“You’re beautiful.” “No I’m not.” “Yes you are.” I guess that sums up the action in the United States Senate, well- that and the fact that the senate made changes to the highway bill that could cause a construction shutdown…no big deal. We’ll have those stories in this week’s Political Trough. Plus, another round of bad, front page headlines for the John Walsh (D-MT) US Senate campaign. And, a hilarious video of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Obama dancing. All that, and much more is below…
Ouch, check out this headline at TheHill.com: Senate changes highway bill, risks construction shutdown
Funding for federal highway projects were at a crossroads on Tuesday after the Senate approved legislation that House Republican leaders say is a nonstarter in the lower chamber.
The Senate bill extends funding for the highway projects until December instead of May, as the House prefers.
RedState.com: Federal Highway Trust Fund Pays for Bike Paths in Wis.
A looming shortfall in the federal highway trust fund threatens to dramatically cut the amount of money states get from the federal government for road and highway maintenance. But even as some policymakers examine the possibility of raising taxes to boost revenues, a review of federally-funded transportation projects in Wisconsin finds that federal money has been spent on things like bicycle paths, archeological research, and beautification projects, among other things.
Research by the Heritage Foundation has found that more than a quarter of federal highway aid dollars are spent on things completely unrelated to highways and roads. “More than 25 percent of HTF dollars are diverted to subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping—at the expense of road and bridge projects,” the organization declared in a July 2014 report.
Also from The Hill: Senator laments lack of ‘Beautiful’ status
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) July 30, 2014
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) July 29, 2014
The Hill is on a roll: Midterm Pressure Building in the Senate
The Senate is racing to approve three must-pass bills this week and avoid falling even further behind its schedule at a time when voters are angry about gridlock in Washington.
With public approval of Washington dismally low, Senate Democrats face the greatest risk of a public backlash, because the House Republican majority is safe and President Obama does not face reelection.
A House GOP leadership aide said 338 House-passed bills are waiting for action in the upper chamber.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/213591-2014-midterm-pressure-building-in-the-senate#ixzz38rzuuUI1
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
— Jeff Bechdel (@jeets) July 30, 2014
— Bill Murphy (@billmurphy) July 30, 2014
KSPR.com: GOP Rallies at Capitol to ‘Fire Reid’
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Tuesday joined half dozen House Republican lawmakers at a rally outside the Senate steps to call on the American people to “fire” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) by winning control of the Senate in 2014.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who helped coordinate the rally, said “Poor Harry’s not doing his job…The American people are going to see to it he’s fired come November.”
Others in attendance included Bill Johnson (R-OH), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Doug Collins (R-GA), David McKinley (R-WV), and Steve Daines (R-MT), who is running for Senate against Democratic incumbent John Walsh.
Why is it that Democrats seem to be the only ones talking about impeaching President Obama? From Politico’s Playbook earlier in the week:
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — ‘Politicking off impeachment chatter,’ by Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan: ‘Something very strange is happening on Capitol Hill. Democrats can’t talk enough about impeaching a president of their own party. And Republicans keep saying that there isn’t a chance they’ll give it a try. With just three days left until Congress recesses for the month of August, Democrats have successfully kept alive the idea that Speaker John Boehner is mulling impeaching President Obama – an option the Ohio Republican insists he isn’t pursuing. The tactic has brought big dollars into Democrats’ coffers, and it has kept Republican aides and lawmakers busy as they keep swatting down the idea whenever it sprouts up. … A small group of hardline GOP lawmakers have discussed [impeachment], even raising the taboo topic during a closed-door GOP meeting last week.’ http://politi.co/X8WOoG
–A TOP GOP LEADERSHIP AIDE emails after reading the impeachment coverage in yesterday’s Playbook: “I know the Democrats have an interest an intense fundraising interest in this story, but there is zero chance of impeachment. None. Period, full stop.”
The Hill: $17B deal reached to overhaul VA
And oh look….we can finally fire SOME federal bureaucrats
The new bill would provide $10 billion for veterans to seek private care at hospitals and clinics outside the VA, and $5 billion to allow the department to hire more doctors, nurses and medical staff. Another $1.5 billion could be spent on leases to use other medical facilities at 27 sites around the country.
The compromise would also make it easier for a new Veterans Affairs secretary to fire staff at a department where officials covered up the long waits many veterans endured to get healthcare
Over the past fifty years, America’s environmental movement has grown from college kids adorning flowers to a billion dollar industry. With huge budgets to employ lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations professionals, many of America’s leading environmental non-profits are unrecognizable from their modest beginnings. What may seem like an organic, disparate movement is actually a well oiled machine that receives its funding from a handful of super rich liberal donors operating behind the anonymity of foundations and charities, according to a new report out today by the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).
The EPW report titled The Chain of Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA meticulously details how the “Billionaires’ Club” funds nearly all of the major environmental non-government organizations (NGO), many media outlets, and supposed grassroots activists. The Billionaire Report continues by describing the cozy relationship many environmental groups have with the executive branch and the revolving door that makes this possible.
The most striking aspect of the Billionaire Report is the sheer amount of money that is in play.
Politico’s “Morning Energy:” CUTTING CARBON AT HOME, SENDING COAL ABROAD
The AP writes: “With the country moving to cleaner natural gas, the Obama administration wants to reduce power plant pollution to make good on its promise to the world to cut emissions. Yet the estimated 228,800 tons of carbon dioxide contained in the coal aboard the Prime Lily equals the annual emissions of a small American power plant. It’s leaving this nation’s shores but not the planet. … This fossil fuel trade, which has soared under President Barack Obama, threatens to undermine his strategy to reduce the gases blamed for global warming. It also reveals a little-discussed side effect of countries acting alone on a global issue.” AP: http://bit.ly/1xk1fIc
– The Denver Post looks at municipal fracking bans across the U.S.: http://dpo.st/1owk8a8
In a case of unbelievable coincidence, a pine tree planted in memory of the late Beatle George Harrison was killed by a beetle infestation.
The tree, planted in a Los Angeles park, was overrun with bark beetles, LA Councilman Tom La Bonge said over the weekend, adding that a new tree will be planted in its place, the LA Times reported.
Maybe we should give Paul McCartney a pine beetle tour while he is in Montana. Heck, if we introduce him to some of our federal judges back here in the state, and point out how they have prevented us from dealing with the pine beetle problem- McCartney may break out and start singing “Back in the USSR.”
Flathead Beacon: Wayne and Kathleen Newton Set Up Shop in Lakeside
LAKESIDE – few weeks ago, some West Shore residents may have been puzzled when a man who looked an awful lot like legendary Las Vegas showman Wayne Newton pulled up in his black SUV and asked where the garbage dump was located.
It was no impersonator. Newton was making a garbage run for his wife, Kathleen Newton, who recently opened a new gift and home accessories shop in downtown Lakeside called Kat’s Korner. The business is one of several new shops and restaurants that have popped up in the small community this year and Wayne Newton, 72, said it’s no surprise the town is growing.
Finally, here’s the kicker you absolutely must-see: