The U.S. Senate passed the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act 29 Jan 2015 but only after language was removed that would repeal the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The Merchant Marine Act, also known as the Jones Act, is a law that protects U.S. shipbuilding and merchant mariners by requiring “that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.”
Sen. John McCain, who attempted to add the repeal of the Jones Act to the bill, stated the following in a press release:
I have long advocated for a full repeal of The Jones Act, an antiquated law that has for too long hindered free trade, made U.S. industry less competitive and raised prices for American consumers,” said Senator John McCain. “The amendment I am introducing again today would eliminate this unnecessary, protectionist restriction. According to the Congressional Research Service, it costs $6 per barrel to move crude from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast United States on a Jones Act tanker, while a foreign-flag tanker can take that same crude to a refinery in Canada for $2 per barrel – taking money directly out of the pockets of American consumers. I hope my colleagues will join in this important effort to repeal this archaic legislation to spur job creation and promote free trade
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft told Politico, “McCain’s amendment would result in the outsourcing of U.S. shipbuilding to foreign nations,” putting “our entire U.S. fleet in jeopardy.”
Tony Munoz, editor-in-chief of The Maritime Executive, stated, “Lifting the Jones Act would open U.S. markets to foreign competition and might decrease prices for consumers, but at what cost?” and added “McCain’s laissez-faire sentiments would actually destroy U.S. jobs, lower personal income, devastate U.S. vessel-operating companies and obliterate American shipbuilders, never mind the national security impact.”
Repeal of the Jones Act may favor free trade but would be expected to decimate the shipbuilding industry on the Gulf Coast and across the country. Having supported Sen. Thad Cochran’s 2014 re-election campaign, McCain may have expected extra support on the amendment which was soundly rejected.
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In February, National Journal released its Ratings for the U.S. House of Representatives. The ratings were based on economic, social, and foreign policy issues and Mississippi’s 4th District Congressman, Steven Palazzo, was rated as the most conservative from Mississippi and the 21st most conservative out of all 435 House members. Palazzo is more conservative than 76% of the House of Representatives on Economic issues, 87% on Social issues, and 95% on Foreign Policy issues.
The following organizations offer ratings of elected officials based on their priorities (Economy, Religious Freedom, Foreign Policy, etc.) and points of view. Many of these organizations’ websites can be searched to find ratings for previous years so that former representatives (such as Travis Childers and Gene Taylor) can be researched as well:
Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) provides an extensive listing of groups that provide Congressional ratings. Their list can be viewed by clicking HERE.
A lawyer and former state Senator, Chris McDaniel is attempting to upset incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran to become the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. The Christian Science Monitor listed McDaniel as the top candidate that could be “the next Ted Cruz.”
Representing Jones County in the Mississippi Senate since 2008, he is a Partner at Hortman, Harlow, Bassi, Robinson and McDaniel, PLLC, a general civil and trial practice in Laurel. McDaniel’s attorney profile lists his practice areas as general litigation, insurance defense, personal injury, commercial litigation, constitutional law (civil rights), education law, consumer products litigation, mass tort litigation, and complex multi-party litigation.
The following positions were taken from McDaniel’s campaign website:
- Healthcare: Volunteered his time in Mississippi’s suit against Obamacare. Opposed Medicare expansion, supports defunding, repealing Obamacare. Desires commonsense healthcare reform, increased choice, health savings accounts, and allowing insurance across state lines.
- Taxes: Believes the tax code is a mess and must be reformed. Supports scrapping the existing tax code and moving to a simpler, flatter tax system. [Stated in an interview with Bryan Fischer that he did know whether the Fair Tax or the Flat Tax was best.]
- Education: Desires to repeal No Child Left Behind, eliminate federal government control over education, and restore education to the states, local communities, and parents. Supports school choice. Opposes Common Core.
- Immigration: Opposes amnesty and supports enforcement of existing laws including securing the border. Introduced the Employment Protection Act to require all companies to check legal status of potential employees.
- Energy: Reduce foreign oil dependence by expanding domestic energy use. Supports offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), Keystone pipeline, and opposes subsidizing alternative energy forms.
- Agriculture: Unleash agriculture from federal regulations and control from Washington. Supports repealing the Death Tax in its entirety to enable the transfer of farms to children without penalty.
- Economy: Regulations are strangling jobs and small businesses. Washington is addicted to spending and our country is on the verge of financial crisis. Must cut spending, pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Supports making permanent the temporary ban on earmarking.
- 2nd Amendment: Opposes all efforts to undermine the 2nd Amendment. Sponsored legislation that required the state to honor any valid concealed carry permit issued by another state.
- National Security: Will fight for the men and women of the military to ensure support in and out of uniform. Wary of engaging in foreign entanglements but acknowledges the need to remain vigilant of many threats. Wants to reevaluate foreign aid process. Will oppose all treaties that compromise American sovereignty. Committed to the U.S. military remaining the strongest in the world and will not appease our enemies.
- Abortion: Pro-life and believes in the responsibility to protect unborn life.
- Marriage: Believes marriage is between and man and a woman and will vote to protect that definition.
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Whether you like Stephen Colbert or not, the following clip from Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” is hilarious (and completely family friendly): Colbert Mocks Sample Common Core Math Problems.
State Senator Chris McDaniel said that he will stand with Mike Lee and Ted Cruz if elected to the U.S. Senate. He unequivocally stated that he is against compromise and will reject the defeatism of the “old guard” establishment Republicans. Siting a great battle of ideas between conservatives and progressives, he drew a line and promised to fight against those who want to change the country.
Taking hits from the Sen. Cochran campaign for leaving the state of Mississippi for a campaign stop in Kentucky, McDaniel spoke to the FreePAC crowd and emphasized that his campaign is part of a larger movement, an apparent reference to the Tea Party and the wave of conservatism that has supplanted many incumbent Republicans over the last 4 years.
FreedomWorks is often associated with the Tea Party movement and claims to represent 6 million Americans. They stand for three common traits: a desire for less government, lower taxes, and more economic freedom. Perhaps FreedomWorks’ most famous board member is Steve Forbes who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996 and 2000 on a platform of a flat tax, medical savings accounts, fixing Social Security, term limits, and a strong national defense.
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The experts say Hobby Lobby had a good day in the Supreme Court yesterday:
Even if what the Cato Institute tweeted is true, the work has just begun as Dr. Chuck Harding points out:
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