U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s first visit to Oak Ridge was short and busy, but he still came away impressed, according to Frank Munger. Cantor was keynote speaker Thursday at the Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit, offering his views on budget battles in Washington, taking a few light jabs at the White House and showing he’d done a little research on Oak Ridge before he arrived and went straight to the stage.
“From the beginning, I know that Oak Ridge has been one of America’s strongest forces for peace,” Cantor said, referencing the Atomic City’s role in the World War II Manhattan Project.
The Virginia Republican tied the early atomic work on weapons, which ultimately were used to “help break the back of the Soviet Union” in the Cold War, to Oak Ridge’s pioneering role in producing radioisotopes for cancer therapies, which he called proof “of the serendipity of science.”
He said these were “amazing feats” and a source of inspiration and innovation.
Cantor said there’s a lot of discussion in Washington these days about the proper role of the federal government, and he said it is “appropriate and desirable” for federal policy to serve as a catalyst for the discoveries that take place at the facilities in Oak Ridge.
“The job in Washington is to encourage the innovation,” he said. “It is not to allow gridlock to stand in the way.”
Following his remarks, Cantor got a 25-minute tour of the Y-12 National Security Complex.
He fielded a few questions from the news media, and then was whisked away to speak at a $500-a-plate fundraiser for his host, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
— Note: See also the Chattanooga Times-Free Press report, HERE.
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor helped U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann raise about $75,000 for his 3rd District reelection campaign at a Knoxville fundraiser, reports Georgiana Vines. …Fleischmann was asked to comment on a poll released this week by the Mayfield campaign that showed the Athens businessman was ahead at 34 percent with Fleischmann and Wamp, son of former Congressman Zach Wamp, each with 25 percent.
“My view is, this is a fiction. I’m not worried about polling. I am pleased to have Eric Cantor coming,” Fleischmann said.
U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Chuck Fleischmann secured re-election endorsements Friday from a top Republican in the U.S. House, but only DesJarlais got the nod from Fleischmann’s hometown senator, a former Chattanooga mayor.
From the Chattanooga TFP: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., spoke to about 35 people at a $500-a-head breakfast fundraiser for DesJarlais at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club.
The event was closed to the press, but during a news conference afterward, both men praised DesJarlais. When reporters asked about Fleischmann, only Cantor spoke conclusively, calling the freshman Chattanooga lawmaker a “principled conservative.”
“He is somebody who is dedicated to trying to do the right thing, to set the moral compass of the nation back on track,” Cantor said.
When a reporter asked Corker if he would support Fleischmann, the senator kept mum.
“I’m basically not involved in the 3rd District race right now and haven’t been,” Corker said. In a brief interview,
Corker said House and Senate votes interrupted plans for him to speak at a Fleischmann fundraising event in Chattanooga last summer.
Congress has a 12 percent approval rating, but two area incumbents seem happy to be linked with its most powerful leaders, observes the Chattanooga TFP in reporting that U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia is expected to make same-day fundraising appearances this month for freshman Republican U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais. Fleischmann already has gotten a leg up from House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who spoke at a $1,000-per-plate dinner in Chattanooga seven months ago. DesJarlais and Fleischmann have touted several Cantor-backed votes — prohibiting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul among them — but those votes are considered ideological battle cries with no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Asked if DesJarlais worried that Cantor’s help may be a political liability in light of a March 21 Gallup poll showing Congress with a 12 percent overall approval rating, a campaign staffer said no.
“The gridlock is primarily taking place because of conflicting ideologies,” said Brandon Lewis, DesJarlais’ campaign manager. “When you’re miles apart, sometimes it takes awhile to reach an agreement and move things forward.”
A Lenoir City man was sentenced today to 14 months in federal prison for making threats against U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor and his family. From Jamie Satterfield’s report:. U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan approved at a hearing this morning a plea deal that netted Glendon Llewellyn Swift, 63, the 14-month prison term.
Swift’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jonathan Moffatt, told Varlan that Swift was drunk and grieving the recent death of his wife when, last October, he phoned Cantor’s Virginia office.
Court records state Swift left two voicemails replete with “screaming and ranting of profanities.”
In one call, Swift said, “Let me tell you something, you Republican (expletive), you (expletive, expletive) Jew. I am going to destroy you. … How about if I rape your daughter? How about if I come into your house and kill your wife, Jew boy?”
Swift admitted the calls when the FBI showed up on his doorstep days later.
Swift has already served eight months awaiting today’s sentencing. Varlan ordered him to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse and mental health issues.
From the News Sentinel:
A Lenoir City man has struck a deal to plead guilty to telephoning threats to a Virginia congressman’s family.
According to court documents, Glendon Swift, 62, has admitted that he left two anonymous telephone messages at the office of U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va) in October, and said he was drunk when he did so. Swift was ordered detained Friday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley pending a Dec. 20 hearing at which he is expected to plead guilty to one count of threatening a federal official’s family.
The plea deal calls for a 13-month prison term. But U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan must approve it at an April 4 sentencing.
When FBI agents from the Richmond, Va., field office first questioned Swift about the calls, he readily admitted he had made them, court documents state.
Swift “immediately responded that he was aware of why the agents were there and stated that he ‘got drunk the other night and started cussing people out,’ ” a court document states.
Swift, after consulting with an attorney, has signed a plea agreement. He has also agreed to have the case handled in Knoxville instead of Virginia.
The calls were made on Swift’s cellphone. They were “laden with the screaming and ranting of profanities,” and made derogatory references to the fact that Cantor is Jewish.
In one of the calls, Swift says: “How about if I rape your daughter? How about that, if I come into your house and kill your wife.”
Available court documents do not indicate Swift’s motive in making the call.
News release from Rep. Scott DesJarlais:
WASHINGTON, DC – This week (November 30th- December 7th), Representative Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) has been selected to lead House Republican’s YouCut program.
YouCut is an effort launched by Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Republicans over a year ago as a way for the American people to play a direct role in cutting wasteful government spending.
Individuals can visit the YouCut Web site (http://majorityleader.gov/YouCut/) where they will have seven days to vote to cut one of three wasteful government programs. These programs include:
1. Stop rewarding States for recruiting additional Food Stamp recipients
Potential Savings: up to $180 million over ten years
The Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) pays state governments bonuses for recruiting additional people to sign up for food stamps. Each year, states with the highest percentage of eligible participants enrolled in the program split $12 million in bonus funds. Additionally, the Department awards another $6 million in bonus money to states that are the fastest at signing up new program applicants. As of August, 2011, nearly 46 million Americans were on food stamps, or 15 percent of the population. Benefit costs were over $71 billion between September of 2010 and August of 2011. Program participation has grown steadily since the economic downturn began, and increased by 8 percent in 2011. There is no need to pay states for increasing the number of food stamp recipients they enroll in the program.
2. Terminate “environmental literacy” programs run by the Forest Service
Potential Savings — up to $50 million over ten years
The Forest Service runs numerous programs aimed at schoolchildren and classroom teachers under the rubric of “environmental literacy” or “conservation education.” These programs include such initiatives as “Green Schools” which “empowers students to lead the movement of sustainability and environmental responsibility at school, at home and in their community.” While students may benefit from some of the outdoors activities these programs provide, using taxpayer dollars to generate issue-oriented advocacy among school children and college students is inappropriate.
3. Eliminate production of duplicative workplace safety training materials
Potential Savings – up to $107 million over ten years
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] provides more than $10 million annually in grants to labor organizations and community groups to produce workplace safety training materials for employees and employers. Under the Susan Harwood Grant program, hundreds of sets of training materials have been developed since 2003 for the construction industry on avoidance of falls, for industries dealing with hazardous chemicals, and for farmworkers on avoiding injuries when working with farm machinery. Many of the annual grants repeat subject matters covered in training materials previously produced by earlier grantees. The repetitive nature of many of the subject matters suggest that the program is failing to widely disseminate products funded by the earlier grants, and instead simply acting as a funding source for grantees.
Rep. DesJarlais will announce the winning program on December 8th and introduce legislation eliminating that particular government program.
“Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, I’ve been proud to introduce, cosponsor and vote on numerous pieces of commonsense legislation that will cut wasteful government spending in order to give small businesses the confidence they need to start creating jobs,” said Representative DesJarlais. “As a Member of Congress, I believe that the best solutions to our nation’s problems often come directly from the people that we represent. YouCut is an excellent tool in allowing our constituents to get more involved in the process of getting Washington’s spending under control. I look forward to having my constituents in Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional District join Americans across the country in making their voices heard.”
“At a time when our national debt exceeds $15 trillion and Washington borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends, it is more important than ever that we start getting America’s fiscal house in order and cut wasteful spending. YouCut is an innovative program that allows hard-working taxpayers around the country to help choose how Washington cuts wasteful spending and allows them to track the legislative process from start to finish. I applaud Representative DesJarlais for his efforts to keep federal spending in check and leading the YouCut program this week,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
News release from U.S. Attorney’s office in Virginia (h/t Politico):
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Glendon Swift, 62, of Lenoir City, Tenn., was arrested late yesterday for allegedly making threats against the family of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement.
“Threatening to harm the family of a public official is a very serious charge, and we are grateful to the FBI and their law enforcement partners for their quick action in this case,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.
Swift was charged by criminal complaint of threatening to assault or murder a member of the immediate family of a United States official. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He made an initial appearance before the Honorable C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, in Knoxville, Tenn., this afternoon.
According to court documents, an unknown male left two voicemail messages with Rep. Cantor’s Glen Allen, Va., office the evening of Oct. 27, 2011. The screaming, profanity-laden messages allegedly stated that the caller was going to destroy Rep. Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife. A Congressional staff member retrieved the messages, alerted the U.S. Capitol Police, which sought the assistance of the FBI to identify and locate the individual who made the calls.
Swift was identified as the individual who subscribed to the phone number used to make the call. He was arrested without incident on Nov. 2, 2011 by the FBI in Knoxville and the Lenoir City Police Department after having been interviewed by law enforcement, and allegedly admitted to making the threatening phone calls to Rep. Cantor’s office.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Richmond and Knoxville Field Offices, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Lenoir City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.