The Fish and Wildlife Service refused to attend a hearing Thursday to discuss penalties for a huge federally backed solar power plant that has incinerated dozens of protected birds with the "death rays" it produces.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, chaiman of the House Natural Resources Committee's oversight and investigations panel, criticized the Ivanpah power plant's harm to wildlife while failing to meet power production goals.
"The killing of the migratory birds, what are called 'streamers' at Ivanpah, carry stiff federal penalties for most citizens," Gohmert said in opening remarks. "But in yet another example of a federal double standard, it is unclear what the Department of Interior has done to protect these animals and hold these companies accountable."
"From the time of its construction onward, countless desert tortoises have been killed and dislocated," he said. "Its giant mirrors attract great numbers of birds that are often incinerated in midflight by the mirror directed sunbeams," which a committee memo refers to as "death rays."
"We invited the Fish and Wildlife Service to help answer these questions, but they also refused to send a witness today," Gohmert said.
The Energy Department also declined to send anyone to testify at the hearing, although an official at the Bureau of Land Management was scheduled to attend.
The $2.2 billion concentrated solar power plant in Nevada received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee and more than $500 million in federal grants to build the facility, even though the owners are some of the wealthiest companies in the country, including tech giant Google and investor-owned utility NRG.
The plant uses thousands of mirrors on 3,500 acres in the Mojave desert to direct concentrated sunlight at three towers. The sunlight boils water to generate steam that turns a turbine to produce electricity.
Gohmert said the plant has faced several setbacks this year when it failed to meet its contractual obligations to supply electricity to California. In addition, the power plant takes enormous amounts of water to cool and keep its hundreds of thousands of mirrors clean.
"To make the situation even more dire," he said, "the very sun rays that are supposed to power the facility recently set one of the three [towers] on fire, knocking the unit out of commission."
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the oversight panel, criticized Gohmert for picking on the Obama administration's loan guarantee program, when the program was created by Republican President George W. Bush as a bridge to new technologies.
She called the hearing part of the GOP's "grand finale" on "how we embarrass the administration" as the president's term comes to an end.
"It seems to be in vogue these days to beat up on the Obama administration," but "we need to stop playing the blame game and focus on the facts."
The loan guarantee program is designed to "build a bridge over the valley of death" to develop more advanced technologies when the private sector won't take the risk.
She said the Ivanpah plant, despite its performance hiccups, has met its debt obligations.
"We must invest in the future and not the past," she said.Read More
Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee blasted Attorney General Loretta Lynch Tuesday for her refusal to answer questions about her decision to clear Hillary Clinton and all her aides of criminal wrongdoing for their mishandling of sensitive material.
"Your refusal to answer questions...is an abdication of your responsibility," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the attorney general after she had dodged a series of questions about her role in the conclusion of the Clinton email probe.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, noted Lynch's answers suggested she had not personally surveyed the evidence compiled by the FBI during its year-long investigation.
"You've given no indication whatsoever that you did any independent reading" of the facts of the case, Gohmert told the attorney general.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, slammed Lynch for announcing publicly that she would accept the FBI's indictment recommendations before she even knew what those would be, essentially shifting responsibility for the probe off of herself.
"You can't say, 'I'm the attorney general and I decide,' and yet, 'I'm going to take their recommendation even before they make their recommendation,'" Jordan said.
Lynch noted her announcement ahead of the end of the investigation that she would accept the FBI's recommendations was a first for her.
"I have not had occasion to do that before," she said, acknowledging she felt compelled to make the announcement because her private meeting with Clinton's husband was "seen by some as having an influence" on the investigation.
Republicans became increasingly frustrated as the hearing wore on Tuesday afternoon with Lynch's repeated attempts to avoid providing answers about the Clinton email probe.
Also from the Washington Examiner
"These questions are pretty simple," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lamented after Lynch refused to say whether it is illegal for an individual with a security clearance to share classified information with an individual without one.
"The lack of clarity is pretty stunning," Chaffetz added.Read More
FBI Director James Comey has "adequately rationalized" his decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton "beyond anything that is worthy of him or his office," Rep. Louie Gohmert said Thursday, as evidence was destroyed that could have led to a criminal complaint.
"If evidence is in the possession of one party, and that party destroys the evidence, the jury can be instructed by the judge that that is direct evidence of guilt of the defendant," the Texas Republican told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. "So there's all kinds of evidence here and there have been a lot of people that have been treated much more harshly."
And the investigation wasn't only about Clinton's emails, but about her "selling of the office," said Gohmert.
"I don't know anybody but corrupt dictators that have profited from their office the way that Hillary Clinton has," the lawmaker said. "And that was supposed to be under investigation. What happened to that? Just talking about the emails, she didn't profit off the way she did off her position by selling access. That needs to be thoroughly investigated because that stinks to high heaven. If she would profit as a secretary of state to that extent think of how she'd profit about being president of the United States."
Meanwhile, Gohmert said that Clinton should not be allowed access to classified material unless she's elected president.
"We have had people that have been impeached before from federal office and then you get elected and then they get classified material or at least secret material," said Gohmert. "She'd have to be elected and the people would have to say, 'look, we know that you can't be trusted but we want to trust you anyway. We'll give you the presidency.' But not as a candidate. Not with all of these questions looming, not with gross negligence and extreme carelessness. She shouldn't be near anything classified."
Meanwhile, he said there should be no doubt about who to vote for this November.
"Just wake up and smell the coffee," said Gohmert. "It's burnt coffee and it stinks. It's emanating from the Clinton campaign. You know, Donald Trump has made plenty of mistakes, but, you know, I can't see him selling his office the way she has. And intentional disregard, despite what Comey said the evidence is there. Plenty of direct evidence anyway."Read More
“The corruptive influence of foreign money on our elected officials is evident, and we need to close this loophole,” Gohmert told Roll Call of the bill.
While Hillary Clinton’s name is not mentioned in the Texas Congressman’s legislation, an acronym derived from the bill’s official name — Contributions Legally Interdicted from Noncitizens to Our Nonprofits — clearly spells out CLINTON.
Gohmert’s bill currently boasts one cosponsor, Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas).
The bill would terminate the tax-exempt status of a former public official’s non-profit as a penalty if the organization “knowingly or willingly accepts or solicits any contribution from any person connected to a foreign government.”
The “Clinton Act of 2016” was introduced to Congress on June 24, nearly two weeks before FBI Director James Comey announced his decision not to recommend an indictment against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information during her tenure as secretary of state.
Gohmert’s concern for “the corruptive influence of foreign money on our elected officials” was never more crucial than when applied to the disturbing pattern of record-high speaking fees to Bill Clinton and donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign contributors, coinciding with favors for Clinton cronies and foundation donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
“These donations are problematic, not only because they raise a question of whether foreign governments and nationals essentially bought access, but also because it creates the potential for a massive conflict of interest in the conduct of our nation’s foreign policy,” Gohmert said.Read More
Resigned to the strong possibility that the House will need to fund the government through a continuing resolution after this fiscal year, conservatives are warning party leaders of what it would take for them to support such a stopgap measure.
With the much-hyped regular order appropriations process looking stalled—if not finished—before it really started, conservatives say that a funding bill that extends current government spending, as a continuing resolution does, should stretch until next year.
Government funding expires Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The length of the continuing resolution is important to conservatives because they don’t want to have to revisit government funding during the lame duck session of Congress, which is the time after the next president is elected and before he or she takes office.
“I will only vote for a continuing resolution that stretches into next year,” said Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, speaking Thursday before reporters on Capitol Hill.
“Because everything bad happens during the lame duck session, and I just don’t believe that the lame duck session should be where we’re making big decisions about the future of the country,” added Labrador, who is a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “If we can’t do the appropriations as we should, if we can’t get those done, then we need to wait until about March to then start the process again.”
A continuing resolution is a funding method widely loathed, but has proven to be a regular feature of an era of divided Congress.
“Everything bad happens during the lame duck session,” says @Raul_Labrador.
This year appears to be following the same path, even after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had called for the process of funding the government to be different—or normal.
Ryan, when he became speaker in October, said he wanted to open up the legislative process, returning to so-called regular order, where lawmakers could offer up policy riders to attach to spending bills that would be debated and voted on individually.
But things haven’t worked that way.
Republicans first failed to vote on a budget resolution—an aspirational document that would have been a blueprint for the spending bills to follow—due to a disagreement over the spending levels it would have set.
Then, Ryan was forced to go back on his open process promise when the House failed to advance the energy and water spending bill due to a controversial LGBT amendment offered by Democrats.
Fearing that Democrats would continue to offer contentious amendments in an effort to defeat appropriations bills they don’t like, Ryan, with the support of the Freedom Caucus, changed the House rules so that only GOP leaders choose the amendments that get votes.
Yet this strategy hasn’t helped the process go any smoother, and House conservatives are already accusing Republican leaders of blocking their amendments.
“Everything we are doing now with closed rules, and all the disruption on the House floor and bills that come up that haven’t been properly vetted out of committee, is the result of losing regular order,” Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., told reporters Thursday. “We bargained those away. We are no longer in regular order [and] that’s hugely important.”
While the House and the Senate have each passed three bills, Congress has yet to send any of them to the president’s desk for his signature.
Lawmakers are also facing a short calendar, as the House and Senate are out of session after next week for more than seven weeks due to the national conventions and their normal summer recess.
With that reality, House conservatives argue that the next best thing is to fund the government at current levels—all at once—until a new president assumes office.
“I think we should avoid a lame duck session,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, in the briefing for reporters Thursday. “You’ve got Harry Reid leaving, you’ve got President Obama leaving, and this is a chance to just line up the Christmas tree for all the wants for the future. We need to really to avoid that happening. There’s too many people that would love to make deals to just overwhelm the American public and we do not need that to happen if we are going to salvage this little experiment in democracy.”Read More
A sweeping GOP anti-terrorism bill House Republicans hoped to pass this week appears stalled over Republican objections to gun control language that's also in the bill.
House GOP leaders delayed action on the bill Tuesday in order to give Republicans a chance to discuss it Wednesday morning, which made it clear many Republicans aren't happy with it. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he is "confident" the legislation will ready for a vote this week or next week, but he faces significant pushback from a conservative faction of Republicans who say they oppose the measure.
The House Freedom Caucus announced they will oppose the legislation, in part because of language in the bill that would implement a three-day block on gun purchases by individuals who are on a federal terror watch list. The faction is made up of about three dozen lawmakers, but that's enough to put passage in jeopardy because Democrats are likely to oppose the bill.
Republican opponents, including lawmakers outside of the Freedom Caucus, say the legislation does not adequately protect due process for those on the watch list, which is secret and notoriously error prone. The provision would give the Attorney General three days to prove in court why the individual should not be allowed to purchase a gun, a due process provision that Democrats have opposed in the Senate.
"I'm not going to vote for an unelected official using hidden criteria to put people they don't like on a list, that may yank you out of your state to try to prove that you are not a terrorist," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. "There are a number of Republicans who feel the very same way."
Ryan told reporters he is now meeting with both Republicans and Democrats to reshape the bill, although it is highly unlikely Ryan would allow gun control measures authored by Democrats to become part of the legislation.
"I think there is still a path forward," Ryan said after meeting with Republican House lawmakers on Wednesday. "We have members on both sides of the aisle who want to make changes to the bill."
"We are gathering all of that information so we make a good decision," he said.
Democrats have threatened a repeat of June House floor demonstrations if they are not allowed a vote on a bill to expand gun background checks and legislation to ban those on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms.
Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and John Larson, D-Conn., who are sponsors of that legislation, met with Ryan Tuesday night.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday it is unlikely the GOP would allow votes on the Democratic gun provisions because it would reward their floor demonstrations, which disrupted the legislative schedule and forced an early adjournment in June.Read More
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said Wednesday that House Republicans shouldn't reward Democrats with a vote on guns this week after Democrats shut down the House in late June to protest the lack of gun control legislation.
"It absolutely should not," Gohmert said on C-SPAN when asked if the House should vote on gun control.
In the wake of the Democratic "sit-in," which forced the House to adjourn early in June, House GOP leaders have tried to set up a vote on a counterterrorism bill that includes gun language. That language would allow the government to delay gun purchases for people who end up on federal terrorism watch lists while officials try to prove they shouldn't own a gun.
Democrats aren't fans of the overall bill, and also oppose the gun language, which has already failed to advance in the Senate.
Still, Gohmert said even allowing that vote would only reward the Democrats' bad behavior.
"I thought it was outrageous that as a majority party we allowed the sit-in, in violation of massive numbers of rules, to go along unimpeded," he said.
"I was challenging the Sergeant At Arms, 'So, you only enforce rules against Republicans? Is that the deal now?'" he said. Gohmert went down to the floor to challenge Democrats during the sit-in.
"And he said, 'Well, when we tell the Republicans to stop violating the rules, you guys do. We've told them repeatedly, and they're not stopping their violation,'" Gohmert said.
Opposition to the vote this week from Gohmert and like-minded Republicans could be a factor that ends up scuttling the bill. On Tuesday, Republican leaders delayed action on the bill so Republicans could have more time to see it and understand what they were voting on.
But the delay could be a sign that Republicans aren't ready to move the bill, which could delay it again or force leaders to come up with another idea. GOP lawmakers were expected to meet Wednesday morning to discuss their reaction to the bill.Read More
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement today applauding the Supreme Court of the United States for its refusal to declare President Obama’s unconstitutional immigration amnesty as lawful:
“The ruling by the Supreme Court today is an immense victory for the American people and the United States Constitution. Blocked by a 4-4 tie, this decision upholds the lower court’s ruling that President Obama’s use of executive action to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants is completely unlawful.
“This administration simply cannot provide blanket unconstitutional amnesty to millions living in the U.S. illegally – by spoken word or an unwritten ‘memo.’ It is clear in the United States Constitution that the president is not allowed to write laws, only Congress is.”
“By virtue of healthy, lawful immigration, this country is a melting pot, and better for it. But, first and foremost, it is also a nation of laws; and, people breaking the law – to cut in front of the million plus people trying to enter legally each year - should not be rewarded with blanket amnesty.”
Congressman Gohmert is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, he was elected to three terms as State District Judge in Smith County, Texas and was appointed by then Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals of Texas.
# # #Read More
“Radical Islam killed those poor innocent victims! Radical Islam killed those poor innocent victims!” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Texas) pointing to a placard with the faces of the 49 victims killed June 12 by a Omar Mateen at Orlando’s Pulse, a gay nightclub. Some of the victims and more than 50 survivors were shot by police officers, but the details have not been released.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) June 23, 2016
At the time, Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.) was speaking and he called out one of the Republican congressmen still on the House floor after the chamber had been gaveled into recess: “Why is the gentleman afraid to hear me speak?”
Sherman made several taunts suggesting that the Republicans were cowards afraid of taking a vote in the minutes before Gohmert charged into the camera shot of Rep. Scott Peters (D.-Calif.), whose Periscope live-stream feed was being picked up by C-SPAN.
As Gohmert confronted the Democrats in the chamber’s well, other Democrats swarmed to the scene as did a group of Republicans in a scene that could only be described as a clearing of the dugouts. Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) was there and someone was calling out: “Billy, Billy, Separate them, Billy.” Most likely, “Billy” was Rep. Bill Flores (R.-Texas), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which for many years was the considered the conservative bloc in the House.
House Democrats swarmed the House floor Wednesday shortly before 11:30 a.m., and except for three minutes at 12 noon and for the 20 minutes, for a 15-minute and five-minute votes after 10 p.m., they did not give it back. Despite the Democrats’ rowdy behavior and over-the-top rhetoric, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) left the lights on, allowed Democrats to come and go, on and off the House floor and made no effort to keep food and drink off the House floor or to clear the House Press and Visitors Galleries.
Another Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R.-Tenn.) posted on Facebook shortly after midnight that there was a crowd of protesters outside the Capitol shouting “Shame on you” and other derogatory chants. “These protestors, I’m sure many are paid.”Read More
In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack, the vast majority of House Republicans voted in favor of legislation designed to enhance efforts to combat “violent extremism,” but one of the three who voted against it, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, said he did so because it fails to identify “radical Islam” as the problem.
“It never mentions the term ‘radical Islam,’ and after the Orlando shooting, we have an obligation when the administration won’t call it what it is, to start calling it what it is,” he said on the House floor on Thursday.
GOP leaders hailed the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act (H.R. 5471), with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying in a statement the House had “moved quickly and aggressively on legislation that will better protect our communities and the homeland.”
The bill, introduced by McCarthy and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, essentially bundles three bills already passed by the House, in the hope that doing so will speed up the process of getting the through the Senate and onto the president’s desk.
The bill aims to push back on terrorist propaganda through counter-messaging, education and outreach; authorizes additional training for Department of Homeland Security and other personnel, with a focus on community awareness outreach efforts and the use of “fusion centers” nationwide; requires additional DHS assessment and reporting to Congress on the efforts; and establishes in law a counterterrorism advisory board with members from across relevant federal agencies.
One thing H.R. 5471 does not do is mention “radical Islam,” “Islamist,” “jihad” or similar terminology. Instead it uses the administration’s preferred term for the threat – “countering violent extremism” or CVE.
The bill passed by a large margin – 402-15, with 14 members not voting. Three of the 15 “nays” came from Republicans – two were libertarian Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.), and the third was Gohmert.
Explaining his objections, he said, “Every Republican I heard speak on this issue, including those from Homeland Security, have acknowledged the president and our intelligence need to start talking about jihad, Muslim, Islam, radical Muslim, radical Islam, Muslim Brotherhood …”
“And they’re not allowed to talk about it without risking their career and that’s why I voted no on the bill today,” Gohmert added.
Noting several references in the bill to “violent extremism,” he argued that the measure “basically tells the Secretary of Homeland Security, you know, keep countering ‘violent extremism.’”
“It never mentions the term ‘radical Islam,’ and after the Orlando shooting, we have an obligation when the administration won’t call it what it is, to start calling it what it is,” he said. “And I think the bill really didn't do what we needed done.”
Earlier in his speech Gohmert pointed to the FBI’s counter-terrorism analytical lexicon, and said there were evidently terms that are “off-limits” for the administration.
Terms used multiple times in the 9/11 Commission Report, including jihad, Islam and Muslim, were absent in the FBI document, he observed. (Gohmert used a chart, compiled by Stephen Coughlin, an expert on Islamic jihad, contrasting terms used in the 9/11 Commission Report on the one hand with the administration’s National Intelligence Strategy and FBI lexicon on the other.)
“We want to make sure that we don’t want to offend the people who want to kill us and destroy our way of life,” Gohmert charged.
“You want a quick end to your career in the FBI or in our intelligence agencies, then all you have to use is the term jihad, Muslim, Islam,” he said. “If you talk about the Muslim Brotherhood, your career is pretty well over.”
Even though radical Islamists were “making clear they want an international caliphate,” he said, “you don’t want to say it in this administration.”
‘We have to define the enemy to defeat it’
Although the bill refers to “violent extremism” and not the other terms cited by Gohmert, McCaul and McCarthy in a joint statement did speak about “radical Islamist terror.”
“Our city streets have become the frontlines in the war against radical Islamist terror,” it said. “To honor the memory of the victims in Orlando, we must rededicate ourselves to preventing terrorists from gaining a foothold in our communities.”
In his own comments on the House floor, McCaul also stressed the need to “define the enemy.”
He noted that the attacks in Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and now Orlando had all been “perpetrated by Islamist terrorists.”
“We have to define the enemy to defeat it,” he said. “That is a basic military strategy.”
In a recent article, Heritage Foundation scholar Robin Simcox wrote that the “violent extremism” term favored by the administration was first made popular in Britain.
“First mainstreamed by the British government, ‘violent extremism’ was dreamed up as a way to avoid saying ‘Islamic’ or ‘Islamist’ extremism in the months after the July 2005 suicide bombings in London,” he said. “The phrase swiftly traveled across the Atlantic and into the U.S. government’s vocabulary.”
Simcox described the CVE strategy as “the symptom of a craven approach to addressing the causes of terrorism.”
The three bills bundled into the new legislation were the Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terrorism (ALERT) Act (H.R. 4401), the Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act (H.R. 4407) and the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act (H.R. 4820).Read More
2243 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Serving his fifth term in the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Louie Gohmert was first sworn in January 4, 2005. He proudly represents the First District of Texas which encompasses over 12 counties stretching nearly 120 miles down the state’s eastern border.
During these trying economic times, Rep. Gohmert is developing innovative solutions to jumpstart our economy and offering practical alternatives to the government’s bailout frenzy. His “Federal Income Tax Holiday” gained widespread national support from the grassroots level to national leaders, allowing taxpayers to decide how best to spend their hard-earned money. Louie has repeatedly called for an end to the socialization of our economy and decried the notion that Washington Bureaucrats know better than American taxpayers.
Louie serves on numerous House committees and subcommittees. He was recently named Vice Chair of the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security due to his extensive knowledge stemming from years in the court room.
Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. During his tenure on the bench, he gained national and international attention for some of his innovative rulings. He was later appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.
Louie received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and later graduated from Baylor School of Law. He is also a veteran having served his country as Captain in the U.S. Army.
Today, he and his wife Kathy are the proud parents of three daughters. Their family attends Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, where Louie has served as a deacon and still teaches Sunday school.