Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Ted Cruz heads to Iowa; Rob Portman will speak in New Hampshire

    Two Senate Republicans viewed as likely 2016 presidential contenders are scheduled to address GOP loyalists in Iowa and New Hampshire this summer. The two states traditionally kick off the first presidential electoral contests—Iowa hosts party caucuses, and New Hampshire typically follows with the first primary.

    The Iowa State Republican Party announced Friday that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will deliver the keynote address at the party's July Summer Picnic in Des Moines, an annual fundraiser that brings top Iowa Republicans together each year.

    "Ted Cruz is, without a doubt, a leader Iowans will want to meet," Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said in a written statement.

    Last month, Cruz headlined the South Carolina Republican Party's annual Silver Elephant Dinner, the party's largest fundraiser. The state holds the first presidential primary in the South.

    Next Friday, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who was considered a possible running mate for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last year,

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  • Kentucky Democrat: ‘Mitch McConnell sucks’

    Kentucky Democrats may not have a candidate to run against Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, but at least they know that they don't like him.

    Take this comment made by Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth at the Jefferson County party's annual Wendell Ford Dinner on Thursday night.

    “I can be really brief tonight," Yarmuth said, "and just say, Mitch McConnell sucks."

    Louisville television station WHAS-TV has the video:

    McConnell's campaign responded in kind.

    "The liberals are coming completely unhinged," McConnell campaign spokesman Jesse Benton told Yahoo News in an email. "Between classless lines like Yarmuth's to delusional claims like 'Barack Obama is one of the greatest Presidents in history,' combined with illegal recordings and racists attacks, we clearly see that the Democrat partisans are floundering without a candidate while Mitch fights for Kentucky and remains positioned for re-election."

    The likeliest Democratic prospect to run against McConnell is

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  • Senate to vote on immigration bill before Fourth of July, Reid says

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center) with Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York (left) and Dick Durbin of Illinois (right.) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The Senate will vote on an overhaul of the nation's immigration system before the Fourth of July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday.

    On Thursday, Reid set in motion the lengthy process required to bring a bill to the Senate floor, giving lawmakers an opportunity to debate the issue this morning.

    Speaking from the Senate floor Friday, Reid said he would utilize an "open as possible process" for senators wishing to add amendments to the bill, but he would place restrictions in order to finish work on the bill within the next month.

    "I have committed to as open an amendment process as possible. I don't want to say totally open because sometimes with the procedures we have here, as with the farm bill, people throw monkey wrenches into things and we're not able to do as we want to do," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said. "But we'll wrap this legislation up before the July 4 recess."

    Opponents of the overhaul were quick to reserve time on the Senate floor to speak out. Alabama

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  • IRS’ ‘Spock’ faces questions from lawmakers, says video ‘embarrassing’

    Screenshot from IRS "Star Trek" training video. (YouTube)

    His name is Faris Fink and, in real life, he's in charge of the Small Business and Self-Employed Division of the Internal Revenue Service. But to most Americans following the recent saga of the IRS, he's just "Mister Spock."

    Fink played a starring role in a "Star Trek" parody video that was played at the beginning of a $4.1 million conference for IRS employees in Anaheim, Calif., in 2010. The parody, accompanied by another video showing IRS employees learning how to line dance, was released as part of an investigation into the agency's spending on conferences from 2010-2012. During that time, according to a Treasury inspector general report, the IRS spent $50 million on 225 conferences.

    On Thursday, members of Congress questioned Fink and other agency officials about his decision to appear in the video and the IRS' judgment to produce it in the first place. The IRS has said the video was used for training.

    California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight

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  • Path to citizenship ‘highly unlikely’ to pass House: Rep. Tom Price

    Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price (Christian Science Monitor)

    A comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally is "highly unlikely" to pass the Republican-majority House of Representatives, Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, the vice chair of the House Budget Committee, said.

    During a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting Wednesday, a reporter asked Price if a majority of House members could support a path to legality for immigrants similar to the provision in the bill currently moving through the Senate.

    "I think at this point, that would be highly unlikely," Price said. "Because I don't think there's a trust of our conference in the administration to enforce the current laws that are on the books as they relate to much of immigration. And not just this administration—it has been previous administrations as well."

    Price, who opposes the comprehensive approach taken in the Senate—which combines enhanced border security with a path to legality—pointed to the failure

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  • Conservative groups say IRS practices hurt their ability to raise money

    Representatives of conservative groups testify before a House committee June 4, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Leaders from conservative and tea party groups told a congressional panel that the Internal Revenue Service's methods of vetting organizations seeking nonprofit status discouraged supporters from donating to their causes.

    Representatives from six organizations appeared before members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday to discuss their interactions with the IRS, a government agency that has been under fire since officials admitted to using a "Be On The Lookout" list that required agents who were screening tax-exempt status applications to place heavier scrutiny on conservative groups. The group leaders, who came from small local tea party organizations, anti-abortion advocacy chapters and nonprofits that teach children about the Constitution, said they struggled to solicit donations because of the delay in receiving IRS approval.

    “The damage to our donor base is incalculable, and I would prosecute those responsible,” said John Eastman, the chairman of the National

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  • New acting head of IRS says money isn’t the answer

    Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    The newly appointed acting head of the Internal Revenue Service said Monday that the agency does not need more money to carry out the responsibility of processing applications for tax-exempt status, despite calls during the hearing for increased funding to help the embattled agency's workload.

    “The solution here is not more money,” IRS acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel told lawmakers during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, his first public appearance before lawmakers since being named acting commissioner last week. “If you start with more money, that’s the wrong starting point.”

    Werfel is the latest IRS official to testify before a congressional panel after a Treasury Department inspector general audit detailed how the agency targeted conservative groups seeking nonprofit status between 2010-2012. Former IRS acting Commissioner Steven Miller, former Commissioner Douglas Shulman and Lois Lerner, the director of the tax-exempt organizations division, testified in three

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  • Report by College Republicans details ways to capture youth vote

    Young Republicans gather in Florida to hear Mitt Romney in 2012. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    It will take a lot more than Facebook and Kid Rock to get young people on the Republican bandwagon.

    In the months since the 2012 presidential election, Republicans have acknowledged they have their work cut out for them in winning millennials—the generational tag given to those born between 1980 and 2000. On Monday, the College Republican National Committee unveiled a data-heavy, 95-page report that examines how (and why) Republicans can make inroads with young voters.

    Among voters under 30—who made up 19 percent of all voters in the November 2012 general election—President Barack Obama received 5 million more votes than Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Despite the gap, the CRNC believes there are ways to bring young people back into the GOP fold.

    "[T]he Republican Party has won the youth vote before and absolutely can win it again," the report said, pointing to Ronald Reagan winning 59 percent of the youth vote in 1984 and substantial support from young voters for Georgw W. Bush in

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  • Bachmann’s departure came as a surprise to tea party organizers

    Rep. Michele Bachmann at a rally with Tea Party Patriots coordinator Jenny Beth Martin. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Earlier this month, while planning a press conference with other lawmakers and tea party leaders in response to the Internal Revenue Service's unfair targeting of conservatives, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin that she longed to travel and speak to tea party groups more often than she had been able to recently.

    At the time, Martin didn't think much of Bachmann's comment, which she said was just made in passing. As planned, Martin joined Bachmann and other tea-party-friendly lawmakers outside the U.S. Capitol building on May 16 to speak out against the federal tax collection agency's practices. The IRS controversy helped breathe some new life into the tea party movement by offering a fresh platform to rail against both its targeting of conservatives and its role in implementing the federal health care law.

    Two weeks later, when Bachmann abruptly announced she would not seek re-election to her House seat, Martin suddenly

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  • GOP group aggressively seeking minority candidates for 2014

    The ongoing saga of the Republican effort to woo minority voters continues this week with an announcement that one party group plans to spend $6 million this election cycle to recruit and support female and minority candidates at the state level.

    The effort is a continuation of the Republican State Leadership Committee's Future Majority Project, a campaign founded by GOP strategist Ed Gillespie in 2011. In the past election cycle, Gillespie's team spent $5 million to recruit 125 Hispanic candidates and 185 women. For 2014, the group announced on Thursday a goal of investing "at least" $6 million to find more than 200 minority and female candidates.

    "We as a party need to do a better job of having a sustained conversation with men and women of all backgrounds in our communities where we think we can make a difference. Not only telling them to run, but offering them help. I think that's an important point that we're trying to make here: that it's not only talking, it's about action,"

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