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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, February 05, 2016
President Obama Wants You to Pay More for Oil
by Sean Hackbarth, Contributing Author: Apparently oil prices are too low, so President Barack Obama thinks it’s a good idea to slap on a $10 per barrel oil tax. Politico reports:Obama aides told POLITICO that when he releases his final budget request next week, the president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.Based on current prices, this would be a roughly 30% tax on a barrel of oil.
It’s disturbing that the president’s reaction to an industry slashing jobs and cutting investments in a tough business environment is to place a massive tax on the product they produce.
“You're allowed to export, but we’re also saying is that we’re going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil,” President Obama said at a press conference.
Thankfully this tax is already “dead on arrival” in Congress, said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
President Obama knows this, but doesn’t care. As Politico notes, “It’s mostly an effort to jump-start a conversation.” And it falls squarely with his mission to end fossil fuel use in the United States.
The president acknowledged this. When questioned by reporters, President Obama said if imposed, the tax “will have further weaned our economy off dirty fuels.”
But his sweeping plan runs straight up against reality. Americans will be using oil and other fossil fuels for decades to come. Until economically viable alternatives are developed that offer the same benefits (convenience, reliability, energy density), fossil fuels will be needed to keep America’s economy moving.
There’s no question we need more revenue to fix America’s broken roads and bridges, but the oil tax covers over the real intention behind the proposal: The radical transformation of America’s energy economy.
--------------- Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and Senior Editor, Digital Content, at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service. Tags:President Obama, Wants You, to Pay More, for Oil, Sean Hackbarth, Chamber of Commerce,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Richard W. Rahn: Do you know what socialism is? Hillary Clinton struggled to find an answer when recently asked.
Socialism is a system in which the government owns or controls the means of production, and allocates resources and rewards.
Sen. Bernie Sanders proudly proclaims himself a “democratic socialist.” Many in the Democratic Party seem to have no problem with this and, in fact, are embracing him and his ideas.
Listening to all of this, one gets the feeling that for a significant portion of the population, history began in the year 2000. Where have been the great socialist success stories? Much of the world’s population greatly suffered under various forms of socialism in the 20th century. Not one of the various socialist models proved to be a success.
There was the communist socialism in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China and Cambodia, which resulted in tens of millions of deaths from starvation and from the gulags.
There was the national socialism (Nazi) model in Germany and fascist socialism in Italy, which, like the communist version, resulted in tens of millions of deaths.
Somewhat more benign, but still coercive, versions of socialism were prevalent in India, many places in Africa and South America, and all resulted in economic stagnation — because productive effort was separated from reward.
The two most socialist countries today are North Korea and Cuba — both being very poor and repressive. The average Cuban government worker has a monthly wage which is less than what the average American worker makes in an hour.
It is true that every country has some socialist enterprises at the federal, state or local levels. For instance, the U.S. government owns Amtrak, and the city of Flint, Michigan owns its water department. Arguably, both would do much better in private hands.
France has many more government-owned enterprises than neighboring Switzerland. Even France is still basically a capitalistic free-market economy — but with far less freedom and prosperity than Switzerland.
Why does socialism always fail, and why will Bernie Sanders’ schemes and, to a lesser extent, Hillary’s Obamacare version, also fail?
Under a capitalist free-market system, the business person seeks to produce goods and services that the consumer wants at the lowest possible cost — which includes having the smallest and most productive work force possible — in order to maximize profits.
Under the socialist model, the political leaders decide what the consumers should have (which is often very different from what they want or need). Productivity and innovation are given short shrift, needless workers are hired and few are fired.
In almost all cases, costs soon outrun revenues, and the losses are made up by ever higher taxes or more debt — eventually causing an economic collapse. As economic stagnation increases, the citizens become more restless and either throw off the yoke of government through the ballot box, as was done in 1979 in the United Kingdom with the election of Margaret Thatcher, or the protesters are imprisoned until often a bloody revolt occurs.
Now back to Bernie Sanders who has proposed “Medicare for all” as one of his many schemes. Economics Professor Gerald Friedman of the University of Massachusetts has examined the Sanders plan (and has no political ax to grind). He estimates it would cost $40.9 trillion ($40,942 billion) between 2017 and 2026. The entire GDP of the United States in 2014 was just $17.4 trillion.
Hospitals and doctors would be forced to take huge cuts, driving many out of the medical profession, and reducing innovation and standards in health care. Patients would be forced to wait in long queues. It would be like the present failed Veterans Administration health system for all.
Back in 2003, Joshua Muravchik wrote a classic book on the history of socialism, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. Perhaps it is time for the political class, including the commentators, to go back and read it and realize again that the next time the socialists will not get it right, because the model is fatally flawed.
What is most disturbing is the idea that America — and its unique success as a nation — was built around individual liberty and opportunity, not collective coercion. All too many no longer understand what the American Founders were trying to, and largely did, achieve. It is a tragedy that too few Americans understand the dangers of unlimited government.
The young people who support Mr. Sanders, and even Hillary, seem to be generally ignorant of why America worked. Many do not want the government to restrict unfettered abortions or their right to smoke pot, but seem to be oblivious that socialism and big government makes everyone into an economic slave.
Many workers in the Soviet Union, as is true of North Korea and Cuba today, could not even choose their own profession, or what town or apartment block they lived in. Such restrictions are the logical and necessary outcomes of socialism, unless it is thrown off before it reaches that stage.
Those in the news media who have an opportunity to quiz the presidential candidates would do the citizens a great favor if they could discern what the candidates really know about the Constitution and the arguments made in the Federalist Papers.
------------------ Rod D. Martin, writes at RodMartn.org which shared this article which was originally published at To The Point News. He is founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and conservative activist. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy, a Past President of the National Federation Republican Assemblies. and a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Rod Martin, RodMartin.org, Richard W. Rahn, Socialism, Form of SlaveryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Border Security Is National Security & Obama Wants To Raise Your Taxes
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: It is a phrase I have repeated over and over again during recent national debates about immigration reform: "Border security is national security." There is nothing racist or bigoted about that statement. It is simply common sense. And it is a lesson Europe is learning the hard way.
According to the Associated Press, the Belgian woman who alerted police to the location of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attacks, also told authorities that Abbaaoud entered France with 90 other Islamic extremists. Abbaaoud claimed that they got in with a wave of migrants and came without any documents.
Her story -- that ISIS terrorists entered Europe as refugees -- is being confirmed by Germany's intelligence service. Yesterday, it thwarted an ISIS plot to attack Berlin, and top officials say they have received more than 100 tips warning of Islamic extremists among the refugees.
Closer to home, the Drug Enforcement Agency announced this week that it busted a major Hezbollah drug smuggling operation. It is part of an ongoing project "which targets and monitors the global network of Hezbollah activities responsible for moving large quantities of cocaine in the U.S. and Europe."
If Hezbollah can smuggle drugs into the country, it could just as easily smuggle terrorists.
And then there's this: The president of the National Border Patrol Council testified before Congress this week that the Obama Administration has reinstated its policy of "<catch and release" when it comes to illegal immigrants apprehended at the border.
"We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether," agent Brandon Judd told members of a House Judiciary subcommittee.
We should be learning from Europe's mistakes right now, but instead we are repeating them.
Obama Wants To Raise Your Taxes
As President Obama puts together the last budget of his administration -- THANK GOODNESS! -- he is coming up with creative ways to raise your taxes, promote his radical left-wing agenda and simultaneously punish vital American industries.
One bright spot in the economy lately has been low gas prices. But Obama wants to put an end to that. He is proposing a new $10 tax on every barrel of oil. If enacted and passed on to consumers, it would raise gas prices 25 cents a gallon! It's a $20 billion tax hike on working families and anyone who heats their home with oil.
It would be a devastating blow to many American energy companies, which are already struggling to stay competitive in a market flooded by cheap Saudi crude.
Why is Obama doing this? Surely Democrats don't want to raise taxes on struggling families, right?
Think again, folks. Don't forget that this is all part of the left's radical "green agenda." He is punishing people for driving cars and using fossil fuels -- people who are just trying to go to work and provide for their families.
His first energy secretary said we needed gas prices to be around $7.00 a gallon.
Republicans need to get Bernie and Hillary on the record on Obama's gas tax plan and start running ads now!
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton took the gloves off last night in their first one-on-one debate in New Hampshire. I won't go through the whole debate, but Clinton is clearly worried -- and rightly so.
Sanders has momentum. He probably won the Iowa caucuses. He outraised her last month. He has a big lead in New Hampshire. And a new poll today finds them tied nationally. Hillary is "feeling the Bern."
So she went on the attack last night. Clinton aggressively pushed back against Sanders' attacks on her progressive credentials.
In short, both Democrat candidates are running as far to the left as fast as their aging legs will allow! Even after seven years of Obama's failed policies, Clinton and Sanders are doubling down, trying to out "progressive" each other.
Hopefully, the RNC was watching too and recording every word.
Failing Our Children; Failing America
I saw this depressing headline recently: "U.S. Schools Get Failing Grade For Financial Literacy Education." According the report, fewer than half of the states require high school students to take a basic economics class. Even fewer require students to take courses in personal finance.
Needless to say, this lack of basic education helps to explain this headline: "Young Voters Prefer Bernie Sanders. . ."
Exit polls from the Iowa caucuses found Sanders winning the Millennial generation by margins that would have made members of the Soviet Politburo blush. One columnist declared that even though the candidates tied, "Sanders won the future" of the Democrat Party.
But there is good news. Guess what 55% of college students said was their most trusted source for financial information? It wasn't Google. It wasn't their friends or even liberal college professors. It was PARENTS!
So, here's your homework assignment for the weekend: Please, please, please talk to your children, especially if they are voting-age high school seniors or college students.
Remind them that the government does not produce wealth. The only money it has is what it takes from the people who do create wealth.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Border Security Is National Security, Obama Wants To Raise Your Taxes, Dueling Democrats, Failing Our Children; Failing AmericaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Michael Barone: Now that the results of last Monday's Iowa caucuses are in, speculation naturally turns to next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.
Will Donald Trump fail once again to receive the percentage he's getting in polls? Will Marco Rubio build on his close third-place Iowa finish to overshadow rivals Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie, who have been rivaling him in New Hampshire polls?
In a state where evangelical Protestants make up only 22 percent of primary voters, will Cruz fail to replicate what he got in Iowa (where 64 percent of GOP primary voters identify as evangelical Protestants)? Will Hillary Clinton lose as badly to Bernie Sanders as current polling indicates?
The most plausible answer to each of these questions is yes. But presidential nomination politics is full of surprises. We'll have answers in a few days.
But in the Iowa results, we already have answers to some tantalizing questions that have been hanging over the political landscape for months. The most tantalizing of which concern the one thing polls aren't good at projecting: turnout.
The vote counters from Microsoft report that 186,000 Iowans voted in the Republican caucuses. Iowa Democratic officials say that 171,000 votes were cast in the Democratic caucuses (where the official results are scored in state convention delegate equivalents).
Let's put that in historic perspective. In 2012 Republican turnout was 122,000. In 2008, the last time both parties had nomination contests, Republican turnout was 119,000, and Democratic turnout 220,000. In 2004 Democratic turnout was 124,000.
In other words, Democratic turnout doubled between 2004 and 2008 -- a good indicator of the party's increased strength during the second George W. Bush term. It presumably also reflected genuine enthusiasm for candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and (remember him?) John Edwards. The fact that about twice as many Democrats as Republicans turned out was a good indicator of the Democratic victories in Iowa and the nation that November.
The balance of enthusiasm seems to tilt the other way this year. Republican turnout wasn't hugely larger than Democratic; it amounted to 52 percent of the two-party turnout in a politically marginal state. But the trend line is positive for Republicans (turnout up 54 percent from 2012) and negative for Democrats (turnout was down 22 percent form 2008).
That's in line with another indicator -- the viewership of the parties' presidential debates. Between 11 million and 24 million people have watched the seven debates -- all significantly above the party's previous record of 8 million. Viewership averaged 16.6 million. Democratic viewership was between 8 million and 16 million, averaging 10.6 million, the party's previous record. An uptick for Democrats, a surge upward for Republicans.
One theory is that the Republican increase was due to the celebrity appeal of Donald Trump. Partly but not entirely, I conclude from extrapolations (necessarily somewhat imprecise) from Iowa entrance polls. Republicans had 84,000 first-time caucus-goers, more than the 75,000 Democrats. Trump did lead with 25,000 first-timers, but 19,000 voted for Ted Cruz and 18,000 for Marco Rubio. Trump attracted newcomers but so did his main rivals.
Some 119,000 of Republicans were evangelical Protestants, up from 69,000 in 2012. This tends to support Cruz's argument that he can bring out conservative previous non-voters. But only up to a point: Cruz got 39,000 votes from evangelicals, Trump and Rubio 25,000 each. Other candidates and other factors may be drawing them in too.
One big demographic split in 2012 Republican primaries was between college-graduate and non-college voters. This split was visible but not stark in Iowa. Cruz and Trump got about 55 percent of their votes from non-college-grads; Rubio got about 60 percent of his from college-grads.
Young people continue to be reluctant to participate in Iowa's protracted caucus process: Only 15 percent of caucus-goers were under 30. But though most voted Democratic, only 4,000 voted for Hillary Clinton, the same as Trump and less than Rubio's 5,000 and Cruz's 6,000.
In the 2008 Democratic caucuses, 28,000 young Iowans voted for Obama. That was a harbinger of his November 66-to-32 percent win among millennials, which accounted for almost all his popular vote margin. Clinton seems incapable of duplicating that, or even the reduced millennial percentages Obama and Democrats have won since 2008.
Clinton runs much stronger among older Democrats: 81 percent of her caucus votes came from those over 45. But Iowans of this age group voted significantly more often in Republican than Democratic caucuses.
So there's some modest good news for Republicans and modest bad news for Democrats in the Iowa numbers. On to New Hampshire.
--------------------- Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Fox News Channel contributor, co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, and contributed this article to Townhall.com a source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis. Tags:Probing for Clues, Iowa Caucus Numbers, Michael Barone, Townhall.comTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Include Carly Fiorina In This Saturday’s NH Debate
by Aaron Goldstein: Republicans will debate on Saturday night in New Hampshire. Aside from Jim Gilmore, the only Republican who has not been invited by ABC to participate in this debate is Carly Fiorina and she is not happy about it. In an open letter to the RNC, Fiorina writes:To review, we beat Governors Christie and Kasich in Iowa this week when voters actually had their say. This campaign has the same number of delegates as Governors Bush and Kasich while Governor Christie has zero. We’re ahead of Dr. Carson in New Hampshire polling. We are 6th in hard dollars raised and have twice the cash on hand as either Governors Christie or Kasich. We are already on the ballot in 32 states, and there is a ground game with paid staff in 12 states. Yet, all of these candidates will be invited to the ABC debate. I will not.She subsequently told The Hill, “It’s hard to justify a single candidate, the only woman, being excluded.” Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post criticized Fiorina for playing the gender card. But Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and New Hampshire GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte have all called upon ABC to include Fiorina in the debate.
I don't think Fiorina's argument relies primarily on the gender card, but it would look bad if the Republicans have a female presidential candidate who is excluded from the stage. Even though it's a charter member of the liberal media that is the one doing the excluding, ABC's competitors will have little trouble in criticizing the GOP for a lack of diversity (notwithstanding the presence of Ben Carson).
At this point, we no longer have 17 candidates. The debate stage is big enough for everybody (even Jim Gilmore). I think Fiorina has been a positive presence in the race and it is a mystery to me why she has not done better. Rubin might not think that Fiorina brings much to the debate stage. She's entitled to that view. But why not let the voters of New Hampshire decide if Fiorina has merit? It's their primary. She's on the ballot. She should be heard. I simply do not see the harm of Carly Fiorina being on the debate stage on Saturday night. As such, the RNC (and if necessary her fellow candidates) should step in and insist she be included.
-------------- Aaron Goldstein began his political life as a socialist. But following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he gradually embraced the wisdom of conservatism. His article was first shared by the non-profit The American Spectator. Tags:Include, Carly Fiorina, ABC debate, Saturday’s NH Debate, RNC, Aaron Goldstein, The American SpectatorTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
It’s we, the much-lauded “Ninety-nine Percenters,” who don’t pay enough!
At least, when we figure taxes paid against direct subsidies/services rendered: taxes minus transfers. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, only the top quintile of income earners — including the much-abhorred One Percenters — pay appreciably more in taxes than they receive in “benefits.”
In a republic, you would expect the masses to pay taxes, receiving only indirect benefits, like a broadly defined “security” and “the rule of law.”
The calculation of who is and is not a net tax-payer or net tax-consumer has to be difficult. I certainly haven’t vetted the studies carefully. But previous accountings also show that the super-rich pay the bulk of income taxes in America.
How to put the system aright?
Don’t tax us more!
Bernie’s preference, to tax a whole lot more as well as to provide more subsidies and “benefits,” will only make a bigger mess.
Unfortunately, doing the right thing (cutting back on the giveaways at all levels) is politically . . . tricky.
But there’s something missing in all this: the indirect hazards of the “benefits” . . . the opportunity costs involved when we get hooked on hand-outs. The most trapped people in America are those who pay the least and take the most. The dollar-value of their received transfer payments measure neither their dependency nor their consequent lack of upward mobility.
How could we figure real harms and helps embedded in the current system, when some “benefits” are, in fact, detriments?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, B.S. Theory, tax the rich, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Saudi Arabia: We're Ready To Join Ground Operations In Syria
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri
WASHINGTON /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Defense today announced it is prepared to deploy ground forces in Syria to fight Daesh (ISIS), if the U.S.-led international coalition also deploys ground forces.
Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, advisor in the Office of the Minister of Defense, made this announcement during an interview with Al Arabiya. Since 2014, Saudi Arabia has been among the coalition of nations of Operation Inherent Resolve conducting airstrikes against Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in Syria.
Saudi Arabia has been an international leader in finding a solution in Syria, through financial, military and diplomatic means. Saudi Arabia has provided more than $700 million in aid to the Syrian people. Today, Saudi Arabia pledged an additional $100 million in funding at the international donors' conference in London.
Saudi Arabia has long condemned terrorism in all its forms and maintains a policy of strong international cooperation to fight terrorism around the world. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a multi-national Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, with a joint operations center based in Riyadh.
------------------ SOURCE Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Information Office Tags:Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, Saudia Arabia, ground operations, Daesh in Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Did Your Representative Vote To End Operation Choke Point?
. . . Votes Below.
by Kelsey Harkness: The House of Representatives concluded a tense debate Thursday by voting 250-169 to end a controversial Obama administration program called Operation Choke Point.
Critics say the secretive program, run by the Department of Justice, has been used to target politically unpopular industries such as gun sellers.
“We’re elated,” Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-MO, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told The Daily Signal after the vote. “We’ve been working on this for two and a half years—we’ve been lied to, put off and dissed by the different regulatory agencies, and we’ve prevailed.”
Operation Choke Point was launched by the Justice Department in 2013 as a way to fight fraud by pressuring banks to “choke off” access to credit and other banking services by merchants and industries the administration considered at a high risk for fraud.
Without access to banking services, it is difficult—if not impossible—for a business to survive.
Republicans who have been fighting the program believe the Obama administration abused its power under Operation Choke Point by targeting entire lines of legal industries. Some members view the tactics as “reminiscent of the IRS targeting of conservatives,” as Rep. French Hill, R-AR, said Thursday on the House floor.
Businesses targeted under Operation Choke Point include gun sellers, pawn shops and short-term lenders. The National Rifle Association is among groups that have strongly come out against it.
“Congressman Luetkemeyer’s legislation puts an end to the Obama administration’s unwarranted attacks upon a legal and thriving sector of the American economy,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, I’d like to thank Congressman Luetkemeyer for his steadfast support of the Second Amendment and congratulate him on the passage of H.R. 766.”
Luetkemeyer’s bill, the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, bans federal agencies that oversee banks from requesting or ordering that banks terminate customer accounts “unless the regulator has material reason.”
“We are debating a bill on the floor of the House that says the government can’t force banks to shut down legal banking accounts,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, said on the House floor. “The fact that we have to have this debate frightens me.”
The measure requires that any requests to close a customer’s banking account that come from a federal official be made in writing and rely on information other than “reputational risk.”
The term “reputational risk” has become a sticking point in the Operation Choke Point debate, as critics of the program believe the term has been used to provide federal regulators a way to close bank accounts of legal and legitimate businesses the Obama administration doesn’t like.
“Reputational risk” is a commonly used term in the banking industry to describe businesses—often illegal—that are at high risk for fraud.
In 2011, guidelines created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) labeled firearms and ammunition sellers as “reputational risks,” pinning them alongside pornography and other enterprises like Ponzi schemes and racist materials.
According to investigations conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that list was adopted into the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point. After its adoption, many gun sellers, pawn shops and short-term lenders reported their bank accounts being shut down.
In an effort to protect these business owners, which Republicans say are “Main Street” mom and pop shops, Luetkemeyer re-introduced his bill to choke off Operation Choke Point.
Luetkemeyer had the full support of Republicans in the House, including Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the Financial Services Committee. On the House floor, Hensarling called the program an “outrage” to the American people. “We are losing the rule of law to the discretion of regulators,” he said. “For legally constituted businesses to have to fear that in the dark of night they’re going to be shut down by the awesome power of the Obama administration is an outrage.”
Since its inception, Operation Choke Point has been shrouded in secrecy. Although the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act passed with bipartisan support—with 10 Democrats voting in favor of the bill—many on the left have likened its to a conservative conspiracy theory.
But in a change of pace Thursday, some Democrats on the House floor acknowledged instances of innocent business owners losing access to basic financial services, and even applauded Luetkemeyer for his efforts. However, those Democrats stopped short of supporting the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act.
“We had a problem in a lot of communities around the country with businesses getting access to the banking system and I know [Luetkemeyer] worked this very hard last year,” Rep. Denny Heck, D-WA, said. “Unfortunately, this bill goes farther.”
“I have seen some closures of accounts that I think are not adequately justified, but this bill doesn’t just solve that problem,” Rep. Keith Ellison, D-MN, said. “It goes far beyond just simply calling for a justification of arbitrarily closed accounts.”
Those Democrats, led by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, argued the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act would give Wall Street a “get out of jail free card.” “[Republicans] refuse to tell you what’s really in this bill,” Waters said. “They can not stand up and defend why in the world they would take away the [Justice Department’s] ability to investigate bad banks.”
Waters pointed to a section that would amend the the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, the statute that the Justice Department uses to carry out Operation Choke Point.
Under that law, Justice Department officials pursued civil penalties against banks doing business with fraudulent customers.
“The DOJ has relied heavily on the powers granted under [the reform law] since the financial crisis,” Waters said. “Why would anybody want to take away the Justice Department’s investigative powers?”
Luetkemeyer accused Waters of spreading “misinformation,” insisting her interpretation of the changes included in the bill are “absolutely, positively, 100 percent incorrect.”
“What it does do is stop DOJ from filing charges against banks for fraud whenever the bank’s customer commits a crime or is doing something nefarious with one of their customers. In other words, you can’t be responsible for what your customer is doing,” he said, adding: “I have a 35-year-old son. If he goes out and robs a quick shop, should I be responsible for him?”
The White House voiced opposition to the bill, issuing a veto threat Tuesday against what the administration calls “unnecessary, overly burdensome” requirements. “Restricting the federal banking agencies in this way could unnecessarily and dangerously hinder or compromise important law enforcement and national security efforts,” The White House said in a formal statement.
Luetkemeyer told The Daily Signal that he’s pleased to get the attention of the Obama administration. “It tells me that they’re afraid of what we’re trying to do,” he said.
. . . Stimulation of growth through a corporate tax-rate cut!
by Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow and Arthur Laffer: Everyone’s blaming the oil price collapse and China’s sliding economy, for the rout of the stock market these first two weeks of 2016. That’s part of the story, but there may also be a policy explanation for the bearish sell-off.
Call it the Bernie Sanders effect. In the Democratic presidential primary debate last week between Hillary and Bernie, the race was on to see which could raise taxes and punish businesses more. While Hillary was touting her income tax surcharge on millionaires that could raise income taxes to near 50 percent (and her capital gains tax hike), Sen. Sanders said that a 90 percent tax rate might be too high, but somewhere approaching that number is the target he’d shoot for. Bernie also talks about breaking up the banks, putting Wall Streeters in jail, a single-payer health care plan to the left of Obamacare, and adding trillions of new government spending.
This isn’t blossoming investor confidence. Was it just coincidence that polls that show Bernie surging into a widening lead against Hillary in New Hampshire and even beating several Republicans in a head-to-head competition were released the same day the stock market took another nose dive.
But for the umpteenth time: Where is the Republican growth message? The economy is sputtering clearly with corporate profits and business investment weakening and consumer spending slowing down as well. The GOP runs the House and Senate, but still no sign of a growth package to offer up a contrasting vision from the Bernie and Hillary show. Too many in the GOP have bought into the Chamber of Commerce unwise idea that funding the Export-Import Bank is a stimulus.
If the economy does sink into negative territory this year, the Democrats will surely demand more infrastructure spending, unemployment assistance, job training and a panoply of “stimulus” budget busters that didn’t work in 2009 and won’t work now. The Republican response to this nonsense should be short and sweet: been there. Done that.
What could be done right now to stimulate growth, investment and investor confidence almost immediately? The answer is a business tax rate reduction. Pass a rate cut to 15 percent, with full capital expensing and a 5 percent voluntary repatriation tax on the $2 trillion owned by U.S. multinational firms that is parked abroad to avoid the high corporate tax.
This won’t cost the Treasury much in lost revenues, and who knows? It may raise money over five years through the money and businesses repatriated back to America. Apple and GE might bring back tens of billions of dollars for assembly plants and research centers on these shores.
The current U.S. rate of 35 percent (federal) is the highest of all the nations we compete with. The rest of the world is at a rate closer to 25 percent with some nations like Ireland as low as 12.5 percent. Let’s go from the highest rate in the world to one of the lowest and see what happens to capital flows.
We know the 35 percent rate is an economic Get Out of Town and Do Not Stop at Go card. We have seen companies like Burger King, Medtronics. Pfizer, and dozens more leave the United States. In search of lower tax rates. More companies will scamper out if this isn’t fixed — and they take jobs with them.
Liberals like to pretend that the U.S. tax rates aren’t chasing out businesses and jobs, but then why are all the nations we compete with slashing their rates. The international average has come down from almost 40 percent in 1990 to 25 percent today. For two and a half decades the U.S. rates haven’t budged, while the rest of the world keeps chopping. We’re like a 6th grader who stops growing and then goes out and tries to play competitive basketball with 20 year olds over six feet tall.
Study after study tells us that the corporate tax at 35 percent is a loser. The American Enterprise Institute has found that wages rise much slower, if at all, in nations with high corporate tax rates. This happens because of less investment in the high tax nations, which means lower paying jobs. In other words, it’s not rich fat cat shareholders, but working class Americans who suffer the most.
Even President Obama’s own tax reform commission, headed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker found “deep flaws” in the corporate tax. It concluded that the corporate tax “acts to reduce the productivity of American businesses and American workers, increase the likelihood and cost of financial distress, and drain resources away from more valuable uses.”
As for the stimulus value of our proposed business tax cut, the Tax Foundation finds that immediate expensing and cutting the business tax rate are the best short-term strategy for generating more growth. Here is how the Foundation put it: “A cut in the corporate tax rate would have large effects on GDP, but minimal effects on federal revenue in the long run.” Nothing else has this kind of big bang for the buck payoff. By the way, for those Keynesians out there stuck on the demand side, tax rebates and credits, produce almost no positive feedback.
Republicans are preparing their budget plan this week. They should use a process that President Reagan used called Reconciliation to make room for a corporate tax cut jobs stimulus. This means the Republicans in the Senate will need only 51 votes to pass it once the House does so by a wide margin. We can imagine several Democrats in red states joining the GOP for this growth stimulus.
If Mr. Obama vetoes such a bill, austerity Democrats will pay a high price in November.
We’re all for a sweeping tax reform in 2017 and perhaps a flat tax with a Republican president in office. But it’s time for a tax cut down payment. Cut the corporate tax now.
------------------- Stephen Moore, Larry Kudlow and Arthur Laffer are cochairmen of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Mr. Moore is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Project for Economic Growth, at The Heritage Foundation and is also an economic consultant with Freedom Works which shared this article previously published at the Washington Times. Tags:Stephen Moore, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer, Economy Needs, stimulation, corporate tax-rate cutTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: At a New Hampshire Town Hall on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton claimed that Goldman Sachs/Wall Street is not donating to her campaign anymore, implying that they know just how tough she will be on them and won’t support her anymore.
That’s a big lie.
That huge bonanza is still pouring in. Big time. According to FEC reports, Hillary has received $21.4 million from the financial and insurance industry — almost 15% of the total $157.8 million she raised. And she’s still trolling them for big money. Last week, she left Iowa to attend a hedge fund money raiser in Philadelphia. She has several other Wall Street fundraisers scheduled, but postponed them until after the New Hampshire primary. The optics wouldn’t be too good while Bernie is raising the issue.
But she’ll be back when she thinks no one is looking.
It’s worth noting that Hillary has received a total of $41 million in campaign money from those same folks since she first ran for the Senate in 2000. And the money keeps pouring in.
But it is not just campaign money that Wall Street send her way. They take care of the Clintons personally, too. Since 2013, Hillary has raked in about $3 million in Wall Street speeches.
The $625,000 Goldman Sachs Speeches
Hillary claimed that she took $625,000 in fees from Goldman for 3 speeches since she left the Secretary of State’s office in 2013 because “that’s what they offered.”
That’s what they offered?
No, that’s what she demanded. That’s the regular — and outrageous — speaking fee her agent listed. Ten other big banks handed over the same fee. Are we supposed to believe that they each came up with the same outrageous amount on their own? No, that was the price of admission.
And it was a good investment for Goldman Sachs. They know they’ll get a good return on it. In one of her pricey speeches to the Wall Street powerhouse, Hillary soothed the friendly bankers, saying “we’re all in this together.” For Hillary, it’s all in the family. Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd Blankfein is an investor in Chelsea’s husband’s hedge fund. Marc Mezvinsky used to work for Goldman.
And Bill cleaned up, too. According to the Associated Press, “during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, Bill Clinton earned $17 million in talks to banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, real estate businesses, and other financial firms. Altogether, the couple are estimated to have made over $139 million from paid speeches.”
So the Clintons are no stranger to Goldman and Wall Street. In fact, the Clinton Foundation even rented office space from them at one point. That’s what friends are for.
Just to help out, though, Goldman’s Blankfein called Bernie Sanders “dangerous” on CNBC last week. He knows who he can count on.
What Will Wall Street Get in Return?
The central reform that populists want to impose to stop the big bank gravy train is the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act prohibiting banks from using federally insured deposits to make risky investments. Hillary opposes reinstatement of the prohibition, which was repealed in 1999 when her husband signed the necessary legislation. That repeal opened the floodgates for the bank speculation and enabled Goldman to have a very profitable IPO at the same time as the repeal was passing. It’s also blamed for the 2008 crash. And, as Elizabeth Warren has pointed out, Hillary sided with the big banks on bankruptcy reform, she’ll be there for them again.
Hillary: Every Secretary of State And President Does It
Hillary’s campaign has come up with a new, but highly unconvincing, talking point on her speaking fees. Barbara Boxer floated it a few days ago and Hillary repeated it at the Town Hall. Time to try another one. That one won’t fly. She told Anderson Cooper that every President and Secretary of State makes large speaking fees. But as Cooper retorted, those people were not running for President.
But she was.
Then came her next big lie: she wasn’t sure that she would run for President.
Does anyone on earth really believe that she wasn’t running for President? The only reason she didn’t announce her candidacy was so she could grab those big fees. And the only reason for the big fees is that she might be President. That’s what all the coyness was about.
Hillary lied again and again at the Town Hall and she did it will great arrogance. She seemed extremely irritated that anyone would dare to challenge her. How dare anyone question her motives!
The late New York Times writer William Safire got it right twenty years ago — Hillary Clinton is, as he said, a “congenital liar.” She hasn’t changed.
------------- Richard "Dick" Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant. He has worked on both sides of politics for candidates. Eileen McGann is an attorney who, with her husband, Dick, write columns. Their articles can be found at DickMorris.com and HillaryDaily.com. Tags:Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, Commentary, DickMorris.com, Hillary Clinton, Wall Street, LiesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Florida House Overwhelmingly Approves Campus Carry
by Bob Owens: The Florida House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a campus carry bill.Guns would be allowed on college campuses under a bill passed by the Florida House.
The House voted 80-37 to pass the bill after an hour-and-a-half of contentious debate Wednesday. Republicans said the bill would keep campuses safer while Democrats argued just the opposite.The vote shows a basic difference in the philosophical outlook of the two main political parties in the United States.
Republicans, as a general rule, think that citizens should have more liberty and that people can generally be trusted to act responsibly in their best interests and in the interests of society at large. That is why they view having concealed carriers on campus as a positive step. They view it as having additional campus security in the event of crime (or in a much less likely scenario of a mass shooting or a terrorist attack).
Anti-gun Democrats—who sadly have driven millions of conservative and liberal gun-owning Democrats to the fringes of the party—think that people are inherently incapable of taking care of themselves and acting like adults if government isn’t there to force them to follow rules and hover over them as a “helicopter parent” with a strict list of what they can and cannot do. These politicians are terrified not only irrationally terrified of firearms as a tool, but of the liberty that firearms symbolize. They are like the fear-wracked parent hovering over a perfectly functional young person heading off to college, irrationally convinced that the normal process of maturing and seeking more knowledge and responsibility will lead to their doom.
I’m going to suggest that as this legislation progresses anti-gun Democrats are going to scream—as they screamed when the concealed carry revolution started in Florida three decades ago—that the result of this law will be “blood in the streets.”
Once campus law is approved, in this legislative session or another, we’ll see that their claims were false.
That is the way it has always been, and the way it will always likely be.
------------------ Bob Owens is the Editor of BearingArms.com. A long-time shooting enthusiast, he began blogging as a North Carolina native in New York. His personal blog is bob-owens.com, and he can be found on Twitter at @bob_owens. Tags:Florida House, approves, campus carry, Bob Owens, Bearing ArmsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: I read the president's speech to the Islamic Society of Baltimore and found that it was a very muddled message. Below are a few quotes from the speech followed by my response.
BARACK OBAMA: But on top of that, as Muslim Americans, you also have another concern -- and that is your entire community so often is targeted or blamed for the violent acts of the very few.
RESPONSE: Actually, there is very little blaming of the "entire" Muslim community. There is anger over the delusional mindset of Obama and others arguing that the jihadists have NOTHING to do with Islam.
BARACK OBAMA: No surprise, then, that threats and harassment of Muslim Americans have surged.
RESPONSE: There is no real evidence of any significant increase in anti-Muslim bias, although anti-Semitism is growing as Muslim immigration to America increases.
BARACK OBAMA: For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam's message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam -- peace.
RESPONSE: Islam has a long history of war. Its founder was a wielder of the sword. And "Islam" also means "submission."
BARACK OBAMA: The world's 1.6 billion Muslims are as diverse as humanity itself.
RESPONSE: They are indeed diverse. But seven of the ten worst deniers of human rights are Muslim nations. Coincidence?
BARACK OBAMA: A Muslim American designed the skyscrapers of Chicago.
RESPONSE: He must have been a good architect. So what? Muslims knocked down the biggest skyscrapers of New York City.
BARACK OBAMA: Muslim Americans keep us safe.
RESPONSE: Yes, and Muslim Americans in Boston, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Washington, D.C., New York and Chattanooga have tried to kill us.
BARACK OBAMA: . . . it is undeniable that a small fraction of Muslims propagate a perverted interpretation of Islam. This is the truth.
RESPONSE: It is not a small fraction. If it were, then so much of the Muslim world would not reject religious liberty and embrace anti-Semitism.
I could go on, but you get the point.
Obama's Contradiction - One of the overall themes of the president's speech yesterday was religious tolerance and reassuring the Muslim audience that their right to practice their faith will be safeguarded. That has been a fundamental tenet of our country from the very beginning.
The problem is that the president has been the major violator of that tenet when it comes to traditional Catholics and evangelical Christians. He has regularly attacked Christian liberty and been struck down several times by the Supreme Court, even at times on 9-to-0 votes.
Obama has shown disdain for traditional Christians, referring to them as "clinging" to their Bibles. He has attempted to exploit the Christian faith by suggesting that Jesus was a big government advocate who would support his programs.
And at the very time he gave this speech, his army of Justice Department attorneys and left-wing allies are trying to make sure that no Christian in America can refuse, on the grounds of freedom of religion, to participate in a same-sex marriage.
I will applaud some of the good rhetoric in his speech when I see the president apologize to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby.
Stop Blaming Us! Of course the left-wing media are hailing the president's mosque speech, and they are also wagging their fingers at the American people. Here's how the Washington Post explained it:
"Obama's remarks came at a time of growing fear and division in the country, a climate that in recent months has unnerved many American Muslims and surprised senior White House officials."
American Muslims are "unnerved"? Forgive me if my first thought after Muslim supremacists kill us is not what the impact is on the Muslim community.
In the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the whole country is unnerved by a commander-in-chief who calls our enemy "the JV team," denies the obvious, and doesn't have a strategy!
I am unnerved every time I go through the security line at Reagan National Airport. Most Americans, in a country that has fought hard for the equality of the sexes, are unnerved when they see a woman in a full burka.
I am unnerved every time I see a report of Middle Eastern men taking pictures of a military base or a dam or a school.
I wonder if the women in Germany were unnerved as they were raped and molested by Muslim men? Do you think Israeli Jews are unnerved when they walk down the streets of Jerusalem knowing that any Muslim they pass might plunge a knife into them?
What about the 3,000 Americans on 9/11? I doubt many in the Twin Towers or on the airplanes that day were feeling very comfortable.
If American Muslims are so unnerved that we are bothered by terrorism, maybe they should be saying more about the sickness that is flourishing within their faith. I am still waiting for the Million Muslim march against anti-Semitism and jihad.
Now obviously not all Muslims are doing these things. But I have zero tolerance for the left's bashing of Americans who care about freedom, religious liberty and the safety of their families.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, President Obama, muddled message, speech, Muslims Society of Baltimore To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: When people talk about our problem with immigration usually they are talking about people who cross our borders illegally. But there is another problem that deserves our attention. That is the problem of foreigners who come to this country legally on a visa but remain after their visas expire.
If you think this is a small problem, then you need to look at the new report from the Department of Homeland Security. It concludes that almost 500,000 foreigners who traveled to this country last year overstayed their visas. The numbers are shocking but so is the fact that Congress asked for this report back in 1997.
Members of Congress expressed their frustration at the weakness in the visa system. Currently the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (which is part of Homeland Security) does not have the ability to obtain biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial recognition for people leaving the country.
Senator Jeff Sessions believes that: “If we do not track and enforce departures, then we have open borders. It’s as simple as that.” Essentially there is no border if you cannot enforce our visa regulations.
Jessica Vaughn (Center for Immigration Studies) is surprised that the government has apparently done very little to address the problems in its entry-exit system since the 9/11. She was also concerned since the 9/11 Commission recommended solidifying the entry-exit system in this country. She remarked: “The implementation on a better exit tracking system is more a lack of will than a lack of viable solutions.”
This Homeland Security report is a reminder that more needs to be done to secure our borders. And it reminds us that building a wall and controlling our border is only one important issue in the immigration debate. We need to be concerned about foreigners who overstay their visas.
----------- Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service Tags:Kerby Anderson, Viewpoints, Point of View, Foreigners Overstayed, Their Visas, failed governmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
"Your great-grandchildren won't thank you when the state is all-powerful because we didn't fight."
by Mark Tapson: For an entertaining change of pace, check out this brief clip from a recent episode of the extraordinarily popular TV series Downton Abbey. In this scene, the Dowager countess played by the acting icon Maggie Smith expounds upon her attitude toward freedom and big government. It's a pleasant surprise for conservative viewers, who don't often hear their viewpoint expressed so affirmatively without being held up for ridicule.
"For years I've watched governments take control of our lives, and their argument is always the same: fewer costs, greater efficiency," she tells her companions. "But the result is the same too: less control by the people, more control by the state, until the individual's own wishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist."
When one of the ladies argues otherwise, the Countess replies, "Your great-grandchildren won't thank you when the state is all-powerful because we didn't fight."
------------- Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the editor of TruthRevolt.com Tags:Big Government, Government, Mark Tapson, Downton Abbey, dowager countess, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:odds, coin flip, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, editorial cartoon, AF BrancoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Praises For 10 Early Cosponsors of Article One Supplemental
Rep. "Ken" Buck (R-CO-4)
Fairfax, Va.— Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today praised the 10 early cosponsors of the Consolidated Appropriations Amendments of 2016offered by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.):"The surest, most effective way to stop Obama's continued usurpation of congressional authority is to defund those overreaching regulations and executive actions using Congress' power of the purse. Americans for Limited Government thanks Representatives Paul Gosar, Jeff Duncan, Mark Meadows, Glenn Grothman, Barry Loudermilk, Pete Sessions, Matt Salmon, Marlin Stutzman, Scott DesJarlais and Louie Gohmert for being early co-sponsors of Representative Ken Buck's Article One bill which defunds some of President Obama's most onerous executive overreaches.
"The Article One supplemental includes many provisions that have already been vetted by House appropriations committees and included in underlying appropriations bills, as well as those that have passed the House of Representatives on the floor. These riders were unfortunately left on the table during the omnibus negotiations, but 2016 provides a fresh opportunity to rein in the last 11 months of the Obama administration — before he does any more damage to the nation and the constitutional separation of powers which are fundamental to our freedoms.
"In addition, the bill would prevent President Obama from enacting any 'midnight regulations' as his Administration thankfully winds to an end.
"Rhetoric about Congress reasserting its Constitutional prerogatives has become a standard talking point for many in the House Conference, Representative Ken Buck and these ten early co-sponsors are demonstrating that tough talk is not enough, Congress must act. We strongly urge other Members to join the growing momentum in favor of real assertion of Article One authority by cosponsoring the Consolidated Appropriation Amendments of 2016."" A Washington Examiner article titled Stand up for the Constitution and roll back executive power by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) identified the early cosponsors as:Rep. Gosar, Paul A. [R-AZ-4]
Rep. Duncan, Jeff [R-SC-3]
Rep. Meadows, Mark [R-NC-11]
Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6]
Rep. Loudermilk, Barry [R-GA-11]
Rep. Sessions, Pete [R-TX-32]
Rep. Salmon, Matt [R-AZ-5]
Rep. Stutzman, Marlin A. [R-IN-3]
Rep. DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN-4]
Rep. Gohmert, Louie [R-TX-1]Tags:Sponsor, Article One Supplemental, Consolidated Appropriation Amendments of 2016, Rep. Ken Buck, Americans for Limited Government praise, early co-sponsorsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
New Budget Showdown: Conservatives Want to Disavow Boehner Deal
Reps. Bill Flores and Jim Jordan, leaders of the
conservative Republican Study Committee and House
Freedom Caucus respectively, are pushing for lower
spending for the 2017 budget. (Photo: Bill Clark/
CQ Roll Call/Newscom & Heritage Foundation)
by Josh Siegel: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for unity is facing a familiar challenge that tripped up Republican leaders before him: the budget and spending.
In October, in his effort to “clear the barn” for Ryan, then-Speaker John Boehner helped negotiate a two-year budget deal with President Barack Obama and Democrats. It raised the 2017 spending level roughly $30 billion above the total lawmakers set in 2011 to control spending.
Though the majority of Republicans did not vote for the Boehner-Obama budget deal, the new House leadership has indicated that spending bills for fiscal year 2017 must abide by the higher spending level prescribed by the October agreement.
But a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projecting trillion-dollar deficit levels by 2022 appears to be persuading more than just the usual suspects to ignore the budget deal and insist on a lower spending level.
“I can tell you that Obamacare and the spending crisis are the reasons why I came up here, and the reason I voted against the omnibus [spending bill] is because we got off Paul Ryan’s path to prosperity,” Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I will fight hard for a lower budget number, and I expect a great deal of my colleagues will do the same.”
Farenthold is referring to 2012 proposal authored by Ryan, R-Wis., when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee that reformed entitlement programs, cut taxes, and reduced spending.
While the conservative House Freedom Caucus is leading the charge to renege on the October budget deal and revert to the lower spending number set under the Budget Control Act of 2011, other GOP members also are concerned.
The Republican Study Committee, a larger group of conservative House members from which the Freedom Caucus sprang, will propose a budget that sticks to sequestration levels, its chairman says.
“The Freedom Caucus doesn’t have an exclusive to fiscal sanity around here,” Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal, adding:All conservatives care about fiscal responsibility. So I am inclined to come in at the BCA [Budget Control Act] numbers. I am the chair of a group that has 170-plus members, and each of those members will have to make their own determination. But I as a member would have trouble going to a higher number.Flores said his committee’s budget, expected to be revealed at the end of the month, will contain higher defense spending at a level close to the October agreement but deeper cuts in non-defense spending to make up the difference.
The Republican Study Committee budget is meant to guide an eventual spending blueprint approved by the full House.
“Our strategy with the RSC budget has always been a ‘yes yes’ strategy,” Flores said. “We want to get our membership to vote for the RSC budget and then move them to vote for the House budget.”
The Texas Republican continued:We still have a ‘yes yes’ strategy this year, [but it’s] pretty hard to figure out how you build that, because if the House budget starts moving to the October numbers, that’s going to cause some heartburn with some of our membership. It will cause heartburn with me, quite frankly. So we’re going to have to figure out how to deal with that.Once the Republican-controlled House adopts a budget, Ryan has said he wants to quickly begin the process of passing 12 individual spending bills that appropriate money for different government departments.
Those bills have to fulfill the spending levels set by the budget.
So if Ryan and House Budget Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., insist on doing a budget at the higher spending levels, the idea of returning to “regular order” and passing individual bills may not be enough to satisfy conservatives.
“We want regular order, we want appropriation bills, and we want reconciliation, but we have to show we are willing to cut spending and start at the [Budget Control Act] level at least,” said Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., who is leading the Republican Study Committee’s budget-writing effort.
“It would be a huge signal to the country that Republicans will control spending,” Stutzman said. “This is an opportunity for Speaker Ryan to find a way to show a difference—that he is not going to operate the same way as Speaker Boehner and will be a different leader.”
On Tuesday night, Ryan met with Freedom Caucus members to discuss their concerns over the budget and plot a way forward.
Stutzman, who also belongs to the Freedom Caucus, commended Ryan for convening the meeting and told The Daily Signal that the parties had a “great conversation.”
But it’s clear a solution is far away. Despite the fact that Senate Democrats likely would block spending bills from being considered if they do not stick to the numbers from the October agreement, conservatives insist Ryan has options.
“There is a way out, and I hope Paul considers this way out,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a Freedom Caucus leader, said Wednesday morning at the Conservative Policy Summit hosted by Heritage Action for America.
Mulvaney, R-S.C., explained:There is a way to break that cycle, which is to simply pass a budget off the floor now that is a good Republican budget. We know Mr. Boehner cut a deal at the spending levels we didn’t like and we didn’t vote for, but we are going to pass our budget. We are going to pass a budget that makes some sense, that’s more fiscally disciplined and has the policies we like, and that has a number we can rally behind and get a lot of Republicans to vote for.“If that causes difficulties with the Senate down the road, so be it,” Mulvaney added. “The House should pass what the House wants to pass. The House should not let the Senate dictate policy to us.”
Some Republicans believe that that effort is pointless. They believe that Mulvaney’s approach would inevitably lead to another all-in-one, last-ditch omnibus deal. And they say reverting to lower spending levels, and not following the law crafted in October, would hurt Republicans’ reputation.
“Frankly, it’s a little bit disingenuous for those who say on the one hand we need the regular order appropriations process, and then on the other hand we want to turn around and blow up the process right at the start by reneging on the law we just enacted,” Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said in an interview with The Daily Signal. Dent added:If we were to renege on the topline funding level, then for all practical purposes, the House would be surrendering its power of purse authority to the Senate, because the Senate will mark its bill to the agreed-upon number set in law.Other Republicans are sympathetic to Ryan’s belief that the House can achieve long-term savings through future entitlement reform, and that the appropriations process may not be the best place to address the deficit problem.
“I prefer to go back to the [lower] sequester numbers myself, but I understand why we did what we did,” Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., told The Daily Signal. “We are not going to solve our deficit problems with discretionary spending.”
------------- Josh Siegel (@JoshDailySignal) is a news reporter for Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal. Tags:Bill Flores, Jim Jordan, conservatives, Republican Study Committee, House Freedom Caucus, New Budget Showdown, Conservatives, Want to, Disavow Boehner Deal, Heritage Foundation, interview, Josh SiegelTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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