Senate Considers August Staycation
If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) needs backup in his effort to clear the backlog of presidential nominations, he just got it. Sixteen Republican senators are now urging their party to squeeze every last second out of this legislative session, even if it means doing the unthinkable: canceling summer recess.
In a letter to McConnell, they argue there’s too much unfinished business to leave town for a month — not when there are hundreds of nominations on the table, a dozen appropriations bills to finish, and the chance to confirm more judges. Led by Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), they pledge their support for McConnell to forgo the Senate’s normal R&R and plowing through the president’s to-do list instead.
“Looking ahead, there are only 67 working days left on the calendar this fiscal year. That number drops to 52 if you exclude Fridays, as we usually do. This leaves only 12 weeks to get 12 appropriations bills out of committee and consider them on the floor. That alone is an impossible task. When combined with the crucial need to confirm more nominees, it is clear we do not have enough time.”
“We stand ready,” they went on, “to work Mondays and Fridays, nights as well as weekends, to ensure the funding process is not used to jam the president with a bad spending deal.” They’re referencing, of course, the rush to pass March’s $1.3 trillion omnibus, a colossal waste of money that wouldn’t have been necessary if Congress had taken the time to budget through regular order. Time is already ticking on the Sept. 30th deadline — and if voters’ outrage is any indication, Republicans can’t afford to make the same costly mistake twice.
Staying in session would also give Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) the chance to continue his run at the history books. An already great news week for President Trump got even better when McConnell knocked out another two confirmations in his already dizzying pace. The latest, Milwaukee attorney Michael Brennan, is headed to the Seventh Circuit, where he’ll fill a vacancy that’s been open eight years. To his credit, McConnell and Grassley have managed to slog through nomination after nomination, despite the obstacles Democrats keep putting in their path. The court-stocking continues next week with more votes. “We’re going to confirm these judges,” Sen. McConnell insisted. “I don’t care what tactics they employ.”
While rumors swirl about a possible High Court retirement, the majority leader’s advice is blunt: Do it now. “My message to any one of the nine Supreme Court justices, if you’re thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday.” McConnell knows better than anyone how long it takes for a SCOTUS nomination to even make its way to his chamber — up to 60 days in some cases, sometimes more. That doesn’t leave much of a window for the showdown that would almost certainly take place. And with the midterms looming, the urgency is even greater. “Elections have consequences. We could end up without having a Republican Senate.”
“We stand ready,” the senators write, “to break through the confirmation logjam and get the government funded before we break in August… The President has outlined an agenda that will unleash economic growth, strengthen our military, and rebuild our infrastructure,” point out Joni Ernst (IA), James Lankford (OK), Ted Cruz (TX), Dean Heller (NV), Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI), Bill Cassidy (LA), Roger Wicker (MS), Steve Daines (MT), Deb Fischer (NE), Dan Sullivan (AK), Ben Sasse (NE), Thom Tillis (NC), John Kennedy (LA), and Mike Rounds (SD). “We play a critical role in advancing this agenda, so together let’s make Congress work again.”
Originally published here.
Wisc. Attorney General Answers the Kaul on SPLC
Groups like Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) can’t stand it when people don’t take its hate labels seriously. But then, that’s what happens when you don’t reserve it for actual extremists! Its watch lists are packed with so many mainstream organizations and conservatives that most Americans — with the exception of the media — don’t give it a second thought. Of course, that doesn’t stop some liberals from trying to use it as a weapon. (Usually ineffectively.)
Wisconsin’s attorney general, Brad Schimel (R), is the latest one the Left is trying to tag as intolerant for daring to associate with a conservative group on SPLC’s bogus list: Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Of course, ADF is as respectable and decent as it gets, a tremendously credible legal organization that argues — and wins — routinely before the U.S. Supreme Court. Like FRC, our friends at ADF ended up on SPLC’s who’s who of conservatives for holding a different opinion than the far Left — not because the group is actually hateful.
Schimel said as much when his opponent in the November election, Democrat Josh Kaul, tried to use his stop at ADF against him. Using the tired playbook of other liberals, he called it “unacceptable” for Schimel to participate in a conference put on by such a “virulently anti-gay” organization. That’s ridiculous, Schimel fired back. “There’s nothing anti-gay about [ADF]… I’ve never gone to a conference where there was frankly so much love. This is a Christian organization, kind of an alliance of Catholics and evangelicals, getting together to focus on issues about how we build better love in the world. Nobody hates anybody at Alliance Defending Freedom.” When Kaul suggested he couldn’t be a conservative and do a fair job as attorney general, Schimel refused to take the bait. “I have always respected all human beings and their inherent dignity as children of God. As a prosecutor, I protect all human beings…”
For liberals trying to play the hate card, the message was clear: America is on to you. Leaders like Schimel know the SPLC’s endgame is to silence opposing views. Its strategy, spelled out in a hate map it still refuses to take down from its website after Floyd Corkins used it to find FRC’s office and shoot a member of our staff, is the height of the intolerance it claims to fight. Regardless of what SPLC says publicly, it’s clear that the reason it doesn’t want people associating with Christians and conservatives is because it’s terrified Americans will find the truth persuasive.
Someone needs to ask these trumpeters of intolerance how they ever expect to have civility in America when they not only discourage conversation about our differences but denounce it! But here’s the reality of that mindset: it only leads to further fragmentation in our society. When we don’t talk to each other, we can’t understand each other. And if we don’t understand each other, we won’t like each other. It humanizes people to talk openly with them, even about topics where we disagree. But if groups like SPLC continue to dehumanize Christians, even conversations will be impossible.
“The illiberal Left’s answer to everything that doesn’t fit their narrow worldview is ‘Shut up.’ Demonization and dehumanization are their tools, and they wield them every chance they get,” Eric Metaxas points out. But that strategy doesn’t work if people like Brad Schimel aren’t afraid of being labeled — or if the label is meaningless from overuse. As far as SPLC and its cronies are concerned, every Christian is a hater. They just can’t seem to persuade the broader public of it — not when we’re the ones willing to sit down and talk.
As for the attorney general, Wisconsin should be grateful it has someone as courageous as Brad protecting its values. Julaine Appling, head of the Wisconsin Family Council, certainly is. “We’re proud of Attorney General Schimel’s commitment to defending religious freedom in Wisconsin. He has been part of several court cases that are proof of that commitment. People should be proud to know ADF invited him to be part of a panel rather than dissing him for going to the event. ADF is the premier legal coalition defending religious freedom in our country.”
Originally published here.
This Weekend, Moms the Word!
There’s nothing like the love of a mom. When Jesus spoke of his loving desire to protect and shelter the very ones who were to reject him, he used the illustration of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings. It’s interesting that for all of the discussion about the breakdown of society, the focus is usually on the problem of fatherlessness. We don’t hear about the problem of “motherlessness” — because, although there are some exceptions, moms are always there. They’re the ones that — no matter where we go or what we do — we can rely on to be there, guarding, guiding, and nurturing.
Motherhood has never been for the faint of heart — but these days, the challenges are bigger than ever. On top of changing diapers, cooking dinner, and sometimes pursing their own careers, moms have the unenviable job of raising children in an ever-changing, ever-threatening world. Of course, lots of husbands are there physically and emotionally for the children, but moms have always carried a disproportionate amount of the burden. And today, they play a critical role in shielding and training kids in a culture that tests the values we all share.
But moms aren’t shrinking back in the face of these battles. Instead, they’re rising up to confront them — and encouraging others to do the same. The Sex Ed Sit Out is the perfect example of one mom who got the entire nation’s attention by having the courage to stand up and demand better from the schools trying to push their perversion on our children. “A few of us moms were disgusted,” “Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston said. “We decided to stop griping about it, and actually do something about it.” That “something” resulted in a four-country, 150-city protest.
Elizabeth’s Sex Ed Sit Out day was a reminder of how much we need moms protecting this generation from the influences of the world. America needs more “activist mommies” and daddies who are willing to get more involved in their kids’ lives. This weekend, we celebrate all of the mothers out there who sacrifice every single day so that we can have better, more fulfilling, more Christ-like lives. For those of us who are fortunate to still have our moms, we should take this opportunity to let them know — not just with cards and flowers but with true appreciation — just how grateful we are for everything they do.
To my mom, my wife, and all the godly moms out there who are devoted to their children: Happy Mother’s Day!
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.