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Rand Paul to Fight Linking Harvey Relief Funding and Debt Ceiling with ‘America First’ Amendment

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On Wednesday, the House will be passing a clean funding bill for Harvey relief and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to add an increase in the debt ceiling to the bill. A source has confirmed to Big League Politics that Senator Rand Paul will be fighting the effort.

Paul will be doing two things to throw a wrench in McConnell and Paul Ryan’s plans to marry the issues.

First, Paul plans to push for an ‘America First’ amendment which would cover the $7.85 billion Harvey relief funding through foreign aid cuts. In theory, the debt ceiling will still need to be raised soon, but not in conjunction with the FEMA relief funds if the money is offset with budget cuts.

“It’s a mistake to raise the debt ceiling without having some dramatic reform to our budget process,” Paul told Politico on Tuesday. “A $20 trillion debt is really our no. 1 security risk so to just keep raising the debt I think is a huge mistake.”

The senator added that “if you are simply adding to the debt to give people money I think it’s not really appropriate,” explaining that the costs should be offset from elsewhere.

Second, the Kentucky senator will be fighting for the debt ceiling and the Harvey bill to be split so that senate will have to vote on and debate the issues separately.

With FEMA saying that they will be out of funds by Friday, pressure is on for a funding bill to be passed quickly. By attaching the two issues, senators will be forced to either pass funding with the changes to the debt ceiling or be responsible for not providing aid money to the devastated areas in time.

Obviously, the disaster relief funding on its own has overwhelming bipartisan support and would easily pass, but Paul Ryan and McConnell appear to be determined to complicate things by adding the politically charged debt ceiling legislation to an otherwise easy vote.

Multiple members of the Freedom Caucus have also made it clear that they will be forced into not backing the package if it doesn’t include meaningful fiscal reforms.

Congress

Congress Uses Fake Russia-Taliban Report as Excuse to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Another victory for the war party.

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Democrats are seizing upon a fake news report alleging that Russia has funded Taliban mercenaries to kill U.S. soldiers in order to make it more difficult for troops to be pulled from Afghanistan, thus undermining President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.

The House Armed Services Committee voted on Wednesday to make it more difficult for Trump to pull troops out of Afghanistan. It would force several certifications to be met before Trump could bring troops home. Republicans in the committee joined the Democrats to undermine Trump with the approval of this National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the neoconservative who supports Bush-era globalism, said the measure “lays out, in a very responsible level of specificity, what is going to be required if we are going to in fact make decisions about troop levels based on conditions on the ground and based on what’s required for our own security, not based on political timelines.” It was approved by a 45-11 vote.

The amendment requires an assessment to determine whether or not “state actors have provided any incentives to the Taliban, their affiliates, or other foreign terrorist organizations for attacks against United States, coalition, or Afghan security forces or civilians in Afghanistan in the last two years, including the details of any attacks believed to have been connected with such incentives” before troops can be removed from the country.

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Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) bragged about how the measure will make sure the U.S. does not leave the region and more American lives are put in jeopardy for a war effort that is largely recognized to be a lost cause.

“There’s been bipartisan criticism of what a weak deal [Trump] got with the Taliban, a deal that is already falling apart,” Moulton said. “Now we learned that he was making this deal at the same time as there were bounties on the heads of American troops, American sons and daughters. We clearly need more oversight over what the president is doing in Afghanistan.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is the most eloquent voice for an “America First” foreign policy in the House, opposed the measure because of its obvious implications against peace.

“A great nation does not force the next generation to fight their wars, and that’s what we’ve done in Afghanistan,” Gaetz said. “I think the best day to have not had the war in Afghanistan was when we started it, and the next best day is tomorrow.

“I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to end the war in Afghanistan,” he added. “Our generation is weary of this and tired of this.”

The defense industry is pushing the Russia bogeyman yet again, in order to create xenophobic outrage and a pretense to keep troops occupying in the region. The Pentagon has reported that Russia is trying to expedite the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but they are painting this news as if it is a bad thing.

“As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries, and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a U.S. military withdrawal, and address security challenges that might arise from a withdrawal,” a report from the Pentagon said.

“Russia has politically supported the Taliban to cultivate influence with the group, limit the Western military presence, and encourage counter ISIS operations, although Russia publicly denies their involvement,” they added.

The political establishment, including the military-industrial complex, is pulling out all the stops to sabotage President Trump and deprive him of achieving his goals before November’s election.

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