United States: Fox On The Hill – August 15, 2016

2016 Election

Evan McMullin announced an independent campaign for president this past week. After resigning his position as chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, McMullin declared that his candidacy is driven by the need for the American people to have another option. A former CIA Operative, McMullin has said that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is more dangerous to America than ISIS. While McMullin has missed the deadline to appear on the ballot in more than two dozen states, he believes “it’s never too late to do the right thing.” The first state to put McMullin on the ballot was Colorado.

Republicans

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is the latest prominent Republican to declare her refusal to support Donald Trump for president. Collins cited Trump’s lack of temperament and self-restraint as two main reasons she is unable to support him. Collins’ denouncement of Trump came on the same day that 50 former national security officials, all of whom worked for Republican administrations, penned an open letter declaring that Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

2nd Amendment

Last week Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stirred controversy with remarks at a rally that some interpreted as a call for violence. Referring to Hillary Clinton, Trump said: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.” Commentators condemned the remarks, saying they could be interpreted as suggesting that someone assassinate Clinton. The Trump campaign clarified the comments, saying “Second Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.” But the comments by Trump renewed calls for the RNC to withdraw its support for Trump.

Energy

Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, spent the week promoting Trump’s energy policies. In stark contrast to Hillary Clinton’s policies, Pence promoted Trump’s desire to end the “war on coal.” Trump told supporters that the GDP could increase by more than $100 billion annually and add more than 500,000 new jobs annually by opening all onshore and offshore areas to oil, gas and coal development.

Foreign Affairs and National Security

A year ago the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies informed the “Gang of Eight,” that Russian hackers were attacking the Democratic Party. The Gang of Eight was comprised of: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, Intelligence Committee Chairmen Richard Burr and Devin Nunes, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Ranking Members Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff. The Gang of Eight was sworn to secrecy and thus prohibited from notifying those being targeted about the ongoing attack because the disclosure would have forced them reveal that the United States was monitoring Russian activity.

Health Care

As the number of Zika cases in Florida continues to rise, a growing number of public officials are calling on Congress to reconvene and pass federal appropriations to fund research and develop mitigation and treatments. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Florida Governor Rick Scott are among the politicians who have called for Congress to reconvene. Before leaving for the summer, the legislation for funding the fight against Zika hit a dead end when House and Senate Republicans added provisions regarding Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act.

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