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Saturday, June 24th, 2017Last Update: Thursday, May 4th, 2017 02:03:55 PM

THE FEDERAL PAGE (Winter 2016)

By: Theodore King

A Housekeeping Note on Language

Language is important. In this campaign we hear candidates, pundits, the press, and even the public referring to the president as the Commander in Chief! That is a title reserved for the president, but unless you are currently wearing the uniform of one of our armed forces, the president is NOT your Commander in Chief! The definition of commander in chief is the supreme commander of the armed forces, and that's all. The expansion of the president's title is dangerous as it elevates the presidency to a demigod status among the citizenry. This is not what the founders intended.

Most of the GOP sells out its base . . . again. Example 1

Last summer, despite intense lobbying from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the House failed to reauthorize the Export-Import (EX-IM) Bank. For the first time in 80 years, the EX-IM Bank was closed, and the bill to reauthorize it was stuck in committee. That was a good thing. Too bad it didn't last.

In the autumn issue I reported that Second District Congressman and Deputy Whip Markwayne Mullin and Third District Congressman Frank Lucas came to the rescue of the U.S. Chamber by signing a discharge petition to release the bill reauthorizing the EX-IM Bank out of committee. A discharge petition is an extraordinary parliamentary procedure by which a majority of legislators force a bill to be removed from a committee, overruling the chairman and committee members who have chosen not to hear the bill, and then to be voted on by the legislative body. The EX-IM Bank was a New Deal creation of Franklin D. Roosevelt that assists American companies, often very large ones like General Electric and aircraft manufacturer Boeing, with loans to foreign buyers so that they can purchase American goods. It is seen by many on the right as a form of crony capitalism offering corporate welfare to American companies that want a competitive advantage in foreign markets.

After the reauthorized bill was released for a vote, it was placed with the federal highway bill. On December 3rd, the House voted 359 to 65 "To authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes [reauthorize the EX-IM Bank]." This was a Washington business-as-usual vs. the Tea Party vote. First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine was on the side of the Tea Party. The rest of our House delegation was with Washington business-as-usual. One hundred seventy eight Republicans joined 181 Democrats to pass this bill. All 65 members in opposition were Republicans. That same day, December 3rd, the Senate passed the highway bill with the provision reauthorizing the EX-IM Bank by a vote of 83 to 16 and one not voting. That not voting member was Vermont Independent Socialist Bernie Sanders. Senator Jim Inhofe voted yes, and Senator James Lankford voted no. It is informative to note that presidential candidates Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rand Paul of Kentucky were some of the 16 senators to vote against this highway bill with the EX-IM bank reauthorization. President Obama signed it into law reauthorizing EX-IM to 2019.

Most of the GOP Sells out its Base . . . Again. Example 2

On December 18, the House passed an omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through September 30 of this year. "Omnibus" is Latin, meaning "for everything." In other words, it's a cluster of stuff thrown together in haste. The vote was 316 to 113 with five not voting. Only Congressman Bridenstine voted against this bill. Congressmen Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, Fourth District Tom Cole, and Fifth District Steve Russell voted yes.

Also on December 18, the Senate voted to approve the omnibus spending bill. That vote was 65 to 33 with two not voting, one of whom was Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio thought he had better plans for his time than voting on this budget. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul voted no. Oklahoma's senators voted yes.

Senator Inhofe touted to the media the end of the 40-year ban on exportation of crude oil in this budget deal. But there were a lot of bad things in this bill. This bill does not defund the settlement of Syrian refugees into the United States, some of whom may be terrorists. It does not defund cities that provide sanctuary status for illegal aliens. It continues funding Planned Parenthood for services other than abortions. Our taxpayer dollars continue to be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in the nation.

Congressman Mullin mentioned in an e-mail dated December 19 that federal funding of abortions will not be permitted. Note: That is a red herring. Thanks to the Hyde Amendment, named after the late Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, there has not been federal funding for abortions in years. Congress would have to decline the Hyde Amendment to change that. It's really sad when someone has to window dress the truth to make himself look good. But then these guys who voted for this omnibus package are in real trouble, and they know it!

Jarrin Jackson Steps off the Battlefield and Enlists for a New Fight

The reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and the surrender to President Obama on the budget are two more signs of a need for real change in Congress. In 2012, First District Congressman John Sullivan was voted out by Republican primary voters. His replacement, Jim Bridenstine, has been a great improvement. In 2014, voters in a Richmond, Virginia district voted out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, replacing him with Dave Brat, who has also been an improvement. Nothing is ever going to change in Congress until members get the message that business-as-usual is no longer acceptable. Politicians want to stay in office; it's the most important thing to them. If they begin to see their colleagues lose elections over bad votes, they will think twice when called upon by party leadership to tow the line. As President Reagan famously said in dealing with Congress, "You don't have to make them see the light. You just have to make them feel the heat." The elections of Bridenstine and Brat are impressive, and there must be more like them for a lasting change to occur.

Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin talked a good game when he first ran in 2012. He said he was running because he "got fed up!" with the way things were going in the country. And then he got to Washington, and in a short amount of time got himself appointed a deputy whip. Note: you don't get to be a deputy whip by showing independence from your party's leadership. Markwayne, like the rest of the delegation save Bridenstine, needs to go! Jarrin Jackson is a 30-year-old West Point graduate and former Army Ranger captain from Will Rogers's home town of Oologah, where he resides with his wife and their two children. After West Point, he served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He wrote about his experiences in Afghanistan in a newspaper column titled From the Front, which appeared regularly in rural newspapers in northeastern Oklahoma. I interviewed him in early January.

Jackson said he's running not just to replace Markwayne Mullin but because he believes it is the right thing to do for the country. His decision was partially based on an experience he had in Afghanistan. He was on a base south of Kabul where he could see the black flags of the Islamic State (ISIS) and he wanted his team to go get them, but they couldn't because that was not their assigned military mission. He said he wants to serve in Congress because he wants to stand up for our Constitution. "The Congress has abdicated its authority given to it by the Constitution, mostly in Article 1, and it has given it to the executive branch, and it does this through the creation of executive agencies." He used the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) as an example. When President Obama signed an executive order changing the rules concerning gun dealers, the ATF has to enforce that order. "What Congress needs to do is wield the Constitution like it's a weapon," Jarrin Jackson said.

Another concern of Jackson is the way our veterans are treated via the Veterans' Administration (VA). He argues that this is a threat to national security because young people will be less likely to enlist if they know they are going to get poor service from the VA after their discharge.

Jackson believes the omnibus bill that was passed before Christmas is a violation of the public trust. The government has to be paid for in a budget, and the Congress waits until the last minute to pass something, which leads to wasteful spending for which taxpayers must pay.

He cited the United States Constitution regarding high crimes and misdemeanors. He believes when members of Congress vote for unconstitutional legislation, they are breaking the law. He would like a new law -- that Congress must act by a certain date to pass a spending bill. The date he suggested would be April 30. This would allow the Senate time to debate the budget passed by the House and moves the date far away from the end of the fiscal year, September 30. If Congress were not to act on a budget, waiting instead until the last minute to pass an omnibus spending bill, they would, according to Jackson, be guilty of a misdemeanor and would forfeit their right to seek re-election.

Jarrin Jackson said he wants to emulate Congressman Bridenstine because he says he's a man of his word. You can find out more about him by visiting: www.jarrinjackson.com

"Leaders exist to solve problems; they don't exist to delay problems."

"War is ugly; freedom is messy."

- Jarrin Jackson, Republican candidate for Congress in the Second District

About Theodore King

Theodore J. King is an Oklahoma native who graduated from Northeastern State University in 1996. He spent a summer at the Republican National Committee in 1994, worked at the National Right to Work Committee, and spent time working on the Hill in Washington D.C. In 1999, he was a temporary employee with Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas and later worked for the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia. He served as our Washington D.C. correspondent for our From Washington page before returning to Oklahoma in 2001, and continues his reports with The Federal Page. He recently authored a book, The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State, which is now available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and iUniverse. You may contact him at: theodoreking@juno.com

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