J Street lobby urges Boehner to postpone controversial Congressional address till after the Israeli elections
Slick snake oil salesman Dick Durbin exploits language of supposed Democrat-Republican divide
If certain federal employees are “non-essential,” then why are they employed in the first place?
Oct. 7, 2013
On October 1st, the federal government shut down as a direct result of Congress failing to approve a Continuing Resolution to fund the government, or, more accurately, as a result of 535 career politicians and 1 community organizer failing to agree on how to spend money that the United States doesn’t have in the first place.
The visible effects of this supposed shutdown have, thus far, been hardly different from business as usual. While many “non essential” federal workers have been furloughed, the House has approved a bill to provide those “non essential” federal workers with back pay once the government is “reopened” – or in other words, has given them a paid vacation. One wonders why, if these federal employees are non essential, they are employed by the federal government in the first place, at an annual cost ranging into the billions. Senators, Representatives, and the President will continue to receive paychecks, despite the very real threat that disabled veterans will not. We have continued to conduct domestic spying operations and foreign military operations, rolled out a multi-trillion dollar federally mandated health care bill, and have seen Congress and the President continue their meaningless game of jockeying for political position and engaging in a media offensive aimed primarily at garnering votes for the 2014 midterms.
July 25, 2013
First the Ayes, or those who voted to end the NSA’s surveillance activity. Republicans in roman, Democrats in italic, Independents underlined.
Democrats, Republicans appear no closer to averting massive federal cuts next month
Congressional Democrats and Republicans appeared far apart Sunday on a deal to avert $85 billion in federal spending reductions next month, with a top House Republican saying the cuts appear “inevitable.”
The automatic cuts, known as sequester, kick in March 1 because the parties have failed to agree on a less-drastic plan to cut the federal budget and deficit.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told “Fox News Sunday” that Democrats remain steadfast about tax increases being part of the deal but remain open to spending cuts.
“What we do need is more revenue and new cuts,” the California congresswoman said.
Pelosi said Democrats were “not talking about raising taxes,” but want to close tax loopholes, including those for U.S. oil companies.
She also argued Democrats have made $1.6 trillion in cuts over the past two years and suggested the bigger solution to the country’s economic problems is job growth.
Her argument is similar to the one President Obama — who also has suggested stopping sequester with a mix of tax cuts and spending cut — is expected to restate Tuesday during his State of the Union address.
“We need a big, balanced, bold proposal,” said Pelosi, arguing more jobs result in more revenue. The interview was taped last week.
However, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said fellow House Republicans will “absolutely not” accept tax increases as part of a deal, which would trigger the cuts to federal defense and discretionary spending.
Cole told ABC News’ “This Week” that the president refused to agree to spending cuts during the recent, so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations so Democrats are not getting revenue increases now.
“I think (sequester) is inevitable, quite frankly,” he said.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain also said Sunday that Republicans don’t want tax increases, considering they just agreed to end more than $1 trillion in income tax breaks, but suggested he might be open to closing some tax loopholes.
He also urged both parties to work together to avoid sequester, which will result in big cuts to the defense budget and roughly $1.2 trillion in total cuts over the next decade.
“I’ll take responsibility as a Republican, but we’ve got to avoid it,” said McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The world is a very dangerous place.”
Senate Democrats on Friday urged President Obama to do an end-run around Congress and claim the power to borrow more money on the credit of the U.S.
The move, should Mr. Obama follow their advice, would likely force another constitutional battle between the executive branch and congressional Republicans. But the Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Mr. Obama should turn to the strategy as a way of circumventing the GOP on the debt limit.
“We believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis — without Congressional approval, if necessary,” the four top Democrats in the Senate wrote in a letter to Mr. Obama.
“Democrats in Washington are falling all over themselves in an effort to do anything they can to get around the law — and to avoid taking any responsibility for Washington’s out-of-control spending,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Several high-profile Senate Republicans have said the GOP should brace for a partial government shutdown as a way of forcing Mr. Obama to negotiate spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit past the current $16.4 trillion statutory cap.
But Democrats have balked at that arrangement, which they agreed to in 2011, and said Mr. Obama needs to try to gain the upper hand by making clear he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling increase.
Some constitutional scholars say the Constitution’s 14th Amendment empowers the government to cover all of its bills when it reads: “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”
Democrats say the debt limit doesn’t authorize new spending, but allows the government to pay for obligations it already agreed to when it passed the annual spending bills or when it set up entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans, though, counter that when the government runs out of borrowing space, it signals a need to take action on the spending side.