Congress

CARL DEMAIO TO RUN FOR HUNTER’S SEAT IN CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery
 
File photo: Carl DeMaio on election night
 
August 5, 2019 (San Diego) – Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is the latest Republican to announce plans to run for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

WHO WANTS TO BE OUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN? HERE ARE THE CANDIDATES RUNNING SO FAR

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, top left to lower right:  Bill Wells, Sam Abed, Matt Rahn, Larry Wilske, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter

July 7, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – With Congressman Duncan D. Hunter slated for trial starting in September on 60 federal corruption charges, one Democrat and four Republicans, all men, have established campaign committees to run for Rep. Hunter's seat in 2020. At least two other prominent names have been floated as possible contenders, with more entries possible.

Here are the contenders to date:

ACTIVIST AEIRAMIQUE GLASS-BLAKE TAKES ON REP JUAN VARGAS AND THE DCCC

 
 
Story and photos by Angela de Joseph
 
March 28, 2019 (San Diego) - Democrat Aeiramique Glass Blake, a restorative justice consultant and community advocate, announced her 2020 candidacy for United States Congress (CA-51) January 17th on what would have been her mother’s 51st birthday.  The announcement date and Blake’s decision to challenge the four-time incumbent, Rep. Juan Vargas, in the Democratic primary are no coincidence. It was Blake’s mother who encouraged her to run for Congress, she was just waiting for the right time.

TRUMP VETOES CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE TO BLOCK HIS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

 

 

President also threatens to veto Senate’s passage of a bill ending support for Saudis in Yemen civil war

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 19, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — A courtroom battle looms after President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Friday passed by both houses of Congress. The Congressional resolution rejected Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall. 

TRUMP, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS REACH DEAL TO REOPEN GOVERNMENT, BUT ONLY FOR 3 WEEKS

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2019 ( Washington D.C.) – The longest federal government shutdown in history is slated to end tonight, after President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders agreed to enact a temporary bill to fund agencies through February 15th.  That bill does not include any funding for a border wall. 

The Senate passed the short-term funding bill today, one day after the Republican-controlled Senate voted to reject two measures that would have reopened the government long-term. One was a Trump proposal with wall funding and a temporary extension of protection for young immigrants or Dreamers.  The other was a funding bill with no money for the wall passed by the Democratic-controlled House.

During the next three weeks, Congress will convene a bipartisan conference committee on a Homeland Security Department funding bill and attempt to strike a compromise on border security.

NANCY PELOSI ELECTED HOUSE SPEAKER AS NEW MEMBERS SWORN IN WITH DEMOCRATS IN CHARGE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in, surrounded by her grandchildren and other children invited to the podium for the occasion.

January 3, 2019 (Washington D.C.)—On the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote, more than 100 women were sworn into the 116th Congress, where Democrats now have a solid majority and oversight powers.  Key challenges facing the new Congress include resolving how to end a government shutdown standoff as well as investigating alleged abuses of power, collusion with Russia and other crimes that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating involving the Trump administration, Trump campaign officials and potentially, the President himself.   

Democrats promptly elected California representative Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Pelosi previously served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and has also served as House Minority Leader.

TEMECULA’S MAYOR RAHN ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY AGAINST REP. HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2019 (San Diego) – Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn has filed papers to run against Congressman Duncan Hunter, a fellow Republican, in 2020, the Valley News reports. A scientist and land use consultant with background in ecology and sustainability, Rahn has represented San Diego State University  and the Pechanga tribe in their battle against the proposed Liberty Quarry, the Riverside Press Enterprise reported.

SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN LOOMS IN SENATE

By Miriam Raftery

December 21, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump says he will shut down the government at midnight  unless the Repubilcan-controlled Senate passes a budget with $5 billion in funding for a border wall.  Trump claims this would be a “Democrat shutdown.”  The House already passed the measure yesterday down party lines.

But dozens of Senators have already left Washington for the holidays and it appears ulikely that enough votes will be mustered for passage.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), chair of the Senate’s budget committee, has stated flatly, “No, he won’t have 60 votes over here.”

DEFIANT TRUMP REFUSES TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA PASSED BY CONGRESS; TRUMP LAWYERS SEEK TO BLOCK PRESIDENT FROM TALKING TO MUELLER ON RUSSIA PROBE

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has defied Congress, refusing to impose sanctions against Russia passed by Congress before Monday’s deadline.  The law required the President to sanction companies or individuals doing significant business with Russian defense and intelligence entities, moves that aimed to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential election including hacking into several U.S. states’ election systems.

SHUTDOWN AVERTED WITH SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL THROUGH FEB. 8: CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE FUNDING RESTORED, BUT NOT PROTECTION FOR YOUNG IMMIGRANTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Both houses of Congress have approved a short-term spending bill to reopen the federal government, but only until February 8th

The compromise measure includes six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program which had expired at year’s end.  But Democrats failed to win Dream Act protection from deportation for young immigrants or Dreamers, settling on a mere promise from Republican  Majority Mitch McConnell to address the issue in a separate immigration bill with no guarantee of passage.

TAX BILL PASSES HOUSE, OPPOSED BY 4 OF 5 SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS: SENATE ADDS HEALTHCARE REPEAL TO TAX MEASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with analysis from Forbes Magazine.

November 19, 2017 (San Diego) – House Republicans rammed through passage of a sweeping tax reform measure without holding a single hearing on the 400-page bill and without allowing any input from Democrats.   The measure, hailed as the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump, was opposed by San Diego’s three Democratic representatives as well as by Republican Darrell Issa, but was supported by Republican Duncan Hunter. 

CONGRESS LETS CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE PROGRAM FOR NINE MILLION POOR KIDS EXPIRE: CHIP FUNDS ALSO COVERED MATERNITY CARE

 

Meanwhile, Congress weighs bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, but robs babies of healthcare at birth

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2017 (Washington D.C. ) – Nine million children in low-income families and poor  pregnant mothers are losing healthcare nationwide due to the Republican-led Congress failing to allow a vote on renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), letting  it expire on September 30th, the Washington Post reports.

ADVOCATES PRESS CONGRESS TO RENEW COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER FUNDING

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo credit:  NACHC

August 27, 2017 (San Diego) - If Congress doesn't act by September 30 - the nation's nearly 1,300 community health centers will lose 70 percent of their funding.

This issue will be front and center for thousands of patients, providers and advocates at the annual Community Health Institute and Expo, which starts today in San Diego. New data show that community health centers now serve 27 million mostly low-income Americans.

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: MILLIONS WILL LOSE HEALTH INSURANCE IF CONGRESS PASSES REVISED HEALTH CARE BILL TOMORROW

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 3, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – House Republican leadership is pushing for a rushed vote on a revised proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare and replace it – without bothering to wait for a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis. But the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest doctors’ organization, has sent a Tweet warning patients to contact their representatives and urge a no vote.

CONGRESSIONAL BILL WOULD DESTROY CALIFORNIA'S ELDER ABUSE PROTECTIONS, PATIENTS' ADVOCACY GROUP WARNS

 

 

East County News Service

March 9, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Congress is considering a bill that will effectively end California’s 20-plus year civil protection system for victims of elder abuse or neglect perpetrated by health care providers.



“H.R. 1215 is a corporate wish list of anti-justice measures to immunize health care providers from accountability for terrible care by limiting justice for victims of health care malpractice,” warns California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit that advocates for improving care for patients needing long-term care. “The bill is misleadingly named the `Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.’  A more apt name for H.R. 2115 would be `Obstruction of Justice for the Injured.’”

REP. SUSAN DAVIS CALLS FOR REPEAL OF TRUMP ORDER TARGETING MUSLIMS AND REFUGEES, PRAISES COURT RULING STAYING ORDER

 

East County News Service

January 31, 2017 (San Diego) -- “Federal courts have rightly stayed President Trump's unconstitutional executive order banning Muslims and refugees. Immigration officials need to follow and respect the rule of the federal judges and allow those being held to have access to attorneys. The right of habeas corpus is a bedrock of our democracy,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis, who yesterday called on President Trump to left his executive order banning travel to the U.S. from  predominantly Muslim nations.

FIRST ACTION OF NEW GOP CONGRESS: GUT ETHICS OVERSIGHT, RESTORE IT AFTER PUBLIC OUTCRY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2017 (Washington D.C) –The first action of the 115th Congress was a closed-door vote by House Republicans to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics’  (OCE) independence and oversight powers.  But hours later,  after media reported on the action and members received a flood of calls from angry constituents, a new vote was held to scrap that plan and keep the OCE intact, for now.

The OCE was created in 2008 by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in response to the corruption scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of multiple felonies.  The House Ethics Committee did nothing about that scandal. Nor did it take any action against Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a San Diego Congressman sentenced to a decade in prison for bribery and corruption charges. It also took no action against Congressman Bob Filner when he was charged with trespass after pushing past a TSA agent at an airport.

In light of the House Ethics Committee’s impotence, the OCE  was created to conduct independent investigations, including probes based on tips from staffers, the public and anonymous sources.  

READER’S EDITORIAL: NEW HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN GOES AFTER POOR PEOPLE’S MONEY

 

By Tommy Tidrow

November 8, 2015 (Washington D. C.) – New House Speaker Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress (most of whom have signed the Republican operative Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” pledge) have come up with a plan to fund a highway bill by privatizing the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tasked with collecting back taxes from individuals who owe as little as $200 dollars in unpaid income tax. 

The measure would have private collection agencies act on behalf of the government to collect delinquent taxes.  These are the people who have been sued for predatory practices, harassment and misrepresentation for years.    

These debt collectors will not be going after billionaires and corporations who put $150,000,000,000 Billion dollars in off-shore tax havens like the Cayman Islands.  Nor will there be any reform to the tax code that allows giant corporations like General Electric to pay no taxes at all.

SPEAKER BOEHNER ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION AS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DEADLINE LOOMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 28, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has announced he will resign from Congress at the end of October.  With a September 30th deadline looming to pass a spending bill or force a government shutdown, Boehner has stated on Face the Nation that he expects a continuing resolution to pass for funding at least through the end of the year, averting a shutdown.  But after that, all bets are off, since the likely successor to Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, is backed by conservative Tea Party forces.

LIGHTS ABOUT TO GO OUT ON AMERICA’S PARKS, BALLFIELDS AND TRAILS

 

Congressional leadership’s refusal to take a vote to continue a critical parks fund means 50 year conservation program could disintegrate, despite support to pass in both chambers

East County News Service

Photo: Saguaro National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

September 26, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The Land and Waer Conservation Act Fund is set to expire on September 30th if Congress fails to act.  The Republican leadership is blocking a floor vote, despite enough support in both houses to renew the landmark measure.

“Leadership is dithering and deliberately stalling, because if put to a vote, the House would  have the 218 votes needed for  reauthorization of this core conservation program,” said Alan Rowsome with The Wilderness Society, which co-chairs the national Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. “On top of that, the Senate secured 60 votes for reauthorization back in January. So House  and Senate leadership are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by holding America’s parks, trails, soccer fields and historic sites hostage —when  more than 75% of America disagrees with them.”

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

REPORT BY REPUBLICAN-LED HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE DEBUNKS GOP’S BENGHAZI ALLEGATIONS, SUPPORTS OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2014 (Washington D.C.)—A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has resulted in publication of a report   on November 21st. That report concludes that accusations made by Republican leaders over terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya are untrue.  The committee found no wrongdoing by any administration officials, and it concluded  that the CIA  and U.S. military acted appropriately before, during and after the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.

The following bullet points are direct quotes from the committee’s conclusions:

REPUBLICANS WIN CONTROL OF SENATE, GAIN HOUSE SEATS INCLUDING ONE LIKELY IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- Nationally, Republicans have won control of the Senate and increased their margin of dominnance in the House of Representatives. One of those gains appears to have occurred in San Diego's 52nd Congressional District.

With all votes tallied except several thousand provisional ballots, former Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, has just 752 votes more than Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, up by 50.26% to 49.74%.  It is not yet known whether Peters will request a recount, which is his right under the law with such a narrow margin. 

In other local races, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter captured 71.55% of the vote over challenger James Kimber, a physician assistant in the 50th Congressional District.  In the 51st District, Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas scored a solid victory with 68% of the vote over his opponent, Stephen Meade. 

Two other races were somewhat closer. Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, fought off a challenge from ex-Navy Seal Larry Wilske, a Republican. Davis won with 57.88% of the vote in the 53rd District; Wilskie picked up  42.12%. Congresman Darrell Issa, a Republican who has drawn national media scrutiny as chair of the House Oversight Committee held his seat with 57.97% of the vote over Democratic challenger Dave Peiser, who receivecd 42.03%.

FARM BUREAU PASSES POLICY URGING REMOVAL OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP CLASSIFICATION AS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

 

Majority of Leading Farming Organizations Now Support Hemp Farming in the U.S.

January 22, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – The American Farm Bureau Federation has passed a resolution calling on the federal government to repeal classification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance.   Delegates approved the resolution at the Farm Bureau’s 95th annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas on January 14.

The Farm Bureau had previously passed a resolution supporting research into the uses of industrial hemp, back in 1995.

The Farm Bureau’s new position in favor of decriminalizing industrial hemp cultivation adds growing weight to the hemp legalization movement.

COUNTY SERVICES IN JEOPARDY IF CONGRESS FAILS TO PASS PILT

 

January 21, 2014 (Washington D.C)--America’s counties will have no option but to severely reduce or eliminate critical county services to the public if Congress fails to deliver funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

Without annual PILT payments, many services including fire and emergency medical services, search and rescue, public health, law enforcement and justice operations could be affected. In many cases, counties will face more severe consequences including insolvency, default, and bankruptcy.

A REVIEW OF JUAN VARGAS’ FIRST YEAR IN CONGRESS

 

By Jordan Schaffner

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

January 21, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – What has Congressman Juan Vargas accomplished during his first year in office and how effectively is he representing his constituents?

The answer varies, with the Congressman showing strong interest in representing the interests of Latinos, seniors, and labor interests -- while largely ignoring the interests of rural constitutents and enviornmentalists concerned over the industralization of East County with large-scale energy projects.

RENO DISPATCH: DID THIS LEGENDARILY INERT CONGRESS REALLY JUST GET OFF THE FLOOR AND DO SOMETHING RIGHT FOR OUR TROOPS & VETERANS?

 

 

By Jamie Reno

Jan. 16, 2014  (San Diego) -- It’s been a pretty positive week in Washington for our troops and veterans. As you've probably heard, Congressional negotiators have shockingly agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending package that almost everyone says is a pretty good deal. Go figure! And one of the real positives of this whopping budget agreement is that it gives active-duty military a one percent pay raise. 

But wait, there's been even more surprising action from this historically do-nothing Congress.  Read more at the Reno Dispatch.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPIRE FOR MILILONS OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Long-term unemployment benefits expired on Saturday , after Congress failed to authorize an extension. People who have been out of work for six months or longer will no longer be receiving unemployment checks.

About 1.3 million Americans will lose benefits immediately, including 222,000 Californians.  By the end of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly 5 million people will lose unemployment benefits. Those checks range from $40 to $450 a week, so this is a major blow for individuals who may have no other source of income.

The New York Times reports that removing this safety net for unemployed workers will push hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line. With the cut off, only one out of every four unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits –the lowest proportion in half a century.

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