National News Feed

Caucus threat roils Iowa delegation

CLEVELAND — Iowa’s delegation was one of three that on Monday withdrew initial support of a procedural measure that would have forced a roll-call vote on several proposed Republican National Committee rules as a result of threats made to the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.

“Supporting a roll call would be seen as divisive, and I think some feared it would reflect badly on the first-in-the-nation,” said Ben Barringer, an Iowa district-level delegate who served on the platform committee last week.


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Baton Rouge police shooting: 3 officers killed -

(CNN) Officers Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola were killed Sunday after being ambushed and shot by a lone gunman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Their deaths have kept the spotlight on a region where the shooting death of Alton Sterling at the hands of police began what has been two weeks of national turmoil.
"We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement," President Barack Obama said after Sunday's attack. "Attacks on police are an attack on all of us, and the rule of law that makes society possible."


Man Dead After Firing at Plainclothes Baltimore Officers - ABC News

Baltimore police officers responding to the sound of gunshots near an apartment building fatally shot a man who fired at them with an AR-15-style rifle, authorities said early Friday.

No officers or anyone else was wounded in the shooting Thursday night in a neighborhood on the city's west side, police spokesman T.J. Smith said. He added that it wasn't immediately clear why the man had started shooting.

Four plainclothes officers riding in an unmarked Nissan Altima with the windows rolled down heard gunfire coming from the building about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Smith said at a news briefing. The officers drove toward the sound and when they arrived, they saw a man shooting an AR-15-style weapon, according to Smith.

Smith said the man started firing toward the officers, and two returned fire.


Calls for calm as hundreds arrested in protests nationwide -

(CNN) Authorities, protest leaders and the mother of one of the victims have appealed for calm as over 300 demonstrators, angry at the latest killings of black men by police officers, were arrested in a weekend of intense, sometimes violent nationwide protests.

Late Sunday and into Monday morning, almost fifty protesters were bundled into the back of police vans in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while a handful in Atlanta, Georgia were also arrested.
The mayor of Memphis, TN, another city where demonstrators took to the streets over the weekend, said he remained "hopeful" that his city's peaceful protests Sunday would signal a willingness of Black Lives Matter activists and police to hold a "respectful" dialog.


Pentagon ends transgender military ban -

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTE: This paves the way for taxpayer funded sex change operations.... NOT a proper role of government, doling out other people's money for elective surgeries.

Washington (CNN) The Pentagon said Thursday it was ending the ban on transgender people being able to serve openly in the U.S. military.

The announcement -- which removes one of the last barriers to military service by any individual -- was made by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who had been studying the issue for almost a year.
The decision comes as the military has witnessed major changes in the role of women and the inclusion of gays, lesbians and bisexual service members in recent years.
It drew some criticism from Republicans and conservatives, including Rep. Mac Thornberry, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who charged the White House was "prioritizing politics over policy."


Iowa and Nebraska Senators Introduce Sarah’s Law

Legislation to honor Sarah Root

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Ben Sasse (R-NE), introduced Sarah’s Law, legislation to honor Sarah Root, an Iowan who was killed earlier this year by a drunk driver in the country illegally. Sarah’s Law would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take custody of an individual who is in the country illegally and is charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.

On the night of her graduation, Sarah Root, a twenty-one year-old Iowan from Council Bluffs, was struck and killed in Omaha by Edwin Mejia, who entered the country illegally and was driving drunk – three times over the legal limit – and drag racing.

Following state criminal charges of motor vehicle homicide and outreach by local law enforcement, ICE declined to use its discretion to issue a detainer requesting that local authorities hold the individual until it could take custody. Mejia subsequently posted bond and has since disappeared. Nearly five months later, Mejia still remains at-large.

Sarah’s Law  would amend the mandatory detention provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the federal government to take custody of anyone who entered the country illegally, violated the terms of their immigration status, or had their visa revoked and is thereafter charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. The legislation also requires ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.

“As a mother and a grandmother, I cannot fathom the anguish Sarah’s family is feeling knowing Edwin Mejia was released and remains at-large,” said Senator Ernst. “It is an outrage that our immigration system has become so convoluted that someone who came here illegally or overstayed their visa and is responsible for the death of an American citizen, is not considered an enforcement priority and is not detained. While nothing can relieve the Root family of their pain, we must honor Sarah and ensure that this injustice never happens again. Under this law, Mejia would have been detained by ICE and held accountable for his actions. Sarah’s Law brings us one step closer toward restoring justice.”

“Sarah Root was a bright, talented, energetic young woman whose life was taken far too early. The devastation felt by her family and friends is unimaginable. Her opportunity to make a mark on the world was cut short in part because of the reckless enforcement priorities of the Obama administration. By refusing to take custody of illegal criminal immigrants who pose a clear threat to safety, this administration is putting Iowans at risk,” said Senator Grassley. “Criminals must be taken off the streets. It’s time for this administration to rethink its policies and start enforcing the law.”

“Sarah Root and her family deserve justice for her tragic and untimely death,” said Senator Fischer. “Unfortunately, they may never see it because of ICE’s flawed policies. Edwin Mejia is an illegal immigrant who had previously been cited for multiple driving offenses. He should be in custody following the tragic crash that killed Sarah Root, but ICE failed to detain him and he escaped. This bill will mandate circumstances when ICE must detain illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes. It’s my hope that through this legislation we can help strengthen our laws and limit the chances of these tragedies from happening in the future.”

“Since February, my office has held the administration’s feet to the fire to get answers for the Root family and the public,” said Senator Sasse. "While the Administration still refuses to answer basic questions about why ICE let Ms. Root’s killer go free, Congress can make it absolutely clear that federal law requires ICE to immediately detain any illegal alien who kills or seriously injures someone. As I’ve said before: Mr. Mejia shouldn’t be on ICE’s Most Wanted List, he should be behind bars.”

“Our family would like to express our sincere gratitude to Senator Grassley, Senator Ernst, Senator Sasse, and Senator Fischer as well as their supporting staff for all of their efforts in introducing Sarah’s Law,” said the Root Family. “This law will not change the devastating outcome that our family and Sarah have endured, but it will help the next family avoid the pain of knowing that the person responsible for their loved one’s death remains at large. Requiring the mandatory detention of an illegal immigrant who commits motor vehicle homicide or causes serious bodily injury is necessary due to their increased flight risk. In addition, Sarah’s law will require ICE to provide victims’ families information about the custody status of the person who committed a crime against their loved one. Our family is thankful for all of the support from our community throughout this tragedy. Sarah’s Law will not only bring justice for Sarah, but to every American that is put in this unimaginable situation that our family has encountered.”

Click here to read the text of the bill.

Joint-Efforts by the Iowa and Nebraska Senators to Obtain Justice for Sarah Root:

·         On March 25, 2016 the Iowa and Nebraska Senators demanded answers from ICE Assistant Secretary Sarah Saldana on why the agency did not detain Edwin Mejia after he killed Sarah Root in a drunk driving incident.

·         On April 27, 2016 the Iowa and Nebraska Senators sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell demanding to know who was monitoring Edwin Mejia as he entered the country illegally as an unaccompanied minor.


Ryan sends lawmakers home after Dem sit-in fails to force gun control vote | Fox News

House Speaker Paul Ryan sent lawmakers packing for the holiday break early Thursday morning after a raucous, hours-long sit-in waged by congressional Democrats failed to force a vote on gun control measures. 

As Ryan decried the protest as a "publicity stunt" -- complete with loud chants and blankets and live-streaming -- Democrats claimed they nevertheless had made "some progress" on the issue. 

The House adjourned around 3:15 a.m. ET Thursday, and even as Republicans left the buildings, some Democrats stayed on the House floor repeating their chant “No bill no break!” and waving papers with the names of gun victims written in black. Rep. Maxine Waters of California said she was ready to stay “until Hell freezes over.” A core group still lingered on the House floor wrapped in blankets and resting on pillows. 

Still, the scene was beginning to wind down after Republicans held a final vote on the Zika response and, save for a short upcoming session, sent lawmakers home until July 5. 

Democrats declared success in dramatizing the arguments for action to stem gun violence, despite the failure to conjure a vote.


U.S. job growth brakes sharply; unemployment rate falls to 4.7 percent | Reuters

The U.S. economy created the fewest number of jobs in more than five years in May, hurt by a strike by Verizon (VZ.N) workers and a fall in goods producing employment, pointing to labor market weakness that could make it difficult for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 38,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain since September 2010, the Labor Department said on Friday. Employers hired 59,000 fewer workers in March and April. The government said the month-long Verizon strike had depressed employment growth by 34,000 jobs.

The goods producing sector, which includes mining and manufacturing, shed 36,000 jobs, the most since February 2010.

Even without the Verizon strike, payrolls would have increased by a mere 72,000.