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John Barrasso

Wyo Sec of State Calls On Lummis, Barrasso To Stop Biden From Federalizing Elections

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan is seeking the help of U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis to oppose efforts to give the federal government more control over elections nationally.

In recent days, President Joe Biden has endorsed changing the rules of the Senate to make it easier for the Senate to pass two pieces of election-related legislation. One, the “Freedom to Vote Act,” would establish national voting rules to replace the state rules that now govern elections. The other, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” is described by backers as establishing a way to review voting rules nationally with an eye toward those that discriminate against voters.

Buchanan asked Barrasso and Lummis to stand firm in their fight against both measures, saying it is disingenuous to accuse Wyoming of adopting rules such as a voter ID requirement as a way to suppressing voters.

“To suggest that state action to strengthen our election security is ‘directly linked’ to the January 6, 2021 events is slanderous and is a political lie to the American people,” Buchanan said in a letter to the senators. “In Wyoming, we worked for years, well prior to the 2020 election, to implement legislation such as ‘Voter ID,’ until it finally passed. Simply put, Republicans want every eligible voter to vote and every ineligible voter to not vote. In summary, ‘easy to vote, hard to cheat.'”

There was little evidence of voter fraud in the state prior to the voter identification law being passed during the 2021 legislative session.

Buchanan also said that Wyoming voters deserved elections run by those sensitive to the needs of the state, not people in Washington, D.C., who are seeking a “one-size fits all” approach.

He concluded his letter to the senators by noting that “decentralization is essential to the protection of our elections at a time when integrity and security are foremost on the minds of all Americans.”

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Barrasso Says U.S. Needs To Balance The Budget Each Year Like Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Fox News host confronted U.S. Sen. John Barrasso last week during a television appearance about the refusal of congressional Republicans to support an increase of the nation’s debt limit.

But Barrasso maintained raising the debt limit will just allow the federal government to continue living beyond its means.

“In my state, I was a member of the state senate,” the senator said. “Our institution demands we balance our budget every year and live within our means like families need to do and the federal government ought to do the same thing.

During an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Trace Gallagher, filling in for usual anchor Chris Wallace, questioned Barrasso about congressional Republicans’ unwillingness to raise the debt ceiling, saying that some of the reasons given do not make sense.

“You talk about Republicans are against the Build Back Better thing, they’re also against raising the debt limit,” Gallagher said.

“Mitch McConnell said it would just enable Democratic spending. But the Wall Street Journal says, and I’m quoting here, ‘a vote to raise the debt limit doesn’t authorize new spending, but it essentially allows the treasury to raise money to pay for expenses the government has already authorized.’”

The Fox News host then noted that Wyoming would suffer if the federal government was forced to default because Congress refused to extend the debt ceiling.

“It’s important to point out in your state alone, this is paying for things like almost 30,000 people getting SNAP benefits. Of course, that’s food benefits; 33,000 students eligible for free or reduced school lunches. So a lot of benefits from this to your state, senator,” Gallagher said. “So why are you against it?”

But Barrasso said if congressional Democrats did not overspend the nation’s resources, such an increase wouldn’t be needed.

“This is all about Democrat spending. This is 100% on them,” he continued. “If you get rid of the gimmicks of accounting, this bill the Democrats are proposing is $4 trillion in additional spending. There’s not a single Republican who will vote for the bill or to raise the debt ceiling. This is on Democrats.”

According to CNBC, the federal government could reach the maximum amount of money that the U.S. Department of the Treasury is allowed to borrow as soon as Dec. 15. Most recently, President Joe Biden signed legislation on Oct. 14 to increase the debt limit by $480 billion.

The news outlet previously reported that the ceiling prevents the U.S. Treasury from issuing new bonds to fund government activities once a certain debt level, or date, is reached.

Congress raised the debt ceiling in 2017 under former President Donald Trump.

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Barrasso Shares Thanksgiving Dinner with Wyoming Troops in Bahrain

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BAHRAIN – U.S. Sen. John Barrasso had Thanksgiving Dinner with Wyoming sailors and Marines serving in Bahrain, according to the senator’s office.

Barrasso visited with service members who are currently stationed at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, which is home to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet. 

NSA Bahrain provides operational support to U.S. and Coalition Forces in the Middle East and ensures the security of ships, aircraft and remote sites.

“In Wyoming, we are always so grateful for the brave service of our men and women in uniform. This includes our sailors and Marines who are serving ten time zones away from home right now in Bahrain,” Barrasso said.

“They’re eyeball to eyeball with Iran in the Persian Gulf and are doing an incredible job protecting America and our allies,” he said. “Bringing a little bit of Wyoming to our troops serving overseas on Thanksgiving is a tradition I look forward to every year. I made sure to let them know that everyone at home is thinking of them and looking forward to their safe return.”

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Barrasso Blasts Energy Secretary For Laughing When Asked About Higher Gas Prices

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso on Tuesday blasted U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm for laughing when asked what she was going to do to increase domestic oil production to help stabilize the cost of gas in the U.S.

Speaking to reporters in the U.S. Capitol, Barrasso said Americans were “suffering with the high amount of inflation” and cited soaring gas prices as one such example, noting that the price at the pump was a dollar higher now than it was when President iden took office.

“What did the Secretary of Energy do when they asked her on national television what are you going to do about the cost of energy?” Barrasso said. “She laughed. She said that was hysterical, hilarious she said.”

“Well, maybe hilarious to her. But not to the people all over this country who are suffering with this high level of inflation,” he said.

Barrasso was referring to Sec. Granholm’s appearance on Bloomberg TV last week when asked what her plan was to increase energy production in the U.S. to help bring gas prices down.

Granholm, in fact, did laugh and then opted out. She said the U.S. couldn’t do anything about it and it was all up to OPEC.

“That is hilarious,” she said. “Would that I had the magic wand on this. As you know, oil is a global market. It is controlled by a cartel. That cartel is called OPEC. And they made the decision yesterday that they were not going to increase beyond what they were already planning.”

Many don’t agree with her explanation. Energy independence is possible, they say. And a reliance on OPEC should be stopped.

Barrasso has been hyper-critical of Biden’s energy policies and has noted that during the Trump administration oil production jumped 28% and natural gas 26%. By 2020, domestic production of both was at record highs.

“Americans saw the results. We led the world in oil and gas production,” Barrasso said earlier this year.

“This is Joe Biden’s America,” Barrasso said on Tuesday. “This is the reason that only one in five Americans believe that under Joe Biden, this country is headed in the right direction.”

Wyoming State Rep. Landon Brown praised Barrasso’s comments on social media Tuesday.

“Boom! @SenJohnBarrasso explaining it perfectly!” he wrote.

Democrats Concerned Too

Republicans aren’t the only ones worried about soaring energy costs. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, urged Biden to make use of emergency petroleum reserves in an effort to bring gas prices down prior to the holiday season. 

While Biden has not committed to making use of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Granholm has said the president is considering it as an option. 

“That’s one of the tools that he has, and he’s certainly looking at that,” Granholm said on CNN. 

Granholm also said that she was hopeful gas prices would not reach a national average of $4 per gallon, The Hill reported.

Inflation Soaring

Gas prices in California reached an all-time high on Monday as the average cost of a regular gallon hit $4.68, according to The Hill.

Prices for food and other consumer items probably will remain higher than average for at least a year, according to an economist with the University of Wyoming.

“Right now, we’re in this perfect storm of inflationary pressures,” Anne Alexander told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “On the supply side, the supply chains are screwed up, partially because of labor shortages, but also because we’ve stopped producing as much of everything. On the demand side, we’re seeing almost panic buying.”

While Alexander does not believe the United States or Wyoming will see the level of inflation that affected the country from 1973 to 1982, she does not believe there will be any relief from current high prices until some time next year.

Wyoming’s cost of living has increased at a rate not seen in more than a decade, according to a recently released report from the state’s Economic Analysis Division.

The annual inflation rate of 7.7% recorded during the second quarter of the year — which ended June 30 — is the highest annual inflation rate seen since the second quarter of 2008, when the state’s inflation rate was 7.9%, according to the division’s inflation report.

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Barrasso Disagrees With Trump Over ‘Hang Mike Pence’ Chant

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso did not agree with former President Donald Trump’s comment that rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 chanting “Hang Mike Pence” was “common sense.”

During an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Barrasso initially avoided the question from host George Stephanopoulos, but did ultimately say that he did not agree with Trump on everything.

“I agree with him on the policies that have brought us the best economy in my lifetime,” he said during the interview. “And I’m going to continue to support those policies and continuing to work to stop what Joe Biden is doing to this country, which I believe is almost irreversibly bad.”

According to Newsweek, the issue arose recently when the former president was asked during an interview about whether or not he felt that Pence was safe during the assault on the Capitol.

“I thought he was well-protected and I had heard that he was in good shape,” Trump said.

When asked specifically about rioters chanting “hang Mike Pence,” the former president supported the notion and tied it back to his widely disproven claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

“Because it’s common sense,” Trump said. “If you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?”

People focused on Pence in particular, since, as president of the U.S. Senate, he could have voted against certification of the vote in the presidential race between Trump and current President Joe Biden.

When asked if Barrasso condemned the rioters, office spokeswoman Laura Mengelkamp pointed Cowboy State Daily to the statement he made the day of the attack.

“This violence and destruction have no place in our republic,” Barrasso wrote in a Twitter post on Jan. 6. “It must end now.”

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Barrasso: Biden Embarrassed America During Climate Conference

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Joe Biden embarrassed the nation last week while attending a climate conference in Scotland, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said.

“Joe Biden and a large entourage of Democrats from the House and the Senate and his cabinet all jetting off to Europe to a climate conference and for what purpose?” Barrasso said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “What did he do there? He pledged allegiance to the flag of the United Nations instead of to the flag of the United States. He basically apologized for America.”

Last week, numerous world leaders gathered for the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit to discuss ways to address climate change.

According to NBC News, the Biden administration used the summit to encourage oil-rich countries such as China and Russia to produce more as energy prices in the United States continue to rise.

The outlet also reported that Biden was criticized by some climate experts for encouraging oil production, rather than using the moment to break away from oil dependency and transition to clean energy.

Barrasso said Biden was “begging” Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to produce more energy even as energy prices in the United States climb because of Biden “killing” the Keystone XL pipeline project.

“These guys are climate hypocrites,” he said. “Their carbon footprint for going to this conference was so much larger than Vladimir Putin’s or President Xi of China because they stayed home.

Last week, Barrasso sent a letter to Biden, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttitieg, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking them how much travel would cost and for details on the carbon “footprint” of the trip to Glasgow.

He still has not gotten an answer to his questions, he noted in his Sunday appearance, but added that the conference was the most expensive climate summit in history.

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Barrasso Demands Carbon Footprint Records on Biden’s Climate Conference

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso wants to know the environmental impact of President Joe Biden’s trip to a global climate change conference in Scotland expected to be attended by tens of thousands of people.

Barrasso sent a letter to President Biden, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttitieg, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking them how much travel will cost and for details on the carbon “footprint” of the trip to Glasgow, site of this year’s United Nations “conference of the parties” or “COP” to address climate change.

“In addition to the staggering cost of the conference, I am concerned that what appears to be a bloated US delegation will prove counterproductive to the COP’s mission,” Barrasso wrote.”These commitments strike a tone of insincerity as a majority of COP26 delegates will have contributed a significant amount of carbon emissions to attend COP26.”

The senator cited a TIME magazine article calling the two-week conference the most expensive climate change gathering in history and said he was “perplexed” at the decision for so many Biden officials to attend the conference when they could have participated electronically.

“People all over the world made the transition to teleconferencing as a means of maintaining communication with friends and co-workers, and attending conferences,” he wrote.

“It is rather perplexing that in this new age of digital communications and during an ongoing pandemic, executive branch departments and agencies are unnecessarily choosing to contribute directly to carbon emissions and risk exposure to COVID-19,” Barrasso said.

CNN reported that Biden plans to send 13 cabinet members and senior administration officials to the conference.

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Barrasso Calls Biden A “98 Pound Weakling”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said President Joe Biden looked like a “98 pound weakling” during his appearance on Capitol Hill this week.

Barrasso was on Fox to discuss Biden’s newly-announced spending framework related to the $1.75 trillion social spending bill and the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, neither of which the senator from Wyoming was pleased about.

Barrasso used his time on Fox to criticize Biden’s policies for the framework and oil and gas, noting that the United State is using more foreign oil than domestic oil.

“We are using more oil from Vladimir Putin in Russia than we are from Alaska, and that’s a result of the Biden policies” he said. “The president was just up on Capitol Hill and to me, he looked weak, the 98-pound weakling.”

According to NPR, Biden traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with House Democrats in hopes of persuading members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to drop a blockade of the infrastructure bill.

The social spending framework includes universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-old children, an additional year of the expanded monthly child tax credit payment, investments in affordable housing, premium reductions under the Affordable Care Act and significant investments to address climate change. The bill would also create a nationwide green jobs program, according to NPR.

The legislation would be paid for with a series of taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

“The big things that strike me about this bill is they still supersize the IRS to squeeze taxpayers and the most expensive part is…the cost of driving and heating your home,” Barrasso said. “The cost of energy is making energy much more expensive and much less reliable.”

The senator noted that natural gas prices are at a seven-year high and gas prices were higher this year due to Biden’s policies.

Biden is headed to Europe on Thursday for a series of global meetings with various leaders regarding climate change and the world economy, which Barrasso also criticized.

“He’s talking about raising taxes and then getting off to Europe,” Barrasso said. “We have soaring energy and food prices here in America and people are absolutely done with where this president is trying to take the country.”

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Barrasso: ‘I’m Pro-Vaccine And Anti-Mandate’

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By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune

While some Wyomingites and Republican officials have been hesitant to endorse the COVID-19 vaccines, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso has no such qualms.

“As a doctor, I believe in vaccines. Vaccines work,” Barrasso said in a Thursday interview in Powell. The senator, who is a medical doctor, praised the work that was done to develop the COVID vaccines quickly and said they have his support.

“If you have questions, check with your own doctor,” Barrasso said, encouraging people to talk with healthcare providers they trust. “But I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve had the booster, my wife’s been vaccinated, my kids have all been vaccinated.”

However, Barrasso also described himself as anti-mandate.

“I just think it’s important for people to make their own decisions and not be told that they have to do something,” he said. “That doesn’t work with people in Wyoming. I think it just hardens folks when Washington tries to tell us to do anything.”

Wyoming lawmakers are set to hold a special session later this month to address the Biden administration’s plans to require many Americans to receive vaccinations.

In general, Barrasso complained that Democrats are not involving Republicans in decisions at a time when the 100-member Senate is evenly split between the two parties.

“…. They’re trying to cram things down the throats of the American people — whether it has to do with taxes, spending, borrowing, American energy, all of those things that are to the far left,” he said, “things that I believe of as being radical and extreme and dangerous and scary.”

He described the Republicans as trying to derail “a freight train to socialism that the Democrats are trying to drive down the tracks.”

Earlier, Barrasso fielded a series of questions from Powell Middle School students, including on the hardest parts of being a senator. He said one difficulty is that just about every bill features some sections that are good for Wyoming and others that are not.

“That’s really the challenge,” Barrasso said. “Because you can’t make everybody happy when you can’t get the bill perfect for what you’d like. … Ultimately, they call your name, and you have to vote.”

The senator also said it’s difficult when a good idea fails to work out as legislation, noting that it took a couple tries to pass the popular Hathaway Scholarship program when he served in the Wyoming Legislature. He also encouraged the students to be positive, confident and optimistic during hard times.

Barrasso opened his talk with a couple questions of his own, including asking if any of the Powell students wanted to be president of the United States. A few put up their hands and explained their goals; one student said she would seek to make the news media tell the truth and another potential presidential candidate drew a big ovation after saying he would “make America great again.”

Barrasso told the students that “we are a great nation,” recalling that his late father, a World War II veteran, frequently told him “you don’t know how fortunate you are.”

“… Every day as a senator,” he said, “I thank God for the incredible blessings we have and try to work to make it better.”

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Barrasso Slams Biden On Economy, Immigration, Afghanistan

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By Caleb Smith

ROCK SPRINGS – U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., had a late start to the August Congressional recess, but is making up for lost time by crisscrossing Wyoming and listening to the public’s concerns about the economy, immigration and Afghanistan.

The usual fall break was delayed by about a week and a half by maneuvers on the Democrats’ “reckless” $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill, according to the senator. Since his return to Wyoming, he has attended a funeral, a wedding, multiple fundraisers and the River Festival in Green River, which gives him opportunities to hear from constituents and learn what’s on their minds.

— He said the No. 1 issue is inflation with people paying more for gas and groceries. He pointed to the difference between prices today and the when President Joe Biden took office.

Barrasso challenged decisions like Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone Pipeline and place a moratorium on energy development. He called that drawing a target on the back of American energy workers and pulling the trigger. Instead of doing that, the senator said more decision makers should look to Wyoming.

“We know how to protect the environment and the economy at the same time,” he said.

— Concerns about the American border with Mexico are also a commonly raised topic. Barrasso said people from South and Central America are crossing into the United States at a great rate – about a million so far this year.

He questioned the federal policy where some people are being asked to quarantine once they get here instead of being required to quarantine by the government. When asked what kind of system that would involve, the senator said it was a complicated issue.

Barrasso said he wished the current administration continued the policy where would-be immigrants waited in Mexico before entering the U.S.

— Having traveled to Afghanistan about 10 times, including spending three Thanksgivings with deployed members of the Wyoming Army National Guard, Barrasso has a unique perspective on Afghanistan and the U.S. withdrawal from the country.

“It was done in the worst way possible,” Barrasso said.

He said whether one is for or against staying in Afghanistan, everyone believes it has been disastrous except for Biden. Barrasso said he doesn’t blame the military or others on the ground because it is obvious that the president overrode his advisors. The senator said there should have been a better managed pullout to make sure Americans, U.S. allies and powerful equipment were not left behind enemy lines.

Barrasso’s last trip to Afghanistan was November 2019, when President Donald Trump accepted his invitation to join him for Thanksgiving with the troops. The senator said he asked why they can’t negotiate with the Taliban and was told that instead of a traditional, organized government, the Taliban is made up of a loose confederation of war chiefs with conflicting allegiances and agendas. There is no chain of command, which is why an agreement with a few won’t mean compliance for them all.

He said that he was opposite Trump on his decision to withdraw troops by May 1, 2021, which was then postponed to Sept. 1, 2021. Looking at past examples in Germany, Japan, and South Korea where the U.S. left behind a contingent of troops, he said the same could have been done in Afghanistan.

“Reasonable people can disagree,” Barrasso said more than once.

However, deciding to pull out abruptly is what led to the current mess. As of Wednesday night, about 1,500 Americans were still awaiting evacuation with tens of thousand more Afghanis who worked as support staff or collaborators and are now worried about losing their lives.

The senator explained how geography is complicating evacuations. The physical footprint of Afghanistan is the size of Wyoming and Montana combined, he explained. The land is very mountainous with few good roads. He said one should imagine the difficulties of being in southwest Wyoming and having to travel to northern Montana where escape potentially awaits. Additionally, there’s the Catch-22 of the papers required to be evacuated by foreign troops. Official documentation must be produced at the airport, but if they’re discovered before then, they could be an automatic death sentence. It would depend on the whims of the Taliban warlord, Barrasso said.

He said one could easily conceive of tribal leaders holding hostages that will need to be ransomed and rescued. Should that happen, he said it is important to make sure those stories are told.

— People are still talking about the consequences and lessons of the 2020 election.

Barrasso said states should be in charge of their own election rules and he doesn’t want Washington telling Wyoming how to run its elections. He said he is in favor of Wyoming’s system of absentee voting and voter identification.

“I wish every state would do that,” he said.

Looking to future elections, he predicted inflation is going to continue and the economy will be hindered.

“The policies of this administration are hurting the working man and woman,” the senator said.

His goal is to disrupt the Democrat freight train of Biden, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He wants to make Biden a “half-term president,” by which he means a president whose party doesn’t control Congress. Barrasso said if you don’t have Pelosi and Schumer in power together, no Democrat-led legislation will get to the president’s desk and Biden will never veto a piece of legislation.

When asked about attempts to cast doubts on the results of the 2020 election and challenge the certification of the Electoral College, Barrasso said, “Joe Biden is the president, and I’m doing everything I can to take back the House and Senate in 2022.”

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