Last night, President Donald J. Trump laid out a powerful vision for America that continues to build on the successes of the last two years. Americans are seeing higher paychecks, more opportunities, and brighter futures for their families. The economy is now growing at twice the rate it did under President Obama. Over 4.5 million new jobs have been created. Total unemployment is the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years, and African-American, Hispanic, and Asian American unemployment are all the lowest ever recorded.
Much has been accomplished. However, we still need bipartisan solutions to address rising health care costs, fix our broken immigration system, rebuild and modernize our infrastructure, and negotiate fair trade deals with partners around the world.
While President Trump delivered a positive message, Democrats sat on their hands. There is a clear contrast between the results we’ve seen under President Trump and radical Democrat policies that have repeatedly been proven to fail.
U.S. employers add robust 304,000 jobs
February 1, 2019
U.S. employers shrugged off last month’s partial government shutdown and engaged in a burst of hiring in January, adding 304,000 jobs, the most in nearly a year.
The strong job market is also encouraging more people who weren’t working to begin looking. The proportion of Americans who either have a job or are seeking one — which had been unusually low since the recession ended a decade ago — reached 63.2 percent in January, the highest level in more than five years.
GOP Senators: No Official Travel If Budget Deadlines Aren’t Met
By Susan Crabtree
After President Trump yanked funding for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) Democratic delegation trip to Afghanistan, a trio of GOP senators are pushing a proposal that would bar any congressional travel if Congress can’t meet its budget deadlines.
The bill would also prevent Congress from leaving Washington if lawmakers fail to complete their job of funding the government on time in an effort to fix the broken budget process and avoid future government shutdowns, stop-gap funding extensions, and bloated, last-minute, “omnibus” spending deals.
“We are on day 26 of the longest-ever government shutdown, and yet Congress is about to go home for the weekend, with some members flying out of the country,” Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.), who is pressing the idea, along with Sens. David Perdue (R., Ga.) and Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), said yesterday. “The proposal that we offer today would keep Congress in town until the budget is finally resolved.”
“During a government shutdown, Congress and the White House should experience pain, not the American people,” Lankford added.
Conservative senators had expressed deep concern about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R., Ky.) original plans to let senators leave town next week, when the government shutdown passes the 30-day mark, while the House remains in session and hundreds of thousands of furloughed government workers remain in limbo.
McConnell on Tuesday said the chamber would not leave for next week’s recess unless the government reopened. With so much scrutiny of Congressional travel in recent weeks, conservatives also are uneasy about senators leaving even for this weekend.
Perdue and Lankford were behind a successful effort last year to press McConnell to take a more confrontational approach with Democrats in order to confirm Trump’s nominees and pass spending bills. They successfully persuaded McConnell to delay the August recess by two weeks to press the Senate and recalcitrant Democrats off the campaign trail before the midterms elections and into action approving a raft of nominees.
“Congress should be held to the same standards of people in the real world,” said Perdue. “Washington’s broken funding process has created a dysfunctional cycle of continuing resolutions, last-minute spending deals and government shutdowns. Enough is enough.”
The senators want to tamp down increasingly vitriolic high-stakes budget showdowns and create what they are calling a “politically neutral platform” to fund the government on time every year. There will be “real consequences” for members of Congress if they don’t get their most basic job of funding the government done, Perdue said.
“We should not go home until we have completed our work. Period,” Perdue added.
Congress’s deadline for passing all spending the bill is Oct. 1, the first day of the new fiscal year. However, since 1976, Congress has only funded the government on time four times, the senators point out. Instead of wrapping up the work on time, Congress has relied on temporary funding extensions called “continuing resolutions,” which are wasteful and create uncertainty.
They also lead to impasses: There have been 21 government shutdowns since 1976, costing billions in retroactive pay and lost economic output. The last time Congress funded the government on time was 1996, more than 20 years ago, and it passed a budget resolution only 11 times in the past 20 years.
The broken budget process inevitably leads to wasteful spending as the appropriations process is dragged out and lawmakers infuse it with spending “sweeteners” to cut deals, instead of forcing painful deadlines. The U.S. is nearly $22 trillion in debt, with the budget deficit projected to exceed $1 trillion in the coming years, the senators point out.
Looking at the Department of Defense alone, the reliance on continuing resolutions has forced the Pentagon to ground or underfund dozens of programs, resulting in $4 billion in waste for the Navy since 2011, the senators argue.
Perdue, Ernst, and Lankford aim change the dynamic by requiring lawmakers to stay put if they have not approved a budget by April 15 and passed all appropriations bills by Aug. 1. If Congress misses those two deadlines, it would not be able to adjourn for more than eight hours, no funds would be available for official travel back to their districts or states, or on overseas trips such as the one Pelosi planned and Trump canceled to Afghanistan.
To ensure that members of Congress can’t leave Washington, both the House and Senate would hold two quorum calls—essentially a head-count check-in—per day that would force lawmakers to show up and remain within a close distance to the Capitol.
“This dysfunctional cycle is not the way our government was designed to function or should function,” Ernst said. “If we fail to pass a budget and spending bills, we should stay in town and work together until we get the job done.”
Statement on President Trump’s remarks today:
Today, President Trump again spoke directly to the American people about the national security crisis at our southern border. This President has listened to both sides and is still willing to compromise, and all members of Congress should take the proposal seriously.
However, some Senate Democrats rejected the proposal before even hearing the details. This rejection underscores how desperate they are to keep making an immigration a political issue instead of working toward a real bipartisan solution that could reopen the government.
Sen Perdue: No Congressional Recess Until Funding Process Is Done
Atlanta Business Chronicle
U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and two of his Senate Republican colleagues have introduced a proposal to prohibit members of Congress from leaving Washington until the federal government is reopened.
Under the plan, if both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have not approved a federal budget by April 15 or passed all 12 annual spending bills by Aug. 1, Congress would not be able to adjourn for more than eight hours and no funds would be available for official travel. To enforce the measure, two quorum calls would be held each day to ensure lawmakers remain in the capital.
“Congress should be held to the same standards of people in the real world,” Perdue said. “Washington’s broken funding process has created a dysfunctional cycle of continuing resolutions, last-minute spending deals and government shutdowns. Enough is enough. … We should not go home until we have completed our work. Period.”
Perdue is being joined in the effort by GOP Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
We’ve put forward a plan to keep the politicians in Washington if they fail to get the job done on time. If the U.S. House and Senate have not passed a budget by April 15 and all 12 funding bills by August 1, then:
- Congress cannot recess for more than eight hours.
- No funds will be available for official work travel.
- Both the House and Senate will have two quorum calls a day to ensure Members of Congress will not leave Washington.
Do you agree? Sign here!
“China Watcher” Takes Over Senate Seapower Subcommittee In Reshuffle
Joe Gould and David B. Larter
January 19, 2019
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., is passing the Seapower Subcommittee gavel to self-described “China watcher” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., as part of a larger reshuffle on the Senate Armed Services Committee for the new Congress.
“Today, we have the smallest Army since WWII, the smallest Navy since WWI, and the oldest and smallest Air Force ever. At the same time, we face complex threats from China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran,” Perdue said in a statement Friday to Defense News.
“A robust naval fleet is critical to deter aggression worldwide, project power, and support our allies. The Subcommittee on Seapower will provide vital oversight and support for our Navy and Marine Corps as they work to meet the increasing demand of global missions.”
Perdue’s state hosts nine military installations, including the 40-year-old Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, which is home to six Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, two guided-missile submarines and a facility that assembles the D-5 ballistic missile.
Perdue’s selection to head the Senate Seapower Subcommittee is a bicameral coup for the U.S. Navy’s submariners. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who is the presumptive head of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, has been a fierce advocate for submarine building.
Courtney’s district includes the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard where the new Columbia class — set to replace the Ohio class in 2027 — will be constructed. The two chairmen will have outsized voices in how many Columbia-class subs will be built, as well as the future role of the aging Kings Bay.
A rare Seapower chairman without a major shipbuilder in his state, and a fiscal conservative, Perdue will bring objectivity to the sub-panel and “a needed focus on more bang for the buck,” said Arnold Punaro, a retired two-star and SASC staff director under Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, now retired.
Perdue has used his experience as a businessman who lived and worked in Asia to become a voice in Congress on China issues, including trade and human rights. Perdue sits on the Senate Budget Committee and sat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until recently.
On the SASC since 2016, Perdue has grilled administration officials about Beijing’s military buildup and whether the size of America’s sub fleet can match competitors. Last year, he traveled to Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, where he touted the U.S. military’s role in securing free trade and safe shipping lanes.
“He has become a real expert on China both from an economic and military standpoint,” Punaro said of Perdue. “The U.S. military, and in particular the Navy, needs to be extremely focused on Chinese naval power and their other threats in the maritime domain.”
Wicker, the sea power panel’s chair since 2015, relinquished the gavel to become chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He and his House counterpart, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., saw their legislation to turn the Navy’s 355-ship requirement into U.S. policy signed into law a year ago.
SASC leaders announced a new roster Thursday that mostly maintains the status quo at the top, following a wider shakeup.
For the minority, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., replaced former Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., as ranking member on the Cybersecurity Subcommittee.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., replaced former Sen. Joe Donnelly as ranking member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., replaced Heinrich as ranking member of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.
Read more in Defense News.