Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of January 4, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.


1. Senator Ted Cruz

Yesterday Ted Cruz officially became a U.S. Senator and Texans should be happy about that. In fact, all conservatives should be happy across the United States. In the past few weeks and especially in the last few days, conservatives haven't had a lot to celebrate. GOP leadership is down and the party is split. Republicans and conservatives across America are wondering who will step-up and lead. Now, I'm not saying Senator Cruz will be the greatest Senator we have ever seen, but he joins what I consider a very small group in Washington. Conservatives with a bright future.

Jim DeMint was a great conservative fighter in the Senate and will do great things at the Heritage Foundation. The Senate though needed another fighter to join with Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rand Paul. Senator Cruz will join that group and I believe will do very well.

Still, they are outnumbered by those who have been in D.C. for far too long. That's why leadership is so important. With Rubio, Paul, Cruz, and a few others I think you will see the conservative message pushed a bit more. It won't be overnight or even in a year, but I think we could see some real leadership start to show.

Just a little silver-lining for those needing it this week.

2. Speaker John Boehner (link)

House Speaker John Boehner survived and was reelected House Speaker on Thursday. Though there were some defections.

Boehner won a bare majority in a vote that saw nine Republicans vote for other GOP members, and several others who abstained from voting or voted "present." Two years ago, Boehner won all 241 available GOP votes.

In a vote that opened the 113th Congress, Boehner received 220 votes, compared to 192 for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader. Fourteen members voted for other candidates or present. Boehner needed 218 votes to win reelection assuming a full roster of 435 members voted, but only 426 voted, so he only needed 214 votes.

Defectors from Boehner included Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and two freshmen, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), all voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but Cantor himself voted for Boehner.


Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for outgoing member Allen West (R-Fla.). Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted for former Comptroller General David Walker. Speakers of the House do not have to be members of the House, although historically they all have been.


Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted for Amash, and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) voted for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).


Boehner was reelected just days after facing one his toughest tests as Speaker of the House — the negotiations over the fiscal cliff.


The final will add $4 trillion to the debt, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and it won the support of a minority of Boehner's conference who criticized the measure for a lack of spending cuts.

Nothing shocking here.

3. Taxing Cars (link)

Remember when the City of Lubbock (and other cities) asked everyone to conserve water and then complained that not enough people were using so they had to raise rates? Well, that same line of thinking is now coming to cars. Oregon will consider a new tax on fuel efficient vehicles.

Beaver State lawmakers, in their upcoming session, are expected to consider legislation that would impose a charge on vehicles that get at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline, in an effort to make up for lost gas-tax revenue, according to reports.


After 2015, owners of these high-efficiency vehicles would either have to pay an undetermined per-mile tax calculated by GPS technology, or some alternative flat rate option.

According to the Salem Statesman Journal, citizens in Oregon currently pay 30 cents in tax per gallon of gas. The state has been considering how to make up for the decline in gas-tax revenue due to the advent of more efficient vehicles ever since it initiated its first task force to look at the problem in 2001.


“Everybody uses the road, and if some pay and some don’t, then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,” said Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, according to the Associated Press.

Oregon is not the first state to look at implementing a different type of tax in the face of high gas-mileage cars. In February, Washington state will begin charging electric cars owners an annual fee of $100 to make up for lost gas-tax revenue.


Opponents argue that the additional tax will deter consumers from purchasing high-efficiency vehicles, and burden the industry.


Despite the industry pushback, Salem Republican Rep. Vicki Berger argues that the tax would help level the playing field.


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