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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, June 30, 2011

While Obama Simply Calls For Tax Hikes, Republicans Offer Solutions and Push For Balanced Budget Amendment

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 30, 2011:
The House is still in recess until after the 4th of July. The Senate scheduled for a recess next week, has cancelled the recess and will return after the long Fourth of July weekend to get back to work. The focus remains on the raising the amount of money the government may barrow - thus raising the national debt. Democrats focus on spending and more taxes. Republicans focus on reducing federal spending and a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Today, the Senate begins debate on the nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the CIA director. Around 2 PM, the Senate will vote on the nomination.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 79-20 to pass S. 679, the nominations reform bill. Following that vote, the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to S. Res. 116 that would have required CRS reports on whether new legislation would establish duplicative programs. The amendment needed 65 votes to pass. The Senate then voted 89-8 to adopt S. Res. 116, the resolution streamlining Senate rules on nominations.

Prior to passage of S. 679, the Senate rejected 2 amendments to the bill from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one to block certain loans to the IMF and  one to remove various congressional affairs and press positions from the scope of the bill. The Senate agreed to amendments from Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to remove military comptrollers from the bill and from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) removing IMF governors from the bill by voice vote.

Politico reported yesterday, “As President Barack Obama told reporters that Republicans ‘don’t want a balanced approach’ in debt talks, Senate Republicans on Wednesday stepped up pressure on Democrats to help pass a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget each year. ‘We expect that [Obama] will be pushing for tax increases as a condition to get some kind of deficit-reduction package,’ Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference that coincided with one Obama held with reporters at the White House. ‘Our view is: A good first step is a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.’ About a dozen GOP senators lined up before the cameras to speak on the need for such an amendment. . . . All 47 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored a balanced-budget proposal authored by Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. . . . [McConnell] successfully requested Wednesday that the balanced-budget proposal be placed on the Senate calendar so it can bypass the committee process and be brought directly to the floor at a later date. He said last weekend he wants the Senate to vote on the proposal the week of July 18.”

The Republican call for a balanced budget amendment was in marked contrast to Obama’s press conference at the same time, where the president was calling for tax increases. As National Review Online’s Andrew Stiles put it, “While President Obama was accusing them of wanting to raid scholarship accounts for needy children in order to incinerate the money in the engine of some rich guy’s private jet (or something), Senate Republicans launched an effort to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, urging Congress to impose on itself the same budgetary rules by which 49 out of 50 (all but Vermont) states must abide.”

In a speech today, Leader McConnell detailed the problems with what President Obama said at his press conference. “What I heard him propose is that we solve the debt crisis by spending more money. And that we solve a jobs crisis by raising taxes. . . . ‘His own Small Business Administration has told him not to enact one of the tax hikes he’s now proposing on job creators because, quote, ‘they could force many small businesses to close.’ Fourteen million people out of work and he wants to take an action that could force small businesses across the country to close? That’s his vision of ‘shared sacrifice?’ I think the American worker has sacrificed enough. Besides, all of us know that Congress isn’t going to approve hundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes — it’s not going to happen. We’ve known that for six months — and we’ve been saying it all along. These are tax hikes that couldn’t pass last year when the Democrats ran this town. The President doesn’t seem to get it.”

As Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl said yesterday, “Getting the nation out of debt is a long-term proposition, one that requires a firm and steady commitment to responsible spending policies.  The Balanced Budget Amendment would require Congress to balance the budget the right way:  by cutting spending and implementing policies that promote economic growth and job creation. . . .We need to act now. A balanced budget amendment to  the Constitution is the best way to bring this under control, to put us on a sustainable fiscal path, and help encourage the kind of job creation and economic growth that we badly need.”

Today, Sen Scott Toomey (R-PA) held a a conference with bloggers to discuss Senate Republicans’ push for a balanced budget amendment, controlling government spending, and the ongoing debt negotiations.  Toomey has joined all 47 Senate Republicans in cosponsoring an amendment to the Constitution requiring the federal government balance its budget.  Sen. Toomey said, “The mountain of debt and deficits we’re running is already having a chilling effect on job creation because small businesses and entrepreneurs are unwilling to make an investment, unwilling to hire a worker, with the threat of inflation, high interest rates, and high taxes that these deficits and this debt implies.”  He emphasized the financial crisis that our country is facing with the current size of "our debt being 70% of our GDP."  He also identified that "this debt does not count intergovernmental obligations; it does not count the contingent liabilities - the guarantees that we applied to the debt of Freddy and Fannie, and does not count the Tens of Trillions of dollars of unfunded big entitlement programs."

Sen. Toomey described the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) as being "bold, dramatic, and something the American people understand and beleive in and something that will solve this problem."  The BBA will force Congress and the Federal government to live within our means.  However, of great importance is to also prevent government under a BBA from  continuously raising of taxes and revenue so government can spend more money.  So the proposed Republican sponsored BBA includes according to Toomey, "A spending limitation whereby spending could not exceed 18% of GDP and they it includes a 'super-majority' vote by both houses of Congress to raise taxes."

Bill Smith, ARRA News Service editor, expressed concern to Sen. Toomey, that republicans do not compromise to get democrat votes on the BBA when trying to deal with the immediate problem that are being faced right now. We need the amendment but we also need to right now limit spending when Democrats are still pushing for more spending and higher taxes. Sen. Toomey responded, "I agree, I and many of his colleagues are advocating that in addition to passing the balanced budget amendment that as a condition of raising the debt limit we establish some real caps that would take effect immediately because as you point out it would take several years before a balanced budget amendment would be adopted by the States and this one is designed to take effect several years after the amendment is adopted."

House Republicans have already proposed two versions of a Balanced Budget Amendments. While the Senate would prefer their version, it appears that once thing they need to do is to shorten the implementation date when the BBA would take effect.

While passage of BBA is both important and the right approach to tackling future Washington’s spending and debt problems, faced with the many years until a passed BBA could be ratified and then implemented. Right now, it is critical that "We the People" hold our senators and representatives accountable and to push them to do something now - not years from now - to limit spending and reduce the size of government and entitlement programs. If we don't, we may be bankrupt and our economy permanently destroyed long before any BBA would take effect. The House Republican Committee's plan to Cut, Cap and Balance represent the people's needs right now.

Check Out:
House "Cut, Cap and Balance" Plan on Cavuto
Cut, Cap, & Balance - Let Me Spell It Out for You
Don't Be A Chicken - Cut, Cap & Balance

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, Scott Toomey, Cut, Cap, Balance, US House, US Senate, Republicans, spending cuts, caps on federal spending, Balanced Budget Amendment, BBA, U.S. Constitution 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 1:03 PM - Post Link


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