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Murphy Johnson: As polls in six states close tonight for Democrats, Republicans start looking to the general election. Welcome to Election of a Lifetime: 2016, I am Murphy Johnson. First we start today with the latest in the Democratic primary for President. President Harrison LeClavers and Senator Jackson Clay continue to go at it with another round of primaries coming up tonight.

 

Tonight, four of the six states up for grabs have 100+ delegates up for grabs. Those states are Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio. Three of those states could end up meaning a lot come the general election. Other places up for grabs tonight are Missouri with 84 delegates, and the Northern Mariana Islands, an American territory in the Pacific Ocean, with 11 delegates.

 

You may ask with so many big states, where the candidates have been focusing so far? We have that for you right now.

 

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Murphy Johnson: So far, Jackson Clay's biggest focus has been on upping campaign offices in the states of North Carolina and Florida. Harrison LeClavers has also spent time upping his infrastructure in those states. LeClavers however, has also been to Ohio where he has started targeting unions and upping his infrastructure. Finally, so far, LeClavers has also launched an attack ad on education against Clay in Illinois.

 

Things are expected to really heat up today, though an interesting note is that so far neither candidate has spent any time or resources in Missouri or the Northern Mariana Islands. Whether that changes today will remain to be seen.

 

The delegate race continues to stay close, so the candidates will need to pick up any and all delegates they can today.

 

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We will be right back with some analysis on this Democratic race.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

Murphy Johnson: Welcome back. Joining us now to discuss the Democratic race is NINC reporter Frank Guido. Thanks for joining us, Frank!

 

Frank Guido: Thanks for having me, Murphy!

 

Murphy Johnson: First of all, what do you make of Harrison LeClavers targeting unions in Ohio?

 

Frank Guido: Well Murphy, Ohio does have roughly 12.6% of their workers belonging to a union according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is a slight increase from 2015, but roughly stagnant since about 2007. I wonder if this is more about trying to target Ohio in general just because of the President's win in neighboring Michigan. To be frank, I can't think of any other group to get in roads with in Ohio unless it is unions.

 

Murphy Johnson: Do you believe LeClavers's attack ad against Clay in Illinois was effective?

 

Frank Guido: I believe mildly so, yes. Education has been a point of contention amongst both candidates and Washington in general. Therefore, I think a lot of people have already decided who they like or don't like on the education issue. However, for liberal Democratic voters in Illinois, seeing Jackson Clay standing with Senators Zamora and Merchant certainly cannot do him any favors.

 

Murphy Johnson: Where do you think is the state of this primary right now?

 

Frank Guido: Well, regardless of Clay being down in the delegate count right now, I think he still has a chance. However, his window in my opinion is starting to close fast. He will need a good day today to be able to continue on. It might not need to be a big day per say, but he certainly needs at least two, maybe three victories.

 

Murphy Johnson: Thanks for joining us, Frank!

 

Frank Guido: Thanks for having me!

 

Murphy Johnson: We will be right back with a look at the Republican options for Vice President. Stay with us.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome back. With the withdrawal of Christopher Williams from the Republican Primary for President, John Moreno can now begin to look towards November. One of the first things he will have to do between now and then is select a Vice Presidential running mate. NINC has reached out to insiders in Washington to get their take on who could end up being Moreno's running mate.

 

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Hugh Merchant practically ran away with it with half of voters putting him as a first option. The leading second option was Majority Leader Diego Zamora, though Zamora did not receive any first place votes. Who Moreno selects will be interesting due to the lack of viable candidates. 

 

Thanks for joining us today, coming up next is the NINC News Update. I am Murphy Johnson saying good day. 

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Samantha Roscoe: Welcome back to the NINC News Update, I am Samantha Roscoe. Recent fruit and vegetable access legislation for children has seen an unusual amount of controversy in Washington for a topic such as food. 

 

The Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act, which would allow canned, dried, frozen, and pureed fruits and vegetables in the fresh fruit and vegetable program, has passed the Senate in a 76-20-1 vote. 

 

It is thought that an amendment from Senate Majority Whip Hugh Merchant, ensuring that fresh fruit and vegetables are still served along with others, has apparently ensured the Senate bill's passage. Original prospects for the bill looked dim, especially amongst some influential Republicans like Merchant.

 

Other concerns brought up about the legislation included protecting farmers, the actual health benefits of canned food vs. fresh food, and more.

 

At the end of the day the legislation did pass with Republicans holding their ground in support of the bill, and Democrats ending up somewhat split. Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne voted for the bill, while others such as Illinois's Gabriel Gonzalez voted against it.

 

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"It's a sad day for school children everywhere. Allowing alternatives like freeze dried or canned fruits and vegetables is robbing children of many nutrients they can only get from fresh fruits and vegetables. This is a day that will hurt small farmers, parents but worst of all children as options like canned options will lead to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. I strongly urge President LeClavers to veto this legislation as an obimination of a bill."

- Senator Gabriel Gonzalez (D-IL)

 

Meanwhile, the bill's original sponsor, Wisconsin Republican Doug Hill was ecstatic on Twitter to see the legislation pass.

 

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@SenDougHill: My bill passed the Senate, we are one step closer to allowing more children to have access to Fruits and Veggies #GOP #WIpolitics (1/2)

 

@SenDougHill: I urge my colleagues in the House to support and pass my bill. Kids need more access to Fruits and Veggies #GOP #WI #WIpolitics (2/2)

 

Whether the House will consider the legislation however is still up for grabs. NINC will keep you updated on this story as it unfolds. When we come back, legal experts are showing some concern about President Harrison LeClavers's recent executive orders on immigration.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Samantha Roscoe: Welcome back to the NINC News Update. President Harrison LeClavers's recent executive orders on immigration raised up a bit of controversy with Republicans. Some of them even suggested that the President's orders may have crossed a line in his stepping over Congress to enact them. Those included people such as Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora.

 

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@Zamora4NM: I think #DAPA would've made a good legislative proposal. But @POTUS deciding to skip the House+Senate and enact his will unaccountably on the American people is wrong.

 

The executive orders include a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizens, allowing immigrants who marry U.S. citizens to use a green card, allowing a right to a lawyer in immigration court, "Ensuring Humane and Effective Immigration Enforcement", and expanding the already in effect children of U.S. citizens deferred action program.

 

Legal experts say the orders seem to have "fairly broad legality".

 

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"There are quite a few that appear to have fairly broad legality, for example the order regarding humane treatment. But most likely, the most precarious Executive Order is going to be the right to an attorney that lacks funding. And as always, the DACA expansion may spell a question for the legal grounds for DAPA that was sure to rely on the DACA court rulings to stand." 

-Professor James Anderson at the University of Chicago School of Law

 

If any lawsuits do come out of this, we will keep you updated on that. For now, this has been the NINC News Update. 

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Samantha Roscoe: This is the NINC News Update. I am Samantha Roscoe. The Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act, which would allow canned, dried, frozen, and pureed fruits and vegetables in the fresh fruit and vegetable program, is reportedly being considered for docketing in the House.

 

The legislation that passed the Senate in a 76-20-1 vote has support from the Democratic Establishment bloc, which Pelosi is a member of. Support also comes from Paul Ryan and House Republicans. One group currently in doubt is the Democratic progressive group, They are reportedly split on the bill and leader Keith Ellison has expressed some concern over the legislation.

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Samantha Roscoe: This is the NINC News Update, I am Samantha Roscoe. The White House is not ruling in, or out, a veto on the recent Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act, which would allow canned, dried, frozen, and pureed fruits and vegetables in the fresh fruit and vegetable program (FFVP). Elementary schools are eligible for FFVP if at least 50% of the student body is on free or reduced price meals by way of the school lunch program.

 

As of 2012, roughly 25% of elementary schools participate in the FFVP. The program started as a pilot in 2002 in four states before becoming a full on federal program in 2006.

 

The White House says that the President is currently undecided on the Fruit and Vegetable access legislation.

 

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"The White House is presently undecided on the issue. While the cause is noble and certainly, access canned fruit is better than no fruit, the President is afraid that the bill will reduce access of students to fresh fruit & vegetable- whose health benefits are enormous. The President will continue to study the issue and work with Congress for us to achieve our common goal- to increae the access of fruits & vegetables to Americas children."

- The White House


The next step for the legislation continues to be whether it will be considered by the House. Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have been considering docketing the legislation.

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Gal Hyacinthe: This is a NINC breaking news report. Sources within the John Moreno campaign have sent NINC their list of VP candidates. They appear to have it down to three: Senate Majority Whip Hugh Merchant, North Carolina Senator Hollis Davis, and President Pro Tempore Doug Hill. The Moreno Campaign will reportedly make the announcement within the next week.

 

We will keep you updated on this breaking news. For now, this has been Gal Hyacinthe, NINC News, Chicago.

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Samantha Roscoe: This is the NINC News Update, I am Samantha Roscoe. A substantial amount of local governments are expected to soon rally in Washington D.C. in preparation for the 2016 budget. This group is of the belief that the 2014 budget hurt localities more than national programs.

 

In the meantime, on the budget front, people within the Republican Leadership tell NINC that budget talks are in progress for the 2016 budget. However, those people did not feel comfortable giving any specifics.

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Murphy Johnson: The Democratic Presidential Primary is hitting the home stretch as California looms. This is NINC's Election of a Lifetime: 2016. I am Murphy Johnson. Democratic Presidential candidates Harrison LeClavers and Jackson Clay have largely ignored Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Oregon on their way to California. In the last round of states, the only state utilized was Washington, where the LeClavers campaign lead some Get Out the Vote efforts.

 

Nonetheless, the LeClavers campaign continues to have a lead in the delegate race.

 

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As you can see, LeClavers only needs 326 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. Jackson Clay only needs 461 delegates. 

 

Those delegates left can be won today by either candidate. However, California is expected to be the bellwether in that it has 548 delegates up for grabs. Other states today include New Jersey with its 142 delegates, New Mexico with 43, Montana with 27, and South Dakota with 25.

 

LeClavers has been pretty early in the California race with his targeting of Latinos in the state well before mainstream eyes started shifting there. Jackson Clay, on the other hand, has seemed to take up New Jersey in the early race, with his opening of a campaign office there.

 

NINC has obtained polling from the state of California which shows LeClavers with a lead amongst likely Democratic voters in today's primary.

 

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Meanwhile, 12.4% of total voters also expressed that they are undecided when it comes to today's primary. If California were to split relatively in half today, both LeClavers and Clay would still need delegates to clinch the nomination, making the state of New Jersey mean a lot for today.

 

LeClavers does have a good thing going for him in California when it comes to his approval ratings.

 

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We also asked California voters when they decided upon their preferred candidate.

 

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When did you decide to vote for your candidate?
-Before primary started 19%
-Between primary starting and Democratic Debate 6%
-Since Democratic Debate 32%

-Since Super Tuesday 8%

-Within last week 14%

-Within last 24 hours 9% 

-Still deciding 12%  

 

Either way, today is slated to be an interesting day and probably the closing one, in the Democratic primary.

 

We will be right back with a look to the conventions.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome back. Democrats and Republicans are soon to go to their respective convention sites to officially announce their presidential nominees. Both parties however, will be going to a location for the first time in their party's history. 

 

Republicans are going to Atlanta, Georgia. While the Republicans are going there for the first time, the Democrats actually went there in 1988 with Mike Dukakis as the candidate. Democrats are going to Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland has been a spot where Republicans have gone in the past, in 1924 and 1936. The candidates in those times were Calvin Coolidge and Alf Landon, respectively. 

 

NINC will be at both conventions providing coverage throughout the convention days, throughout all of the speeches, throughout all of the keynotes, throughout everything. 

 

When we come back, the 2016 senate elections are starting to heat up, we will take you to some races which have shown signs of life so far.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome back. The Senate races, while they will more than likely take a backseat in this election, will certainly make an impact on the next couple of years. One place where things are already heating up is Illinois. Illinois of course is where Senator Christopher Williams is the incumbent. However, Williams is not running for re-election leaving IL State House representative Genevieve Washburn going against frequent Williams enemy Dutch Savage. Savage is running as an independent in the race.

 

Both Savage and Washburn held press conferences to announce their platforms. Washburn fielded questions about Williams and the #SendthemBack movement.

 

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Anderson Wilson, The State Journal-Register: You have a strong emphasis on immigration in your platform. What are your thoughts about the #SendThemBack movement? 

Genevieve Washburn: The #SendThemBack movement is fundamentally a movement built on anger. And look, I get it - I know why people are angry. But the truth is, any movement that's built on the emotion of anger is not headed anywhere good. And we saw that in New Mexico a few months ago. I want to secure our borders, while still retaining our founding characteristic as a nation of immigrants, one that wants the best and brightest the world over to come here and contribute to our country. I want a pro-law movement, not an anti-immigrant one.
 

Frank Guido, NINC: What do you think of the actions of Senator Christopher Williams while in office? Do you plan to continue in his footsteps?

Genevieve Washburn: I think there are some major differences in style and substance between Senator Williams and I, particularly around the issue of immigration. I agree with Senator Williams more than I disagree and he did indeed advocate for policies that I support - but particularly his role in the #SendThemBack movement will I think taint his legacy and that is certainly something that I reject in the highest possible terms.

 

While the Savage press conference has stayed somewhat under the radar, he fielded a question on unions.

 

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Jamie Anders, Chicago Sun TImes: How do you reconcile a platform seeking to strengthen unions with the fact that our state's fiscal problems stem from bad union contracts we can't get out of?

Dutch Savage: Our state constitution says that we are obligated to protect existing pension agreements and can not take pensions from the already retired. I would also say that there is an ethical obligation to do as such, because it would be entirely immoral to have someone work for this state for years under certain conditions and then renege on the agreement. I think that everyone in this state recognizes that we need to work on this issue and make changes to how we do things moving forward and how we fund our obligations, but I do not believe that it is a federal issue. This is a state issue. If we want to change state union laws, then that it is a debate that needs to happen in Springfield, not Washington. If the voters of Illinois wanted to establish this state as right-to-work, I would oppose that but I also recognize that it would be their right to do so as citizens of a democracy. What I am completely and unequivocally opposed to is the use of the federal government to strong-arm the states and the people of those states to accept policies that they consider absolutely antithetical to the way that they want to function. I'm running for federal office - my vote on right-to-work legislation will be to stop the federal government from forcing bad policy on Illinois."

As to 'getting out of bad union contracts,' there are two ideas at work here. On average, union contracts in the public sector run from about three to five years. In the case of three year contracts, negotiations for the next one start not too long after the ink on the first contract has dried. A lot of those negotiations are going on right now as we speak, so I think it's disingenuous to discuss the issue in that way. The other aspect of this is that I am skeptical about the idea of 'bad union contracts' - we want quality teachers, police, fire fighters, and so on and so forth, but political leaders want that kind of service for pennies on the dollar so they can look good at the budget table and campaign trail. Unions aren't faceless monoliths - they are people you know and people you live with, and when it comes to public sector unions in Illinois they are often-times the people who provide great benefits to our community. We need to find the right balance, and I don't think smashing the union system with a hammer is that right balance.

 

Meanwhile, in Oregon, Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne is going up against challenger Eden Silver. Clayborne also had a press conference when he announced his platform. He was asked about his stance on defense spending and how that will align with the interests of local military bases.

 

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Anderson Scooper, Portland Tribune: You've taken a pretty strong line on defense spending. How will your proposed changes to defense spending effect places like Kingsley Air Force Base or the US Military presence in Portland Airport? 

Senate Minority Leader Lewis ClayborneThe thing is, I'm not a believer in reducing defence spending for the sake of reducing defence spending. Instead, the tough line that I've taken is about making sure that the DoD is audited, that the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent every year are spent well and spent effectively. When a base serves an important national security function, and when it is integral to an area's economy, I will oppose base closures. By making sure the budget is efficient and effective, and we actually apply rigorous standards of reducing waste, we can prevent a future fiscal crisis in defence spending that might threaten those military installations. So I support the Kingsley Air Force Base, I support the US military presence in Portland Airport, and what I am doing is protecting that. 

 

His challenger, Silver, has already attempted to take Clayborne to task on social media.

 

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Senator Clayborne has become out of touch with Oregon values. He has become an attack dog for LeCleavers and the establishment.

 

Clayborne stated he supported immigration reform the bipartisan way but supported the Presidents Executive Order. Is that Bipartisan? #LeClaversPuppet

Sen. Clayborn at it again being a LeClavers puppet. Supporting the president's overreach with numerous regulation on Oregon and America.

 

Both of those races seem to be races which will get interesting in this election cycle. NINC will keep you updated on them with coverage throughout. For now, this has been Election of a Lifetime: 2016. I am Murphy Johnson.

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Posted (edited)

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Gal Hyacinthe: This is Gal Hyacinthe with NINC breaking news. Apparently today is the day on the budget rally related to local governments who are dissatisfied with the 2014 budget compromise. They are reportedly dissatisfied due to the budget "hurting localities," according to them. 

 

NINC asked Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne, one of the proponents of the deal, about our last report on the rally and he had this to say at the time.

 

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"I haven't met with them or heard their complaints just yet, so I can't comment on the exact details, but I am very sympathetic to their concerns - the diminished abilities of local governments to invest and provide services was one of the more painful impacts of the recession. I do think there are things in the 2014 budget that localities should be celebrating, however. Cheaper drug costs, the per-pupil premium, increased funding to every government department, streamlined infrastructure approval processes. But I am willing to sit down and revisit some of the reforms and spending decisions to better meet their needs. "

- Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne

 

Thousands are expected to attend the rally, which NINC will keep you posted on during the day.

Edited by Brink

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Samantha Roscoe: Welcome back to the NINC News Update. The Senate is currently considering a bill to potentially allow an immigration judge to rule in favor of an immigrant parent of a citizen child. There would be an exception to that, however. If the judge determines that the immigrant parent could be deported on security grounds or if the parent has engaged in sex trafficking or human trafficking.

 

The bill, oddly enough, was apparently introduced by a Mr. Gray. NINC has been unable to find a Gray in the Senate records. 

 

Nonetheless, the bill is being voted on now. So far, it has all of the Democrats voting for it. There is one Republican voting for it, North Carolina Senator Hollis Davis. Whether that will be enough to pass by way of a suspension motion remains to be seen.

 

Florida Senator Matthew Williams, a Democrat, has come out in support of the legislation.

 

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"I don't see how Republicans can claim to care about Americans and human life and vote down this bill," Williams said. "This is a common sense bill to me. All it does is ensure that no child be left without their parents due to deportation. It is morally and ethically wrong to separate a child from it's parents."

- Senator Matthew Williams (D-FL)

 

Next on the NINC News Update...

Edited by Brink

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Posted (edited)

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Samantha Roscoe: Welcome back to the NINC News Update. Work on the 2016 budget continues, however there are reports of a snafu. Sources familiar with the talks tell NINC that while the Government Accountability Office has issued a baseline on the budget to the White House, that baseline has yet to be shown to anyone outside of the White House. That includes people in the budget talks.

 

Federal rules say that a baseline should have already been released.

 

A senior GOP official has shown frustration at the lack of a baseline.

 

Quote

"The fact that the President is brazenly refusing to uphold his legal obligations shows either disrespect for Congress or an utter unawareness for the job's intricacies. While a budget deadline looms large overhead, the main negotiators for the Democratic Party are busy campaigning to keep their jobs. Here's a novel idea: why don't you do your job first, then try to keep it?"

- Senior GOP Official

 

NINC has reached out to the White House for comment and is waiting to hear back. This has been the NINC News Update, I am Samantha Roscoe.

Edited by Brink

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Samantha Roscoe: This is a NINC News Update, I am Samantha Roscoe. Budget talks appear to continue to fracture in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. In response to our report yesterday, sources close to the Democratic negotiating team had their own comment on the situation.

 

Quote

"The Republican negotiators were notified of various delays, for reasons outside of the Democratic negotiators' control, at various points in the process. Several times they let the negotiations go unattended for several days, refusing to respond to proposals on the table, demonstrating a lack of interest on their part. We were forthright with them about the delays in the process, but they have broken their OWN promise not to leak internal issues within the debate."

 

A new development has come out of the talks with Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne proposing his own budget on the floor of the Senate for the next two years. It definitely appears that talks have reached an impasse. 

 

The budget is still due (Sunday at 11:59pm) however, so it appears a continuing resolution will be needed some. We will keep you updated on this developing story.

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Gal Hyacinthe: I am Gal Hyacinthe and this is a NINC breaking news report. NINC has received copies of Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora's list of proposals that he would like to see enacted in a bipartisan budget.

 

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These reportedly come from a senior official familiar with the budget negotiations. 

 

Some of the big hitters on this list include ending funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Small Business Association's Disaster Loans Programs, lowering funding for FEMA's disaster relief fund, ending Violence Against Women Act grants, and Department of Justice cuts.

 

NINC has reached out to Zamora's press office, and here is what he had to say.

 

Quote

"I have put forward literally dozens of cut-saving measures - worth over $80 billion - to test the waters with the Democratic negotiating team. I anticipated some of them would be shot down, but the goal was to get the ball rolling on specific programs that could begin trimming our deficit. Unfortunately, Democratic negotiators, led by Minority Leader Clayborne, dismissed the extensive proposals out-of-hand. They have no interest in reducing the deficit in a logical and coherent manner, as shown by their unilateral proposal that would balloon our national debt.

 

As for the specific policies, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should be forced to compete with free-market alternatives - like NINC - which do not receive public funding. And VAWA grants are often duplicative of something could easily see implemented at a state-level."

 

Due to the nature of this breaking story, we will provide you with live updates as we learn more. For now, this has been Gal Hyacinthe, NINC News, Chicago.

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Gal Hyacinthe: This morning's budget story continues to unfold with Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne sending a response to NINC about comments that Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora made after his budget proposals were sent to NINC by officials familiar with the negotiations.

 

Quote

"I have put forward literally dozens of cut-saving measures - worth over $80 billion - to test the waters with the Democratic negotiating team. I anticipated some of them would be shot down, but the goal was to get the ball rolling on specific programs that could begin trimming our deficit. Unfortunately, Democratic negotiators, led by Minority Leader Clayborne, dismissed the extensive proposals out-of-hand. They have no interest in reducing the deficit in a logical and coherent manner, as shown by their unilateral proposal that would balloon our national debt.

 

As for the specific policies, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should be forced to compete with free-market alternatives - like NINC - which do not receive public funding. And VAWA grants are often duplicative of something could easily see implemented at a state-level."


- Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora (R-NM)

 

Clayborne's response called out Zamora's claims that Clayborne immediately rejected all of the proposals brought up by the Majority Leader.

 

Quote

"The claim that I rejected all of these proposals out of hand is flatly false. I specifically told Senator Zamora that, while several of these proposals are ideologically motivated and non-starters, that I am open to discussing many of them. However, Senator Zamora has, repeatedly, gone AWOL in Roosevelt Room discussions, and refused to respond to avenues of compromise that we have opened for him. I have a proven record on bipartisan deficit reduction - the 60% reduction in the deficit secured by the last budget was secured by my work, and it proved that we do not need to cram through a callous ideology to achieve fiscal responsibility. Many of these proposals, however, are appalling policy. Eliminating COPS and VAWA, eliminating Jobs Corps and legal aid, reducing environmental protections and defunding Planned Parenthood are just some of the more egregious proposals here. These items would leave Americans less safe, less prosperous, and less healthy, and in many cases leave them unable to enjoy constitutional rights."

- Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne (D-OR)

 

Clayborne also went on to claim that Zamora didn't read the Democrats' budget proposal.

 

Quote

"I am willing to defend my budget proposals publicly. It is a shame that Senator Zamora was not willing to do the same. It is also unfortunate that Senator Zamora fails to read our budget - which reduces the debt in a sustainable way, despite his claims otherwise."

- Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne (D-OR)

 

Meanwhile, after a short shutdown, the continuing resolution keeping the government open for 60 days has been signed by the President. NINC will continue to keep you updated on the budget story unfolds. For now, this has been Gal Hyacinthe, NINC News, Chicago. 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome to the general election debate of the 2016 presidential race. I am Murphy Johnson, thank you for joining us! Tonight, we are live overlooking the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park here in New Jersey. We will be here asking the candidates about the pressing issues of the race. The debate will follow an Answer-Answer/Response-Rebuttal format. Now, the candidates!

 

We will now begin opening statements. President LeClavers, you will start us off.

 

President Harrison LeClavers: Hello Murphy! Thank you for having me here tonight.

Millions of Americans are tuning into this extremely important Presidential debate, between myself and Senator Moreno of Arizona. I would like to thank Liberty State Park and the entire state of New Jersey for being such gracious hosts for us for this election campaign. The first thing I want to do, however, is take a moment of silence for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A great woman, who dedicated her life to public service, and she has passed. Beyond politics- we should honor all that she has accomplished.

*Waits for a moment*

 

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This is an important debate for our country to have. I am running for President for one reason- to rebuild the American middle class. The American middle class has consistently gotten the short end of the stick in Washington D.C. for decades. We keep telling people that to go get an education, they have to sacrifice tens of thousands of dollars over the course of four years, in loans, simply to get a degree. We have been watching wages shrink, watching our nation’s infrastructure crumble, we have been watching all of our nation’s economic gains stay at the top, while middle class and working class Americans continue to feel the pain.

That cannot be what America stands for. This country needs to stand and fight for its middle class, fight to rebuild the backbone and pillar of the American economy. We need a President who is going to put into action policy that helps ensure that wages of middle class Americans go up, rather than continuing their downward spiral. We need a President who will actively work against the gutting of labor unions, who will actively work towards ensuring all Americans get paid a living wage, who will fix Social Security, who will ensure that the middle class is the strength of this country once again. That is why I am running for President of the United States.

 

Senator John Moreno: Thank you, Murphy. Thank to you to the National Independent News Corporation for hosting this debate. Thank you to the president, whose remarks regarding Justice Ginsberg I echo.

But most importantly, thanks to each of you watching at home. Maybe you’re tuning in tonight because you’re running low on hope. You demand answers. You want to know if America is still the land of opportunity. I’m here to promise you that, yes, the American dream is still alive. And there is reason for hope. But it’s going to take a change of course at both our highest seat of power and in our nation’s policy to preserve and reinvigorate the promise of America.

For the last two decades, America has been in a state of regression due to the obstruction and division in Washington. While the politicians stood and watched, more than five million manufacturing jobs were outsourced from the working class communities across the midwest. Median household income has fallen for rural Americans, leaving them out to dry. Medical costs are skyrocketing with premiums rising under ObamaCare’s failed policies. The cost of college is rising to unsustainable levels. All this and more has left many Americans in fear that the American dream is dead. But perhaps worst of all, many of you tonight fear that our government is broken and unable to move beyond the partisan divisions of the past to lead us into the future.

 

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Everyday across the United States, the citizens of this country wake up and work together to better their lives. They work the nine to five to provide for their families and to make the world a little brighter for all. Disagreements and politics never stopped progress on the assembly lines, behind the change counter, and in the workplace. So why should it halt the progress we make a nation in Washington? What we need is leadership in the White House that can unite us. There will always be disagreements. There will always be points of conflict. But the American people deserve a president who will represent their hard working values and their commitment to cooperation and progress. True leadership, by uniting rather than dividing, that fights for working class jobs, boosts upward mobility, and restores the promise of this country. A presidency committed to America’s comeback. That is what I am offering you tonight.

 

Murphy Johnson: We will now move to the questions: the breaking news story today was the death of iconic Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Senator Moreno, if you get the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, what process would you go through to do that?

 

Senator John Moreno: Well, first, I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My family and I are praying for healing after their loss. And though I may have disagreed with Justice Ginsburg on a variety of the issues, she served her nation with grace and dignity. As to the qualities I am looking for in a Supreme Court Justice, I believe we need a restoration of respect for the principles of the U.S. Constitution in our high court. Our Founding Fathers delivered us the constiution which has provided the moral standing for the abolition of slavery and the protection of our rights. It is our most sacred document and our guiding light as a nation. So I will look to appoint a justice who above all else respects our constitution. Second, I will appoint a justice who is pro-life. I will look to nominate someone in the mold of President Kennedy's own nominee, Byron Whizzer, who stood for the value of human life during his time on the bench. And third, I will look to nominate a justice who will defend the rights of Americans to exercise their freedom of speech and to practice their religion. There are no two more sacred rights than those. These three qualities are what I will look for in a nominee for the United States Supreme Court during my administration.

 

Murphy Johnson: Mr. President, will you go ahead and appoint a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg? If so, what qualities will you be looking for in her replacement?

 

President Harrison LeClavers: Murphy, I will be appointing a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg as quickly as possible, over the course of the next couple of days. I have a duty, as President of the United States, to ensure that, in the case of a judicial vacancy, I must nominate a judge, and just because we are close to an election, it doesn't mean that my own constitutional duties are simply wiped away.

 

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There are a couple of qualities I will be looking for in terms of a replacement justice. For one, I believe that any Supreme Court Justice needs to think about the real world application of any decision that they render. They, of course, adjucate the law, and if an action is unconstitutional- it is unconstitutional. But Justice's decisions are measured by what follows, not just the letter, but the real world consequences. That should always be thought of. Another thing that I think should be considered is judicial independence. Free from outside influence, not worried about the politics- somebody who can put their head down and do their job well. And, lastly, the last quality I want is somebody who is going to stand for the principles of this country’s foundations. The principles of equality, the principle that every man and woman should be treated equally- regardless of race, of gender, of sexual orientation, or anything like that. Those are the qualities I will be looking for, and I will be hopefully appointing somebody with those qualities rather quickly.

 

Murphy Johnson: President LeClavers, it has been argued by Republicans that Democrats have stalled in budget negotiations, how do you respond to that?

 

President Harrison LeClavers: I would say that is simply a false statement. We have been at the negotiating table for months, trying to get a budget- but, unfortunately, thanks to the unwillingness of the Senate Majority to negotiate- sometimes even leaving refusing to come to the table for days at a time, prioritizing doing other things instead. We've been at the table, trying to get a budget passed, trying to work with the Senate Majority. Thanks to the work of a few Senators, especially Senator Williams of Florida, we will have a Continuing Resolution so that government operations can continue normally. But yes- to say that we are the ones who have been stalling is simply a false representation of the actual facts.

 

Senator John Moreno: President LeClavers has been on the job for two years. And during his administration, we have seen our politics regress to new lows because of his lack of leadership. What this recent budget has shown us is that Harrison LeClavers is sadly incapable of uniting us as a country. Not only did the president stonewall Republicans and lock them out of the budget process, but he and his cronies in party leadership could only come up with a continuing resolution. Instead of trying to incorporate every participant at the bargaining table and consider all ideas, the president told conservatives and people of good will to get lost. My colleagues in Senate leadership informed me that the president told them that none of their ideas would be even remotely considered. And now all he has to show for it is, quite frankly, a dud of a budget. But this really shouldn’t a surprise, considering the president’s record of obstruction and partisanship.

 

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On the issue immigration, instead of reaching across the aisle, President LeClavers refused to pursue the pathway of cooperation and bipartisanship by electing to issue a wildly unconstitutional and controversial executive order. Even Senator Jackson Clay thought the executive order was a bad idea. You could have reached out across the aisle, sir, and tried to work with the other side. But across the board, Harrison LeClavers has failed to lead as a president for all Americans. I, on the other hand, offer a different style of leadership. During my time in leadership, I managed to negotiate the historic bipartisan budget agreement that cut our deficit by more than 60%, invested in new infrastructure jobs, rebuilt our crumbling military, and ensured our children have the resources to succeed in school. I also worked across the aisle to pass new sanctions on North Korea and redesignate the regime of Kim Jong Un as a terrorist state. If we are to balance our budget, we need a president with a proven record of leadership. I broke through the malaise and incompetence of the establishment to work with Republicans and Democrats like Senator Clayborne. As president, I will bring that same energy and vision to deliver the results to the American people again. We will achieve a balanced budget by the year 2025 and we will do so by working together.

 

Murphy, I'd just like to come out here and strongly disagree with the Senator's sentiments. He has said that my Administration has not shown leadership on immigration- I strongly disagree with that sentiment. I have stood strongly and rejected the sentiments of #SendThemBack- a disgusting movement, and we have seen in New Mexico what can happen when we take them seriously. Senator Moreno has been flip-flopping on the issue of #SendThemBack- standing against them, then standing with them, then standing against them again. What'll it be? Why is not firm in an unambiguous manner and complete disavowal of former Senator Williams of Illinois and his movement he started? My actions created clarity and showed humanity on this issue. Unless he thinks we're going to send ICE to homes across the country rounding people up, ensuring that we keep families together in the United States is something that I consider a positive, and with a full term, we can finally pass a legislative solution to this problem

 

Murphy Johnson: Senator Moreno, you have sat in budget talks before that have led to shutdown, how will you keep the federal government from shut down if elected?

 

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Senator John Moreno: First off, we can discuss the immigration issue more if you’d like, because I too wish to address what the president just said. But as for your question Murphy, I'm going to keep our government open by beginning with the areas where we can agree on. Senator Lewis Clayborne and I couldn't be more different in terms of our politics, but we managed to find areas of common ground in our budget talks. It didn't matter that he was a Democrat or that I'm a Republican. I don't care about that. What I care about is balancing the budget, cutting taxes for working and middle-class families, and protecting the homeland. What matters to me is restoring manufacturing, bringing college costs down, and making quality healthcare affordable again. Senator Clayborne may differ with me on a variety of issues, but we both know that America is in a far better place when we work together. The American people know it and I know it. And I believe that mutual understanding and a shared commitment to progress will guide our nation forward towards a better day. Sadly, you don’t seem have to realized that, Mr. President. Instead of answering the question about the budget and owning up to your failed leadership during these talks, you try distracting the audience with bogus assertions. But thankfully, we have a chance as a nation to begin anew this November. I am ready to embark on America's comeback with all Americans, whether they be Republican or Democrat, white, black, Hispanic, or Asian. I'm ready to get to work as your president.

 

President Harrison LeClavers: Murphy, I have answered the question given to me about the budget- I had the need to respond to your false assertions about my actions on immigration. The government is going to continue to remain open, and like I said- to say that it is the fault of Democrats that we went to the brink, is simply an inaccurate representation of the facts on the ground. This Administration is all about growing the middle class, and we are going to pass a budget that does that. Trade Adjustment Assistance. Funding for criminal justice reform. Strengthen Social Security while increasing future benefits- not, like Senator Moreno originally suggested, cutting benefits for future retirees. Those are just a couple of parts of a very strong, very reaching, overall budget. Of course, I worked and worked and worked with Senate Republicans to try and negotiate a budget that could be released together- but with their own refusal to show up to talks, to take our talks seriously, I came out with my own proposal that will move American forward. What is leadership in this instance? Leadership is not the ability to spout talking points and hit slick one liners, like Senator Moreno just has. It is about going to work, taking the criticism when it comes, and then if Republicans are not willing to even show up to negotiations repeatedly, we will take our case directly to those who are truly in charge- the American people at-large.

 

Senator John Moreno: Murphy, may I respond before we move onto the next topic?

 

Murphy Johnson: Yes, you may

 

Senator John Moreno: First off, Mr. President, my colleagues in the Senate informed me that every single one of their ideas was dismissed at the bargaining table by you. You didn't come into those talks looking to negotiate or form a consensus. You wanted a surrender. And that's not how anyone negotiates in the real world. You're not a dictator, sir, you have to work with congress. Second, the fact of the matter is your party proposed a continuing resolution. That's by definition a continuation of the status quo and visionless leadership. If you're going to go it alone, Mr. President, at least offer us something new. Third, I have a detailed plan to protect and modernize Social Security. No beneficiary in the middle or working class will see their benefits cut. Period. We will trim benefits for high-income earners and very gradually raise the retirement age over the course of a long stretch of time. We will also improve Medicare cost-sharing for parts A and B, a proposal I have already laid out, to save seniors money And fourth, unlike you, I have a proven record of not only showing up to work, but delivering. The bipartisan budget agreement cut our deficit by more than half, strengthened our military, modernized our education system, and reinvested in our infrastructure.And we did all that without raising taxes. So when it comes to the matter of who shows up to work and delivers, I trust the American people's judgement. This election is about who can unite our country and restore the promise of the Amerian dream. And I promise the American people I will bring my best everyday on their behalf.

 

Murphy Johnson: President LeClavers, what three steps would you take to improve Medicare?

 

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President Harrison LeClavers: Murphy, we can take a look at the ambitious budget that I've proposed. One of the things I've done, which is something that is generally gathering support on both sides of the aisle, is propose that Medicare be allowed to negotiate drug prices. It is one of those things that could save the program billions- an estimated $40 billion dollars annually for Part D, or almost a whopping $430 billion dollars over the next 10 years. Another thing I am going to do is ensure that we protect the integrity of Medicare. No to Paul Ryan style vouchers or privatization, we must protect it for those who earn it, and ensure that workers who are paying into it now will be able to retire. We aren't going to take an approach and say that the program is broken, because it simply isn't- we are going to make the necessary tweaks to ensure that it can remain strong and stable for many years to come, so that America's seniors do not have to worry about their health care.

 

Senator John Moreno: Over the course of this campaign, the LeClavers campaign has only mentioned the word ‘Medicare’ once up until tonight, during a speech by Senator Clayborne. Check the records. Not once during all the campaign rallies or events or in your platform have you addressed the topic. And I find this alarming because millions of seniors citizens depend on this program which you have neglected. With rising insurance costs and non-discretionary spending on the rise in Washington, Medicare is in desperate need of reform. And our seniors deserve a reinvestment in their future. That is why I have a detailed plan to restore the vitality and promise of Medicare for our elderly. First, I will modernize cost-sharing for Parts A and B by combining their separate deductibles and providing beneficiaries the protection of an annual cap on cost-sharing liability. This will save both seniors and our government billions in healthcare costs. Second, I will reform Part D by applying the Medicaid standards regarding drug manufacturer rebates to Medicare. Elderly Americans will save money on their drug prescriptions and so will the Treasury. And third, I believe senior citizens deserve the right to have the choice of Medicare Advantage insurance plans. If they should chose, they can pursue other alternatives to traditional Medicare to chart out their own path. My Medicare plan provides our elderly with three things: cheaper healthcare costs, more affordable drug prescriptions, and financial freedom to do as they wish. And to top it all off, we will save money as a country, grow closer to paying down our deficit, and secure Medicare for future generations of Americans.

 

Murphy Johnson: Senator Moreno, your social security plan in your words would protect benefits for “all seniors today and for future middle- and lower-class seniors.” With you wanting to raise the retirement age, aren’t you concerned some seniors will lose benefits under that plan?

 

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Senator John Moreno: No, because my plan will increase the retirement age only incrementally over the course of more than a decade, twelve years to be exact. No American who is in the working, middle, or lower-income brackets will see a penny of their benefits cut when its time for them to receive their well-earned support from Social Security. My plan saves Social Security and protects the benefits of those in our society who need it, without raising taxes. And furthermore, it gives you, the American people, the choice to diversify or enhance your retirement. My administration will give each and every senior the choice to invest in new private accounts which have been shown to produce far greater savings for retirement than traditional social security. It'll be your choice, as a free American, to decide how you wish to invest in your retirement. Whether you pick the current way or pursue a different path, I promise you that I'll have your back. Social Security will be here to stay and will remain a pillar of strength and refuge for America's retireees.

 

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President Harrison LeClavers: Let's not forgot, Murphy, what Senator Moreno's original Social Security plan was- cutting future Social Security for working Americans today. That was his original proposal to the America people. And then, he realised, once he got to the State of Florida- the American people wouldn't have it. And then, of course, he did what he is constantly doing on immigration- he flip-flopped again, and came out with another new plan. Senator, what do you really believe on this issue? How are the American people supposed to know you real plans for Social Security, when you don't even know?

 

My plan, recently released, is consistent and fair. Strengthening Social Security Act, that will not see a tax increase for the bottom 90% of Americans, that will see benefit increases around $800 per year for American seniors, and that will extend solvency by about 15 years. Senator Moreno's plan sounds familiar- ripped straight from the sort of privatization ideas that Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan wanted for Medicare in 2012. You know what I want on this issue, you know where a LeClavers Administration stands on fixing Social Security, and you know our plan will strengthen America's seniors by strengthening the system,not by pushing a privatization plan through that will irrevocably change how we know Social Security forever.

 

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Senator John Moreno: Mr. President, with all due respect, you’re simply ignoring the facts. I have never flip-flopped on my plan. From the start, I have called for progressive indexing of benefits that will leave the middle-income and working class beneficiaries protected. And I have also been 100% consistent in my belief we should very carefully increase the retirement age to 69 over the course of twelve years.

Now, I am glad that President LeClavers recognizes that Social Security is headed toward insolvency. The CBO and the Treasury have both affirmed that the current path we are on is unsustainable. But, I’m not going to ascribe to President LeClaver’s broken school of thought that would punish the American taxpayer by jacking up rates. We cannot tax our way out of every problem. What President LeClavers has just proposed is a massive payroll tax hike, slamming businesses and investors who hire working class Americans. In other words, instead of implementing simple common sense reforms that will protect your benefits, he’s going to take more money out of your paycheck to pay for his irresponsibility. There is a much better way to go about this, Mr. President, the path I proposed we take.

And as for offering the people the option of private accounts, I have a question for you: Tell me, why should a bureaucrat have the power to dictate how a retiree’s future? Why on earth should I trust the career politicians more than the elderly Americans to decide what’s best for them? I’m not pushing the American people either way here. I am going to make sure Social Security remains intact and is strengthened. All I want is to ensure our seniors have the freedom to choose. I trust the discretion of our wise elders to chart out their retirement rather than career politicians who are living on six figure incomes. I want Americans to have the freedom to decide between traditional Social Security and a private account. I want our seniors to enjoy their retirement whichever way they see fit with the backing of a Social Security program that delivers all their benefits and will flourish for the centuries to come.

 

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President Harrison LeClavers: Senator Moreno, before the Florida primaries, your plan was reduced benefits for future Social Security beneficiaries. Those are the facts on the ground- very conveniently changed before the State of Florida. Senator Moreno's plan, most unfortunately, is simply something that would not leave America's seniors better off. And, of course, with raising the retirement age, Americans will have to work even harder for even longer than we already do. And Senator Moreno has greatly misrepresented my plan. Like I have said- the bottom 90+% of taxpayers will not feel a tax increase because of my plan. And now, we must talk about why private accounts are not a good substitute for Social Security. There's nothing wrong with private accounts. However, to say we have to take away somebody's Social Security benefits to have these plans is ridiculous. Some plans have waiting periods, some don't let you withdraw until you're 70, many aren't the greatest. Of course, people have the full right to decide how to spend their own money, however. But there's a reason that Social Security has consistently been one of, if not America's most popular since its creation. Americans have faith in Social Security. Americans trust the system, because it works and it takes care of our seniors. The Senator's plan would fundamentally alter how Social Security works forever, and that is not something that would be for the benefit of our future retirees

 

Murphy Johnson: Let's go ahead and wrap this up. President LeClavers, your closing statement.

 

President Harrison LeClavers: Murphy, we have heard two competing visions for the future of this country. We have offered a path to a brighter future for this country. We are going to invest in education, in our students, to ensure that our young people have the best tools to compete. We are going to have a humane immigration system, where we stand there and establish a pathway to citizenship, while strongly rejecting the #SendThemBack movement and the neo-Nazis that the movement associates with. We are going to pass legislation that will ensure that we have a stronger middle class. If you want a stronger middle class, if you want a stronger education system that invests in our public schools, if you want a strong, humane immigration system that embraces those who are willing to work towards the American dream, rather than rejects them, then I encourage you to go out and vote for this campaign on November 8th. Thank you very much, and have a great night!

 

Senator John Moreno: Thank you again, Murphy. Thank you Mr. President for a spirited debate. And thank you to the American people for joining us this evening.

A few weeks ago, I met a family in a small town in western Pennsylvania. For generations, they worked in the coal mines, earning a good and honest living. Hard times befell them, though, when unelected bureaucrats at the E.P.A. began to crack down on their way of life. Both parents have been out of work for months and the entire town is struggling thanks to the ineptitude in Washington. But I didn’t see hopelessness in their eyes. I saw pride. I saw their belief in the American dream. And they assured me that no matter what may lie ahead, they will forever believe in America. I share their faith and hope for our country. I believe that America’s comeback is within our reach, if we end the bickering and stonewalling in Washington to pursue a new future where working Americans come first again. I believe our strength comes from our diversity of ideas and our proud unity as Americans. And as president, I will bring us closer together to pursue a new era of achievement and prosperity. Together, we can make America the world leader in manufacturing again. Together, we can ensure there is no better place to do business and earn good wages. Together, we can pay down our deficit, restore our education system, replace ObamaCare with real solutions, reform our immigration system, and above all else, restore the American dream for all. I see a new day on the horizon where factories are teaming with bustling workers, small businesses thrive with a flurry of customers, and schools that are packed with students eager to learn. I see a new day where all God’s children, no matter their color, gender, or ethnicity, can live out their dreams in the land we’ve been blessed with. And I see an America where all its citizens are safe and secure in a country that lives up to its promise. America’s comeback begins with new leadership in the White House that will unite us together as one. So this November, I ask you to join me. Let us begin the comeback together! Thank you, God Bless you all and God Bless the United States!

 

Murphy Johnson: Thanks to our audience and the candidates for watching and appearing at tonight's presidential debate. This is Murphy Johnson saying good night from New Jersey!

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Gal Hyacinthe: This is a NINC breaking news report, I am Gal Hyacinthe here in Chicago. The United States Chamber of Commerce, one of the major business-oriented lobbying groups in Washington, is reportedly refusing to endorse John Moreno for President.

 

However, it appears to not just be the presidential candidate they are refusing to endorse. They also are refusing some GOP house candidates. We are being told that the Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the issue of trade.

 

NINC has reached out the Moreno Campaign and received this response.

 

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“The Moreno campaign is surprised by the news, but is looking forward to meeting at some point in the coming days hopefully with members from the chamber of commerce. Senator Moreno has a plan that will ultimately strengthen trade and ensure it is not interfered with by any governments. Our goal should be to leave trade unblemished by currency manipulation to amend trade deals that do not protect working-class citizens from the exploitations of over zealous government’s economic actions.”

- Moreno Campaign

 

Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne has also commented on the situation.

 

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"Senator Moreno and many Congressional Republicans are abandoning the Republican Party's long support of free trade in the name of making cheap talking points on the campaign trail. Their anti-trade rhetoric is vague, without substance, and without any positive plan for how to fix the identified problems, and it is no wonder that they are receiving backlash for it.

In contrast, Democrats such as the President and myself have a clear message on trade. We recognise that removing barriers to trade enriches all countries involved, and support a fair playing field with strong human rights and environmental conditions. We also support increasing Trade Adjustment Assistance for those workers and communities left behind by the modern global economy."

- Senate Minority Leader Lewis Clayborne (D-OR)

 

This is a story which will certainly impact the Presidential race, as well as potentially the one for the House. NINC will keep you updated on this. For now, this has been Gal Hyacinthe, NINC News, Chicago.

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome to tonight’s Nevada Senate Debate! I am Murphy Johnson and we are live from the Nevada State College here in Henderson, Nevada. This debate will follow an answer/response/rebuttal format. Now here are the candidates!

 

We will now go to opening statements. Mrs. Kimball, you may now start with your opening statement.

 

Ana Maria Kimball: I'd like to open by thanking Nevada State College and NINC's Murphy Johnson for hosting us here today. And I'd like to thank you, the people of Nevada, for tuning in from across the state to hear this open exchange of ideas. This election, we face many choices on our ballot. But I firmly believe that this Senate race will have a profound impact on the lives of each and every Nevadan. I am Ana Maria Kimball, a proud mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, and lifelong Nevadan. I am running to represent you in the Senate based on a platform that stands up for family, that seeks to develop our statewide and national economy by empowering small business, and that will defend our nation from threats abroad. From paid family leave to investing in our National Guard; from lowering taxes across income brackets to protecting our natural resources; and from defending our southern border to providing parents greater choice in their children's education, I believe that I have plans that will strengthen our nation economically, socially, and militarily. This is to all of our benefit, and I hope to show you all the advantages of a pro-growth agenda throughout tonight's debate.

 

Damon Storm: My friends,family and fellow Nevadans. I thank you all for letting us into your homes tonight and I thank NINC Murphy Johnson for giving us this opportunity. This election is an important. It is one that decides whether we as a state want to stay the course or whether we want to pursue change and an empowering voice for all Nevadans. I lived here in Nevada all my life and I can confidently say there is no people who are more resilient than us. I am running on a platform that represent the people of Nevada. A platform that helps our rancher/farmers expand, a platform that increases investments into our schools, a platform that creates a wage that empowers our families and a comprehensive platform that embraces immigration but also provides a plan to protect our borders. I believe that with my plan and with the ingenuity of each and everyone one of you, we can restore leadership back into the Senate and get our nation back on track.

 

Murphy Johnson: Mr. Storm, we will start with you for questions. How do you fight back against critics who say you are too far left to be elected in Nevada?

 

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Damon Storm: Thank you for your question Murphy. I do not follow the words of the pundits. I do not believe in a left or right Nevada, I believe in Nevada, and if fighting to ensure that every Nevadan has a job, quality wages, a proper education system that prepares our children for the future, then I am not to left for Nevada, the pundits and the critics are just not Nevadan enough for Nevada.

 

Ana Maria Kimball: While there is definitely room of agreement between the Congressman and I - including over employment and education, I believe we can look to some of the areas he's not mentioning to get an idea of how he would legislate. Mr. Storm is vigorously opposed to right-to-work; well, Nevada has been a right-to-work state since 1952! Either Congressman Storm didn't get the memo, or he simply is too far to the left of Nevada to be elected. There are a number of other policies Mr. Storm has advanced, such as imposing a $100 billion tax increase, supporting the federal takeover of local education standards with Common Core, or with granting a pathway to citizenship with no strings attached. He has no coherent foreign policy agenda, and I firmly believe - as do most of the voters - that Congressman Storm is out of touch with Nevada's needs and desires.

 

Damon Storm: State Senator Kimball is a fine person and she has done a lot for her constituents, but she is wrong here. At no time at all during this campaign have a made any comment about right to work, you can't even find it in my platform. So far unlike Mrs.Kimball, you have seen me reveal a locale adjusted minimum wage plan, that removes the federal minimum wage and instead adjust it to the needs of the rate of inflation to the state that will give the people of Nevada more buying power but also protect our small businesses from being hurt by a federal minimum wage that they cannot keep up with. You have seen be openly endorse economic freedom zone which establishes tax free zone in some of Nevada's more economically suffering communities so businesses can create jobs and grow. But with Mrs.Kimball, we have seen her support and endorse the Republican budget proposal offered by her friend Senator Zamora of New Mexico and in that budget we saw a cut in resources that our farmers/ranchers desperately needed, a cut in infrastructure investments within our rural communities, and even cuts to water improvements which our states desperately needs. This isnt a a fight between the left and the right. This is a fight between whose plans are better for Nevada, and quite honestly Mrs.Kimball has endorsed plans that treats Nevadans like duplicates and not as people

 

Murphy Johnson: Mrs. Kimball, how do you address rural voters who think you have left them behind on the campaign trail?

 

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Ana Maria Kimball: This campaign has been a long one on my end - deciding to campaign for my primary endorsement, which came from the Republicans across Nevada, including in rural counties and regions. I have reached out to rural voters, to urban voters, to suburban voters. In my own life, I've lived in all three parts of Nevada, and I know the unique needs each faces. In my platform, I've specifically mentioned Yucca Mountain, which would be disastrous if it ever became the storage site for nuclear waste. Nevada is a state of scenic beauty, not a nuclear dump! That is why I support the bill currently before the Republican HELP Committee that would give our governor a veto over the placement of nuclear waste in Nevada. Where does Congressman Storm sit on this issue? Other issues that matter to Nevada, from water to energy and everything in between, I believe rural voters would find my agenda - which includes defending the right to life abroad - to be much more conducive to their interests than that of my opponent.

 

Damon Storm: Rural voters should not have to look for your support they should know they have your support Mrs.Kimball, and they know they have my support. In my platform you will find a plan to expand investments into rural infrastructure that help create windmills, solar panels and other projects that brought us the hoover dam. In my platform you will see a plan to bring hi speed internet to our rural communities,ensuring that everyone has access to internet and that our rural communities are not neglected. In a Senate full of 100 people, rural American in Nevada and across this country can ensure that I will always be their voice and ensure they are never forgotten unlike Mrs.Kimball

 

Ana Maria Kimball: Murphy, I've always kept this race about policy, and not about the person. But when you're attacked, demeaned, and have your policy positions twisted in every which way - which we have seen on this campaign trail - it's hard to maintain that smiling face. I am happy to stand here on this debate stage today, and I know that my advocacy for rural Nevadans extends beyond the lies that have been spread about me by my opponent. The policies that Congressman Storm has just alluded to - from developing high-speed internet to investing in all forms of energy - they're all there in my platform as well. Again, I would ask Nevadans to look where I've been. Yes, I have spent time in our major population centers, but my team and I have also built up support in cities like Fernley, Carson City, and Elko. Has Congressman Storm been there - or has he left the two metro areas at all? That's the difference between us on rural issues. I grew up in it long before our state had urbanized to the extent it has today. Friends, I have your back.

 

Murphy Johnson: Mr. Storm, what is the reason you address your opponent just as Kimball? It is a matter of sexism?Mr. Storm, what is the reason you address your opponent just as Kimball? It is a matter of sexism?

 

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Damon Storm: Murphy, I respect and and admire State Senator Kimball. Her persistence and strength to stand against a system that unfairly treats women negatively is something that I can honestly say I admire about her and she will always have an ally in me to combat any stench of sexism or misogyny.Me calling her by just her last name, is just that, just calling her by her last name. I will apologize to anyone who may have taken offense to it. As a male I am still learning about the the things that are ingrained in me that may come off as sexist or offensive and I will take active responsibility to curbing it. I see Mrs.Kimball as a equal,friend and fellow Nevadan.

 

Ana Maria Kimball: I am very proud of my surname and my family's history. Born to the Gonzalez family of Boulder City - with my mom hailing from the Petersen line - I was proud to adopt my late husband's last name. My dad, my uncle, and my husband were all military men, and I am proud to have raised some of my own children to serve our nation's flag and our values. Now, I don't know what's in the heart of Congressman Storm, and I take his word on this at face-value, but there is something to be said about tact and showing respect. In the Senate, the rules dictate special forms of etiquette, and these norms are required if you're to make a difference on the Senate floor and not just get kicked out for violating the Standing Rules. So, I accept the Congressman's apology, and look forward to him referring to me by my legal name, Ana Maria Kimball, or as a state senator - a title I have representing parts of Henderson, the very city we are in today.

 

*Storm leaves podium to shake hands with Kimball*

 

Murphy Johnson: Mrs. Kimball, do you believe that continuing funding for the Department of Homeland Security to “strengthen entry-deterrence programs and techniques” is the only thing we should be doing to keep America’s borders safe? If not, what else do you think needs to be done?

 

Ana Maria Kimball: Murphy, as you've indicated, it is part of my platform to defend our southern border. It is not only the right thing to do from a legal perspective, but it is important from a national security perspective. We cannot continue to allow illegal immigration that poses a distinct threat to the people who have entered this nation legally. I support entry-deterrence, but I also support enhancing enforcement against visa overstays, another major cause of illegal immigration. There are a number of other solutions to protecting our border, which will ultimately make the homeland safer and more secure. For example, we have a law on the books that requires the construction of a border fence along our southern border. I would like to ask all of the Washington politicians including my opponent up on stage here: why haven't you finished the fence?

 

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Damon Storm: A fence?, first I would like to point out how racist the fence proposal is. There is no fence being built up on the Canadian wall, there is only a fence being built on the Mexican border,and I think that is ineffective but extremely racist. We must continue to increase funding into Homeland Security for increased border control, a few of my proposals is to create collaborative plans of action with our continental allies to increase funding into high-tech surveillance such as more cameras and border patrol, and work towards increasing work visas to allow more people to help spur our workforce, and a deportation method that deports people who commit life threatening crimes. I do oppose private citizens from patrolling the border, as from what we have seen causes nothing but more difficulties towards controlling the immigration system. situation. We need a comprehensive immigration plan not one full of rhetoric and racism such as the one Mrs.Kimball is proposing.

 

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Ana Maria Kimball: Well, that is probably the first time I, as a Latina woman, have been called a racist. Just a few minutes ago, Senator Storm and I shook hands - I didn't call him a sexist or a bigot. But here he is, calling the potential first Latina Senator in the history of the United States, a bigot. I am approaching this situation not from a racial perspective, but from a commonsense perspective. Are we having a major immigration wave from the north? No, we aren't. If we were, I'd be just as supportive of building a fence to keep all illegal immigrants out of our nation. As for the Congressman's point about comprehensive immigration plans, I would refer him to my platform, which details exactly what I will do when it comes to immigration. I support a pathway to legal status for the millions of undocumented migrants, provided they have no criminal history and have paid their back-owed taxes. My opponent has gone ahead and mischaracterized this stance as one of that hurts families, but I believe that this is the right way to go with people already in our nation.

 

Murphy Johnson: Mr. Storm, would it be true in saying that if you were elected, you would push a proposal to make the minimum wage county-by-county in Nevada? If so, can you explain that proposal?

 

Damon Storm: Thank you for the question Murphy. I will be pushing to make the minimum wage county by country. In Nevada our small businesses play a vital role in our economy, providing jobs and ensuring that our state is competitive economically. We need a minimum wage increase that is not without a question, but we need a minimum wage system that keeps in mind the economic power of our states. With my proposal we will fix the minimum wage to a regional system, that will be fixed to the customer price index and float along the rate of inflation.By doing so we create a wage system that increases the buying power of Americans, ensure that a family of 2 can live comfortably above the poverty line, and ensure that our small businesses are able to afford a wage that woun't hurt them economically and ensure that their workers have a quality wage along with added benefits. I think this proposal is something that both sides can agree on.

 

Ana Maria Kimball: Look, I'm willing to consider calls for a more localized minimum wage. But if we want to do this the right way, we should be giving authority back to the states to set their local minimums, not leaving it up to an arbitrary value of $10.15 based out of Washington, DC. Furthermore, this might hypothetically amount to lower minimum wages in some parts of Nevada, where the cost of living is far less than in our nation's costly capital. In the past, I've supported Nevada's statewide minimum of $8.25 per hour. But I do not support imposing this policy at a federal level. The mock legislation introduced by Congressman Storm doesn't include any real mechanisms for the policy's implementation, meaning bureaucrats and not legislators would be required to make key determinations. Finally, the roll out of this plan would be difficult, with over 3000 counties nationwide. So, I applaud the outside-the-box thinking of the Congressman, but we should all keep in mind his party's nationwide push for $15. Congressman, can you categorically promise you will not vote to raise the national wage to $15 per hour?

 

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Damon Storm: Mrs. Kimball you certainly haven't read the plan. If you read the bill, you would see the secretary of labor would be charged with setting the regional minimum, and you will know that adjusting the minimum wage to inflation will ensure that the wage is always at an amount that will allow a family of 2 or more to live comfortably above the poverty line. Unlike Mrs. Kimball, I legislate with the Nevada on my mind, not my party. Mrs. Kimball openly supported the budget proposal of her friends Mr.Zamora, a budget proposal that eliminates programs such as job corps, which will destroy jobs, eliminates our investment into infrastructure and a legislation that calls for cuts to our Small business administration which wll harm the millions of small business owners right here in Nevada. There is only one candidate here who is Nevada friendly and that is not Mrs. Kimball. With my minimum wage plan and economic freedom zone plan, we will ensure that Americans in some of the most impoverished communities have jobs, a quality wage and hope for the future.

 

Murphy Johnson: We will now move to closing statements. Mr. Storm?

 

Damon Storm: My friends,my family and fellow Americans. I thank you all for inviting us into our homes. Today you have heard two different visions for nation and our state. While I admire and respect Mrs. Kimball, I must say that her policies are not what our nation needs. We need a leader who doesn’t legislate upon rhetoric, but legislate with the lives of millions of Americans on our mind. Mrs. Kimball fence proposal is a proposal that treats immigration as if its is a South American problem and not a problem that affects on all sides of our borders. Mrs. Kimball says we should read her platform to find what she believes in, but in a senator full of 100 Senators, Nevada needs a Senator whom they can always count on to voice their concerns Unlike Mrs. Kimball I have supported cuts to our rural communities, cuts to the funding of our small business and cuts to our infrastructure spending. I have only proposed and supported policies that will inspire growth and ensure that every American is capable of living a life full of the best and nothing worse. As your Senator,I will ensure that I will be Nevada first and Nevada only.

 

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Ana Maria Kimball: I've said this on the campaign trail, and it bears repeating: I don't consider myself to be a politician. In fact, I've spent more time in business than my opponent has been alive - but as Ronald Reagan would say, don't let my opponent's youth and inexperience count against him. As a citizen-legislator in the Nevada Senate - a body which only meets every-other year and where you don't get first-class seats on an airplane - I've had the great fortune to touch your lives in positive ways you may not even know of. Meanwhile, partisans in our nation's capital have been engaged in mudslinging and wild attacks on each in an ever-more-polarized city. That is why now, I am answering the call to serve Nevada in Washington, DC. I don't take this decision lightly, but I believe my experiences as a mother and grandmother, as a businesswoman and local representative, have given me the needed skillset to tackle the issues at hand in our nation's capitol. To combat partisanship, to combat the gridlock, to bring unity to our state and to our nation. These are among my goals for Nevada's next Senator; but the steps I will take include making colleges more affordable, securing paid family leave, promoting educational choice, standing up for our veteran population who first stood up for us, and much, much more. My first concern, my only priority, will be the best interest of the people of the state I love dearly: Nevada. This resonates in stark contrast to the coastal elite's agenda being advanced by my opponent - a man who's been in Washington for too long with too little to show for it. If you feel inspired by what I shared here on this debate stage, I urge you to "Take a Gamble with Kimball," and join the movement to bring commonsense Silver State governance to the Senate.

 

Murphy Johnson: Thanks to the candidates, Nevada State College, and our audience both at home and here for participating tonight, good night!

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Gal Hyacinthe: I am Gal Hyacinthe with a NINC breaking news report. Members of the Senate GOP caucus are reportedly unenthused by what is being called "usurping" on the part of Senator John Saunders for Senate leadership posts. This comes just after it was learned that John Moreno lost the presidential race to Harrison LeClavers, as well as their losing of the Senate majority.

 

Saunders has made recent posts on Twitter which seem to corroborate his vested interest in leadership posts.

 

Quote

Commiserations in GOP HQ tonight, it's clear that fresh ideas and a fresh perspective is needed.

 

Saunders is a pretty unknown name in Washington circles. He is currently the Senator from Texas. He has only recently started to rise within the Senate, becoming the Chairman of the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary Committee.

 

We will see how long this interparty fighting lasts. NINC will keep you updated. For now, this has been Gal Hyacinthe, NINC News, Chicago.

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((So sorry to @Recks for the delay on this interview. I have been dealing with personal business for about a week and was unable to post this.))

Sit-down with outgoing Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora

Murphy Johnson: Why did you decide not to run for Minority Leader in the 115th Congress?

 

Diego Zamora: When I was unanimously elected by my caucus to serve as Senate Majority Leader in early 2016, it was because our Republican caucus felt the need for strong principled leadership with experience leading and governing from outside the Beltway. I was honored and humbled by my caucus' support, and I led the Republican Party to the best of my ability throughout 2016. However, after the election results came in, it became clear to many in the GOP that we would need to take a hardline stance against the President and Democratic Party's agenda. With the Senate Republican caucus eyeing this strategy, I decided that it was time for me to wrap up my time as caucus leader so I could continue to embrace my sincere faith in bipartisan governance.

 

Murphy Johnson: What will you be doing now that you are leaving the post?

 

Diego Zamora: Leaving this post, in many ways, is like feeling a weight lifted off of my shoulders. While serving as Majority Leader, I got great leeway in what we would consider in the Senate so most proposals were able to pass with bipartisan support - proposals such as the National Infrastructure Bank and Export-Import Bank Extension. Now, I will be able to continue to lead for New Mexico by crossing the aisle in a time of heightened political polarization.

 

Murphy Johnson: Where do budget talks stand as you depart the Senate Majority Leader position?

 

Diego Zamora: The budget is definitely one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress puts together every two years. I took a strong stance in favor of compassionate limited government during budget talks, and I still hope that we can achieve a revenue-neutral proposal at the end of the day. But as leadership elections continue and as Congress adjourns, we decided it would be prudent to allow this Continuing Resolution to buy us some time to get new leaders situated in their offices before making rash decisions.

 

Murphy Johnson: Can Americans be hopeful that Democrats and Republicans will come together to pass a budget?

 

Diego Zamora: I wish I could give you and your viewers a resounding "yes," but political polarization is the enemy of our nation at this point in time. As President Lincoln famously said, "A house divided against itself, cannot stand." At this juncture in our nation's history, with the people having given President LeClavers a mandate to continue to serve serve, we must not allow either party to delve into petty partisan squabbles. But, now that campaign season is over, I'd like to see greater Presidential leadership on issues such as the budget or calling out partisanship on either side of the aisle. Ultimately, with a split Congress, a bipartisan budget will be needed but don't hold your breath just yet.

 

Murphy Johnson: What will you miss about being your party's senate leader?

 

Diego Zamora: I honestly don't feel as though - legislatively speaking - much will change with me stepping down. Yes, we'll be in the minority and I won't be the Republican leader, but my focus will remain the same: on the people of New Mexico. I suppose I will miss the ease of getting bills passed - with four or five of them signed into law this past Congress alone - but that just means I'll get to work harder to build broad coalitions of Senators around each of my bill. I believe my time in Senate leadership has prepared me for greater legislative leadership.

 

Murphy Johnson: What was your proudest moment serving as Majority Leader?

 

Diego Zamora: My proudest moment would either be coming home to New Mexico right after my first bill was signed into law or it would be working across the aisle with Senator Jackson Clay of Indiana to craft the TEACHER and STUDENT Acts. While these bills aren't going to become law this Congress, I'm not giving up on making education work better for all students, parents, and teachers.

 

Murphy Johnson: Do you have any advice for your successor?

 

Diego Zamora: I have a piece of advice that applies to both my successor as Republican Senate Leader - whoever that may be - and to Senator Clayborne, who's succeeding me as Majority Leader. That advice is don't let the polarized extremes of either side get to you. Keep focused on good governance, right down the middle and drawing from both sides of the aisle, and not on scoring petty political points. If there is one lesson I can take away from the past year as Majority Leader, it is that we cannot afford to go down the path of hyperpartisanship any longer. While maintaining our core beliefs found in our Constitution, we must dedicate ourselves to substance, not to partisan attacks. So, my advice is to work together for the best interests of our nation as a whole.

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New 2017 NINC Schedule

 

NINC Programming: Weekdays (All Times are ET)
Time Show Name Host Description Category
7:00am-9:30am Bright and Early with Andrew Sutherland Andrew Sutherland NINC's flagship morning show. News
9:30am-10:00am By the Numbers with John Caffey John Caffey A look at the latest numbers which are impacting America. News
10:00am-11:00am Congressional Business Samantha Roscoe NINC provides live coverage of Congressional Business on this show. Samantha Roscoe hosts all studio coverage. Congressional Business
11:00am-1:00pm Washington View Michelle Stenson A show covering all of the latest developments of the day in Washington from the Senate to the House to the White House. News
1:00pm-3:00pm The International Power Hour Gal Hyacinthe The International Power Hour focuses on the biggest international stories of the day. It is designed on the schedule to line up with the late afternoon to evening period in London. News
3:00pm-4:00pm NINC News Update with Samantha Roscoe Samantha Roscoe A quick rundown of the day's stories in a brief news update style. News
4:00pm-5:00pm Featured Committee Events None NINC provides, normally tape-delay coverage of Senate committee business from throughout the day. Sometimes, depending on hearing times and lengths, hearings will be live. Congressional Business
5:00pm-6:00pm Executive Latitude with Bobby Smith Bobby Smith An indepth show covering the White House and in particular executive decisions and orders. News
6:00pm-8:00pm Stuck in the Middle with You Chris Brink Former Missisippi Congressman Chris Brink hosts a show featuring his moderate views. WARNING: Viewers may disagree with Brink's views regardless of party. Commentary
8:00pm-9:00pm NINC Editorial Various A nightly spot where polticians and other guests can come on NINC to speak their mind, Commentary
9:00pm-10:00pm Documentary Block Various NINC's Doc Block is a political documentary series, covering the major stories of the day, a lot of times in multiple parts and/or from multiple perspectives. The hosts of the Doc Block are various. Traditionally, only new episodes air in this slot. Original Programming
10:00pm-12:00am NINC News Update with Kurt Conner Kurt Conner A quick rundown of the day's stories in a brief news update style. News
12:00am-4:00am Conspiracy Theory/Doc Block Various Reair of NINC's Political Documentary series as well as it's conspiracy theory series fill in NINC's late night programming. New episodes of Conspiracy Theory air at 12:35am. Conspiracy Theory show is hosted by Boris Alphege. Conspiracy Theory actively mocks political stories and attacks of the day by bringing conspiracies into the picture. Original Programming

 

NINC Programming: Weekend (All Times are ET)
Show Name Time Host Category
Sunday Mornings Eye on the Nation Murphy Johnson News
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Michelle Stenson: Welcome to the Washington View. I am Michelle Stenson. This morning, budget talk whirls as the Republican house has announced intentions not to consider another continuing resolution to keep the government back open. The pressure is now on the Senate and budget negotiators to come up with a compromise before the latest deadline. 

 

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NINC is learning now that there is discontent within the Senate Tea Party caucus related to the budget situation. Their frustration is due to a lack of hearing anything, even an update, from party leadership about the latest status of the talks. 

 

Meanwhile, the Senate continues to discuss the Democrats' budget proposal. Independent Senator Dutch Savage from Illinois recently passed an amendment to the proposal to hold off on deferrals of corporate taxation on offshore profits until 2021. Right now, it appears that those deferrals won't even come into effect as the budget proposal has yet to, and is unlikely to, gain support from any Republicans. 

 

The budget talks themselves have stayed relatively quiet in recent days. Whether that is a good sign or a bad one, remains to be seen.

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Michelle Stenson: Now joining us is New York Senator Hillary Edwards. Thanks for joining us Senator!

 

Hillary Edwards: Thanks for having me.

 

Michelle Stenson: With the Tea Party Caucus being discontent on lack of communication with Republican Leadership on budget talks, how much have you heard from your party leadership on them?

 

Hillary Edwards: The last I heard was that our caucus leader, Senator Nikolao, was in talks with leader Clayborne on ensuring that some of our progressive initiatives are included in the budget - including the Violence Against Women Act and continuing to provide healthcare to the first responders from 9/11. Nevertheless, I just have to say, Democrats put out a budget and the Republicans didn't - instead insisting on a bipartisan deal. Well, the Republicans and Senator Merchant need to put up or shut up and understand that elections have consequences and that a huge chunk of the president's agenda is going to have to be included and some conservative principles sacrificed. This budget process is a cloud over Washington, it's really overshadowing the congressional agenda in Washington. I'm very much on the side of those who say, 'look, we don't want another continuing resolution - figure it out'. And I think that's very much the mentality of the average American at this moment - our leaders need to exhibit leadership and make it it happen.

 

Michelle Stenson: What do you think of the GOP leadership in the House’s decision to not agree to consider another continuing resolution?

 

Hillary Edwards: This has definitely gone on too long. Our leaders need to make it happen and figure out how they're going to spend taxpayers' money. Continuing resolutions won't do. Of course, shutting down the government is never prudent, but I think there's this complacency that comes with the fact that no one wants to shut down the government and therefore we pass a CR. Well, the Congress and the American people, we are at our wits end. The message to our congressional leaders, is basically, get it done and figure it out. Now, I'd be very supportive of an agenda that is bipartisan; at the same time there's some important priorities that we have to fight for and that we are going to make sure is included. But put your bipartisan measure out there on the table, let's see it, let's debate it, and let's have a vote. Period.

 

Michelle Stenson: Are you planning to support another continuing resolution?

 

Hillary Edwards: Well, speaking personally, not on behalf of the CPC or any one else, but I will support another continuing resolution under the one condition that there's a measure that's out there and the debate is beginning. I won't support a CR without a budget. But to give us time to assess a bipartisan deal to fund the government and vote on it - if a shutdown is imminent - I'd support a continuing resolution to keep the government open while we have a robust debate.

 

Michelle Stenson: So, if a budget deal is not looking likely, you will not support another CR?

 

Hillary Edwards: No. Our leaders need to get a deal on the table. Period. Perhaps if we get in a situation where there's a shutdown, it'll put some pep in their step. And I think the American people would blame the Republicans for slow-walking the process. We have a budget, we're debating a Democratic budget right now. The president's agenda, the Democratic agenda is out there. We've done our job, but apparently Senator Merchant is not doing enough in the negotiations to reach a deal. And that's egregious. As I said, elections have consequences, so the ball is in Senator Merchant's court to sacrifice some ideals for the sake of funding our government and ending this madness.

 

Michelle Stenson: In the Senate, your party put it’s own budget proposal on the floor for full consideration, do you agree with the decision to do that?

 

Hillary Edwards: Oh, most definitely. It shows clearly to the American people that we are doing our jobs. The president is doing his job. Senator Clayborne is doing his job. Where's the Republican budget? No where to be found. Now, Senator Merchant - the GOP leader - claims it's because they want a bipartisan deal. Well, now he's at the negotiating table and won't deal. The reason a budget is not passed right now is because of him and because of the failed Republican leadership. If we shutdown, it'll be on their hands.

 

Michelle Stenson: You recently voted against an amendment to said budget proposal by Illinois Senator Dutch Savage to hold off the elimination of deferrals of corporate taxation on offshore profits. You were only one of two Senators in that boat. Why were you opposed?

 

Hillary Edwards: The amendment practically slow-walked the principle that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes in order to, I guess, appease Republicans. That's not something I supported.

 

Michelle Stenson: What would your ideal budget contain?

 

Hillary Edwards: Of course I am a fan of the Democratic budget. In the meantime, any budget - to earn my vote - must include a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that either never expires or expires in ten years. It is shameful that for the past four years, we've failed to fund the fundamental anti-violence grants that have protected women in the unprecedented legislation to address the violence and assault of women and girls across the country. The Violence Against Women Act is not just a landmark proposal, it's also a model for countries around the World on how their governments can support their women and girls from all different types of assault and violence. It's important and I am proud to be standing up for women and girls in my home state of New York and across the country. I will not stop fighting to ensure it's included in the budget. We've gotta make it happen.

 

Michelle Stenson: Do you believe Republicans and Democrats will be able to come together to agree on a budget?

 

Hillary Edwards: I hope so. But the sensationalist, made-for-TV polarization in Washington is disheartening.

 

Michelle Stenson: Thanks for joining us today Senator Edwards!

 

Hillary Edwards: Thank you for having me!

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Andrew Sutherland (AS): Good morning, America! It's Bright and Early and I am your host Andrew Sutherland. Today, Washington D.C. is seeing the progress forward of one Supreme Court nominee and the potential downfall of another in President LeClavers attempt to significantly change the makeup of the Court for the foreseeable future. Today I will be joined by Senator Marc Baudin and we will have our panel. But first I am happy to welcome Senator of Kentucky Calvin Coburn. Good Morning Senator thanks for joining us.

 

Senator Calvin Coburn: Thank you very much for having me. It's a high honor to be with you Mr Sutherland.

 

AS: Well thank you, sir. The honor is all mine. So Senator you have voted against all three of the Presidents appointments that have been recently been brought up. Why is that?

 

CC: Well Andrew let me say first of all I'm very disappointed in President LeClavers. He was a candidate who won good voters in Georgia and North Carolina. And then he turned around and nominated a wild eyed radical in Jane Kelly. This candidate is completely out of touch with the good Americans who voted in the heartland, not the coastal elites who think they control this great nation So to express my opposition I vote against his cabinet. It's his decision to bow to San Francisco and Boston, Massachusetts. My own home state of Kentucky rejected this and will continue to reject left wing coastal values.

 

AS: Senator, do you believe the Senate as a whole should reject Jane Kelly? Are you lobbying members with in your caucus to oppose her nomination?

 

CC: Yes. I do. Jane Kelly believes murderers should be allowed to be free while their victims languish and lie in their grave, lives unfinished. And worse she doesn't believe in our Judeo Christian heritage and believes that religion has no role in the public square. She is a wild eyed radical who has sought to undermine the death penalty and religious faith and the president has shown his true far left colors with this nomination.

 

AS: Do you believe the same about Srinavasan’s nomination as the debate begins on his nomination?

 

CC: The nominee would shift the Court significantly to the Left so I'm afraid I cannot endorse that nominee. Hard working heartland Americans do not deserve a Court that values coastal liberals sipping lattes over them.

 

AS: Senator we have your colleague Senator Baudin on after our upcoming commercial break. What would you say to Senator Baudin right now regarding the Supreme Court nominees?

 

CC: Well the good state of Ohio went to the Republicans, I'd remind him. I believe they are God fearing good people who stand for the death penalty. I know the Senator is a devout Catholic and I want to remind him Roe v Wade is a case that may one day come before the court. I hope he will follow his conscience and vote against this nominee so we can get a more mainstream nominee. Ohio is part of heartland mainstream America and I know the senator shares their values and will do the right thing. Ohio wants a Justice who will stand with conservative values and I believe that Senator Baudin knows that. I know he's up in 2018,

 

AS: Thank you for joining us Senator.

 

CC: Oh thank you very much Andrew. I appreciate the opportunity to represent the great state of Kentucky and all moral minded voters.

 

AS: After this commercial break, we will have Senator Marc Baudin of Ohio to discuss these nominees and how they fare potentially on his side of the aisle. That and much more here on Bright and Early.

 

—Commercial Break—

 

AS: And we are back and I am proud to be joined in studio by Senator Marc Baudin of Ohio. Thanks for joining us this morning, Senator.

 

Senator Marc Baudin: It's good to be here, thank you for having me.

 

AS: Senator, you seem to have placed yourself as a critical vote on these Supreme Court Nominees. Will you vote to advance Jane Kelly's nomination out of the Senate Committee?

 

MB: Well I am still evaluating Judge Kelly so I cannot comment on which way I will vote on her particular nomination as of yet.

 

AS: Senator voting has started and it looks to be like you could put a huge dent in her confirmation chances. What concerns do you have about Judge Kelly's qualifications? If any that is.

 

MB: Most of my concerns stem from what little we know about her. I said in the beginning, about not only her, but Judge Srinivasan, that they would both be subject to a rigorous questioning. My interaction with Judge Kelly was much longer than it was with Judge Srinivasan and I still find myself evaluating not only her, but her case decisions. On the flip end, I am very pleased with her decisons on the Death Penalty. I think America is looking for a Justice with a strong moral code, and Judge Kelly definitely has that moral compass I think the American people are looking for.

 

AS: Senator, earlier this morning we had Senator Coburn whose interview I believe you saw just before you came on. How do you respond to his comments directed towards you and do you believe the Senate should reject Judge Kelly?

 

MB: Well as an attorney by trade, I tend to avoid the fear mongering and focus on the facts. I think the people of Ohio respect my willingness to deal with facts instead of fear, and I can assure you that I will not be cowed, or allow my constituents to be cowed by a campaign of misinformation. Here are the facts, Senator Coburn is an intelligent man, but his concerns over the Preisdent's nominees are not derived from the fact. He votes agaisnt all three nominees, including Judge Srinivasan, who he didn't ask a single question to whilst in committee. As for Judge Kelly, I do not think that the Senate should reject her on the basis of what they fear. My decision regarding her will be based on her case decisions and her testimony, and her answers to the questions I asked. I hope the Senate Republcians can find it in themself to offer her the same due courtesy and consideration.

 

AS: Senator thank you for joining us this morning.

 

MB: It was my pleasure. Have a great rest of the day.

 

AS: Let's move straight into our panel. I am joined this morning by republican strategist Robin O'Grady and Democratic Strategist Harry Henderson. Let's start off with Judge Srinivasan since the Senate debate has started. Does he get confirmed?

 

Harry Henderson: Andrew, I think it is very likely that Judge Srinivasan will make it to the Supreme Court. He did very well in his hearing and has all the requisite qualifications. I don't see a way in which he doesn't make it.

 

Robin O’Grady: I would have to agree with Harry here. Judge Srinivasan comes to the Senate floor with I just saw today the backing of HELP Ranking Member and former Majority Leader Zamora. He certainly has some big hitters from the Republican side supporting his nomination. If we remember during his previous nomination for the Court of Appeals, he was approved by the full Senate 97 - 0.

 

AS: Well Robin lets move to the more controversial pick, Judge Kelly. Do the Republicans have a leg to stand on in opposing Judge Kelly's nomination?

 

RO: Judge Kelly I think will have a hard time securing a cloture vote in the Senate. I don't think she is very qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice and the Republicans know that they can maybe pull a yarn from her nomination and potentially block it. She just doesn't meet the bar - I believe - for someone who should be a member of the Supreme Court.

 

AS: Harry do you agree with Robin's assessment?

 

HH: I do not. I think the Republicans are working on assassinating the character of a well qualified female judge, because they are afraid that their far-right legislative proposals wouldn't hold up to her standards on the court. Senator Coburn has spent his time in the hearing attacking her opinions, and I think she did very well responding to his concerns. She is well qualified, she is intelligent, and she deserves to get the votes for cloture, and to be honest with you Andrew, I think she will.

 

AS: Robin and Harry if you could predict tomorrow's headline related to these two nominees what would your predicted headline be?

 

RO: Srinivasan coronated; Kelly dumped

 

HH: LeClavers is 2/2!

 

AS: Thank you both for joining us this morning. This has been Bright and Early. Stay tuned to NINC throughout the day as we cover breaking news throughout the country. And I will see you tomorrow...Bright and Early.

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Murphy Johnson: This week on Eye on the Nation: the bipartisan budget proposal has passed both chambers of Congress and is waiting for the President's expected signature, the President's Attorney General nominee is expected to pass the Senate, and our sitdown with President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm.

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome to Eye on the Nation. I am Murphy Johnson. Our first subject for this week is the seemingly out of nowhere bipartisan budget proposal passing both chambers of Congress. The proposal's public architects are reportedly President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm and newly elected Senate Minority Leader John Saunders. The budget includes spending increases in the areas of defense, health and human services, homeland security, and justice. Also included is a substantial increase for education, 40 billion dollars worth. 

 

The proposal also included several re-authorizations such as the terrorism risk insurance program, the violence against women authorization, the World Trade Center health program, the national flood insurance program, and many others.

 

The Senate passed the proposal in a 95-4-1 vote. The nay voters included Indiana Republican Senator Kyle FItzgerald. On the House end, the proposal passed 393-42. Some Tea Party Caucus members were among the 42 voting against the legislation. 

 

Florida Tea Party Republican Matt Gaetz commented to NINC on his opposition to the budget proposal.

 

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"Congressional Republicans capitulated time and time again throughout the budget process. Where was the effort to repeal Obamacare? Where was the effort to defund heinous organizations like Planned Parenthood? Conservatives got the short end of the stick once again with this budget and our leadership needs to answer for that."

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

 

Meanwhile, Minority Leader Saunders spoke to the press about the budget proposal passing the Senate.

 

Quote

"I wouldn't exactly call it an eleventh hour save but following some weeks of attempting to bring the Democrats to the centre and put a budget on the floor that brings consensus and not divide, we finally did it.... And sure, the Republicans didn't get everything we wanted, but at least we weren't asking for right to work or a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats started off this budget process from a position of partisanship and hackery. Well, let us just say that the American people are lucky that there are some Democrats willing to rise above that foul play. No tax increases on the American people and no government shut down is more reason than any to celebrate the passage of this budget."

- Senate Minority Leader John Saunders (R-TX)

 

The legislation also led to some splits on the Democratic side with the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Senator Gabriel Gonzalez of Illinois, leaving the caucus after the rest of the caucus decided to support the proposal. Gonzalez announced his reasons for leaving on Twitter.

 

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(1/3) Welp, I offered CPC my resignation after their intent to vote on the "compromise budget" a budget mind you that will NO LONGER combat climate change, pass an EITC, not pass the Healthcare reform the majority of Americans want, not give parents the child tax break we promised.

 

(2/3) Not close the stock option loophole, not pass any Education reform our students desperately need and finally, refuses to reform Social Security. I promised people I would fight for Social Security and I will hold to my promise if the budget does not include Social Security reform.

(3/3) One that the President and Democrats put in the first budget than the budget will need to pass over my objections. We need leaders who will stand up for the American people even when they stand alone.

 

However, the budget proposal is now on the President's desk with support from both the House and the Senate. All indications are that the President will sign it soon ((once he gets back from LOA)). 

 

Coming up next on Eye on the Nation, America's next Attorney General is expected to be sworn in soon.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome back, America is soon expected to quietly get it's next Attorney General in Diane Woods. After a process kept relatively quiet by the Supreme Court nominations of Jane Kelly and Sri Srinivasan, Woods has been allowed to get by pretty easily.

 

Woods is currently sitting in the California Attorney General's position. Before that post, she served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, a judge on the San Diego County Superior Court, and even as a member of the U.S. House.

 

A beneficial part of her nomination making it has speculated to be the support of former Senate Majority Leader Diego Zamora who supported the nomination over Twitter.

 

Quote

I have long supported allowing @POTUS to have his Cabinet approved after a thorough vetting by the Senate. CA's AG Woods meets that test, and deserves to be confirmed.

 

Cloture on the nomination passed the Senate 78-20-2. The nomination is now in the final vote phase, where it so far is well expected to pass.

 

Next on Eye on the Nation, our sitdown with President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

 

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Murphy Johnson: Welcome back to Eye on the Nation, this week we are here with President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm. Thanks for joining us Mr. Pro Temp!

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: Thank you Muprhy!, It is truly a pleasure to be here.

 

Murphy Johnson: It has been said that you had a role in getting the bipartisan budget passed through the Senate, would you like to expand upon that?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: Well Murphy, every single Senator in the Senate had a hand in ensuring that we passed the Bipartisan Budget. Senate Majority Leader Clayborne, Senator Savage, Senator Saunders, Senator Coburn and many others paid a pivotal role. All I did was initiate a conversation with the Republicans and came to an agreement with them that our common goal was to prevent a shutdown, and pass a budget that would help Americans and not hurt them. From that conversation we agreed on a clean budget and everything from there just went towards a positive direction.

 

Murphy Johnson: What are you most proud of from this bipartisan budget?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: I am proud that we got the tea partiers to come to the middle but most importantly I am more proud of the various authorization that we approved in the budget such as the Violence Against Women Authorization, permanently reauthorizing the Federal Perkins loan, 9/11 Health Compensation and the agricultural energy programs that will undo some of the damage dealt to tural American in the last budget. I am just happy that this budget will help work towards ensuring that opportunity for all Americans is possible, and that it has gotten the endorsement from the majority of people in congress.

 

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Murphy Johnson: Moving along, do you plan to support the nomination of Jane Kelly to the Supreme Court?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: I believe that both nominees that President Wilder has push forward will be justices who will uphold the integrity of our constitution and nation. I have already voted for Sri and I plan on voting for Jane Kelly

 

Murphy Johnson: Why did you leave and then decide to rejoin the Congressional Progressive Caucus?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: My leaving of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was certainly hard. I felt that under the leadership of Senator Gonzalez, the caucus was moving towards a path of being obstructionist rather than a caucus fighting to make progressive changes. I consider myself to be a pragmatic progressive, which means that I understand the need to compromise and use the better of a situation to make the lives of the people I fight for better, and it is with that philosophy I managed to gain a working relationship with even the most fringe Republicans to get mandatory minimum reform or even work towards a bipartisan budget. I just felt that with those key differences in ideology and leadership, that the CPC and I needed to take a break. But after Senator Gonzalez pulled his filibuster, many progressives reached out to me because of the work that was being done with the budget and didnt want to affiliate with Senator Gonzalez anymore, which prompted me to come back as I am very confident in the leadership of Senator Kamaka Nikolao. The CPC is a caucus built upon working towards the future not harming the livelihood of the very Americans depended on our leadership.

 

Murphy Johnson: Do you and the caucus have any big plans for the near future?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: We certainly do. We have some plans to pursue investments in to various colleges/universities such as Historically black Colleges/Universities and predominantly hispanic colleges. We are looking into a few solutions to make colleges affordable and fight student debt and recently some of our biggest plans include infrastructure investment into Rural America such more access to wifi, improved water systems and grants/subsidies to help farmers and ranchers.

 

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Murphy Johnson: You and Senator Diego Zamora of New Mexico have come together to propose social security reform, can you walk us through that proposal?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: I certainly can. That Proposal too Senator Zamora and I a few months to get hashed out as they were a lot of disagreements, but we managed to work together to create a proposal that benefit our seniors way more than it will cause harm. Our proposal in all increases the retirement payout to our senior citizens by about $27,000 more per year than they currently receive now because we are changing the Cost of Living Adjustment to a CPI-E index that will only measure seniors who are of retirement age and gives a more accurate outlook as to what our Seniors really need to live comfortably above the poverty line. But to have such a payout we needed to make tough decisions such as increasing the retirement age by a year. The retirement age was something Senator Zamora debated heavily about, so we ended up coming to the conclusion that we will have that one year increase, progressive monthly of the course of 17 years to allow Americans to adjust to the change. We also added an add-on retirement saving that will allow American workers to invest into their own retirement accounts and investing in social security into equities that will will ensure that Social Security always have a way to fund itself. Senator Zamora and I proposal increases Social Security payments and makes the program solvent, so our seniors who have worked hard all of their lives never have to worry about whether they will be well of when retire and just focus on vacationing and spending time with their familiy.

 

Murphy Johnson: Some in the media have suggested the proposal is similar to former Presidential candidate John Moreno’s, do you have any response to that?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: Any comparison of this proposal to Senator Moreno's proposal is simply a stretch. Senator Moreno's proposal called for a two year age increase and that was it, and later on in his campaign he didnt even back that plan as he went more towards private retirement funding. Unlike Senator Moreno's proposal, the proposal Senator Zamora and I created will changes the living adjustment scale to a CPI-E which increases the payment of social security, institutes a 1 year age increase over the course of 17 years and provides a plan to make Social Security solvent by investing into equities ensuring that the program is always stable. Senator Moreno didn't advocate for any of these things, instead he advocated against them.

 

Murphy Johnson: You were once the White House Chief of Staff, what is your take on the current state of the LeClavers Administration?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: I support the various changes President LeClavers has made to his administration and as someone who campaigned for him during the general, I am wishing for the best and he has an ally in me as a Senator who will fight for progressives changes and send bills to the white house that reflect the agenda he and various other Democratic Senators campaigned for in 2016.

 

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Murphy Johnson: How hard has the transition been from being Chief of Staff to becoming a Senator to becoming the President Pro Tempore?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: Murphy *chuckles*, it was challenging. Naturally I have a very in strong personality which works well behind doors as chief of staff, but when you are in a position as Senator and President Pro Tempore, you need to develop a balance between a strong personality but also being a likeable person that your colleagues will work with you. My first month as President Pro Tempore was hard because I needed to find that balance and fast as I was making more enemies than friends *laughs*, but as time went on I found that balance and was able to work with literally anyone in the Senate because of it, but despite it all, I am very appreciative of the experiences and opportunities, especially as a African-American who has achieved a lot of firsts and is blazing a trail for other people of color to come after me.

 

Murphy Johnson: Your anticipated second book is getting ready to come out before long, how is it coming along?

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: I am very excited about it. The second book will be called Dare to Dream and will focus more on my path to how I got to this very point as a Senator and President Pro Tempore. It will expose the challenges that I've faced, my growth and various people who helped me get to where I am today.The book right now is completed and is going through a few reviews. It is going to be released sometime in 2018.

edited 

 

Murphy Johnson: Great! Can't wait to read it! Thanks for joining us today Mr. Storm and have a great week!

 

President Pro Tempore Osiris Storm: Thank you so much for having me Murphy and I wish you a great week too!

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Gal Hyacinthe: I am Gal Hyacinthe here in Chicago. We have breaking news coming into the NINC newsroom. The leader of the #SendthemBack movement, Alexander Hollingsworth, has been shot dead outside of his home in Midland, Texas. We have no other details besides that at this point.

 

As a refresher, the #SendthemBack movement sprouted up last year after two men shot and killed an immigrant family attempting to cross the U.S-Mexican border in New Mexico. After the New Mexico Attorney General's office decided not to prosecute the men, that led to more violence. 13 people were killed and 12 were injured outside of the AG's office when 34 year old Jeremy Rollins drove into a crowd of protesters against the Attorney General's decision.

 

An original supporter of the movement, former Republican Senator Christopher Williams of Illinois, ended up biting the bullet for his support of the #SendthemBack movement after Rollins was found to be connected to the movement. Williams was also on the campaign trail for the Presidency at that point. Some of his most vocal tweets in support of the movement came out after news started to leak of the situation.
 

Quote

@ChristopherWilliams: Those embodying the #SendThemBack movement are AMERICAN WARRIORS! #GodBlessYou #ProtectAmerica

 

@ChristopherWilliams: Those protesting in front of the NM AG's Office b/c he's upholding the rule of law need to go home. Get a job & stop inciting violence. #SendThemBack

 

@ChristopherWilliams: Violence on both sides is not the answer! #SendThemBack

 


((For more information on the background of this story, read this, thisthis, this, and this.))

NINC will keep you updated on this story as it unfolds.

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Michelle Stenson: Good Afternoon, I am Michelle Stenson on Washington View and I have breaking news from Honolulu. Today, the Hawaii Legislature started the legislative process to raise the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to $15.25 an hour despite opposition from the state’s local businesses.

 

The main reason for this action is due to frustration by the lack of action from Washington, D.C. on the issues. Sources close to the Hawaiian sponsor tells NINC that the state’s legislative progress is due to the inability of the federal government to raise the federal age.

 

We are starting to receive some reaction from Washington on Hawaii’s move. President Pro Tempore and rising star in the Democratic party Osiris Storm of New York had the following statement.

 

Osiris Storm Statement: “I support the move by the Hawaii Legislature to increase the minimum wage from 10.10 to 15.25. It is a change that is needed to ensure that American workers are paid quality wages to ensure they can live a life without poverty. This is a move that I would like to see happen nationally and replicated on the federal level.”

 

Michelle Stenson: NINC followed-up with the Senator about the frustration being expressed.

 

Osiris Storm Statement Part 2: Well there have been bills introduced to increase the minimum wage. I have introduced bills last session and a bill was introduced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus this session. With the judicial nominees and budget, such initiatives have not gotten the same limelight, but the fight in the Senate for higher wages is still strong.

 

Michelle Stenson: We will continue to follow this story and see what the fallout will be throughout Washington and if other states will follow suit. Until next time, this has been Washington View.

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