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Saturday, April 16, 2011
Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Government Employee Union Activity
Competitive Enterprise Institute: Federal employees are billing taxpayers for hours they spend on union activities, and the Obama administration is absolutely fine with that---as long as the American public doesn't find out. But this week in The Washington Times, Vincent Vernuccio called attention to Obama's "union welfare program" and the administration's attempts to cover things up. Yesterday Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) cited CEI's efforts to investigate this issue during a House Oversight Committee hearing on state budgets and public debts. [Video]
The Office of Personnel Management has not reported official time federal workers spent on union activities since fiscal year 2008. During the House Oversight Committee hearing today on state budgets and public debts, Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-12th) noted CEI's efforts to request information about the time unionized public employees spend working for the union using taxpayer dollars. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also explained that government unions use public resources to elect politicians interested in growing the size of government and creating a need for more government workers. Tags:economic, politics, government, unions, public, government employees, workers, employees, labor, taxpayers, CEI, VideoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Phil Blumel, President of U.S. Term Limits, had this to say about the amendment, “The waves of change that have hit Washington, DC over the past couple of election cycles would be meaningful if those who lead Congress and its committees weren’t standard political insiders with little connection remaining to those who they were elected to serve. Today, Senator DeMint and 10 Senate Republicans have taken a bold step to change the culture of corruption and entitlement in our nation’s capitol.”
“The myth that professional legislators are needed to deal with the complexity of government today is exposed by the $14.3 trillion national debt hole that has been created by the very professional politicians who make this argument. We can no longer afford career politicians who defer tough decisions to commissions and other non-elected bodies. Limiting terms will allow citizen legislators to come to Washington, DC, fix the problems and then go home to resume their lives, instead of becoming encamped in the cloistered world inside the DC Beltway,” Blumel said.
Passage of the Constitutional Amendment requires a two-thirds vote of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives followed by passage in 37 states. It is anticipated that a companion bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives. Tags:Congress, Congressional Term Limits, Phil Blumel, Senate Term Limits Legislation, Senator Jim DeMint, Term Limits, U.S. Senate, U.S. Term LimitsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum Barack Obama's deal with the president of Mexico to allow Mexican trucks to carry their loads onto U.S. highways and roads is new evidence of his high-handed solo behavior that has become Standard Operating Procedure in the Administration. Here are ten reasons why Obama's plan is dangerous and must be stopped by Congress and public protest.
Obama's deal with President Felipe Calderon, announced on March 3, bypasses Congress, defies the wishes of the American people, and looks like the action of a Third World dictator who thinks representative government is a nuisance and can be ignored. Congress made its wishes emphatically clear in 2007 when it voted to continue our ban on Mexican trucks: the House roll-call vote was 411 to 3 and the Senate's was 75 to 23.
Obama's deal is a direct attack on the jobs available to U.S. truck drivers because it helps big-business interests cut their costs by hiring cheaper Mexican drivers. Obama's deal is also an attack on small business (i.e., the owner-operated and independent truck drivers) who constitute the big majority of U.S. trucks.
The claim that Obama's deal is reciprocal (i.e., U.S. trucks will be allowed to drive into Mexico) is so cynical that we can hardly believe anyone says it with a straight face. "South of the border down Mexico way" (in the words of the old popular song) is the most dangerous war zone in the world (more dangerous than Afghanistan or Libya), where U.S. truck drivers would become the targets of hijackings, theft, murder, kidnappings, and even beheadings committed by the drug cartels.
Built into the Obama deal is the sneaky imposition of costs on both U.S. truck drivers and U.S. taxpayers. Each truck will be required to install an EOBR (electronic on-board recorder) costing $3,000 plus maintenance fees: U.S. drivers at their own expense, and Mexican trucks as a gift from U.S. taxpayers paid out of the Highway Trust Fund. U.S. taxpayers are already paying $1,600 each for many Mexican trucks to replace their old mufflers with catalytic converters.
Obama's deal will make it easy for Mexican trucks to bring in loads of illegal aliens and illegal drugs. Border inspection will be a farce, maybe only one in ten trucks inspected, perhaps merely one in twenty.
Opening our southern border to Mexican trucks will be a giant step toward the goal of creating a North American Union with open borders between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, a proposal launched by President George W. Bush using a website called Security and Prosperity Partnership (since deactivated). Obama is advancing the plan under less threatening names: the March 23, 2010 State Department fact sheet titled "United States-Mexico Partnership: A New Border Vision," a Nov. 30, 2010 "Trusted Traveler" agreement with Mexico signed by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and a Feb. 4, 2011 declaration signed by Obama with Canada called "Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security."
When Mexican truck drivers have their layovers and turn-arounds in the U.S., what's to prevent them from enjoying a frolic and diversion? They could use that time to father a baby who would then be proclaimed a U.S. citizen and get generous financial benefits and handouts provided by U.S. taxpayers.
We can assume that Mexican truck drivers will not be required to speak and read English, as U.S. law requires. The previous Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, stated at a Senate hearing that if drivers respond to test questions in Spanish, the test-taker nevertheless checks the box that they are "English proficient."
While U.S. truck drivers are strictly limited to the number of hours per day they can be on the road, there is no way to figure out how many hours a Mexican truck driver has been on the road when he clocks in at the border. Has he been driving the typical Mexican 20-hour day?
Mexican trucks will make highway safety for Americans a major problem. We have no way to know a Mexican driver's record of accidents, alcohol or drugs, or a Mexican truck's record of brakes or emissions. Mexico doesn't bother with records or regulations.
Don't let anybody get by with saying that NAFTA requires us to admit Mexican trucks because it's a treaty. It isn't; NAFTA never complied with the treaty provision in the U.S. Constitution and is merely a law passed by Congress that can be changed or overturned.
Tell your Member of Congress to take action to cancel Obama's truck deal with the Mexican president. Solo deals like this one cannot be tolerated under constitutional government. Tags:Barack Obama, Obama Administration, Mexican Trucks, Trucks, US Highways, Mexican truck drivers, lost American jobs, unsafe trucks, highway hazards, US, US Highways, Mexico, Felipe Calderon, national security, safety, NFTA, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle ForumTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The below letter to the editor is by Robert "Bob" McDowell, Jr. He is a Professional Engineer and Geologist with over 50 years experience in creating drilling prospects, supervising drilling, well completion, production operation, and pipeline design for oil and gas including repair of problem wells. McDowell is a conservative and active in the Oklahoma Republican Assembly. ------------
By Bob McDowell: This last April 9 a story was carried in the Tulsa daily paper on the by-line of Michael J. Crumb of the Associated Press that was headlined "Program seeks to promote use of E-85". The second heading stated "The government wants to increase the fuel's production and install more pumps". Accompanying the story was a picture of an "E-85 fuel pump at a Citgo gas station in Southfield, Mich. Expanding use and production of the ethanol-based fuel is intended to help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil".
Nowhere in the body of the story does it say that Citgo is wholly owned by the Venezuelan Government, which is no friend of the U.S. but of the Castro Cuban and Chinese Communist governments, all of which hate the U.S. and miss no opportunity to verbally berate our way of life. Further, it should be remembered that the Government of Venezuela has seized the assets of U.S. companies which have developed the oil production in that country, including the recent seizing of equipment of service companies such as Halliburton and Helmerich & Payne of Tulsa.
The story also had a picture of Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, announcing plans to add 10,000 'flex-fuel' pumps to handle E-85 within the next five years. Of course, the station owners would be forced to pay for these very expensive pumps which would naturally increase the price of all fuel to we consumers. If you like fuel in the $3.50 and up today, you will positively love prices in the $7.00 range that would be likely if these goals of the Washington appointees and employees succeed in getting their way.
Beyond that, there is the fact of reduced performance and economy to be experienced by the use of Ethanol. In my own experience with older cars, the reduction in mileage is on the order of 20%. In addition, severe damage has been observed in the fuel lines and possibly in the engine itself. Probably no car or truck built before 2006 is capable of using fuel with any percentage of ethanol without experiencing damage. In fact, the manufacturers of piston aircraft engines have issued warnings that the use of fuel with any ethanol content will void the warranties on the engines. They deemed that necessary because there have been some FAA approvals given for the use of automobile fuel in lower power airplane engines, on an individual plane basis.
Up to now the percentage of ethanol in gasoline has not exceeded ten, but earlier this year there was a proposal to increase that to 15 (E-15) and now this bunch of 'dictators' admit that they are planning to force the use of 85% ethanol (E-85) down our fuel fillers. It appears to me that this is all tied in to the movement towards getting us out of our cars and into 'mass transit', such as light-rail, high speed trains, buses, and also one foot in front of the other. They are pushing toward future planning of tight, high density housing with shopping, entertainment, and work all within walking or biking distance and the mass-transit for transportation to other equally high density areas.
Such a development would serve their purposes of having more control over our everyday lives and actions with the resulting further loss of the reduced freedoms we now have. My opinion is that the use of any percentage of ethanol in fuel should be avoided. There are already a number of stations in the Tulsa Metro area that are either totally pure gasoline or have both available. It has been my experience that the added cost per gallon is very much offset by the improved mileage, performance, and probably life of the engine.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is to be very much applauded for his efforts to slow down or stop this abuse of power by the EPA, USDA, and other alphabetical departments, keep up the work, Jim! Tags:Bob McDowell, Oklahoma, Ethanol, gasoline, E-15, E-85, Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, USDA, EPA, FAA, Citgo, Venezuelan, 'flex-fuel' pumps, Bureaucratic Abuse, Federal interferenceTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Guest Editorial by Patrick L Booth: President Obama is dishonest, hyper-partisan, a bully, a narcissist, a hard-core left-wing ideologue, and hypocrite. Anyone thinking my description harsh or exaggerated probably slept through his Wednesday budget speech as did Itty Bitty Biden. Since Democrats took over Congress in 2007, the annual federal budget deficit has quadrupled. If left to them, gargantuan deficits will continue.
The top 1 percent of TAXPAYERS pay 40 percent of all income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent. Forty-seven percent of the nation are freeloaders paying nothing or getting welfare which is why we still elect the Democrats who reward them. Dem/Progressive/Socialist/Leftists find it easy to be compassionate with other people's money, pat themselves on the back for it, and recoil in horror if anyone suggests it's not really compassion.
Senator Jim Demint (SC) and 10 Senate GOP cosponsors introduced a term limits amendment. The Constitutional Amendment would allow members of the House of Representatives to serve a maximum of three terms of two years, and Senators two terms of six years each. It's a start 78% of us support.
A Columbia Law School poll found two-thirds of Americans think, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." is in our Constitution. The framers of the Constitution did not pen this phrase. Karl Marx wrote it, the foundation of communism, not our Constitutional Republic.
If the 'birthers" are crazy, how do you explain the videotape showing Obama explicitly stating, "I was born in Kenya," and Michelle referring to Barack visiting his homeland, Kenya.
You want socialized medicine? Contemplate this. Margaret Hutchon, former director of Britain's National Health Service, died after waiting nine months for stomach surgery. If Obama feels compelled to offer thousands of waivers exempting favored bodies -- mainly unions -- from Obamacare, why is it supposed to be so good for the rest of us?
We are witnessing what always happens when government runs something – complete ignorant incompetence leading to terrible decisions and horrendous results. Social Security? Broke. Medicare? Broke. Medicaid? Broke. The Post Office? Broke. Amtrak? Broke. The Feds even lost money running the famous Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada thanks to Cretin Reid.
According to a poll, 55 percent of college students approve of the job President Obama is doing which speaks to the state of higher education in the USA.
------------------- PL Booth is a retired Federal employee, professional writer, political activist, aviator, motorcycle enthusiast, and conservative. He writes at The Blue Eye View. Tags:Barack Obama, Simple Simon, piemen, America, PL Booth, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 15, 2011:
Today, The Washington Post: the House passed a Republican budget plan proposed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that would cut trillions of dollars in spending and fundamentally change federal entitlement programs. The measure passed on a party-line 235-to-193 vote, with all but four Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed.
The Senate had already adjourned for Easter recess and senators and representatives will be traveling around their states or districts until they return on May 2nd.
Yesterday, ARRA News Service reported in an update that the House passed 260-167 the H.R. 1473 that will keep the government running through September. It cuts $38.5 billion in federal spending and has been sent to the Senate. The Senate then passed 81-19 H.R. 1473. Prior to that vote, all 53 Senate Democrats voted down a resolution, H. Con. Res. 35, which would have defunded the unpopular health care law (aka Obamacare). The Senate then voted 42-58 to reject H. Con. Res. 36, which would have prohibited federal funding of Planned Parenthood. H.R. 1473, H. Con. Res. 35, and H. Con. Res. 36 all required 60 votes for passage.
As Congress begins to focus on the next major fiscal issue, whether to raise the nation’s debt limit, Democrats can’t seem to agree on how to approach the issue, even as they fall all over themselves to explain why they think it’s vital to raise the limit now but eagerly voted against doing so a few years ago.
In their efforts to stress how important they think raising the debt limit is, Democrat leaders are scrambling to explain away their past votes against raising it, or outright saying it was a “mistake.” Yesterday, President Obama sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and told him that in 2006 when he voted against raising the debt limit, it was “political.” Obama said, “[T]hat was just a example of a new Senator, you know, making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country. And I’m the first one to acknowledge it.” Earlier in the day, Harry Reid was explaining his own previous “political” position on the debt limit. In an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Reid said, “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m kinda embarrassed I did. It was a political maneuver by we Democrats. The Republicans were in power – there were more of them. . . . The president voted when he was in the Senate the same way. I heard him apologize for it.” And The Washington Post reported, “House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that his previous votes against raising the country’s debt limit were ‘a mistake.’ The Maryland Democrat urged Republicans not to ‘hold hostage the full faith and credit of the United States’ by refusing to support raising the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by a plan to reduce the national deficit. ‘Let me be the first to observe that I have voted against the debt limit in the past. That was a mistake,’ Hoyer said at his weekly roundtable with reporters.”
Yet now that Democrats are saying that it’s important for the country that Congress raise the debt ceiling, they seem to expect that be done without any sort of accompanying efforts to rein in America’s staggering debt. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “[W]e believe that we should move quickly to raise the debt limit and we support a clean piece of legislation to do that.” And yesterday, Politico reported, “Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he wants a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling.” Reid said, “We don’t have to attach anything. It’s a debate. We can do it separate to that.”
Of course, Republicans have been saying for weeks that something significant needs to be done about debt and spending in connection with consideration of the debt ceiling. But now many Democrats are saying something similar. On Wednesday, Politico wrote, “A number of Senate Democrats are wary of the White House's call to keep the debt-limit vote free of conditions, including those worried that the vote will be a political albatross in their 2012 election bids . . . .” Last month, The Hill reported, “Freshman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will not vote to raise the debt ceiling this spring unless it's tied to a long-term deficit reduction plan, he'll say Monday in a speech.” Manchin said, “We must get our fiscal house in order. We must be honest about what we value and what we need to spend your taxpayer dollars on — not what just sounds good. . . . That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess.” Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) told The Washington Post this week, “It’s not just Republicans. A lot of Democrats, including myself, are not going to vote to raise the national debt ceiling unless there is something concrete, real, tough done to guarantee that the debt itself will be reduced in the coming years.” And according to Politico, “‘Now it’s time to have that vote tied in with getting some progress on the long-term debt for the country,’ said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who initially held out her vote in 2010 to increase the debt ceiling until Obama agreed to create a bipartisan fiscal commission.” Tags:Washington, D.C., deficits, debts, democrats, US House, 2012 Budget BillTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
April 15th: A Day That Lives In Infamy - Not Just Another Day
IRS 4:15 “On this day you SHALT pay taxes.”
Today, is the day when the "Masters" permanent collect from the people who actually work a share of their wages received for working. While the "Big Government" uses the Roman Empire method of "Tax Collectors" aka/ the IRS, the Government seeks to make the work of the IRS less onerous by asking us all to voluntarily prepay our taxes and by the close of business on April 15th each year file tax forms and settle up differences. While some may argue that this is only fair, there is nothing fair about the present method of income taxes. The tax is not equally applied to all and is actually greater on the ones who work or earn the most via their efforts.
So what is fair? Fair is for everyone having "skin in the game." Everyone paying tax and not just those whom "work." We need a fairer tax - one that also eliminated the cost of the IRS. One of the forms of taxation being proposed to accomplish both of these efforts is commonly called the FairTax.
Presently Americans face federal personal and corporate income taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, capital gains taxes, the alternative minimum tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes plus self-employment taxes verses a simple, national sales tax on new goods and services
There are 67,000+ pages of tax code and regulations the IRS even gets wrong vs 133 pages in The Fair Tax Act. And this tax code is loophole ridden due to special interests verses getting the same deal as the next guy. Imagine, America is spending approximately $300,000,000,000 in total cost to figure out taxes every year verses looking at a shopping receipt.
Then we have politicians and lobbyists practice of divide and conquer with exemptions and social engineering verses one with a clear rate for all Americans beyond the poverty line. We have constant class warfare through the tax code verses the right, left and center against the self interests of Congress.
We have regressive payroll taxes off the top of our earnings verses truly not paying taxes on necessities. We pay Washington before we see the money before we even see the money verses "pay-as-you-go" taxes only on what you choose to spend. We are in a system where each person is guilty until proven innocent verses an IRS free sales. taxes. IRS intrusions vs simple cash register payments.
Charitable giving with only 30% receiving tax write-offs verses a $2,100,000,000 giving increase due to 100% pre-tax donation dollars in a booming economy.
We have US manufacturers at a worldwide corporate tax disadvantage verses American exports competing fairly. Trillions of dollars held offshore due to high US taxes verses tax free investments back into our economy. More US jobs to China verses the Made in America label. There are cascading layers of taxes on products when raw materials are harvested, items are manufactured, shipped and sold at retail in addition to corporate taxes verses one flat tax rate at the point of final consumption. $10 billion IRS budget verses collection fees to states. Documenting, measuring, and tracking income for tax purposes until April 15th verses April 15th just being a spring day.
There are many other positive considerations. The FairTax is worth discussing and the efforts to follow choices previously in our history, to stop taxing incomes. For more detailed information visit FairTax.org. Below is a video to better explain the FairTax
Tags:April 15, tax day, IRS, Internal Revenue Service, income taxes, FairTaxTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:A.F. Branco, political cartoon, Barack Obama, liberal playbook, Obama Defense Plan, human shields To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: I stayed up late last night delving into more details of President Obama's speech. While I was critical yesterday, the audacity of the speech is breathtaking in retrospect. Today's Wall Street Journal labeled the speech "dishonest" and "toxic." Columnist Charles Krauthammer said "I've rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan and so intellectually dishonest… It was a speech that was quite remarkable in how demagogic it was…" I couldn't agree more.
Our country is facing a fiscal crisis. Everybody recognizes that. International institutions are warning that the United States "lacks credibility" in dealing with our deficits. Top economists are sounding the alarm. Major bond holders are dumping our debt. At a time when we desperately need presidential leadership, Barack Obama, the man who was supposed to transcend partisanship and bring us all together, is behaving like the divider-in-chief, pitting Americans versus Americans.
For example, the White House hyped this speech for days and presented it as a serious policy address. The administration "reached out" to top Republican officials, including Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. But during the speech, the president repeatedly insulted Ryan and attacked his budget proposal in the most hyperbolic terms. And big media let him get away with it.
For example, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said yesterday on Fox News that without more spending our children would be "running around with no shoes, no clothes, eating off the ground and drinking water that's not safe." Surely President Obama wouldn't say anything that outrageous. If he did, it would make headlines on the nightly news, right? Wrong. Consider this excerpt from the president's address yesterday at George Washington University describing the Ryan plan:
"It's a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. …It's a vision that says America can't afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. …This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone's grandparents who wouldn't be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves."
So, according to President Obama, Republicans want bridges to collapse, they're going to kick Granny out onto the street and children with disabilities will be left to "fend for themselves." Talk about chutzpah! Obama and his liberal allies do their best to make sure that children with Down syndrome and others with no disabilities at all don't even make it out of the womb alive.
Rep. Ryan responded to the president's speech saying, "When the president reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief."
The man who sold us on hope and change is now peddling fear and hate. He wants you to hate the guy down the street who is doing a little better. He wants you to resent the success of your employer or the small business owner. And he wants you to fear the conservative message of smaller government and lower taxes. Barack Obama's latest budget spends twice as much as Bill Clinton's last budget. But according to Obama and Eddie Bernice Johnson, if we don't spend more money bridges will collapse and children will starve. This is political pornography. The purpose of such incendiary rhetoric is to inflame envy and appeal to the worst of human instincts.
President Obama did say one thing I agreed with when he said that this debate was about "our vision for America." Once again he has disclosed the kind of country he wants -- one where there is a ceiling on achievement, where you can earn only so much before you are "rich" and he gets to take even more of your money to "spread the wealth around." He wants a nation where more and more people fall into dependency with the government paying for everything. Obama's dream is one where there are enough people depending on government so that politicians like him will be empowered, and the people will recoil from a conservative message of personal responsibility. We are very close to that tipping point now.
And look at Europe today. Europe embraced socialism decades ago. But, as Margaret Thatcher warned, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." The video we linked to yesterday demonstrated that if there is any wealth problem in America today it is that there are too few rich people in America to do what the left wants! As Thatcher predicted, European governments have run out of money, and there are riots in the streets and banks are set on fire when the governments can't meet their obligations. Is that our future too? Remember the scenes from Wisconsin?
My friends, the 2012 campaign is underway. Obama tested his major reelection themes yesterday, and he is in Chicago today for three fundraisers. If Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, [Herman Cain] or any other conservative contender wants to catapult to the top, get out in front now and take on Obama's socialist nonsense. Prove to the American people that there is a better way, because Obama is taking our nation down a dead-end road.
------------- Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families. Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Barack Obama, speech, debt, Federal spending, fear, hateTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Freedom Works: Millions of Tea Party supporters have rallied over the past two years, many have brought with them signs referencing Atlas Shrugged. As you rally on April 15th for your local Tax Day protest, I urge you to go see this important film.
The film is set in a not-so-distant future in which government has taken control of the means of production, bureaucrats have impose harmful regulations on businesses and turmoil in the Middle East has sent oil prices skyrocketing. Sound familiar?
Tags:Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, FreedomWorks, Barney Frank, Barack Obama, tax day, tea party, Taylor Schilling, movie trailer, trailer, capitalism, economy, Hank ReardenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Confiscator-in Chief Obama's Debt Speech: Partisan And Calling For Tax Hikes
Update 4:46P PM CDT: The Senate passed (81-to-19) H.R. 1473. They also rejected measures to defund the national health-care law (Obamacare) and Planned Parenthood.
------------ Today in Washington, D.C. - April 14, 2011:
The House passed (260-167) the H.R. 1473 that will keep the government running through September. It cuts $38.5 billion in federal spending and has been sent to the Senate.
The Senate will vote later today or tomorrow on the H.R. 1473, the continuing resolution funding the government through September, H. Con. Res. 35, which would defund the Democrat health care law, and H. Con. Res. 36, which would prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Each will require 60 votes to pass in the Senate. Senate democrats are expected to vote in sufficient numbers with the republicans to pass the continuing resolution. However, the democrats most likely will defeat the defunding resolutions, but they will be on the record as voting "no," "present" or "not voting." Readers may recall that Barack Obama as a Senator avoided issues by either voting present or being absent.
President Obama’s speech on the debt and his budget plans yesterday was disappointing on many levels, and press reactions reflected that. Reports called out the president for again presenting no details and passing the heavy lifting to others. Both The Washington Post and Politico highlighted the excessively partisan tone of the speech, while The Wall Street Journal and Charles Krauthammer blasted it as “dishonest” and full of “distortions.” And from a policy perspective, President Obama spent a lot of time talking about tax increases, which Politico deemed “a battle cry to his base.”
Much like his February budget plan, which editorial boards derided for “punting” on the serious debt problems facing the country, The Washington Post wrote of the speech, “even as he joined the battle, Obama immediately volleyed the substantive work of debt reduction back to Capitol Hill . . . .” And Politico noted, “Obama – none too eager to walk the tax plank alone ahead of a re-election year — intentionally left the details blank.” As The Post described, “Even as he savaged the GOP proposal, Obama was less than specific about his own. He did not say exactly how he would reform how corporations are taxed, what he would do to achieve a simpler tax system or which defense programs he would cut. On Social Security, he not only didn’t announce a proposal but would not say whether one was likely to be included in the final legislation.”
And while the speech was light on details, it was heavy on partisan attacks and finger-pointing. In The Washington Post’s description, “Obama announced his framework for deficit reduction in a speech that at times employed the highly partisan words he used on the campaign trail.” Politico didn’t dress it up: “President Barack Obama extended a fiscal olive branch to Republicans on Wednesday. Then he beat them up with it. Obama’s long-anticipated speech on the deficit at George Washington University was one of the oddest rhetorical hybrids of his presidency – a serious stab at reforming entitlements cloaked in a 2012 campaign speech that was one of the most overtly partisan broadsides he’s ever delivered from a podium with a presidential seal.”
The Wall Street Journal editors blasted Obama’s speech for “its blistering partisanship and multiple distortions,” declaring it “dishonest even by modern political standards.” Charles Krauthammer was unsparing in his criticism: “I’ve rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan and so intellectually dishonest . . . .” He pointed out Obama “didn’t even get to his own alternative until more than halfway through the speech. and when he did, he threw out numbers suspended in mid-air with nothing under them with all kinds of goals and guidelines and triggers that mean nothing.”
As for the substance of the speech, Politico wrote, “The centerpiece was a battle cry to his base, a call for $1 trillion in new taxes on the rich . . . in lieu of the deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and now identified with the GOP.” The Wall Street Journal reported, “Mr. Obama's plan includes a number of tax increases. He would eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year and eliminate a number of tax breaks, which he didn't detail.” And in an editorial today, the WSJ identified “three significant tax increases—via higher top brackets, the tax hikes in ObamaCare and fewer tax deductions.”
Yet the president may find that even Democrats aren’t quite receptive to new tax increases. Forty Senate Democrats recently voted to extend the Bush tax cuts that Obama, after signing the extension, now says he wants to let expire again. A number of Democrat senators have recently said they aren’t on board with tax increases. According to KVNO News in Omaha, “In his weekly conference call with reporters, Senator Ben Nelson said he never supported Obama’s first proposal to roll back the cuts. And he still doesn’t believe now is the time to do it. ‘I’ve not changed my mind on that,’ Nelson said. ‘I look at any kind of talk about tax increases as being a distraction away from the essential job of reducing the growth in spending.’”
Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity responded, "President Obama delivered what was billed as his "new" vision on the budget. But, watching it I realized his speech was the same old big government path of higher spending, more debt, and massive tax increases. If President Obama wants us to believe he now wants to reduce deficits just 2 months after submitting a budget with red ink as far as the eye can see, then he should propose a new and complete formal budget. Instead, like his friends on the Left, Obama has launched a full-throated attack on leaders like Congressman Paul Ryan who stand for real budget reform and genuine spending cuts."
Gary Bauer, President of the Campaign for Working Families said, "As expected, today's speech was short on specifics, and it was largely more of the same from Obama. Whenever the president is in trouble with the voters, he rushes out to deliver a few well-scripted lines that have been thoroughly focus group tested for maximum effect. . . . While today's speech lacked substance on spending cuts, there were two unmistakable promises: higher taxes and gutting the defense budget. We've been down this road before, and it doesn't end well. Obama is morphing into Jimmy Carter. Carter slashed the defense budget at a time when the Soviet Union was on the march. Ronald Reagan had to run deficits to rebuild our military, but he helped win the Cold War, and the evil empire that was the Soviet Union is gone. The next Democrat to take the White House slashed defense spending and left George W. Bush with a much smaller military in the aftermath of 9/11. Now Obama, who just volunteered us for a third war in Libya, wants to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors while Iran and China are on the march. But it doesn't end there. Obama vowed to raise your taxes. . . . He blamed much of the deficit on "unpaid for tax cuts" and went on to say that he would find "spending reductions in the tax code." Translation: Raising taxes results in government spending reductions. Only a liberal would consider allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned money as government spending. That logic works only if you assume that all money belongs to the government!"
Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman responded, "The Confiscator-in-Chief is at it again -- right in time for Tax Day. Today, President Obama proposed trillions in new taxes to bankroll the liberal Democrats' big government policies at a time when our economy is still struggling, gas prices are soaring and unemployment is still alarmingly high. Tomorrow, he will rake in campaign cash for his re-election from three fundraising events in Chicago. The tax hikes President Obama wants will only fuel Washington's addiction to spending rather than help curb it. More importantly, they will hurt one of the strongest engines of growth and job creation in our economy: small businesses. And they will harm middle class families by taking more money from their pockets at a time when Americans need every dime to cover their expenses. In fact, according to the Tax Foundation, Americans will pay more in taxes in 2011 than they will spend on food, clothing and housing combined -- and it's still not enough for Barack Obama."
Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government responded, "Barack Obama wants to pretend that the reason we are spending more than we take in is because we don't take in enough, when the real problem is that we are spending too much. In 2007, the budget deficit was just $160.7 billion, but this year it will rise to $1.645 trillion, a 923 percent increase. How can that be when tax rates have been relatively the same since then? Since 2007, annual spending has increased $1.119 trillion, and revenues have decreased by $394 billion. Put simply, 75 percent of the increased shortfall is because spending increased and only 25 percent is because revenue dropped because of the down economy. That means we have a spending problem, plain and simple."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had a similar reaction. “Despite the President's imaginative account of how we arrived at the situation we’re in, the American people are well past the point of believing that Washington will be able to make good on all its promises if only we let the President and Democrats in Congress raise taxes. Americans know that we face a fiscal crisis not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much. . . . The American people are not inclined to take advice on fiscal responsibility from an administration who’s unprecedented borrowing and spending has done so much to create the mess we’re in. After two years of adding trillions to the debt and ignoring our nation's looming fiscal nightmare, the President may be right in thinking that the politically expedient thing to do is point the finger at others. But the truly responsible thing would be to admit that his own two-year experiment in big government has been a disaster for the economy and itself a major driver of our debt.” Tags:Washington, D.C., US House, US Senate, Barack Obama, deficit, speech, increse taxes, spend more, reactions to speech, Confiscator-in-ChiefTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Dan Holler, Heritage Action For America: Gas prices are on the rise and consumers are being forced to make tough choices. As we saw in 2008, skyrocketing energy prices place a tremendous burden on families and the American economy. Although some analysts are quick to dismiss comparisons between today and 2008, they acknowledge a continued rise in gas prices could prove problematic for the economy.
Image via NPR
A new consumer survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans plan to cut back on their spending if gas prices continue to rise. This does not bode well for America’s struggling economy. And guess what? Gas prices will continue to rise.
America’s energy policy is in disarray and the Obama administration’s refusal to embrace domestic energy production has only exacerbated the problem. It is time for America – and politicians in Washington – to get serious. Tags:Heritage Action For America, energy, driving the day, crude oil, gasoline prices To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Exposing Obama Admin's False Claims on Gulf Oil Production
Quote by a viewer: "Another swindle by Obama and his minions ... The guy, and his minions, are a pack of damn liars!!"
Congressman Ron C. Fleming, M.D. (R-LA-4) in Congressional hearings extracts the truth on Gulf Oil Production and exposes false claims made by administration officials including President Obama. On March 11, 2011, President Obama said that oil production in the Gulf has reached its highest level of oil production in seven years. Ken Salaza, Interior Secretary supported the same message. Michael Bromwich on March 30, 2011 carried the same message which he then had to back away from when confronted with data.
Representative Fleming, Natural Resources Subcommittee Chairman, presented charted data on oil production thee Energy Information Agency which showed that oil production has in fact gone down. Michael Bromwich then backtracks on his statements backing President Obama and Ken Salaza. Oil production dropped in 2010 and is expected to drop even further in 2011.
"Increasing oil production will create jobs and lower energy prices." Does the Obama Administration want higher energy prices. Yes the do. Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary said, "Somehow we have to figure how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe." Under the Obama Administration Gas Prices have surged (gone up) 109 percent. On inauguration day, January 20, 1999, gasoline was $1.09 a gallon. On April 12, 2010 it averaged $3.79 a gallon.
Tags:President Obama, Michael Bromwich, Ken Salaza, Steven Chu, Obama Administration, Gulf, Gulf of Mexico, oil production, declining production, Ron C. Fleming, LA, Louisiana, gasoline pricesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Obama to Speak on the Deficit - "Unicorns on Deck" and "When Pigs Fly"
Today in Washington, D.C. - April 13, 2011:
Yesterday, the Senate managed to do little under Senator Harry Reid's leadership. They voted 96-0 to confirm John Kronstadt to be a district judge in California and confirmed Vincent Briccetti as a district judge in New York by unanimous consent. Just maybe, it’s possible this week for the Senate will return to S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Sen. Reid (D-NV) can't stray too much from the President's "kool aide" thus making him rather encumbered these days.
And speaking about the President, this afternoon, Mr. Obama is set to speak about his plan for addressing our nation’s debt crisis. Erick Erickson at Redstate, responded to this planned speech: "The President Will Offer Unicorns . . . But now Obama wants to demagogue the rich and demand scrapping the Bush tax cuts. What he is doing is not offering up a real plan — a plan that can be agreed to on Capitol Hill. He’s offering instead more class warfare. . . . And he will embrace plans made under compromise in Washington that leave Washington in charge. In fact, the compromises Obama will embrace are the same types of compromises that have gotten us to the verge of bankruptcy."
However, there are important questions about the president’s approach. Will he acknowledge that something significant must be done about the debt when he asks Congress to raise the debt ceiling, as some Democrats are now saying? And is his plan going to be focused on raising taxes instead of reining in out-of-control Washington spending?
According to Politico, “Internal divisions are surfacing in the Senate Democratic Caucus over how to deal with what could be the most politically treacherous vote this Congress: raising the $14.3 trillion national debt ceiling. A number of Senate Democrats are wary of the White House's call to keep the debt-limit vote free of conditions, including those worried that the vote will be a political albatross in their 2012 election bids, particularly as Republicans plot their strategy, which could force multiple tough votes.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told The Washington Post, “It’s not just Republicans. A lot of Democrats, including myself, are not going to vote to raise the national debt ceiling unless there is something concrete, real, tough done to guarantee that the debt itself will be reduced in the coming years.” And Politico reports, “‘Now it’s time to have that vote tied in with getting some progress on the long-term debt for the country,’ said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who initially held out her vote in 2010 to increase the debt ceiling until Obama agreed to create a bipartisan fiscal commission. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who faces voters next year, has raised similar concerns. And a number of others who have voted in 2010 for a debt ceiling hike – including Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) – declined to directly say Tuesday if they’ll back the White House on a clean vote this time around.”
As The Washington Post notes, many lawmakers “said they could not in good conscience authorize more borrowing unless Obama agreed to cap federal spending, adopt triggers to force rewrites of the tax code and entitlement programs, or accept some other binding mechanism for bringing the debt under control. ‘We’re going to require as a condition for raising the debt ceiling something really important,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters. ‘That means no window dressing, no blue smoke and mirrors — something real, something measurable that clearly will begin to reduce our debt.’”
Will President Obama acknowledge this growing chorus from Congress in his speech, and propose something serious on connection with the debt ceiling? Come on stop laughing this is serious stuff. I admit that I am not watching the teleprompter speech. Will catch it on the rebound.
Meanwhile, even the liberal reporting CNN reports, “President Barack Obama enters politically tricky territory Wednesday when he outlines his plan for reducing long-term deficits and the national debt amid a climate of tense budget negotiations. A senior administration official confirmed the president will renew his call to end the Bush-era tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 annually -- a move that Republicans fiercely oppose.”
CNN notes, “[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid also said additional revenue must be part of any long-range fiscal solution. He didn't give specifics, but Democrats generally favor increasing the tax rate for families earning more than $250,000 -- an idea Obama now officially endorses once again. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters that ‘taxes are not on the table because we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.’”
GOP Senate Leader McConnell nailed it today, “The fiscal crisis we face won’t be solved by ‘freezing’ unsustainable government spending, or by raising taxes on the very small businesses we are counting on to create jobs. And the programs we cherish as Americans won’t be preserved for the next generation through speeches alone. Americans don’t want to hear the President’s vision today — he’s had two years to lay that out. They want to hear his plan. Americans don’t want to hear the President criticize or distort the serious efforts of those in our party who want to solve our problems head on. They want to hear a detailed counter-proposal of his own. . . . Now is not a time for mere speeches or political attacks. It’s a time for action. That’s what Americans want from this President. That’s what they’re failing to get. I hope that changes today.”
So, I will review the words of the speech verses the antics of the of the person reading the teleprompter and let you know what I think later. For the moment, I tend to agree with Erickson advanced opinion that with President Obama we will have "Unicorns on Deck." I may be surprised to learn that we have a new transformed grown-up president today in the White House - I know, "When Pigs Fly." Tags:Washington, D.C., President Obama, speech, Unicorns, When Pigs FlyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Bill Smith, Editor: Note the following excellent article by Kerby Anderson addressing the cost for Federal employees but does not address the associated cost of buildings, equipment, telecommunications, travel and associated expenses related to the positions of Federal employees. Some have identified the Federal Government as a snake. However, history has show us that the Federal Government has been more like the Hydra of Greek Mythology - "when each head cut off it grew two more — and its poisonous breath was so virulent even her tracks were deadly.[Wikipedia] The Federal Government definitely has too many Department and Agencies and has indeed become poisonous to our economic well being.
While Federal employees are doing the job set forth for their positions. However, a multitude of the departments, agencies, offices at which these Federal employees work are NOT needed or at least should not be paid for by the public and thus should be abolished. While I am sure that most Federal employees and their families would vote to keep their jobs, we have a Big Government problem. We have Government agencies and Departments that could and should be eliminated.
Also, to avoid confusion, active duty military are not Federal Employees are not Federal employees that are discussed in Anderson's article. In fact, many of our military don't survive. Also, a majority of people serving in the military do not make the military a career thus there are no associated medical or retirement benefits. Also, there is another group of employees working for various Federal Government Agencies and paid for by the taxpayers. They are "Contract Employees" who are paid far more than Federal Employees. However, they work for short term contract periods with no future budgeted cost for long term benefit and associated retirement costs. Kerby Anderson, Point of View: At a time when workers in the private sector have faced tough economic times, federal employees in the public sector are doing better than ever. And I believe this might even become a campaign issue in the fall.
A recent analysis by USA Today discovered that the two million federal civilian employees earn an average of $67,691 a year. This is much higher than the $60,046 for comparable jobs in the private sector. Federal employees earn higher average salaries than their private counterparts in eight out of 10 occupations.
But the gap between the private sector and the public sector increases even more when you consider the various benefits packages provided for these two sectors. Federal employees enjoy benefits packages that are four times richer than those in the private sector. The difference is an average of $40,785 per federal employee versus $9,862 per private worker.
Federal employees also enjoy greater job security. Private companies are shedding employees. Those who found themselves unemployed are pounding the pavement trying to find a new job. This is not happening to federal employees who are rarely fired.
You may remember the incident in the Newark Airport back in January. When a Transportation Security Administration guard abandoned his post at the airport, a Chinese student slipped into the terminal’s secured area. This forced a six-hour shutdown of the entire terminal as passengers were re-screened through security.
The student will have to pay fines and perform community service. The TSA guard went back to week at the airport after a two-month paid administrative leave and unspecified disciplinary action.
Could this become a campaign issue? It was one of the issues that Scott Brown used effectively in his Senate campaign in Massachusetts. Talking about his concern with excessive pay and protections for federal workers resonated with voters. It is likely that we will see candidates using this issue again in the fall. I’m Kerby Anderson, and that’s my point of view. Tags:Kerby Anderson, Point of View, Federal employees, private sector, employees, Big Government, Federal Government, HydraTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
NRSC Ad:President Barack Obama is proud of his record of accomplishment. Watch his first ad of the 2012 campaign brought to you by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. http://www.nrsc.org *Not actually an Obama 2012 ad* Tags:President Obama , satire, ad, NRSCTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Treasury Department announced this afternoon that the U.S. ran a monthly budget deficit of $188 billion in March. Washington, D.C. - April 12, 2011:
It’s expected at some point this week for the Senate will return to S. 493, the bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.
The House has released a statement detailing the items agreed to in the bi-partisan FY2011 Continuing Resolutions. While many may have been willing to toss Speaker Boehner under the bus, but we wanted to see the actual results which have begun to take shape as follows: KEY POINTS: FY 2011 AGREEMENT ON SPENDING CUTS TO SUPPORT AMERICAN JOB CREATION
Largest Non-Defense Spending Cut in American History. The agreement will enact the largest non-defense spending cut in dollar terms in American history, and the biggest overall reduction since World War II, beginning the process of ending the Washington spending binge that is causing uncertainty for American job creators. Subject to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring, the agreement has a reduction in spending of nearly $40 billion compared to Fiscal Year 2010 enacted levels.
Hundreds of Billions in Spending Cuts Over the Next Decade. Subject to CBO scoring, the agreement will cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget over the next decade – “real money,” as the Wall Street Journal editorial board recently noted.
Officially Ends the “Stimulus” Spending Binge. The agreement begins to reverse the “stimulus” spending binge that began in 2009 – signaling the official end of a period of unprecedented government intervention that former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists say hurt job creation in America by crowding out private investment.
Sets Stage for Trillions More in Spending Cuts. Clears the way for congressional action on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget – The Path to Prosperity – which cuts trillions in spending and offers a long-term blueprint for American job creation.
Requires Mandatory Audits of the New Job-Crushing Bureaucracy Set Up Under Dodd-Frank. The agreement subjects the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by the job-destroying Dodd-Frank law to yearly audits by both the private sector and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to monitor its impact on the economy, including its impact on jobs, by examining whether sound cost-benefit analyses are being used with rulemakings. Two audits and a separate study are required within 180 days and annually thereafter, providing new accountability. The first audit requires an independent review of the CFPB’s operations and budget. The second audit requires the GAO to review the CFPB’s financial statements. The annual study requires GAO to report on the economic impact of the activities of the CFPB and other financial regulators. This review includes an assessment of how the CFPB’s activities are impacting safety and soundness of financial entities; cost and availability of credit; and savings for consumers, reductions in paperwork, and changes in bankruptcy filings. The study also requires examination of the costs of complying with rules, whether agencies are using sound cost-benefit analyses, and what efforts are being taken to avoid duplicative or conflicting rule-makings, information requests, and examinations.
Bans Taxpayer Funding of Abortion in D.C. and Reduces Funding for Family Planning. The agreement restores the Dornan amendment (D.C. Hyde Amendment) to ensure that no Congressionally appropriated funds (whether locally or federally generated) may pay for abortion in the District of Columbia. The policy was in place from FY 1996 to FY 2009. FY 2010 is the only year since FY 1996 that the D.C. Hyde Amendment was not attached to the Financial Services, D.C. Government Appropriations Act. In addition, the agreement slashes funding for Title X of the Public Health Service Act by $17 million, and international family planning by $73 million, including a $15 million cut to the United Nations Population Fund.
Fights Terrorism. Despite attempts by the White House to weaken current law regarding the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to third countries, the agreement maintains current law, including all certification requirements. House Republicans have fought for more than two years to ensure that terrorists held at the detention facility will not be brought to the United States nor released to third countries which cannot adequately detain them. Maintaining the language is a strong signal that Republicans remain committed to preventing terrorist attacks and will continue to fight to prevent the Administration from returning to a pre-9/11 criminal standard.
De-Funds Obama Administration “Czars” for Health Care, Autos, Climate Change, & Urban Affairs. The agreement denies federal funding for the salaries and expenses for four of the Obama Administration’s controversial “czars.” De-funded through the agreement are the Obama Administration czars for health care (Director, White House Office of Health Reform), climate change (Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change), autos (Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy), and urban affairs (White House Director of Urban Affairs).
Ends Funding for Ineffective Education Programs. The agreement terminates more than 40 ineffective programs at the Department of Education including the likes of Educational Technology State Grants, Even Start, Advanced Credentialing, Mental Health Integration, Exchanges with Historic Whaling Partners, Women’s Educational Equity, Tech-Prep Education State Grants, Smaller Learning Communities, Legal Assistance Loan Repayment Program, Thurgood Marshall Legal Opportunity Scholarships, and B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarships.
Provides New Tools in the Fight to Repeal Obamacare. The agreement generates new tools and accountability mechanisms for the fight to repeal Obamacare. It requires numerous studies that will force the Obama Administration to reveal more about the impact of its government takeover of health care, including a study on the premium impacts for individuals and families as a result of certain Obamacare mandates; a full audit of all the waivers that the Obama Administration has approved and denied to firms and organizations who can't meet the new annual coverage limits; a full audit of what's happening with the comparative effectiveness research funding that was in Obamacare and the president’s failed “stimulus” spending bill; and a report on all of the contractors who have been hired to implement the law and the costs to taxpayers of such contracts. More importantly, the final agreement includes a guarantee that the Senate will vote on a measure which if enacted will de-fund all of Obamacare. This will be the first time the Senate has had to vote on defunding Obamacare.
Denies Additional Funding to the IRS. The Obama administration has sought increased federal funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – money that could be used to hire additional agents to enforce the administration’s agenda on a variety of issues. This increased funding is denied in the agreement.
Guarantees Senate Vote on Ending Taxpayer Funding of Planned Parenthood. The final agreement includes a guarantee that the Senate will vote on a separate measure that defunds Planned Parenthood and any of its affiliates. Conservative estimates indicate that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates receive $363 million of its nearly $1 billion budget in taxpayer funds. While the national abortion rate continues to decline, the number of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood continues to climb. According to Planned Parenthood’s March 2011 year-end report for its 2009 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood served three million clients, of whom 332,278 received abortions contrasted with only 977 adoption referrals and 7,021 prenatal care clients. Since 1977 (the first year for which data is available), Planned Parenthood has conducted 5,493,960 abortions. Finally, new evidence has shown that Planned Parenthood employees are also willing to cover up sex trafficking.
Saves the D.C. School Choice Program. The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DC OSP) is a successful program that is publicly supported by six members of the D.C. City Council and three former D.C. mayors, in addition to the 74% of D.C. residents who support the program’s reauthorization. For seven years the DC OSP has empowered low-income parents to choose the best learning environment for their children, giving their children an opportunity to a quality education while the District of Columbia takes steps to reform its public schools. Funding to allow new students into the program was included in H.R. 1, the long-term CR passed by the House in February. The agreement ensures the continuation of the three-sector approach to education reform by reauthorizing the DC OSP and providing equal funding for school improvement for D.C. public schools and public charter schools.
Reforms the Pell Grant Program. The agreement reforms the Pell Grant program by eliminating year-round Pell, helping to ensure the program’s solvency not only for the remainder of this fiscal year but for years to come. Currently, the program faces a shortfall of $8 billion this year alone. In FY 2011, elimination of year-round Pell saves almost $800 million in both discretionary and mandatory dollars. Over the next ten years, this reform will save the program more than $35 billion.
Reduces Congress’ Own Budget. The agreement cuts the Legislative Branch by $103 million over last year’s level. Of this amount, funding for the U.S. of Representatives is reduced by $55 million.
Returns Power for Wildlife Management from Federal Government to Western States. In spite of the fact that wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains have vastly exceeded recovery goals put into place in the 1990’s, and the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that they are fully recovered and should be removed from the endangered species list, a district court ruling in Montana relisted the entire population in August 2010. The language in the agreement reinstates the FWS original determination to delist wolves in states with approved management plans in place. It returns management of wolf populations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Utah to the states. The language also allows negotiations between the State of Wyoming and the Department of Interior to continue so that the entire population can be delisted
Two efforts seem particularly noteworthy. First, Labor/HHS funding got cut 3.36% from last year’s levels, and two ObamaCare programs got entirely defunded:
The CR terminates funding for more than 55 programs, for a total savings of well over $1 billion. In addition, the bill terminates two programs funded in ObamaCare (the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and the Free Choice Voucher programs).
Critics have blasted the CO-OP program as a “stealth public option,” the government insurance plan pushed by liberal Democrats during the consideration of Obamacare.
The program would have received $6 billion in the first ten years to push states into creating non-profit, member-run health insurance co-ops. It was apparently thrown into the bill when the public option failed in Congress. Its removal won’t prevent such co-ops from forming, but will leave it to states to deal with the issue rather than the federal government.
The second item of interest comes in the cuts to Financial Services, which saw a 10% reduction in their appropriation from FY2010 and 14% lower than Obama’s budget request. Most of the cuts apply to construction of new federal buildings, a rather easy place to cut considering the plethora of open office space in the US. It increases the funds for the Inspector General of the TARP program and restarts the DC Opportunity Scholarship voucher program, a key goal of Boehner’s, but this is the part that Congress will like best:
The CR restores a long-standing provision against the use of federal and local funds for abortions in the District of Columbia. The bill also includes the reauthorization of the DC Opportunity Scholarships, along with a $2.3 million funding increase, to stop the termination of the program and allow new students to participate. The legislation also eliminates four Administration “Czars,” including the “Health Care Czar,” the “Climate Change Czar,” the “Car Czar,” and the “Urban Affairs Czar.”
This list includes three of the most offensive “czars” in the Romanov wing of the Obama administration. Obama has an HHS Secretary in Kathleen Sebelius, so he doesn’t need a “czar” on health care. Likewise, his Cabinet includes a Secretary of Energy (Stephen Chu) and Interior (Ken Salazar), so why does the administration need a “climate change czar”? The government shouldn’t even be in the car business, so the car czar has to go. And while the “Urban Affairs Czar” hasn’t gotten much press, shouldn’t Shaun Donovan’s role as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development cover, er, urban affairs?
Four czars and two ObamaCare programs ended up getting the axe in the funding bill. That’s not a bad start. Here are the dollar figures stated in the summary for each department, in billions for apples-to-apples comparisons:
Agriculture: $3 billion cut from FY10 level, $3.2 billion less than Obama budget request
Commerce/Justice/Science: $10.9 billion cut from FY10 level, $7.1 billion less than Obama request
Defense: $5 billion increase from FY10
Energy/Water: $3.6 billion cut from FY10, $1.7 billion less than Obama request
Financial Services: $2.4 billion cut from FY10, $3.4 billion less than Obama request
Recall the US Senator, who voted "present" much of the time; and has yet to have had a sobering conversation on the reality of our U.S. debt crisis. Well, tomorrow, President Obama is going to give a speech on his plans to deal with the debt. The speech comes a week after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his plan to tackle long-term debt and deficits, weeks after Obama released his own budget that ignored the problem, and months after the president’s own fiscal commission issued a report the White House essentially set aside. It’s little wonder, then, that there’s a great deal of criticism for President Obama for arriving late to the issue and failing to lead on a solution to this nation’s debt crisis.
Indeed, The Washington Post writes today, “Letting others take the lead on complex problems has become a hallmark of the Obama presidency. On health care, last year’s tax deal and the recent battle over 2011 spending cuts, Obama has repeatedly waited as others set the parameters of the debate, swooping in late to cut a deal.”
The president’s failure of leadership has been acute on the problems of debt and spending in particular. As The New York Times wrote yesterday, “Mr. Obama’s budget waiting game . . . has helped to fuel widespread criticism by Republicans, pundits and some Democrats that he has failed to lead.” And Politico notes today, “Last week’s release of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s [budget plan] and a looming vote to raise the debt limit has forced the White House to unveil its own plan in a speech planned for George Washington University Wednesday afternoon.”
Politico gives a short history of how the president arrived at this point. “He set up a blue-ribbon deficit commission last year — even promised its report wouldn’t gather dust on the shelves — then promptly distanced himself from it. His State of the Union speech mentioned debt reduction, but focused on stimulating job growth and funneling new funding to education, infrastructure development and green energy projects. And he adopted a political strategy that seemed to be based on Republicans making the first move on presenting a plan for the deficit.”
At the time of his State of the Union speech, The New York Times wrote that President Obama “did not lay out any specific plans for addressing the long-term costs of Social Security and Medicare, the biggest fiscal challenges ahead.” And, the NYT pointed out, “[H]e did not adopt any of the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission he appointed to figure out ways to bring the deficit under control.”
When the president released his budget in February, the press was swift to criticize it for doing little to address the debt crisis. The NYT wrote, “The budget confirms that Mr. Obama is not taking the lead in embracing the kind of far-reaching deficit-reduction plan recommended in December by a bipartisan majority of his fiscal commission.” The Wall Street Journal editors explained his budget, saying, “It leaves every hard decision to the new House Republican majority. And it ignores almost entirely the recommendations of Mr. Obama's own deficit commission.” And The Washington Post editorialized, “The president punted. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his Fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck.”
But once again, President Obama seems to be offering little more than a speech. According to The Washington Post, “Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University.” And Politico reports, “It's looking less likely that President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday will embrace a lot of specific ideas on how to cut Medicare and Medicaid — which would get him in trouble with Democrats and progressive groups anyway. Instead, his health care allies are expecting him to talk in more general themes, focusing on cutting wasteful health care spending rather than cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits.” Politico also reports, “Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition and a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s debt reduction task force, said, ‘I don’t expect anything with a whole lot of detail,’ calling the Wednesday speech, ‘another step in the dance … an attempt by the president to get out in front of the debate because the only marker down there is Ryan.’”
Still, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell noted this morning, “Apparently the President is finally ready to acknowledge problems that the rest of the country has been waiting for him to address. It’s unfortunate that he had to be dragged into this discussion.. . . And we all look forward to hearing what the President has to say. But it’s my hope that in doing so, he offers more than the outline his political advisor suggested. . . .Too often, it seems, Democrats in Washington claim to be interested in helping those in need, when what they really seek is to protect big government. Whereas Republicans see America growing its way to prosperity, Democrats seem to want to constrict opportunities for everyone, so everyone is forced to do with less — except, of course, the politically connected and those who are lucky enough to get a waiver. But at least the President is joining in the conversation. Hopefully that conversation . . . doesn’t devolve into the kind of unhelpful scripted, and frankly juvenile, name-calling that we saw in the closing hours of the debate over the Continuing Resolution last week.” Tags:Washington, D.C., US House, US Senate, facts, FY11, continuing resolution, FY2012 Budget, National Debt, Government SpendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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