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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)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Democrats Still Not Serious On Entitlement Reform; "Obama Is Willing...To Go Over The Cliff"

Today in Washington, D.C. - Dec 4, 2012
The Senate reconvened  and resumed consideration of Treaty #112-7, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The Senate voted at noon and needed 67 votes to ratify the treaty. The vote was 61-38 and ratification f the treaty was defeated. Opponents of the Treaty had warned that it could widen acceptance of abortion, deny the parents of special needs children their rights, and compromise U.S. sovereignty.   Folks, the vote was entirely too close.

This UN Treaty should have been defeated by even more votes. President Obama had signed the treaty more than three years ago, but it still needed two-thirds approval by the Senate for acceptance. The greatest disappointments were those Republicans whom voted to ratify the treaty: John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, John Barrasso, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski, Scott Brown, and Richard Lugar. While moderate Republicans might have been expected to joined Democrats in subjecting the US to more UN control, it was most disturbing that John McCain who had run for president in 2008 against President Obama and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire voted for the bill.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 92-1 to confirm Paul William Grimm to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Maryland and 93-0 to invoke cloture (cut off debate) on S. 3254. At 2:15, the Senate will resume post-cloture consideration of S. 3254, the fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill.

Yesterday, the House did not conclude consideration of on H.R. 5817, Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act - Amending the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to provide an exception to the annual privacy notice requirement and the bill is not on today's schedule.

The following bill were scheduled for today.  However as of this posting only "relief" bills for individuals needing permanent resident status had been considered.
HR 2838 — Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011
HR 6602 — A bill to keep Title 36 of the United States Code updated.
HR 6605 — A bill to remove a reporting requirement for an unfunded DNA ID grant program.
HR 6582 — American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act

Yesterday, the House Republican Leadership sent an new offer to the President to avoid the pending fiscal cliff.  As reported in an update yesterday, "In record time, the White House responded on behalf of  President Obama and rejected the House Republicans' new offer. Imagine WH staffers are now speaking for POTUS in responding to the Leaders of The House of Representative which represent the people of the United States.  President Obama was elected with less than 1 % over his opponent last month.  But 1% appears good enough for Obama and his White House staff to tell the representatives of the people to "kiss off." . . . The ending of Obama's 1st Term and the beginning his second term is headed to the history books as "epic failure."

The White House staff has taken to the airwaves to discount the Republican proposal and like all other situations has portrayed President Obama position as the only way or else!

House Speaker Boehner responded today, “If the President really wants to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff, he has done nothing to demonstrate it. Instead, he has offered a plan that could not pass either house of Congress – not the House of Representatives and not the Democratic-controlled Senate. The day after the election, I said that Republicans are willing to make concessions, but the President must be willing to lead. With our latest offer we have demonstrated there is a middle ground solution that can cut spending and bring in revenue without hurting American small businesses.  The President now has an obligation to respond with a proposal that does the same and can pass both chambers of Congress.  We’re ready and eager to talk with the president about such a proposal.”

According to The Hill, “The White House on Monday blasted a counteroffer from House Republicans on debt talks as failing to ‘meet the test of balance.’. . . ‘While the president is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates,’ White House communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement.”

While the White House is obsessed with “balance” in the form of tax hikes they still refuse to talk about entitlements. More and more people are beginning to recognize this intransigence from Democrats. The Columbus Dispatch’s Jack Torry wrote yesterday, “During the past couple of weeks, Democrats have ruled out one spending cut after another. The White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reject changing Social Security, claiming that it does not add to the deficit. Unfortunately, Social Security does add to the deficit. . . . Then Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and a group of Senate Democrats signed a letter to Reid, urging him to oppose any ‘changes to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security that would cut benefits, shift costs to the states, alter the structure of these critical programs or force vulnerable populations to bear the burden of deficit-reduction efforts.’ Once again, math gets in the way. Without restraints in the growth of the entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the government cannot balance its budget without resorting to higher taxes on all Americans. Not just the wealthy. But everybody.”

Everyone serious about tackling the fiscal crisis in this country recognizes the necessity of fixing our unsustainable entitlement programs. Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, has said, “We are going to have to reduce the cost of entitlement programs.” The CBO says, “the United States cannot sustain the federal spending programs that are now in place,” and The Washington Post editors agree: “At some point, [President Obama] has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the ‘hard decisions’ required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform . . . ,” they wrote. Even Sen. Kent Conrad, the Democrat chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said on Fox News Sunday this month, “fundamental reform, we absolutely need it in our entitlement programs, Medicare, Social Security.”

And yet Democrat leaders from the White House on down simply won’t deal seriously with these problems, instead threatening to take the country over the fiscal cliff. Politico reported last week, “It’s the rallying cry for liberal Democrats in Congress: going off the fiscal cliff is a better option than reluctantly accepting a deal that goes too lightly on revenues or too hard on entitlements.” Even the liberal Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent reports today, “I have just confirmed that this is accurate -- Obama is willing, albeit very reluctant, to go over the cliff.”

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey observes today, “David Gergen comes to the same conclusion that most of us did after the election — that Barack Obama and the Democrats aren’t really interested in solving the massive number of problems in the fiscal cliff coming in less than four weeks.” Gergen said on CNN, “But since this election, there’s been — I think it’s the Democrats are the ones who are really trying to rub it in and almost humiliate the Republicans, and that’s not going to get to a bargain.  Again, I think it has to be win-win. … You hear among some Democrats right now, and it’s disturbing, that maybe we ought to just take it over the cliff, that’ll, we’ll score political points against the Republicans, that will force their hands in the new year.  That is a very, very, dangerous risk.”

As Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in the Weekly Republican Address, “We’ve seen an utter lack of leadership from President Obama, and his allies on the left have shown little—very little—to no willingness to tackle real, structural entitlement reform. There is no manner of tax hike that can save Medicare or Medicaid—these programs can only be fixed with real reforms that go to the heart of how they work. . . . Unfortunately, some on the other side of the aisle are advocating a disastrous Thelma and Louise strategy that would take us over the cliff, putting millions of middle-class families, small businesses, and our already weak economy in further jeopardy. They want more and more of the American people’s tax dollars to spend without putting in place any meaningful and responsible reforms to the biggest government programs on the books.  That just doesn’t make sense.”

Regardless of the right or wrong regarding this fiscal cliff problem and the fact that the general population people may love their own members of Congress, they appear to blaming Congress verses the failed leadership of President Obama. A new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll found 53% percent say the GOP members of Congress are to blame and 27% say that Obama deserves the blame and 12% blame both equally.

Tags: Senate, UN Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Defense Appropriations, US House, Republican proposal, fiscal cliff, White House response To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:26 PM - Post Link

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