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News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited government, free markets, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru] - editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fmr NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani Reflects On 10 Years Since 9/11


New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani discusses the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks and considers the lessons of that day and the decade since.

Mayor Giuliani says, "On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, we must take stock of what we've learned. The attacks had two purposes. The first was to kill as many Americans as possible. The second was to destroy America's spirit.

"As we remember the thousands of lives lost on that day, there's no doubt that the terrorists achieved their first goal and will leave us with a deep wound forever. When it comes to destroying our spirit, however...as we consider the rescue and recovery effort we witnessed at the time of and in the aftermath of the attacks, it's clear that the terrorists failed."

He says, "People often ask me, 'Is America safer now than it was before September 11?' The answer is: 'Yes, but not as safe as we should be.' We're safer because we faced a difficult truth. A danger that we allowed to fester and grow without confronting properly, was suddenly staring us in the face. The engagement of Islamic extremist terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is an important part of our having prevented additional large-scale attacks. We've made significant improvements in intelligence gathering and in airport security. But much work remains."

Mayor Giuliani warns, ""Perhaps the most dangerous impulse we've developed since September 11 is impatience demonstrated by the calls to put our armed forces on timetables. It's a re-emergence of a dangerous historical pattern that sometimes afflicts America -- a desire to demilitarize by minimizing the dangers we face and that's led to catastrophes in the past, including the 'peace dividend' taken in the 90's as Islamic extremist terrorists were attacking us regularly. American security requires a long-term military presence in the part of the world where people and organizations are plotting to kill us. The timetable should not be based on a politically expedient calendar, but on when we've eliminated the threat of domestic attacks being generated in that particular part of the world. We must not allow impatience to prevent our military from achieving its objective in Iraq and Afghanistan and the objective is the elimination of the threat to our nation."

"Finally," he says, "America must take care of those who were harmed during the difficult and dangerous recovery effort. We must not forget what it meant to the country to watch these brave men and women work toward recovery and they shouldn't be abandoned now. If they become ill, we are responsible for taking care of them. After all, they took care of us."

He concludes, "We must rediscover our unity. We must never forget what we witnessed on that day, both the incomprehensible face of pure evil and the depth of love and compassion. Today, ten years later, the fight continues and the memories remain etched into our national character."

Tags: Rudy Giuliani, Mayor, New York, replections, September 11, 9/11, 9-11, Terrorist Attacks, Al Qaeda, Americans, military, first responders, firemen, paramedics, American Unity To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

9/11 Tribute by Military Veterans Who Are U.S. House Freshmen

Rep Rick Crawfor : House Freshman Veterans and Members who have served pay tribute to the brave Americans who displayed heroic efforts and to the lives that were lost on September 11th. May God Bless our country.


Tags: 9/11 Tribute, US House, freshmen, military Veterans, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama Looks to a Hire Power

Tony Perkins', FRC Washington Update: It took the President more than 4,100 words to describe his American Jobs Act--but he couldn't spare even one of them to explain how he planned to pay for it. Apparently, the tiny little detail of its "cost" will be released at a more convenient time (as in, off-air, away from the millions of viewers). But that $450 billion hiccup--and the absence of any concrete proposal--isn't standing in the way of the President's demands for passage. He scolded Congress for creating a "political circus" and instructed them to pass the Jobs plan "right away." It seems he wants to use the time before the deficit talks to add more to it!

As usual for this administration, it's pass now, pay later. "More targeted, temporary tax cuts; more spending now with promises of restraint later; the fifth (or is it sixth?) plan to reduce housing foreclosures; and more public works spending, though this time we're told the projects really will be shovel-ready," the Wall Street Journal quipped. "Americans were told [the 2009 stimulus] would create 3.5 million jobs and unemployment would stay blow 8%... It is now 9.1%. But this stimulus, we are told will make all the difference."

Obama regurgitated so much of his 2009 speech that the Washington Post actually made a game of it, publishing a pop quiz to see if readers could pick out which quotes came from which year. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), head of the Republican Study Committee joked that most of the President's address felt like the movie Groundhog Day. "Waking up each morning and trying the same failed approach all over again won't work any better," he said. Like most conservatives, he doesn't believe the government can spend its way out of this crisis. After all, if a trillion dollar stimulus didn't work, why would a half-trillion? Even the media came out swinging. The Associated Press pointed out the biggest whoppers of the night in its Fact Checker, including Obama's insistence that "Everything in this bill will be paid for." "It will not add to the deficit." "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans..." And "[It] answers the urgent need to create jobs right away."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, "This isn't a jobs plan. This is a reelection plan." But not a very good one, based on the President's tanking approval ratings.

Tags: Barack Obama, American Jobs Act, whoppers, Tony Perkins, FRC, Family Research Council To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama's "Dam Jobs Plan"

A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: Barack Obama, dam, Obama dam, blocking the economy, U.S. economy, Obama, stimulus bill, Obamacare, Obama Jobs Bill, China, A.F. Branco, political cartoon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Majority Voters Believe Media Is Biased And Interested in Creating Controversy About Candidates

At the MSNBC / Politico Republican Debate on Sept 7th, Gingrich Chastises the Media for trying to promote infighting between Republican Candidates. [Source Story and Video]

Today, Rasmussen Reports confirms that the America voters have the same opinion of the media.

Rasmussen Reports: Voters overwhelmingly believe the media’s more interested in playing “gotcha” with those running for president than with airing out where they stand on the important issues of the day.
- 16% of Likely U.S. Voters - media is more interested in prospective presidential candidates stand on the issues.
- 73% believe the media is more interested in creating controversies about the candidates.
- 11% are undecided.

This view is shared by most voters across the partisan spectrum . . . .
- 53% of the Political Class believe the media is more interested in where the candidates stand on the issues.
- 78% of Mainstream voters think the media is more concerned with creating controversies about those running for president.

The overall findings:
- 67% of all voters believe most reporters, when covering a political campaign, try to help the candidate they want to win.
- 21% think most reporters put the emphasis instead on trying to offer unbiased coverage.
[These views are virtually unchanged in surveys since June 2008.]
Read Full Reports

Tags: Rasmussen Reports, media, media bias, voters, survey, poll To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Offical Credit Card of the Obama Administration

After President Obama used a Joint Order of Congress to deliver a political campaign rant, some comic relief is i order. The following was designed by Jared H. McAndersen, "The Looking Spoon":

Tags: President Obama, Joint Order of Congress, satire, Jared H. McAndersen, The Looking Spoon, political humor, MasterTard, official credit card To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Reaction To Obama's Speech: Skepticism And "A Sense Of Deja Vu"

Last night, after the Presidents Speech, 52 Senate Democrats voted against proceeding to a resolution of disapproval (S.J. Res. 25) of the president’s request to increase the debt limit an additional $500 billion, thus allowing the increase to go forward. Such is the world of liberals.

Also yesterday, after rejecting three amendments to the bill, the Senate voted 89-9 to pass H.R. 1249, the patent reform bill.

Reactions to Obama's Job Speech:
Reactions in the press to President Obama’s call for more stimulus spending last night were definitely skeptical, with even the Los Angeles Times editorial page noting that “[t]he $447-billion plan isn't particularly novel” and The Washington Post adding, “The $447 billion cost of the program is more than half that of the stimulus package Congress passed in 2009 and reflects the severity of the nation’s economic challenge.”

The Wall Street Journal editors were doubtful, writing, “[Y]ou have to really, really believe in hope and change to think that another $300-$400 billion in new deficit spending and temporary tax cuts will do any better than the $4 trillion in debt that the Obama years have already piled up.”

And fact checkers at the AP were similarly unimpressed. They wrote last night, “President Barack Obama's promise Thursday that everything in his jobs plan will be paid for rests on highly iffy propositions. It will only be paid for if a committee he can't control does his bidding, if Congress puts that into law and if leaders in the future - the ones who will feel the fiscal pinch of his proposals - don't roll it back. . . . [T]here is no guarantee that programs that clearly will increase annual deficits in the near term will be paid for in the long term.”

The whole speech seemed awfully familiar to The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who writes The Fact Checker blog. He observes, “The speech mostly gave us a sense of déjà vu. From the president’s language, you would never know that Congress already has acted under his watch to save jobs — the $800 billion stimulus plan passed shortly after he took office. ‘Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs,’ Obama proclaimed in a speech to a similar joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009. We’re not sure about the jobs saved part, but the country has certainly not created jobs since then — there are almost 2 million fewer jobs since he made those remarks 2 1/2 years ago. That gives a sense of the economic burden he will carry into his reelection campaign.”

As the WSJ editors point out, “We've had the biggest Keynesian stimulus in decades. The new argument that the 2009 stimulus wasn't big enough isn't what we heard then. Americans were told it would create 3.5 million new jobs and unemployment would stay below 8% and be falling by 2011. It is now 9.1%. But this stimulus we are told will make all the difference.”

They conclude, “He passed $830 billion in stimulus, $3 billion for cash for clunkers, $30 billion in small business loans, $30 billion for mortgage modification, the GM-Chrysler bailouts, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, credit card price controls, Build America Bonds, jobless benefits for a record 99 weeks, and more. . . . Washington can most help the economy with serious spending restraint, permanent tax-rate cuts, regulatory relief and repeal of ObamaCare. What won't help growth is more temporary, targeted political conjuring.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, said, “The president’s plan makes a mockery of the recent debt limit deal. That agreement cut $7 billion in appropriations next year but the president now wants to borrow hundreds of billions more to finance a second stimulus package… Saying that something is ‘paid for’ isn’t enough… Borrowing even more to spend immediately in exchange for vague promises of distant future cuts means that we are digging ourselves into a deeper fiscal hole and moving quickly in the wrong direction.”

Rep. Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR-02) responded, "I look forward to studying the details of the President's proposal, but from what I heard tonight, it appears to be more of the same stimulus that failed in the first place. In Arkansas, the President’s previous stimulus plan cost taxpayers more than $273,000 for every job it created or saved in the state while adding a trillion dollars to our national debt. If the President wants to strengthen the economy, he should encourage the Senate to pass more than a dozen pro-jobs, pro-growth bills that we in the House have already passed.”

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-01) responded, "While honest disagreements in policy are natural, my goal is to find common ground that will foster job creation and avert a national debt crisis."

Michael A. Needham, Heritage Action for America, said "Last night, the President of the United States said he wanted to see more products "made in America." This from a president who has allowed his National Labor Relations Board to torture a great American company, Boeing, trying to make planes in America. He said he wanted to pass trade agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea. Yet, he refuses to allow them to be passed unless his friends in the labor unions are paid off at the same time.  He said he wants to stop the political circus. Yet, he convened a joint session of Congress only to present a fiercely partisan campaign speech.  This is not the audacity of hope. It is just plain audacity.
"

As Sen. Mitch McConnell  put it yesterday, “The first Stimulus didn’t do it. Why would another one? This is one question that the White House and a number of Democrats clearly don’t want to answer. That’s why some of them are out there coaching people not to use the word Stimulus when describing the President’s plan. . . . But here’s the bottom line: By the President’s own standards his jobs agenda has been a failure. And we can’t afford to make the same mistake twice.”

Tags: Us Senate, debt limit, patent bill, President Obama, jobs speech, jobs, speech, reactions to speech To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Never Quit Remembering 9/11

Brandon Stewart, The Foundry, Heritage Foundation:As Americans prepare to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorists attacks, The Heritage Foundation has been busy reminding Congress and the public of the importance of staying the course in the War on Terror.

In the past 10 years, at least 40 terrorist plots have been foiled due, in large part, to our enhanced counter-terrorism efforts. But despite this progress, efforts are underway to undermine some of this progress by rejecting the very policies that have kept us safe.

In a new report, James Carafano lays out many of the problems with the current strategy:
The Administration now seeks to treat terrorism under a law enforcement paradigm that failed to protect Americans from terrorism when it was adopted by the Clinton Administration before 9/11. In addition, the White House intends to follow a “small footprint” strategy for overseas operations, relying primarily on Special Forces operations, covert action, and strikes with unmanned aerial vehicles.

The President’s strategy cedes the initiative to America’s enemies and provides them the opportunity to reconstitute both their moral and physical assets.
As Ericka Andersen explains, this is simply the wrong way to maintain a strong defense:
Ten years later, Osama bin Laden is dead, delivering to victims’ families and the rest of America a bit of justice for the heinous acts we all witnessed. But one terrorist’s death does not justify returning to the national security mindset that existed prior to that day.

Tags: Never Quit, Remembering, Remember 9/11, 9-11, 9-11, terrorism, threats To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Lost Jobs & Oil: Drilling Rigs May Leave Gulf Over Obama Admin Permit Delays

Bluey Reports, Heritage Foundation: If the pace of Gulf oil drilling permit awards does not increase, as many as 20 drilling rigs could soon leave the Gulf, a major investment bank announced. BER Capital Investments called the current rate of permitting unsustainable in a report released Wednesday.

BER’s report noted that the slow pace of permitting is not due to political factors, instead blaming policies put in place in after the spill. They have directly contributed to the current backlog of permits.

“Rather than being political, the [Gulf of Mexico] permitting drag is more reflective of the increased work required to issue each permit and the limited bureaucratic resources available,” the BER report stated. “As a result, we continue to expect continued slow recovery of the deepwater permitting rate.”

That rate is “unsustainable,” the report claimed, and will lead to the departure of between eight and 20 rigs from the Gulf. That is in addition to the 12 rigs that have left since June of last year. Once rigs leave the Gulf, they are not likely to return. “[I]t’s going to be difficult to move them back once they are drilling in say Nigeria or Brazil,” Heritage’s David Kreutzer noted in July.

Speaking yesterday on Capitol Hill, Chevron CEO John Watson said the stringent requirements for permit applications enacted after last year’s oil spill in the have significantly increased the time it takes to get permits approved.

Heritage’s Nick Loris wrote in a new research paper today that energy exploration would create jobs for Americans and raise revenue for the federal government. Loris suggested the federal government “work to return the permitting process to pre-moratorium levels. In some instances, oil and gas companies purchased leases on federal lands to explore and drill for oil and gas, but the Department of Interior (DOI) failed to issue the leases—despite the law stating it has 60 days to do so. DOI needs to act on these permits.”

A report released Wednesday by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie warned that “the current path of policies which slow down the issuance of leases and drilling permits…will have a detrimental effect on production, jobs, and government revenue.” Charting a new path – one that makes permits easier to attain – would likely advance job creation at a time when it is dominating the national political agenda.

Tags: Gulf, Oil Rigs, permits, jobs, oil, drilling, drilling permits, energy, Gulf of Mexico, oil To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Boozman Calls for Supercommittee Transparency

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman joined his Senate colleagues in demanding transparency from the new joint deficit reduction committee commonly referred to as the supercommittee, in advance of the committee’s first meeting today.

“I think the supercommittee has a great opportunity to help us reduce the deficit which we all agree is out-of-control,” Boozman said during a morning press conference.

Created by the “Budget Control Act,” the supercommittee is tasked with cutting more than $1 trillion in deficit spending by Thanksgiving. In August, Boozman joined six of his colleagues in sending a letter to Senate leadership calling for meetings of this committee to be open to the public and available for television broadcast.

Boozman said he believes transparency is a step in the right direction to regaining confidence in Washington.

“I believe with all of my heart that the people of Arkansas, the people of American have the right to understand what goes on as we make some very significant decisions in trying to determine how we reduce the deficit,” Boozman said.

Watch Boozman’s remarks during the press conference.


Tags: Senator, John Boozman
Arkansas, Senate, Congress, Washington, Budget, transparency, supercommittee
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Erickson: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned

Bill Smith, Editor:  The below article caught my attention when Erick Erickson opened with the statement that he had sinned by watching MSNBC. Last night many Conservatives did so as well and I expect that only extreme liberals (except for the debate hosts) stayed away.  The debate was watched by  watched by 5.4 million viewers which was slightly  more than more than the 5.0 million viewers who watched the Fox News Channel's Aug. 11 Republican debate.  However, it was far more than June's CNN's which had 3.1 million viewers.  Appear to me that Americans are very interested in looking for a new president.

Erickson's opinion on the debate was titled "Perry verses Romney." MSNBC evidenced they were most interested in ratings but not interested in offering their viewers a more comprehensive view of all candidates.  Instead they focused on drama by focusing  primarily on Perry and Romney. Not only did MSNBC  and Politico omit some Republican candidates, they failed to give the candidates who attended a fair opportunity to present their positions in enough detail to garner more support or to potentially self-destruct and thus remove themselves from the race.

While I do not envision Newt Gingrich being the Republican nomination, I was pleased that Newt chastised the media on their efforts to pit candidates against each other. Also, I agree in general with Erikson's opinion on the performance of the candidates in yesterday's debate. But, I will insert some comments.

Erick Erickson, RedState: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I gave MSNBC ratings. But in doing so I can say this is a two man race — Perry vs. Romney. It is also clear in this first debate that Perry is the front runner now. I would still prefer to have a few more debates on this before declaring it, but below I’ll explain why it is clear he is whether I want to think so or not.

The most shocking bit of the whole debate was at the very end. I felt a great disturbance in the Force as if millions of Republicans cried out in terror and suddenly realized they were watching MSNBC. [Such agony!]

First, I don’t think Perry had as strong a performance tonight as he could have. He stumbled several times. Romney had a stronger performance — the strongest of anyone on stage in fact. But then, Romney has been in this dog and pony show since 2007. Perry is just stepping up to this level. He made no major mistakes, but could have been stronger on the HPV issue and a few other issues.  [Agree]

Second, it is clear Perry is the front runner given the pile on from the other candidates. It was not just pushed by MBNBC and the Politico. The other candidates took willful potshots against Rick Perry. Perry, despite some stumbles and the pile on by the moderators and other participants, held his own and will only get stronger the more of these he does. And if he doesn’t? Goodbye frontrunner status.  [Perry may have difficulty with independent voters regardless of his positions because when Perry speaks, his voice often sounds like former president George W. Bush.]

Third, Michele Bachmann’s star has faded. The recognition of this is the reporter focus on Perry v. Romney buttressed by Bachmann’s own outgoing campaign manager, Ed Rollins, that the race was a two man race between Perry and Romney.  [I like Michele Bachmann's faithfulness to the conservative message.  If not a presidential contender, we still need her in Congress or in a Republican administration.   Maybe she should could be the first "Cut the Gov't Czar!"]

Fourth, Newt Gingrich. What an intellect. What a mind. What a debater. What might have been. [Newt is not presidential  for many reasons.  Some are too distasteful to mention here but would be death for him as a leader of our country. But, I like the way his intellect stirs the issues.  He should continue his professorial role and speaking tours.]

Fifth, I am thankful I did not somehow get on tonight’s rapid response email list for all the candidates. Usually I am. Tonight, the only campaign doing aggressive rapid response into my email inbox is the Paul campaign. And 100% of his rapid response emails attacked Rick Perry.

Sixth, Warner Brothers wants Marvin the Martian back in Looney Tunes. Thus ends the Ron Paul campaign. [Ron Paul's efforts and poll ratings are maintained by his loyal followers. Libertarians generally love him.  He has shaped the debate with his steady focus on expansive and abusive government.  At age 76. he is like a wise grandfather to many. However, today's America is not going to elect a 77 year old president.]

Finally, I think Mitt Romney’s “play it safe” strategy is about to come crashing down on his. In the exchange between Perry and Romney on social security and ponzi schemes, Perry gave a less than stellar answer. But Romney then tried to pile on by rejecting the idea that social security is a failure.  [Perry was correct about social security having operated as a Ponzi scheme with the Government "misusing" the funds paid by American workers. However, social security cannot go away at least for the generations that has already trusted their government with their futures.  Perry stumbled on this one; he will need to adjust his rhetoric on this issue.  He also stumbled on approaching the elder Ron Paul.]

Republicans should pay attention to this. Mitt Romney proclaimed making several generations of Americans dependent on the federal government for their retirement a success. That may play well to Washington, D.C. But it increasingly doesn’t even play well with senior citizens worried about their grandchildren’s futures.

[Herman Cain, an experienced business CEO, and others were not given adequate time.  If not the GOP presidential candidate, Cain should be part of a future Republican administration that down sizes  wasteful processes and needless offices in the Federal government.

Finally, MSNBC allowing former Gov. Jon Huntsman to be in the debate was an insult  to former Gov. Gary Johnson who was not permitted in the debate.  Based on comments and positions by both candidates, Johnson is conservative and  Huntsman is moderate to liberals. If Ron Paul was not in the race, many of his supporters would  be supporting Gov. Johnson.]

Tags: MSNBC, debate, presidential debate, Erick Erickson, remarks, RedState, Bill Smith To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

McConnell: "Americans Have 1.7 Mil. Reasons To Oppose Another Stimulus"

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 8, 2011:
At 10:30 this morning, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (created by the debt ceiling spending cuts agreement) held its first public meeting.

The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 1249, the patent reform bill. Around 4 PM, the Senate will hold a series of votes. The first 3 votes will be on amendments to the bill offered by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Tom Coburn (R-OK). Following the amendment votes, the Senate will vote on final passage of H.R. 1249.

At 7 PM, the Senate will join the House for a Joint Session of Congress for an address from President Obama. Following the Joint Session, the Senate will reconvene in the Senate chamber and vote on the motion to proceed to S.J. Res. 25, introduced by Leader McConnell, disapproving of deny the president’s request to increase the debt limit an additional $500 billion.

The Hill is reporting that a "Senate committee approved today a short-term extension of the highway spending bill that authorizes Congress to collect the federal gas tax. The measure is an eighth extension of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) that was expired in 2009. Transportation advocates have pushed for a long-term bill, but the Republican-led House and the Democratically-controlled Senate have offered vastly different versions of the bill. The House proposal would spend $235 billion over six years on transportation, while the Senate has suggested spending $109 billion over two years."

Insurance Journal also noted that "the Senate Committee on Banking and Urban Affairs passed its version of a bill to reauthorize and reform the financing of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP — which is $18 billion in debt largely as a result of claims from Hurricane Katrina — is set to expire at the end of the month unless Congress acts.

The legislation — called the ‘Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act’ — would reform parts of the NFIP and extend it for five years. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The House passed H.R. 1309, the ‘Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011,’ by a wide margin, 406-22, before the August recess. Both measures would move the program toward sounder financial operations and require that premiums be raised to levels actuaries say reflect the true risk of flooding. Many homeowners now pay subsidized rates."

In an op-ed for Politico today previewing the president’s speech, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell writes, “President Barack Obama will reportedly do two things in his speech to a joint session of Congress tonight: ask us to believe that a second stimulus will be more effective than his first; and pin the blame on others for a jobs crisis that his own economic policies have done more than anything else to perpetuate. Such a speech would, no doubt, cheer the most ardent Democratic partisans. But it would do nothing to create jobs. That’s why many of us believe the president should instead begin by candidly acknowledging the failures of an economic agenda that centers on massive government spending and debt. . . .  Here’s the bottom line: There are now 1.7 million fewer jobs in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, than there were before the president signed the economic stimulus into law. By the president’s own standards, in other words, the centerpiece of his jobs agenda has been a failure. At this point, most Americans have concluded that the problem with our economy isn’t that Washington is doing too little — but that it’s doing too much.”

He elaborated in a speech on the Senate floor this morning, “I’d say that Americans have 1.7 million reasons to oppose another Stimulus. And that’s why many of us have been calling on the President to propose something different tonight. Not because of politics. But because the kind of policies he’s proposed have failed.  The problem here isn’t politics. The problem is policy. . . . So tonight, the President should take a different approach. He should acknowledge the failures of an economic agenda that centers on government spending and debt, and work across the aisle on a plan that puts people and businesses at the forefront of job creation.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman House RSC commented, "For the last two and a half years, Washington’s prescription for our fragile economy has been more government intrusion and interference. Whether it’s ObamaCare, the NLRB telling businesses how and where they can do business, or the Obama administration throwing $535 million of taxpayer money into a now-bankrupt solar panel company, the constant theme has been that Washington knows better than its citizens how their money should be spent.  Families and businesses don’t need the government telling them how to succeed. What they need is the freedom to succeed without the constant threat of new costs, disruptions, and interference from the federal bureaucracy. I hope President Obama keeps this in mind on Thursday during the “jobs speech” he’s been touting for the last month.

ABC News examines the stimulus’ infrastructure spending, reporting today, “President Obama isn’t likely to use the term ‘shovel-ready’ in his jobs speech tonight, but he is expected to call for billions in new government spending for infrastructure projects he believes will lead to immediate hiring. . . . If the refrain sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Sources knowledgeable about the administration proposals say Obama might seek to fast-track up to $50 billion in infrastructure spending in the next year as part of a broader transportation package, an idea he first proposed a year ago but which failed to gain traction. . . . A January 2010 Associated Press analysis of Recovery Act found spending on roads and bridges ‘had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry,’ regardless of how many dollars lawmakers threw at the various projects.”

And The Wall Street Journal explains the overall failure of the stimulus in an editorial: “Even zero jobs growth in August doesn't seem to have disrupted President Obama's faith in the economic policies of his first three years, so one theme we'll be listening for in tonight's speech is how he explains the current moment. Why did his first jobs plan—the $825 billion stimulus—so quickly result in the need for another jobs plan? For readers who want to know, an important account is offered in a pair of new Mercatus Center working papers by the George Mason economists Garett Jones and Daniel Rothschild, who did field research on what they call the supply side of the stimulus. . . . In the first paper, the authors survey 85 different businesses, nonprofits and local governments across the country and conclude that ‘As is often the case when economic models are transferred from the blackboard to actual public policy, there was a gap between theory and practice.’ . . . The second paper suggests that the stimulus did not ‘create or save’ nearly as many jobs as the models indicate. On the basis of 1,300 interviews, Messrs. Jones and Rothschild estimate that merely 42.1% of the firms that received grants hired people who were unemployed. Instead, they poached workers from their competitors.”

The WSJ editorial concludes, “The lesson of such on-the-ground knowledge is that the stimulus was a lost opportunity. In practice it became a shotgun marriage between an economic theory justified by computer models and 40 years of liberal social priorities (clean energy, Medicaid expansions and the rest). This produced the 9.1% unemployment we now have. The economy would have benefited far more if the government had instead improved the incentives for people and businesses to invest, produce and grow. The President probably won't mention any of this, but it does explain why he has to give his latest speech.”

American frustrations are running high. Today, one reader suggested: "Let's hold the paychecks of the president, vice president, their staff advisers, and all house & senate members until they resolve the jobs crisis, reduce government spending, and the debt ceiling crisis!"

Tags: Washington, D.C., U.S. Senate, Obama speech, Mitch McConnell, jobs, economy, debt To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Mr. President, It's Time to Focus on Job Creation, Not Regulation

Republican Senators: Despite the fact that our economy is in a slump, unemployment is high, and businesses large and small are struggling, the president continues to push for failed economic policies and more government spending and regulation. Senate Republicans are committed to making it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs by repealing burdensome regulations and creating a climate of tax and regulatory certainty that will give businesses the confidence to grow.

Mr. President, It's Time to Focus on Job Creation, Not Regulation.


Tags: Republican, Senate, Senator, Congress, President Obama, focus, job creation, not regulations, regulations, Debt, Deficit, No Jobs, Jobs, Regulation
economy, government, business
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The Obama Reid Broken Record "Jobs Plan"

The NRSC Source:
2.4 million jobs lost. The recovery starts when Obama and Reid lose theirs.


Tags: President Obama, Jobs, Speech, Unemployment, Stimulus, Harry Reid, Senate, Democrats, Senators, video, ad, NRSC To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hoffa's Thug Speech

A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: civility, lack of civility, Jimmy Hoffa, thug, speech, Barack Obama, A.F. Branco, politically incorrect, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame

by Curtis Coleman: You have the extraordinary opportunity to nominate an Arkansas military veteran to be one of first fifteen inductees into the new Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame, but the deadline for submitting your nomination is rapidly approaching.  The historic first inductees will be announced at a special ceremony on 11/11/11 – Veterans Day, November 11, 2011.

Founded recently by Col. Conrad Reynolds (Ret.) and fellow veterans, the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame was endorsed in a resolution of the Arkansas State Legislature in its most recent session. According to Reynolds, the purpose of the Hall of Fame is to publicly emphasize the honor brought to Arkansas and the Nation by the sacrifice of Arkansas’s military veterans and their families.

Any individual can nominate a veteran, either living or deceased, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  To be eligible to be considered, the nominee must have either been born in Arkansas or lived in Arkansas for a minimum of eight years.  He or she must have received an honorable discharge from U.S. military service, be of good character and have no felony convictions. A full list of eligibility requirements is available online at amvhof.org/index.php/nominations.

A nomination packet is available by clicking here, and all nominations must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2011. The Hall of Fame’s first annual induction banquet is scheduled for November 11, 2011 at the Agora Center in Conway, AR. More information on the induction banquet is available here.

Up to fifteen Arkansas military veterans will be inducted into the hall of fame and awarded the Hall of Fame Medallion™ annually, recognizing their military service to our nation and to the State of Arkansas during the annual banquet according to Reynolds. Of the fifteen inductees, up to ten will be selected exclusively for their valorous military service to our Country and up to five will be selected for their combined military / civilian service to our Community, State and Nation.

The Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on the financial support of individual donors. A check or money order made payable to “Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame” may be sent to: AMVHOF, P.O. Box 11011, Conway, AR 72034. You may also contact AMVHOF via email or leave a message at 1-888-329-3845. The Hall of Fame also has a “1st 100 Club.” The first 100 individuals or companies who donate $500 or more will be honored by having their name permanently etched on a plaque for public display and will receive two free tickets to the annual Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame banquet for the year in which they make the donation. More information on the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame is available at amvhof.org.

Tags: Arkansas, Military, Veterans, Hall of Fame, Conrad Reynolds, veterans, Veterans Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Lesson For Conservatives and The Media

At the MSNBC / Politico Republican Debate on Sept 7th, Gingrich Chastises the Media for trying to promote infighting between Republican Candidates.


Tags: Republican, presidential debate, MSNBC, Newt Gingrich, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Reports Suggest Obama To Focus On Failed Approach: More Stimulus Spending

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 7, 2011:
Yesterday, the Senate voted 96-2 to confirm Bernice Bouie Donald to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit. The Senate also invoked cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1249 by a vote of 93-5. Also, GOP Leader McConnell introduced S. J. Res 25, a joint resolution disapproving of the president’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit. If the resolution is passed and signed, it would deny the president’s request to increase the debt limit an additional $500 billion.

Today the Senate resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 1249, the patent reform bill. Later today, the Senate is likely to agree to the motion to proceed to the patent reform bill, and amendments may be offered.

Last night, Leader McConnell introduced S. J. Res 25, a joint resolution disapproving of the president’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit. If the resolution is passed and signed, it would deny the president’s request to increase the debt limit an additional $500 billion.

Tomorrow night, at 7 PM, President Obama will address a Joint Session of Congress and supposedly lay out his proposals for creating jobs, but press reports suggest that his plans are likely to consist mostly of much of the same federal spending and stimulus ideas that his administration already tried. The results of those, unfortunately, are plain to see: stagnant job growth, millions of Americans out of work, and a staggering national debt. Another option expressed by Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service: "I do not wish to be frustrated with another Teleprompter Performance. If I learn that the President admitted that he has been wrong in his policies and is sorry for his failures, I will watch his comments on the Fox News' replays or on YouTube. Instead, I will join millions of "red blooded" Americans in preparing food and snacks for Thursday night's 8:30 PM (ET) NFL season kickoff: the Green Bay Packers verse the New Orleans Saints."

Today, ALG President Bill Wilson blasted Barack Obama's picking Alan Krueger as head of the Council of Economic Advisors: "In light of his refusal to condemn the extremist remarks of Teamsters' boss Jimmy Hoffa, promising to 'take out' the tea party, it is deeply disturbing that Barack Obama would nominate someone who has taken the radical position of advocating for the unionization of prisoners. Alan Krueger has even supported paying the minimum wage and overtime to prisoners. This is the man that is supposed to turn our broken economy around?"

Discussing the reports of Obama’s speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “[W]hile I have no doubt the President will propose many things on Thursday that, when looked at individually, sound pretty good, or that he’ll call them all bipartisan, I’m equally certain that, taken as whole, they’ll represent more of the same failed approach that’s only made things worse over the past few years, and resulted in even fewer jobs than when he started. Over the weekend, the President tested a few of the lines I expect we’ll hear on Thursday. His central message, evidently, is that anyone who doesn’t rubber stamp his economic agenda is putting politics above country. With all due respect, Mr. President, there’s a much simpler reason for opposing your economic proposals that has nothing to do with politics: they don’t work.”

The New York Times notes, “The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, warned against any initiatives that resembled the economic stimulus legislation passed soon after Mr. Obama took office in 2009. He and other Republicans said an overactive federal government was stifling economic growth. ‘The problem with our economy is not that Washington is doing too little, but that Washington is doing too much already,’ Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. The stimulus package, he said, has been an ‘epic failure.’ ‘As government continued to grow, the economy sputtered,’” Mr. McConnell said. ‘And it’s still sputtering. That’s the reason so many people are skeptical of this president’s economic proposals. They don’t work as advertised.’ ‘In the two and half years since President Obama signed his signature jobs bill, the so-called stimulus,’ Mr. McConnell said, ‘there are 1.7 million fewer jobs in this country.’ The Labor Department says that nonfarm payroll employment totaled 131.1 million in August, compared with 132.8 million in February 2009.”

And yet Democrats are still calling for more of the same Washington-centric ideas involving ever more government spending. According to the NYT, “House and Senate Democrats are urging President Obama to propose spending on a host of new public works and job programs in his speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday. But Republicans vowed to resist such initiatives, saying they had been a spectacular failure in the last two and a half years.”

As Leader McConnell said, “By any measure, including [the president’s] own, the Stimulus, and the economic principles it was built on, have been a failure. . . . Businesses don’t want shots in the arm or quick-fixes. They want to know what the landscape will look like a few years down the road. And until now, that’s not something the President has been willing to do. He just hasn’t been able to bring himself to let go of government’s grip.   . . . We need to shift the center of gravity away from Washington and back to the innovators and entrepreneurs, the engineers and the shop-floor managers who will be at the heart of our recovery. And we need to be serious about it.

“The President is forever eager to embrace big proposals whenever government’s at the helm, but when it comes to doing the kinds of things job creators really want, he’s suddenly timid. He’ll agree to a tax cut as long as it’s temporary. He’ll agree to reverse a job-killing regulation, but only if he knows he’s gotten dozens of other doozies in the pipeline behind it.

“We need to do better than that,” Leader McConnell said. “We need the President to be as bold about liberating job creators as he’s been about shackling them. I mean, you don’t lift a single regulation and suddenly claim to be Margaret Thatcher.”

Tags: U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., Barack Obama, more stimulus, speech, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Stoking Racial Division

Thumbs Down on
Racial Division
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Of all the hot button issues in American politics, race remains the most explosive. The hope that the election of America's first black president would heal old wounds has faded along with hope and change. In fact, Obama's allies now appear to be intentionally encouraging racial hatred.

In the days leading up to Labor Day, members of the Congressional Black Caucus tried to smear the Tea Party movement as if it were a mass revival of the Ku Klux Klan. One member even suggested that some conservatives wouldn't be satisfied until blacks were dead.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) recently blamed racism for high unemployment in the black community. She later said, "Let us all remember who the real enemy is. The real enemy is the Tea Party -- the Tea Party holds the Congress hostage. They have one goal in mind, and that's to make President Obama a one-term president."

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) attempted to portray Texas Governor Rick Perry as a racist for expressing his support for the Tenth Amendment. Jackson issued a statement suggesting that the Tenth Amendment was a pro-slavery amendment. Consider this excerpt:
"Governor Rick Perry wants to be the champion of the Tenth Amendment and states' rights… He said he wants to 'work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential in your life as I can.' …He apparently believes, as Ronald Reagan did, that the federal government is not the solution. The federal government is the problem. Truer words or more faithful ideas could not have been attributed to Confederate President Jefferson Davis… After-all, it was the Tenth Amendment and states' rights that protected the institution of slavery. The words 'slave' or 'slavery' did not appear in the Constitution. The institution of slavery, the Tenth Amendment and states' rights are joined at the hip. …"
Not to be outdone, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) said this: "Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me… hanging on a tree." It is hard to think of a more evil, divisive tactic than the race baiting these left-wing Democrats have chosen to engage in.

To his credit, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has threatened to resign from the Congressional Black Caucus if its leadership does not condemn this outrageous slander. West isn't holding his breath. The CBC isn't backing down. Why should they? The media have been largely silent.

Unfortunately, this appears to have been an orchestrated effort to try out new campaign themes, presumably with Obama's blessing since he has not condemned the remarks. This is an effort by the left to strengthen support for Obama with his base because his policies are costing him support among moderates and independents.

Responsible journalists should forcefully condemn this kind of vile, hateful rhetoric. And so too should President Obama. It is incredibly dangerous for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to use the language of lynchings when we already have flash mobs of urban minority youth engaged in hate crimes around the country.
-------------
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.  Note a related article - April 30, 2010:; Racialism: The First Refuge of Desperate Democrats

Tags: Stoking Racial Division, racial division, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Big Labor Unions Discourages Job Growth

by Tierra Warren, The Heritage Foundation: Labor Day means a bit less this year, with 14 million Americans unemployed. While President Obama was preaching to big labor in Detroit on the importance of collective bargaining, millions of Americans were looking for work in an environment where the economy is at a standstill.

It is no surprise that unions are strong allies of the President, whose policies from the stimulus to Obamacare have included privileges for organized labor. Having spent $1.1 billion on politics and lobbying in the last election cycle, unions will continue to hold a prominent seat at the table in 2012.

The labor unions have helped lead to the staggering loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, and the demands they have made on employers and governments helped create conditions of high unemployment in Detroit and across the country.

In a new report, the Heritage Foundation’s Rea Hederman Jr. and James Sherk explain what it means for a business to unionize:
Unions make businesses less competitive and discourage investment. This reduces job growth. Studies show that jobs fall by 5–10 percent at newly organized firms. Going forward, employment grows by three to four percentage points more slowly at unionized businesses than at otherwise identical non-union companies.
Neither businesses nor workers seem to approve of this. Since 1970, unionized manufacturing has fallen 80 percent, while non-union manufacturing jobs have only decreased by six percent. In 2010, union membership fell by over 600,000 workers. Sherk explains why:
Union membership has fallen because traditional collective bargaining does not appeal to most workers. Polls show that only one in 10 non-union workers wants to organize. This makes sense: in the competitive private sector, unions can do little to raise their members’ pay. Additionally, most workers like their jobs and believe they are on the same side as their employers.
The unions aren’t going down without a fight, however. They hope to use the power of government to reduce worker choice and make it easier for unions to organize.

It is time for Congress to step up and promote job growth. Big Labor doesn’t have to be the only player in the game.

Tags: big labor, unions, discourage job growth, unemployment, no jobs, worker's choice, the economy, Congress, The Heritage Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama's Kiss Of Death

A.F. "Tony" Branco:

Tags: Barack Obama, Obama jobs plan, obama, Obama jobs plan, Solyndra, Obama, Obama jobs plan, Solyndra Solar Panels To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Jobs Creation Is At Zero; Unions And DNC Attack American Voters

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept 6, 2011:
The U.S. Senate is back in session today at 2 p.m.and the US House members start arriving tomorrow and will back in session on Sept 8th. The Senate will take up the nomination of and vote almost immediately on Bernice Bouie Donald to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit. Immediately following that vote, the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 1249, the patent reform bill.

On Thursday at 7 PM, President Obama will address a Joint Session of Congress on his proposed ideas to increase jobs. Obviously, the only people that create real jobs which are not increase government spending jobs is the private sector economy. House members are suggesting that the President Consider job and growth proposals already passed by House The AP reports that "House Republican leaders are offering President Barack Obama an opening for compromise on measures that would spur job growth. They say neither Republicans nor the administration should consider their own initiatives 'an all-or-nothing situation.'"

Teamster's "chief-thug" Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. introduced Obama to the assembled Big Labor forces in Michigan yesterday with vile rhetoric that seems more befitting of Red Square. His comments:
Barack Obama has yet to condemn this hateful speech or that spewed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  ..  Will the President condemn this rhetoric in his Speech to Congress.  Probably  not as he has been in bed with the leadership of the unions for some time and has sought support of various predominately liberal groups. Unfortunately, the Black Congressional Caucus as a whole has forgotten their constituents and focus on only supporting President Obama and themselves.  Rather disappointing and it understandable that they do not desire conservatives like Rep. Allen West (R-FL) as a member of the caucus.  At the same time, it is very evident that the Democratic National Committee presently lead by Rep.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and the Obama campaign staff have sanctioned the unleashing of "rabid vitriol against members of the TEA Party movement. seeking limited government.

The Washington Post writes today, “Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and, what has become issue No. 1, the stagnant jobs situation. Just 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, a new career low; 53 percent disapprove, a new high. As part of a reinvigorated effort to regain momentum as he heads toward the 2012 election year, Obama traveled to Detroit on Monday for a Labor Day appearance that served as a prelude to his speech Thursday to a joint session of Congress in which he will unveil new proposals to create jobs.”

In an op-ed for The Post today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggests, “One thing [the president] could do immediately is finalize the free-trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama that have been languishing on his desk.”

He points out, “For nearly three years, Republicans and a number of Democrats have been calling on the president to approve these deals to create a level playing field with America’s competitors overseas, vastly expand the market for U.S. goods, strengthen our ties with three important allies and create jobs for Americans. Yet the deals have been stuck at the White House since Inauguration Day.”

So what’s preventing these important agreements from moving forward? As Leader McConnell explains, it’s pressure on the White House and Democrats from unions. “Publicly, the White House claims to support all three agreements. It even said in July that Republicans are the ones standing in the way of ratification. But this is absurd because Congress can’t ratify trade agreements until the president submits them for congressional approval. He knows as well as I do that once he does, all three would garner wide bipartisan support. What’s the real holdup? For three years, the administration has delayed finalizing these deals because unions have been extracting concessions in exchange for their support. Early on, they demanded further concessions and political reforms from our trading partners, all of which have been satisfied.”

McConnell writes, “These delays have put America at a major economic disadvantage, costing jobs and opportunities. As the president has been holding out over the demands of labor union leaders, other countries are benefiting from free-trade deals of their own. In early July, South Korea sealed a free-trade pact with the European Union. A few weeks ago a free-trade deal took effect between Colombia and Canada. Yet four years after our three trade agreements were originally signed, the United States is losing ground.”

It’s long past time for President Obama to submit these free trade agreements to Congress. They have bipartisan support and bipartisan agreement that they will create jobs. With 14 million Americans out of work, now is not the time to let big labor unions continue to hold up job-creating free trade agreements with key allies.

In addition, it is time to look at real jobs creation and the ideas offered by those who have worked in the private sector and did not rely on the protection, services and even funds from the U.S. Government. It is good that House Republicans are willing to compromise on certain areas to get America back to work. It is not good that the Obama Campaign machine and DNC have unleashed attacks against TEA Party voters who want to see the size of government intrusion and spending reduced.

Tags: Washington, D.C., U.S. Senate, U.S. House, teamsters, Black Congressional Caucus, hateful speech, jobs, the economy, trade agreements, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Congress Returns This Week - Time to Get Back to Work

Gretchen Hamel
Gretchen Hamel, Executive Director, Public Notice: In November 2010, Republicans rode into Washington on a wave of discontent about the economy and Congress’ growing appetite for government spending. Since the election, federal lawmakers have passed two major pieces of legislation dealing with government spending – the fiscal year 2011 full-year continuing resolution (CR) and the Budget Control Act. Both policies claim to cut federal spending or at least slow the rate of its growth. But are voters satisfied? Hardly.

Recent polling numbers and focus groups prove voters’ discontent. According to a recent Gallup poll on the topic, only 13 percent of adults – including an astonishingly low nine percent of Independents – approve of the job Congress is doing. More than four in five Americans, 84 percent, disapprove of Congress’ job. Furthermore, according to Pew, only three percent of adults say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always.” Only 16 percent say they trust the government to do what is right most of the time while 72 percent of Americans say they trust the government to do what is right only sometimes. Eight percent say they never trust the government to do what is right. Finally, a pollster with Public Opinion Strategies said that in focus groups over the last two weeks he has seen a “…change in tone in the wake of the debt ceiling negotiation.” “Historically … this type of deep voter anger, unease, and economic pessimism leads to unstable and unpredictable political outcomes,” the pollster said.

Considering all of this, it is no wonder Congress is feeling nervous – nervous about the economy and nervous about their own reelections. Several news stories this August indicated that members of Congress, while out of session, chose to deal with this discontent by avoiding their constituents this summer.

According to a story from National Public Radio as many as 60 percent of members chose not to hold any town halls this in August. A Los Angeles Times headline screamed, “Members of Congress Avoid Town Hall Brawls This Recess.” This phenomenon doesn’t seem as if it’s confined to one party; both Republicans and Democrats appeared to avoid town halls. Clearly this indicates that neither party feels they have the higher ground when it comes to fiscal and economic issues.

Lawmakers may have gotten away with hiding over the last few weeks, but they won’t be able to duck the issues or the voters forever. They will have to work together to solve a problem they both created.

Representatives and senators returning to Washington have a lot of prove to voters concerned about spiraling deficits and mounting debt. And even though anxiety about the economy reigns, polling shows voters increasingly want lawmakers to continue to focus on getting control of the soaring budget deficit instead of spending more money in an effort to “stimulate” the economy.
According to Pew, when given two choices, only 42 percent of adults say they would put a higher priority on spending money to help the economy recover. Interestingly, this number is down from 46 percent nearly six months ago. More than half – 52 percent – would put a higher priority on reducing the budget deficit, up from 49 percent from about six months ago.

What can members of Congress do to satisfy a public hungry for continued spending cuts and economic reform? Certainly, the agenda starts with the spending bills that must be passed this fall during fiscal year 2012 appropriations process. Up to this point, the House has passed six appropriations bills while the Senate has just passed one.  Regarding the one bill both the House and the Senate have passed, the two chambers have not voted to reconcile the differences between the two versions – meaning none of their work for fiscal year 2012 appropriations has been completed even though the new fiscal year begins on October 1.

The fact that Congress is so far behind is not surprising considering recent appropriations history – the last time Congress passed all the appropriations bills individually was more than 15 years ago – but delays like this make it more likely Congress will have to make spending decisions at the last minute.

Immediately upon their return to Washington, lawmakers should buckle down get to work on passing fiscal year 2012 spending bills that cut federal spending. Included in this discussion should be a vigorous debate on how to cut defense spending, by far the largest piece of spending considered during the yearly appropriations process.

Next up for Congress this fall is the work of the 12-member Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “supercommittee”). The supercommittee, established by the debt ceiling bill, is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. These cuts are in addition to the $917 billion in savings triggered by spending caps established in the debt ceiling bill. These caps, spread out over ten years, and beginning in fiscal year 2012, don’t really cut spending – they simply cut the growth rate of government spending.

Unlike those caps, which only addresses discretionary spending programs like education and defense, the supercommittee can consider modifications to entitlement spending, which lies is outside of the yearly appropriations process. Entitlement spending consumed 55 percent of all federal spending in 2010. If the supercommittee wants to get serious, it cannot ignore these, the largest federal government expenditures: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Until Congress tackles these programs, we won’t be able to get control of our deficit problems.

Just like the Appropriations Committee should look for cuts in the fiscal year 2012 Defense Appropriations bill this fall, the supercommittee also should take a hard look at defense spending. There are certainly plenty of places to find savings in defense, starting with the defense contracting process. (As side note: Public Notice will be holding a debate on defense spending on September 13 in which we’ll ask panelists, including Larry Korb of the Center for American Progress and Christopher Preble from the CATO Institute, for their best ideas for reform.)

Finally, there is the issue of tax reform. Certainly the supercommittee will have to tackle this question. Members will be under intense pressure to either pass full-scale tax reform that cuts overall rates but eliminates major deductions (true reform is certainly worth considering), or raise income tax rates.

Polling on the tax question is mixed. According to the Economist, 39 percent of adults believe it would not be possible to “make large reductions to the budget deficit” without increasing taxes. Still, about the same number – 40 percent – said it would be possible to cut the budget deficit without raising taxes. However, according to a recent Economist article, headlined “Don’t Look Down; the Poor Like Taxing the Rich Less than you Think,” shows that soaking the rich may not be as politically popular as some lawmakers assume.

On tax reform, voters clearly prefer a fairer system with lower rates. According to Gallup, 76 percent of adults are in favor of a bill to completely overhaul the current tax system. More than half – 51 percent – of Americans would like to see what the country pays in federal income taxes reduced.

The lack of clarity on polling tax questions reveals an underlying truth: Washington cannot cover all of its $14.7 trillion debt by simply raising, or even reforming, taxes. This is why voters are suspicious of tax increases and strongly support fiscal restraint.

Some members of Congress will be tempted to dodge the question of spending cuts by focusing on tax hikes instead. While members may have ducked tough constituent questions this August recess, they can’t run from the broader fiscal questions and problems that still face the nation. They’ll have to start putting economics before politics when they return this fall.

It’s time to get to work.

Tags: appropriations, Congress' Return, debt, economy, federal spending, Government Spending, Gretchen Hamel, Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, memorandum, supercommittee, Public Notice To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!


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