significantly limited legal immigration and given dreamers only an uncertain reprieve.

The two immigration bills sought to respond to a pair of brewing crises precipitated by Trump: his decision to separate migrant children from their families at the southwest border, and his cancellation of a program protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

But the president left Republicans confused about which bill he preferred, and a Thursday morning tweet signaled to House lawmakers that they need not bother passing anything because their bills stood no chance in the narrowly divided Senate.

In a last-ditch effort, Trump called Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) late Thursday and said he backed the broad bill. Goodlatte delivered the president’s message in a rushed, closed-door GOP meeting, but it did little to persuade opponents.

The Trump administration’s wildly contradictory statements on family separation

The Trump administration changed its story on immigrant family separation no fewer than 14 times in one week. 

Key negotiators left the meeting more than an hour later and told reporters they would spend the coming days exploring whether they could find a way to add two elements of the hard-line bill — one requiring employers to screen workers for legal status using a federal database, another dealing with visas for agricultural workers — to the compromise in a bid to win more conservative votes.

“I appreciate the president’s opinion and his input. . . . To me, we voted today on a bill that I thought was more indicative of where the people are and what the president originally ran on,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said as he emerged from the session.

Conservatives have opposed the more moderate measure, believing that it amounts to “amnesty” for the DACA “dreamers” without doing enough to seal the southwest border and otherwise deter future illegal immigration. Days of images and reports about children torn from their parents, and news Thursday that the Pentagon is preparing to house as many as 20,000 migrants on military bases, has largely failed to change the internal dynamics.

The last-ditch conference meeting was aimed at assuaging House members who wanted to better understand what the bill does before voting. Instead, leadership announced a vote next week in hopes of revising the legislation. It was the second postponement within hours.

Still, several hard-liners said there was nothing leaders could do to convince them to vote for the compromise bill. “I’m a big fat ‘no,’ capital letters,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “It’s amnesty, chain migration, and there’s no guarantee that the wall will be built.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), a key moderate voice on immigration, announced that he would oppose the legislation, in part because of the inclusion of funding for Trump’s proposed border wall, which Hurd called “an expensive and ineffective 4th-century border security tool that takes private property away from hundreds of Texans.”

The GOP standoff came five months before midterm elections when most of the party’s top strategists have urged lawmakers to focus on the economy, tax cuts and “kitchen table” issues.

But those strategists have not had the ear of the president, who has repeatedly acted to please his base of highly conservative voters — including by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last year and, in April, implementing a “zero tolerance” border policy that led to the separations of migrant children from their parents.

The lack of action has grated on a cadre of Republican moderates, who moved last month to force votes on several immigration bills — including bipartisan measures that would easily pass with mostly Democratic support. But GOP leaders, who feared a conservative political backlash if a Republican House advanced such legislation, undertook a furious push to stymie the moderates.

It partially succeeded: The moderates succeeded only in securing the promise of a vote on the broad legislation alongside the more conservative bill. And since they got that commitment, their quest to protect the dreamers has been overshadowed by the family separations issue.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump himself went to Capitol Hill this week to ask Congress to take action to address the brewing border crisis while also delivering on other administration immigration priorities.

But many GOP lawmakers and aides saw the lobbying effort as abortive and perplexing, culminating in a Trump tweet Thursday morning that dampened House members’ enthusiasm for taking a tough vote.

Neither bill was negotiated with Democrats or was expected to garner any Democratic votes. The separations crisis has prompted Democrats to dig in against the Republican immigration efforts, barring a complete reversal of Trump’s policy.

“Democrats are dedicated to securing our border, but we don’t think putting children in cages is the way to do it,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “This is outside the circle of human behavior.”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said the GOP’s inability to find consensus inside its ranks would remain a persistent barrier to action on immigration — at least, he said, until Democrats win congressional majorities.

“They’re bringing legislation to the floor that was negotiated exclusively between their right wing and their extreme right wing,” he said. “They’re polarizing this issue in such a way that it’s going to be more and more difficult to actually fix things.”

At a late-morning news conference, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) did not concede defeat but repeatedly referenced the prospect of both bills failing and characterized scheduled votes as “a legitimate exercise.”

“I think we’re advancing the cause even if something doesn’t pass,” he said. “I think these are the seeds that are going to be planted for an ultimate solution.”

The likelihood of failure unleashed frustrations across Capitol Hill this week — including a heated floor argument Wednesday night between Ryan and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a key conservative leader, who accused GOP leaders of reneging on negotiations.

But most of the frustrations were reserved for Trump — who, in the eyes of many Republicans, created a problem, demanded Congress solve it, then actively undermined his party’s efforts to do so.

Donald J. Trump


What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms). Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!

The irritations started coming to a head Tuesday, when Trump visited House Republicans on Capitol Hill. The visit was meant to urge them to vote for immigration legislation, but Trump failed to send a strong message that he wanted a particular bill passed, attendees said, and spent much of his time riffing on other subjects — and delivering a pointed dig at Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a Trump critic who lost his primary election last week.

“I think the president needs to understand that that may have actually lost him votes in that meeting,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) said. “The reason he was there was to emphasize that he had our backs, and I think a different message was sent.”

Then, in the Thursday morning tweet, Trump said, “What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms)?”

That, according to GOP aides, deflated their effort to build support for the bills because it signaled to wavering lawmakers that there is little reason to risk a conservative backlash by voting for the more moderate alternative.

“He knows exactly what he’s doing,” said Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), a suburban moderate who is leaving the House in January. “We’re going to blame Democrats and at the same time give cover to people who may not want to vote for the compromise bill.”

Karoun Demirjian, Paul Kane and Erica Werner contributed to this report.

Breaking from GOP orthodoxy, Trump increasingly deciding winners and losers in the economy

Flames, steam and exhaust rise from the Suncoke Jewell plant in Oakwood, Va., where coal is burned to make coke, which is used to manufacture steel. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
President Trump is increasingly intervening in the economy, making decisions about corporate winners and losers in ways that Republicans for decades have insisted should be left to free markets — not the government.

The shift amounts to a major change in the GOP’s approach to the management of the economy, and it promises to shape the success of everything from American agriculture and manufacturing to the companies that produce the nation’s electricity.

On Friday, citing national security, Trump ordered the Energy Department to compel power-grid operators to buy from ailing coal and nuclear plants that otherwise would be forced to shut down because of competition from cheaper sources.

The order came one day after the president imposed historic metals tariffs on some of the country’s strongest allies and trading partners. Now the Commerce Department is further picking winners and losers as it weighs thousands of requests from companies for waivers from the import taxes.

“It replaces the invisible hand with the government hand,” said Mary Lovely, a Syracuse University economist. “You’re replacing the market with government fiat.”

The president has chastised individual companies, second-guessed the U.S. Postal Service’s business arrangement with Amazon and put pressure on Boeing and Lockheed Martin over the cost of their products.

Fact-checking the Trump administration’s claims on ‘saving’ coal

The Trump administration has made a lot of claims about gains in the coal industry, but virtually none of them are true. 

Trump’s order to Energy Secretary Rick Perry to stop the shutdown of coal and nuclear plants is the latest example of government intervention. The method will probably resemble a 41-page memo discussed this week by the National Security Council and at a Cabinet deputies-level meeting.

According to the memo, the Energy Department should invoke emergency authority under Cold War legislation — the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act — to require regional electricity grids to purchase electric power from a list of plants chosen by the department. The memo said the criteria would be reliability, a quality that is the subject of hot debate.

The activist group Earthjustice issued a statement titled “Trump Administration Resorts to Soviet-style Takeover of Private Energy Markets To Keep Dirty, Uneconomic Coal Plants Running.” Staff attorney Kim Smaczniak said “no law gives the administration the power to set energy prices.”

The companies running regional electricity grids operate under a competitive bidding process that has won praise from environmental groups, utilities and regulators.

Those regulators, the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, rejected a similar Energy Department rescue for coal and nuclear plants in January.

But utility industry executives now worry that Trump is insisting on forcing through a plan akin to the rejected one because of political rather than economic concerns.

Industry experts expect that the Appalachian coal mining firm Murray Energy and the Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy — which first broached the idea of a rescue plan to Perry last year — will be near the top of the list of companies benefiting from Trump’s order.

Murray chief executive Robert Murray and FirstEnergy chief executive Charles E. Jones Sr. have contributed heavily to Trump and GOP political activities.

Murray presented an emergency plan to Perry in March 2017, days after Perry became energy secretary. Murray and Jones met Trump together in August 2017 to appeal for aid to prevent a FirstEnergy subsidiary from filing for bankruptcy, which it did anyway in early April. FirstEnergy’s highly paid lobbyist Jeff Miller was Perry’s campaign manager when he ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and Trump dined with Miller and a small number of other reelection strategists that week.

Of course, Trump isn’t the only one to tinker with market forces. President Barack Obama backed subsidies for wind and solar power. And about 30 states have adopted laws mandating minimum purchases of renewable energy.

Obama also won passage of a health-care reform package that created winners and losers. Republicans criticized the Affordable Care Act at the time for forcing people to make purchases through the individual mandate.

Now Trump’s economic assertiveness is beginning to draw a response from congressional Republicans. On Friday, in the wake of the announcement on steel tariffs, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said that he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would co-sponsor legislation “to rein in the executive branch’s power to impose unilateral tax increases like these.”

Toomey, who said the import taxes would hurt American workers and employers, tweeted: “Congress should assert its constitutional responsibility and lead on trade policy so Americans keep access to affordable goods and services, and the opportunity to sell our products abroad.”

The trade tariffs have alarmed some traditional Republican free-market enthusiasts.

“One of the reasons tariffs are not good policy in general is that it is a form of corporate welfare,” said Stephen Moore, an economist at the Heritage Foundation. “You’re saying consumers will have to pay more so this auto company or steel company or aluminum company stays in business. It’s the ultimate form of picking winners and losers.”

The implementation of the tariffs illustrates how Trump’s interventionist impulses are creating a cumbersome, bureaucratic process with Washington sitting in the middle.

In March, when the president announced plans to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, he allowed companies to petition the Commerce Department for waivers.

The department said it would allow companies to escape the tariffs if they relied upon foreign suppliers for steel or aluminum products that were unavailable in the United States in “satisfactory quality or in a sufficient and reasonably available amount.”

While the department promised decisions within 90 days, the process has bogged down amid several thousand applications for relief. To obtain an exclusion, each steel user must fill out a lengthy Excel spreadsheet, detailing for government bureaucrats its product needs, including the chemical composition, dimensions, tensile strength, coating, magnetic permeability and global and local “ductility.”

Separate forms must be filled out and submitted for each product. Applicants must identify potential or existing domestic suppliers and — if they don’t have any — explain to the government how they determined that no U.S. producer could meet their needs.

NHK of America Suspension Components in Bowling Green, Ky., a manufacturer of suspension coil springs for automakers including Ford and Toyota, told Commerce in an April 20 filing that there has been no domestic maker of the type of steel it requires since the closure of a Republic Steel plant in Lorain, Ohio, two years ago.

Even though — thanks to Trump’s tariffs — Republic Steel plans to restart that facility this summer, it will take “multiple years” to qualify it as a new supplier, Metal One America, NHK’s importer, said in a related filing.

In the exclusions process, Commerce officials also are tasked with refereeing arcane disputes between steel companies over what specific products are and are not available in the United States.

On May 23, Nucor — the largest domestic producer — called upon Commerce to reject an exclusion bid by London-based Evraz that would allow it to import steel slab from Russia. “Evraz is requesting an exemption for approximately 1.9 million metric tons of Russian slab to be rolled into hot-rolled coil, plate in coil, cut-to-length plate, and large diameter pipe in the United States based on claims of nonavailability and national security concerns,” Nucor said in a 25-page document. “There is no merit to these claims.”

The process assumes that there are domestic sources of steel and aluminum that the Commerce Department knows about and that profit-oriented companies remain ignorant of, Lovely said. “If it was a better match to begin with, the market would have made that match,” Lovely said.

Republicans see silver lining in Doug Jones victory in Alabama

Republicans lost a reliable Senate seat on Tuesday and saw their slim majority decrease by one – but some in the party are breathing a sigh of relief in the wake of Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama.

The silver lining playbook: the GOP will have one less Republican in the Senate for at least three years, but at least they’re avoiding possible long-term damage caused by GOP nominee Roy Moore’s presence in Washington.

“From a political perspective, I don’t think the long-term pain would be worth the short-term gain of the seat politically,” said Ed Gillespie, a longtime Republican operative who was defeated in last month’s election for governor in Virginia.

With the notable exception of President Trump, most top Republicans in Washington abandoned Moore after accusations of past sexual relationships with teenage women surfaced in the last few weeks.


Many argued that Democrats would have tried to latch Moore and his inflammatory comments to Republican candidates in 2018, the way Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments were used to hurt other conservative candidates in 2012.

“If you think Roy Moore wins and is a plus for Republicans, you’re naive because he’ll be on the ballot in every race in 2018, whether you want him to be or not,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

A Moore victory also could have emboldened other hard-right candidates, including those backed by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who is backing challengers to Republican incumbents.

“This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running,” said Senate Leadership Fund President and CEO Steven Law, who backed another Republican candidate against Moore and has sparred with Bannon.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks to supporters, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. Moore, who took losing stands for the public display of the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage, forced a Senate primary runoff with Sen. Luther Strange, an appointed incumbent backed by both President Donald Trump and heavy investment from establishment Republican forces. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Roy Moore has refused to concede, telling supporters Tuesday that when the “vote is this close…it’s not over” and said they were exploring recount options.  (Associated Press)

To these Republicans, Moore’s defeat also means they can support another Republican for the seat in the next Alabama election.

Because he is filling the rest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ term, Jones will not serve a full six years. The seat will be up for re-election again in 2020, and Republicans believe they could retake it.

“The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time,” Trump tweeted Tuesday after the results came in.

For all the talk of Republicans losing a seat, Moore might not have been a reliable vote for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who had called on him to drop out of the race.

‘Doug Jones is a dead man walking in 2020 unless he works with Republican.’

– Republican Ron Meyer

Jones has staked out liberal positions on many issues, but he could also be inclined to work with Republicans on certain issues, as he considers re-election in his conservative state.

“Doug Jones is a dead man walking in 2020 unless he works with Republicans,” Republican commentator Ron Meyer said Wednesday on Fox News.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones won with 49.9 percent to Moore’s 48.4 percent.

Moore has refused to concede, telling supporters Tuesday that when the “vote is this close … it’s not over” and saying they were exploring recount options.

Other Republicans, though, already accepted the outcome. In a tweet, Trump congratulated Jones on his “hard fought victory.”

The state party has indicated that they aren’t backing a recount effort either.

“While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close U.S. Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our founding fathers,” Alabama Republican Party chairman Terry Lathan said.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Courtesy: Fox News

Steve Bannon recruiting rabble-rousers to take on GOP establishment

When Steve Bannon left the Trump administration in August, he said he could do more to shake up Washington from outside the White House than from inside.

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Now, it looks as if Bannon’s plan is coming together.

Bannon has been recruiting and promoting challengers to GOP incumbents and the party’s preferred candidates in next year’s midterm elections.

It’s an insurgency that could give Washington the jolt it needs to end years of stagnation and gridlock — and get the U.S. moving again.

But it could also imperil Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

The emerging Bannon class of rabble-rousers share limited ideological ties but have a common intent to upend Washington and knock out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., standard-bearer of the establishment.

It’s a crop of candidates that unnerves a GOP that lost seats — and a shot at the Senate majority — in 2010 and 2012 with political novices and controversial nominees and fears a stinging repeat in 2018.

“The main thing that binds them together is a rejection of the Republican Party establishment, a rejection of the political elites, the financial elites and the media elites,” said Andy Surabian, a former Bannon aide and senior adviser to the pro-Trump PAC Great America Alliance.

“The main thing that binds them together is a rejection of the Republican Party establishment, a rejection of the political elites, the financial elites and the media elites.”

– Andy Surabian, senior adviser to the Great America Alliance, a pro-Trump political action committee

Bannon helped elevate twice-suspended Judge Roy Moore, who won an Alabama runoff over McConnell’s pick, Sen. Luther Strange.

Moore was removed from office for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from Alabama’s judicial building and then suspended for insisting probate judges refuse same-sex couples marriage licenses.

Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in a December election where polls show a single-digit lead for the Republican, a remarkable development in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ heavily GOP state.

“We don’t have leadership. We have followership,” Moore said Friday at the Values Voter Summit where he argued for scrapping the health care law with no replacement.

In West Virginia, the grassroots conservative group Tea Party Express endorsed Patrick Morrissey, also a Great America Alliance choice, over establishment favorite Rep. Evan Jenkins in a competitive race to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Senate Republicans had been upbeat about adding to their 52-48 majority, especially with Democrats defending more seats in 2018, including 10 in states Trump won in last year’s presidential election. But the Bannon challenge could cost them, leaving incumbents on the losing end in primaries or GOP candidates roughed up for the general election.

Consider Mississippi, where state Sen. Chris McDaniel lost to veteran Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014, but is weighing a bid next year against Roger Wicker, the state’s other senator in the national legislature.

McDaniel misdefined “mamacita,” the Spanish word for mommy as “hot mama,” and said he would withhold his tax payments if the government paid reparations for slavery. He also was forced to denounce a supporter who photographed and posted an image of Cochran’s bed-ridden wife.

He argued in court that his 2014 loss was due in part to African Americans fraudulently voting in the primary. He’s back again and speaking in Bannon terms.

“They will do anything, they will say anything, to just maintain a hold on power,” McDaniel said in an Associated Press interview about McConnell and his allies.

He’s already envisioning the theme of a challenge against Wicker.

“On one side, a liberty-minded, constitutional conservative. On the other side, Wicker and McConnell,” he said.

In Arizona, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who is challenging Trump antagonist Sen. Jeff Flake, remains known for entertaining the debunked theory that jet aircraft are used to intentionally affect the weather or poison people.

In 2015, she gave conflicting answers about her beliefs after holding a public hearing she said was to answer constituents’ questions. But John McCain used it to marginalize her in his winning GOP Senate primary against her, and McConnell reprised it in August in a web ad which referred to her as “chemtrail Kelli.”

Former New York Rep. Michael Grimm, who spent eight months in prison for federal tax evasion, is challenging two-term Rep. Dan Donovan — with the encouragement of Bannon.

In announcing his candidacy, Grimm was apologetic for his conviction. Still out there are viral videos of him famously telling a television reporter during an on-camera interview at the U.S. Capitol after a question he didn’t like: “You ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this (expletive) balcony.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is sticking with the incumbent: “I support Dan Donovan, plain and simple,” Ryan said this week.

But he stopped short of suggesting Bannon stand down. “It’s a free country,” he said.

In Nevada, Bannon is encouraging Republican Danny Tarkanian in his challenge to GOP Sen. Dean Heller. Tarkanian, son of famed basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, is zero-for-five in state and federal elections.

These outsiders share strong opposition to increasing the nation’s debt even if it means an economy-rattling default and unsparing criticism of congressional Republicans, especially McConnell, for failing to dismantle the Obama-era health care law, an unfulfilled seven-year-old promise.

In Wyoming, Erik Prince, founder of security contractor Blackwater, is considering a Republican primary challenge to Sen. John Barrasso, a senior member of the Senate GOP leadership team. Bannon has urged Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to run.

Bannon has given at least one Senate incumbent — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — a pass, but others are in his cross-hairs.

“Nobody’s safe. We’re coming after all of them,” Bannon said during a Fox News interview Wednesday. “And we’re going to win.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Courtesy: Fox News

RNC chairwoman rips Michelle Obama for ‘false’ claim GOP is ‘all men, all white’

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee blasted former first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday for her suggestion that Republicans are essentially “all men, all white.”

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“It’s unfortunate Michelle Obama would disregard the contributions of conservative women and people of all backgrounds with one sweeping, false accusation,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News on Thursday.

The former first lady spoke at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women on Tuesday and said it was important to have different types of people to gather different perspectives, saying “we should be working actively to mix it up.”

Obama recalled visiting Congress for State of the Union addresses, and drew a stark contrast between the two sides of the aisle.

“What you can see is this real dichotomy—on one side of the room, it’s a feeling of color,” Obama said. “On one side of the room, it’s literally gray and white. Literally, that’s the color palette on one side of the room.”

FILE - In this July 12, 2017, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama presents the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Obama said at a women's conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 2017, that the lack of diversity among some segments of the political landscape is a reason that “people don’t trust politics.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

File picture of Michelle Obama during the ESPYS  (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)


She continued, “On the other side of the room, there are yellows and blues and whites and greens. Physically, there’s a difference in color, in the tone. … Because one side—all men, all white. On the other side – some women, some people of color.”

Obama pointed to that scene and said, “No wonder people don’t trust politics.”

Not only is the head of the RNC a woman, but dozens of women and minorities are Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Mia Love of Utah and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

In the 115th Congress, there are 14 minority Republicans in the House and four in the Senate. There are currently 24 Republican congresswomen and five female Republican senators.

The Obama comments came after the former first lady also angered Republicans by criticizing women who voted for President Trump

“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” Obama told the audience during a talk at a marketing conference last month in Boston, according to

She was taking a swipe at a large swath of the population — according to exit polls, 41 percent of women voted for Trump in November.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy: Fox News

Steve Bannon hints at war within GOP, lashes out at Bush administration ‘idiots’ and mainstream media

Steve Bannon, in his first extensive interview since he left the White House last month, hinted at a looming war not with the opposing Democratic Party, but within the GOP itself.

“The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election,” Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who helped lead Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign, told CBS News’ Charlie Rose in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. “[Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell, and to a degree, [House Speaker] Paul Ryan. They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. It’s very obvious. It’s very obvious what they are trying to do.”

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Bannon went on to assert that such Republican leaders don’t support the President’s “program,” nor do they want to “drain the swamp” because it has been a “successful business model” based on donors and lobbyists, for some 50 years. He also expressed dismay that in the immediate aftermath of the election win, they chose to “embrace the establishment.”

“You might call it the original sin of the administration,” Bannon said. “Our whole campaign was a little bit [like] the island of misfit toys. So [Trump] looks around and I’m wearing my combat jacket, I haven’t shaved, my hair’s down to here, and he is thinking, ‘Hey, I’ve got to put together a government. I’ve got to really staff up something.’”

Of the recent announcement by Trump that Congress had six months to sort out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that provides legal protections for illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, Bannon argued that the program should be abolished once and for all. He also said he was worried that Republicans would lose the House as a result of DACA.

“It will be a civil war inside the Republican Party that will be every bit as vitriolic as 2013. And to me, doing that in the springboard of primary season for 2018 is extremely unwise,” he said, before illuminating the need to “focus on American citizens” and encourage immigrants to “self deport” by not renewing their work permits as they expire. “There’s no path to citizenship, no path to a green card and no amnesty. Amnesty is non-negotiable.”


Bannon, who has since returned to running the conservative news website Breitbart, refers to himself as a “street-fighter” who will continue to advocate for the president from outside federal government constraints and “make sure his enemies know there’s no free shot on goal.”

Throughout the interview he also took aim at the George W. Bush administration and what he called the president’s “idiot” security apparatus – including Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell – for allowing China to ignite economic war with the U.S. and embroil the U.S. in the Iraq war.

He also dismissed the ongoing Russia investigation, and the extent of Moscow’s impact on the 2016 election, as a “waste of time.” When Rose asked him why Trump “finds it so hard so criticize Russia,” Bannon argued that Trump “knows the Russians are not good guys” but doesn’t see the point of “picking another fight.”


Bannon ended the interview with a lashing out at the mainstream media, defending President Trump’s rampant and often controversial use of Twitter to communicate his views.

“What he does on Twitter is extraordinary. He disintermediates the media. He goes above their heads and talks directly to the American people,” Bannon added. “I don’t think he needs the Washington Post, the New York Times and CBS News. And I don’t believe he thinks that they’re looking out what is his best interest… He knows he is speaking directly to the people who put him in office when he uses Twitter. And sometimes it is not custom and tradition of what the opposition party deems appropriate… And he’s not going to stop.”

Republicans float new ObamaCare replacement plan

House Republicans are shopping around a new ObamaCare replacement plan, amid pressure to deliver a legislative win as President Trump nears the end of his first 100 days.

“We’re very close,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday at an event in London.

Fox News is told they hope to have revised legislative text in the coming days, and lawmakers are set to discuss the proposal on a conference call this weekend. But it’s unclear when such a plan could hit the House floor or what level of support it might have – Congress is currently on recess, and lawmakers won’t return until next week.

Fox News is told that leaders have not yet tried tallying support for the document on Capitol Hill.

“The question is whether it can get 216 votes in the House and the answer isn’t clear at this time,” a senior GOP aide said. “There is no legislative text and therefore no agreement to do a whip count on.”

A White House source said they could potentially have a vote by the end of next week, though they put the chances at 50-50.

The failure in March to pass an earlier replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, amid widespread criticism of the plan, marked a major setback for Trump’s early presidency. He has since turned his attention to foreign affairs – especially the Syrian crisis – but continues to press for a new health care plan, blaming a bloc of House conservatives for the March meltdown.

Complicating any renewed efforts, however, is next Friday’s deadline for Congress to pass a new budget measure. Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration likely will have to court Democrats to avoid this scenario. Further, the timetable is tight, with the House not set to return until Tuesday night.

Interestingly, the government shutdown drama and health care could be directly linked.

Just days ago, Trump declared he would yank subsidies known as “cost-sharing reductions” from ObamaCare programs. The government directs the CSR payments to insurers who grant coverage to low-income people. A dried-up subsidy could force insurers to drop ObamaCare and spike premiums for the poor.

Trump views the ObamaCare subsidies as leverage to force Democrats to the table on health care. Democrats contend the president is holding the health care assistance “hostage” and imperiling those who aren’t well off.

“The spending bill cannot be done by one party alone,” opined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., before the recess. “These bills can’t pass without a reasonable number of Democratic supporters in the Senate.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and John Roberts contributed to this report. 

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