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White House Survey Asks Public: Should the Presidency Be Eliminated

While some survey options fall in line with the traditional Republican agenda, such as cutting the Department of Energy and the National Endowment for the Arts, others appear to flout the power of the Washington D.C., establishment. The CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Pentagon, and National Security Council are also options.

The survey allows users to select entire departments or bureaucracies within each department. It also features a question regarding which agencies survey participants would like to reform rather than eliminate.

Most surprisingly, however, is the option to eliminate the “Executive Office of the President” altogether. Users can also select smaller branches of the executive office and other agencies. Even U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are options under the larger umbrella of Homeland Security.

Users can select as many options as they like and are also provided write-in boxes where they can list their suggestions and ideas in more detail.

The survey is an apparent result of an executive order President Trump issued on March 13. According to the website:

On March 13th, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order that will make the Federal government more efficient, effective, and accountable to you, the American people. This Executive Order directs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to present the President with a plan that recommends ways to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies.

It claims the president is seeking Americans’ input to achieve this goal. “President Trump wants to hear your ideas and suggestions on how the government can be better organized to work for the American people,” the website’s statement reads. The survey will remain online until June 12 of this year.

It is unclear whether or not the president, like any other politician, is actually eager to hear the ideas of his constituency and Americans in general. While that could be the case, the website appears to be a useful tool, at the very least, for creating the appearance of accountability and concern with what voters actually want.

As TIME pointed out, “As an online poll that can be easily gamed, the survey is hardly scientific, but it could be a useful tool for the White House to push its own ideas down the road.”

For now, the results of the survey are hidden, and the site does not specify whether the final results will be made public. Notably, however, a disclaimer at the bottom of the page warns users that the White House “may not respond to every comment that is submitted and submissions do not bind the Office of Management and Budget or the Administration to further action.” (For more from the author of “White House Survey Asks Public: Should the Presidency Be Eliminated” please click HERE)

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Rao Tapped to Taper Red Tape

Just hours after Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation as the newest member of the Supreme Court, the White House announced the appointment of George Mason Law Professor Neomi Rao to be the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRA.

The appointment won’t be accompanied by the intense media coverage that Gorsuch received. Nevertheless, it could be one of the most important offices filled by President Donald Trump. If confirmed by the Senate, Rao will lead the new administration’s war on the red tape burdening Americans and the U.S. economy.

Buried within the Office of Management and Budget, which itself is part of the Executive Office of the President, OIRA is easy to miss on an organization chart. Yet, it is one of the most important offices in Washington. Established in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan, it is charged with regulating the nation’s regulators and reviewing the costs and benefits of federal rules to ensure that they are justified and consistent with the president’s agenda.

This is no easy task: OIRA’s staff of about 50 full-time professionals is responsible for keeping watch over an army of more than 279,000 regulators, a ratio of 5,600 to one.

OIRA has historically punched well above its weight in bureaucratic battles, especially when it enjoys White House support. It’s a nearly unique institution in Washington, being one of the very few government agencies for which success is defined in terms of how much it has limited the growth of government, not how much it has expanded government power.

OIRA’s role–and that of its administrator–promises to be particularly important in the months ahead as the Trump administration focuses on rolling back regulation.

The objective is set out by the president’s January 30 executive order on regulation, which sets a cap of zero on the net cost of new regulation. That is a daunting task: the last time in which the burden of federal regulation did not increase was 35 years ago, in 1982. Nevertheless, it is well within the bounds of possibility.

Rao will find a sizeable to-do list on her desk when she arrives. Among the items: the semi-annual regulatory agenda, which will outline what each agency will regulate–and deregulate–in the near future. Rao will also be tasked with making the new “2 for 1” rule (requiring two rules to be rolled back for every new one imposed), and implementing the regulatory cost cap called for by Trump.

There is little question that Rao, who comes to OIRA with broad experience in government, is well qualified to lead the effort to cut red tape. However, even though there is no reason to doubt her commitment to reform, she will need continued support from the president and other leaders in the administration.

While support for a regulatory rollback is plentiful now, such support tends to diminish as other issues and priorities intrude. But if that support is maintained, a historic reduction in regulatory burdens may be within reach. (For more from the author of “Rao Tapped to Taper Red Tape” please click HERE)

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When Asked About Latest Wiretapping Claims, Spicer Drops a Big League Bombshell

Sean Spicer revealed during Wednesday’s press briefing that they were caught off guard by Congressman Devin Nunes’ Wednesday press conference, in which he stated President Trump’s personal communications may actually have been collected by the Obama administration during the 2016 election.

Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters that significant development in the committee’s investigation revealed “that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

Reporters asked Spicer if the White House was “concerned” about the optics of Nunes’ meeting with the president on the findings, a meeting which might be construed as White House interference in an ongoing investigation.

Spicer responded in the negative — clarifying that it was Nunes not President Trump who requested the meeting — before blasting a double standard in the media.

“Let me get this straight,” Spicer continued. “Number one, two weeks ago, we said this is the appropriate venue. Number two, you have asked over and over again why aren’t we meeting with certain individuals.” (Read more from “When Asked About Latest Wiretapping Claims, Spicer Drops a Big League Bombshell” HERE)

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Oh the Outrage! Liberal Racists Are Upset the Trump White House Is Honoring Black History Month

February 1 marks the start of Black History Month, and Tuesday night, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced a series of sponsored events in celebration and recognition of the month.

The events kicked off with a special U.S. Postal Service dedication of a “Forever” stamp featuring Dorothy Height, a leader of the National Council of Negro Women and an architect of the August 1963 March on Washington. Spicer called Height “a true pioneer in the civil rights movement.”

As always, though, that wasn’t enough for the GOP-bashing, race-baiting Left.

Following the White House press briefing Tuesday, the Daily Intelligencer published a satirical piece titled, “Imagining the White House’s Black History Month Schedule.” The imaginary agenda included events like “Postal Service Unveils Its New Steve Harvey Stamp,” “‘So About That Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Rumor …’: A Conversation with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin,” “Keynote Address: ‘Blacks Can Be Racist, Too,’ by Charles Barkley,” “Stacey Dash Meet-and-Greet,” and “If You’re a Christian Black, You Have to Love Donald Trump or You Will Go To Hell.”

The satirical schedule concludes with President Trump announcing “his plan to build ships that will take you back to Africa if you are a Black and your Social Security number is nine digits” and an “announcement of March, May, August and November as White History Months.”

Trump-hating liberals on Twitter followed suit, making it clear that Trump’s White House will always be the sworn enemy of “progress.”

Of course, this is all in good fun … or is it? Underlying all of these jokes is the liberal narrative that Trump and anyone who doesn’t hate Trump is a white supremacist (or an Uncle Tom).

To liberals, Donald Trump will always be a racist, anti-gay xenophobe with a hidden agenda to expunge non-Republican “others” from the face of the Earth. (For more from the author of “Oh the Outrage! Liberal Racists Are Upset the Trump White House Is Honoring Black History Month” please click HERE)

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WHEN A PICTURE IS WORTH A MILLION WORDS: Faces of White House Staffers Priceless as President Trump Arrives

So sad:

On Wednesday, however, the White House staff, along with the rest of America, listened as Obama discussed the election results in a televised address… And their faces said it all.

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After President Trump’s inauguration, I would like to ask that any former member of Valerie Jarrett’s Secret Service detail (why she warranted such a force is worthy of its own investigation) contact me. I have a case of beer I would like to send each and every one of you. (For more from the author of “WHEN A PICTURE IS WORTH A MILLION WORDS: Faces of White House Staffers Priceless as President Trump Arrives” please click HERE)

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The Most Dangerous Period in Washington Could Be About to Happen

The lame-duck session is the most dangerous period in the nation’s capital that you’ve never heard of.

There are nearly two months in between Election Day in November and the swearing-in of the newly elected Congress in January. This period is known as the lame-duck session, because many of the voting members won’t be returning due to defeat or retirement (hence, they’re “lame ducks”).

Why is it dangerous? Because those lame ducks have no oversight or accountability, and the members who are returning have just won re-election—and won’t have to face the voters for two or six more years.

It wasn’t always this way. Lame-duck sessions used to be a quirk of history, only employed to address pressing issues or unexpected emergencies. However, they are now routinely used by both parties to schedule difficult or controversial votes after the election.

In the minds of congressional and party leadership, this delay tactic accomplishes two valuable things. First, it pushes meaningful votes until after the time when voters can hold the members accountable. This allows party leadership to protect their vulnerable members at the ballot box. Are you a voter who wants to know where your member of Congress stands on critical issues? Too bad! You have to vote them into office to find out what they really think.

Second, it means that all votes become “must-pass,” because the end of the year is suddenly approaching. Deliberation on major legislation—the sort that could have been (and should have been) considered earlier in the year—is now crammed into a few short days because Congress is up against a cliff of its own making.

The existence of the modern lame-duck session is troubling for several obvious reasons. During a lame-duck session, the accountability normally assigned to weighty legislative matters goes out the window. The “representative” part of “representative democracy” matters little to departing members who will vote on new laws and confirm judges for lifetime appointments—all before the door hits them on the way out.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. For returning members, the lame duck acts as a shield against behaviors that would seem unconscionable during the rest of the year. The opaqueness of a lame duck helps accomplish this. Votes are jammed into a short time frame with little clarity on who is voting on what, leaving voters with limited information. Not to mention that these members have just been re-elected, and the length of time before they stand for re-election renders any action they take now basically moot, since voters will likely not recall it with ease.

Instead of recognizing the dangerously twisted incentives provided in a lame duck, House and Senate leadership take full advantage of them. Rather than dealing with the hard issues up front, congressional leadership waits for a lame duck to handle controversial measures. Lame ducks are coming to be known as the period when the real work is done.

2016 has been a perfect example of this calculating behavior. This year, Congress could potentially set up a lame-duck session that will consider major policies, all of which carry more weight than any other measure the members will have considered before the election.

Consider just a few policies that may be voted on during the lame duck: funding authorization for the Defense Department, a new internet tax, and a $5.6 billion bailout of coal miner pensions, just to name a few. Together, these policies represent the most significant—and controversial—work that Congress will have done all year. And it’ll be doing so in the period of very little accountability to the voters.

The ability to clearly assign responsibility to elected officials is central to representative democracy, and a fundamental tenet on which the American government was founded. To deliberately push the consideration of major policy issues until after an election is as much an intentional deception as it is a blow to the health of our representative government.

Voters should demand that Congress complete its must-pass work before the November elections, and leave more controversial issues to the next president, and the new Congress. (For more from the author of “The Most Dangerous Period in Washington Could Be About to Happen” please click HERE)

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White House Addresses Decision Not to Support Cops With Blue Light Display

Though the Obama White House has been illuminated to show support for other causes, most notably the legalization of gay marriage, numerous critics pointed out the mansion received no such treatment following the recent mass shooting that left five Dallas police officers dead.

Reports indicate the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association sent a request to the administration to shine blue light on the White House as a memorial to the officers killed and injured, though the effort was not successful.

“Actions speak louder than scripted words,” FLEOA president Jon Adler wrote in a statement, “and the honorable act of displaying law enforcement’s ‘Thin Blue Line’ at the White House would demonstrate the President’s sincere commitment to our fallen heroes and their families.”

In response to a question asked by a reporter on Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reportedly confirmed turning the White House blue is “not something we plan to do at this point.”

Further explaining the decision to limit its public display of support for the law enforcement community, the administration described President Barack Obama’s actions thus far as sufficient.

“The president has chosen to acknowledge this loss and pay tribute to these heroes in a variety of other ways,” the White House statement asserted, “including: ordering flags lowered to half staff, traveling to Dallas to speak at the memorial service and spending a substantial amount of time after the service visiting with the families of those who were lost.”

Earnest confirmed Obama was slated to host a White House meeting on Wednesday “that will include law enforcement officials” in addition to “activists, academics, civil rights leaders, local political leaders from across the country.” (For more from the author of “White House Addresses Decision Not to Support Cops With Blue Light Display” please click HERE)

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Conservative Congressmen: We Can Lead No Matter Who’s in the White House

Several members of Congress told The Stream Thursday that conservative policies will emerge from the House no matter who is President in 2017.

“We’ve got things we’re going to do here regardless of who the president is,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives in response to a question from The Stream about how conservatives plan to lead if Donald Trump wins the White House.

Gohmert recalled that under President George W. Bush, “We had a Republican in the White House,” he said. “We had some great things we wanted to move forward on, and I was surprised as a freshman how much we were affected by the agenda that President Bush had at the time.”

So who the president is “does have an effect, it is a legitimate question,” he continued. “But I think because this is not an election like we’ve ever seen in my lifetime, we’re going to be able to have more say than we have in the past, if we will stand up and say. But that’s been a concern in the past. We just kind of limped along with whatever agenda anybody else had. I think that now you’ve got people who are actually pulling the wagon, and pushing from the other side, and we’ve got a real chance to start achieving some of our agenda.”

Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for putting forth a series of policy proposals in recent weeks. “As it stands now, we have a Democrat nominee and a Republican nominee that have the highest negatives probably ever in the history of presidential politics,” said Huelskamp at the Capitol Hill meeting, “and I think for Republicans, personalities divide, but policies unite.”

“I think on plenty of issues, it’s very unclear what Donald Trump thinks, and what his official stands are,” he said.

According to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), “We anticipate unveiling five pieces of legislation we think are important.” Jordan, who like Huelskamp praised Ryan’s policy agenda, named the religious liberty-focused First Amendment Defense Act and welfare reform as two areas of top concern for the Freedom Caucus.

One area of common concern for conservatives and establishment Republicans is education reform. Moderator Genevieve Wood, a senior fellow in communications at the Heritage Foundation, asked Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) about a bill she has introduced that would improve school choice and relieve parents of some of the burdens imposed by federal mandates.

According to Lummis, her bill would allow parents who object to federal mandates to “get an education savings account for their child in the amount that is the average for that state to educate a student” and take that money elsewhere. Lummis said that while the bill would apply to all federal mandates, it was introduced after President Obama’s May mandate that schools will risk federal funding if they do not allow gender-confused teenagers to use the restroom, locker room and other sex-segregated facilities of their choice.

That mandate is being opposed by states that filed a lawsuit against the federal government late last month. (For more from the author of “Conservative Congressmen: We Can Lead No Matter Who’s in the White House” please click HERE)

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White House Caught Lying About Scrubbing Public Record

Video Transcript:

The White House has now joined the State Department in being caught doctoring the public record.

KEVIN CORKE: Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?

JOSH EARNEST: No, Kevin.

The White House changed the embarrassing admission to say “inaudible” in the transcript.

BYRON TAU: ABC reported over the weekend that the White House scratched a line from a briefing transcript because reportedly, you said it was “inaudible.” I was in that briefing and I recall the question and it seemed pretty audible to me. The video also makes it pretty clear. I heard what was being said. Is the White House going to restore that line?

EARNEST
: Well, Byron, I think what was true at the time is that there was a little cross-talk.

I don’t think so Josh. But let’s see if there’s cross-talk one more time.

CORKE: Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?

JOSH EARNEST: No, Kevin.

(For more from the author of “White House Caught Lying About Scrubbing Public Record” please click HERE)

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White House Put on Lock Down Right After Obama Returns From Memorial Day Ceremony

According to developing reports Monday, the White House was placed on lock down shortly after President Barack Obama had returned to the executive mansion from his Memorial Day visit to the Arlington National Cemetery.

Local news reports included sightings of emergency personnel — including hazard materials teams — responding to the White House. At least one individual allegedly tossed a suspicious package over the property’s perimeter wall.

Reporters on the scene indicated they were temporarily prevented from leaving the White House grounds, but were later ushered out through a separate exit. (For more from the author of “White House Put on Lock Down Right After Obama Returns From Memorial Day Ceremony” please click HERE)

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