TIME intelligence

McConnell Introduces Bill to Extend Surveillance Under Patriot Act

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on April 21, 2015.
Bill Clark—AP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on April 21, 2015.

The bill comes amid a bipartisan effort to curb the NSA's expansive collection of Americans' phone records

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday evening that would renew several sections of the Patriot Act, which grants expansive powers of surveillance to intelligence agencies, that are set to expire this summer.

Among the act’s provisions that would be renewed until 2020 rather than expiring in June is Section 215, the National Journal reports. The hotly contested authority laid the legal groundwork for the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of metadata from millions of Americans’ phone records.

The bill appears to challenge a bipartisan effort to amend Section 215 with stricter guidelines on what information intelligence agents can collect and retain.

TIME 2016 Election

Longtime Marco Rubio–Jeb Bush Alliance Fades in GOP Contest

Former Florida Governor Bush greets patrons at MaryAnne's Diner in Derry, N.H. on April 17, 2015.
Brooks Kraft—Corbis for TIME Former Florida Governor Bush greets patrons at MaryAnne's Diner in Derry, N.H. on April 17, 2015.

"For the first time in our country's history you've got two guys from the same town in the same state from same party running in the same primary"

(NASHUA, N.H.) — Ties between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, political allies for more than a decade, are fraying as the Republican presidential campaign picks up.

In public, mentor Bush and protege Rubio have avoided criticizing each other since Rubio announced his candidacy.

But Bush allies have started quietly spreading negative information about Rubio’s record. Also, supporters of the two Miami politicians are drawing contrasts between Rubio, a 43-year-old son of Cuban immigrants, and 62-year-old Bush, a member of one of the nation’s most powerful political dynasties.

“Sparks are going to fly,” said Al Cardenas, a Bush adviser who is also close to Rubio. “For the first time in our country’s history you’ve got two guys from the same town in the same state from same party running in the same primary.”

He added: “You can bet that regardless of how nice Jeb or Marco wants to be, their staffs are going to do anything they can to win.”

As Bush tries to convince Republicans of his conservative credentials, supporters are asserting that as governor, he was far more conservative than Rubio when both held prominent state posts. Rubio served as Florida House speaker in the two years immediately after Bush left the governor’s mansion.

Their relationship was close then.

Bush viewed Rubio as a protector of his political legacy. The governor presented Rubio with a golden sword in a ceremony symbolizing a political handoff nearly a decade ago, an endorsement that Rubio’s advisers point to when asked about the Bush camp’s early aggression now.

“I have it somewhere at home,” Rubio said of the sword. Asked about it while campaigning in New Hampshire on the weekend, he suggested the keepsake is not prominently displayed in his house. “I have young kids. I don’t want them running around with a sword,” he said.

They still call each other friends. But subtle criticism has emerged as Rubio speaks of the need to break with ideas from the last century and Bush questions whether one term in the Senate can prepare anyone for the White House.

Rubio’s respect for Bush is well-documented in his writings and years of political activity when he relied on Bush’s support, donor network and even former staff to help his own rise.

Rubio said he would not enter Florida’s 2010 Senate contest were Bush to run, and Bush didn’t.

Rubio was expected to defer to Bush again in the 2016 presidential contest once Bush began preparing for the race. Instead, Rubio this past week announced his own presidential campaign in their hometown, insisting the stakes were too high for him to “wait his turn.” Bush has not declared his candidacy but is expected to.

Rubio’s move forced prominent Florida Republicans such as Cardenas to pick sides.

Bush “feels disappointed because he’s cared for him for so long,” said Cardenas, who attended Rubio’s wedding. “You just don’t want to go to battle against someone you care for.”

Just below the surface, the battles have begun.

Several former Florida legislators now aligned with Bush challenged Rubio’s conservative credentials during his time as speaker. In the Senate, Rubio has opposed taxpayer-financed special projects known as earmarks. But he supported them as a state legislator, these critics point out, in one year alone requesting $43 million in such spending for public works, autism and substance abuse programs.

“Bush was more conservative,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who served in the Legislature with Rubio and while Bush was governor, and now supports Bush.

Ross highlighted Bush’s aggressive use of the line-item veto to cut government spending, regardless of whether such spending benefited members of his own party.

Former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, who also worked with both men and now backs Bush, made a similar point. “There were always projects that were important to Marco’s constituents,” he said. “And they always ended up in the budget.”

Rubio’s team declined to respond to those statements and hasn’t cast Bush or other rivals in a negative light.

Yet a prominent Rubio supporter, billionaire businessman Norman Braman, has been less diplomatic.

“We have to look for the future,” Braman told CNN this past week in a round of interviews. “We have to go beyond the Bushes. We have to go beyond the Clintons.” He added: “We’re not a country that believes in dynasties.”

Bush and Rubio courted New Hampshire primary voters on the same stage, hours apart Friday, but did not cross paths.

“He is a good, close friend,” Bush said. “It is what it is.”

“Jeb Bush is my friend,” Rubio said. “This is a race. It’ll be a competitive environment.”

TIME 2016 Election

Ohio Gov. Kasich ‘Seriously Considering’ Presidential Run

Benjamin Netanyahu Address
Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) talks with the press after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber, March 3, 2015.

"If it makes sense, you know I'll do it"

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he is “seriously considering” a presidential run, joining an already crowded field of contenders for the Republican presidential nominee.

“If it makes sense, you know I’ll do it,” Kasich said Monday during a luncheon at the Detroit Economic Club, CBS Cleveland reports.

Kasich highlighted his opposition to deficit spending and illegal immigration as two issues that would shape his campaign platform if he decided to run. But he said he still needed to discuss the decision with family and friends.

The comments came the same day Senator Marco Rubio announced his presidential bid. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have also entered the Republican race.

TIME Rand Paul

Who Said It: Ron or Rand Paul?

Test how well you know GOP presidential candidate from his father

Sen. Rand Paul may be following in his father’s footsteps by running for president, but that doesn’t mean he’s moving in lockstep on the issues.

The Kentucky Senator, who will kick off his campaign Tuesday, has broken with his father’s libertarian positions in a number of ways in recent years.

See if you can tell which Paul said which quote.

 

TIME Budget

Texas Measure Cuts HIV Funds, Boosts Abstinence Education

A Republican-sponsored measure has been tucked into the Texas budget to supplant funding for HIV prevention with abstinence education

(AUSTIN) — Texas would cut $3 million from programs to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and spend that money instead on abstinence education under a contentious Republican-sponsored measure tucked into the state budget Tuesday night.

The GOP-controlled House overwhelmingly approved the budget amendment, but not before a tense exchange with Democrats that veered into the unusually personal.

Republican state Rep. Stuart Spitzer, a doctor and the amendment’s sponsor, at one point defended the change by telling the Texas House that he practiced abstinence until marriage. The first-term lawmaker said he hopes schoolchildren follow his example, saying, “What’s good for me is good for a lot of people.”

Democrat state Rep. Harold Dutton asked Spitzer if abstinence worked for him.

Shouts of “Decorum!” soon echoed on the House floor as Spitzer responded and the back-and-forth intensified. Efforts by Democrats to put the debate in writing for the record — usually a perfunctory request — failed.

The measure is a long way from final approval. It must still survive budget negotiations with the Senate, although that chamber is equally dominated by conservatives.

Texas in 2013 had the third-highest number of HIV diagnoses in the country, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Texas also has one of the highest teen birth rates, and its public schools are not required to teach sex education.

Another Republican-sponsored amendment that passed Tuesday night would prevent schools from distributing sex education materials from abortion providers.

TIME republicans

Most Young Republicans Support Birth Control, Poll Says

TIME.com stock photos Birth Control Pills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

But 60% don't think it's a health care need

A majority of young Republicans believe every woman should have access to affordable birth control, according to a new poll.

The survey, by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, found that 57% of Republicans aged 18-34 said they had a positive view of birth control, and two-thirds of them agreed that “every adult woman should have access to affordable, effective birth control because it gives people a chance to build families on their own terms.”

“Young Republicans don’t leave their ideology behind when thinking about expanding contraceptive access, and they certainly favor limited government,” said Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey. “However, within that context, they want to know how to make sure that the most effective methods of birth control are available to those who want them.”

Despite largely believing birth control should be covered by insurance, a majority of those surveyed, including 55% of young Republican women, supported the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed an employer to deny contraceptive coverage to employees on religious grounds. And while a majority support birth control generally, 60% of respondents, including a majority of women, consider birth control “more of a personal convenience than a health care need for adult women.”

TIME Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina’s Anecdotal Campaign

Conservative Activists And Leaders Attend The Iowa Freedom Summit
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images Carly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.

She doesn't have any legislative experience, so she talks about life experience instead

If you want to hear about health care, Carly Fiorina will talk about her fight with breast cancer. If you want to know about the economy, she’ll talk about working as a secretary in a small real-estate firm. If you want to learn about ISIS, she’ll even cite her degree in medieval history.

It seems that Fiorina has a personal anecdote for just about every policy question.

As she prepares to join the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has put together a well-polished set of personal stories for use on the stump. In recent weeks, she’s used the same anecdotes in speeches to very different audiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative women’s organization and a group of investors.

To be fair, every presidential candidate relies on stock anecdotes about themselves. As he launched his campaign Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz talked at length about his dad fleeing from Cuba and his wife selling bread in elementary school.

But as one of the only candidates with no prior political experience (former neurosurgeon Ben Carson is the other), Fiorina is unusually dependent on personal stories. Without a track record of votes, bills or executive actions to point to and, like many candidates at this stage, without a well-developed policy playbook, she has only her own history.

During an event on leadership and technology in Virginia Wednesday morning, she was asked by a member of the audience about innovation in government. Her response: health care.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” she said. “So I understand how important it is to make sure that people can get care despite pre-existing conditions or that people have access to quality affordable health care regardless of their circumstances.”

At a conference on women and leadership in Virginia Saturday, she talked about how social welfare programs have created a “web of dependence” for people who need help.

“Every one of us needs a helping hand sometimes,” she said. “When I battled cancer, I needed many helping hands. When my husband Frank and I lost our younger daughter Lori from the demons of addiction, we counted on the kindness of strangers.”

One of Fiorina’s favorite all-purpose anecdotes is the fact that she graduated from Stanford with a degree in medieval history and philosophy. It never fails to draw chuckles from the crowd when she brings it up, which she does, often.

She used it to knock President Obama’s comments on ISIS during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): “I was fortunate enough to enroll in Stanford University where I would earn a degree in medieval history and philosophy. All dressed up and nowhere to go. That degree has come in handy recently since our President, he’s talking about the Crusades. Yes Mr. President, ISIS indeed wants to drive the whole world back to the Middle Ages, but the rest of us moved on about 800 years ago.”

Other times, she uses her liberal arts degree to talk about education policy. At the event Wednesday, Fiorina was asked about whether education should be more vocational. She said, “While I joke that my medieval history and philosophy degree prepared me not for the job market, I must tell you it did prepare me for life… I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”

Sometimes she segues her degree into a discussion of small businesses. After graduation, she felt unprepared for the job market, so she tried law school. She hated it, dropped out after one semester and got a job as a secretary to pay the bills. “I filed and answered the phones for a little nine-person real estate firm,” she said at CPAC. “Most Americans get their start the way I did: in a small business. The dry cleaners, the coffee shops, the hairdressers and the real estate firms of American Main Street create most of our new jobs and employ half of our people. So if we want more jobs, we need more small businesses.”

Anna Epstein, press secretary at Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential Project, says these stories are how Fiorina gets through to the audience.

“Carly has always related to people at a personal level,” Epstein said. “Like all of us, her experiences shape her world view. People relate to story telling more easily than they relate to numbers and figures.”

Fiorina hasn’t said exactly when she’ll announce a run for the White House, but whenever it is, you can be sure she’ll tell some of these anecdotes in her speech.

TIME Congress

Koch Brothers Battle Against Export-Import Bank Heats Up Again

From Left: David Koch and Charles Koch
AP; Getty Images From Left: David Koch and Charles Koch

Business lobbyists won the last round, but conservative activists plan to up the pressure later this year

The conservative war over the Export-Import Bank is heating up again.

A federal lending arm of the U.S. government aimed at boosting exports with subsidized credit has long been a target of conservatives, who nearly prevented its reauthorization last year. Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a group backed by the Koch Brothers, is re-launching its effort Monday to end the bank when its charter expires at the end of June.

Backed by a six-figure digital ad buy, as well as efforts to organize a conservative coalition, the group is trying to put a stop to what it terms “cronyism and corporate welfare.” Already several Republican presidential candidates oppose its reauthorization, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“The Ex-Im Bank puts billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to subsidize some of the world’s largest, most well-connected companies at the expense of hard-working American taxpayers,” said Freedom Partners president Marc Short. “Congress should take a stand against corporate welfare and allow this bank to expire. The expiration of Ex-Im is a central focus of Freedom Partners and will be a key test for lawmakers who claim to want to tackle the big problems.”

But the bank maintains the support of much of the GOP’s establishment wing, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as many Democrats and the White House. Among other loan guarantees, the Ex-Im Bank has heavily subsidized the sale of Boeing aircraft overseas, which the company says helps it compete with Airbus, which is backed by several European governments.

The new Freedom Partners websitewww.eximexposed.org—includes shareable info-graphics highlighting controversial Ex-Im investments, as well as a roster of Republicans who have come out against reauthorizing the bank.

The bank’s charter was extended for nine months in September as part of a stop-gap funding measure for the federal government, but the absence of a shutdown threat could give Ex-Im critics more leverage in the coming months to overhaul or wind down the bank. And for Republican candidates who have yet to weigh in on the subject, the influence of billionaire GOP mega-donors will make support for the bank all the more difficult.

The Freedom Partners video:

TIME People

Dick Cheney: Obama Is ‘Playing the Race Card’

Dick Cheney Slams Obama in Playboy
Brendan Hoffman—Getty Images Former Vice President Dick Cheney is interviewed by SiriusXM Patriot host David Webb at SiriusXM studios on Oct. 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The former VP discussed everything from Ferguson to Obama's "damage" in a new Playboy interview

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one to mince his words about current U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are “playing the race card” when they suggest that their critics may be partially driven by race, Cheney told Playboy in an interview for its April issue, which was published online Tuesday.

Cheney also reaffirmed his view that the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., while tragic, has been overblown by the Obama administration.

“It seems to me it’s a clear-cut case that the officer did what he had to do to defend himself,” Cheney said. “I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty.”

Read the full interview at Playboy.

TIME voting rights

Democrats in Selma Gear Up for Long Fight on Voting Rights

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, USA
Erik S. Lesser—EPA US House of Representative Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrives for activities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. on March 7, 2015.

But getting legislation passed through a Republican Congress is easier said than done

For members of Congress in Selma Saturday, the history of the Voting Rights Act was clear, but its future remained murky.

As they listened to President Obama and other speakers mark the events leading to the passage of the 1965 law protecting the rights of black voters, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in attendance celebrated a milestone of the civil rights movement.

But they did not agree on what will come next for voting rights in the United States.

In 2013, the Supreme Court made huge changes to the Voting Rights Act, eliminating a “pre-clearance” cause which allowed the Department of Justice to vet any changes in voting laws in areas with a history of discrimination. Congress could restore that part of the law by making some legislative changes, but so far it has not.

In the meantime, Republican-led state legislatures have added new identification requirements and curtailed voting periods in what they say are efforts to fight voter fraud and streamline elections. Democrats argue these laws are designed to suppress the votes of minorities and called for the law to be fixed.

“One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects,” President Obama said in a speech at Selma. “If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.”

Yet the path forward for the law is a long and winding one.

The Voting Rights Act was twice been extended by Republican presidents, but in recent years voting rights has become a partisan issue. Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, who agitated for voting rights with Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960s, blamed the GOP. “There’s rhetoric to the effect of, ‘We want to impede voting, because when voting is low, we win,'” he said.

Republican commitment to Voting Rights was also called into question by the level of attendance on the trip. While much of the Democratic leadership attended the bipartisan coalition, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy only joined at the last minute, after criticism that no Republican leaders in Congress were attending.

But Republicans on the trip bristled at the implication that the GOP opposed voting rights. “If you look back at the ‘60s at who supported the Civil Rights legislation, it was Republicans more so than Democrats. The history of racial equality has included both parties consistently,” said Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the first black Senator elected from the South since Reconstruction. “What we’ve done, to sully it sometimes, is to try to put it into a partisan politics prism so as to spew venom towards one side, so we will stigmatize one party as being more racially accepting than another.”

Last month, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act was introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Rep. John Conyers, but so far it’s gotten little traction or public attention. Democrats hope the trip will motivate lawmakers to jumpstart discussions on the bill, if not begin to craft new legislation themselves. “People have to vote,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “They don’t have to vote Democratic, they just have to vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t count.”

But the bill enjoys little Republican backing, and seven of 11 GOP co-sponsors have dropped their support since last year (though some have said they would consider supporting a different version of the bill.)

“The question right now is: what’s the right bill?” said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in an interview on Saturday. She said she hadn’t yet given the Sensenbrenner-Conyer bill a close look, but added that she’s “now committed to talking to more of my colleagues about a stronger bill.”

Still, despite the political quagmire of 2015 partisanship, some of the lawmakers left Selma more optimistic than they came. “People ask me, ‘do you think change is possible?'” asked Warren. “How can you be in Selma and believe that change is not possible? How can you be in Selma and believe that change is not necessary?”

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