Posts tagged: Raul Labrador
Idaho's two congressmen split in last night's 332-94 House vote on a bipartisan budget deal, with 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voting in favor, and 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting against. The deal, brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sets federal spending on domestic and defense programs and averts the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years; it makes modest changes in spending levels, replaces about $63 billion in automatic sequester budget cuts, adds new fees on airline passengers and increases federal workers’ pension contributions; it’s expected to pass the Senate next week. The deal leaves in place the bulk of the $1 trillion in sequester cuts through 2021, but eases an especially harsh set of cuts scheduled to hit in 2014 and 2015 on the Pentagon, domestic agencies and Medicare providers.
Labrador called it “a bad deal, plain and simple,” while Simpson said it “preserves dozens, perhaps hundreds of jobs at Idaho National Laboratory, lays the groundwork for extending PILT payments, achieves greater savings for taxpayers than those contained in sequestration, and does all of it without raising taxes.”
Here’s Labrador’s statement, and more online here:
“This is a bad deal, plain and simple. Once again, Congress is making promises of future spending decreases in exchange for actual spending increases today. Republicans should keep the promise they made to the American people that they would use the sequester to address the true drivers of our debt and fight for real entitlement reform. We had a historic opportunity to find common ground in order to save Medicare and Social Security. Once again, we kicked the can down the road while making empty promises to the American people.”
From Simpson, whose full statement is online here:
“My Republican colleagues and I have been seeking reforms to sequestration that lessen the pain on the military, allow Congress to budget in a more orderly process, and maintain or enhance the long-term savings achieved by the Budget Control Act. The bill we passed today accomplishes all three of those goals and is a positive step in the right direction. I am especially relieved that the agreement short circuits some of the devastating sequester-based cuts to Idaho National Laboratory – including cuts to its core nuclear energy research programs, the guard force that secures the facility against terrorism or sabotage, and ongoing cleanup activities that are so important to the protection of the environment and human health. The agreement also provides room in the budget to continue funding for PILT.”
Musing about what his “tea party” identification means, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador said today, “I always used to joke around that I was tea party before tea party was cool.” But he noted that he never joined the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House. “I think any time you try to formalize a movement like that, you actually take away some of its legitimacy,” he told reporters. “The tea party is kind of an amorphous group that has a bunch of different definitions.”
He said in his view, “It’s about being somebody who’s not necessarily beholden to the special interest groups. That’s why I sometimes identify with the tea party, sometimes identify with the libertarian side, I sometimes identify with the so-called conservatives. … What you have is a bunch of people … that are frustrated with business as usual.” He defined that business-as-usual as, “In order to talk to a politician, have a politician pay attention to you, you actually have to just donate money to their campaign.”
Longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby called Labrador’s definition “pretty broad and amorphous – it would apply to a lot of populist groups.” But he noted, “There certainly is a lot of populism within the tea party movement.”
During a conference call with reporters today, Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador was asked about minimum wage protests across the country among fast food workers. “I’m against raising the minimum wage,” Labrador said. He said minimum-wage jobs allow entry-level workers to “acquire the skills that are necessary, so they can move up … the job ladders. If you make it more difficult for people to hire them at minimum wage, it’s impossible for them … to gain the experience that they need so they can make more money in the future.”
He added, “I lived with this in my own life. … My mom worked at McDonalds at one point in her life. She decided she wanted to make more money, so she got into the management program at McDonalds. That’s how you move up the chain. … Every time she had a job she would start at the bottom, and she would work her way up into management. She was still not making a ton of money, but that’s how people get ahead in life.”
He predicted “an explosion of unemployment if we start raising the minimum wage.” Idaho has the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers in the nation, at 7.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate is 4.7 percent.
The state’s minimum wage matches the federal rate at $7.25 per hour; its minimum for tipped employees is $3.35 per hour. An initiative currently is circulating to raise Idaho’s minimum wage to $9.80 in phases over the next four years; last week, initiative backer Anne Nesse said about a tenth of the required signatures have been gathered to place the measure on the ballot, with about four months to go.
Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, who has been at the center of talks in Congress on immigration reform, now says he now believes reform likely won’t happen this year after all, and he’s advised House GOP leaders that “it’s not the time” to negotiate with the Obama Administration on the issue. Labrador’s comments come as reform proponents, including prominent Idaho business and agriculture leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stepped up a lobbying effort this week to push for reforms now.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen this session unless we start seeing some more good-faith efforts on the part of the president to negotiate,” Labrador told reporters Friday. The recent fight over the government shutdown and fiscal crisis “just exacerbated the lack of trust between the two sides,” the second-term congressman said. “There’s no need to negotiate, if the issue that they have is that it has to be their bill or the highway.”
Labrador said, “My goal is to fix the system, if it takes one year, or three years, or five years, whatever it is. Hopefully it’s not five years.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
1st District Rep. Raul Labrador is headed into what could be hostile territory next week – Idaho Falls and the Idaho National Laboratory, a huge employer in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District. Labrador twice voted to gut the national nuclear research funding that operates the facility, potentially threatening thousands of jobs at the INL. He’s scheduled to tour the place next week and to address the Rotary Club in nearby Idaho Falls.
“We’ve been trying to do it for months,” Labrador said, but scheduling conflicts put the visit off until now. “They know they’re going to get a frank discussion with me, that I don’t mince my words and I don’t beat around the bush,” he said. “I understand the importance of INL to Idaho, but they also need to understand we have a $17 trillion debt, so we’re going to have a very interesting conversation.”
1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador announced today that he is co-sponsoring a resolution introduced today by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1 only if President Obama's health care law is both de-funded and its individual mandate to purchase insurance delayed for a year. “If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” Labrador declared. “The resolution I’m cosponsoring will keep the government open while keeping overall spending at the same rate the Senate has already agreed to through the sequester. House Leadership should bring it to the floor for a vote. If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that’s responsible for shutting down the government. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but House Republicans must seize this opportunity to keep our promises to the American people on ObamaCare.”
Click below for Labrador's full news release. Meanwhile, President Obama, in a White House speech yesterday, blasted House Republicans who are taking that position, saying, “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can't get 100% of what it wants.” In his speech, which House GOP leaders criticized as partisan, Obama asked, “Are some of these folks so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they're willing to tank our whole economy?”
1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador today came out against a military strike against Syria. “I will vote ‘no’ on any Congressional authorization to use force against Syria, and I will encourage my colleagues to do the same,” Labrador said. The second-term congressman said he reached his conclusion after reviewing the arguments on both sides, attending a classified briefing and talking to the Obama Administration. “Nothing they said changed the fact that we are not the police force of the world, we don’t have any compelling national interest in Syria, and it’s doubtful that an alternative government in Syria will be any better than the current one,” Labrador said. “While no one doubts that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator, it’s very likely that removing him power will embolden al-Qaeda and other terrorists.”
Click below for Labrador's full statement; Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier came out against a strike as well, and voted against it in the committee last week.
As Congress returns from its summer break today, 1st District Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador says the debates over Syria and the debt limit are likely to push immigration reform to the back burner, the AP reports. Labrador said he and other members of Congress “were all hoping we would have a debate in October, now it looks like September and October are going to be pretty full with other issues.” Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers in Washington, D.C., were deeply skeptical of President Obama's plan for a strike against Syria's chemical weapons infrastructure. In responses this week, Republican U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador all expressed wariness such a strike would enhance U.S. power or bring a swifter end to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Risch committed to opposing a strike. Obama says Assad's government was responsible for numerous gas attacks, including one Aug. 21 said to have killed 1,429 people. In Tuesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, however, Risch worried a post-strike Assad would emerge stronger. Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner support a strike. Though Simpson is usually a Boehner ally, the Idaho Republican's spokeswoman said he's “strongly leaning against supporting military action.”
Read a report here from S-R reporter Kip Hill, including comments from Idaho and Washington senators; click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — It took potential military action against Syria to get Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador on the same side. The feuding Idaho lawmakers signed a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to seek authorization from Congress before ordering a strike against Syria after its government allegedly used chemical weapons against its own people. Simpson and Labrador, who have traded barbs this year including over whether House Speaker John Boehner should be leading the chamber's majority, joined Boehner in the letter on Wednesday. In the document, they argue that Obama is required by the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to consult with lawmakers before authorizing a strike. Many Democrats are also urging Obama not to take action without first seeking proper authority to do so.
Longtime Idaho state Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, announced Monday that she’ll seek Idaho’s 1st District congressional seat in 2014, the first opponent to emerge for second-term GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. Labrador, a high-profile tea party favorite, just announced last week that he’ll run for a third term in Congress, rather than run for governor of Idaho, in an effort to quiet speculation that he said was getting out of hand.
Ringo, a former longtime high school math teacher who holds a key seat on the Legislature’s joint budget committee, said, “We all know that Congress doesn’t have a very positive approval rating at this time, with their inability to compromise and get things done. And I have the sense that Congressman Labrador is part of the problem.”
Ringo acknowledged that she faces an “uphill battle” as a member of Idaho’s small Democratic minority, but said she’s talked with moderate Republicans who are “not particularly happy with the direction that some of the more extreme members of their party are taking.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter had this response tonight to Congressman Raul Labrador’s comments about wanting to work with him on issues now that Labrador has made it clear he’s not planning to challenge Otter in the primary: “My door has always been and will always be open to any member of the delegation and the Legislature.”
Otter was busy this evening with a fundraising dinner and reception for his re-election campaign, after which both he and First Lady Lori Otter rode out in the opening ceremonies of the Caldwell Night Rodeo.
1st District Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador announced this afternoon that he'll seek a third term in Congress, not run for governor. “I've decided to end all the speculation and announce that I have no plans at this time to run for Governor,” Labrador said at a Meridian news conference. “I do not feel that I have yet completed the mission you sent me to Congress to do. There is still much work to be done. Whether at the state or the national level, I will always be an advocate for Idaho.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com; here's a link to Labrador's statement to supporters.
In response to questions from reporters, Labrador said, “I never really thought about it seriously. At first it was kind of funny when people would ask me – I had only been in Congress for less than one term, and people just started asking me if I would run for governor.” He said he’d actually decided against it about three months ago, but when he started calling supporters to let them know, they got mad, so he considered it some more. “Running against Gov. Otter would have been a tough race,” he said.
Labrador said he never did any polling. “You can’t ever say never to anything,” he said, but said, “At this point I don’t think it’s in the cards.”
Asked if he thinks Otter is doing a good job as governor, Labrador said, “You know, Butch Otter could do a better job, and I don’t think I’ve been shy about saying what I think.” He said now that het’s made it clear he won’t challenge Otter, he hopes the two can talk and work together. “I hope now that he doesn’t see me as a competitor, that he can see me as a partner.”
Speculation is running wild back in D.C. as to whether Idaho 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador will seek a third term in Congress or run for governor of Idaho instead; Labrador will put the rumors to rest tomorrow afternoon. “Rep. Labrador will hold a press event on Wednesday afternoon in Meridian to make a campaign announcement,” his office told me in an email last night. Now, the details are in: Labrador's announcement is set for 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Meridian City Hall building, where he has his congressional offices.
The outspoken Labrador, who frequently appears on national political TV shows and has been the subject of rumors in D.C. about everything from a future speakership to a future presidential bid, served two terms in the Idaho state House before being elected to Congress in 2010. Prior to heading to Congress, he was an immigration attorney.
The Huffington Post has a story on Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador today, centering on speculation that he could run for governor of Idaho, challenging GOP Gov. Butch Otter. Labrador didn't comment, telling the HuffPost reporter, “You know, I don't talk about that. It's going to be in the next couple months I will make a decision. It's a private conversation that I'm having with my wife and some close associates.” See the full article here.
Here’s a link to my Sunday column on the week’s developments in the 1st District congressional race, from Rep. Raul Labrador’s campaign finance report sending signals that he’ll seek a third term – rather than run for governor – to the latest on former Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris and the emergence of a longshot GOP opponent, a BSU political science student.
Jimmy Farris, the former NFL football player and Idaho native who took 30.8 percent of the vote against 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador last year, says he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll challenge the GOP congressman again next year. But Farris, a Democrat, said he has decided one thing: He will run for office. “I will be running in 2014,” Farris said today. “I’m just not positive for what office or what seat.”
Farris filed a termination with the Federal Election Commission of his campaign finances from the last election, closing out the books, but said he made that move largely because his campaign treasurer, a CPA, was retiring from her practice. If he decides to run for Congress again, he noted, he can refile. This photo, from August of 2012, shows him campaigning in Meridian.
For now, Farris is busy with an upcoming annual family reunion and several business ventures, including one a former teammate is launching to design a safer football helmet, and another he’s working on to develop a type of custom insole. He also became fascinated by the recent George Zimmerman trial in Florida, frequently tweeting on developments there.
“I came into it, honestly, with a bias, kind of a preconceived idea that Zimmerman was just what they were saying he was, this over-zealous, racist wanna-be cop that tracked down this innocent kid and just shot him in cold blood, and it wasn’t like that,” Farris said. “NBC had edited one of the 911 tapes. … It was terrible, man. So not that I think George Zimmerman was innocent, he did kill the kid, but the way the law reads is the way it reads. In my opinion, if you just wanted to base it off of the instructions to the jury, there was no way they could convict him.” He added, “I just got really, really caught up in that trial.”
As for politics, he said, “I’m not actively out raising money or campaigning, but I’ve been meeting with a lot of people, having a lot of lunch and coffee meetings and kind of laying the groundwork for some things.” He added, “I’m kind of considering all the options now. … My desire to be in public service in Idaho and do what I can to make a difference in Idaho is as strong as it’s ever been.”
No one has filed with the FEC yet to run against 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador in 2014, but a 23-year-old BSU political science student, Michael Greenway, announced today that he’ll challenge Labrador in the GOP primary. “I’m getting my campaign team together right now,” said Greenway, who will turn 25 between the primary and general elections in 2014, just hitting the minimum age threshold to serve in Congress.
Greenway, who is going into his senior year, isn’t a first-time political candidate; he ran for the state Legislature last year, challenging Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, in the Republican primary and collecting 27.5 percent of the vote. Greenway, whose mom served as his campaign treasurer for that race, said, “I enjoyed it, it was an interesting experience.” He campaigned on his opposition to the controversial “Students Come First” school reform laws, of which DeMordaunt, chairman of the House Education Committee, was a big supporter; voters rejected those laws last November.
Greenway said his interest in politics was sparked after the 9/11 attacks when, as a young teen, he was impressed with how then-President George W. Bush responded to the war on terror. “I liked the way the Republicans responded better than the Democrats,” Greenway said. “I believe in a strong national defense, a strong military.” He started thinking about making a run against Labrador after the second-term congressman abstained from voting to re-elect House Speaker John Boehner in January; Labrador’s close ally, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, cast his vote for Labrador for speaker. The two were among just 12 House Republicans who didn’t vote to re-elect Boehner as speaker.
Greenway called Labrador’s abstention “an act of betrayal, not only to the party but also to the constituents he claims to represent.” He called the Idaho congressman divisive, and said if elected, he’d work with all sides. “No one gets 100 percent of what they want in a government like ours,” the young candidate said. “We need someone in Washington that understands that, and I do.” You can read his full announcement here.
Asked how he’ll campaign, the full-time student said, “Well, I’ll try to raise as much money as I can, and then just campaign and talk to people, you know, go up and down the district.”
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador is sitting on the second-biggest wad of campaign cash he’s stockpiled since he’s been in office, with more than $277,000 in the bank. That suggests that Labrador is gearing up for a re-election bid for a third term, not for a long-shot primary challenge against two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter in 2014.
Labrador’s being coy; neither he nor his staffers have returned calls from reporters today, and he’s been hinting for months that he might run for governor or might not and hadn’t yet decided. “Politicians enjoy the attention of people speculating about what office they’re going to run for next,” said BSU professor emeritus and longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby. “He’s certainly benefited from a lot of that kind of speculation, and why wouldn’t he want to continue it for as long as he could?”
Labrador’s latest campaign finance report, filed late last night, shows he ended the year’s second quarter with $277,271 cash on hand. That’s nearly triple the amount he had at this time two years ago, and an amount he’s exceeded only once before, in October of 2012, at the height of the campaign season just weeks before he was re-elected. He raised $65,680 this quarter, an unremarkable amount but for the fact that two-thirds of it came from PACs, a departure for Labrador, who typically has raised more of his campaign funds from individuals than from PACs.
According to FEC records, in 2009-10, Labrador raised more than three times as much for his campaign from individuals as from PACs. In 2011-12, the split was 60 percent from individuals, 40 percent from PACs.
Among the PACs handing over the money now: Microsoft, Google, eBay, Northrup Grumman Employees, Alliant Techsystems, Darigold, Arizona Dairymen, Michigan Milk Producers, the National Roofing Contractors, the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and more. Those groups, Weatherby noted, certainly don’t “have a big stake in who’s the next governor of Idaho.”
The only way to transfer federal campaign funds to a state campaign is to do what Secretary of State Ben Ysursa terms “reattributing” them – getting a written statement from each original donor, saying they want their money transferred from the congressional campaign to the state gubernatorial campaign. “That’s the only way,” Ysursa said. “There’s not just a direct transfer of money. There has to be reattribution of the individual amounts.” Then, the amounts count against the state’s contribution limits for each donor.
“It’s convoluted, but it can be done,” Ysursa said, most notably by Dirk Kempthorne when he decided to run for governor in 1998 rather than seek another term in the Senate. Kempthorne’s 1998 federal campaign finance report shows he refunded nearly $50,000 in contributions that year, including $38,000 to PACs and $11,600 to individuals; that’s what a candidate would have to do to reattribute the funds and redirect them to a state campaign. A Federal Election Commission spokeswoman said federal laws don’t restrict transfers, but they’re governed by state law and state limits.
Labrador’s July quarterly campaign finance report also shows he received $10,000 in contributions from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s Freedom Fund PAC, with two $5,000 checks, one tabbed for the primary and one for the general election, both coming in June 3.
Said Weatherby, “It certainly looks like he’s not going to take a run at governor.”
1st District Congressman Raul Labrador has missed his self-imposed deadline to decide whether to run for governor or seek a third term in Congress, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports, and now says he’ll decide “within the next couple of months.” Gov. Butch Otter has already said he plans to see a third term. You can read Popkey’s post here, including the full statement from Labrador, in which he says in part, “I’m still considering all of the options that are available to me, but my focus right now is being the most effective representative that I can be for my constituents.” Both Labrador and Otter are Republicans.