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: Dr. Bill Smith [OzarkGuru] - firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, May 23, 2008
Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.
American Solutionslaunched a campaign called Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less. to help Americans who are hurting at the pump.
As gas prices continue to increase, Congress continues to blame others while ignoring practical steps to stop the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. To reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need real solutions to our energy challenges. While Congress continues to ignore our energy challenges, we are putting forth this simple solution to help lower gas prices: start drilling for oil domestically.
Laws and policies that restrict access to America’s abundant energy drive up the price of fuel and electricity. They cause widespread layoffs and leave workers and families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive, wear and do spirals higher.
Research from the Platform of the American People
73% of the American people agree that with appropriate safeguards to protect the environment, we should drill for oil off America's coasts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. . . . [Read More]
Tags:American Solutions, domestic drilling, drilling, gas pricesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
VMVZ News: Congress enacted a massive farm bill, H.R. 2419, Thursday with new and bigger subsidies for farmers, plus more food stamps for the poor. But first Democrats had to eat a little crow that dimmed the election-year victory of overriding President Bush’s veto for only the second time during his seven years in office. Omitted from the $290 billion, five-year law because of a printing mistake was a small amount of money to address a growing global hunger crisis. Democrats only realized the mistake on Wednesday, just before the House voted 316-108 to override Bush’s veto. The Senate joined the override Thursday with a 82-13 vote. Eager to begin a Memorial Day vacation, the issue of helping starving countries was left for another day.
“I take responsibility for what happened here,” said a chagrined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. She said her reaction was “uncustomarily crude” upon learning that the 34 pages dealing with international food aid and trade were omitted from the bill sent to Bush. Republicans and the White House accused the Democrats of incompetence. “It seems that the congressional debate on the pork-laden farm bill is coming to an inglorious conclusion,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. Bush claimed the legislation was too expensive and too generous with subsidies for farmers who are enjoying record high prices and incomes. . . .
Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly abandoned Bush in voting to override the legislation, overlooking its cost amid public concern about the weak economy and high gasoline and grocery prices. GOP lawmakers are anxious about their own prospects less than six months before Election Day.
Despite the bipartisan nature of the bill, the printing error turned a triumphant political victory into a vexing embarrassment for Democrats. The party’s leaders in the House decided to pass the bill again, including the missing section in the version that Bush received. That vote was 306-110, again enough to override another veto from Bush should the need arise. Democratic leadership aides said the Senate will deal with the problem when Congress returns in June from a one-week vacation.
House Republicans berated Democrats for the error and raised questions that the law would be unconstitutional because it was not the full bill passed by the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said the process was entirely legal. “We have, under good legal precedent, going back to a case I understand in 1892 where something like this happened before, it is totally constitutional,” he said. Likewise, Pelosi’s office released a statement from the House parliamentarian saying the incomplete bill could legally become law because Bush had vetoed that version.
About two-thirds of the law would pay for nutrition programs such as food stamps, which would see increases of around $1 billion a year. About $40 billion is for farm subsidies and almost $30 billion would go to farmers to idle their land and for other environmental programs. The farm bill also would:
Increase subsidies for some crops and for the first time subsidize growers of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Extend and expand dairy programs.
Increase loan rates for sugar producers.
Expand a program to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to schoolchildren.
Cut a per-gallon ethanol tax credit for refiners from 51 cents to 45 cents. The credit supports the blending of fuel with the corn-based additive. More money would go to cellulosic ethanol, made from plant matter.
Require that meats and other fresh foods carry labels with their country of origin.
Tags:Farm bill, US Congress, veto, veto override. democratsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR) praised passage of two pieces of legislation targeted to make the Department of Veterans Affairs more efficient.
H.R. 3681, the “Veterans Benefits Awareness Act of 2007” was introduced by Boozman in September of 2007. The bill is aimed at improving the Department of Veterans Affairs outreach to veterans and authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to purchase advertising in national media outlets to promote awareness of benefits that are available to veterans and their dependents. “The resources available to inform our veterans about the programs available to them are being underutilized by the VA. Using T.V. and radio spots to share the message of healthcare options and benefits for education, disability compensation, non-disability pensions, training, loan guarantees, and survivors’ programs will reach more veterans so they can get the care they need and the benefits they deserve,” Boozman said.
H.R. 3889 was introduced by Boozman in October of 2007 and amended by him in April. The bill requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a 20 year longitudinal study of vocational rehabilitation and education programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Unfortunately, there is relatively little data on how the program improves the lives of our more seriously injured veterans. Conducting a 20 year longitudinal study that requires annual reports to Congress will make future management decisions easier for VA and legislative decisions more accurate for Congress.” Both bills passed by voice vote.Tags:Arkansas, congressmen, John Boozman, Republican, veteransTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington D. C. - May 23, 2008 - Congress Out Until June 2
On The Floor: Congress begins its Memorial Day recess today and is scheduled to return June 2. The Senate convened for a pro forma session today and is in recess until Tuesday, when another pro forma session will be held. A third is scheduled for Thursday. When the Senate returns, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to take up a climate change bill. Yesterday, the Senate sent the war supplemental bill (H.R. 2642) back to the House after approving funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a domestic spending package and rejecting troop withdrawal requirements.
Sen. Reid’s failed to live up to his pledge to confirm three circuit court judges by Memorial Day.Sen. McConnell said, “Is it consistent with a commitment to do ‘everything within [your] power’ to confirm three more circuit nominees by Memorial Day, to then chose the one nominee who, for logistical reasons alone, is the least likely to be confirmed in time to keep the commitment?. . . chasing the impossible, and then blaming others or expressing surprise when it eludes your grasp is not a good excuse, and will be remembered for a long, long time. So today is a sad and sobering day for me and my colleagues. There are now well-founded questions on our side about the Majority’s stated desire to treat nominees fairly and to improve the confirmation process. And there is frustration that will manifest itself in the coming days, and will persist until we get credible evidence that the Majority will respect Minority rights and treat judicial nominees fairly.”
Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair John Cornyn said, “It is inexcusable that the Majority Leader broke his commitment to confirm three judicial nominees before Memorial Day, despite knowing there were long-pending nominees who could be confirmed before the deadline. He had ample opportunity to honor his pledge, yet his actions failed to match his words. “This is another indication that the Democrat-led Senate is more interested in game playing and stall tactics than a fair process for the many well-qualified judicial nominees still pending. They have irresponsibly politicized the Senate’s constitutional obligation to confirm judges.”
Senate Democrats have been just as slow moving other executive branch nominations. Roll Call reports that Democrats scuttled a deal with the White House to move a number of nominations, including the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development because Reid doesn’t like Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) preferred nominee for the Tennessee Valley Authority board. It’s unfortunate that Senate Democrats continue to stall and play partisan games with nominations, contrary to their rhetoric, and apparently, their promises. Tags:judicial appointments, nominations, US Congress, 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!
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) its May 2008 Porker of the Month for attempting to use the tax code to earmark a $2 billion subsidy for a commuter rail between Manhattan and the JFK airport. Sen. Schumer wants to take advantage of the New York Liberty Zone (NYLZ) tax credits, which were intended to stimulate the redevelopment of downtown Manhattan after 9/11, for a rail project that has been under consideration since well before 2001. . . .
On May 1, Sen. Schumer said on the Senate floor that the project “is not an earmark, this is not a specific project.” However, the Senate Finance Committee report published November 13, 2007 determined that the project is a “limited tax benefit,” or earmark. There are constitutional questions as well. A Congressional Research Service (CRS) memo dated April 30, 2008, says the earmark “could raise concerns under the [Constitution’s] Uniformity Clause because it explicitly provides a tax benefit based on a geographical classification.” The Uniformity Clause says that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Since Sen. Schumer has been pushing this rail project since 2005, he is likely to insert it as an earmark into an appropriations bill . . . [Read More]Tags:CAGW, Charles Schumer, Citizens Against Government Waste, porker of the month, US SenatorTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Deena Burnett Bailey Appointed to AR Board of Election Commissioners
Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA) Chairman Dennis Milligan announced today that Deena Burnett Bailey has been appointed to serve on the State Board of Election Commissioners. Mrs. Bailey is the widow of United Airlines Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett. She is a board member of the Twentieth Century Club, Coordinator of the Ministry of Mothers for the Little Rock Diocese, co-author of the book Fighting Back: Living Life Beyond Ourselves, board member for the organization Girl Ambition, and speaker for the Young America's Foundation.
"I am honored to have been asked to serve in this capacity," said Deena Burnett Bailey. "This is a great opportunity to give back to a state that has given so much to my family." The State Board of Election Commissioners is made up of unelected individuals that work together in order to prevent fraud and abuse during election cycles. Bailey will serve a four-year term with the possibility of serving up to two terms. Tags:Arkansas, Arkansas Election Commission, Deena Burnett Bailey, Dennis Milligan, election commissioner, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPATo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Unskilled Worker Increase Stripped from Iraq Supplemental
ANOTHER VICTORY: On the heels of yesterday's victory in which the AgJOBS amnesty and the employment-based permanent worker increases were stripped from the Iraq Supplemental bill, we have more good news to report to you. The H-2B low sill worker increase has been removed from the Iraq Supplemental as well! Tags:May 2008, unskilled workers, Irag Supplement, amnesty, H-2B visa, immigration, military funding, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Recently, the Tennessee State Board of Education ruled diplomas issued to home-schooled students from religious based schools were invalid as proof of the successful completion of High School should it be presented for employment purposes for a job for which state law requires a diploma. You read that right. According to the State Board of Education, all diplomas are equal but some diplomas are more equal than others.
… anyone from a public school (or a private accredited school) who presents a diploma in order to be hired as a daycare worker, police officer, fireman (or any other position which state law requires a high school diploma for) will be automatically accepted. Anyone who presents a homeschool diploma will be
automatically rejected . . . [Read More]
ARRA Editor Comments: Being from a neighboring state, I wonder what the legal basis was for the Tennessee State Board of Education (TSBE) to dictate to other agencies that they must only accept their potentially "inferior" highschool product. With homeschool graduates exceeding average national test scores of public high school graduates, one wonders if the TSBE is acting like a state funded "union" to control who can and cannot be employed.
Let consider some facts regarding the quality of students applying for the referenced Tennessee jobs . For the sake of the argument, these individuals have not gone on to college but are seeking employment based on their high school diploma. Well what about their classmates who decided to go to college. According to a 1995 report on Tennessee High School students entering college,
"29% of first-time first-year students enrolled in at least one remedial reading, writing, or mathematics course in fall 1995. . . . Tennessee’s higher education accountability document, 'Challenge 2000,' shows that 49.4% of first time freshmen at all public institutions took a remedial and developmental course. Examining just the four-year colleges and universities, the percentage taking any remedial and developmental in Tennessee decreases to 32.9%."
The data reflects that almost one-third (33%) of Tennessee high school students graduates who attend college in Tennessee are remediated. These "more qualified" students opted for college instead of applying for positions requiring only a high school diploma. If the food you eat was 33% defective or the products you buy were 33% defective, would you be concerned? At least at the college, those who are remediated are getting help. Now consider those who do not go on to college -- the TSBE public high school graduate who became your daycare worker, police officer, fireman, etc. Statistically those who opt not to go to college are in general less academically qualified than those who opted to try college. But TSBE wants Tennessee agencies and communities to accept (employ by fiat) their inferior quality public school graduates over homeschool graduates. Maybe the Tennessee State Board of Education should be liable for all future negative results that occur from the employment of mandated public high school students graduates. Also, maybe it is time for someone to sue the State of Tennessee over state mandated employment discrimination! Tags:education, employment, employment discrimination, government failures, high school, students, TennesseeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On The Floor: Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of the House message to accompany the war supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 2642). After 2 hours of debate, the Senate is expected to proceed to a series of votes on provisions in the supplemental bill. All will require 60 votes to be adopted. The first vote will be on a domestic spending package that includes the Webb veterans’ benefits bill. If that fails to get 60 votes, a second vote will be held on the Webb bill alone. Following the votes on domestic spending, the Senate will vote on funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that includes troop withdrawal requirements. The Democrats’ insistence on playing politics with the bill guarantees that the funding will not be resolved before June especially if domestic spending additions and troop withdrawal requirements remain on the bill.
Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a confirmation hearing for the nominations of Gen. David Petraeus to be commander of US Central Command and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to be commander of Multi-National Forces Iraq. The Senate Judiciary is meeting this morning and this will be its last chance to advance circuit court nominees before the Memorial Day Recess.
Farm Bill Fiasco! The Democrats’ impressive mismanagement of Congress again committed yesterday a major blunder in handling the farm bill which has thrown the floor schedules in both chambers into chaos. See prior morning post:Overide of Farm Bill Veto Stopped by a Clerical Error.
The Budget: According to Roll Call also writes, “The fiscal 2009 budget conference report, slated for adoption Wednesday night on the House floor, now appears to be off the schedule until after the recess. The farm bill faces a Senate pay-as-you-go rule violation if it is not passed before the budget resolution.” In other words, the farm bill violates the Democrats’ own budget, so they have to pass it before they pass the budget resolution.
Judicial & Other Appointments: Senate Democrats seem unlikely to be able to fulfill their pledge to confirm three circuit court nominees by Memorial Day. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a meeting today which would be its last chance to move nominees before the recess, but it is unclear whether Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) will do so. Of course, their record has been just as troublesome on other White House nominations. Sen. Reid will yet again keep the Senate in pro forma sessions during the upcoming recess in order to block recess appointments from President Bush.
It is interesting to note, that any Bush recess appointments would only run for the remainder of this year. Barring judicial appointments which need to be permanently appointed, how much time and money would be saved if Congress would let an incumbent President have the people he needs for vacant positions for the remaining 10 months of his term. There are more important things for Congress to do. But the failed Congressional Democrat leadership continues to demonstrate their provocative but inept incompetence. Tags:war supplemental appropriations bill, confirmation hearings, Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Raymond Odierno, farm 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!
Overide of Farm Bill Veto Stopped by a Clerical Error
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: The Democrat leadership's mismanagement of Congress has scored another negative point. Yesterday, in what the AP called an “embarrassment for Democrats,” they committed a major blunder in handling the farm bill which has thrown the floor schedules in both chambers into chaos. Last night, the House had scheduled a vote on the fiscal 2009 budget and the Senate had been planning to return this morning to vote on the budget and a veto override for the farm bill. However, the House enrolling clerk inadvertently omitted the entire Title III section of the bill after the House and Senate had both passed it but before it was sent to the president. House Parliamentarian John Sullivan advised lawmakers that according to Supreme Court precedents, the flawed enrolled copy of the farm bill would be regarded as the text of what President Bush had vetoed. Now Congress must pass the full farm bill again if they want it to be made into law because simply overriding the president’s veto would enact the bill missing an entire section. Today, the House is expected to both vote again on passing the farm bill and an extension of the current farm bill since the Senate is unlikely to be able to pass the new bill again today.
Considering that Bush vetoed Farm Bill because the bill was laden with too much Congressional Pork and an effort to hide the increase expenditures by instituting a new tax, it is time for voters to tell the Democrat leadership enough is enough. Republicans and blue dog democrats should stand firm in resisting both adding and supporting pork - enough is enough! Taking of other peoples money to fund excessive farm subsidies (some going to members of Congress) and numerous non-related farm pork projects should be stopped. Theft is theft even when done by Congressional bureaucrats. The Democrat leadership has the opportunity to pass a reasonably clean Farm Bill! Republicans and Blue Dogs have a opportunity to act like fiscal conservatives. Will they do so? I am not holding my breath. Tags:Blue Dogs, Democrat leadership, Farm bill, House Republicans, mismanagement, Senate Republicans, vetoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Thomas A. Schatz, President CCAGW: President Bush has vetoed the bloated, special-interest Farm Bill. This is a victory for all taxpayers! Rather than assisting small family farms, federal agricultural policies overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest farmers and mega-agribusinesses - at the expense of American taxpayers and consumers like you and me
If Congress overrides President Bush’s veto, the 2008 Farm Bill will continue to dole out direct payments to farmers without any regard to commodity prices or a farmer’s income. Sixty percent of these payments go to the wealthiest 10 percent of recipients. Married couples who farm and have adjusted gross income (AGI) of $1.5 million will continue to receive subsidies, as will people with AGI of $500,000 who are not even full-time farmers!
The bill also creates a new “permanent disaster fund” to the tune of $3.8 billion. A real disaster for taxpayers, most farmers, and the environment, such a fund will encourage planting on land that is prone to floods, droughts, and other catastrophes. Even more outrageous, most of these payments will go to the same farmers who already receive the bulk of the direct subsidy payments. . . . [Read More & Take Action] Tags:Farm bill, gasoline prices, US Congress, President Bush, veto's farm bill, veto, Thomas A. Schatz, CCAGWTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
All of you Arkansas Republicans take note that the reverse of this quote is true except for the words "good democrat." Using our grandparent's definition, a "good democrat" believes in God, traditional family values, hard work and community. Many local democrat candidates are conflicted and need to be republicans because grandma's definition is no longer used by the Democrat Party. Today, the democrat "progressives" define a "good democrat" as one who is pro-gay rights, pro-expanded social services, pro-more taxes, pro-expanded government, pro-we know better than you what to do with your money, pro-expansion of eminent domain, anti-choice when it comes to school choice, anti-prayer when it comes to government, pro-murderers and pro-child rapists never being executed, pro-illegal aliens, anti-military support, and for anti-God unless god is "mother earth" or the god of some Eastern religion. Examples of "good democrats" are Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jack Murtha, Charlie Rangle, Barack Obama, Diane Feinstein." Tags:Arkansas, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, definition, Democrat, good democratTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
H/T Adam Smith, St. Petersburg Times’ Buzz Blog: "That's what one obscure candidate and former Tampa Trib reporter, Steven Isbitts, says should happen if Dean agrees to count Florida's votes: "If The Democratic Party chooses to use the results of Florida's January primary to determine delegates assigned to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, ignoring it's public edict that results would not count, high-ranking party members will be in violation of Florida election law. The crime is a third degree felony in this case." Good luck with that, Mr. Isbitts."
Howard Dean in Prison - wishful thinking! Tags:delegates, Democrat primary, Democrats, Florida, Howard Dean, 2008 ElectionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Colorado Legislation 'Tramples Religious Freedoms'
by Jennifer Mesko, CitizenLink: All 'public accommodations,' including restrooms, would be opened to men, women, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered individuals. The next time you visit Colorado, you may run into members of the opposite sex when you use a public restroom. Under a bill sitting on Gov. Bill Ritter's desk, all "public accommodations" must be open to men, women, bisexuals, transsexuals and "transgendered" individuals.
Senate Bill 200 adds religion and sexual orientation to state nondiscrimination statutes. Supporters claim the bill will prevent discrimination; in reality, the bill endangers religious freedom by opening the door for the state to punish any person or organization — including small and home-based businesses — that refuses, for religious or other moral reasons, to offer or sell goods or services to homosexuals, bisexuals, 'transgendered' and transsexual individuals. . . . SB 200 would apply to all "public accommodations" in Colorado — including gender-specific public restrooms in shopping malls, movie theaters and churches, and public locker rooms in athletic facilities, which would suddenly be required to permit equal access to men, women and cross-dressers. Churches, mosques and synagogues would be exempt. . . . [Read More] Tags:bathrooms, CitizenLink, Colorado, religion, Religious Freedom, transgender, transsexualTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tony Perkins, FRC: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a funny way of expressing his appreciation for our troops this Memorial Day. Rather than honoring our soldiers with the funding they need, the Senate is stuffing the war supplemental bill with pro-abortion paybacks for groups like Planned Parenthood. . . . Despite the urgent needs of our servicemen, Reid and his liberal allies are more concerned about funding the war against the unborn than the war in Iraq. The bill is rolling in pork, including a provision that would give groups like Planned Parenthood a big discount on contraceptives and Plan B, which can act as an abortifacient. It would also be a massive cash cow for university health centers, which would also be eligible for a discount on such drugs. . . .So the $165 billion question is: What does any of this have to do with Iraq? Absolutely nothing. Reid's personal political agenda is exposing our active-duty troops to new risks as they wait on Congress to duke out the abortion provisions. The bill is bloated with millions of dollars in other unnecessary pet projects for infrastructure, health care, NASA, and more. Until Democrats put their anti-war vendetta aside and both parties rein in spending, the supplemental faces failure on the floor or due to the President's veto pen. Contact your Senators today and remind them that this is no time to make a political statement. Now is the time to support our troops!Contact your Senators!See also:Clean and Clear It [National Review] Tags:Harry Reid, Iraq War, military funding, Planned Parenthood, Tony PerkinsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
VICTORY: AgJOBS Amnesty Stripped from Iraq Supplemental
Roy Besk, NumbersUSA: CONGRATULATIONS! The AgJOBS amnesty has been stripped from the Iraq Supplemental bill. Here's more good news: the employment-based permanent workers have been stripped from the bill too! Apparently Senate Majority Leader Reid and other Senators were starting to fear a prolonged fight over the immigration provisions, similar to the Senate fight last summer over the "comprehensive" immigration bill. In order to avoid that, Senator Reid stripped the AgJOBS amnesty and employment-based permanent increases from the bill.
Unfortunately, Reid has left in the Iraq Supplemental bill another giant increase of UNSKILLED imported seasonal guest workers (H-2B Visa), from 66,000 to over 400,000 annually by 2011! Think about what an additional 334,000 unskilled foreign workers will mean to our communities!We need to stop this the H-2B low-skill worker increase so please keep phoning your Senators throughout the day and ask them to strip the H-2B increase from the Iraq Supplemental spending bill. During your call, you may also want to express how pleased you were to learn that the amnesty and employment-based permanent workers were stripped from the bill. 202-224-3121. Tags:AgJobs, amnesty, H-2B visa, NumbersUSA, Roy BeckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On The Floor: . Following an hour of morning business, an hour will be set aside for tributes to Lyndon Johnson, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. The Senate is then expected to resume consideration of the House message to accompany the war supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 2642). If an agreement can be reached, there could be votes on the fiscal 2009 budget conference report (S. Con. Res. 70) today. If not, votes are expected Thursday. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Steven Agee to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The AgJOBS amnesty and the employment-based permanent workers has been stripped from the Iraq Supplemental bill. Unfortunately, the H-2B low-sill worker increase is still in the Iraq Supplemental.
From Senate & News Sources: As the Memorial Day recess rapidly approaches, Senate Democrats last night scrapped the version of the supplemental war funding bill they initially brought up on Tuesday. Democrats have been trying to find a way to “load up” the bill with more than $28 billion in extra spending over the next two years, according to the AP.Today, the National Review Online lays out the problems with the supplemental bill that Democrats have crafted and says: “We should be able to fund our troops in the field without paying billions of dollars in ransom to Congress’s pet projects.”
The issue of the spending itself aside, Democrats’ insistence on larding up the bill with “veto bait” is only serving to delay passage of the funds our troops need. The Pentagon has indicated it must have the funding approved by the middle of June, otherwise “the Defense Department will be unable to make payroll for our uniformed Army,” as Sen. McConnell pointed out. NRO was clear about what the hold-up means: “[T]hanks to Senator Reid’s lacksidasical management, even this flawed piece of legislation will probably not be sent to the president until after Memorial Day — meaning that we’ll be honoring our veterans while leaving our active-duty troops in the lurch.”
While Democrats struggle to figure out what to do with the supplemental bill, conferees agreed to a conference report on the fiscal 2009 budget resolution, which the House is scheduled to consider today. Unfortunately, there is little improvement in the budget since it was last seen. According to the AP, “The House-Senate compromise, more than a month overdue, contains a host of shaky assumptions - and forecasts that many of President Bush's signature tax cuts will expire on schedule at the end of 2010.”
Sen. Judd Gregg, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee said yesterday, “This is a partisan budget crafted behind closed doors -- a budget that’s bad for taxpayers and bad for the economy. It includes the largest tax increase in history, blows through the $1 trillion mark in annual discretionary spending, and once again completely punts the urgent issue of entitlement spending reform.”Sen. McConnell added this morning, “American families can’t afford this budget. American job creators can’t afford this budget. And our economy can’t afford this budget.” Tags:AgJobs, amnesty, Iraq War, judicial appointments, military funding, US Budget, 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!
by Phyllis Schlafly: The Second Circuit, which convenes in New York City, shot down the liberals' longtime dream of achieving gun control by suing gun manufacturers for crimes committed by firearms. In a remarkable decision, this federal appellate court dismissed City of New York v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp. (pdf) and protected gun corporations against frivolous lawsuits in state and federal courts. The lawsuit was brought by the City of New York in order to seek control over gun suppliers. At stake was not merely money but also whether the liberals would obtain from judicial activists the gun control which the liberals could not get from legislatures. This decision provides a roadmap for how Congress should withdraw jurisdiction from judicial supremacists in other fields, too. The Second Circuit decision is a sweeping affirmation of Congress's power to stop future and pending lawsuits in federal and state courts. . . . [Read More]Tags:2nd Amendment, attorneys, gun control, lawsuit, Phyllis SchlaflyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Foundry: What do the Bridge to Nowhere, the highway bill, the “subsidies for millionaires” farm bill and our crippling entitlement crisis have in common? They are all examples of the corrupt governance that is guaranteed to happen when the federal government takes over responsibilities best left to the states. In each of these cases (transportation funding, agriculture policy and health care), massive federal government spending and aid to states in the form of matching grants have all but drowned out the ability of state and local governments to set their own priorities without approval from Washington.
Federal aid to states has been practiced for more than 100 years, but two distinct periods witnessed an explosion in the practice. In 1960, the federal government sent $48 billion to states. By the time President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society had been implemented, that number nearly tripled to $129 billion. . . . federal spending on aid to states has again exploded from $286 billion in 2000 to $449 billion in 2007. . . . Every year about $500 billion flows into Washington from the states, is divvied up by lobbyists and congressional power brokers, and is then returned to states. It is an extremely inefficient funding system that serves no economic or civic purpose . . . [Read More] Tags:Federalism, Heritage Foundation, Morning Bell, state grants, The FoundryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
On The Floor: At noon, the Senate will proceed to executive session to consider the nomination of Stephen Agee to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and other nominations. At 2:30 PM, the Senate is scheduled to vote on Agee’s nomination. Last Thursday, the Senate passed the farm bill conference report full of pork. The Housefailed to include troop funding in the supplemental appropriations bill, but did agree to extra domestic spending and timetables for troop withdrawals.
Potentially tomorrow, the Senate is expected to vote on the AgJOBS Amnesty provision for up to 3 million illegal aliens.The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 17-12 to last Thursday to attach an amnesty to the Iraq supplemental spending bill. The amendment that passed provides a 5-year visa for up to 1.35 million illegal agricultural workers—but the cap of 1.35 million does not include spouses and children, who would bring the total amnesty to a total of about 3 million.
In addition, they pssed out of committe by a vote of 23-6 the Mikulski H-2B amendment which would, for the next three years, exempt from the annual cap of 66,000 any H-2B workers who were admitted during the previous three years. (The impact on the numbers could be exponential--they could rise from 66,000 in FY 2008 to over 400,000 by FY2011.)
On the same day, the House voted down its version of the Iraq Supplemental. Since all appropriations bill must originate in the House, the Senate cannot move their bill to the floor until the House passes a version and sends it to the Senate. A new Iraq Supplemental has not yet been put on the House floor schedule, but they may move one today.
From Senate & News Sources: Senate GOP Leader McConnell pointed out this morning that the Democrats have not handled the supplemental war funding bill well, and their mismanagement is putting funding for our troops in jeopardy. In the convoluted process House Speaker Nancy Pelosi devised to prevent Democrats from having to make any uncomfortable votes, House Republicans were supposed to approve war funding but would then be ignored as Democrats added domestic spending and premature troop withdrawal language to the bill. However, Republicans decided not to go along with this scheme and a majority of Democrats voted down war funding while adding the other measures that President Bush is sure to reject.
Roll Call reports today that Democrats in the Senate have not made things any easier, loading up the bill with $9 billion in extra spending in a markup last week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to prevent Senate Republicans from making any positive changes to the legislation.
This whole process seems designed to draw a veto from the White House and hand Democrats convenient talking points for November instead of approving the money our troops need to carry out their mission. Many times, that the president asked for a clean war funding bill and the fastest way to fund our troops in the field would be to simply pass a clean bill. It’s unfortunate that Congressional Democrats are again putting political considerations in front of the needs of our armed forces.
The effects of Democrat mismanagement are also being felt on nominations this week. Though Reid pledged to confirm three circuit court nominees by Memorial Day, this is unlikely to happen. Reid and Senate Judiciary Comm. Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) insisted on pushing nominees Democrats favored who were not yet ready over nominees who have been ready for hundreds of days. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) pointed out on the floor this morning that Peter Keisler has been waiting 691 days for a vote, Robert Conrad has been waiting 308 days for a vote, and Steve Matthews has been waiting 257 days.
And judicial nominations aren’t the only ones suffering from Democrats’ mismanagement. Hans von Spakovsky, whose nomination to the FEC was blocked for months by Democrats, withdrew his name from consideration on Friday andpenned an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journalto protest his treatment by liberal groups and Senate Democrats. Tags:nomination, Stephen Agee, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, judicial nominees, FEC, nominee, Hans von Spakovsky, 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!
AMNESTY VOTE is set for Wednesday!Contact your senators! Tell them to Vote NO to the Assault! If you have time Call some additional Senators! Tags:AgJobs, amnesty, Dianne Feinstein, military funding, US SenateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update: Cindy McCain releases summary of taxes: See Comments:
------------------- by Wes Vernon: Editorial writers and self-appointed "watchdogs" are demanding that Cindy McCain release her tax returns. In itself, the expectation that she "owes" it to the "public" to share her financial business going back several years is an unwarranted intrusion. What it says about a larger issue — i.e., politicians regulating politicians' campaigns against each other — reveals the absurd, if not the outrageous. . . . Cindy McCain is the heiress to Hensley and Co., a major beer distributor for Anheuser-Busch. She has wisely chosen to file separate returns from those of her husband, Senator John McCain. She possessed the assets before she married him. She need not open up her entire financial life to the world. "This is a privacy issue," the spouse of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee declares. "My husband is the candidate."
Parenthetically, one might ask where are the raging feminists in our midst who wail that a woman should "be her own person," and not be tied down by her husband. Hypocrisy enters the picture big-time when the self-righteous NOW-types fail to rise to the defense of a woman who files her own returns and refuses to make them public essentially on the grounds that being married to a presidential candidate does not deprive her of her own personhood. But apparently (surprise!) a different standard applies if the woman in question is anywhere to the right of — say — Barbara Boxer. Read More:Post-Watergate morality: enough already! Tags:Cindy McCain, Election 2008, John McCain, privacy, Wes VernonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Reagan disgusted with California; Judicial Fiat' Condemned by Judges
By Phil Brennan: Reacting to the decision of the California Supreme Court to ignore Proposition 22, which declares that "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," and was passed with a whopping 61 percent of the vote, an outraged Michael Reagan urged California voters to join him in refusing to vote for any ballot measures in the State of California in the 2008 November election since the courts can simply nullify their votes whenever they want to. Reagan, whose father Ronald Reagan served two terms as California’s governor before winning the presidency in 1980, said "I am taking my ballot and mailing it directly to the Supreme Court of California at 350 McAllister Street San Francisco, CA 94102-4797 to allow the judges to decide for us. They’re going to do it anyway.” . . . [Read More]
By Bob Unruh: Two members of the California Supreme Court, which . . . ruled the state cannot prevent homosexuals from "marrying," have condemned the decision as "judicial fiat.""A bare majority of this court, not satisfied with the pace of democratic change, now abruptly forestalls that process and substitutes, by judicial fiat, its own social policy views for those expressed by the People themselves," said the dissent written by Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter and joined by Associate Justice Ming W. Chin. "Undeterred by the strong weight of state and federal law and authority, the majority invents a new constitutional right," the opinion said. The majority opinion, . . . trashed society's traditional and biblical institution of marriage, opening up the option for same-sex duos to be "married" because retaining the historic definition "cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest." . . . [Read More] Tags:California, gay marriage, Judges, judicial activism, Mike ReaganTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Note the word Fathers' in the title of this post is not an error - read on... Yesterday, was Armed Forces Day. Although the day passed quietly and I was able to get some yard work done. One project was repairing an outdoor craft made by my Dad. He has been gone for several years now. Fixing the item gave me time to reflect on him. I had two fathers in my life both of whom served in WWII. My birth father served in the European Theater and even won the Silver Star in the Battle of the Bulge. But the war took much from him and after I was born he could not care responsibly for me. Eventually, he lost me. Fortunately, within a couple years I adopted by my Dad and Mom. My dad became my true father. He too had served in World War II but in the Pacific Theater. He shared with me over the years the love of country and commitment to duty, honor and country. When I was 19 and newly married, my country invited me (or should I say drafted me) to the war of my time period. I stepped forward and served in the Air Force for over 22 years before retiring. And my wife although not in uniform served along with me as she raised our sons while their dad was often gone.
As I reflected back on my fathers who are both now with their former comrades in eternity, I also remembered those remaining WW II and Korean veterans who are fast leaving our presence. I hope you will also remember them by listening to the following tribute Before You Go.And if you are a veteran of any time period or if you are currently serving, Thank You! A fellow vet. Tags:Armed Forces Day, Before You Go, Bill Smith, veteransTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
H/T to Bob Parks: "Was Chris Matthews distracted by another "thrill going up my leg" moment? What was he thinking? Who says liberals don't have momentary lapses of honesty…?" Mark Finkelstein reported on Chris Matthews ripping a guest for ignorance of history and then claimed the USS Cole attack happened under Bush:
Matthews: Wasn't the USS Cole under Bush? I mean, I don't know what I'm talking about here.
No Chris, the USS Cole was under President Clinton who spinelessly did nothing to deal with the terrorists during his watch as president.
Tags:Bob Parks, Chris Matthews, Harball, HistoryTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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