All posts, comments and statements made on IR are those of the authors only. Any disputes must be addressed to the writers, who are solely responsible for their posts, comments and statements. We reserve the right to deny or remove comments. Content may not be used without permission of the author.
WASHINGTON DC — Yesterday, the Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on Protecting Small Businesses From IRS Abuse. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed outrage over the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Justice (DOJ)’s actions to seize the bank accounts of law-abiding American citizens.
During the opening of Thursday's hearing, Chairman Peter Roskam commented:
Puerto Rico is even worse than Illinois. Billions in debt, barely able to pay the interest on its notes to creditors, corrupt, tied down by powerful unions and political machines, an economic basket case. The difference is, we can get rid of it by a simple act of Congress. Instead, Congress, that means Republicans, are about to pass a bail-out bill that will cost taxpayers billions.
I have yet to hear a single member of Congress advocate getting rid of Puerto Rico, i.e., giving it independence. We did that with Cuba and the Philippines, also acquired after our victory in the Spanish American War. Cuba, of course, went on to be a major headache. The Philippines has succeeded as an independent nation.
Yesterday, the Illinois House passed an extreme and hostile bill against women, medical professionals, and pregnancy help centers.
Senate Bill 1564 will force every doctor, pharmacist, and pregnancy resource center in Illinois to help a woman obtain an abortion whenever asked. It also requires doctors to discuss the “benefits” of abortion with their patients.
In this new video, James O'Keefe confronts Katie Couric's use of deceptive editing in her documentary "Under the Gun." He explains that you can't trust the mainstream media when they falsely accuse journalists like O'Keefe of deceptively editing videos, but then actually deceptively edit and manipulate audio to deceive the public. O'Keefe argues that the mainstream media needs to be held to the same standards they hold him.
NEW YORK - Real estate mogul Donald J. Trump now has enough GOP delegates committed to him to win the party's nomination, AP is reporting Thursday.
AP is reporting that it had found Trump had reached the magic number, put over the edge by a small number of unbound party delegates that told the outlet that they would support him.
Trump had been very close to clinching the nomination and was fewer than 100 delegates away from the necessary 1,237 delegates in the Associated Press delegate tracker. The new count finds Trump at 1,238.
The businessman had been expected to hit that number soon, with 303 delegates up for grabs in five primaries held June 7.
SPRINGFIELD - With six days left until the May 31st session deadline, and bi-partisan budget working groups still meeting, House Speaker Mike Madigan called the chamber into session and plopped down a 500-page budget before members.
"I was going to say this is a phony bill, but I don't know what's worse than phony," Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin said in floor debate.
Within 90 minutes, Madigan's FY2017 budget was voted upon, passed and the House adjourned for the night.
Republican House members, surprised and stunned by the Speaker's move, began reaching out to constituents via Twitter, text and Facebook with photos of the bill and comments about the action - breaking all of the Speaker's own House rules.
Next to the photo above, State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) posted on Facebook, "Here's the 500-page $40B spending bill the Dems dropped on us 90 minutes ago. We'd need a 47% increase in the income tax to pay for this trash."
Within minutes, the GOP caucus learned that Madigan's budget exploded next year's Illinois state budget by $7 billion - a deficit that would force the taxpayers of Illinois to hike the state's income tax to over five percent in order to balance.
"Speaker Madigan filed a 500 page spending bill 1 hour before calling it for a vote tonight. What we know about this bill is that it would push state spending over $40 billion for FY17. That is $7 billion more than projected revenues, and according to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget the measure would require an income tax rate of 5.5% to balance the budget," Durkin posted on Facebook with the photo above.
CHICAGO - Cook County Clerk David Orr is excited about the growing number of same sex married couples in his county - and posted a photo of the 9500th couple to pick up their wedding license this week.
Eleven states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, challenging a guidance that compels schools to allow access to restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of gender identity.
Texas is the lead plaintiff in the case and is joined by Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia, as well as the Arizona Department of Education and the governor of Maine. Although headed by a Republican Governor, Illinois did not join the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses the federal government of overstepping its authority in mandating states allow transgender students to use the facilities of the opposite sex, or risk losing millions in federal education funding.
“Defendants have conspired to turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the lawsuit said, Reuters reported.
CHICAGO – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner told the radio talk show host Dan Proft he's optimistic Democrats will band together to get a state budget passed by the end of the legislative session on May 31 because they're privately “sick of the status quo” and are gathering up the courage to “do the right thing.”
“They know we need reform; they know we need to grow our economy; they know our property taxes are too high; they agree that the reforms that were recommended actually make sense and are reasonable,” Rauner said.
The governor said fear of retribution from Madigan has made it difficult for one or two Democrats to break away and support reform, but that fear would be significantly reduced if a sizeable group comes forward in support of “a grand compromise” that favors Illinois taxpayers.
In previous months, Democrats were afraid to stand up to Madigan, fearing their stance would harm their chances in the primaries, Rauner said. But now that risk no longer exists.
Democrat State Rep. Jack Franks of McHenry voted "Present" and Chicago's Scott Drury voted "No" with the Republican caucus, denying the votes needed. While Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) is recorded as voting "Yes," on the official roll call, he stood on the floor after the vote saying he intended to vote "No" and someone voted "Yes" for him.
The Senate Democrats would have easily overridden the veto, and the only obstacle was the Democrats Speaker Madigan consistently cannot whip effectively.
UPDATE x1: Governor Rauner's office responded shortly after the failed vote, saying,
HB 580 was unprecedented and unaffordable, and simply another attempt by the Majority Party in the legislature to insert themselves into the contract process and put hard working families in Illinois on the hook for a $3 billion tax hike.
The Governor thanks those members who took the pro-taxpayer position today, and believes it is now time to move forward and find compromise on a balanced budget with structural reforms that will put our state on the path to prosperity.
HB 580 "would have allowed government-worker unions to unilaterally take contract negotiations out of Rauner’s hands and delegate decisions worth billions of dollars to a panel of unelected, third-party arbitrators who are not accountable to taxpayers," Illinois Policy Institute reported after the vote.
"This legislation has been a critical component in the battle between Rauner and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has made contract demands that would cost Illinois taxpayers an extra $3 billion over the next four years. Despite having signed a tolling agreement with the governor in September 2015 – which is still in effect – outlining a procedure to resolve contract disputes and promising to negotiate in good faith, AFSCME pushed for this unfair bill, which would have allowed the union to circumvent that very agreement. HB 580’s failure means the agreed-to process can continue," IPI said.
WASHINGTON -- Judicial Watch announced Wednesday released Justice Department documents show that weapons sent from the U.S. into Mexico as part of the Obama administration's Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning program were widely used by major Mexican drug cartels, and up to 69 persons may have been killed.
According to the new records, over the past three years, a total of 94 Fast and Furious firearms have been recovered in Mexico City and 12 Mexican states, with the majority being seized in Sonora, Chihuahua and Sinaloa. Of the weapons recovered, 82 were rifles and 12 were pistols identified as having been part of the Fast and Furious program.
Time and again, humans have put into motion well-intentioned schemes to restore the environment to the condition people have come to believe is natural and pre-ordained by some higher authority, but they only made things worse. So:
What if what we think we know about ecology and environmental policy is just wrong?
What if environmental laws make things worse?
What if the very idea of nature has been hijacked by politics?
And what if “the wilderness” is something we create in our minds, as opposed to being an actual description of nature?
These are the questions Jim Lakely, Communications Director at The Heartland Institute, posed to those in attendance before introducing author Ryan M. Yonk as guest speaker at a Heartland event on Wednesday, May 11.
SPRINGFIELD - Residency proof requirements are too stringent for non-citizens to run for university student trustee, the University of Illinois argues, so House Democrats pushed through an effort to make it much easier.
Current Illinois law requires a student trustee to show all of the following:
evidence of the student's Illinois residency for at least the previous 6 months
evidence of the student's current, valid Illinois driver's license, and
evidence of the student's valid Illinois voter registration
But if Governor Rauner signs SB 2204 into law, only one of the above documents will be required in order to qualify to run for student trustee in Illinois. The bill passed the Illinois House Tuesday and passed the Senate in April.
Illinois set up a private scholarship fund for illegal immigrant students in 2011
SPRINGFIELD - The University of Illinois is on a mission to usher in a new set of financial and political benefits for students attending Illinois public higher education centers but are not American citizens.
While taxpayers at home are expecting state lawmakers to be furiously working to get a budget passed for the first time in two years, instead, lawmakers are being bombarded with an avalanche controversy-ridden bills that they have little or no time to fully vet.
SB 2196, sponsored by four House Democrats and Republicans Bob Pritchard and Ed Sullivan - will add to in-state tuition benefits for students who are in America illegally. The bill will allow non-citizens to be eligible to apply or receive consideration for any student aid or benefit funded or administered by the State, State agencies, public institutions, or the university, including scholarships, grants, awards, stipends, room and board, tuition waivers, or other financial or in-kind assistance, excluding Monetary Award Program grants.
D.C. - One Washington insider is confident that the Republicans will maintain the majority in the Senate this fall - no matter if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump emerges as the presidential victor.
Ward Baker, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's executive director, makes his argument in Medium.com and in doing so points to, among other things, Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk's overwhelming victory in the Illinois Republican primary.
From within the Beltway, views of the Heartland are often distorted, but Mr. Baker is less than forthright when he boasts of Senator Kirk's win over small businessman James Marter, who was unable to raise funds due to pressure on check-writers from Illinois GOP powers-that-be and their staffs. Mr. Baker also doesn't mention that Senator Kirk has no outreach or interest in attracting conservative voters from Illinois - as he consistently signs onto radical leftist causes and receives embarrassing scores from national conservative groups.
All that aside, Mr. Baker is adamant that Kirk's win in Illinois symbolizes victory for Republicans in the fall.
SPRINGFIELD - A state review of Independent Map Amendment petitions indicates the submitted petitions likely contain more than the minimum 290,216 valid signatures of registered voters required to place the proposed redistricting reform constitutional amendment on the November ballot.