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September 30, 2014

Texas Congressman: More Doctors Needed in Congress

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, participates in the Joint Economic Committee hearing on "Fiscal Cliff: How to Protect the Middle Class, Sustain Long-Term Economic Growth, and Reduce the Federal Deficit" on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Burgess wants more doctors participating in the nation’s health care decisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michael C. Burgess has a new goal: Bring more doctors to Congress.

Burgess, who is a doctor himself, is redirecting his Lone Star Leadership PAC to focus on helping doctors — and other health care professionals, such as nurses and hospital administrators, Burgess half-begrudgingly notes — become lawmakers.

Burgess told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday doctors need to take on a bigger role in health care policy decisions.

“Not only do they not have a seat at the table, they’re not even in the room,” Burgess said. “And they don’t even understand that they need to be in the room.”

To that end, the Texas Republican has launched what he is calling the “STAT Initiative.” (The name, he said, is meant to “imply the immediacy.”) Full story

April 3, 2014

Pelosi: Campaign Cash Ruling an ‘Existential Threat’ (Video)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is one of the most prolific fundraisers in congressional history. But that doesn’t mean she’s a fan of Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday that the court decision was “suffocating the voice of the many.”

The 5-4 McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling overturned the overall limit on what an individual may collectively donate to parties, candidates and political action committees in one election. The limit used to be $123,200. While the Supreme Court didn’t touch so-called base limits — such as the $2,600 cap on contributions to candidates per election or the $74,600 limit for political parties per an election cycle — the ruling allows individuals to give the maximum amount to an unlimited number of candidates.

“The Supreme Court decided to pour even more money into our politics and our process,” Pelosi said.

The California Democrat added that she was not surprised by the ruling, given the Citizens United v. FEC case, but the McCutcheon ruling “adds great insult to terrible injury to our democracy.”

“This is a very existential threat to who we are and how we do our campaigning and our government — and it should be something that should be roundly rejected,” Pelosi said.

But, as one reporter pointed out, Democrats can take advantage of this ruling just as much as Republicans.

“It doesn’t make it right,” Pelosi responded.

Pelosi, who raises millions for congressional Democrats, said she wasn’t thinking politically about this. “I’m thinking about our democracy,” she said. “Is this just supposed to be a money war?”

Pelosi agreed that candidates have to raise money to win elections, but she characterized the ruling as “an unlimited, constant spigot of undisclosed, God-knows-from-where-and-from-whom supply of money into the system.”

“It’s just plain wrong,” she said.

Eliza Newlin Carney contributed to this report.

July 8, 2013

McCarthy Headlines Event With ‘Prominent Birther,’ Says Ralston

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California will headline a GOP fundraiser in Las Vegas this weekend at which a “prominent birther” will also be making an appearance, well-known Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston reported.

Ralston writes that the Republican Women Southern Nevada PAC is holding a fundraiser on Saturday evening at the Venetian/Palazzo. Tickets for the event, dubbed the Red White & Blue Gala, range from $125 to $5,000.

McCarthy is scheduled to deliver the keynote address and appear alongside Republican luminaries of the Silver State, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck.

And then there’s Wayne Allyn Root, author of “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide.”

Full story

June 4, 2013

Cantor Distances Himself From Issa’s ‘Paid Liar’ Comments

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor blasted the IRS’ and the White House’s handling of the situation at a press briefing Tuesday morning, but he stopped short of using the inflammatory rhetoric employed by a fellow Republican over the weekend.

More specifically, the Virginia Republican declined to answer specific questions on whether he agreed with comments made by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in an interview on Sunday with CNN’s Candy Crowley. Issa called President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, a “paid liar” and said the administration was “Nixonian” in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

Issa, in his capacity as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been one of the leaders in investigating the matter and has generally become one of the chief antagonists of the White House on Capitol Hill.

Cantor, however, signaled he would continue to let Issa claim ownership of that title.

“There’s been an abuse of trust on the part of this administration,” Cantor offered. “The president continues to try to distance himself from his administration … and he … certainly has an obligation” to know what’s going on.

“It is the Obama IRS,” he said.

Full story

May 16, 2013

Reinvigorated Tea Party Bands Together Against IRS

Tea party leaders banded together Thursday morning to sound a rallying cry for the first time since news broke last week that the IRS disproportionately scrutinized conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status.

Convened by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former presidential candidate and chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, the news conference outside the Capitol included tea party allies in the House and Senate, national leaders and representatives from local groups around the country.

Their rhetoric left little room to wonder how they feel about the recent developments.

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, called for an audit of the IRS, which she described as “thuggish.” Adam Brandon, the executive vice president of FreedomWorks, said the government was operating more like “a third world junta than a constitutional republic.”

“It’s an abuse of power, potentially by this administration, to advance their own political ends,” Bachmann told a crowd of reporters afterward. “And story after story after story leads one to the conclusion, based upon the presumptive evidence, that the administration was willing to misuse and abuse government power to advance its own re-election chances in the next election. That’s wrong.”

Lawmakers and political organizers pledged one after another that this is an issue that won’t temper a roaring boil anytime soon, and that they would continue to speak out until they had answers.

They were also joined by pro bono attorneys on Thursday, a clear signal that the voices of those targeted by the IRS will only grow louder.

“They lost funding, they lost donors,” said Jordan Sekulow, the executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice. “We have a group out of Tennessee that lost a $3,000 donation because they weren’t approved.

“There are monetary damages here. Events had to be canceled. Attorney fees before they hired us … groups hired local attorneys and were not allowed to even operate once they got approved,” Sekulow said.

Though revelations about IRS misconduct became public May 10, conservative organizations have been voicing concerns beginning around February 2012, at which point 27 of them became clients of Sekulow’s group.

March 14, 2013

CPAC Activists Concerned About Candidate Recruiting

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Think the Republican establishment is alone in obsessing about candidate recruitment and the quality of GOP nominees? Think again.

The Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday held a panel discussion to examine disagreements between grass-roots activists and the party establishment over candidate viability that cost the GOP enough Senate races in 2010 and 2012 to constitute a majority. What was clear from the panelists and the activists that participated in the question-and-answer session was that conservatives are just as concerned as the establishment with the failure of Republican nominees to win general elections.

Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvanian who serves on the board of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors CPAC, suggested that conservatives are frustrated with the GOP’s failure in the 1990s and 2000s to deliver on the promises Republicans ran on to cut spending and to rein in government. Gerow indicated that the grass roots have run out of patience, leading many in recent years to ignore candidate viability and competence and to reflexively oppose those backed by the establishment.

However, Gerow argued that recruiting conservatives to run for office who are also capable politicians should be a top priority of grass-roots activists who are interested in seeing a Washington, D.C., that reflects their values.

Full story

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