Washington Times: Schumer’s very bad week and the Democratic dilemma

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is having a rough week.


After taking his fellow Senate Democrats over a cliff late last week by forcing a shutdown of the federal government, the New Yorker lost the messaging battle to President Trump and congressional Republicans, who stayed united. Why did this fight go against Mr. Schumer? It’s simple — Democrats went into battle already divided.

With 10 Senate Democrats facing reelection in 2018 from states that Mr. Trump won, the list of defectors was ripe for the picking, depending on the policy issue. Mr. Schumer was abandoned by his own most vulnerable incumbents.

As it turns out, shutting down the government in January to protect a subset of illegal immigrants who face a March deadline was not just irresponsible — it was political malpractice.

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Washington Times: How a sane and stable president drives his detractors crazy

Perhaps you have heard the coastal elites make the argument that the vice president and the Cabinet should use the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump as president.

Has this irresponsible chatter been confined to the fever swamps of the far left? No — it has been openly discussed on CNN and MSNBC and in the pages of The Washington Post and Time magazine, to name just a few mainstream media outlets.

A Google search of “Trump” and the “25th Amendment” quickly pulls up more than 54,000 results.

For the uninitiated — specifically those who have not watched “24,” “The West Wing” or “House of Cards” — the 25th Amendment specifies the way that a president can be removed from office if he or she is incapacitated.

Let’s stipulate this inconvenient fact: President Trump is not incapacitated. He is not “mentally unfit” to be president.

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Release: PSG Expands with Hiring of Jamie Bennett as Vice President

Consulting Firm Founded by Matt Mackowiak in 2009 Adds Texas GOP Press Secretary to Growing Firm

AUSTIN, TX — Potomac Strategy Group (PSG), LLC, a consulting firm founded in 2009 and based in Austin, TX that provides public relations and communications consulting services to corporations, trade associations, and individuals and political consulting to Republican campaigns, today announced the hiring of Jamie Bennett as Vice President.

Bennett was most recently Press Secretary for the Republican Party of Texas, and had previously worked as Communications Associate for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as Assistant to the Chief of Staff on the Marco Rubio presidential campaign and as an intern in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX). He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.

“I am very pleased that Jamie is joining our team at PSG,” said PSG president Matt Mackowiak. “Our corporate and political clients need first-rate communications advice, from strategy to planning to tactics to execution, and Jamie is a rising star communicator that will help PSG continue to help our clients achieve their goals.”

PSG has worked with corporate clients in energy, health care, transportation, telecommunications and tech, and has advised political candidates in 14 states with general consulting, campaign management, communications and mail services.

"I am eager to join the growing PSG team,” said Bennett. “For clients in both politics and business, PSG delivers quality results. I look forward to using my strengths and experience to continue to grow PSG and assist the clients we serve."

PSG’s core services for corporate communications include media relations, writing services and media placement, crisis communications, coalition building, media monitoring and rapid response, opposition research (conducted in house), digital strategy and advertising, and media training.

Washington Times: Time to block the crushing new Obamacare tax

The issue of health care issue is maddeningly complex. The politics of health care are even more challenging.

No matter where you are on the ideological spectrum, all Americans should agree that the 2018 Health Insurance Tax (HIT), which just went into effect and is already hammering small businesses and seniors, should be repealed.

In an election year, there are a myriad of reasons for Capitol Hill to not do something. But with so many members up for reelection, repealing a costly, poorly conceived tax increase should be broadly popular.

How did this happen in the first place?

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Washington Times: Inheriting a mess, Trump needs sure-footed North Korea response

You can blame Donald Trump for a lot of things, but the North Korean dilemma is not one of them.

The Obama team gift-wrapped a highly complex and urgent foreign policy challenge, after doing nothing of consequence for eight years to deter or interrupt the efforts of Kim Jong Un’s regime to build nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the U.S. mainland.

It should surprise no one that Wendy Sherman, the same State Department diplomat who negotiated the Iran deal for Mr. Obama, negotiated a similar deal with North Korea during the Clinton administration.

This week dropped several consequential developments from the Korean crisis on Mr. Trump’s desk.

Kim Jong Un delivered a New Year’s message that was both bellicose and comforting.

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Washington Times: Take conservative path forward to aid Dreamers

Despite protests across the country by left-wing activists, it appears that an extension of President Obama’s extra-constitutional Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program will not happen before the end of the year. This was the top priority of Democrats. They will fail to achieve it by the deadline they set.

No matter — the manufactured crisis Democrats sought never arrived, as President Trump set his own deadline of March 5, 2018 for action.

But this does not mean that the individuals who have benefited from DACA are not in limbo. Clearly, they are.

DACA recipients (also known as the “Dreamers”) are a subset of all illegal immigrants in this country.

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The Hill: Trump should fill CFPB vacancy with Export-Import chief

Following Richard Cordray’s resignation at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a surreal fight over leadership occurred for about 24 hours between the Trump administration and liberal activists led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Ultimately the courts sided with the Trump administration, at least through the first round of legal challenges. 

Their ruling allows Mick Mulvaney to serve as interim CFPB director while simultaneously running the Office of Management and Budget. It's now up to the Trump administration to appoint a long-term successor to lead the agency.

Here’s an idea that solves two problems for the administration at once.

President Trump can move his existing choice to run the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, former Congressman Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), instead nominating him to take over for Cordray at CFPB. This idea is gaining steam in conservative circles, as influential radio host Hugh Hewitt suggested the idea recently.

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Observer: Congress Weighs Defense Measure That Would Increase Reliance on Russia

Senate Armed Services Conference Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) has said a conference committee between the House and Senate is speedily finalizing the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Agreement (NDAA), a process he estimates will take just “days.”

For the sake of our national security, it would be wise for the conferees to trade in their jogging shoes for a walking cane.

One section of the NDAA brings perhaps the most significant threat to-date to both President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy agenda and Democrats’ Russia concerns: an increased dependence on Kremlin-manufactured products. As unlikely as this seems, let me explain.

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The Hill: How Trump could set Puerto Rico on the right fiscal track

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has been an unincorporated U.S. territory since the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1898. Typically, when Puerto Rico is in the news, it is because the island wishes to become our 51st state. But in the past few years, another kind of news has been developing — massive debt.

For more than a year, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has struggled with a debt of over $70 billion. To put that in context, their annual gross domestic product was $103 billion in 2013. This debt crisis reached an inflection point in July 2016 when the commonwealth defaulted on its debt.

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