News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] Follow @arra Contact: email@example.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Happy Bill of Rights Day!
Hat Tip to "Okie Campaigns" for reminding us that "today is 'Bill of Rights Day.' In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Anybody think you could get it done today?" Tags:constitutional amendment, The Bill of Rights, US Constitution
Tags:Election 2008, Fred Thompson, John Mccain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, presidential candidates, Republican, Ron Paul, Rudy GiulianiTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Mexican trucks roll on despite opposition Congress unified on bill to halt Bush administration program
WorldNetDaily: The Bush administration continues to push forward with its controversial project allowing Mexican trucks to move freely on U.S. roads despite strong protests from both chambers of Congress, where legislation is pending."Congress has stated clearly that it believes going forward with such a program, without the information needed to assure safety on American roads, is not safe," said Barry Piatt, spokesman for Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND. . . .
About 40 more Mexican carriers will soon join the 10 already approved. The agency, according to its website, said it "has notified an additional 37 Mexico-domiciled motor carriers that they have successfully passed a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit." The FMCSA says there are four U.S. carriers participating in the cross-border program. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, continues to show frustration with the Bush administration. His spokesman, Joe Kasper, told WND, "Rather than working with Congress to ensure the program is implemented in a manner that is safe and efficient, the department has instead decided to continue its plan of opening our roadways to an increasing number of Mexican trucking companies." . . .[Read More] Tags:Mexican, Mexican trucks, President George Bush, US Congress, US roadsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Roy Beck, NumbersUSA: Extremely Urgent: Please Forward This Message to All Your Friends to RESTORE FUNDING FOR THE BORDER FENCE!
Petition Congress to Reinstate $3 Billion in Border Fence Funds Read petition and sign it at www.ReformUS.org. Without explanation, Congress has stripped away $3 billion in desperately needed funds to build the Border Fence that it approved last year and to provide for other border security. That's right—without telling the public, Congress is pulling the plug on the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence that it voted for with such enthusiasm last year (just before they asked voters to re-elect them).
Help us turn this petition into a national overnight phenomenon. Time is critical—Congress will finalize this funding question before Christmas! Please take a minute to sign it right now? Go to www.ReformUS.org.IF CONGRESS DOES NOT RESTORE THE FUNDING . . . THERE WILL BE NO BORDER FENCE! Tags:border fence, federal funding, NumbersUSA, Roy BeckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
It’s the middle of December, far beyond the Democrat majority’s targeted adjournment date of October 26, and Congress is still in Washington. Only one of the 12 appropriations bills required to keep the federal government running have been signed into law. With time running out, Democrats have put together a massive appropriations spending bill, referred to as an Omnibus, incorporating the remaining 11 spending measures. This bill will be voted on next week!
This one bill will include over $900 billion of your taxpayer dollars! The text of this massive bill will likely not be available more than 24 hours before Congress will vote on it, leaving little time to review what is and is not in the legislation. We are very concerned that bad policies will be hidden in the Omnibus bill, while good policies will be left out.
Mexico City Policy—this longtime pro-life policy prohibits any federal funds going to foreign organizations that perform or actively promote abortion. EF urges language upholding the Mexico City Policy.
Border Fence—language could be included which would delay the construction of the border fence and require onerous coordination with Parks Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies and groups. EF urges no language that delays construction of the border fence.
English in the Workplace—language that protects employers from government lawsuits for requiring employees to speak English. The Alexander language was passed in the Senate and affirmed in the House. EF urges the Alexander language to be included.
Congress thinks they can pull a fast one on the American people by piling up all their spending bills and hoping you won’t notice what policies they hide or leave out of such a massive bill. Call and let them know you are watching! Take Action:Contact your senators!Contact your representatives! Tags:Eagle Forum, omnibus bill, Mexico City Policy, Border Fence, English in the Workplace, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Four Arkansas GOP Legislators Discuss Huckabee on Iowa WHO Radio
Four Arkansas Republicans legislature experienced in working with Governor Huckabee traveled to Iowa to participate Thursday with Radio host Jan Mickelson on "Michelson in the Morning" on Radio WHO 1040 in discussing the merits of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Not Supporting: former State Senator Jim Holt & former State Representative Randy Minton who shared concerns about Huckabee when he was Arkansas Governor relative to increased taxes and benefits for illegal aliens. Also increase Government spending by 7.4 % (three times inflation) and created over 10, 000 new Government jobs. Huckabee arranged for a Mexican consulate in Little Rock after visiting Mexican President Fox.
Supporting: State Senator Gilbert Baker & former Chair of RPA and former State Representative Doug Matayo who carried legislation for Huckabee in the Arkansas House. Baker believes Hucakbee is Ronald Reagan reincarnated.
Dowload audio here and listen to Republican legislators discuss Huckabee's performance in Arkansas.Tags:Arkansas, Election 2008, Iowa, Mike Huckabee, radio station, WHOTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Caution - Some Alleged Veteran Charities Not So Charitable
Dr. Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me! This week thanks to an article by TexasFred - Some veterans charities stiff vets, I learned about non-profits formed to support veterans and their families who in fact are not receiving the money. As a 22 year military veteran, I admit I was angry when I check the list and found I was supporting certain of these agencies. Please save and share the following information and check out which veterans support agencies are truly helping our veterans.
One egregious example, Borochoff said, is Help Hospitalized Veterans, which was founded in 1971 by Roger Chapin, a veteran of the Army Finance Corps and a San Diego real estate developer. The charity, which provides therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalized veterans, reported income of $71.3 million last year and spent about one-third of that money on charitable work, the philanthropy institute said. In its tax filings, Help Hospitalized Veterans reported paying more than $4 million to direct-mail fundraising consultants. The group also has run television advertisements featuring actor Sam Waterston, game show host Pat Sajak and other celebrities.
Chapin, 75, the charity's president, received $426,434 in salary and benefits in the past fiscal year, according to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service. His wife, Elizabeth, 73, received $113,623 in salary and benefits as "newsletter editor," the Post's review of the tax filing showed. Chapin and other leaders of Help Hospitalized Veterans did not return calls for comment. But the charity e-mailed a statement stating that it is among "the finest veterans' charities this nation has to offer." The statement also said its "fundraising expenses, accounting methods, and executive salaries are comparable to other nonprofits in this field."
Next, The Washington Post in an article - "How They Fared" identified that the American Institute of Philanthropy, a leading charity watchdog, issued a report card this month for 29 veterans and military charities. Letter grades were based largely on the charities' fundraising costs and the percentage of money raised that was spent on charitable activities. The charities that received D or F grades are in bold black type and those with grades of A are in red and should be considered as nonprofits serving our veterans and their families:
Air Force Aid Society (A+) American Ex-Prisoners of War Service Foundation (F) American Veterans Coalition (F) American Veterans Relief Foundation (F) AMVETS National Service Foundation (F) Armed Services YMCA of the USA (A-)
Army Emergency Relief (A+) Blinded Veterans Association (D) Disabled American Veterans (D)
Disabled Veterans Association (F) Fisher House Foundation (A+) Freedom Alliance (F) Help Hospitalized Veterans/Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (F) Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (A+) Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (F) National Military Family Association (A) National Veterans Services Fund (F) National Vietnam Veterans Committee (D) Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (A+) NCOANational Defense Foundation (F) Paralyzed Veterans of America (F)
Soldiers' Angels (D) United Spinal Association's Wounded Warrior Project (D)
USO (United Service Organization) (C+)
Veterans of Foreign Wars and foundation (C-) Veterans of the Vietnam War & the Veterans Coalition (D)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (D) VietNow National Headquarters (F) World War II Veterans Committee (D)
Tags:December 2007, charity, nonprofits, scams, veteransTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Americans Do Not Believe Iran Has Ended Its Nuclear Weapons Program
Americans Do Not Believe U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Finding That Iran Has Ended Its Nuclear Weapons Program:
64 percent believe the NIE findings will make us less safe because it might lead to reduced pressure on Iran
69 percent of U.S. likely voters think the Iranian nuclear weapons program is still underway;
69 percent think that the international community should try to prevent Iran from further civilian nuclear research;
76 percent of likely voters approve of expanded United Nations economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran;
By a 62 to 9 margin, likely voters support Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians.
. . . bipartisan poll (Word Document) conducted Dec. 10-12, 2007 by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies and Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The margin of error is +/- 3.5%. Tags:Iran, National Intelligence, NIE, nuclear, poll, weaponsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Chuck Baldwin: One thing that Christians should come to terms with is the truism that government cannot do the church's job. Not in any shape, manner, or form. Yet, by the way many Christians and pastors behave these days, one gets the impression that they don't really understand this truth. Instead, it seems that many Christians and ministers see the government--especially the federal government--as an extension of the church.
. . . many Christians and ministers today have developed the attitude that somehow the federal government is supposed to enforce by law what only the Spirit of God can enforce through grace. Let's be plain: the federal government cannot do the church's job.The role of the federal government is to secure the rights that are given to us by God. Namely, the rights of life, liberty, and property. Properly understood, the role of the federal government has little to do with providing "services," and everything to do with securing the liberties of the people. It is just that simple.
However, a majority of Americans today believe that the federal government (in essence) is supposed to be father, mother, provider, teacher, doctor, and even preacher to people. Instead of looking to God, the family, the church, and individual responsibility, we look to Uncle Sam. And this sentiment is shared by a host of professing Christians as well. Therefore, instead of doing the hard work of teaching and disciplining our children, we look to Uncle Sam to straighten out our rebellious kids. Instead of preaching the hard messages of truth from our pulpits, churches expect Uncle Sam to straighten out (through the power of law) all those "bad" people out there. Instead of taking personal responsibility for our own health and livelihood, we expect Uncle Sam to be our provider and protector. . . . [Read More] Tags:Chuck Baldwin, church, governmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
From Senate & News Sources: Democrats efforts pushing partisan agendas and liberal legislation instead of working with Republicans are noted by the press. The Wall Street Journal declares this Congress “The Delta House Congress,” thanks to Democrats’ penchant for “really futile and stupid gesture[s]. . . . On nearly every issue, Democrats have been intent not on getting something done but on making a stupid, futile gesture to please their base.” CongressDaily’s Richard E. Cohen writes, “Democrats this year have mostly ignored many of [the] basics of Legislating 101.” The result has been what “a veteran House Democratic leadership aide” called “multiple train wrecks.” And Ben Schneider, CongressDaily, observes, that “nearly everything Reid has done, including a steady stream of Iraq votes, has been viewed by Republicans as political grandstanding.” But when Democrats, up against the end of the year, finally compromised and worked with Republicans, a number of measures are now likely to be passed: the farm bill, the energy bill, and the critical Defense authorization bill.
On The Floor: Senate reconvened at 10 AM and resumed consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2419) and is expected to finally finish work on the bill this morning. Reid filed for cloture on the farm bill last night, which was invoked, 78-12. This eliminated remaining amendments to the bill. After a final vote on the farm bill, the Senate will begin consideration of the Federal Housing Administration overhaul (S. 2338) which also addresses increasing the size of mortgages that the agency could insure, lowering down payments and boosting penalties for fraud. Only two amendments to the bill will be considered.
Following the FHA bill, the Senate will move to the conference report on the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585). The bill’s way has been cleared after Democrats agreed to remove a hate crimes measure that had been attached to the bill in September.
Yesterday, the Senate passed the third continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 69) this year, to fund the government through next Friday. Senate Democrats failed yesterday by one vote to get cloture on a revised energy package that included $21 billion in tax hikes on energy companies but lacked the renewable energy mandates that were rejected last week. After this latest failure, the tax package was removed and the energy bill was sent back to the House by a vote of86-8.
Senators rejected four amendments to the farm bill yesterday (which needed 60 votes to pass), including amendments by Sens. Dorgan (D-ND), Grassley (R-IA) & Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) to limit farm subsidies & amendment by Sen. Brown (D-OH) to cut the federal crop insurance program. Next week, the Senate hopefully will take up an AMT patch, the omnibus appropriations bill, and a FISA reform bill. Tags:farm bill, Federal Housing Administration, conference report, fiscal 2008, Defense authorization bill, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
To Assimilate Or Not To Assimilate; That's The Question
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: Are you tired of anonymous voices on the phone telling you to "Press 1 (or sometimes 2) for English"? The ability to speak and communicate in English is the litmus test of whether our immigrants are assimilating into the American culture or not.
To become a naturalized American citizen, the law states that the immigrant must demonstrate "the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English." All public opinion polls confirm by majorities approaching 90 percent that this is what the American people want. Despite the law, the Pew Hispanic Center just reported that only 52 percent of Hispanic naturalized citizens speak English well or pretty well. Pew also reported that 28 percent of Latino immigrants speak only Spanish on the job. Even those who seek diversity in politics, in religion, in morals, in lifestyles and in nationalities reject diversity when it comes to speaking English. It's the tie that binds; it's the e pluribus unum of our culture; it's the route to success in education, careers, and the chance to live the American dream. . . . [Read More] Tags:Eagle Forum, English, Phyllis SchlaflyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Heritage Foundation: Nearly 11 months ago, Democrats took over Congress portraying themselves as responsible fiscal stewards. They pledged to rein in spending, put a lid on pork-barrel projects, resist big tax increases and maintain strict “pay as you go” rules rather than plunge the nation deeper in red ink. But Democrats have managed to vastly outdo wayward Republicans in being more naughty than nice with the taxpayers’ money -- as highlighted by the chart. Instead of fulfilling their promises, Democrats at year’s end are steering a budget groaning with pork toward a train wreck. The fiscal year began Oct. 1, but Congress still hasn’t completed work on 11 of 12 appropriations bills. Tags:Congressional Pork, Democrats, Heritage Foundation, pork, pork-barrel spendersTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Analysis by The Heritage Foundation shows Congress did pass legislation to increase discretionary spending by $275 billion and bump up entitlement spending -- such as Social Security and Medicare -- by $179 billion over 10 years. The lawmakers voted to raise taxes and fees by $98 billion. They set the stage for $2.7 trillion in tax hikes. And they’ve repeatedly passed legislation to expand the budget deficit.
What’s more, Congress has failed to enact real reform of wasteful budget “earmarks” -- and instead allowed representatives and senators to insert thousands of pet “pork” projects into spending bills. House spending bills included 6,651 such earmarks, while Senate spending bills included 4,700, according to the Office of Management and Budget. At this rate, Heritage budget analyst Brian M. Riedl says, Congress’ spending spree won’t just saddle the nation with a growing tax burden and a bloated government -- though that’d be bad enough. It also will leave us unequipped to fund retirement benefits for 77 million aging baby boomers.
Nancy Pelosi goes Dilbert: Republicans `like' Iraq War
With the continued decline in public opinion of the Democrat leadership in Congress, Nancy Pelosi tried to redirect the public's directed and vented her frustration like the Dilbert comic strip management character: by Charles Babington (AP): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public's priorities. "They like this war. They want this war to continue," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.
"We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. "But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush's war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress." Asked to clarify her remarks, Pelosi backed off a bit. "I shouldn't say they like the war," she said. "They support the war, the course of action that the president is on." "And that was a revelation to me," she said, "because I thought the American people's voices were so — and still are — so strong in this regard." . . . Tags:Dilbert, Iraq War, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the houseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Hat tip to Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic.com for reporting the update press relase form Chris Simcox, President Minuteman Civil Defense Corps:Jim Gilchrist likes Mike Huckabee, but the organization he founded sent a "special message" to members blasting Huckabee. The headline: "Real Minutemen Do Not Endorse Huckabee." No National Minuteman Group has endorsed Mike Huckabee. One individual Minuteman has personally endorsed him. For the sake of clarity, it is important to note that the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), the nation's largest Minuteman organization, is a 501(C)4 non-profit organization and cannot and does not endorse any candidate for public office. MCDC is not associated with Mr. Jim Gilchrist, who today endorsed Mike Huckabee for president.
Jim Gilchrist’s erstwhile Minuteman Project is itself an organization which by its own representations as a non-profit civic group cannot legally endorse candidates. It does not have any volunteers who observe illegal border activity. It has no border fence building projects. Jim Gilchrist here speaks only for Jim Gilchrist, he does not speak for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, nor is he nationally representative of most patriots in the "Minuteman movement" – who under no circumstances could ignore the failed record nor endorse the duplicitous “plan” recently rolled out by candidate Mike Huckabee. The national media needs to recognize that Jim Gilchrist’s endorsement is his own personal statement, nothing more.
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps emphasizes policy dealing with national border security. The only "plan" to ensure border security that is acceptable to our constituency would be a candidate policy statement declaring that his first act as President will be to hold a press conference and announce to the American people an executive order to immediately deploy and fund 30,000 National Guard personnel to the U.S. Borders (25,000 to the southern border and 5,000 to the northern border) to complement a massive increase in U.S. Border Patrol Agent field personnel, and a bilateral effort to secure our frontiers, smash the drug cartels, shut down the human smugglers and protect the public safety of the citizens who reside along the borders on both sides of our national boundaries.
Unlike this last-minute opportunism attempted by Huckabee, many of the other GOP presidential candidates have actually helped push the issue of national border security forward for some time. Tom Tancredo’s many years of hard work on the border crisis and illegal immigration issues have all the candidates striving to sound like him. Duncan Hunter can take personal credit for getting the highly effective San Diego border fence built. Ron Paul has been to the border with us first hand and aggressively pushed positive border legislation. Alan Keyes has done more than anyone to support the organizational development of MCDC, and personally participated in the Minuteman Border Fence Groundbreaking – advancing a citizen’s construction effort which has forced Congress to finally get the Feds building physical border fence.
Only one Minuteman group is conducting regular multi-state border security efforts, building fence and aggressively monitoring Washington DC: Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. We would like to extend an invitation to all the presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, to come to the border and see what is really happening on our nation’s frontier. Not to take the safe little government photo-op helicopter ride, but see the lay-up sites full of trash and debris. See the rape trees. See the violent crime in the border towns. Walk on the pathways of destroyed environmental terrain trampled by tens of thousands of invading foreign immigrants. See what the American elites’ support of broken borders, unfettered illegal immigration and sanctuary cities is doing to our fellow Americans who live on our borderlands, and how these failed policies imperil our nation’s safety, security and prosperity.
With your support MCDC continues to make Border Security and Illegal Immigration a national priority that must be resolved. Now more than ever we need your help to continue the fight. . . . Chris Simcox, President Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Tags:Chris Simcox, Election 2008, Jim Gilchrist, Mike Huckabee, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, presidential candidateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
From Senate & News Sources:Several news stories tell the tale today.The AP: “Congressional Democrats prepared Wednesday for major concessions on Iraq war funding, children's health insurance, tax policies, general spending and energy, because they could not overcome vetoes by President Bush.” The Wall Street Journal: “Intraparty Feuds Dog Democrats, Stall Congress.” The Washington Post: “Democrats Blaming Each Other For Failures.”
On The Floor: the Senate finally went to work early - reconvened at 8:30 AM and resumed consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2419). So far this morning: the Senate rejected an amendment (failed to get 60 votes) by Sens. Dorgan (D-ND) and Grassley (R-IA) that would bar farming couples from making more than $250,000 a year in federal subsidies (currently $360,000). In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held another cloture vote this morning on the Democrats’ energy bill. This latest version lacked the renewable energy mandate which was voted down last week but still included a package of tax increases. It failed by a vote of 59-40.
At a post-debate campaign stop, Republican candidate Fred Thompson explained his reason for refusing to answer a debate question by a show of hands, calling it "monkey business:"
"I just decided that I wasn't going to engage in any of this monkey business that they like to engage us on sometimes -- making us look like trained monkeys reaching for peanut or something ... 30 seconds is brief enough and when they try to reduce your answer to just a hand raise -- I 'aint going to play that game," the former Tennessee senator said.
Hat tip to Pheisty Blogwho posted this excelelnt observation: What kind of question is that to ask grown men? Raise their hands? And then not allow them to talk about their stance on an issue as controversial as human-induced global warming? I think moderator Carolyn Washburn ( of the Des Moines Register) mistakenly identified the stage of a presidential debate for the set of The Big Comfy Couch. Tags:debate, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, global warming, Iowa, presidential candidateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
AMT Patch Version 1.5 No Upgrade - U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR) today voted to protect American business owners from a needless tax increase under the auspices of “tax relief.” Boozman voted against the latest House version of a one-year patch to the Alternative Minimum Tax which includes nearly $56 billion in tax increases. Today’s vote follows a November House vote which patched the AMT with $70 billion in increased taxes, and comes on the heels of a bipartisan Senate vote to patch the AMT with no tax increase.
“The first version of the AMT patch failed, and Version 1.5 is actually worse. While still containing a massive tax hike, it further delays billions in refunds due American taxpayers – another day without dollars that can pay down personal debt, college tuition or housing costs,” Boozman said. “While refunds are being delayed, there are still 23 million middle-income earners that are threatened with a tax increase that was never intended to affect them unless we can pass a bill which can become law.
The White House has already issued a veto threat if the current House version passes the Congress. Boozman said, “Granting tax relief by simultaneously passing a massive tax increase is opposed by the administration, the Senate, and half of the House. It would seem that the leadership of the House hasn’t got the message. Fundamentally, our economy is strong – but we face serious challenges, including the threat of inflation. The tax increases proposed by this plan are being proposed at exactly the wrong time for the economy. It is important that we in Congress quit our dawdling and move forward with a plan which results in lower taxes for all Americans.” Tags:AMT, Arkansas, John Boozman, US HouseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families: Two special elections were held yesterday for House seats that became vacant after the unexpected passing of Republicans Rep. Paul Gillmor (OH) and Jo Ann Davis (VA). While both are considered safe Republican seats, there was a lot of pre-election prognostication suggesting that one or both seats might be won by the Democrats.
A host of reasons were offered up as to why the seats were in jeopardy - ranging from continued fallout of the 2006 elections, poor GOP fundraising, depressed turnout and a particularly bad environment in Ohio. In fact, the Ohio race saw a very bitter primary battle for the Republican nomination, and polling done in recent days showed the Republican nominee, Bob Latta, trailing by four points. Democrats poured in hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to tie Latta to previous Ohio government scandals.
In the Virginia contest, national Democrats were less active (directing their resources to the Ohio race), but state Democrats were very involved. Governor Tim Kaine held a last minute fundraiser for the Democrat nominee, and former Democrat governor and 2008 Senate candidate Mark Warner also campaigned for him. Kaine argued that Democrats were on the rise in Virginia, fresh off the 2007 state legislative victories that saw Democrats capture the Virginia State Senate.
A lot of folks last night were holding their breath as the returns came in. Would the conservative base turnout? Or had they turned their backs on the GOP? Would the Democrats ride a wave of anti-war frustration and economic anxiety to victory? Well, I'm proud to report that liberals across the country were depressed this morning. Republican Rob Wittman won the race in Virginia's 1st Cong. District with 61%, while Republican Bob Latta won the race in Ohio's 5th Cong. District with 56%.
Granted, these are normally safe GOP seats. But given the atmosphere nationally and in these states individually, it is very telling to me that both Republican candidates pulled double-digit victories. If there was any semblance of demoralization among the conservative base or a rising liberal tide, Latta could have lost or, at a minimum, the races could have been much closer with very narrow GOP victories. So what explains these large margins of victory? It could be that the conservatives and Independents have seen enough of the liberal majority in Congress to realize that they don't want to make Nancy Pelosi's job any easier. But political observers are also pointing to something else.
Consider this quote from one news report this morning: "Republican officials immediately pointed to the issue of immigration, an increasingly pivotal theme in contests across the nation as well as in the presidential primary race, as a key factor in their Ohio victory. A tough stand on immigration also was seen as forcing an unexpectedly close race in a September special election in a solidly Democratic Massachusetts district that was ultimately won by Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) who had made her opposition to the war in Iraq a key campaign issue."
Speaking of Iraq, today's Washington Times reports that Democrats have a new problem to contend with. The radical group Code Pink is taking steps to launch a new effort that will specifically target Democrat leaders in Congress who are not anti-war enough. Yesterday, the co-founder of Code Pink, Ms. Medea Benjamin, said, "We are disgusted with all of them. We were in Congress today saying, 'Close Gitmo,' and I changed my sign to say, 'Close Congress.'" Tags:special election, elections, Ohio, Representative, Republican, US House, VirginiaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Yesterday, the US House voted 372-9 in support of a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith in the founding of the United States and formation of Western Civilization. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA). The resolution states that "Christmas is a time for 225 million Christians throughout this country to reflect on the birth of their Savior Jesus Christ and it is celebrated as recognition of God's redemption, mercy and grace."
Earlier this year, the House passed measures honoring Ramadan and Diwali, a Hindu holiday. But Rep. King noted, "Watching Congress honor Islam during Ramadan, and also Diwali, brought it home to me that we were doing that and not honoring Christianity. This nation has about 225 million Christians out of 300 million. And the foundations of this nation are a Christian foundation [and] our founders were Christian. So for us to move forward towards Christmas without honoring Christ is, I think a great omission, especially if we're going to honor other religions."
All nine "No" votes were Democrats, and eight of the nine voted in support of the Ramadan resolution. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) was among those who opposed this resolution, yet voted in favor of resolutions earlier this year that recognized other religions. The other eight Democrats who voted against the Christmas Resolution were: Reps. Ackerman (NY), Clarke (NY), Hastings (FL), Lee (CA), McDermott (WA), Scott (VA), Stark (CA) and Woolsey (CA). Tags:Christian Faith, Christmas, US HouseTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
As he surges in polls, Mike Huckabee has come under increased scrutiny for granting an excessive number of clemencies during his time as governor of Arkansas. While it is tempting to glaze over the details of what seem like old controversies, his past actions need to be considered within the context of Huckabee's desire to be the nation's commander in chief during a time of war. . . . [Read More]
Klein points out that…
Huckabee let so many murderers out of jail that Democrats were attacking him for being soft on crime.
“prisoners had a better chance of being granted clemency by Huckabee if they had a mutual acquaintance, labored at the governor's mansion under a prisoner work program, or a minister intervened on their behalf.”
“…Huckabee granted a staggering 1,033 clemencies, according to the Associated Press. That was more than double the combined 507 that were granted during the 17 and a half years of his three predecessors: Bill Clinton, Frank White, and Jim Guy Tucker.”
"I felt like Huckabee had more compassion for the murderers than he ever did for the victims," . . . "He was kind of like a defense attorney. He couldn't see the pain and suffering that the victims were going through."
Huckabee has advocated negotiating with Iran and attacking al Qaeda in Pakistan. “Wasn't it just a few months ago that conservatives were slamming Barack Obama for wanting to negotiate with Iran and invade Pakistan?”
Tags:Arkansas, Election 2008, Mike Huckabee, pardon, presidential candidateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
If Congress doesn’t act, another 18 million taxpayers will owe an extra $3,000 more in income taxes, on average, because of this supposed tax on the “rich” that dates to 1969. Thirty-seven years ago, incomes were lower and the AMT tax affected only a few hundred people. Now it's a fiasco! To get other perspectives, consider examining how presidential candidates view the tax burden or Making Good Policy Out of a Bad AMT.Tags:taxes, AMT, increased taxes, US CongressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Democrats are wasting limited floor time complaining why nothing is getting done instead of actually getting things done. Normally, Congress doing "nothing" may in fact be good thing but with 11 out of 12 appropriations bills not passed and the DOD about to layoff thousands of critically needed civilians, we now have strong evidence that Democrats need to seek a change in their Senate leadership. The "Peter Principle" has proven true for Sen. Harry Reid. Consider the following:
From Senate & News Sources: Democrat Senate leadership is wasting 3 hours this morning attempting to score partisan points by making unanimous consent requests on a number of bills that would bring Congress no closer to completing any of its critical unfinished work for the year. A parade of Democrat senators have come to the floor to denounce Republicans and “obstructionism,” without ever acknowledging the legitimate policy disagreements with Democrats’ prerogatives. This morning is a good example of the priorities of this Democrat lead Congress. The latest Gallup poll shows Congress’ approval rating remains mired 15%.
In response, Sen. McConnell (R) asked for consent to move directly to work on the farm bill, which Democrats were eager to move forward on in November, but his request was objected to. On inquiry of his concern, McConnell responded: "Democrats have set aside the next three hours to try and show that this session’s limited accomplishments haven’t been their fault; that the endless investigations and midnight Iraq votes weren’t the cause. They have set aside this time, as if magically in the next three hours, they will somehow pass the litany of things they have not been able to accomplish over the past three months.”
On The Floor: The Senate reconvened at 9 AM today but because of rhetoric pandering and wasting the 3 hours previously mentioned, it will be this afternoon before the Senate resumes consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2419). The first order of business will be two roll call votes on amendments by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), which would cut certain funding from the bill. Yesterday, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sens. Lugar (R-IN) and Lautenberg (D-NJ) to end subsidy programs and replace them with a new crop insurance program.
The Senate is still waiting for action from the House on an expected omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a patch for the alternative minimum tax, and a possible revision to the Democrats’ energy package that failed to get cloture in the Senate on Friday. Tags:Democrat Senate leadership, wasting time, US Congress, US House, omnibus appropriations bill, bill, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Lost in Translation? Bilingual misinformation from the GOP field
Republican presidential candidates met Sunday evening in Florida for a forum hosted by the Spanish-language media company Univision Communications. FactCheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. Their analyst were there to monitor the candidates statements for errors. FactCheck.org Summary: We found a few missteps in what the candidates had to say to Spanish-speaking voters [Fred Thompson did not mislead on any subject.]:
-Mike Huckabee made some incorrect and questionable claims about Americans who don't have health insurance, hypothesizing that a third don't have coverage because "the think they're healthy and invincible" – a claim for which we find no support – and that another third are self-insured – which is the definition of all people who don't have health insurance and must pay their own bills. He also understated the number who can't afford insurance. -Mitt Romney said the Massachusetts universal health care plan he signed into law as governor didn't include an "employer mandate," but the plan includes a number of employer "requirements" with penalties for noncompliance. He also claimed subsidies for low-income individuals were completely financed by a state fund for care of the uninsured. It's not clear if that will be the case just yet. - Rudy Giuliani falsely stated that the performance of K-12 students, including Hispanics, in the country has declined. Actually, it has improved. . . . [Read Complete Analysis] Tags:INSERT TAGSTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks! Tags:Annenberg, Political Fact Check, debate, Election 2008, errors, presidential candidates, RepublicanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Breaking News Alert: Fed Cuts Key Interest Rate by a Quarter Point
News Alert (1:32 pm) The New York Times: The Federal Reserve cut a key short-term interest rate todayby one-quarter percentage point, to 4.25 percent, signalingits concern that the credit crisis might be gradually damaging the broader economy beyond housing. Policy makers also cut the discount rate to 4.75 percent, from 5 percent, . . . Read More
Update (1:50 pm):Shortly after the above finacial alert, ARRA News Service received the following statement fromCongressman Ron Paul, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, and a nationally recognized expert on monetary policy, regarding the Federal Reserve's decision to cut interest rates by 25 basis points:
"America 's economic difficulties, especially the problems in the housing market, are the direct result of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. While prices for gold, oil, and staple commodities continue to rise, the purchasing power of the dollar for all Americans continues to fall. Inflationary monetary policies created the problems in the economy we are seeing, and these problems will be made worse, not better, by more inflation. And today's action by the Fed is very bad news for American workers and retirees who are about to get hit with yet another jump in prices.
Make no mistake, the problems faced by the American people are not caused by unscrupulous mortgage brokers or the rising price of oil. These are symptoms of an economic disease caused by a spendthrift Congress enabled by loose monetary policy. Too many pundits praise the weak dollar as benefiting exporters, but they fail to see the harm done to thrifty, hard-working Americans. Rather than continuing to pursue a policy of easy credit and increasing debt, we need to return to a sound monetary system."
Updated: Market Snapshot (4:54 pm): U.S. stocks today took a steep dive after the Federal Reserve shaved both its Fed funds target and discount rates by 25 basis points and offered a more tepid assessment of the economy than equity investors were looking for. . . . Read More Tags:economy, Federal Reserve, interest rateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Bob Parks, Outwside the Wire: Whose idea was it that the Republican presidential candidates have a Spanish-spoken debate? Obviously it was an attempt to woo Latino voters, at the same time, make an attempt to quell the perceived bashing "immigrants" are taking nowadays. After Sunday night's debate, the media has taken many angles on this attempt. Some consider the olive branch a noble gesture, while some have taken the opportunity to lecture the GOP about our nation's strong Spanish-speaking heritage, while reminding us of the strides Latinos have made to master America's official tongue.
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo avoided the trap altogether by boycotting Sunday night's event hosted by Univision, the Spanish language television network and the University of Miami. Univision anchors anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas translated the questions and comments into English for the candidates. With that, is there any clearer illustration of the cultural divide? Now that we've had a Spanish language debate, when's the next scheduled debate for Chinese speaking Americans, or the Armenian-as-a-second-language debate, or the Tagalog-English debate? That's been my problem, all along, with this whole bilingual America thing. The "bi" in bilingual implies there are two languages in the United States, whereas in reality, there are many, many others. The difference here is in the very notion of pandering. . . .
What we, as Americans, should be expecting of those who legally enter our society is a willingness to embrace all that is America. We're not such a bad people, seeing how more people seek entry here every day. What we, as Americans, should be expecting of those who legally enter our society is a willingness to join us in one language. Those who divide us, do so intentionally, and without a common launching-off point (such as a common language), are successful when we can be segregated by class: those who can excel by fluid participation in our daily commerce, and those who cannot and are forced to live a life of menial sub servitude. This is by design.
We, as Republicans, expect more from our workers, our soldiers, our women, and our children. Latinos should be looked upon no differently. Every other immigrant group watches presidential debates in our official language, and can make educated decisions accordingly. We must expect no less from our Latino brethren. To do so is insulting, and the debate pandering is just that: insulting. Tom Tancredo gets it. Hopefully, America will too soon. . . . [Read More] Tags:Bob Parks, debate, Election 2008, English, RepublicanTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Would You Really Let Oprah Winfrey Tell You How to Vote? by Lucia Bill: They may not admit it, but the – let’s call them diverse – candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have equally diverse means of drawing attention to their campaigns. The presidential hopefuls on the 2008 campaign trail, still in its beginning stages, are not taking any prisoners. As this weekend in Iowa demonstrated, they’re pulling out the big guns. No one represents this tactic better than Oprah Winfrey. . . .
A Pew Report poll shows that out of the 30 percent of voters who admit they would be influenced by Oprah’s endorsement, only half would follow her advice. The question everyone seems to be avoiding while addressing Winfrey’s impact on the Democratic contest: How big a role does race play in Winfrey’s selection? Would Obama’s platform be equally seductive and absorb the same amount of her time and effort if he were a white guy? Maybe, but maybe not. Winfrey is not color blind. As the story unfolds, voters will determine how far Obama gets. Hopefully they won’t judge the book by the cover or the “O” stamped on its cover. . . . [Read More] Tags:Barack Obama, Election 2008, Lucia Bill, Oprah Winfrey, Pew Research, value voters, votingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Media Can’t Explain the Faiths of Romney & Huckabee by Herman Cain: The more reporters and political pundits write about Mitt Romney’s faith and Mike Huckabee’s faith, the more confused people are about the First Amendment to the Constitution, because many people have not read it or do not understand it. It says “freedom of religion.” It does not say “freedom from religion.” A presidential candidate is free to practice his chosen religion just like the rest of us. And both Romney and Huckabee have clearly stated that it is not the job of the president to impose their beliefs on anyone else. . . . .
The media promotes misperceptions about Christians with its frequent reference to “evangelical Christians” without defining evangelical. And for the average reader, who also does not understand the term, it promotes skepticism – or as the pollsters like to say, “it makes people uncomfortable.” . . . And with the media’s insatiable demand for information expediency, and their own lack of understanding of the First Amendment, people will continue to be confused about “faith in America”, and the faiths of presidential candidates. . . . [Read More] Tags:Christians, Election 2008, Faith, Herman Cain, Media, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, presidential candidates, religionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
From Senate & News Sources: Democrats appear to be rethinking their approach to an omnibus spending bill that had been proposed over the weekend. President Bush had said he would veto the bill, which was still $11 billion over his spending request, and Republican House and Senate leadership signaled that they were also opposed to such a bill. This Congress needs to complete its basic duties of funding the government and supplying our troops in the field without demanding that both be contingent on excessive government spending.
The consequences of Democrats’ mismanagement are on display again today. The Wall Street Journal takes Democrats to task for “driving the Pentagon to the brink of furloughs by denying money for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, yet another poll shows Americans reacting more positively to progress in Iraq, as the AP reports today. By a 52% to 41%, a majority agrees that “the U.S. is making progress in Iraq.” Further, the percentage who believe the surge “has helped stabilize the situation” in Iraq jumped from 36 in September to 47 in the current poll.
And The Hill reports that Democrat senators’ partisan blocking of FEC nominees could cripple that commission going into an election year. Once again, Democrats are again distorting the record of a Bush appointee, Hans von Spakovsky, because they disagree with his policy positions. Sadly, this follows a long pattern concerning the president’s nominees this year, including Judge Leslie Southwick and Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
On The Floor: Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2419). There will then be three hours of debate on the Lugar-Lautenberg amendment (#3711) with a vote on the amendment around 3:45 pm. While Senators work on the farm bill, the chamber is awaiting action from the House on an expected omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a patch for the alternative minimum tax, and a possible revision to the Democrats’ energy package that failed to get cloture in the Senate on Friday. Tags:Democrats, block, Bush nominees, Lugar-Lautenberg amendment, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update: NBC Reverses Position NBC rejects ad from conservative group
Update 12/11/07: NBC reversed course and decided to run television ad thanking U.S. troops. In a statement, NBC said:"We have reviewed and changed our ad standards guidelines and made the decision that our policy will apply to content only and not to a referenced Web site. Based on these amended standards the Freedom's Watch ad will begin to run as early as Sunday." [Read full text of article] Bradley A. Blakeman, President & C.E.O of Freedom's Watch said, "This reversal by NBC didn't happen by accident. The network chose to review its policies only after thousands of supporters visited freedomswatch.org to sign the petition and called NBC to ask the network to stop their descriminatory actions and support our troops. Now we're asking you to use the power of that collective voice to say thank you. Please visit our Web site to find out how YOU can support the troops this holiday season, and sign the card to wish them a happy holidays."
WASHINGTON - NBC has rejected a TV ad by Freedom’s Watch, a conservative group that supports administration policy in Iraq, that asks viewers to remember and thank U.S. troops during the holiday season.
NBC said it declined to air the ad because it refers to the group’s Web site, which the network said was too political, not because of the ad’s message.
“Anybody in the world who would look at this ad would come away with nothing other than we should be thankful for their service,” Freedom’s Watch president Brad Blakeman said.
The spot was to be part of a seven-figure campaign that includes newspaper ads and television commercials. The ads are to run on CNN and Fox News Channel and are running in various newspapers. The New York Times ran a full-page Freedom’s Watch ad Friday that said “Thank You!” and depicted a soldier reading a letter. The newspaper ad also contained the Web site address. [Full Story Here]
Tags:ad, Freedoms Watch, NBC, support troopsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
California Yankee: Republican presidential wannabe Ron Paul,rejects the Libertarian nomination: At a meeting in Charleston, S.C., the Libertarian National Committee on Sunday unanimously approved a resolution praising the Lake Jackson congressman for igniting "a renewed passion for liberty across America." But Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said it would not happen. "Ron has no intention to run third party whatsoever," he said.Paul was the Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988. He received only 430,000 votes. Maybe theblimp will improve his performance as a Republican candidate. Tags:Election 2008, libertarian, presidential candidate, Republican, Ron PaulTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"Democrats are committed to ending years of irresponsible budget policies that have produced historic deficits. Instead of compiling trillions of dollars of debt onto our children and grandchildren, we will restore pay-as-you-go budget discipline." -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 12/12/06
Well, as Emily Litella, the half-witted Gilda Radner character on Saturday Night Live, would have put it: "Never mind." Last week Congressional Democrats formally renounced their ballyhooed budget pledge to offset any new tax cuts with other tax increases or spending cuts. We're delighted to see this false promise go, but there's a larger lesson in this failure for the tax and spending battles of 2008.
Senate Democrats gave up on "paygo," as it's called, when they realized they lacked the votes to offset the $50.6 billion cost of protecting more than 20 million middle-class taxpayers from getting whacked by the Alternative Minimum Tax this year. . . . Paygo is now pay gone. We should stress that this is the right decision for the economy and the federal budget. The AMT was never supposed to hit the middle class, and it only does so now because the Democrats who designed it failed to index it for inflation and raised AMT rates under Bill Clinton in 1993 . . . .
But paygo shouldn't be allowed to expire without everyone kicking sand on its grave. That's because it has been nothing but a confidence game from the very start. Paygo doesn't apply to domestic discretionary spending, and it doesn't restrain spending increases under current law in entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. Its main goals are to make tax cutting all but impossible, while letting Democrats pretend to favor "fiscal discipline," . . . . In fact, the paygo farce has been unfolding all year.
. . . The larger relevance of this episode concerns the 2008 campaign. Hillary Clinton in particular has made paygo a major campaign theme because it makes her sound like a fiscal conservative while helping to justify tax increases. But, lo, guess who was missing on Thursday when the Senate voted 88-5 to ignore paygo on the AMT? None other than the candidate herself, along with Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Barack Obama. To quote another Saturday Night Live character, "How convenient."
Mr. Bush, and especially the GOP Presidential candidates, should be using this paygo collapse to explain to Americans what a charade this Democratic line is. The 2003 tax cuts expire in 2010, and paygo will make them all but impossible to extend. Now's the time to bury paygo for good. . . . [Read More]
RPA: The Republican Party of Arkansas elected a new treasurer at its state committee meeting on Saturday. Without opposition, Joseph Wood of Washington County was elected to the position which had been occupied by interim treasurer Larry Tate. Wood is the 1st Vice President of the Washington County Republican Committee and has been a Republican since 1988. He also serves as the 3rd District minority representative for Congressman John Boozman. Wood works in International Recruitment and Staffing for Wal-Mart International. He is married, has three daughters and is active in his local church. Tags:Arkansas, Arkansas Republican Party, Joseph Wood, RPA, Washington CountyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
From Senate & News Sources:Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, House GOP Leader John Boehner and President Bush Are in agreement that a Democrats’ funding deal reported on over the weekend is unacceptable. McConnell said, “While it’s certainly encouraging to see Congressional Democrats stand up to the anti-war fringe and start the process of living up to Congress’ commitment to fund the troops in harm’s way, the rest of their self-negotiated ‘deal’ . . . remains unacceptable to Congressional Republicans. The funding levels they are reportedly prepared to offer for their 11 unfinished funding bills is too much to ask of the American taxpayer.”
According to news reports, as the omnibus currently is $11 billion beyond the president’s budget request, which could cost $156 billion over ten years.It appears Iraq funding will not be included in the omnibus bill that could be sent from that House. This continues to be unacceptable to Senate Republicans, and if the money is not eventually added, Sen. Ted Stevens has said he will lead a filibuster of the package.
The current continuing resolution (CR) that is funding the government expires on Friday, so another CR may be needed until agreement on appropriations is reached. Meanwhile, the Senate continues to work on the farm bill, but that could be interrupted if there is House action on the omnibus or on the alternative minimum tax. House Democrats may try to again offer an AMT fix that includes offsetting tax increases.
Two intelligence measures are being worked on and could see floor action this week: 1) FISA reform, which Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell discusses in an op-ed today. 2) The intelligence authorization bill which has the potential to get caught up in another waterboarding debate. Democrats may offer an amendment concerning interrogation techniques to either bill. Other pieces of legislation that could come up this week are a conference report on the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill and a second try at the Democrats’ energy package.
On The Floor: On Friday, the Senate rejected, by a vote of 53-42, a cloture motion on the motion to concur with the House amendment to the Democrats’ energy package (H.R. 6). Republicans object to the inclusion of tax increases and mandates on renewable energy sources.
Today, the Senate reconvenes at 3 PM and will resume consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2419). No voting until tomorrow. CQ SenateWatch details that in the debate on the 2007 farm reauthorization there will be a "hotly contested amendment" sponsored by Dorgan, D-ND, and Grassley, R-IA to cap annual farm subsidies at $250,000 per farming household, an increase from the current limit of $360,000 a year. Then there is another measure by Klobuchar, D-MN to bar full-time farmers making more than $750,000 a year and part-time farmers making more than $250,000 a year from getting subsidies. Also, Lugar, R-IN, has an amendment that would make deep cuts to farm subsidies and bolster crop insurance. Tags:appropriations, Farm bill, FISA, omnibus bill, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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