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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - Mar 4, 2010 - Federal Land Grab, Massive Federal Spending, No Pay-Go & DOJ Advocates For Detainees

The Senate resumes consideration of H.R. 4213, the tax extenders bill. The bill extends tax provisions that expired at the end of the year such as state sales tax deductions and the research and development tax credit. Votes on amendments to the bill are possible throughout the day. Yesterday, all 59 Democrats voted to waive a point of order from Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) that the bill violates new pay-as-you-go rules instituted by Democrats, because the bill is financed with deficit spending.

Also yesterday the Senate voted down a number of Republican amendments to the bill. Among those were one from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) to reduce small business tax rates, one from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to pay for the extension of the Medicare doc fix, one from Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to offset Social Security payments with unspent stimulus funds, one from Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) to pay for the entire bill with unspent stimulus money, and another from Sen. Bunning to pay for the bill by canceling wasteful federal programs. In addition, the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to provide a $250 check to Social Security recipients.

This morning, House members: Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) met via a conference call with conservative bloggers. It was interesting as they had to juggled the call and interview questions with their ongoing work in committees. They clearly demonstrated how today's elected officials can reach out , if they so desire, to communicate with the public and their constituents. The primary point of discussions was the newly proposed Spending Limit Amendment to the US Constitution that is being proposed by Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) and Congressman John Campbell (R-CA). With the rate of growth in federal spending, we will double the size of Government Spending in the next 10 years. As related by Rep. Hensarling, "the cost of Government is what it spends not what it taxes." Stopping spending will lower taxes.  They shared their concerns over the direction of Government in expanding control over the lives and freedoms of people and that it is a priority to keep government from going bankrupt which is the path it is on with continued growth and spending. More info on this call and interview comments will be tweeted @arra.

Also note the ARRA News Service article about the White House memo portraying planned land grabs by the Obama administration. The memo was was made public by Rep. Robert Bishop (R-UT) and discussed yesterday by Sen. Jim DeMint in The Washington Times editorial.

After months of pressure from Republicans in Congress, the Obama administration yesterday finally released the names of political appointees in the Justice Department who previously represented or advocated for terrorism suspects. A Justice spokesman confirmed the names to Fox News yesterday. Fox notes, “For several months, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has led an effort to uncover politically-appointed lawyers within the Justice Department who have advocated for Guantanamo Bay detainees or other terror suspects. ‘The administration has made many highly questionable decisions when it comes to national security, ‘ Grassley said in a recent statement. ‘[Americans] have a right to know who advises the Attorney General and the President on these critical matters.’”

However, a number of key questions remain. In particular, the Fox story points out, “it’s unclear what roles, if any, [the appointees] have played in detainee-related matters since joining the Justice Department.” A number of their former clients are currently in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Have any been working on Attorney General Eric Holder’s plans to close that facility?  According to the Fox News story, several appointees urged various federal courts to hear the cases of detainees such as Ali al-Marri and Jose Padilla. Did any of them have a role in deciding to process the Christmas Day Bomber through the civilian justice system or with the decision to try the 9/11 conspirators in civilian court in New York City?

In addition to this news, word is today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to put the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel back on the Senate calendar, after failing to secure 60 votes to move her nomination last year. Johnsen is another official who seems to advocate for a law enforcement approach to the War on Terror. In fact, responding to a questionnaire from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), she wrote, “it might be a wise choice not to use … language [that includes the word ‘war’] when talking about constitutional questions related to the new national security threats we face, because war has a long history of specialized constitutional meaning.”

As Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said previously in a speech on security policy at the Heritage Foundation, “The bottom line is this: Treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter is precisely the attitude that kept us from seeing this threat when we should have. Reverting to it now is not only dangerous, it’s potentially disastrous.” The Justice Department lawyers and Dawn Johnsen both appear to be more evidence that the Obama administration views terrorism more as a law enforcement issue, and that’s a serious problem.

Tags: Dawn Johnsen, DOJ, federal spending, government healthcare, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:17 PM - Post Link


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