MAINSTREAM VS. MAD HATTERS: The gloves have come off and now the contenders are ready to throw their punches. According to a new report, House Republicans are blaming Sen. Ted Cruz for killing the GOP's immigration reform efforts. It may have once seemed promising that Boehner and House Republicans would work with Democrats to reach a compromise on immigration reform, but now any realistic hopes of progress have been dashed after Cruz blasted the party's plan as "amnesty" and led to some constituents voicing anger at their representatives. "After that it was 'We'll get back to you on immigration reform,'" an anonymous Republican congressman said.
Meanwhile, Cruz introduced a bill earlier this week that would "amend chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, with regard to the definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ for Federal purposes." Sound familiar? That's because it looks a lot like the Defense of Marriage Act--which was struck down last year by the Supreme Court.
So now the question everyone should be asking: who's really in charge here? Is Speaker Boehner really leading his caucus? Or have individuals like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee taken over? We've said this before, but it begs repeating during a discussion like this: if the party can't unite on one road this year, they're looking at another rough primary season ahead of the 2016 presidential election--and if 2012 was any indication of how that might end for the GOP, it's not looking too positive.
THE BIG PUSH: House Democrats announced Thursday they plan to push a "discharge petition" at the end of this month that would force their Republican colleagues to vote on raising the minimum wage--an issue of economic equality that Democrats are hoping to highlight during this crucial election year as one that the GOP is resistent toward. If Democrats can get about two dozen Republicans to sign their petition, the House would be forced to vote and lawmakers would then go on record as to whether they support or oppose the wage issue. Recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans want to see an increase in the minimum wage, but with opposition coming from the top of the House leadership--namely Speaker John Boehner--it's clear the issue will become an important one in this crucial midterm year.
EQUALITY: Happy Valentine's Day, Virginia! Late Thursday night, a federal judge issued a ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, calling it unconstitutional and arguing that the law denied same-sex couples "their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution." The ruling has been stayed pending appeal, meaning same-sex couples cannot be legally married right away, but this first step toward victory has paved the way for legally-recognized marriages for same-sex couples.
IN OTHER NEWS...
- QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There is't a Republican Party. I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican Party. I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from, make a deal, make a compromise and know when you got up from that table it was done." -Vice President Joe Biden, weighing in on the fractured GOP
- 'SOUNDS LIKE 2016 TALK' OF THE DAY: "I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they bcome a new GOP, a new Republican Party." -Sen Rand Paul
- NUMBER OF THE DAY: 1 billion--that's how many votes billion venture capitalist Tom Perkins thinks you should get if you pay $1 million in taxes.
- TWEET OF THE DAY: This tweet is from last night, but you get the idea...