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Tag: house

House Members Declare ‘No Confidence’ in DEA Administrator Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers leveled harsh claims against DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart on Wednesday, saying they had no confidence in her ability to lead the agency.

The sharp words come a day after lawmakers learned that DEA agents received lax punishment for attending “sex parties” in Columbia, the Huffington Post reports. 

“After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive ‘good old boy’ culture that exists throughout the agency,” read the statement from 22 members of the Oversight Committee, including Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

“From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position,” the statement continues. “Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency.”

DEA critics were happy to chime in.

“There’s simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA’s so-called leadership,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of the reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a Maryland police veteran, in a statement. “Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy.”

 Other Stories of Interest


Day of Reckoning: Deadline to Avoid Homeland Security Shutdown Is Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The fate of Homeland Security’s budget and President Obama’s immigration plan is in the hands of the U.S. Senate on the final day before money runs out today.

The New York Times reports that the Senate is expected to vote today on a measure that would providing funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.

But House Republicans appear poised to reject the measure in what would create a partial shutdown of the department at a time when the country is worried about the spread of terrorism. The House may consider a shorter-term funding bill.

House Republicans are trying to stop financing for Obama’s immigration plan.

“As a governing party, we’ve got to fund D.H.S. and say to the House, ‘Here’s a straw so you can suck it up,’ ” said Senator Mark S. Kirk, Republican of Illinois. “This battle should be the end of the strategy of attaching whatever you’re upset at the president to a vital piece of government.”

 

House Speaker Boehner ‘Certainly’ Prepared to Let Homeland Security Shut Down

John A. Boehner By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Speaker John A. Boehner said he’s “certainly” willing to let Homeland Security shut down at the end of the month.

The New York Times reports that Boehner said he won’t budge on a spending bill that would remove funding for President Obama’s immigration policy.

“The House has done its job; we’ve spoken,” Mr. Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If the Senate doesn’t like it, they’ll have to produce something that fits their institution.”

The House passed the Homeland Security bill last month, but it “stands no chance of becoming law.”

“Senate Democrats have filibustered it; Mr. Obama has said he would veto it; and even some Senate Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona, have questioned the wisdom of the House’s unyielding position, raising doubts that the bill would get even 51 Republican votes in the Senate.”

Republicans Face Uphill Battle in Halting President’s Immigration Plan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Republican plan to effectively wipe out President Obama’s new immigration initiatives doesn’t appear to have enough votes, Reuters reports

While the House appears to have the votes to defund the president’s controversial plans, the Senate would need at six Democrats and every Republican to support the GOP plan.

That’s not going to happen, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told Reuters.

Whatever the case, the president has pledged to veto any measure that would disrupt his immigration plans.

Republicans said that would be reckless.

“I know there’s a lot of consensus on our side that the last thing we need to do is to do something to jeopardize the security of our own citizens,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

ATF Criticized for Plan to Require Gun Owners to Identify Their Ethnicity on Records

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the ATF gets its way, new gun owners will have to identify their ethnicity on firearm records.

But lawmakers in the House have introduced a bill to eliminate that controversial requirement, The Hill reports.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., demanded answers.

“The right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Blunt wrote in a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) over the weekend. “The constitutional right of a citizen to own a firearm has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.”

He added: “It is disconcerting that the U.S. government is gathering this type of data on citizens when there is no connection between purchasing a firearm and an individual’s race or ethnicity. Any measure that may interfere with a citizen’s ability to exercise his or her constitutional right to purchase a firearm needs to be questioned.”

 

FBI to Hire 1,000 People by Oct. 1 But Still Far from Filling 2,500 Vacancies

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey said the bureau plans to hire 1,000 people by Oct. 1 – a move meant to fill some of the 2,500 vacancies.

“I’m looking to hire 1,000 people to start to fill those almost 2,500 vacancies that we have – hundreds of special agents and intelligence analysts to restock that magic of the FBI, which is our talent,” Comey said.

Comey blamed the shortage of employees on the sequester.

“Everywhere around the country, I heard from my folks about the difficulties they were encountering with vacancies, with limitations on gas, with the abolition of training, with Quantico being a ghost town,” Comey said. “And thanks to this committee and other members of the Senate and the House, that changed in late January when the budget was passed.”

Breaking News: House Votes to Holder Atty. General Holder in Contempt

doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In an election year, where politicians in Washington eat and breath partisan politics, the House voted Thursday to hold Atty. General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt. He becomes the first Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress.

The Republican led contempt action was in response to allegations that Holder had failed to produce documents relating to the botched ATF Fast and Furious operation that encouraged Arizona gun dealer to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

The Washington Post reported that the vote was 255 to 67.

What happens now?

The House will send the matter to the D.C. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who will have to decide whether to file criminal charges against Holder, who is his boss.

In a statement, according to the Post, Holder said the vote “is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year.” Holder added that the Republicans leading the investigation “have focused on politics over public safety.”

To read more click here.

Atty. General Holder to Testify on Fast and Furious

Atty. Gen. Holder on the Hill/ttw photo via C-Span

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is it Groundhog Day — as in the Bill Murray film?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will once again testify on Feb. 2 before Congress where he’s gotten a grilling in the past several months on ATF’s controversial gun walking operation “Fast and Furious.”

Rep. Darrell Issa’s office fired off a press release announcing the appearance, and indicated it’s the first one for Holder that will be exclusively focus on  Fast and Furious. In previous appearances, he’s also addressed other issues.

This is the third time Holder will have testified before congressional panels since November.

Holder will appear before Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful,” said Issa in a statement.

“From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew. Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.”

To read more click here.