Posts Tagged ‘Thad Cochran’

Cochran, Wicker receive committee assignments

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The communications office for the Senate Republican Conference has released the committee assignments for the 114th Congress with Mississippi Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker getting solid, but expected, assignments. I think we can infer from the list that indeed, Cochran will return to his position as Chairman of Senate Appropriations, but as the release notes, the “assignments are subject to ratification by the Republican Conference as well as the full Senate. New Committee Chairs will be selected by a vote of the members of each respective panel and then ratified by the Republican Conference.”

Here are Mississippi’s Senate committee assignments with my notes in parenthesis.

Senator Thad Cochran
Appropriations (Likely Chairman)
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (Formerly Ranking Member)
Rules and Administration (Listed Third)

Senator Roger Wicker
Armed Services (Likely Sub-Committee Chairman of Seapower)
Commerce, Science and Transportation (2nd in Seniority; Likely Telecom Subcommittee Chair)
Environment and Public Works
Rules and Administration

Here is the full release.

Childers Bloodhounds - that dog don’t hunt

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Former Congressman Travis Childers has a video out with bloodhounds looking for Thad Cochran.

Pretty clever. Or at least it was in 1984 when it was created by Larry McCarthy or Roger Ailes for Mitch McConnell. It is a fairly famous ad, rated by a panel at AdAge as the #7 best political ad ever.

Here is the original ad:

The Clarion Ledger reported, “The Childers campaign said the video is a parody of an old ad produced for a Kentucky Senate race.” Parody? As you can see, it wasn’t only the concept that was lifted but some of the script and scene shots. What’s next for Travis Childers? Is he going to sit on a bench and talk to a little old lady who calls him Smathis Fielders?

The Cochran Campaign noted Senator Cochran had visited 51 Mississippi towns in August alone. If the Childers campaign can’t find him, perhaps they need to get out on the campaign trail more and they might bump into him. Granted, some of the stops were in small towns, but while Democrats have launched an initiative to remember forgotten places in rural Mississippi, folks like Cochran have always represented all Mississippians.

As Y’all Politics noted, Childers himself has a history of being evasive.

Cochran has represented Mississippi for 40 years. Democrats can claim they can’t find his record, or find him, but Mississippians know that dog don’t hunt.

Omnibus, Flood Insurance & MS Senate 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

There are plenty of reasons for Republicans to like the omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today; and plenty of reasons for Republicans not to like it.  Likewise, Democrats have items they love and items they hate in the legislation. Such is compromise and explains why all of Mississippi’s House members - Republicans Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo as well as liberal Democrat Bennie Thompson - voted for it. (Although Harper noted he wasn’t thrilled about it.)

Among the positive items in the bill for Mississippi is something very important to the Mississippi Gulf Coast - a one year delay in the new premium increases under the National Flood Insurance Program.

That makes for interesting politics in Mississippi.

State Senator Chris McDaniel has come out in opposition to the bill and has urged U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, whom he is challenging in the Republican primary, to vote against it. That isn’t surprising with Washington groups like Heritage Action and Club For Growth announcing their opposition:

Heritage Action and the Club for Growth encouraged members of Congress to vote against the bill, promising to score the vote on their legislative scorecards.

Heritage Action particularly took issue with the delay of premium increases under the National Flood Insurance Program, a provision sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

So on the politics side of this vote, at least for this provision, McDaniel has put himself in a box on the Mississippi Coast. Either Cochran votes against the bill which hardly helps McDaniel’s case for making a change, or he votes for the bill and positions himself on the side of Gulf Coast homeowners and businesses - groups that would have faced skyrocketing premiums had McDaniel’s side won the vote.

Mississippi’s three coastal counties (Harrison, Hancock, Jackson) make up about 15% of the statewide Republican Primary vote.

Quick thoughts on Reagan and Cochran

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Yesterday, the new communications director for the Chris McDaniel campaign for U.S. Senate tweeted, “one wonders if so-called “big tent” republicans grasp the irony of attacking fellow republicans for working to build Ronald Reagan’s party.”

I’m not sure what that tweet was in reference to, but it elicited this response from @Sipconservative: “Reagan was a Thad supporter/friend. Might want to learn a little more about MS politics before spewing tea party stock lines”

I thought the following was worth adding to the conversation, but it requires more space than Twitter allows.

In October of 1984, President Ronald Reagan spoke in Gulfport at a reelection rally.  He thanked Thad Cochran saying:

“Now, we couldn’t have accomplished half of what we did without a Republican majority in the Senate, and Thad Cochran is in the first rank of that majority, and that’s why he’s there. He and some other stalwarts are battling against those who are still out for the old-fashioned idea of spending your money faster than you can send it in.”

This is proof of one thing: Ronald Reagan must have been a RINO! After all, he was a former Democrat.

Here is a photo of President Reagan, Senator Cochran and Senator Howard Baker from that year, but not at that event.

President Reagan spoke at a Mississippi Republican Party fundraising dinner in June of 1983 and thanked Senator Cochran, Lott and Congressman Webb Franklin “for the courage they’ve shown in tackling what seemed like overwhelming problems just two and a half years ago.” Here is a photo from that event:

Senator Cochran has served Mississippi from the early days of the Republican Party. The Mississippi Republican Party headquarters is jointly named to honor him and former Senator Trent Lott. He helped build the GOP in Mississippi and has worked with Republican giants like President Reagan. Today, many conservatives look back in awe of Reagan; Cochran knew the man and worked with him to create good policy for our country.

MS Republican leaders praise Cochran’s decision

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Mississippi Republican elected officials - so of whom were likely candidates if he did not run for re-election - are praising Senator Thad Cochran’s decision to seek reelection. Governor Phil Bryant, US Senator Roger Wicker, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, State Auditor Stacey Pickering and Congressmen Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo and Alan Nunnelee have all announced their support of Senator Thad Cochran. Quite a line-up and several have enjoyed Tea Party support in the past, which does not bode well for Cochran’s primary challenger, state Senator Chris McDaniel.

Governor Phil Bryant:

“Deborah and I are pleased to hear of Thad’s intention to seek reelection. Sen. Cochran is a pioneer of the Mississippi Republican Party and has been instrumental in helping with my efforts to grow the economy and provide jobs for thousands of Mississippians. After Hurricane Katrina, Thad dedicated his time and influence to our state’s recovery efforts as we rebuilt from the nation’s largest natural disaster. Our state has benefited from Sen. Cochran’s leadership for over three decades. In today’s political environment, we need this experience for Mississippi’s future.”

US Senator Roger Wicker:

“I am delighted that Senator Cochran has decided to run for another term in the U.S. Senate. The people of Mississippi need his experience and proven conservative leadership more than ever. Thad’s work on behalf of Mississippi is a testament to his selfless dedication to our state and its future. He has my full support.”

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves:

“I am glad Senator Cochran is running for re-election and I, like thousands of Mississippians, had encouraged him to do so. He is the father of the conservative Republican takeover of Mississippi, and his wisdom will be an asset to the conservative cause as long as he serves. We as Republicans have a major fight in Washington to unwind the Obama agenda in the next six years, and we need our best minds on the job. I hope all Republicans will rally behind Thad Cochran.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann:

“From the Natchez Trace to the agriculture research in the Mississippi Delta, from Katrina Recovery on the Coast to the University Medical Center, Mississippians do not need to go far to see the work Senator Cochran has accomplished for our State.  I look forward to supporting his reelection.”

State Auditor Stacey Pickering:

“Congratulations to Senator Thad Cochran in his decision to seek re-election.  I look forward to his continued service to the great state of Mississippi.  Senator Cochran has been the epitome of an honorable statesman and we are better off because of his service.”

Congressman Gregg Harper:

“Sidney and I are absolutely thrilled about Thad’s decision to seek reelection to the U.S. Senate. A true statesman, Senator Cochran has dedicated his life to serving the people of Mississippi. Thad has my family’s full support. And Mississippi needs his leadership in the U.S. Senate now more than ever.”

Congressman Alan Nunnelee:

“Thad Cochran’s decision to run for re-election is fantastic news. His steady leadership has helped guide our nation through good times and bad. He never wavers from his principles and always puts Mississippi first. As the first Republican to win statewide office since the end of Reconstruction, he paved the way for the Mississippi GOP, and we are all standing on his broad shoulders. Senator Cochran has consistently carried the conservative banner, and during these difficult times we need his strong voice more than ever.”

Congressman Steven Palazzo:

“During my time in office, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Senator Cochran on a variety of issues critical to South Mississippi - from the RESTORE Act and supporting our shipbuilding industry to flood insurance reform.  He has lived a life of service from his time in the U.S. Navy to his leadership after Katrina and beyond. With our nation facing difficult challenges, Mississippi is fortunate for his leadership and statesmanship.  I welcome his decision to run for a seventh term.”

State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef has also given his thoughts:

“For years Senator Cochran has been a dedicated public servant and fine conservative leader for the Republican Party, Mississippi, and the country. We thank him for his invaluable service and congratulate him on seeking re-election. We look forward to working tirelessly to ensure Mississippi does its part to keep this seat in Republican hands and help Republicans win control of the US Senate in 2014.”

Catfish Policy: Cochran vs the Poo Poo Fish

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

The Farm Bill provision on the inspection of imported “catfish” from Vietnam by the USDA has drawn attention to Senator Thad Cochran’s efforts to support domestic catfish production which in Mississippi is our #7 top agricultural crop: $165 million a year industry with 180 operations covering 51,200 acres.

Opponents, like this post from the Weekly Standard, argue the FDA already inspects foreign imports of fish. This is a duplication of regulation and, they say, ” a protectionist racket.” Free Trade advocates would say this is an example of imposing rules to adjust the market in favor of domestic production over imports.

Liberal columnist Bill Minor writes about the issue this week.

So what’s the case for USDA inspections?

First, the FDA is not doing its job well. The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report stating the need for improved oversight and inspections by the FDA on imported seafood. (While the USDA already handles inspections for poultry and meat imported into the US, they have not yet been given the authority to safeguard seafood.)

Second, there are real concerns about the food safety of the imported “catfish” (not actually catfish but called basa, tra and swai and often sold in the US as catfish). Consider this case from Alabama in 2009:

The contaminated catfish products, which had slipped through the Food and Drug Administration’s weak safety net, tested positive for antibiotic Fluoroquinolones banned for use in fish or other seafood products sold in the United States because of the health and safety danger to consumers.

The Alabama laboratory test results announced last week found the high percentages of contamination among the catfish relatives imported from Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and China.

Among the two percent of seafood inspections conducted by the FDA in the first nine months of this year, authorities found Vietnamese basa – a catfish-like – contaminated with salmonella and illegal veterinary drugs, according to the FDA’s Import Refusals data base. But that is only a small sampling: Fully 98 percent of all seafood imports entering the United States from foreign countries are not inspected.

Other countries recognize the food safety issue of these imported fish.

Greece, Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have all banned the importation of Vietnamese basa and tra at various times in the last two years because of health and safety concerns ranging from shiploads of the Vietnamese fish which were infected by listeria monocyteogenes (one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens which can lead to death) to fish contaminated with harmful bacteria and reports of the fish being raised in water treated with malachite green, a carcinogenic chemical.

Third, the Department of Commerce last month determined that Vietnam has been violating the trade treaties regarding their fish exports. Concerns over free trade issues weaken when the other country is breaking the rules of free trade.

Finally, there is the condition these fish are raised in. Some of the fisheries literally have public toilets over the fram pools for the fish to consume waste. That is part of the reason they’re hopped up on antibiotics. When I worked in Washington and we worked on this issue, we commonly referred to these imports as “poo-poo fish.” Not an elegant description; but it also describes the vast difference in standards between these fish raised in Asia and those in regulated American/Mississippi farms.

So for many conservatives the question comes down to two things: Should the USDA do what the FDA is already doing? Should steps be taken to interfere in free (international) markets?

The USDA inspects US catfish production and applies its standards to domestic fish. The FDA is failing to adequately inspect fish imports.  I don’t argue that the FDA and USDA should both be doing inspections, but at least the USDA should do it instead of the FDA.

This is not a true free market. The imported fish are marketed as catfish; but they are not catfish. (In Mississippi, we require that distinction to be made.) The imported fish do not meet the same safety or workforce standards as our domestic catfish producers, so they do not face the same costs and thus benefit from a corrupted market. And the countries exporting the fish have been determined to have violated trade rules.

Opponents of this Farm Bill provision criticize Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran for his efforts to correct these problems.  Cochran’s efforts are supported by catfish producers here in Mississippi.

I stand with Cochran; I stand against the poo-poo fish.

LLC gives more details on McDaniel-Hosemann dust-up on vote history

Friday, November 15th, 2013

The Laurel Leader Call has more details on the dust-up involving state Senator Chris McDaniel’s voting record and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s staffer who went to get more information on it. The story was first reported by Geoff Pender in the Clarion Ledger. McDaniel has announced he will run for U.S. Senate in 2014, the seat currently held by Senator Thad Cochran who has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection. Hosemann is expected to run if Cochran chooses not to run.

The Laurel Leader Call reports it wasn’t just McDaniel’s voting records which were requested, and also that Hosemann said the Clarion Ledger had requested the information:

Upchurch filed a request for the voting record of McDaniel, retired federal Judge Charles Pickering, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, and state Reps. Gary Staples and Bobby Shows.

Gavin said the man making the request first identified himself to his staff as “a concerned citizen,” but when Garvin asked for the request in writing, the contact information was for Nathan Upchurch, who works for the Secretary of State.

Hosemann said that The Clarion-Ledger requested McDaniel’s records from his office, and they showed that he voted Democrat when Haley Barbour, Amy Tuck, Tate Reeves and Stacey Pickering were running in the Republican Primary and that he didn’t vote in the presidential election in 2004 or the Republican Primary in 2008.

McDaniel told the Clarion Ledger he “absolutely” voted in the Republican Primary.

“I have never voted in a Democratic primary. I’ve only missed a couple of votes in my life, like when I had the flu. … That’s just people being desperate and tacky. I don’t remember voting ever in a Democratic primary. … I was absolutely voting in the Republican primary. I remember Haley (Barbour) was running for governor against a lawyer in Jackson.”

But he didn’t rule out the possibility he voted in the Democratic Primary when he spoke to the Laurel Leader Call.

“Back then, almost all local races here were decided in the Democratic Primary,” he said. “To participate in the process, you had to cross over if you wanted to vote for sheriff, superintendent, supervisor, district attorney….It doesn’t mean you’re not a Republican.”

In 2003, except for the statewide and district wide candidates, of which there were many, the only local Republican Primary race on the ballot in McDaniel’s home precinct was that of Senate District 42 in which Pickering was in a three-way race. Notably, that is the seat McDaniel would run for as a Republican four years later. County-wide races were largely contested in the Democratic Primary.

In the Laurel paper, McDaniel blamed “establishment” Republicans for discussing his voting record.

“The establishment [Republicans] are circling the wagons to protect Thad…and protect each other,” McDaniel said. “This shows how desperate they are to hold on to power.”

McDaniel campaign manger Keith Plunkett accused Hosemann of “illegal” tactics by using a staff member from the Secretary of State’s Office to do “opposition research.” Hosemann responded that the staff member had taken a leave day so was not on the taxpayer’s time and not working in his official capacity.

“The real question is why doesn’t Chris want people looking at his voting record?” Hosemann said. “His real issues is his voting record, not whether someone was looking at records that are open and available to the public.”

Cochran Casts 12,000th Vote

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Senator Thad Cochran passed a milestone Tuesday by casting his 12,000th vote in the U.S. Senate. He is the 17th Senator in U.S. history to cast that many votes, with five of his current colleagues (if you include Vice President Joe Biden) ahead of him.

Robert C. Byrd (1959-2010) cast the most votes with 18,689 followed by Strom Thurmond (1955-2002) with 16,348 and Daniel Inouye (1963-2012) with 16,300.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and Majority Leader Harry Reid shared remarks as recorded by the Congressional Record.

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, our good friend, the senior Senator from Mississippi, is about to cast his 12,000th vote, a truly remarkable accomplishment by a remarkable man. He was the first Republican to be elected to the Senate from Mississippi since Reconstruction. A few years ago he was named by Time magazine as one of the 10 most effective Members of the Senate, and they called him “the quiet persuader.”

For those of you who have recently arrived at the Senate, if you have not had any dealings with Senator Cochran yet, you will find that indeed he is the quiet persuader. In fact, it may be the secret to his success.

He has had an extraordinarily accomplished career here in the Senate, and I wanted to take a few moments to congratulate him, not only on his service to his State and the Nation but to our institution.

Mr. REID. Madam President, I am sorry I am a little late here. I see my colleague, the senior Senator from Mississippi. I have had the pleasure of knowing Thad Cochran during my entire stay in Washington. He is a fine man. He has had experience in the House and the Senate, as I have. I have always appreciated his courtesies. He is just such a fine human being.

Before his election to Congress, he served honorably in the U.S. Navy. He was a lieutenant in the Navy. After his tour of duty, while attending law school at Ole Miss, Senator Cochran returned to active duty for his naval work, even while he was going to law school. After graduating from law school in 1965, he joined the very prestigious law firm Watkins & Eager in Jackson, MS, and in less than 2 years he became a partner in that law firm–which was remarkable. It speaks well for his acumen in the law and for being a nice person.

His break from public service did not last long, though. From the Navy he ran for Congress in 1972 and served in the House for 6 years before running for the Senate. He served as Chairman of the Republican Conference, the Agriculture Committee, and the Appropriations Committee.

Throughout his time in Congress, Senator Cochran has promoted the best interests of Mississippi’s citizens. Even when we were on different sides of the issues, I always respected Senator Cochran’s service to his country, his dedication to the people of Mississippi and to the people of this country. I congratulate him on this impressive milestone and appreciate most of all his friendship.

Moments like this are not large policy or political events, but a time when the Senate as an institution recognizes the decades of service a member has given to his state, country and the Senate body.

Cochran’s 12,000th vote was on the nomination of Richard F. Griffin, Jr., of the District of Columbia, to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. Cochran voted no.

Marshall County’s censure: the rest of the story

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Marshall County Republican Party passed a resolution criticizing Senator Thad Cochran. The cut-and-paste document based on one from South Carolina came at a convenient time for a potential Tea Party styled challenge in a primary by Chris McDaniel. Cochran has not said he would run again, but the document clearly wants Cochran to no longer be U.S. Senator as it says:

That this body takes this action and adopts this Resolution in full confidence in its own good faith, with no personal animosity or ill will to the supporters of Thad Cochran or to Thad Cochran himself, to whom this body extends its hand in friendship and warmly looks forward to his rejoining us as private citizen of the State of Mississippi.

The similar resolution against Senator Roger Wicker had no comments about him returning to the private sector because while Cochran is up for reelection next year, Wicker doesn’t have a race until 2018.

The Marshall County GOP took some shots at Cochran’s votes. But there are two sides to every story and here is the rest of the story on those votes. I can’t take credit for all this material, others have looked at these issues and provided some answers. But here is some information on the votes Marshall County criticized:

1. Voted to fund Obamacare: In September of 2013, after Republican Senator Cruz’s bulwark stand against funding Obamacare, Mississippi Senator Cochran embarrassed our party and state by voting for cloture, knowing a 3/5 majority was needed to bring it to a vote. This tactic is a sleight-of-hand, handing over the ability to pass the legislation with a simple majority vote to the Democrats, while claiming opposition to the legislation by voting against it.

This was a tactical disagreement among Republicans with no ideological inclination. To believe Marshall County’s attack, you have to believe that secretly, Thad Cochran supports the funding of Obamacare. If you don’t believe that, then this criticism is hot air.

The majority of Senate Republicans supported ending debate on a FY2014 continuing resolution that actually defunded “Obamacare” which was supported by House Republicans. Once cloture was invoked, Cochran voted against stripping defunding provisions from the CR, and then voted against passage of the CR, which included funding of Obamacare restored by the Senate Democratic majority.

Cochran voted to defund Obamacare, voted against stripping the defunding of Obamacare, and then voted against the bill that funded Obamacare.

Cochran has voted at every opportunity to get rid of Obamacare. On the Appropriations Committee, Cochran voted against every appropriations bill that included funding for Obamacare since the law was passed. This CR has not been enacted and the federal government is shut down, yet Obamacare implementation has still gone on without any FY2014 funding.

The Cruz strategy failed because Republicans do not control the Senate or the White House. The shutdown took focus off Obamacare’s many problems and its miserable roll-out and has thus set back efforts to repeal and replace the law.

2. Voted to increase the debt limit without any restraints: In May of 2013 Senator Cochran voted in opposition to his party to allow the Treasury Department to borrow as much as it needed to pay its bills over the next four months without an accompanied proportional decrease in federal spending in order to address the ever-increasing federal debt.

So in the first criticism, Cochran was attacked for voting with the majority of his party and in the second criticism, Cochran was attacked for voting against the majority of his party (along with many Republicans). I guess Marshall County can’t make up their mind on what they want someone to do.

The legislation they mentioned suspended the debt ceiling for a short period to allow the government to pay bills it already owed. The bill also provided for the suspension of paychecks for lawmakers if they didn’t pass a budget. This legislation compelled the Senate to debate and pass a budget for the first time in four years.

3. Supported massive new internet sales tax: In May of 2013, Cochran joined Democrats in voting to pass a massive new internet sales tax with burdensome reporting requirements. Most Republican senators opposed the bill, including the Republican Governor of Mississippi. Requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes from numerous states would pose onerous burdens to small businesses and hinder economic growth which is in opposition to the Republican Party Platform of Mississippi.

This legislation did not create a new tax. The tax already existed. This legislation provided states’ rights to collect sales taxes they are already owed under current law. Every American who purchases a product or service online is required to pay taxes on it. Those in favor of the legislation argued that traditional Mississippi businesses were at a competitive disadvantage because their customers paid taxes while their competitors online were not charging taxes. Governor Phil Bryant, former Governor Haley Barbour, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and others supported being given this flexibility and made their positions clear to the Cochran and others in the Mississippi delegation. Furthermore, the legislation has not even passed yet. It is sitting in the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial And Antitrust Law.

4. Voted to continue deficit spending that would fund Obamacare: In March of 2013, Senator Cochran voted in favor of an amended version of the bill containing the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The bill still funded Obamacare, and continued to maintain the same levels of deficit spending.

This matter was a FY2013 continuing resolution that prevented a government shutdown in March. Cochran was one of 20 Republican Senators who supported this bill. The appropriations bills were consistent with the terms of the Budget Control Act to reduce discretionary spending by $2 trillion over 10 years ($85 billion in FY2013 alone). The BCA is the only substantial piece of deficit reduction legislation enacted in recent years. Cochran supported the BCA.

Obamacare is funded primarily through mandatory spending and is affected very little by the annual appropriations process. Obamacare is still very much in effect in the absence of a FY2014 CR today. Killing this FY2013 bill would have only 1) shut down the government 2) allowed Obamacare to go forward and 3) abdicated the legislative branch’s primary check on President Obama: the power of the purse. This bill contained 5 of the 12 appropriations bills, including the FY13 Defense Appropriations Bill, and therefore contained Republican input whereas a “clean” CR would have contained no Republican input. The Republican controlled House also passed this bill (Republicans supported 203-27) before the false notion of some ability to successfully “defund Obamacare” was en vogue.

5. Supported Obama’s drone program against American citizens: In March of 2013, when Republican Senator Rand Paul bravely stood up to the White House to seek reassurances that drone strikes would not be used on American soil in contravention of the Constitution, Senator Cochran chose to not support the filibuster.

RIGHT. Senator Thad Cochran supports the use of drones against American citizens on American soil. And the evidence is clear and convincing. The proof? Cochran did not speak on the matter on the Senate floor with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Perhaps Cochran also supports selling Nevada to the Chinese, launching a nuclear strike against our enemies on Mars, and hosting a national bake sale to retire the debt. Why does he support those things? Well, obviously, because he has not spoken against them on the Senate floor.

Senator Rand Paul ended his filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennan when Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter saying that drone strikes would not be used on American soil. Senators Cochran and Wicker voted to continue the filibuster of the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA (Cloture Vote on Brennan Confirmation).

6. Voted to fund 50.5 Billion for Super Storm Sandy: In January of 2013, Senator Cochran voted to federally fund disaster relief. This bill was unconstitutional and this funding was not for acute disaster relief, rather it acted as a stimulus. Senator Cochran voted with the Democrats in opposition to most of his own party. Further, in opposition to his own party, he rejected an amendment that would offset the costs added to the federal deficit.

Again, when Tea Party types vote against their party they are patriots. But when Cochran votes against his party, he deserves criticism. The hypocritical double-standard is mind blowing.

There is a legitimate debate among Republicans in the role of federal disaster relief. But there are a lot of cities, towns, counties, businesses and citizens on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that are thankful for disaster relief – especially after Hurricane Katrina – of which Cochran deserves the credit. I imagine that weighed on Cochran’s mind in this decision. But Cochran has not advocated a blank check for recovery. He has authored legislative provisions to reform disaster recovery practices to make them more flexible, efficient and fair for local communities. These reforms save taxpayer dollars in future disaster recovery efforts. A list of these reforms can be found here.

7. Continue fiscally irresponsible federal spending: In September of 2012, Senator Cochran voted with the Democrats and in opposition to most of his own party to continue a mammoth resolution which provided a way for Congress to perpetuate its fiscally irresponsible, unconstitutional spending habits with a minimum of accountability to its constituents.

Again, Cochran voted with many other Republicans. This was a six-month FY13 CR (October 2012-March 2013) to prevent a government shutdown, like the current shutdown. Obamacare is funded primarily through mandatory spending and is affected very little by the annual appropriations process. Obamacare is still very much in effect in the absence of a CR today. Killing this bill would have only 1) shut down the government 2) allowed Obamacare to go forward anyway. Cochran voted against the FY2013 HHS and IRS funding bills in the Appropriations Committee due to their inclusion of funding for Obamacare.

8. Supported Federal Government ownership of 30% of the land within the United States: In June of 2012, Thad Cochran voted nay to repealing the Forest Legacy Program which uses taxpayer money to pay landowners to not develop their land. This federal program discourages economic growth. The Constitution does not grant Congress the legislative power to acquire ownership of conservation easement rights over large tracts of land within the states.

In case you’re wondering, here is a map of federal land in the U.S. It is quite amazing.

Conservation programs are a legitimate debate. But the Republican Party has a long tradition in seeking conservation policies (consider President Teddy Roosevelt) and those interested in a conservative perspective should examine the “Crunchy-Con” movement.

The program isn’t aimed at discouraging economic growth. These are landowners who want to preserve their natural lands and important forests which can still be used for hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation and other land use. They are private lands that remain in private hands.

As for Cochran, when Senate Amendment 2314 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 or Farm Bill) lost on an 84-15 vote, the only other option was to repeal conservation programs. Cochran voted to continue the conservation programs that give farmers and landowners voluntary options regarding the use of their lands.

9. Supported Energy Tax Subsidies and an elevated corporate tax rate: In March of 2012, and in opposition to a majority of his party, including Senator Wicker, Senator Cochran voted to reject an amendment that would eliminate many tax subsidies which distort the free market by picking winners and losers. In addition, he rejected an amendment that would lower the U.S. Corporate tax rate, which is currently the highest in the industrialized world and is one of the major reasons that many companies choose to locate their businesses abroad.

It seems Marshall County gets to pick and choose when to support and when to oppose items based on parliamentary procedure. It is one way with Obamacare and another way this issue. Cochran supports reducing the number of deductions and exemptions in the tax code to lower rates, but this amendment was one Senator’s idea without any committee process for review, discussion and modification, then it was offered not to a tax reform bill, but to a highway/transportation bill.

10. Supported giving taxpayer money to international organizations: In March of 2012, on the issue of providing funding for the Export-Import Bank, Senator Cochran voted to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank for two years and increase the agency’s lending cap from $100 billion to $140 billion. In opposition to the Republican Party Platform to uphold the principles of free enterprise and an economy free of government manipulation, Senator Cochran voted for the U.S. Government to back export financing, a form of corporate welfare which placed taxpayers on the hook should there be a default.

The Export-Import Bank operates at no cost to taxpayers and has been self-sustaining (in regards to federal appropriations) since FY2008 and has given the U.S. Treasury $4.9 billion since 1990. Authorization and appropriation are very different things. The legislation in question levels the playing field for American job creators (businesses) in competition with foreign subsidized private industries. The measure passed in the Republican-controlled House 330-93 (House Republicans supported 147-93).

11. Voted to keep earmarks: In Feb 2012, in opposition to his party, Senator Cochran voted with Democrats to defeat an amendment to the Stock Act that would eliminate earmarks. Further, Senator Cochran was the leading senator for earmarks in 2010.

We got rid of earmarks. Now President Barack Obama’s administration determines where and how money is spent instead of our Mississippi U.S. Representatives and Senators. And spending has not decreased. So that worked great, right?

Earmarks are Constitutional. The Constitution vests the power to withdraw funds from the treasury in Congressional appropriations. Eliminating earmarks abdicated legislative direction of those appropriations. The Founders intended Congress to oversee the spending of taxpayer dollars, and earmarks provided a vehicle for the responsibility.

Earmarks create accountable spending. Conservatives believe better government is more accountable to voters. Earmarks put government funding in the hands of Representatives and Senators, the former face the voters in a 700,000-person district every two years – twice the frequency of a President who oversees federal agencies and who faces nearly 300 million people every four years. Congress required legislators to sign their name to each earmark request. Earmarks made government spending accountable to voters. Eliminating earmarks promoted abuse by removing the consequences of bad spending from voter oversight.

Earmarks are responsive to local needs. Conservatives believe better government is closer to the people. Who requested earmarks? Mayors, supervisors, sheriffs and other local officials to address local needs. Earmarks paid for county hospitals, bridges and roads, public buildings – lots of things people use every day. It isn’t like Cochran and others had money they were begging people to take – local officials asked for help.

Earmarks are more efficiently used. Conservatives believe smaller government is better than bigger government. Rather than a slow, bulky, overhead-heavy agency spending our tax dollars in Washington DC, we prefer money sent back to states and localities in the form of block grants to be used most efficiently on the local level. Earmarks are little more than legislatively directed block grants.

I believe government is too big: it takes too many of our taxpayer dollars, it immorally wastes those dollars, and when the money should be spent, it does so ineffectively. But the answer to these problems was not the elimination of earmarks which were Constitutional, accountable to voters, responsive to local needs, and used more efficiently by receivers.

Killing earmarks provided President Obama with a “blank check” so that he can decide which priorities are funded and which are not instead of our Mississippi congressmen and senators. Just look at the recent decisions to close the WWII memorial and other Administration actions during the shutdown where Congress left itself without leverage in determining which programs and functions of government should be prioritized as essential.

12. Opposed principled application of free trade policies: In October of 2011, on the issue of granting the Treasury Department additional power to raise tariffs on international trade with China, Senator Cochran joined with the Democrats and voted for it.

I believe in free trade, but this measure was about balancing against China’s currency manipulation. It defined currency misalignment as an unfair subsidy for exports (already prohibited by the International Monetary Fund). Declaring currency misalignment an unfair subsidy allows American companies to petition the Department of Commerce for an investigation, their right for pursuing anti-dumping remedies. It creates a framework for the U.S. Treasury Department to identify misaligned currencies and confront trading partners to address these problems. This is a challenge to China’s manipulation of its currency against the U.S. dollar and has a direct impact on U.S. economic security. China’s currency policy is intended to make the items we buy from them cost more, while they pay less for what they buy for us – creating an increased trade deficit and U.S. job losses. The bill passed the Senate, 63-35, but was not acted on by the House.

Marshall County GOP’s copy & paste censure

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The leaders of the Marshall County Republican Party surely believe no one can tell them who to support or who to oppose.  They are their own organization and if they want to censure Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Roger Wicker, two of the top leaders of their own party, they aren’t going to take gruff from anyone else. They’re independent, you see.  They make up their own minds. They aren’t just an arm of some establishment group.

No, but they appear to be an arm of the anti-establishment group.

Their recent censure of Cochran and Wicker appears very similar to the Chesterfield County, South Carolina Republican Party’s censure of Senator Lindsey Graham.  How similar? Well the “whereas” and “therefore” sections are nearly identical with the changes being who is doing the criticism and who is being criticized.

Here is the Marshall County resolution.

Here is the Chesterfield County resolution.

It seems like the Marshall County GOP is saying to the Mississippi Republican leadership, “We’re not going to do what you tell us to do. We’re going to do what THEY tell us to do.” The censure appears to be a manufactured effort by those opposed to incumbent Republicans.

It is interesting the votes cited by each of these resolutions are different, but the conclusions are the same. I guess it isn’t really the votes that make the difference; they will find the votes to support the conclusions they already have reached.

Y’all Politics has more on this story.

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