Dave Brat to Oppose Boehner as House Speaker

According to The Washington Post, Rep. Dave Brat will not support John Boehner (R-Ohio) as the House Speaker in the new congress. This decision solidifies that the new legislator, who beat former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his primary, is working to position himself in the most conservative wing of the GOP.

“While I like Speaker Boehner personally, he will not have my support,” said Brat in a statement. He said he feels that the Republican leadership should have worked harder with conservatives to defund President Obama’s executive action that granted legal statuses to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Immigration policy was also a large contributor to Brat’s defeat of Cantor in June. His conservative Richmond-area district turned against Cantor after the influential politician suggested that a comprehensive reform plan should be considered.

Brat was sworn into Congress last fall after Cantor resigned his position. He initially supported Boehner for the leadership position in a closed-door meeting saying that there was no alternative.

“I said I’d favor the person who most closely followed [my] principles, so no challenger emerged, so I followed my logic,” he told the Post.

At least two conservative legislators are now planning to challenge Boehner: Louie Gohmert of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida. Both men are tough on immigration. Brat did not announce his support for either candidates, only saying that he wants a speaker who will stand up to the president.

Moderates Celebrate Mark Warner’s New Leadership Positions

Last Friday Senate Democrats announced that Mark Warner is to be named policy development adviser at the Democratic Policy and Communications center, an advisory group headed by Sen. Chuck E. Schumer (N.Y.), reports The Washington Post. The announcement was initially delayed due to holiday timing and policy concerns.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) promotion to a similar position two weeks earlier was met with great enthusiasm, but the announcement of Warner’s new post was announced in a much more quiet fashion. Aides stated that the plan to promote Warner had been in the works after a three-hour post-election caucus meeting where several moderate Democrats did not vote for Majority leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.).

Despite the quiet announcement the day after Thanksgiving, moderate Democrats rejoiced at the announcement.

“We know he will be a great voice for business,” remarked Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).

However, some of the more liberal observers took the decision as a betrayal of the party.

A blogger from liberal site Daily Kos called Warner a ” Wall Street Shill, and right-wing defector.” Salon writer Luke Brinker said of the Senator, “The Warren wing of the party may be exceedingly passionate and engaged, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that it’s carrying the day.”

After the election, where Democrats lost eight Senate seats, leadership of the party remains the same. Instead, they are using the approach of expanding their team to include moderates like Warner and Warren as well as John Tester from Montana, a red state, and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota.

“The thing that leadership has done very well is Warner, Tester, Klobuchar, Warren, adding them, adding that to the leadership team,” remarked fellow Democratic Virginia senator Tim Kaine. He added that he did not see the decision as a matter of trying to balance ideologies.


Dave Brat Will Be Only Economist in the House

The election of Dave Brat as Virginia’s 7th District Congressional representative means that he will serve as the House of Representatives’  only member with a Ph. D. in economics, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“If you do send me up there, and I’d be honored if you do, I’ll be the only economist in the House,” said Brat to supporters at an Oct. 15 rally.

Brat obtained his Ph.D. in economics from American University and has been a professor at Randolph-Macon college since 1996 while serving as the chairman of the Department of Economics and Business since 2005. He has also served on the Joint Advisory Board of Economics for two governors and as advised multiple organizations.

Brat is an avid supporter of free markets and cites his hero as Milton Friedman, and Nobel laureate in economics who believed that governments should “wield a feather hand on the marketplace.”

While 27 members of Congress have undergraduate degrees in economics, none of them have their doctorates and none consider themselves career economists.

Virginia Congressmen to Appeal Redistricting Rule

According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia’s Republican congressman are looking to appeal a recent federal court ruling saying that state legislators packed too many African American voters into one district in order to make neighboring districts safer for Republicans.

An attorney for seven Republican congressman and the recently resigned Rep. Eric Cantor filed paperwork on Thursday saying that his clients are appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The panel of judges ruled 2-1 on oct. 7 that the state’s congressional districts could remain intact for the Nov. 4 election, but the General Assembly had to draw new boundaries by April 1 to correct the flaw.

The main issue is the number of black voters in the state’s 3rd district, which since 1991 has had a black majority. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, a Democrat currently represents the district.

Brat and Trammell Discuss Ebola in Final Debate

On Tuesday Republican Dave Brat and Democrat Jack Trammell, congressional candidates for Virginia’s 7th district participated in their final debate at Randolph-Macon college, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

With one week to go before the midterm elections, Brat and Trammell, who are both professors at the college discussed their positions on topics such as health care reform, the federal response to Ebola, immigration and the minimum wage among others.

The 15 year colleagues and occasional intramural basketball teammates disagreed on potential decisions regarding Ebola, including whether or not Congress should enact flight bans from the three West African nations most affected by the disease.

Trammell stated that he is “hesitant to act out of fear,” continuing that America should “use targeted flight bans and not bring out economy to a new halt with draconian measures that are not targeted.”

Brat disagreed, saying “we should have quarantined the Western Africa nations and the flights coming in.” He compared Ebola to an economics event called “a black swan event” adding that there is “a very low probability event that has catastrophic consequences.”

Brat and Trammell Put Randolph-Macon in the Spotlight

Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school in Ashland, will host a debate on Tuesday between Republican Dave Brat and Democrat Jack Trammell, candidates for the 7th District Congressional seat, both of whom are professors at the school, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The students who will comprise most of the audience are excited about the national attention being brought to Randolph-Macon as a result of the race.

“When the debate comes along and it’s getting closer to November, I think the excitement is going to be really big around campus”, commented junior Allison Carpenter adding, “We’re such a small school and a lot of people really don’t know about us, but now we’re the political center of the universe.”

Randolph-Macon has an enrollment of 1,300 students and 95 full-time faculty members, with Brat among them teaching economics and business, ethics and International Studies since 1996. Trammell came to the college in 2000 to teach sociology, Introduction to Disability Studies, Disability in America and General Education as an associate professor.


Brat, Trammell and Carr Meet for Goodlach Forum

On Thursday Dave Brat, Jack Trammell, and James Carr met at Benedictine College Preparatory to for a Goochlach Chamber of Commerce event, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The candidates for Virginia’s 7th District made their cases before the voters and clarified positions on a number of topics.

In the first and only joint appearance by the three candidates, Republican Dave Brat, Democrat Jack Trammell and Libertarian James Carr, discussed healthcare reform, immigration, taxation, partisanship in Congress and background checks for gum owners.

Brat further promoted his ideas which are based on free market principles, social and fiscal conservatism, and a limited federal government. “I want to take my skill set up to Washington and fix economic problems and restore confidence in basic American values and institutions,” said Brat.

He added that “The Affordable Care Act is crushing job creation and small businesses across nine counties and cities in the district.” Brat also pointed out that in November 250,000 Virginians will lose their health insurance and that businesses are facing up to a $1.7 trillion burden.

Democrat Trammell, who is also a professor with Brat at Randolph-Macon College, expressed the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together and also highlighted his support for a comprehensive immigration reform plan, and tweaks to the Affordable Care Act. “Business as usual (in Congress) is simply not an option at this time, and this moment provides us with the chance to do something about it,” remarked Trammell.

Carr criticized Brat’s stance on illegal immigration, saying that it undermine’s the Republican beliefs in free-market principles.

“My opponent doesn’t understand that the labor market is a part of the free market. If you are going to apply a principle, apply it to the entire spectrum,” Carr remarked, adding that he has no problem with open immigration to the U.S., “as long as we know they are here. We need to let the people who are here contribute to the economy–keep them in.”

All three of the candidates agreed that the collecting of phone record data by the NSA was a clear federal overreach. They also stood together in support of Second Amendment rights, but all had different ideas of how the government should regulate those rights.

Brat and Trammell Debate Immigration

On Tuesday Seventh District Congressional candidates, Dave Brat of the TeaParty and Democrat Jack Trammell, discussed their views on immigration during a Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting at the offices of Challa Law Firm, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The candidates, both professors at Randolph-Macon College, clarified their positions on issues related to immigration ranging from expanding visa opportunities, discouraging illegal immigration at our borders, and how to deal with the almost 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the country.

Dave Brat, who unseated former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June, was able to do so partly because of his stance on the immigration issue. Brat was able to gain votes because of his opposition to proposals by Congress that offered a path to citizenship for immigrants who were in the country illegally.

His opening statements to the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce focused on his economic initiatives for a free market and an end to the regulation that currently has the economy at a standstill. He also spoke of a need for more integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics cirriculum to promote skill development among students.

When Chamber President Michel Zajur asked about current immigration proposals, Brat said that the problem needs to be managed by securing the border and enforcing the “rule of law” that is currently in place to handle immigrants, both legal and illegal. “I have never said that I’m against legal immigration,” said Brat who later added “nations that function under the rule of law do well.”

After Brat’s departure, Trammell addressed the group. He held the current Congress responsible for the failing to reach a compromise on the issue. Trammell added that he supports a comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, and a “clear path to citizenship” for immigrants. While Trammell does support securing our borders, he thinks that it should be “a rational policy that is enforceable.”

Trammell also added that immigrants should be welcomed as they are people who are here to “be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” but America should work to deport criminals who are here illegally.

Brat is Unhappy with Media’s Portrayal

Dave Brat, the Tea Party candidate who took Eric Cantor out of office, responded to criticism over his lack of participation in public debates because the media does not put emphasis on issues he feels are important in the race, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

At a campaign event Brat told his supporters, “The problems with these debates and forums, they’re all…I love it, but, the major obstacle that I have run into right now is that 400 or 500 people show up to the debate. Then who’s the filter on those debates? The press. That’s the issue right?

Brat feels that the media has ignored one of his major messages, that entitlement spending from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Bush prescription-drug plan has resulted in $137 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

“Guess how many times the press has asked me about the $127 trillion? Not one,” said Brat adding “That’s the most pressing problem in the country in my view.”

Brat’s comments were in response to reports that he dodges debating his opponents, Democrat Jack Trammell and Libertarian James Carr. Brat has also spoke out against the way the media has conveyed his position on immigration.

Former Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney Campaigns on Behalf of Brat

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee has been making campaign stops for Dave Brat, the Congressional candidate for Virginia’s 7th District and Tea Party member, reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“We need more people in Congress who understand how to grow the economy, who believe in American and who want to make us stronger. That’s why I support Dave,” announced Romney in a Facebook post.

Romney also made a stop on Tuesday evening in support of Barbara Comstock, who is running for Virginia’s 10th district. Comstock served as the head of Romney’s Virginia campaign in 2012.

Romney’s support for both Brat and Comstock also served as an effort to  boost the candidates’ funds right before Tuesday’s midnight fundraising deadline for the third quarter.

Additionally, Romney’s backing helps to reinforce Dave Brat’s claim that he has worked to bring unification to the GOP since he dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June’s primaries.