FACT CHECK: NRSC Tries to Distract From Heck’s Voting Record & Support for Donald Trump

Today, Washington Republicans launched their latest false attack against Catherine Cortez Masto. Previous attacks from Congressman Heck’s numerous special interests allies have been called falsehighly misleading, and “B.S..” The reality is: Washington Republicans are trying to distract voters from Congressman Heck putting his party ahead of the safety of Nevadans.

“Washington Republicans are desperate to change the subject from Congressman Heck’s support of Donald Trump for President,” said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate. “The truth is: while Catherine Cortez Masto spent eight years as Attorney General protecting Nevadans from predators, Congressman Heck has voted twenty four times to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns and wants to put Donald Trump in charge of our nation’s nuclear launch codes. Congressman Heck’s support of Donald Trump as our Commander-in-Chief demonstrates he doesn’t have the judgment to be Nevada’s next Senator and will put partisan politics ahead of the safety of Nevadans.”

View the facts on Washington Republicans’ latest false attack against Cortez Masto below:

PUSHBACK 8/12/16: NRSC AD  “NO CONCERN” – 

CLAIM RESPONSE
VOICEOVER: Catherine Cortez Masto supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and refused to name any concerns with it.

 

REALITY: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS CONTINUE THEIR PATTERN OF FALSE AND MISLEADING ATTACKS ON CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO THAT HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY DEBUNKED BY INDEPENDENT FACT-CHECKERS

Washington Post Fact Check Gave NRSC Three Pinocchios For False Claims About Cortez Masto Support For Iran Deal. [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC “Exaggerated Charges” And Used “Misleading Language” To Frighten Voters Into Thinking Cortez Masto Made A Foreign Policy Blunder By Supporting Iran Deal. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “This is an ad designed to frighten voters into thinking that Masto has made a tragic foreign-policy blunder that will lead to nuclear conflict. But the images would be justified only if the case were as compelling as the NRSC suggests. Instead, the organization has exaggerated the charges and used misleading language to make its case. With a few tweaks in the wording and less stark images, the NRSC could make a reasonable argument that supporting the nuclear deal is a mistake. But this effort is a miss.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad “Incorrectly” Suggested Iran Deal Allows The Financing Of Terrorists. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Iran has billions of dollars in assets that are frozen in foreign banks around the globe, and this deal would unlock those funds. No one quite knows how much money is at stake, but estimates range from $29 billion to $150 billion, with $100 billion the figure most often used. The Treasury Department has estimated that once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $56 billion left. That’s certainly ‘billions.’ But remember, this is already Iran’s money; it is not being ‘given’ any kind of signing bonus. […] The ad, however, incorrectly suggests that the agreement directly allows the financing of terrorists.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad Used “Misleading Language” To Make It Appear That Arms Controls Were Being Weakened. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “‘Arms controls’ refers to U.N. Security Council sanctions limiting nations from supplying Iran’s weapon programs. Iran had wanted the sanctions lifted immediately, but as a compromise the deal called for the embargo on ballistic missiles to be lifted after a maximum of eight years. Sanctions on conventional weapons would be lifted after five years. The time frame could be shortened if the International Atomic Energy Agency determines that Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes. Here, again, the ad uses misleading language. This nuclear deal is an arms-control agreement, but ad makes it appears as if ‘arms controls’ are being weakened. Supplies for Iran’s ballistic missile program were under sanctions, but there were never agreed limits on the number of Iran’s ballistic missiles, as is typical in an arms-control agreement.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: Despite NRSC Ad Claims, All Of Iran’s Nuclear Sites Will Have Continuous Monitoring And IAEA Officials Insisted Verification Was “Not Compromised.” In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Under the deal, all of Iran’s declared nuclear sites, such as the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, will be under continuous monitoring by the IAEA. For 10 years, Iran will have limits on the uranium enrichment permitted at Natanz; the IAEA will be able to keep close tabs on the production. The deal also allows IAEA monitoring of Iran’s centrifuge production and storage facilities, the procurement chain, and the mining and milling of uranium — verification measures that many experts say exceed those under previous negotiated nuclear deals with other nations. So what is the ad talking about? It is referring to sites that have not been declared as nuclear, such as sensitive military locations. Under a side agreement between Iran and the IAEA, Iran will help collect samples at Parchin, which Tehran says is a conventional military facility, though the IAEA believes explosive triggers for nuclear weapons may have been tested there. The IAEA sought access to the site to determine whether there had been a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. News reports have given contradictory information on what took place during a September visit to Parchin by the IAEA. Officials have said that Iranian technicians played a role in obtaining the samples — possibly without IAEA officials present — but insisted that the verification process was not compromised. Still, officials have conceded that the arrangement was a departure from the way the IAEA normally conducts inspections. In any case, the ad again greatly simplifies a complex issue.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

PolitiFact: NRSC Ad “Mostly False” Because Crime Statistics Were A Crude Way To Measure Safety And Nevada Had Several Quirks That Inflated Numbers. “Experts agree that crime statistics are a crude way to measure safety, and Nevada has several quirks that inflate the numbers. The ad claims that Cortez Masto ‘couldn’t keep us safe,’ but crime statistics have more to do with local law enforcement agencies than the state’s attorney general. The NRSC offers no proven link connecting her actions as attorney general to a swing in murder, robbery and rape. The statement contains an element of truth but leaves out important details. We rate the statement Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Had Anything To Do With Decline Of Crime In First Term Or Subsequent Increase In Second. “That’s a serious charge, and there’s no concrete proof she had anything to do with the decline in crime in her first term or the subsequent increase in her second. Crime was at an historical low in 2011, and it’s hard to say why. The crime report itself cautions police agencies against drawing any conclusions about a specific department given the variety of factors that can affect crime trends. ‘Because of other assigned duties, the peculiar cycle of crime and clearances, and different community factors that normally affect crime statistics, no conclusions regarding individual departments should be made without consulting directly with the agency being analyzed,’ the report states.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Caused Nevada’s Ranking Third In Ten Most Dangerous States. “Similarly, there is some truth that Nevada took the third spot in a ranking of the 10 most dangerous states. Again, however, it’s not proven what Cortez Masto had to do with it, and the source is not as credible as the FBI. The NRSC cites a list published in January 2015 from 24/7 Wall Street, a website that covers financial news. The list indeed ranks Nevada third, but the data relies on both crime data and socioeconomic factors, such as the poverty rate and the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. No attorneys general, in Nevada or elsewhere, play much of a role in setting educational policy or promoting programs to get people out of poverty.” [Politifact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: NRSC Cherry-Picked Handful Of Crime Statistics To Portray Cortez Masto As Weak On Crime. “The NRSC ad says Nevada was ranked as the third most dangerous state by the time Cortez Masto left office, and that “murder went up 11 percent, robbery went up 28 percent, rape 51 percent” during her second term. The NRSC cherry-picks a handful of short-term crime statistics to portray Cortez Masto as weak on crime enforcement. But the argument is flawed.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: NRSC Claim That Cortez Masto Took Pay Increases Is “A Highly Misleading Claim.” “The NRSC said Cortez Masto ‘was happy to line her own pockets with taxpayer dollars when state employees were slammed with frozen salaries,’ but this is a highly misleading claim. The state increased Cortez Masto’s salary during a time of pay freezes for Nevada’s state workers. She was unable to legally reject the pay increase, so she donated $38,000 back to the state during her last four years in office. We rate the claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: It’s Clear That As Attorney General, Cortez Masto Didn’t “Pad Her Pockets” While State Workers Suffered – She Received Essentially The Same Salary During Her Eight Years In Office. “According to information collected from TransparentNevada.com and records request from the state Controller’s office, PolitiFact Nevada put together this spreadsheet of salaries, donations and what percentage of salary was donated back to the state. As shown, it’s clear that as Attorney General, Cortez Masto didn’t ‘pad her pockets’ while state workers suffered — rather, she received essentially the same salary (not counting benefits) during her eight years in office when donations are subtracted out.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

Jon Ralston: Freedom Partners Uber Ad Is “Bullshit” – Uber Is Still Here. In June 2016, Jon Ralston tweeted: “@FreedomPartners digital ad on @CatherineForNV is brutal but BS: It says she ‘drove them out of town,’ but Uber is still here.’ [Twitter, Jon Ralston, 6/24/16]

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius On Uber Ad: Cortez Masto Had The Gall To Actually Enforce The Law. In June 2016, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius tweeted: “Shorter @FreedomPartners on @CatherineForNV: ‘As attorney general, she had the gall to actually enforce NV transpo laws as written!’” [Twitter, Steve Sebelius, 6/24/16]

Headline: Politifact: Freedom Partners Ad Attacking Cortez Masto On Uber “Mostly False.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Politifact Rated The Uber Attack Ad Mostly False “Because The Ad Takes Things Out Of Context.” ” Freedom Partners got a couple of the details right in the amount of taxi industry donations and Cortez Masto’s aggressive legal actions against Uber. But there’s a convincing argument that Uber at the very least bent the rules, and it’s clear that Cortez Masto didn’t have some sort of individual vendetta against the ride-hailing company — her office was working with state regulators who specifically requested the attorney general take action. The ad also neglects to mention how Uber only temporarily left town. The ridesharing service is very much up and running through Nevada a year after its initial skirmish with the state. Because this ad takes things out of context, we rate it Mostly False.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Heck Supporter And Former Nevada Transportation Authority Chairman Said It’s Possible Cortez Masto Could Have Ignored The Will Of The State, But It Would Have Been Highly Unusual, “I Couldn’t Foresee The AG Or Any AG Not Enforcing State Law.” “Former Nevada Transportation Authority chairman Andrew MacKay said the massive size of Uber’s workforce dwarfed the enforcement capabilities of state regulators, meaning the only real maneuver available was a court-ordered restraining order. MacKay, who disclosed that he’s supporting Republican Joe Heck in the state’s Senate race, detailed some of the issues with Uber in a three-page affidavit describing the more stringent requirements of Nevada’s cab companies. […] MacKay, chairman of the state’s ‘client’ in the case against Uber, said it’s theoretically possible that Cortez Masto could have ignored the will of the state and not filed suit, but it would have been highly unusual. ‘I couldn’t foresee the AG or any AG not enforcing state law,’ MacKay said.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius: Two Recent Ads From The Koch Brothers-Backed Freedom Partners Action Fund PAC Targeting Cortez Masto Arranged Perfectly True Facts To Lead To A False Conclusion. “Anybody who’s ever been to a courthouse knows its possible to arrange perfectly true facts to lead a jury to a false conclusion. It’s no different in the court of public opinion. Take two recent ads from the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund PAC targeting Democratic former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who’s now running for Senate. The ads allege she hired a well-connected Washington, D.C., law firm to sue Bank of America during the foreclosure crisis. The firm earned millions in fees. Partners in the firm later gave Cortez Masto campaign contributions. Therefore, corruption!” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Las Vegas Review Journal’s Steve Sebelius: “Sounds Much More Like Cortez Masto Doing Her Job Than Cozying Up To A Washington Special Interest For Personal Profit.” “So, while it’s true Cortez Masto recommended the hiring of a law firm that earned money representing the state and whose partners later contributed to her campaign, it’s also true the firm successfully forced one of the largest banks in the country to pay the state millions to compensate for alleged wrongdoing. That sounds much more like Cortez Masto doing her job than cozying up to a Washington special interest for personal profit. In fact, you’d have to very carefully arrange the facts to lead people to that conclusion. That’s why you always have to wait until you’ve heard the entire story, in court and out.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

VOICEOVER:
But the deal gets billions to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism
THE TRUTH: MILITARY & NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS AGREE: IRAN DEAL IS THE BEST PATH FORWARD
75 Arms Control And Nuclear Nonproliferation Experts Endorsed The Iran Deal. “Dozens of arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts have signed a statement endorsing the Iran nuclear deal, the latest salvo in a lobbying campaign battle ahead of a congressional vote next month on President Barack Obama’s landmark agreement with Tehran. The Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan group based in Washington, will release the statement Tuesday morning. It declares the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief ‘a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.’ Story Continued Below Among the 75 signatories are the former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, prominent opponents of the Iraq War. Others include Hans Blix, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Morton Halperin, a foreign policy veteran of three administrations; and Thomas Pickering, a retired diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Israel.” [Politico, 8/18/15]

Three Dozen Retired Generals And Admirals Called The Agreement “The Most Effective Means Currently Available” To Prevent Iran From Getting The Bomb. “Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same. Calling the agreement “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, ‘would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.’” [Washington Post, 8/11/15]

More Than 100 Former U.S. Ambassadors Praised The Iran Deal For Preventing The Spread Of Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East. “More than 100 former American ambassadors wrote to President Obama on Thursday praising the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week as a ‘landmark agreement’ that could be effective in halting Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapon, and urging Congress to support it. ‘If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East,’ said the letter, whose signers include diplomats named by presidents of both parties.” [New York Times, 7/16/15]

Former Republican National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft Said The Iran Agreement Will Prevent “The Possible Spread Of Nuclear Weapons” And Stabilize The Middle East. “Congress again faces a momentous decision regarding U.S. policy toward the Middle East. The forthcoming vote on the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) will show the world whether the United States has the will and sense of responsibility to help stabilize the Middle East, or whether it will contribute to further turmoil, including the possible spread of nuclear weapons. Strong words perhaps, but clear language is helpful in the cacophony of today’s media.  In my view, the JCPOA meets the key objective, shared by recent administrations of both parties, that Iran limit itself to a strictly civilian nuclear program with unprecedented verification and monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.N. Security Council. Iran has committed to never developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon; the deal ensures that this will be the case for at least 15 years and likely longer, unless Iran repudiates the inspection regime and its commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Additional Protocol.” [Washington Post, Brent Scowcroft Op-Ed, 8/21/15]

Former U.S. Ambassador To Israel Under President Reagan, Thomas Pickering, Endorsed The Iran Agreement. [Arms Control Association Press Release, 8/17/15]

Former Senators Richard Lugar And Sam Nunn: Rejecting The Deal Will “Severely” Damage U.S. Leadership, Diplomacy, And Credibility. “Finally, and perhaps most importantly, members of Congress must think long and hard about the consequences if this agreement is turned down. There is no escaping the conclusion that there will inevitably be grave implications for U.S. security and for U.S. international leadership in the decades ahead. Sanctions allies will go their own way, reducing the effectiveness of our financial tools and leaving Iran in a stronger position across the board.  Any future effort by this president or the next to assemble a “sanctions coalition” relating to Iran or other security challenges will be weakened. U.S. leadership, diplomacy and credibility, including efforts to achieve support for possible military action against Iran, will all be severely damaged.” [Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, Politico, 8/30/15]

Former Republican Senator Nancy Kassenbaum Endorsed The Iran Deal. “A bipartisan group of 60 former U.S. government officials are encouraging Congress to support the nuclear deal with Iran and warning that rejecting it could pose a greater risk to U.S. security. […] Former lawmakers who signed the statement include Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle (S.D.), Gary Hart (Colo.), Carl Levin (Mich.), George Mitchell (Maine), Donald Riegle (Mich.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Tim Wirth (Colo.), and former Republican Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (Kansas). Former Democratic Reps. Lee H. Hamilton (Ind.) and Jim Slattery (Kansas) also signed the statement.” [The Hill, 7/20/15]

REALITY: IRAN SANCTIONS ON TERRORISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS REMAIN IN PLACE AND COULD BE INCREASED

Iran Deal Kept In Place U.S. Sanctions Against Iran For Terrorism And Human Rights Abuses. “The United States imposed additional sanctions when, in January 1984, the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, an Iranian client, was implicated in the bombing of the U.S. Marine base in Beirut. That year, the United States designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. The designation, which remains in place, triggers a host of sanctions, including restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on arms transfers, and export controls for dual-use items. Sanctions related to sponsorship of terrorism and human rights abuses were not affected by the nuclear deal.” [Council On Foreign Relations, 7/15/15]

President Obama Promised To Maintain Or Increase Sanctions To Punish Iran For Terrorism, Human Rights Abuses. “To reward Iran for imposing constraints on its nuclear program, the United States agreed to lift many of the crippling sanctions that have blocked the country’s integration into the world economy. But to win over wary Democrats, Mr. Obama promised that he would maintain — and perhaps even increase — sanctions to punish Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses and other ‘destabilizing activities in the region.’ Many lawmakers have indicated they would like to go further, and they are considering legislative proposals that include renewing the current sanctions against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy industry. Mr. Obama would waive them as long as Iran complied with the nuclear accord, but these sets of actions would be a signal that Iran is not to be trusted and that sanctions could be restored rapidly.” [New York Times, 9/11/15]

THE TRUTH: INTERNATINAL ARMS RESTRICTIONS WILL REMAIN IN PLACE FOR THE NEXT FIVE TO EIGHT YEARS

Iran Deal Kept International Restrictions On Conventional Arms For Five Years And On Ballistic Missiles For Eight Years. “The Pentagon exerted key influence over one major sticking point in the final hours of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials and diplomats: when to relax the international embargo on advanced military weapons to the Islamic Republic. […] But while economic sanctions will be lifted and billions of dollars in assets unfrozen under the deal reached Tuesday, the restrictions on conventional arms sales will remain in place for five years — and for ballistic missile technologies, which worry the U.S. military commanders the most, for eight years. ” [Politico, 7/14/15]

  • Politico: Arms Restrictions Came As “Surprise To Many” And Was Seen As A “Major Win” For The U.S. Because Iran Had Insisted On Immediately Lifting The Arms Embargo. “The Pentagon exerted key influence over one major sticking point in the final hours of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials and diplomats: when to relax the international embargo on advanced military weapons to the Islamic Republic. As the talks entered the final stages, U.S. negotiators were under enormous pressure — from Russia and China, as well as some European allies — to immediately lift the United Nations embargo that was put in place in 2010 as punishment for Iran’s nuclear weapons development, they said. Iranian diplomats, meanwhile, were insisting on immediate relief in exchange for forgoing the nation’s nuclear ambitions. But while economic sanctions will be lifted and billions of dollars in assets unfrozen under the deal reached Tuesday, the restrictions on conventional arms sales will remain in place for five years — and for ballistic missile technologies, which worry the U.S. military commanders the most, for eight years. That came as a surprise to many. And it was seen as a major win for the U.S. military establishment, which had argued both publicly and behind the scenes that allowing Iran to rearm quickly — before any confidence could be built that it was living up to the terms of the nuclear pact — was a dangerous prospect given Tehran’s recent record of destabilizing military behavior in the region.” [Politico, 7/14/15]
VOICEOVER: Paves the way for Iran to build a new your bomb and rewards a country whose leaders chant death to America. THE TRUTH: CORTEZ MASTO CALLED FOR AN END TO PARTISAN BICKERING, VOWED TO HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE

Cortez Masto: We Need To Stop The Partisan Bickering And Move Forward As A United Front With This Agreement. In September 2015, Catherine Cortez Masto stated: “That part of this is that we need to project to Iran as a united front, that we are going to take action, that we are going to stop this bickering over the position—over this agreement. Once it’s an agreement, now we need to move forward and that’s where it’s going to be, and so, no, I think, again we’ve got to get back to a country where we’re leading and we’re fighting as a united front here and that’s what I’m talking about when we move forward with this agreement.” [Ralston Live, Catherine Cortez Masto interview, 9/14/15]

Cortez Masto: “If Iran Were To Violate The Agreement, Then We Take Immediate Military Strike Or Action.” In September 2015, Catherine Cortez Masto stated: “Most importantly, to ensure that if Iran were to violate the agreement, then we take immediate military strike or action. They need to know they are going to be held accountable.” [Ralston Live, Catherine Cortez Masto interview, 9/14/15]

THE TRUTH: U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO LIFT INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR STOPPING IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

U.N. Security Council Voted Unanimously To Lift International Economic Sanctions Against Iran. “The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress. The 15-to-0 vote for approval of the resolution — 104 pages long including annexes and lists — was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.” [New York Times, 7/20/15]

The Deal Limited Iran’s Nuclear Capability And Imposed Strict Monitoring In Exchange For Lifting International Economic Sanctions.  “The United States and other world powers reached a historic agreement with Iran here Tuesday, aimed at preventing the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon in return for the lifting of sanctions that have isolated the country and hobbled its economy. President Obama, after announcing the agreement in Washington, quickly turned to what may be the more arduous task of selling the deal to skeptical lawmakers and U.S. allies in the Middle East. […] In Vienna news briefings and Washington conference calls, senior administration officials joined the president in hailing the agreement — which limits Iran’s nuclear capability and imposes strict international monitoring in exchange for lifting international economic sanctions — as a way to make America and the world more secure.” [Washington Post, 7/14/15]

REALITY: INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS WILL SNAPBACK IF IRAN CHEATS

Obama Administration Vowed That Iran Would Not Be Allowed To Bankroll Terrorism And Sanctions Would Be “Snapped Back” Quickly If Iran Cheats. “Obama administration officials told lawmakers on Wednesday that sanctions relief under the Iran nuclear deal will not be allowed to be used to bankroll terrorism and said the sanctions can be ‘snapped back’ quickly if Tehran violates the agreement. […] If Iran were to violate its commitments under the deal, U.S. sanctions could be reimposed ‘in a matter of days,’ he said. Sherman repeatedly reminded the panel that the military option remains on the table and insisted the deal was the best alternative to war.” [Reuters, 8/5/15]

International Sanctions Against Iran Would Automatically Resume If The U.S. Or Western Allies Believe Iran Violates The Deal. “The so-called snapback mechanism to renew United Nations sanctions is one of the most unusual parts of the deal. In the event that Iran is perceived as violating it, the agreement allows the full raft of penalties to resume automatically, without a vote on the Council that would risk a veto by one of its permanent members — namely, Russia, Iran’s closest ally on the Council. Preventing a resumption of sanctions would require a vote by the Security Council. Instead, the snapback mechanism allows any of the six world powers that negotiated the deal to flag what it considers a violation. They would submit their concerns to a dispute resolution panel. If those concerns remained unresolved, the sanctions would automatically resume after 30 days, or ‘snap back.’ According to the draft Security Council resolution, this means that the previous penalties ‘shall apply in the same manner as they applied before.’ Preventing a resumption of sanctions would require a vote by the Security Council. That in turn can be vetoed by those who would want the sanctions resumed, presumably the United States and its Western allies.” [New York Times, 7/16/15]

U.N. Security Council Resolution Allowed U.S. To Block Future Attempts At Sanctions Relief If Iran Cheats And Sanctions Are Reimposed. “The U.S. circulated a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday that would endorse the nuclear deal reached with Iran and lift most U.N. sanctions over the next decade. The resolution would allow the U. S.—or any other permanent member of the Security Council—to use its veto to restore the measures if Iran is seen to be violating the nuclear deal, a U.S. official said. […] At any time, the U.S. or any of its partners in the deal could bring an allegation of violations of the agreement to a new dispute-resolution mechanism. If that fails to resolve the issue, the U.S., for example, could ask the Security Council for a vote on whether to continue sanctions relief. Thus if the U.S. wanted to ‘snap back’ the U.N. sanctions, it could use its veto and the sanctions would be restored. The entire process would take a maximum 65 days.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/15/15]

VOICEOVER: No concern? Cortez Masto Nevada should be concerned very concerned THE TRUTH: FROM 2004 TO 2015, OVER 2,000 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS WERE ALLOWED TO PURCHASE FIREARMS…

Between 2004 And 2015, No Fewer Than 2,265 People On The Terrorist Watch List Passed A Federal Gun Background Check – A Successful Purchase Rate Of Over 90 Percent. “‘Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,’ as the Government Accountability Office concluded in 2010. And indeed, plenty of people on these watch lists do purchase firearms: Between 2004 and 2015, people on the terrorist watch list passed federal gun background checks no fewer than 2,265 times. At least three of those background checks involved the purchase of explosives. Only 212 attempted purchases were blocked, a successful purchase rate of over 90 percent.” [Washington Post, 6/17/16]

  • In 2015 Alone, 223 Of 244 People On The Terrorist Watch Successfully Attempted To Purchase Guns. “Last year alone, people on the terrorist watch list attempted to purchase guns 244 times. Of those, 223 attempts were successful.” [Washington Post, 6/17/16]

… BUT CONGRESSMAN HECK VOTED 24 TIMES AGAINST DEBATING A BILL TO BAN SUSPECTED TERRORISTS FROM PURCHASING FIREARMS, EVEN AFTER TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ORLANDO & SAN BERNANDINO

Heck Voted 11 Times Against Democratic Measures To Close The Terrorist Gun Loophole After The San Bernardino Terrorist Shooting. “Republicans in Congress made it clear Thursday that they will not be moving quickly to bring up new gun control legislation in the wake of Wednesday’s shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. […] Obama said Wednesday that Congress should, at a minimum, take up legislation that would bar anyone on the federal terrorist watch list from buying a gun. He told CBS News ‘some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.’ But House Republicans have rejected several Democratic attempts to use a procedural motion to bring that legislation to the House floor this week.” Heck voted 13 times against motions to bring forth the “No Fly, No Buy” bill that would close the terrorist gun loophole. [USA Today, 12/3/15;  H.R. 3662, Vote 36, 1/12/16; H.R. 581, Vote 21, 1/7/16; H.R. 580, Vote 4, 1/6/16; H. R. 579, Vote 2, 1/6/16; H.Res. 560, Vote 690, 12/11/15; motion to table H.R. 1076, Vote 688, 12/10/15H.R. 2130, Vote 685, 12/9/15H.Res. 556, Vote 682, 12/9/15; H Res 546, Vote 666, 12/3/15; H Res 542, Vote 653, 12/2/15; H Res 539, Vote 646, 12/1/15]

Heck Voted 13 Times Against Closing The Terrorist Gun Loophole After Democrats Staged A Sit-In To Try To Force The U.S. House To Vote On The “No Fly, No Buy” Measure After Orlando Shooting. “House Democrats are trying to force a vote on several gun control measures, but are being shut down by the GOP majority. For the second time in two weeks, Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) sought to be recognized on the House floor Tuesday night so he could bring up two gun-related bills on expanded background checks and the so-called ‘No fly, no buy’ proposal. That measure states that anyone on the FBI’s ‘No Fly’ list cannot purchase a gun. But Republicans refused to allow Clyburn to move forward.” Heck voted 11 times against motions to bring forth the “No Fly, No Buy” bill that would close the terrorist gun loophole. [Politico, 6/21/16; H.Res. 783, Vote 304, 6/15/16; H.R. 5053, Vote 299, 6/14/16; H J Res 88, Vote 337, 6/22/16; H Res 796, Vote 343, 7/05/16; H Res 793, Vote 345, 7/05/16; H Res 794, Vote 347, 7/05/16; H Res 803, Vote 352, 7/06/16; HR 4361, Vote 375, 7/06/16; H Res 809, Vote 387, 7/07/16; H Res 820, Vote 406, 7/12/16; H Res 89, Vote 408, 7/12/16; H.R. 2130, Vote 415, 7/12/16; H Res 822, Vote 439, 7/13/16]

 VOICEOVER: NRSC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

 

REALITY: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO DISTRACT FROM CONGRESSMAN HECK’S SUPPORT FOR DONALD TRUMP…

Heck: “I Have High Hopes That We Will See Donald Trump Become The Next President.” “‘I have high hopes that we will see Donald Trump become the next president,’ he said. ‘Though I don’t necessarily agree with how he talks about women and minorities and all of his policy positions, but if he wants to make America great again by bringing jobs back to America, then I am willing to help him achieve those goals and hold him accountable. And as the next U.S. senator from Nevada, I will make sure I stand as a check against anything that is not in our best interest.’” [Pahrump Valley Times, 6/1/16]

KTNV: Heck “Swatted Away Suggestions” That Trump’s Rhetoric And Immigration Policies Would Hurt His Chances. “Heck also swatted away suggestions that Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and plans to deport 11 million undocumented migrants would hurt his chances, saying that he won his demographically diverse congressional district by increasingly larger margins over the last three elections.” [KTNV, 3/14/16]

Heck On Donald Trump: “He’s Out There Talking About What He Needs To Talk About To Run For President.” “So, what does Congressman Joe Heck, Nevada’s Republican candidate for US Senate, think of the guy at the top of the GOP presidential polls? ‘I don’t talk about Donald,’ Heck told News 3 after a morning event put on by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. ‘He’s out there talking about what he needs to talk about to run for President,’ Heck added after ‘Eggs and Issues,’ the Chamber’s breakfast debrief with local newsmakers. The Thursday event was held at Vdara in CityCenter.” [KSNV, 8/27/15]

…AND TRUMP’S DANGEROUS AND RECKLESS FOREIGN POLICY THAT WOULD PUT AMERICA’S NATIONAL SECURITY AT RISK

Headline: USA Today Editorial: “Trump’s Unreal Foreign Policy.” [USA Today, Editorial, 4/27/16]

Headline: Washington Post Editorial: “Trump’s Incoherent, Inconsistent, Incomprehensible Foreign Policy.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 4/28/16]

Headline: National Review Editorial: “Trump’s Reckless Foreign Policy.” [National Review, Editorial, 7/21/16]

Former U.S. Diplomat Under George W. Bush Nicholas Burns: “Donald Trump’s Foreign-Policy Ideas Are Dangerous.” [Market Watch, Nicholas Burns Opinion, 4/30/16]

NATO

  • Trump Set Off Alarm Bells Among U.S. Allies By Suggesting He Would Not Honor Core Tenet Of NATO’s Military Alliance – Comments That Were Perceived By Some Analysts As Carte Blanche For Russia To Intimidate NATO Allies. “Donald Trump set off alarm bells in European capitals Thursday after suggesting he might not honor the core tenet of the NATO military alliance. Trump said the U.S. would not necessarily defend new NATO members in the Baltics in the event of Russian attack if he were elected to the White House. He told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that doing so would depend on whether those countries had ‘fulfilled their obligations to us’ in terms of their financial contributions to the alliance. ‘You can’t forget the bills,’ Trump told the paper. ‘They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.’ Trump’s comments were perceived by some analysts as carte blanche for Russia to intimidate NATO allies and a potential harbinger of the alliance’s collapse were Trump to be elected.” [NBC News, 7/21/16]
  • Trump Questioned The Need For NATO, The Backbone Of Western Security Policy Since The Cold War. “Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post’s editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War. […] Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. ‘We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,’ Trump said, adding later, ‘NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.’” [Washington Post, 3/21/16]

TORTURE

  • Headline: McClatchy: “Trump’s Call To Bring Back Torture Alarms Professional Interrogators.” [McClatchy, 2/12/16]
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Strongly Reject Trump’s Torture Remarks, Saying They Did Not Represent American Values. “Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford indirectly but strongly rejected Thursday the campaign statements of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump that ‘torture works.’ Put on the spot about Trump’s remarks by Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, Dunford didn’t respond directly but made clear that torture was out of bounds for a military that embodies American values. ‘One of the things that makes me proud to represent this uniform is that we represent the values of the American people,’ the general said in testimony before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. While he never mentioned Trump’s name, he said, ‘When our young men and women go to war, they go with our values.’” [Military.com, 2/25/16]
  • Trump Said He’d Force U.S. Military To Commit War Crimes. “In an answer at Thursday night’s presidential debate, tycoon Donald Trump said he would force the U.S. military to commit war crimes. Mr. Trump has suggested that he’d order the U.S. military to kill families of Muslim terrorists and institute interrogation techniques worse than waterboarding, itself widely condemned as torture. Torture and retaliatory executions are both war crimes under international law. […] ‘They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me,’ he said. ‘If I say do it, they’re going to do it.’” [Washington Times, 3/3/16]

AFGHANISTAN

  • Trump Tweeted That Afghanistan Was A Mistake And That The U.S. Should Pull Its Troops Out. “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!  Rebuild the USA.” [@realDonaldTrump, 1/11/13]
  • Trump On Afghanistan: “We Made A Terrible Mistake Getting Involved There In The First Place.” “But a review of the transcript from his October 6 interview with Cuomo makes clear that Trump was indeed labeling Afghanistan a mistake, since he was comparing the situation there with that in Iraq. Though Trump and Cuomo were initially discussing the situation in Iraq and Syria, the host switched gears to talk about Afghanistan, mentioning the country by name twice. […] He continued, ‘We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place.’” [CNN, 10/21/15]

ISRAEL

  • Times Of Israel: Trump Says He’ll Make Israel Pay For Defense Aid. “During a press conference in Washington, Trump was asked whether he believed the Israeli government should pay for American defense, as he had called for other US allies such as South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia to do. ‘I think Israel will do that also, yeah, I think Israel do—there are many countries that can pay and they can pay big league,’ responded the billionaire businessman.” [Times of Israel, 3/22/16]

NORTH KOREA

  • New York Times: North Korea Applauded Trump’s Threat To Withdraw Troops From South Korea. “On Wednesday, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party published a commentary praising Mr. Trump’s threat to pull American troops out of South Korea if elected president, unless Seoul pays more for their presence. It said the threat had shocked South Korean policy makers, who it characterized as servants of America, a standard theme of the North’s propaganda. […]In a March interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump accused South Korea of not contributing enough toward the cost of keeping tens of thousands of American troops in the country, suggesting he might withdraw them if elected.” [New York Times, 6/1/16]
  • Trump Said He Would Be Willing To Withdraw U.S. Forces From Japan And South Korea If They Did Not Substantially Increase Their Contributions To Maintaining Troops. “He also said he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals rather than depend on the American nuclear umbrella for their protection against North Korea and China. If the United States ‘keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they’re going to want to have that anyway, with or without me discussing it,’ Mr. Trump said. And he said he would be willing to withdraw United States forces from both Japan and South Korea if they did not substantially increase their contributions to the costs of housing and feeding those troops. ‘Not happily, but the answer is yes,’ he said.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
  • North Korea Claimed Advancements In Ballistic Missile Technology And Called For Further Nuclear Warhead Tests. “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed a key advance in ballistic missile technology and called for further missile and nuclear warhead tests ‘in a short time,’ the latest in a string of recent threats aimed at creating fear of war in the U.S. and South Korea. Mr. Kim observed a simulation of a ballistic missile warhead’s ability to withstand the heat and pressure of its descent to target, according to a report from the nation’s state news agency published Tuesday. The date of the test wasn’t given.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/14/16]

THE TRUTH: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE SPENDING MILLIONS TO PROP UP CONGRESSMAN HECK AFTER HE VOTED NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN WITH HIS PARTY BOSSES

Outside Groups Linked To The Koch Brothers And Mitch McConnell Have Already Spent Nearly $10 Million On Heck. “In the race to replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), groups supporting Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) spent $9.8 million compared to $2.5 million for those in support of former Lt. Gov. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). […]The top spenders in all of these races are the same. On the Republican side, support comes from groups connected to the billionaire Koch brothers ― including Freedom Partners Action Fund, Americans for Prosperity and Concerned Veterans for America ― as well as from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and One Nation, a nonprofit group connected to both Karl Rove and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).” [Huffington Post, 7/13/16]

Headline: Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Burst Of ‘Dark Money’ To Boost Heck On TV, Radio.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Heck Received A “Big Boost” With Ads From A Dark Money Groups. “U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Joe Heck is getting a big boost from One Nation, a nonprofit group with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. One Nation has launched a $792,000 ad buy that will run on Las Vegas TV and radio stations. The 30-second clip will run for 20 days, the group said in a press release Thursday.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Heck Has Voted With His Party 90 Percent Of The Time. According to CQ, Heck voted with his party 87% of the time in 2014, 93% of the time in 2013, 89% of the time in 2012, and 90% of the time in 2011. [CQ Vote Studies, Accessed 5/18/16]

Roll Call: Heck Was On The “Good Side” Of The More Conservative Wing Of The Republican Party. “Heck has managed to stay on the good side of the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which could help him fend off a serious primary challenge from the right. Republicans hope to avoid the situation they faced in 2010, when a crowded, messy primary resulted in the nomination of Sharron Angle, a flawed and gaffe-prone candidate who lost what was seen as a winnable race against Reid.” [Roll Call, 5/11/15]

MSNBC: Heck Voted For A “Far Right” Budget Scraping Medicare, Opposed Minimum Wage Increases, Was A Staunch Opponent Of Reproductive Rights, And Called Social Security A Pyramid Scheme. “Republican Rep. Joe Heck is a prominent U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada, and at first blush, the conservative congressman, running for an open seat, appears to be well positioned. Nevada is a fast-growing swing state with a diverse population, and Heck has previously won with fairly broad support. But it won’t be easy. Heck voted for a far-right budget plan that tried to scrap Medicare; he’s opposed minimum-wage increases; the GOP candidate is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights; and he’s even condemned Social Security as a pyramid scheme.” [MSNBC, 9/2/15]

THE TRUTH: CYNICAL GOP STRATEGY TO POLITICIZE IRAN DEAL OVERREACHES AND SABOTAGES U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

GOP Strategy To Politicize Iran Deal Largely Relies On The Agreement “Failing Spectacularly.” “Republicans are plotting to make Democrats pay dearly for backing an agreement the GOP argues hinges on an historic enemy of the United States playing nice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to return to the floor next week to force Democrats to take more votes Republicans say they’ll regret as soon as Iran violates the terms of the deal or sponsors terrorist attacks, which critics believe is just a matter of time. After that will come the attack ads, national GOP officials say. It’s expected to be a key cog of Republicans’ electoral strategy: some GOP senators are already comparing it to Obamacare in its scope and potential to damage Democratic supporters politically. […] But the GOP strategy largely relies on the Iran agreement failing spectacularly. Democrats acknowledge they cast a risky vote but say that Republicans almost seem to be hoping for something bad to happen in order to reap the political benefits.” [Politico, 9/10/15]

Headline: Vox: “Republicans Are Crossing A Dangerous New Line: Sabotaging US Foreign Policy.” [Vox, 3/9/15]

Republicans Have Brought Their Unprecedented Tactics Of Obstructionism And Sabotage To Foreign Policy. “Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress have deployed a strategy that has worked remarkably well for them: oppose, obstruct, and sabotage the Obama administration at every turn. ‘The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,’ Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, then the Senate minority leader, said in 2010. A few months later, McConnell acknowledged that Republicans had decided to deny President Obama any bipartisan support, not because they necessarily opposed each and every initiative, but to hurt Obama politically. ‘We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,’ he said. ‘Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan.’ This strategy led Republicans to adopt largely unprecedented tactics of obstructionism and sabotage. But no matter how far they went, there was one line they always avoided crossing: undermining US foreign policy.” [Vox, 3/9/15]

  • GOP Iran Letter Was An Unprecedented Congressional Meddling In The President’s Foreign Policy. “Democrats say there’s an opportunity for them, too, to make something of what they call the GOP’s reflexive opposition to the agreement. They also point out that GOP incumbents running for reelection signed on to a controversial letter to Iranian leadership earlier this year that was seen as unprecedented congressional meddling in the president’s foreign policy.” [Politico, 9/10/15]
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This Document Reveals Why The House Of Representatives Is In Complete Chaos

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA Congressman David Brat, a key member of the House Freedom Caucus

The House of Representative is in chaos. John Boehner announced his intention to step down as Speaker at the end of the month. There doesn’t appear to be anyone to take his place. The leading candidate, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, abruptly withdrew from the race yesterday. Another popular choice, Paul Ryan, says he’s not interested.What happened? How did we get to this point? One document, produced by the House Freedom Caucus, holds all the answers. Framed as a questionnaire the document effectively makes it impossible for any candidate to both: (1) Get elected speaker, and (2) Not send the entire country (and maybe the world) over a cliff.

Why the Freedom Caucus has so much power

The House Freedom Caucus, a relatively new group of about 40 Republicans loosely associated with the Tea Party, has an extraordinary amount of power in this process. Any potential speaker needs the support of 218 Republicans on the floor of the House. There are currently 247 Republicans in the House. That’s a large majority but without the Freedom Caucus, no candidate can get to 218.

What the Freedom Caucus says they want

The Freedom Caucus says they are just fighting for arcane rule changes that will enhance “democracy” in the House. On CNN yesterday, David Brat, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus outlined his criteria for a new speaker. (You may remember Brat for his surprise victory over Eric Cantor, the man many assumed would replace Boehner as speaker.)

Anyone that ensures a fair process for all sides. That’s what we are all looking for, right… We’ve shown principle. We are waiting for leadership candidates to put in writing moves that ensure you have a democratic process within our own conference. That is what everyone is waiting to see. And it’s got to be in writing, ahead of time for that to be credible.

Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?

What the Freedom Caucus actually wants

Yesterday, Politico published the House Freedom Caucus “questionnaire which it described as pushing for “House rule changes.” The document does do that. But it also does a lot more. It seeks substantive commitments from the next speaker that would effectively send the entire country into a tailspin.

For example, the document seeks a commitment from the next speaker to tie any increase in the debt ceiling to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

355

The United States will reach the debt limit on November 5. If the limit is not raised prior to that point, the United States could default on its obligations. This could have disasterous effects on the economy of the United States and the entire world. In 2013, a Treasury Department report found “default could result in recession comparable to or worse than 2008 financial crisis.”

Cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is extremely unpopular, even among Republicans. These programs are sacrosanct to most Democratic members of Congress. There is effectively no chance that President Obama or Senate Democrats — both of whom would need to support such legislation — would agree to “structural entitlement reforms” in the next month under these kind of conditions.

The House Freedom Caucus essentially wants to make it impossible for the next speaker to raise the debt ceiling. But that is just the beginning.

The House Freedom Caucus also wants the next speaker to commit to numerous conditions on any agreement to avoid a government shutdown:

356

The government will run out of money on December 11. Unless additional funding is approved before that date, the government will shut down.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities. This is essentially the Ted Cruz strategy which prompted at 16-day shutdown in 2013. They’re demanding to have this now be enshrined as the official policy of the Speaker of The House.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to oppose any “omnibus” bill that would keep the government running. Rather, funding for each aspect of government could only be approved by separate bills. This would allow the Republicans to attempt to finance certain favored aspects of government (the military), while shuttering ones they view as largely unnecessary (education, health).

Why McCarthy thinks the House might be ungovernable

For McCarthy, the document helps explain why he dropped out of the race. If he doesn’t agree to the demands of the House Freedom Caucus, he cannot secure enough votes to become speaker. But if he does agree to their demands, he will unable to pass legislation that is necessary to avoid disastrous consequences for the country.

McCarthy said that, even if he managed to get elected speaker, he doesn’t see how he would be able to have enough votes to extend the debt ceiling and keep the government open.

Asked by the National Review if he thought the House was governable, McCarthy said, “I don’t know. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.”

Why no one wants to be speaker

Top Republicans are calling Paul Ryan and begging him to be speaker. But thus far, he hasn’t agreed to run. None of the candidates currently running appear to have substantial support.

The agenda of the House Freedom Caucus makes a difficult job effectively impossible. Agreeing to their demands means presiding over a period of unprecedented dysfunction in the United States.

Even if a candidate was able to become speaker without formally agreeing to the Freedom Caucus’ most extreme requirements, one would still have to deal with the group — and a larger group of House Republicans sympathetic to them — in order to get anything done.

This is why Boehner wanted out and why no one really wants to take his place.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Out of the Kitchen and On Capitol Hill: Chefs Speak Out for GMO Labeling

‘Having honest, clear labeling of the foods we eat is a fundamental right, one that’s worth fighting for.’

— by Deirdre Fulton, CommonDreams staff writer

More than 700 chefs and restauranteurs are calling on Congress to support legislation to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods and to oppose efforts to block state GMO labeling laws.

colicchio
Chef Tom Colicchio testifies before Congress in 2010. (Photo: House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats/flickr/cc)

Advocates from Food Policy Action, Environmental Working Group, Center for Food Safety, Just Label It, and other national groups joined high-profile chefs—including Tom Colicchio, José Andrés, Art Smith, and Sam Talbot—on Tuesday for meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and to deliver a petition in favor of a GMO-labeling bill sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon).

“As chefs, we know that choosing the right ingredients is an absolutely critical part of cooking,” reads the petition. “But when it comes to whether our ingredients contain genetically modified organisms, we’re in the dark. The simple truth is consumers have the right to know what they’re feeding their families, and as chefs we have a right to know what we’re feeding our customers.”

Further, the petition points out that while 93 percent of Americans support GMO labeling, the U.S. is one of the only industrialized countries in the world without labeling laws. GMO labeling laws have passed in Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut; an Oregon ballot measure requiring labels on all genetically modified food sold in the state will be recounted after falling just shy of the votes necessary for passage in the November election.

“As a chef and father, I want to know what I’m serving my customers and kids, and the majority of Americans want honest information about the food on their tables,” said Colicchio, the owner of Craft Restaurants, co-founder of Food Policy Action, and head judge on Top Chef, who authored the petition. “Having honest, clear labeling of the foods we eat is a fundamental right, one that’s worth fighting for.”

Culinary insiders are increasingly flexing their advocacy muscles outside the kitchen and in Washington, D.C.—a phenomenon explored at Politico last week.

“Colicchio is part of a growing army of chefs across the country looking to channel their growing celebrity to influence food and agriculture policy in Washington, from school nutrition to the farm bill to animal welfare and even fisheries management,” wrote Helena Bottemiller Evich. “Their number is legion, their ranks full of names like Rachael Ray and Mario Batali along with scores of local celebrity chefs and restaurateurs—and their increasingly organized effort backs up some of the Obama administration’s sweeping food policy agenda right as it faces down an adversarial Congress.”

“Chefs are among the most influential advocates I’ve ever lobbied with,” Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told Politico. “They bring a business perspective to food policy that a traditional advocate might not bring and they rise above the partisan divide.”


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Shell Annual Report Delivers A Fossil-Fueled Bombshell

Believe it or not, Shell — of all companies — gets it.

— By Brett Fleishman

Brett_Fleischman

Royal Dutch Shell buried a bombshell in its recently released 2013 annual report.

Amid 200 pages of predictably and mind-numbingly dry text, the world’s seventh-largest oil company foreshadowed something big. Here are the exact words, which Shell buried in the  report’s “risk factors” section:

If we are unable to find economically viable, as well as publicly acceptable, solutions that reduce our CO2 emissions for new and existing projects or products, we may experience additional costs, delayed projects, reduced production and reduced demand for hydrocarbons.”

Believe it or not, Shell — of all companies — gets it.

Shell gets that unless things change quickly, another big financial market bubble has the potential to bring people to their knees.

It’s called the “Carbon Bubble,” and it’s a very simple equation.

Fossil-fuel companies already hold more coal, oil, and gas reserves than people and industry can possibly use before climate change reaches the point where life as we know it can’t continue.

Simply put, these companies have more product than they can sell. And their value is based on their total reserves. That means fossil-fuel assets are significantly overvalued.

Why hasn’t Wall Street imploded over this yet? Well, remember how “nobody” could see the housing bubble coming?

The truth is, Wall Street is still profiting from fossil fuels. And when economists and analysts tried to warn people about the housing bubble, just like some of them are now attempting to do about the carbon bubble, their foresight fell on deaf ears.

And if memories of the last economic crisis or even the phrase “market bubble” give you goose bumps, ask yourself how exposed you are to investments in oil, gas, and coal — the three kinds of fossil fuels. Does your pension plan, retirement plan, or family nest egg invest in the likes of Shell Oil?

As a senior analyst for 350.org, an activist organization that fights climate change, my job is to help persuade college endowments, city pension funds, and foundations to divest from fossil fuels.

In my conversations (really they’re debates) with boards of trustees and treasurers of multibillion-dollar pension funds and endowments, the biggest concern is always risk and return.

People charged with these investment decisions want to maximize returns.

Well, as our ability to burn carbon safely diminishes and the reserves of fossil-fuel companies increase, those investments will continue to become riskier and less profitable.

The logic is so clear, even Shell doesn’t think they are a good investment. The oil giant is looking for “viable solutions to reduce” its own CO2 emissions.

Shell’s not the only oil giant reckoning with this reality. Bowing to shareholder pressure, ExxonMobil just announced plans to produce a first-of-its-kind report showing how the growing trend in climate change activism is destabilizing their financial security.

“The deal is a big victory for the relatively new movement by some investors to get energy companies to consider how climate change policies will affect the bottom line,” according to Politico Morning Energy.

If you do one thing for your future, consider divesting from fossil fuels. It’s a great way to minimize your vulnerability to a serious financial crisis while investing in a more hospitable future for your children.

Brett Fleishman is a senior analyst for 350.org.  Distributed via OtherWords. OtherWords.org