senate

Right-Wing Leaders Hail House Vote to Strip Planned Parenthood of Funding

The amendment to block funding to Planned Parenthood passed by a vote of 240-185, achieving a long-held goal of Religious Right groups that vehemently oppose the healthcare organization. During the debate, House Republicans frequently touted the hoax videos produced by the extreme group Live Action and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) even pledged to go after Planned Parenthood’s non-profit status.

Taxpayer funding of abortion is already barred under federal law, and this new amendment would stop Planned Parenthood from receiving funds to provide the medical services which comprise the vast majority of the group’s work, like cancer screenings, tests for sexually transmitted infections, and family healthcare.

But an amendment devastating women’s healthcare is a reason to celebrate for anti-choice leaders and their allies in Congress:

Mike Pence:

This afternoon’s vote is a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.

I commend my colleagues in both parties for taking a stand for taxpayers and a stand for life. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support this legislation and end federal funding of Planned Parenthood once and for all.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List:

“Ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is a non-negotiable,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “It must be a top priority in the Continuing Resolution battle. Taxpayers have strongly rejected their complicity with Planned Parenthood in the sex trafficking of underage girls. Pro-life America demands that our leaders in the Senate step up and take on this fight and that the House leadership holds its ground. Americans have spoken and the time to defund Planned Parenthood, a habitual and unapologetic ally of those who deal in the exploitation of minors, is now. This is a black and white issue and we will accept nothing less than the total defunding of Planned Parenthood in the Continuing Resolution.”

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council:

“We commend Mike Pence and the bipartisan majority of House Members who stood with the American people in saying that enough is enough. Planned Parenthood, a scandal-plagued abortion organization, must be held accountable for abusing innocent young victims while receiving hundreds of millions in federal dollars each year.

“The fact that Planned Parenthood not only left minor girls trapped in prostitution, but encouraged it, shows an incredible lack of humanity on their part. What goes on behind the windowless offices of Planned Parenthood, as Live Action's videos show, is both saddening and shocking, but the fact that it has often been done with taxpayer dollars is indefensible.”

National Right to Life Committee:

“This landmark vote demonstrates that most House members now recognize Planned Parenthood is a hyper-political, under-regulated, out-of-control mega-marketer of abortion as a method of birth control,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.



“Now senators, too, will go on record on whether to push the snout of this bloated abortion mega-marketer, Planned Parenthood, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough,” said NRLC's Johnson.

Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice:

“There’s no better place to begin the budget cutting process, than putting a stop to funding Planned Parenthood,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It’s stunning that Planned Parenthood receives more than $360 million dollars a year in federal taxpayer funds. According to its own filings, Planned Parenthood reported more than 330,000 abortions in 2009 alone, a number that continues to climb. By receiving this windfall of federal funds, Planned Parenthood is able to free-up other resources enabling them to continue to promote and expand their pro-abortion agenda. The approval of the Pence Amendment in the House is long overdue and sends a strong message - American taxpayers are no longer willing to subsidize the nation's largest abortion provider.”

Even GOProud tried to take credit and tweeted:

Victory! @GOPROUD supported effort to defund Planned Parenthood passes the House. #tcot

Update:

Traditional Values Coalition:

Planned Parenthood is not in the industry of health care, nor has it ever been. Just this year, Planned Parenthood demanded that all Planned Parenthood clinics will offer abortions -- no exceptions. The Pence Amendment will strip $170 million in Title X funding intended for health care services away from the national abortion provider from Planned Parenthood, and I couldn’t be happier.

As the Pence Amendment inevitably reaches the U.S. Senate, taxpayers need to strenuously remind their lawmakers that each taxpayer dollar spent on Planned Parenthood frees up one dollar for Planned Parenthood to spend on its abortion arm. Those who defend Planned Parenthood’s abortion business are on the wrong side of history and the American taxpayer.

Priests for Life:

As illustrated by the outcome of this afternoon’s vote, members of the newly-elected House of Representatives are moving forward with various bills to defund the abortion industry. The argument here is not simply that we should not be forced to pay for things with which we disagree. The argument is that we should not pay for the killing of children. Remember, many of the most ardent supporters of abortion admit that it kills a child. Our government, indeed our civilization, is built on the premise that life is to be protected, not destroyed.

Right-Wing Leaders Hail House Vote to Strip Planned Parenthood of Funding

The amendment to block funding to Planned Parenthood passed by a vote of 240-185, achieving a long-held goal of Religious Right groups that vehemently oppose the healthcare organization. During the debate, House Republicans frequently touted the hoax videos produced by the extreme group Live Action and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) even pledged to go after Planned Parenthood’s non-profit status.

Taxpayer funding of abortion is already barred under federal law, and this new amendment would stop Planned Parenthood from receiving funds to provide the medical services which comprise the vast majority of the group’s work, like cancer screenings, tests for sexually transmitted infections, and family healthcare.

But an amendment devastating women’s healthcare is a reason to celebrate for anti-choice leaders and their allies in Congress:

Mike Pence:

This afternoon’s vote is a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.

I commend my colleagues in both parties for taking a stand for taxpayers and a stand for life. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support this legislation and end federal funding of Planned Parenthood once and for all.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List:

“Ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is a non-negotiable,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “It must be a top priority in the Continuing Resolution battle. Taxpayers have strongly rejected their complicity with Planned Parenthood in the sex trafficking of underage girls. Pro-life America demands that our leaders in the Senate step up and take on this fight and that the House leadership holds its ground. Americans have spoken and the time to defund Planned Parenthood, a habitual and unapologetic ally of those who deal in the exploitation of minors, is now. This is a black and white issue and we will accept nothing less than the total defunding of Planned Parenthood in the Continuing Resolution.”

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council:

“We commend Mike Pence and the bipartisan majority of House Members who stood with the American people in saying that enough is enough. Planned Parenthood, a scandal-plagued abortion organization, must be held accountable for abusing innocent young victims while receiving hundreds of millions in federal dollars each year.

“The fact that Planned Parenthood not only left minor girls trapped in prostitution, but encouraged it, shows an incredible lack of humanity on their part. What goes on behind the windowless offices of Planned Parenthood, as Live Action's videos show, is both saddening and shocking, but the fact that it has often been done with taxpayer dollars is indefensible.”

National Right to Life Committee:

“This landmark vote demonstrates that most House members now recognize Planned Parenthood is a hyper-political, under-regulated, out-of-control mega-marketer of abortion as a method of birth control,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.



“Now senators, too, will go on record on whether to push the snout of this bloated abortion mega-marketer, Planned Parenthood, out of the U.S. Treasury feeding trough,” said NRLC's Johnson.

Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice:

“There’s no better place to begin the budget cutting process, than putting a stop to funding Planned Parenthood,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It’s stunning that Planned Parenthood receives more than $360 million dollars a year in federal taxpayer funds. According to its own filings, Planned Parenthood reported more than 330,000 abortions in 2009 alone, a number that continues to climb. By receiving this windfall of federal funds, Planned Parenthood is able to free-up other resources enabling them to continue to promote and expand their pro-abortion agenda. The approval of the Pence Amendment in the House is long overdue and sends a strong message - American taxpayers are no longer willing to subsidize the nation's largest abortion provider.”

Even GOProud tried to take credit and tweeted:

Victory! @GOPROUD supported effort to defund Planned Parenthood passes the House. #tcot

Update:

Traditional Values Coalition:

Planned Parenthood is not in the industry of health care, nor has it ever been. Just this year, Planned Parenthood demanded that all Planned Parenthood clinics will offer abortions -- no exceptions. The Pence Amendment will strip $170 million in Title X funding intended for health care services away from the national abortion provider from Planned Parenthood, and I couldn’t be happier.

As the Pence Amendment inevitably reaches the U.S. Senate, taxpayers need to strenuously remind their lawmakers that each taxpayer dollar spent on Planned Parenthood frees up one dollar for Planned Parenthood to spend on its abortion arm. Those who defend Planned Parenthood’s abortion business are on the wrong side of history and the American taxpayer.

Priests for Life:

As illustrated by the outcome of this afternoon’s vote, members of the newly-elected House of Representatives are moving forward with various bills to defund the abortion industry. The argument here is not simply that we should not be forced to pay for things with which we disagree. The argument is that we should not pay for the killing of children. Remember, many of the most ardent supporters of abortion admit that it kills a child. Our government, indeed our civilization, is built on the premise that life is to be protected, not destroyed.

The Republican Nanny State Strikes Again

During last week's CPAC, Grover Norquist spoke on a panel entitled "It's the Spending, Stupid!" during which he made the claim that what really unites the conservative movement is the desire to just be left alone.  Even social conservatives, he claimed, really just want to be left alone to pray, raise their families, and practice their religion as they see fit ... which made me laugh, because we all know that is not the case at all. 

As evidence, all me to point to Georgia, which is only one of three states in the nation to prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Legislation was introduced that would have repealed that prohibition and let voters decide via referendum whether their cities or counties would allow retailers to sell alcohol on Sundays and appeared on the fast-track to passage. 

And why wouldn't it?  Republicans ought to love it because it a) limits government and b) gives voters the choice to decide for themselves. 

But then the Georgia Christian Coalition mobilized and started "suggesting that our supporters tell their city councilman or commissioner to call their state senator and say alcohol is an issue that divides us. Just leave Sunday alone."

And that was the end of that:

The chances of a Sunday sales bill passing this year took a major hit on Thursday when Senate Republican leaders said the measure lacks the support necessary among the majority caucus.

...

The bill, SB 10, would allow local governments to allow their voters to decide whether to allow sales of beer, wine and liquor in stores on Sundays.

It appeared to finally have the votes to pass after years of failure during Gov. Sonny Perdue's administration. Perdue, who left office this year, had promised to veto it. But Gov. Nathan Deal has said he would allow it to become law.

But in the past two weeks, Republican support for the bill in the Senate began to crumble as social conservatives, including the Christian Coalition, marshaled opposition to it.

The Republican Nanny State Strikes Again

During last week's CPAC, Grover Norquist spoke on a panel entitled "It's the Spending, Stupid!" during which he made the claim that what really unites the conservative movement is the desire to just be left alone.  Even social conservatives, he claimed, really just want to be left alone to pray, raise their families, and practice their religion as they see fit ... which made me laugh, because we all know that is not the case at all. 

As evidence, all me to point to Georgia, which is only one of three states in the nation to prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Legislation was introduced that would have repealed that prohibition and let voters decide via referendum whether their cities or counties would allow retailers to sell alcohol on Sundays and appeared on the fast-track to passage. 

And why wouldn't it?  Republicans ought to love it because it a) limits government and b) gives voters the choice to decide for themselves. 

But then the Georgia Christian Coalition mobilized and started "suggesting that our supporters tell their city councilman or commissioner to call their state senator and say alcohol is an issue that divides us. Just leave Sunday alone."

And that was the end of that:

The chances of a Sunday sales bill passing this year took a major hit on Thursday when Senate Republican leaders said the measure lacks the support necessary among the majority caucus.

...

The bill, SB 10, would allow local governments to allow their voters to decide whether to allow sales of beer, wine and liquor in stores on Sundays.

It appeared to finally have the votes to pass after years of failure during Gov. Sonny Perdue's administration. Perdue, who left office this year, had promised to veto it. But Gov. Nathan Deal has said he would allow it to become law.

But in the past two weeks, Republican support for the bill in the Senate began to crumble as social conservatives, including the Christian Coalition, marshaled opposition to it.

RedState's Erickson Slams GOProud, Norquist and CPAC

Erick Erickson of the prominent right-wing blog RedState and a commentator for CNN hasn’t made any comments about the CPAC boycott controversy until now, attacking GOProud and its ally Grover Norquist for criticizing the Religious Right. GOProud’s leaders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia recently lashed out at social conservative leaders boycotting CPAC as “nasty, anti-gay bigots” in an interview with Metro Weekly, and Erickson is not happy about it:

I have done my best to stay out of this business, keep my mouth shut, and appreciate my friends on both sides of the CPAC divide. Had I not seen this particular attack by GOProud against long time solid conservatives I’d continue keeping my mouth shut. But this is too much. And my guess is that there aren’t many if any willing to call foul, so I will do it.

As someone who spent time trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, I accept this as conclusive proof that, while it is a Republican organization, GOProud is not a conservative organization.



You really should read the whole thing. You’ll learn that should you disagree with GOProud, you are a bigot too. In fact there are lots of delightful quotes. GOProud has taken one of the favorite leftist bullet points and brought it straight into CPAC. You oppose affirmative action? You’re a racist. You oppose gay marriage? You’re a bigot.

Wonderful trick. Sadly, it is being used on real heros within the conservative movement, including Cleta Mitchell, a board member of the American Conservative Union.

According to the dictionary, a bigot is a person “obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of [their] own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions.”

Chris Baron might want to look in the mirror.



While Cleta Mitchell was fighting for children, Chris Baron was signing up to work for the champions of child killing.

While Cleta Mitchell was fighting for people’s right to work, GOProud was aligning itself with the AFL-CIO and the SEIU.

While Cleta Mitchell was helping the Senate Conservatives Fund get people like Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and others elected, GOProud was attacking Jim DeMint.

While Cleta Mitchell was in super secret meetings of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy this week, GOProud was attacking Tim Pawlenty for daring to defend conservative positions on don’t ask-don’t tell.

Those groups and people who have sat out CPAC this year have done so not because they hate the gays, as Grover Norquist and GOProud would have you believe, but because GOProud is not a conservative organization and its agenda is not a conservative agenda.

For that, they are called losers and nasty bigots.

These losers and nasty bigots have done a lot more for the conservative movement than GOProud. And I am very happy to call them my friends.

This week, I’d much rather be with them than be at CPAC.

RedState's Erickson Slams GOProud, Norquist and CPAC

Erick Erickson of the prominent right-wing blog RedState and a commentator for CNN hasn’t made any comments about the CPAC boycott controversy until now, attacking GOProud and its ally Grover Norquist for criticizing the Religious Right. GOProud’s leaders Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia recently lashed out at social conservative leaders boycotting CPAC as “nasty, anti-gay bigots” in an interview with Metro Weekly, and Erickson is not happy about it:

I have done my best to stay out of this business, keep my mouth shut, and appreciate my friends on both sides of the CPAC divide. Had I not seen this particular attack by GOProud against long time solid conservatives I’d continue keeping my mouth shut. But this is too much. And my guess is that there aren’t many if any willing to call foul, so I will do it.

As someone who spent time trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, I accept this as conclusive proof that, while it is a Republican organization, GOProud is not a conservative organization.



You really should read the whole thing. You’ll learn that should you disagree with GOProud, you are a bigot too. In fact there are lots of delightful quotes. GOProud has taken one of the favorite leftist bullet points and brought it straight into CPAC. You oppose affirmative action? You’re a racist. You oppose gay marriage? You’re a bigot.

Wonderful trick. Sadly, it is being used on real heros within the conservative movement, including Cleta Mitchell, a board member of the American Conservative Union.

According to the dictionary, a bigot is a person “obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of [their] own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions.”

Chris Baron might want to look in the mirror.



While Cleta Mitchell was fighting for children, Chris Baron was signing up to work for the champions of child killing.

While Cleta Mitchell was fighting for people’s right to work, GOProud was aligning itself with the AFL-CIO and the SEIU.

While Cleta Mitchell was helping the Senate Conservatives Fund get people like Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and others elected, GOProud was attacking Jim DeMint.

While Cleta Mitchell was in super secret meetings of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy this week, GOProud was attacking Tim Pawlenty for daring to defend conservative positions on don’t ask-don’t tell.

Those groups and people who have sat out CPAC this year have done so not because they hate the gays, as Grover Norquist and GOProud would have you believe, but because GOProud is not a conservative organization and its agenda is not a conservative agenda.

For that, they are called losers and nasty bigots.

These losers and nasty bigots have done a lot more for the conservative movement than GOProud. And I am very happy to call them my friends.

This week, I’d much rather be with them than be at CPAC.

MassResistance Brags About Playing Key Role In Prepping Anti-Gay Testimony For Maryland Hearing

Maryland State Senator James Brochin found the testimony from anti-gay activists during yesterday's hearing so "troubling" that he may now support legislation granting marriage equality after previously opposing it:

"The demonization of gay families really bothered me," Brochin said. "Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?"

I am guessing that it is no coincidence that the vehemently anti-gay activists at MassResistance have sent out an email bragging about the key role they played in prepping the anti-gay forces for this hearing: 

MassResistance has continued its reach into other states where our help is needed.

Yesterday the Maryland State Senate held a public hearing on the explosive "gay marriage" bill SB116, which would force the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Maryland.

This hearing -- and the Senate vote in general -- was considered a key place to get the bill stopped before it goes to the gay-friendly House and to the Governor who has said he would sign it if it gets to him.

Last week MassResistance was contacted by activists from the statewide pro-family group ProtectMarriageMaryland.  They wanted any help we could provide organizing for and dealing with this crucial hearing.

We went right to action:  

  • We provided them with our hard-hitting 4-page handout "What same-sex "marriage" has done to Massachusetts". This pamphlet has been successfully used in by activists California, Florida, Iowa, Hawaii, Maine, and other states. We encouraged them to disseminate it as widely as possible, especially to legislators. It had an immediate effect. It was used as testimony by citizens testifying. At least one Senator on the panel used it in his questioning.
     
  • On Friday MassResistance held a 1½ hour conference call with key activists from ProtectMarriageMaryland. We briefed them on the kind of tactics they could expect from the homosexual lobby, and strategies they could use to counter them.
     
  • We contacted over 100 MassResistance activists who live in Maryland and encouraged them to testify at the hearing and work with ProtectMarriageMaryland.

MassResistance Brags About Playing Key Role In Prepping Anti-Gay Testimony For Maryland Hearing

Maryland State Senator James Brochin found the testimony from anti-gay activists during yesterday's hearing so "troubling" that he may now support legislation granting marriage equality after previously opposing it:

"The demonization of gay families really bothered me," Brochin said. "Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?"

I am guessing that it is no coincidence that the vehemently anti-gay activists at MassResistance have sent out an email bragging about the key role they played in prepping the anti-gay forces for this hearing: 

MassResistance has continued its reach into other states where our help is needed.

Yesterday the Maryland State Senate held a public hearing on the explosive "gay marriage" bill SB116, which would force the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Maryland.

This hearing -- and the Senate vote in general -- was considered a key place to get the bill stopped before it goes to the gay-friendly House and to the Governor who has said he would sign it if it gets to him.

Last week MassResistance was contacted by activists from the statewide pro-family group ProtectMarriageMaryland.  They wanted any help we could provide organizing for and dealing with this crucial hearing.

We went right to action:  

  • We provided them with our hard-hitting 4-page handout "What same-sex "marriage" has done to Massachusetts". This pamphlet has been successfully used in by activists California, Florida, Iowa, Hawaii, Maine, and other states. We encouraged them to disseminate it as widely as possible, especially to legislators. It had an immediate effect. It was used as testimony by citizens testifying. At least one Senator on the panel used it in his questioning.
     
  • On Friday MassResistance held a 1½ hour conference call with key activists from ProtectMarriageMaryland. We briefed them on the kind of tactics they could expect from the homosexual lobby, and strategies they could use to counter them.
     
  • We contacted over 100 MassResistance activists who live in Maryland and encouraged them to testify at the hearing and work with ProtectMarriageMaryland.

South Dakota Considering Ban on Courts Using “Foreign Religious or Moral Code”

In states like Wyoming and South Carolina, numerous state legislators are proposing measures to limit the application of “international” or “religious” laws in the court. An amendment that “forbids courts from considering or using international law” and “Sharia Law” passed easily in 2010, only to be blocked by a federal judge.

Now, it appears South Dakota is jumping on the bandwagon. The Republican-dominated State Legislature is considering House Joint Resolution 1004, which similar to the South Carolina resolution, uses broad language and does not explicitly mention Sharia law:

The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a Supreme Court, circuit courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited original jurisdiction as established by the Legislature. No such court may apply international law, the law of any foreign nation, or any foreign religious or moral code with the force of law in the adjudication of any case under its jurisdiction.

Twenty-eight members of the State House already signed on as cosponsors, along with five members of the State Senate.

South Dakota Considering Ban on Courts Using “Foreign Religious or Moral Code”

In states like Wyoming and South Carolina, numerous state legislators are proposing measures to limit the application of “international” or “religious” laws in the court. An amendment that “forbids courts from considering or using international law” and “Sharia Law” passed easily in 2010, only to be blocked by a federal judge.

Now, it appears South Dakota is jumping on the bandwagon. The Republican-dominated State Legislature is considering House Joint Resolution 1004, which similar to the South Carolina resolution, uses broad language and does not explicitly mention Sharia law:

The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a Supreme Court, circuit courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited original jurisdiction as established by the Legislature. No such court may apply international law, the law of any foreign nation, or any foreign religious or moral code with the force of law in the adjudication of any case under its jurisdiction.

Twenty-eight members of the State House already signed on as cosponsors, along with five members of the State Senate.

Marco Rubio To Skip CPAC

Last year, Marco Rubio was tasked with kicking off the CPAC conference as one of the opening speakers where he received a rapturous welcome.

This year, Rubio - like so many others - is skipping CPAC, though he insists that it is not because of the inclusion of GOProud:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the latest Republican to decline an invite to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering that typically attracts the nation's most prominent conservative names.

A spokesman for Rubio said the conference isn't on the senator's schedule, telling the St. Petersburg Times that Rubio will be focused on his work in the Senate during CPAC week and will then "return to Florida for a working weekend."

According to the paper, Rubio's spokesman denied the senator's decision had anything to do with the controversy over the presence of the gay conservative group GOProud.

You know, CPAC might really want to consider updating their banner to feature leaders who are actually attending the conference this year instead of people like Rubio and Jim DeMint who are boycotting:

Marco Rubio To Skip CPAC

Last year, Marco Rubio was tasked with kicking off the CPAC conference as one of the opening speakers where he received a rapturous welcome.

This year, Rubio - like so many others - is skipping CPAC, though he insists that it is not because of the inclusion of GOProud:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the latest Republican to decline an invite to next month's Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering that typically attracts the nation's most prominent conservative names.

A spokesman for Rubio said the conference isn't on the senator's schedule, telling the St. Petersburg Times that Rubio will be focused on his work in the Senate during CPAC week and will then "return to Florida for a working weekend."

According to the paper, Rubio's spokesman denied the senator's decision had anything to do with the controversy over the presence of the gay conservative group GOProud.

You know, CPAC might really want to consider updating their banner to feature leaders who are actually attending the conference this year instead of people like Rubio and Jim DeMint who are boycotting:

Rand Paul: "My Goal Is To Make DeMint Look Like a Moderate"

During the last election, it seemed that just about every Republican running for office was eager to wrap themselves in the mantle of the Tea Party ... but now that the election is over, it doesn't seem that members of Congress are particularly eager to keep on carrying it:

Although dozens of Republicans sailed into office with the help of the tea-party movement last year, finding a self-identified "Tea Party Republican" on Capitol Hill is harder than you'd think.

The first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus on Thursday attracted just four senators - out of a possible 47 GOP members - willing to describe themselves as members. The event was as notable for who wasn't there than who was.

• Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., once a tea-party darling, has for now declined to join the caucus, whose first meeting was organized by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

• Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican whose campaign sprang from the small-government movement, has passed for now.

• Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., showed up to address the group of activists Thursday, but then hustled out of the room, ignoring reporters' questions about whether he was in or out.

But those who did show up at the meeting seem eager to demonstrate the bona fides as Tea Party activists pressed Sen. Jim DeMint to cut at least $1.4 trillion in spending per year while Rand Paul burnished his reputation for being one of he most extreme members of the Senate:

[Sen. Rand] Paul's approach - bold, specific and unwaveringly conservative - is exactly what the most engaged activists of the tea party have been seeking. One of the biggest applause lines at Thursday's meeting came when staunch conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., quoted Paul as saying, "My goal is to make DeMint look like a moderate."

Rand Paul: "My Goal Is To Make DeMint Look Like a Moderate"

During the last election, it seemed that just about every Republican running for office was eager to wrap themselves in the mantle of the Tea Party ... but now that the election is over, it doesn't seem that members of Congress are particularly eager to keep on carrying it:

Although dozens of Republicans sailed into office with the help of the tea-party movement last year, finding a self-identified "Tea Party Republican" on Capitol Hill is harder than you'd think.

The first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus on Thursday attracted just four senators - out of a possible 47 GOP members - willing to describe themselves as members. The event was as notable for who wasn't there than who was.

• Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., once a tea-party darling, has for now declined to join the caucus, whose first meeting was organized by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

• Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican whose campaign sprang from the small-government movement, has passed for now.

• Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., showed up to address the group of activists Thursday, but then hustled out of the room, ignoring reporters' questions about whether he was in or out.

But those who did show up at the meeting seem eager to demonstrate the bona fides as Tea Party activists pressed Sen. Jim DeMint to cut at least $1.4 trillion in spending per year while Rand Paul burnished his reputation for being one of he most extreme members of the Senate:

[Sen. Rand] Paul's approach - bold, specific and unwaveringly conservative - is exactly what the most engaged activists of the tea party have been seeking. One of the biggest applause lines at Thursday's meeting came when staunch conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., quoted Paul as saying, "My goal is to make DeMint look like a moderate."

Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Once Tried to End Scholarships for Minority Students

After Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her retirement after she was declared a top target of Tea Party activists, the race for the Republican nomination became even more crowded and contentious. Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams immediately became a Tea Party sensation and last week resigned from the Railroad Commission in order to be a full-time candidate.

The American Spectator today features a glowing profile of Williams, saying that “something about him says ‘Don’t mess with Texas.’”

Williams even won the endorsement of Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint, who’s Senate Conservatives Fund lifted a number of far-right candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell to victory in GOP primary contests.

But Williams first garnered the support of the Party’s far-right when he unsuccessfully tried to block scholarships for minority students when he worked at the Department of Education under President George H. W. Bush. The New York Times reported in 1990 that Williams caused uproar when he tried to prohibit “colleges and universities that receive Federal funds from offering scholarships designated for minority students.”

Michael L. Williams, the Education Department's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, said yesterday that "race-exclusive" scholarships, or those based on ethnic origin, were discriminatory and therefore illegal.

College administrators and scholarship fund directors reacted with alarm, saying the decision could reverse decades of efforts to increase the enrollment of members of racial and ethnic minorities who have been historically underrepresented in colleges.

"We were shocked by this decision," said Richard F. Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents 815 institutions. "We have been making enormous efforts to increase the numbers of minority students in our colleges and universities, and this has necessarily required a great deal of financial aid."

Neither Rosser nor anyone else contacted yesterday could say how many institutions, or what percentage of total financial aid to minority students, might be affected by the new enforcement policy. But the practice of setting aside money to attract qualified minority students and make college more affordable for them has been widespread for at least 20 years.

Ultimately, then-Secretary Lamar Alexander (now a Republican Senator from Tennessee) stopped Williams from implementing his policy, including his attempt to block the Fiesta Bowl from setting “aside $100,000 for a fund for minority scholarships.” As Williams happily notes in his campaign’s biography, he succeeded Clarence Thomas in his position at the Education Department.

In a Republican primary in Texas where each candidate has to demonstrate their right-wing credentials, Williams may try to use this case to his advantage.

Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Once Tried to End Scholarships for Minority Students

After Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her retirement after she was declared a top target of Tea Party activists, the race for the Republican nomination became even more crowded and contentious. Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams immediately became a Tea Party sensation and last week resigned from the Railroad Commission in order to be a full-time candidate.

The American Spectator today features a glowing profile of Williams, saying that “something about him says ‘Don’t mess with Texas.’”

Williams even won the endorsement of Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint, who’s Senate Conservatives Fund lifted a number of far-right candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell to victory in GOP primary contests.

But Williams first garnered the support of the Party’s far-right when he unsuccessfully tried to block scholarships for minority students when he worked at the Department of Education under President George H. W. Bush. The New York Times reported in 1990 that Williams caused uproar when he tried to prohibit “colleges and universities that receive Federal funds from offering scholarships designated for minority students.”

Michael L. Williams, the Education Department's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, said yesterday that "race-exclusive" scholarships, or those based on ethnic origin, were discriminatory and therefore illegal.

College administrators and scholarship fund directors reacted with alarm, saying the decision could reverse decades of efforts to increase the enrollment of members of racial and ethnic minorities who have been historically underrepresented in colleges.

"We were shocked by this decision," said Richard F. Rosser, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents 815 institutions. "We have been making enormous efforts to increase the numbers of minority students in our colleges and universities, and this has necessarily required a great deal of financial aid."

Neither Rosser nor anyone else contacted yesterday could say how many institutions, or what percentage of total financial aid to minority students, might be affected by the new enforcement policy. But the practice of setting aside money to attract qualified minority students and make college more affordable for them has been widespread for at least 20 years.

Ultimately, then-Secretary Lamar Alexander (now a Republican Senator from Tennessee) stopped Williams from implementing his policy, including his attempt to block the Fiesta Bowl from setting “aside $100,000 for a fund for minority scholarships.” As Williams happily notes in his campaign’s biography, he succeeded Clarence Thomas in his position at the Education Department.

In a Republican primary in Texas where each candidate has to demonstrate their right-wing credentials, Williams may try to use this case to his advantage.

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) Proposes Legislation “Identical” to Radical “Personhood” Amendment

Right Wing Watch has been covering the extreme “personhood” movement, which after being overwhelmingly rejected by voters in Colorado, has emerged as a powerful force in Mississippi, where the amendment will be on the 2011 ballot. Now, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is taking the “personhood” fight to the national level by introducing legislation in the Senate mirroring Mississippi’s personhood initiative.

The “personhood” movement seeks to give legal rights to zygotes and would effectively criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and even in vitro fertilization. The once-fringe “personhood” activists were initially renounced by Religious Right organizations as unrealistic and unhelpful to the anti-choice cause, but now groups like the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel along with leading Republican politicians have embraced the Mississippi Personhood campaign led by Les Riley, a radical activist who supports the separatist “Christian Exodus” movement.

Senator Wicker spoke to the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis and resident bigot Bryan Fischer on Focal Point and pledged to introduce the “Life at Conception Act.” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.

About two minutes in to the interview, Wicker tells Fischer that “a personhood amendment to the state constitution [will be] voted on very soon in my state, and I’m not the only one who’s seized on to this idea and of course it will be introduced in the House of Representatives also.”

Fischer replies, “In fact we have talked on this program frequently about the personhood amendment, and in fact I believe if I’m not mistaken Senator Wicker, the language in Mississippi’s personhood amendment and in your ‘Life at Conception Act’ are virtually identical in the key paragraphs.” Wicker backs up Fischer’s claim, saying, “That is certainly my understanding, yes sir.”

Watch:

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) Proposes Legislation “Identical” to Radical “Personhood” Amendment

Right Wing Watch has been covering the extreme “personhood” movement, which after being overwhelmingly rejected by voters in Colorado, has emerged as a powerful force in Mississippi, where the amendment will be on the 2011 ballot. Now, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is taking the “personhood” fight to the national level by introducing legislation in the Senate mirroring Mississippi’s personhood initiative.

The “personhood” movement seeks to give legal rights to zygotes and would effectively criminalize abortion, stem-cell research, common forms of birth control and even in vitro fertilization. The once-fringe “personhood” activists were initially renounced by Religious Right organizations as unrealistic and unhelpful to the anti-choice cause, but now groups like the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel along with leading Republican politicians have embraced the Mississippi Personhood campaign led by Les Riley, a radical activist who supports the separatist “Christian Exodus” movement.

Senator Wicker spoke to the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis and resident bigot Bryan Fischer on Focal Point and pledged to introduce the “Life at Conception Act.” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.

About two minutes in to the interview, Wicker tells Fischer that “a personhood amendment to the state constitution [will be] voted on very soon in my state, and I’m not the only one who’s seized on to this idea and of course it will be introduced in the House of Representatives also.”

Fischer replies, “In fact we have talked on this program frequently about the personhood amendment, and in fact I believe if I’m not mistaken Senator Wicker, the language in Mississippi’s personhood amendment and in your ‘Life at Conception Act’ are virtually identical in the key paragraphs.” Wicker backs up Fischer’s claim, saying, “That is certainly my understanding, yes sir.”

Watch:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class.
  • George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment.
  • After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels.
  • What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act.
  • Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right.
  • Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable for a black man" like President Obama to support reproductive choice while right-wing "black genocide" likewise defend him.
  • Finally, quote of the day from presidential hopeful Herman Cain: "Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class.
  • George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment.
  • After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels.
  • What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act.
  • Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right.
  • Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable for a black man" like President Obama to support reproductive choice while right-wing "black genocide" likewise defend him.
  • Finally, quote of the day from presidential hopeful Herman Cain: "Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician."
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Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/29/2011, 9:39am
The Ohio State House finally voted on and passed Janet Porter’s “Heartbeat bill,” which would criminalize abortion in most cases. Conspicuously absent was a statement from the state’s leading anti-choice group, the Ohio Right to Life Society, which actually opposed the bill because it is blatantly unconstitutional. Now Porter’s prized legislation moves on to the Senate, and her group Faith2Action released a congratulatory statement: “For every battle weary pro-lifer who didn't see how children were going to be protected in our lifetime, come see what God... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 06/27/2011, 5:42pm
Rep. Michele Bachmann announced (again) her intention to run for president. And she is off to a great start. The Family Research Council says that passage of marriage equality in New York was the result of "enormous political coercion [that] resulted in a profound failure of moral courage in the New York Senate." The National Organization for Marriage is pledging $2 million to defeat the NY Republicans who voted for the marriage equality bill. Bryan Fischer continues his hate crime crusade. Finally, part two of Randall Terry's interview with... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/24/2011, 5:59pm
Steve Benen: Reaping what they’ve sown. Brian Beutler @ TPM: Ron Johnson Defers Himself Enough Compensation To Cover Costly Senate Campaign. Good As You: 'Even President Obama...' : The new 'some of my best friends are...' Dan @ Bold Faith Type: Family Research Council Distorts CBO Report. Sarah Posner: @ Religion Dispatches: The Real Reasons Why Evangelical Embrace of Environmentalism Lags. Dan @ TFN Insider: An Anti-Immigrant Group’s ‘Biblical Mandates.’ MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 06/24/2011, 5:44pm
Ken Blackwell will not run for Senate in Ohio, thus rendering all of the crazy stuff we have collected about him useless.  Thanks a lot. Today's winner for least surprising/most pointless statement: "Liberty Counsel Supports Israel’s Right to Exist." Bryan Fischer continues his nonsensical "hate crimes" crusade. Here is Cindy Jacobs laying out the importance of the Seven Mountains. FRC's Peter Sprigg tries to get us to believe that "the principal objection to homosexual 'marriage' has nothing to do with religion." Gov.... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 06/24/2011, 2:14pm
Missouri congressman and Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin joined Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to discuss their shared outrage at NBC for omitting the phrase “under God” from a clip of the Pledge of Allegiance in its coverage of the US Open this week. Akin told Perkins that the reason NBC removed “under God” was because it is a liberal news outlet and “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” The Republican congressman went on to tell Perkins that NBC is trying to “tear the heart out of our country.” Listen... MORE
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/23/2011, 10:14am
Pastor Joseph Mattera is one of the most outspoken opponents of marriage equality legislation in New York, and has condemned gays and lesbians for, among other things, their supposed ties to Nazism and lack of concern for the poor. Reacting to dueling rallies in Albany between the bill’s supporters and detractors, Mattera blasted religious leaders who support marriage equality and cast doubt on their religiosity. He even criticized one “supposed rabbi” for wearing “a rainbow Yakama [sic].” In anticipation of the state Senate's vote, various groups held rallies... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 06/22/2011, 12:38pm
While negotiations continue in the New York State Senate over a marriage equality bill that has already passed the Assembly, the National Organization for Marriage has declared victory. In a post on National Review Online that has since been removed and replaced, Thomas Peters of NOM congratulated his group and other anti-gay activists for toppling the bill that hasn’t even reached the floor for a vote yet: MORE