2016 Contenders: Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker on a 2016 run, the competition, his reason for not finishing college and Common Core.

Behind the Scenes: Chapel with Daniel

I surprised Daniel at school this morning to attend chapel with him and his class. A great start to the busy day--

Lawmakers Disagree over Obama’s Military Force Request Against ISIS

By Ford Fischer, Special Report College Associate 

On Wednesday, President Obama requested congressional approval for use of military force in a three-year military campaign against ISIS in the Middle East.

This is the first time Mr. Obama has requested congressional approval for military action, despite having conducted airstrikes in at least seven countries. In his request, he attempts to mitigate the concerns of war-averse citizens.  

“My administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the president said.

Leaders in both parties remain skeptical. On the whole, Democrats seem to feel that the request includes too few restrictions on the possibility of perpetual war. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California expressed concerns about the plan, specifically boots on the ground.

Mr. Obama attempted to clarify, “The resolution is not the authorization of another ground war.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner described the plan as too limiting to the president’s ability to lead the military into war. Restrictions on the authorization Mr. Obama is requesting could also affect his successor. "I believe that if we are going to authorize the use of military force, the president should have all the tools necessary to win the fight that we are in,” Speaker Boehner said. "As you've heard me say over the last number of months, I am not sure that the strategy that has been outlined will accomplish the mission the president says he wants to accomplish.”

While expressing that the US needs to destroy the Islamic State, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky expressed concern that America’s foreign policy leaders, specifically Hillary Clinton, may have caused the turmoil leading us back into the region. “I think we have to do something about ISIS but you know why we’re doing something and why we have to be there again?” He said that America’s support for the war in Libya, which he referred to as “Hillary’s war,” helped destabilize the region.

Additionally, he adds that the US supporting Islamic rebels in Syria’s civil war has also had unintended consequences. “We and our allies sent 600 tons of weapons into that civil war,” Paul said. “Most of those weapons wound up in the hands of ISIS.”

President Obama’s new plan emphasizes the armament of local forces. Ensuring that weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands will likely become a primary point of concern over the next few years if Congress approves.

Obama's War With Words

For a president and his administration, words matter. His tone and tenor matter. His emphasis matters. That is why there is such an uproar over President Obama’s recent statements about Islamist militants and the threat of terrorism. It’s been quite a rhetorical run of late. There were the president’s comments to Vox about a terrorist ‘randomly shooting folks in a deli in Paris,’ which spurred a day-long rhetorical dance at the White House and State Department. Prior to that, there was the president’s comparison at the National Prayer Breakfast of the acts of ISIS to the conduct of the Crusades of a thousand years ago. And throughout it all, there has also been the administration’s repeated use of the euphemism ‘violent extremists’ when talking about Islamist terrorists and militants.”

In the president’s interview with Buzzfeed this week, he was asked about ISIS and Vladimir Putin and other world threats. But here was interviewer Ben Smith’s take: ‘Obama saved his sharpest words Tuesday for American companies who have not entirely embraced the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, his health care overhaul.’ Is it possible that the president used his ‘sharpest words’ to discuss American companies? This all comes as supporters of the president’s request for congressional authorization to continue the war against ISIS are asking the president to make a forceful case for his policy. But recent statements suggest the president does not like to talk about war if he doesn’t have to. For the authorization to get the votes needed, he may have to.

--Bret Baier, Fox News First

Nebraska State Senators Simultaneously Advance Gun Rights, Same-Sex Marriage

By Ford Fischer, Special Report College Associate

Nebraska State Senators voted on a bill Tuesday which would loosen restrictions on concealed carry permits for military spouses. In doing so, one amendment was also passed which acknowledged same-sex marriage for the purposes of gun rights.

Current Nebraska law says that non-resident military personal and their spouses can apply for a permit to concealed carry after 180 days of residency. The new bill, which was advanced with overwhelming support, would remove the waiting period.

Under the original writing of this law, Nebraska’s constitutional ban on gay marriage would have prevented same-sex spouses from benefiting from the decision. Meanwhile, federal law acknowledges gay marriage and provides benefits to same-sex spouses of military personnel. Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus, unsatisfied with this discrepancy, proposed an amendment to the law that would include any spouses currently receiving benefits by the federal government.

“Is not the Second Amendment sex blind? Color blind?” Schumacher said, according to the World-Herald. “What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military … is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?”

The amendment passed unanimously.

“I think we just recognized same-sex marriage,” Sen. John Murante of Gretna said.

What are your thoughts? 

Loophole Provides Tax Refunds for Illegal Immigrants

By Katy Ricalde

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirmed Tuesday that illegal immigrants granted deportation amnesty are entitled to collect additional tax refunds under President Obama’s plan for executive action on immigration.

President Obama announced the plan on November 20, 2014 where he addressed the fact that illegals passing background checks and paying taxes could remain in the United States:

“If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.”

The refunds will come from an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)  and will be retroactive, based on money earned while working illegally from as far back as 2011. This only applies to individuals who previously  registered for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and hold a valid Social Security number, but could still add up to billions of dollars in payments they were ineligible for prior to amnesty.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a government grant intended to help working families earning a low to moderate income. It reduces the amount of tax owed and may also provide a refund. There is a long list of qualifications, but all individuals must file a tax return with the IRS, regardless of whether or not they owe taxes or are not required to file.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) demanded a solution to the loophole: “The IRS’s interpretation of the EITC eligibility requirements undermines congressional policy for not rewarding those working illegally in the United States.”

Because the IRS wants to be paid taxes based on earnings of illegal immigrants who do work in the United States they have issued millions of ITIN numbers—those that qualify through the loophole have paid taxes, but there is a long standing debate over whether illegal immigrants should be eligible for benefits at all.

According to the Obama administration, as many as 4 million illegal immigrants could earn “deferred action.” It is unclear how many of those could be eligible for the EITC.

Illegal immigrants are also entitled to additional refunds under the Child Tax Credit—according to the IRS, the law is vague over who is eligible, so for now illegal immigrants also qualify.

What do you think? Is this fair?

American diplomats attempt deals with longtime adversaries

2016 Contenders: Governor John Kasich

"Folks don't think that politicians understand them..." Do you agree?

USCP concede they didn't do their job during Kissinger dustup

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) called out the USCP for not intervening in the disruption involving Henry Kissinger at today's hearing.

US Capitol Police spokeswoman Kim Schneider says the USCP did not "meet the standards expected of the USCP."

A senior Congressional source familiar with the situation tells Fox that based on how the USCP usually handle these situations, they should have arrested the demonstrators.

"The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) is conducting a thorough review of the ‎events that occurred in the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing today in room SD-G50. We take very seriously our mission to protect the Congress and its legislative processes, while balancing safety and security, and the First Amendment rights of people to peacably assemble. Today, our actions in room SD-G50 clearly did not demonstrate that mission, nor did our actions meet the standards expected of the USCP. The USCP will continue to work with our Congressional stakeholders and the public to ensure that Congress can fulfill its constitutional responsibilities in a safe and open environment."

Special Report Grapevine: Costly typo for British government



Coming Up

A House Oversight hearing on the IRS revealed that 32,000 Lois Lerner emails have been found in backup tapes at the IRS facility in Martinsburg, WVA.

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