7 Things: Shelby thinks a deal is possible, an Auburn High School student and Virginia Republican join the blackface controversy, gas tax support grows and more …
7. Alabama has a high graduation rate and the federal government isn’t buying it
— The plan to increase Alabama’s graduation rates basically had two tracts: lower standards and fake the data. The federal government now wants to know how the number of students with disabilities that graduated increased from 54 percent to 74 percent in one year. These numbers don’t even touch on the fact that a large number of those graduating are not prepared for college in any way.
— The Senate investigation led by chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) has been touted as the much more professional of the two investigations in Congress and they have found no collusion with the Russians. Burr stated, “If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.”
— Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D-NY) plan for green energy, guaranteed jobs and high-quality health care is utterly absurd. It requires impossible plans including, “Upgrade or replace every building in the US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency” and providing “a job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations and retirement security for every American,” including those “unwilling” to work.
4. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) offers his support for President Trump’s attorney general pick
— The support from Alabama’s junior senator is a bit of a surprise from a senator who has opposed the president’s choices for Supreme Court and CIA director. In a move sure to ruffle feathers on the left, Jones believes nominee William Barr would let the Mueller investigation play out. He explained, “In my own conversation with Mr. Barr, he reiterated that no one, including the president of the United States, is above the law. He assured me that he would tolerate no level of interference with the [Mueller] investigation and reaffirmed unequivocally his commitment to the Justice Department’s independence.”
— With no idea how much the gas tax proposed by Alabama’s legislature will be, arguments for increases from three to 26 cents per gallon have been floated, despite the uncertainty of where that money will go. Supporters are rushing to show their support for the unclear measure. In the last 24 hours, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the new president of the Business Council of Alabama and the County Commission of Chambers Autauga county have publicly come out in favor of the new tax.
— Not content to let Democrats have all the scandals in Virginia, the Republican future state Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has been found to oversee a yearbook at the Virginia Military Institute that is full of blackface and racial slurs. He was not in any of the photos. An Auburn High School student is also in trouble for her use of a racial slur and a black facemask on Snapchat. The school system is calling it “inappropriate” and not reflective of the “school system’s statements of belief.”
1. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is feeling optimistic that a deal is close
— As President Donald Trump kept on his hardline on immigration, Shelby, one of the Republicans’ lead negotiators, said the President is being “very reasonable” and called his meeting with Trump “the most positive meeting I’ve had in a long time.” Saying the deal could be done by Monday to avoid another government shutdown, Shelby added, “He would like us to conclude our bill in a positive way for the American people.” But it is unclear what that bill looks like.