WASHINGTON – A politically charged sportsmen’s bill intended to benefit vulnerable Senate Democrats passed its first hurdle in the Senate Monday night but is expected to face fierce opposition from gun control advocates before the final vote is taken later this week.
The vote to avoid a filibuster and allow the bill to move forward was approved on a bipartisan vote of 82 to 12. It was opposed mostly by Democrats who criticized the Sportsmen’s Act for not making it harder for some hunters to buy guns.
The measure would allow greater access to federal land, public shooting ranges, and block the Environmental Protection Agency from banning lead in ammunition and fishing lures, language originally passed by House Republicans. Read more »
Sen. Mark Udall
WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark Udall attempted a delicate balancing act between his environmentalist supporters and pro fracking forces during a recent campaign appearance on the Western Slope but his comments drew barbs from both sides of the fray.
The Colorado Democrat said at an event in Montrose Tuesday that fracking should be legal in some areas of the state, but illegal in other parts
“There are places where we should and could use hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas, but there are other places that we should not. And for me, the areas that are questionable would be wildlife refuges, parks, subdivisions, places like the North Fork where there are other values that are equally important,” Udall said.
Ballot initiatives would be a “clumsy tool” to regulate fracking, but the industry should take additional steps to make it safer, Udall told Laura Palmisano during an interview with KVNF. Read more »
Sen. Mark Udall
WASHINGTON – The president’s decision to bypass Congress and enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration system is supported by Colorado Sen. Mark Udall who says Barack Obama was forced to act alone.
The Republican-controlled House has refused to vote on the Senate’s immigration bill that included amnesty for more than 12 million illegal immigrants. Instead, House lawmakers are holding out for increase border protections against illegal crossings, strengthened interior enforcement, and reforming the bureaucratic immigration process.
“The House of Representatives should not abdicate its responsibility to reform our immigration laws to the president,” Udall said in a statement. Read more »
WASHINGTON — New polling shows the governor’s race is a dead heat between Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez with each drawing 44 percent.
However, Beauprez has a substantial lead over Hickenlooper among independent voters — 45 percent to the governor’s 37 percent.
The Rasmussen Reports poll comes just days after Beauprez won the Republican primary with 30 percent of the vote in a crowded field.
Among their own party, Hickenlooper carried 84 percent of Democratic support while Beauprez drew 83 percent of the support among Republicans.
The close polling numbers prompted Beauprez to issue a fundraising letter to supporters calling the results “extraordinary.” Read more »
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Obamacare mandate that some companies must pay for contraception coverage in an employee’s insurance plan, a decision hailed by many as a victory for religious freedom.
The court also ruled that it would be a First Amendment violation to force home healthcare workers to pay non-member fees to public employee unions. The decision was a setback for labor unions in Illinois, where hundreds of thousands of workers were forced to pay dues without a say in union business.
The 5 to 4 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby means that women who want birth control pills or the so-called “morning after” abortion pills covered by their insurance carriers would have to pay for it, if their employers object to the practice based on religious convictions. Read more »
Sen. Mark Udall
WASHINGTON – Senate Republican strategists say Sen. Mark Udall’s record of legislative accomplishments is thin and undistinguished but political observers here say most voters don’t care how many bills a lawmaker has passed.
In an interview last week, one Senate Republican aide noted the Senate has not voted on an amendment that the Colorado Democrat has sponsored since 2012.
“What does he do here? Why does he show up? He doesn’t do anything,” the aide said on background to discuss the matter candidly.
A look at Udall’s legislative record confirms the upper chamber has not taken a recorded vote on an amendment he has sponsored in two years. Read more »
Obama administration officials were a no-show at a House hearing.
A secret groundwater grab plotted by the Forest Service for nearly a decade now aims to dictate private and state water usage and restrict access to public lands, angering Capitol Hill lawmakers who say they were blind-sided by the plan.
The federal agency says it would use executive fiat to proclaim management control over “surface and groundwater resources that are hydraulically interconnected and consider them interconnected in all planning and evaluation activities.”
Word of the plan prompted Rep. Tom McClintock who chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on water and power to summons Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to appear before a hearing this week.
However, the Obama administration official along with another top Interior Department bureaucrat refused to participate and explain these and other proposed water-related restrictions. Read more »
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s efforts to legalize the status of certain illegal immigrants has contributed to the border crisis and recent influx of 60,000 kids and teenagers who have overwhelmed detention centers in Texas, key lawmakers say.
Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn said the flurry of activity from the White to deal with the crisis has only been patchwork.
“I’m not sure they’re addressing the root cause: the belief that minors from other countries can come here and stay,” Lamborn said in an interview this week.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat, said the administration’s endorsement of an immigration-reform bill and a 2012 executive order has had unintended effects.
“And I would acknowledge, I do think that the president’s piecemeal administrative approach to this when it comes to DREAMER’s or through DACA might contribute to the perception that there are permissos that are available in the United States,” O’Rourke said at a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security Tuesday. Read more »
Rep. Cory Gardner
WASHINGTON — The federal approval process to export liquefied natural gas would speed up considerably under legislation authored by Rep. Cory Gardner that was passed by the House Wednesday on a bipartisan vote.
The passage of the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act was a victory for the Colorado Republican who is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and whose own version of the bill is stuck in the Senate.
Gardner sponsored the bill less than a week after he announced March 1 he would challenge Udall, and weeks before Russia annexed Crimea, a region formerly part of Ukraine. The conflict has prompted both sides of the political aisle to work together to find a solution to Ukraine’s dependence on Russia for energy. Read more »
Rep. Doug Lamborn
WASHINGTON — The day after he fended off a primary challenge from his right, Rep. Doug Lamborn called out a gun-rights organization that opposed him while also questioning the integrity of his rival, a retired Air Force general.
“They need to get their act together,” Lamborn said of the Gun Owners of America, a national conservative organization known for their unwillingness to compromise on gun legislation. The group endorsed Bentley Rayburn just weeks before the election.
“They endorsed him but they gave me an ‘A’ rating. They need to get their act together,” Lamborn said during a phone interview Wednesday.
Lamborn was defiant too in questioning the character of Rayburn. Contrary to a KRDO report that Rayburn had called to congratulate him, Lamborn said he had not received any message from his perennial rival. Read more »