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In The Pipe, Five By Five

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Orange Julius and the rest of the House GOP have a new game of chicken to play this month:  attaching the Keystone XL pipeline to the highway bill in order to force the President’s hand.  What they got out of it?  Enough Dems for a veto-proof margin, apparently.

Defying a White House veto threat, the House on Wednesday passed legislation that extends transportation program funding through September and mandates construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

All but 14 Republicans, with support from 69 Democrats, voted 293-127 for legislation that falls far short of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) earlier plan to move a sweeping five-year, $260 billion package.

But Boehner’s retreat serves two crucial tactical and political purposes for the Speaker. It sets up talks with the Senate on the highway bill and keeps the Keystone pipeline — a centerpiece of GOP attacks on White House energy policy — front and center ahead of the November election.

Republican leaders hailed the bipartisan vote  as a rebuke of President Obama.  Two senior Democrat leaders, Reps. James Clyburn (S.C.) and John Larson (Conn.), approved the measure.

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The wingers are sensing a win in the Senate too, possibly even a veto-proof one.

Then there is the Senate. Democrats are using the filibuster to stop the pipeline, which means 60 votes are required to pass it. (Some Democrats who bitterly opposed the filibuster when Republicans used it against Obama initiatives are notably silent these days.) In a vote last month, 11 Senate Democrats stood up against Obama to vote in favor of the pipeline. Add those 11 to the Republicans’ 47 votes, and the pro-pipeline forces are just a couple of votes away from breaking Harry Reid’s filibuster.

“We’re right around the corner from actually passing it,” says a well-informed Senate source. “Two-hundred-ninety-three votes in the House is a gigantic number. People want this thing.”

People want the highway bill, not the pipeline.  Byron York there completely fails to mention that the Keystone XL pipeline is tacked on to the Federal Highway bill, which is yet another example of why he’s a hack working for the DC Examiner and not, you know, an actual news outlet or anything.

It turns out in an election year when jobs are the number one priority, voting against the highway bill is pretty much suicide for your average House member.  There’s a bit more leeway in the Senate, but even so, it’s looking like as with the horrible JOBS Act (also passed with an overwhelming veto-proof margin) that the Senate is going to go along with anything that even remotely sounds like they’re doing something and leaving President Obama to be attacked for anything that happens as a result.

So of course, I fully expect the Dems in Congress to cave here, put the President in an untenable position, and then having to listen to the Purity Police tell me that there’s no difference between Obama and Satan again and why I’m a moron for voting at all.

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This is a fight the Republicans are going to at least do some serious damage with.  How much damage depends on how many Dems are going to leave the President at the tender mercies of the GOP.  At this rate, you have to ask if the Dems aren’t trying to lose on purpose so they can stay out of power.


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Stefanik voters turning on GOP lawmaker after she threw away her credibility to defend Trump

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Over the course of the impeachment hearings, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has gone from a relative backbencher who sells herself as a moderate to voters in Upstate New York, to a theatrical partisan grandstanding for President Donald Trump and a top target of ire from Democrats.

But according to Politico, at least some of her voters appear turned off by her new stance.

"While Stefanik once able to strike a delicate balance between her Republican identity and her positions on issues like climate change, some think those earlier convictions are gone, like Phillip Paige, a former Stefanik backer and a member of SUNY Potsdam’s College Republicans," wrote Politico's Anna Gronewald. "A native of the 21st district’s Madrid, New York, Paige said he started to lose faith in Stefanik when she began supporting Trump as the party’s nominee in 2016. Paige supported John Kasich’s candidacy in that election. 'A lot of her boots-on-the-ground young Republican crowd has really become quite disillusioned,' he said. 'We saw her as what we thought the future of the Republican Party was and that really has been disproven. Unless, maybe the future of the Republican party is Donald Trump.'"

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2020 Election

GOP ridiculed for hyping Ohio anti-impeachment protest — and only a handful of Trump supporters showed

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The official Twitter of account of the Republican National Committee was buried in mockery after hyping up a video of anti-impeachment protesters in Youngstown, Ohio, where it appears only a handful of people showed up.

According to the tweet, "Ohioans are sick and tired of the Democrats’ impeachment charade. It’s time to STOP THE MADNESS!"

However, in the video from WKBN, which can be seen below, few people chose to show up for the cameras.

As one commenter noted with tongue-in-cheek, "Thought Ohio had a few more people than that."

That was the general consensus in the comments.

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Melania Trump scorched by columnist for standing by president’s Thunberg bullying: ‘Indefensible’

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In a piece for the Washington Post, columnist Karen Tumulty called out first lady Melania Trump for her statement defending her husband's bullying of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a fit of jealousy after she was selected Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Responding to a statement from the White House that stated, “BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy,” Tumulty wasn't having it.

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