7:31 AM, Mar 4, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have returned to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tout their latest tax reform proposal. The Republicans call their plan both "pro-growth" and "pro-family," and say it addresses inequities in the tax code for businesses and middle-class families.
Here's an excerpt:
We seek to simplify the code and lower rates for families and individuals, by consolidating the seven existing tax brackets into two simple groups—15% and 35%—and by making remaining deductions available to all filers.
Our plan will also put an end to the unfair treatment of our ultimate investor class: America’s moms and dads.
In addition to eliminating the well-known marriage penalty—which taxes married couples at a higher rate than if they had filed individually—our plan will reform another, less-familiar inequity in the code: the parent tax penalty.
The current tax system charges parents twice for federal senior entitlement programs. Parents pay payroll taxes like everyone else, but they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors. Parents, in effect, pay twice for the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as everyone else.
Therefore, to equalize the tax code’s treatment of working parents, our plan would create a new, $2,500 per-child tax credit. This credit—like the correction of the marriage penalty—eliminates an unfair distortion in the code and helps level the playing field for working families.
The family-focused elements of the plan are pure Mike Lee, who has said he wants to influence the party's presidential candidates—a group which could very well include Marco Rubio—on tax reform and other domestic issues. From a recent WEEKLY STANDARD profile of the Utah Republican:
Lee knows he isn’t the presidential candidate conservatives are looking for, but he’s got his eyes on that “positive, innovative, and unapologetically conservative agenda.” He’s not shy about the role he’d like to play. “I do want to influence that debate,” Lee says. His slate of policy proposals isn’t light fare. Since 2013, Lee has introduced bills to make the tax code more family friendly, take on cronyism in Washington, reform the college accreditation system, and change the way the federal government funds transportation infrastructure. But what Lee really wants is to change the way conservatives think about domestic policy, reorienting the Republican party toward a family-focused, constitutional populism to help the GOP win back the White House. If Lee succeeds, it will make him one of the most consequential conservatives of his generation.
Lee’s touchstone is Ronald Reagan, but not in the rote way you might think. “It’s important for us to remember that by the time 2016 rolls around, we will be about as far away from Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 as Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 was from D-Day, and it’s important for us to update our agenda to make sure that it fits the times,” says Lee. “We need to stop simply talking about Reagan and start acting like him.” That doesn’t mean slashing the marginal tax rate or getting rid of the Department of Education. Lee says acting like Reagan means applying principles of limited government, constitutionalism, and a healthy civil society to the issues of the day—namely, the rising cost of living and economic insecurity of the American middle class.
7:05 PM, Feb 25, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an MSNBC townhall in Miami, President Obama vows to fight the court ruling against the executive amnesty he adopted last year.
Mar 2, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 24 • By FRED BARNES
Who could be against submitting a nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for approval? If you guessed Barack Obama, you’re right.
President Obama is not merely opposed to a role for Congress. He’s ready to veto legislation providing for an up-or-down vote on any nuclear agreement with Iran, even if the vote is nonbinding. Why? “Because it would . . . negatively impact our ability to reach a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program and to implement a future deal,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained.
12:49 PM, Feb 19, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
More than three-quarters of likely voters say negotiations with Iran should have the goal of stopping the regime in Tehran from ever getting nuclear weapons capability. According to a new poll from Republican pollster John McLaughlin, likely voters were asked about the United States's current "secret negotiations" with Iran.
10:57 AM, Feb 19, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Georgia's new Republican senator David Perdue took his first foreign trip as a member of Congress to Israel. Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, met with Benjamin Netanyahu and appeared in a video statement with the Israeli prime minister. The Republican said he made his first trip as a sitting senator to Israel to make a statement about his personal support for the Jewish state, and thanked Netanyahu for his "hospitality."
12:01 AM, Feb 14, 2015 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The right and left are moving towards each other, in a sort of pincers movement designed to destroy the army of free traders pressing Congress to give President Obama what is known as fast-track authority. That would permit him to put any trade deals he negotiates with eleven Pacific Rim countries (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP) and the EU (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) to Congress on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
3:03 PM, Feb 13, 2015 • By JIM SWIFT
Prompted by the death of two children in recent years, Senate Democrats are taking a stand on the issue of the appearance of laundry and dishwasher detergent pods.
7:06 AM, Feb 12, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a possible Republican presidential candidate, is using a crowdsourcing platform to try to reach dissidents and human rights activists in autocratic regimes. In particular, Rubio is trying to help those oppressed by the governments of Iran and Cuba.
"I'm a member of the U.S. Congress looking for Iran and Cuba human rights cases to highlight," the headline for Rubio's post on the platform Movements.org reads.
4:29 PM, Feb 9, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The editors at National Review Online offer praise to a newly modified Obamacare replacement plan backed by Republican senators Richard Burr and Orrin Hatch:
3:29 PM, Feb 3, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
On Tuesday, Democrats took advantage of the Senate's filibuster rules to block a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through the fiscal year. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives last month, would fund the department at current levels but block funding for implementing President Obama's December 2014 executive order on immigration.
ABC News reports that just 51 senators voted to close debate on the bill, with every Democrat voting against cloture and effectively blocking the Senate's ability to hold a vote on the legislation:
Raised the FBI's concern.8:30 AM, Feb 3, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
ABC reports on suspicious visas being fast-tracked -- and the role played by the top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid. First, the report explains the program:
9:00 PM, Feb 2, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions, the former ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, says President Obama's proposed budget "raises taxes by $2.1 trillion."
"The President has sent another tax-and-spend budget to Congress," Sessions says in a statement responding to Obama's proposed budget.
12:01 PM, Feb 2, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The White House has submitted its latest budget proposal to Congress, and the Republican chairs of the budget committees in both the Senate and the House are criticizing the plan for increasing spending and raising taxes. In a joint statement House budget chair Tom Price of Georgia and Senate budget chair Mike Enzi of Wyoming blasted President Obama's proposal:
Utah’s Mike Lee is the most important Republican not running for president Feb 9, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 21 • By MICHAEL WARREN
There’s an old saw in Washington that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Utah’s Mike Lee doesn’t, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Over the past two years, Lee has been delivering speeches and introducing policy proposals at a pace that far outstrips his tenure and experience. On the whole, it looks like the beginnings of a domestic policy agenda for a future presidential candidate.