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Congress

Exclusive–Grover Norquist: Eliminating the ‘death tax’ in Trump’s plan spurs economic growth

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The president of Americans for Tax Reform told Big League Politics President Donald J. Trump’s push to eliminate federal taxes on inheritances as part of his tax reform package is critical to a pro-growth agenda.

“This tax reform package is designed to reduce the tax burden, simplify the code and spur economic growth,” said Grover Norquist, who founded ATR in 1985 at the request of President Ronald W. Reagan.

“Abolishing the death tax does all three,” he said. “It is a key part of pro-growth tax reduction and simplification.”

Norquist said he is also counting on Rep. Kevin Brady (R.-Texas), the chairman House Ways and Means Committee, the committee with jurisdiction over the federal tax code. “Brady has been a leader in the struggle to once and for all kill the death tax.”

Although Karl Marx called for the elimination of inheritance and the left has long celebrated the death tax as a key to creating a more equal society, the tax was established in the United States to raise money for the military.

“The death tax was imposed on Americans to run the Civil War,” Norquist said.

“The war ended, the death tax stayed,” he said. “The good news is that abolishing the death tax has long had the support of more than 70 percent of Americans.  We reject the politics of envy and greed that drive so many other nations.”

The White House has an ambitious plan to pass the president’s tax reform proposal before the end of the year and the beginning of the 2018 tax year. The plan is to have a bill pass out of the House in October, one out of the Senate in November and then, have any differences between the two bills resolved for Trump’s signature in December.

House Republicans took the first step Thursday when they passed a budget bill for fiscal 2018, which allows for Trump’s tax reform plan to be considered on the budget track. In the House this is not an issue because the GOP has an effective majority. However, in the Senate, Republicans can only lose two of their 52 senators, and even then would need Vice President Michael R. Pence to break a 50-50 tie.

Under Senate rules, legislation cannot be brought up for a vote without at least 60 senators voting to end debate. Failure to end debate, or achieve cloture, means the bill can never come to the floor for a vote. Because of this rule, 41 senators can block, or filibuster, any legislation–except for bills considered on the budget track.

Republicans used this tactic in their push to reform President Barack Obama’s 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, but even with the lower vote threshold, the GOP was unable to secure the 50 votes.

In another era of Capitol Hill politics, the real legislative battle was in the House-Senate conference committees, where delegates from each chamber would emerge with a single bill that has to pass each chamber before going to the president’s desk.

With both chambers controlled by the Republicans, the conference is increasingly sidestepped, in favor of one of the chamber simply accepting the other chamber’s text and sending it along.

What has not changed is the challenge of the autumn calendar.

The House only has 24 legislative business days scheduled through the end of the year with significant recesses planned Oct. 14 through Oct. 22 and from Nov. 17 through Nov. 27. The last day the House have slated for legislative business is Dec. 14, which falls on a Thursday, the customary get-away day for House members.

Senators return to Capitol Hill Oct. 16 and the Senate calendar has 44 days open for legislative business, but so much Senate business is dependent on House action that this number is in flux.

Any business carried on passed Dec. 14 would be in the context of agitated lawmakers behaving more like hostages than statesmen. The imagination has not yet come up with a bill that could not pass the House and Senate if voting for that bill meant congressmen and senators could next hit the exits for the intern-driven car parked outside with the engine running ready to take them to the airport.

Often in legislative battles, the field is won or lost based on a single skirmish and for the president’s tax reform plan that skirmish is the debate on whether or not to continues to levy a tax on an individual’s assets over the $5 million exemption.

Everyone would consider an individual worth more than $5 million wealthy, but if the individual owned a farm or ranch or business, the value of land, structures and equipment climbs up to and beyond $5 million easily. This means that the family is forced to sell off the farm, ranch or other business or take out a death tax mortgage in order to pass the enterprise onto the next generation.

The President of the American Business Defense Council Dick Patten told Big League Politics he is trying to get a message to the president through different channels, but he has not been able to confirm it has been received. “What I want him to do is say: ‘The point you are making about this plan saving my family the $4 billion death tax bill from my $10 billion business empire really is the point—thank you for making it.’”

When the ranchers, farmers and small businessmen hear that the death tax would take away 40 percent of the business, he spent a lifetime building, across America people will get it, because it is what is happening to them, too, he said.

“Seventy-two percent of all jobs come from family businesses,” he said.

Phil Kerpen, the leader of American Commitment, told Big League Politics the Democrats led by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer (D.-N.Y.) are targeting the death tax section of the larger tax reform package because it allows them to revert back to their old playbook and rail against tax cuts for the rich.

“The rest of the bill is really well-balanced and focused on the middle-class and creating a more competitive business environment,” he said.

“Schumer is already going after the ‘estate tax,’ which is what they call it,” Kerpen said.

“All the liberal editorial pages will go nuts, but it is a very flawed political strategy. Every poll, ever, that asked the question in an honest and straightforward way, shows the American people will overwhelmingly support repeal and don’t think there should be a tax at death and that it is unfair and immoral to tax already taxed assets,” he said.

“People pay taxes every day of their lives, so whatever is left over has been taxed repeatedly their entire lifetime—people look at it as a moral issue; They don’t look at it as a class warfare sort of thing—but the Democrats think they do.”

Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based political journalist and editor. Before joining Big League Politics, he was the Capitol Hill correspondent for Breitbart News, where he also led Breitbart's political polling operation and wrote up the Breitbart-Gravis polls. McCabe's other positions include the One America News DC Bureau Chief, a senior reporter at Human Events and a staff reporter at The Pilot, Boston's Catholic paper. McCabe also was the editor of The Somerville News, The (North Cambridge, Mass.) Alewife and served as an Army combat historian in Iraq. His 2013 e-book The Unfriendly Skies examined how the American airline industry went from deregulation in the late 1970s to come full circle to the highly-regulated, highly-taxed industry it is today.

 

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Congress

House Republicans Stupidly Try To Cut Medicare, Social Security In Election Year

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House Republicans continue to advocate against their own political interests, pushing a new budget bill that would make grave cuts to Medicare and Social Security in this 2018 midterm election year.

While the congressional Republicans believe their bill will balance the budget in nine years, it would also inflame the many middle-aged people and senior citizens who actually vote Republican. It is unclear if House Republican leadership actually cares at all about the people who vote for them, which gives the bill some hope of passing.

ThinkAdvisor reports: “The GOP’s Budget for a Brighter American Future seeks to, over the next decade, save $5.4 trillion on mandatory programs — including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and includes reconciliation instructions for 11 House authorizing committees to find at least $302 billion in deficit reduction. Reconciliation allows expedited passage of certain budgetary legislation on spending, revenues and the federal debt limit with a simple majority vote in both the House (218 votes) and Senate (51 votes). The House Budget Committee plans to start marking up the legislation on Wednesday and Thursday, and pass it out of committee.  A vote by the full House could come next week.”

Not good.

Fortunately, President Donald Trump has no plans to cut Social Security or Medicare, as he stressed on the campaign trail. Trump scored major points against his Republican opponents in the Wisconsin primary by vowing, “You’ll get your Social Security cut by Cruz or Kasich.” Trump carried that message to primary wins in New York and Indiana, sealing his win.

Paul Ryan, the collectivist, wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. In fact, he ran an entire national vice-presidential campaign on that politically disastrous premise, which was the most mind-bogglingly stupid platform in an election ever.

Ryan then turned around and passed $1 trillion-plus omnibus bills as House Speaker that fund Planned Parenthood and all kinds of other damaging or meaningless things. Why does the government seem dead-set on giving welfare benefits to illegal aliens and funding abortion, but then claiming that senior citizens who have paid into the system for years suddenly have to lose their own government checks?

Until Republicans actually get serious about cutting federal spending, their designs on Medicare and Social Security do absolutely nothing to solve our debt-ridden financial situation, they merely take money out of the pockets of people who are already getting disenfranchised by our government in every conceivable sense.

The Swamp makes no sense.

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2018 Midterms

Week After U.S. Senate Nomination, Virginia Delegation Silent on Corey Stewart

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A full week after Corey Stewart won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia, earning the right to take on  incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), elected officials at the highest level of the Virginia GOP have failed to announce their support for the candidate.

In fact, they have actively avoided the question, and predictably, Democrats have seized on the opportunity to make them look foolish.

GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) dodged American Bridge’s questions a few days ago:

Big League Politics reached out to Comstock personally, and to her office. Neither returned a request for comment.

Alleged Republican Rep. Scott Taylor (VA-02) would not talk either:

“Reach out to my office,” Taylor said.

Big League Politics did just that. Timothys Foster, Talyor’s spokesman, did not return our email request for comment.

Republican Rep. Dave Brat failed to express support for Stewart too, though he came close.

“Judeo-Christian values, that’s what I’m running on,” said Brat. “I’ll support anyone who shares those values.”

Brat did not respond to Big League Politics’ request for comment either.

Stewart was embroiled in controversy during his primary run after the neo-liberal website Daily Wire ran a dishonest hit piece on him, claiming that he was an anti-Semite. There is no proof to support the allegation, other than Stewart’s support for Paul Nehlan, who made anti-semitic remarks. At the time of the questionable comments, Nehlan had the support of most of the GOP. He has since wholly denounced by the Stewart and the rest of the party.

For their part, the Republican Party of Virginia expressed support for Stewart via Twitter. When Stewart appeared on CNN for an interview with host Chris Cuomo, the liberal anchor tried to peg Stewart as a racist. Stewart replied by pointing out that Cuomo’s family has long been tied to anti-Semitism.

Former RPV executive Shaun Kenney denounced the party’s support.

“It’s not just eccentric, it’s offensive,” he said. “In a previous era, had a member of RPV staff issued comments like that, I would have fired them on the spot.”

The morally superior virtue-signaling will get the Virginia GOP nowhere.  Making false allegations of racism is a decades-old strategy used by Democrats against Republicans. They make the same claims against nearly every GOP candidate running for an important office.

But the establishment GOP, no matter how many times the Democrats have played the race card, still have not figured out the left’s tricks.

It is time to stand with Corey Stewart. Anything less is de facto support for Hillary Clinton sycophant Kaine, a hard-leftist who has failed Virginians in his tenure as a Senator.

 

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Congress

Disgraced FBI Agent Strozk Willing to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee

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A disgraced FBI agent who promised his colleagues that he “will stop” President Donald J. Trump from being elected is willing to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, according to a letter sent by his attorney Sunday.

According to the letter that was obtained by CNN,  Aitan Goelman, lawyer for FBI agent Peter Strzok, says that House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s pursuit of a subpoena to compel Strzok to testify is “wholly unnecessary.”

Strzok “has been fully cooperative with the DOJ Office of Inspector General” and “intends to voluntarily appear and testify before [the House Judiciary] committee and any other Congressional committee that invites him.”

The recently released Inspector General’s report brought to light more anti-Trump text messages between Strzok and his lover, fellow agent Lisa Page. Both were terrified of a Trump presidency and apparently willing to try to stop it.

Big League Politics reported:

Rep. Mark Meadows said that this information was withheld from Congress — clearly by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and others.

This proves definitively what observers already know: James Comey’s FBI was weaponized against Trump in order to help Hillary Clinton win the election. Clinton was already the Democratic nominee when the following exchange occurred, courtesy of Thursday’s Inspector General report by Michael Horowitz. The conversation occurred on August 8, 2016:

“Lisa Page: [Trump is] not ever going to become President, right? Right?!

Strzok: No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

BLP Passage Ends.

Strzok also rigged the warrant of disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop to protect Hillary Clinton from the damaging information it contained.

“On October 29, 2016 Strzok broke FBI policy and emailed a sealed draft warrant for the Weiner emails to his personal email, ” former FBI Special Surveillance Group member Chuck Marler told Big League Politics. “Obviously he wanted to work on the draft out of view of the FBI and most likely allow someone else to view it for their input. What did he put in the warrant that was filed the following day”

Strzok appears willing to testify before the Committee without immunity and without invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

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