Republicans Get One More Chance to Do the Right Thing

Republicans Get One More Chance to Do the Right Thing

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

The last time Republicans lived up to their reputation for sound fiscal policy was almost 30 years ago. In March 1995, Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican House caucus, to the jeers of skeptics, resolved to balance the federal budget within seven years. They did it in four.

Yet ever since, Republicans have provided slight protection against the unending torrent of Democrat spending schemes. They talk a brave game of cutting when out of power but are mostly unable to curb their political urge to spend when they have the authority.

Consequently, the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion under the inattentive George W. Bush. Candidate Donald Trump in 2016 promised to pay down the debt completely over eight years. Sure. In just four years, the debt surged by $7.8 trillion, a 36% hike.

We’ve all seen the drill. Create an emergency spending need where none exists (climate change) or which could better be addressed in a more measured way (COVID), exaggerate the danger, create panic, open the spigot, take credit.

$4.1 trillion in new spending during the Biden years for these created “emergencies” have put Americans in extremely dangerous fiscal territory. The voters this time gave House Republicans one more chance to redeem themselves. Now the stakes are higher than ever, and the pressure is on.

The early rhetoric was promising. However, vows to “curb wasteful government spending” were followed by…reinstatement of earmarks. Those little pieces of unvetted local pork slipped into spending bills to benefit individual legislators. What a crushing disappointment.

Republicans swore off earmarks in 2011. But when a Democrat Congress brought them back in 2021, 120 Republicans partook, scooping up $5 billion for their own Bridges to Nowhere. A motion this year to disallow earmarks was overwhelmingly defeated in the Republican caucus.

15 conservative policy groups cautioned Republicans that “earmarks are one of the most corrupt, inequitable and wasteful practices in the history of Congress.” Each congressman earns his little cookie by supporting all of his colleagues’ polite graft.

Yet GOP appropriators claimed earmarks were their “constitutional duty” and actually help to control spending! What a crock.

The Republican face plant over a matter so obviously wrong gives fiscal conservatives the sinking feeling that they may not be up to the fight. Candidates barely mentioned the deficit/debt during the last election, in contrast to previous campaigns. What fiscal crisis?

Instead, Americans have been conditioned by their politicians to believe that no wants should be unmet, that we “deserve” lavish government benefits unyoked to effort, that thorny political issues from illegal immigration to educational failure can be solved by simply spending more, and that any fiscal consequences can be safely kicked down the road.

Republicans aren’t going to dig out of this hole any time soon. But they can start the process by doing the right thing right now.

As this is written, Republicans are negotiating an omnibus budget bill of nearly $2 trillion. The leadership has known for nine months this must be completed by year’s end, but once again thoughtful, thorough budgeting has given way to a 4,155-page bill delivered at 1:30 AM to legislators who can’t possibly understand its provisions.

The bill contains no program cuts, but instead a mix of mandatory spending, outrageous pork like LGBTQ “Pride Centers,” and a specific prohibition against funding for border security. Lawmakers must approve the bill now or, in the case of Republicans, be held liable for the dreaded government shutdown.

But economist Steve Moore has a better idea. Republicans only need to refuse to waive provisions of the 2010 Pay-As-You-Go Act. PAYGO has been routinely suspended in recent years, but just 41 of 50 senators refusing this time would result in $130 billion in mandatory “sequester” cuts, just 5% of the Biden spending splurge.

Alternately, Congress could cancel the $80 billion for 87,000 new IRS agents, take back $500 billion in unspent COVID funding, and/or scale back the “Green New Deal” subsidies, a relatively painless way to uphold the PAYGO rules.

Congressional Republicans will never have a better opportunity to begin the return to responsible governance. If they don’t have the will now, when will they?

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

January 6 Committee’s Early Christmas Present to Rep. Biggs: An Ethics Probe

January 6 Committee’s Early Christmas Present to Rep. Biggs: An Ethics Probe

By Corinne Murdock |

Six days before Christmas, the House Jan. 6 Committee gave Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) a referral to the House Ethics Committee. In response to the committee’s final attempt to bend Biggs to their will, Biggs promised to publicize the committee’s “lies” and correct the record.

The referral was part of a larger set of referrals capping off the committee’s final hearing, chief among which was the criminal referrals of former President Donald Trump, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Cheseboro to the Department of Justice (DOJ).  

The committee referred Biggs for sanctions to the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with their subpoenas. They suggested that Biggs and others referred for sanctions should be questioned publicly about their “advance knowledge of and role in President Trump’s plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power.”

The committee announced their decision after their final meeting on Monday, and issued a 154-page report of their findings.

READ THE JAN 6. COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT HERE

Although the committee publicized a number of records within its report, they’ve refused to publish certain information of interest. Records of federal involvement — such as the ongoing mystery behind Ray Epps, who appears to be the only Capitol intruder to avoid prosecution — remain inaccessible to the public. 

Monday’s decision by the committee was punishment for Biggs’ refusal to comply with their subpoena. The congressman refused to turn over information regarding Jan. 6 and then refused to appear for his deposition. 

The Jan. 6 Committee findings documented Biggs’ communications with Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, advising their administration to encourage state legislators to appoint electors, and to not allow Trump to concede the election. Biggs also coordinated with defeated secretary of state candidate, then a state representative, Mark Finchem, to gather Arizona lawmaker signatures in support of new electors. 

The committee also noted Biggs’ criticisms of their work. 

Biggs decried the committee’s announcement as “their final political stunt” of many. Biggs added that the committee’s use of the House Ethics Committee was an inappropriate maneuver to justify “predetermined” conclusions.

“They only wanted the testimony to have the ability to edit and misconstrue our statements to further their own false narratives, as they did with so many other witnesses,” stated Biggs. 

In addition to Biggs, Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23), Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), and Scott Perry (R-PA-10) were referred for an ethics probe. 

The committee claimed that Trump violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512(C), 371, 1001, and 2383. These statutes prohibit the obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make a false statement, and incite, assist, or aid or comfort an insurrection. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) declared that the committee’s hands were tied “inescapably” by the application of facts to law.

“We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today… just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy we describe in our Report,” stated Raskin. 

Among those to testify against Trump before the Jan 6. Committee was outgoing House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa).

Watch the full meeting here:

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Bulk Mail Voting Is the Main Obstacle to Election Integrity

Bulk Mail Voting Is the Main Obstacle to Election Integrity

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

The debate over election fraud versus voter suppression is high-stakes and high-intensity. Trump loyalists insist the election was stolen, mechanically rigged, and rife with fraudulent actors. Democrats continue to insist that fraud never happens, an argument easily swatted away by the existence of thousands of documented incidents.

But Democrats have a point in that the problematic behaviors—bulk mail voting, ballot harvesting, and related practices—were permitted by law in most states. That means, according to the “fact checkers,” all reasonable people must agree that there was no fraud.

Trump fought the wrong war at the wrong time. While he was ranting about corrupt voting machines, rogue election workers, and a cascade of assorted allegations, Democrats in the last two elections were cleverly creating election rules intended to generate a permanent majority.

Trump and his supporters were never able to prevail in a court of law. In the end, they were outsmarted and lost the election to a pathetically weak candidate.

Attorney General Bill Barr was an astute, loyal adviser to Trump during the election. Unfortunately, his advice to stop exploring rabbit holes was not heeded.  Yet he would see the traps the Democrats were setting in September 2020.

Bulk mail balloting is not your father’s absentee voting, he explained on CNN. “Instead of requests coming from a specific address, we are now going to mail them to everyone on a voter list, when everyone knows the voter lists are inaccurate.”

“People who should get them don’t get them…and people who get them are not the right people. They are people who have replaced the previous occupant…and sometimes multiple ballots come to the same address with several generations of previous occupants.” That’s no way to run an election, he concluded.

He’s right. For generations, America had voting laws that produced fair, reliable results. The laws required that all voters register beforehand and present a secure ID. All votes were cast confidentially. Absolutely no intimidation or persuasion was allowed in or near a polling station.

Importantly, there was a strict chain of custody to make sure that there could be no tampering and that all legally cast ballots would be counted. Voting was done mostly on site although accommodations were made for those unable to vote in person on election day.

That was the American way of conducting elections. Now all that has changed. Millions of ballots are sent automatically to voters just because they didn’t opt out of receiving one. Nobody knows what happens to them until they are returned.

Helpful party workers can collect them, offer aid with voting, and often leave them anonymously in drop boxes. The notoriously unreliable signature verification often is the only ID required.

Today, this is all perfectly legal. Of course, it’s illegal to vote a ballot not your own, to unduly influence another voter, or to fail to deliver certain ballots. But with bulk mail voting, none of this is detectable.

Once a mail-in ballot is opened and separated from its envelope, any possible proof of fraud is lost, no matter how many audits and investigations are performed. We have a voting system obviously prone to fraud and coercion yet opaque to any misdeeds committed within it.  

Arizona voters, thanks to their legislature, will have a chance this year to close one gaping flaw in our system by approving a requirement of voter ID for bulk mail voters. There is no coherent reason to require ID  at the polls while bulk mail voters get a pass.

Although the media continue to insist that those who support voter ID are “vote suppressors,” Americans smell a rat. According to a Quinnipiac poll, only 60% of voters overall believed the last election to be legitimate.

In the end, it may not matter how much “provable fraud” can be discovered.  So long as we have a slipshod, non-secure system like bulk-mail voting, it will be difficult to convince voters of the integrity of their vote.

In a closely divided country, it is critical that citizens have confidence in elections and the legitimacy of the government. As Bill Barr says, “we are playing with fire.”

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Title 42 Stays In Place For Now But Border Still Uncontrolled

Title 42 Stays In Place For Now But Border Still Uncontrolled

By Terri Jo Neff |

The announcement that a federal judge has temporarily blocked President Joe Biden and his administration from lifting a Title 42 public health order at the Mexico border on May 23 was welcomed news to the communities and law enforcement agencies still reeling from the ongoing influx of undocumented migrants which started after Biden was sworn in.

Federal officials admitted to Judge Robert Summerhays with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana that once Title 42 is fully lifted, the number of border crossings are expected to “increase significantly” to as many as 18,000 migrants each day. As a result, last Friday the judge granted a request by 21 states for a preliminary injunction which forces the White House to comply with various federal rules before making any more changes to Title 42 enforcement.

In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under President Donald Trump invoked Title 42, which is part of the Public Health Services Act of 1944 aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the country. Title 42 allows federal officials to suspend the right to introduce migrants -including those seeking asylum- by sealing the land borders into the United States and expelling crossers back into Mexico or return them to their home countries.

Biden later loosened Title 42 to no longer apply to unaccompanied children or to certain migrants who can show a “significant law enforcement, officer and public safety, humanitarian, or public health” interest. 

For the month of April 2022, only 42 percent of crossers were expelled under Title 42, according to a report issued by Rep. John Katko of New York. By then, the CDC had announced Title 42 would end May 23, to be replaced by unspecified plans to control COVID-19 in other ways.

Arizona is among the states named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which contends the end of Title 42 will bring “much greater numbers of paroled aliens with non-meritorious asylum claims who were induced to enter the United States because of the Termination Order.”

Summerhays was assigned the states’ lawsuit and issued a temporary restraining order against Biden, the CDC, and federal immigration officials to keep Title 42 in place until the legal challenge is complete. 

Part of that challenge involves ensuring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a workable a plan ready to implement for border operations once Title 42 is lifted. The Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requires a public notice period, with sufficient time for comment, before the CDC’s Title 42 order can be ended. And there is a requirement that the CDC show its proposed change is not “arbitrary and capricious.”

The lawsuit contends keeping Title 42 in place until an APA-compliant plan is in place will prevent “an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe.”

Summerhays was asked to change the temporary order into a permanent injunction, which he considered last week. His May 20 ruling notes the states provided sufficient evidence to support their argument that the CDC’s announced termination of Title 42 will increase community and state costs for healthcare, education, and public safety as a result of “increased border crossings and that, based on the government’s estimates, the increase may be as high as three-fold.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich called Summerhays’ ruling “a significant win,” and noted that maintaining Title 42 for now is vital.

“I’m grateful to the court for upholding the rule of law and helping maintain some level of sanity as we continue to battle the Biden-made border crisis,” Brnovich said.

In the meantime, U.S. Border Patrol Chief John Modlin of the Tucson Sector continues to tweet about the never-ending group of undocumented migrants and deadly fentanyl coming across the southwest border.

Modlin announced earlier this month that Tucson Sector agents hosted a binational training for immigration officers assigned to the Instituto Nacional de Migración. The training held at the Nogales Station included first aid and fentanyl exposure. It will enhance the handling of emergencies along the shared border, Modlin noted.

Modlin also recently hosted a delegation from Poland and the Baltic states to discuss  border security best practices. And he shared information about that two large groups of had been encountered by USBP agents near Lukeville.

Those taken into custody were citizens of Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, and Peru.

Arizona Democratic Leader: Donald Trump Would’ve Stolen Election If Republican Was Secretary of State

Arizona Democratic Leader: Donald Trump Would’ve Stolen Election If Republican Was Secretary of State

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) claimed Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem would have rigged the 2020 election in favor of former President Donald Trump if he had been in office.

Bolding made the statement during Wednesday’s debate for Arizona’s secretary of state candidates as a response to Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons’ question about preventing politicization of the secretary of state’s office.

“The reality is, is that in 2020 if Mark Finchem was our secretary of state, Donald Trump would’ve stolen the election. How do we know? Because he told us,” said Bolding.

After the debate, Bolding tweeted that voters needed to “move past the 2020 elections” in order to “change the tone” of the upcoming elections. 

Bolding’s remark elicited an incredulous expression from his debate opponent, fellow Democratic candidate and former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes. 

Simons didn’t respond to Bolding’s accusation. Instead, he addressed a separate question to Fontes about the importance of Democratic voters to select a winning candidate.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.