Killing the Czars: House Republicans Fight Obama’s Executive Power Grab

Killing the Czars: House Republicans Fight Obama’s Executive Power Grab

January 7th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

Congressional Republicans have wasted no time fighting back against Barack Obama’s plan to rule by executive fiat. Only days into their new majority in the 112th Congress, conservatives have introduced measures to end the most egregious offenses: abolishing the unelected system of czars, repealing Net Neutrality regulations, and preventing the EPA from imposing job-killing carbon dioxide standards on power plants. The imperative steps will prevent an imperial overreach and minimize the damage Obama can do the American people. However, if they hope to succeed, Republicans need to move beyond these necessary defense mechanisms and present a coherent and comprehensive program of limited, constitutional government.

Nothing so perfectly encapsulates this president’s push to federalize every aspect of American life better than his team of czars. These multiple dozens of ideologues — unelected and unconfirmed, because they are unelectable and unconfirmable — exercise power in every aspect of our lives from the environment, to domestic violence, to the automobile company we collectively purchased for the UAW. On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, introduced a bill co-sponsored by 28 others to abolish all federal czars. His proposal, which is supported by 28 other Congressmen, would eliminate anyone who….

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The 100 Worst Cases of Government Waste in 2010

The 100 Worst Cases of Government Waste in 2010

December 30th, 2010

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

Although the United States is $13 trillion in debt, mandatory spending alone exceeds tax revenues, and the Congressional Budget Office is warning of a coming U.S. “fiscal crisis,” Congress felt no need to trim spending. The just-adjourned 111th Congress headed by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi added more to the national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, has published his collection of the 100 most wasteful projects his colleagues deemed worthy of your hard-earned tax dollars this year. Among the most offensive, ridiculous, and startling examples of pork in the Year of our Lord 2010, he found:

  • Nearly $5,000 of stimulus money to hire goats to graze the weeds at Idaho’s Heyburn State Park;
  • $6 billion for ethanol subsidies, which raise food costs;
  • $177,000 for Ohio teachers to travel to China to learn about the Chinese “education” system;
  • $137,530 for a Dartmouth professor to develop “Layoff,” a video game that encourages its players to fire as many people as quickly as possible;
  • $700,000 for New Hampshire researchers to examine “greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies,” which are cause by “cow burps, among other things”;
  • $442,340 to study male prostitutes in Vietnam;
  • $823,000 to teach South African men how to wash their genitals after sex. (We reported this one earlier this year);
  • $55,000 to celebrate HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. Of course, there is no anti-AIDS vaccine, but the “observance is a day to recognize and thank” the professionals “who are working together to find” a cure

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Congress mulls bill to revise 14th Amendment birthright citizenship

Congress mulls bill to revise 14th Amendment birthright citizenship

By Matt Rocheleau – ABC News   06/14/10 at 8:10 AM

Anyone born on American soil is an American.

That’s an unconditional right, according to the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

A bill in the House of Representatives would change the 14th amendment to the US Constitution that grants anyone who is born on US soil the right of American citizenship.

It’s not an exclusively American practice. Worldwide, about 30 nations (mostly in the Western Hemisphere) have similar birthright citizenship policy. Citizenship based on where a person is born, is called jus soli, which is Latin for “right of the soil.”

But jus soli is primarily a New World right. Today, there are no European nations that grant jus soli. Most countries in Europe use a jus sanguinis policy, which determines citizenship based on having an ancestor who is a citizen.

A bill making its way through Congress, if passed, would bring the US more into line with current European birthright policies. But in the wake of the controversy over Arizona’s new immigration policy, any changes to the 14th Amendment would likely become another flashpoint in the debate over illegal immigrants.

Full story: Congress Mulls Bill to Revise 14th Amendment Birthright Citizenship – ABC News

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/14/congress-mulls-bill-to-revise-14th-amendment-birthright-citizenship/print/#ixzz0qorrOzoW

But of Course: Deficit Reduction Commission Asks for More Funding

But of Course: Deficit Reduction Commission Asks for More Funding

By Doug Powers  •  June 5, 2010 11:52 AM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

From TaxProf by way of Instapundit, I’m scribbling this hunk of paradox and irony down in the script I’m working on for the movie Dr. Strangelove II or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Laugh at Hope & Change:

Saddled with a tight deadline and great expectations, members of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission say they may not have the resources necessary to meet their task.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which the president created through an executive order in February, is charged with developing a plan by December 1 that would stabilize the budget deficit by 2015 and reduce the federal debt over the long term. The group is widely expected to consider a combination of tax reforms and spending cuts.

But despite the weighty demands, the panel has only a fraction of the staff and budget of standing congressional committees. The panel’s own cochairs and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have criticized the meager resources and called for more support.

Reid on May 28 sent a letter to the White House asking for additional staff resources to aid the commission. In the letter, Reid said the commission’s cochairs, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, “expressed concern that the commission could use additional support to help it work more effectively.” Reid said Bowles and Simpson characterized their staff resources as “very limited.” Reid sent the letter following a May 26 meeting with Bowles and Simpson.

What are the odds that anybody on the Deficit Reduction Commission will recognize that they’re being derelict in their assigned duties if their first recommendation isn’t to eliminate the Deficit Reduction Commission? I didn’t think so.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

DeMint On The Senate’s ‘Secret Bills’

DeMint On The Senate’s ‘Secret Bills’

J.C. Arenas

A week ago, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) posted a video on his YouTube account that shows his floor speech in which he voices his concern with secret bills and the fact that the Senate passes over 90% of legislation without any debate, without amendment, and without a roll call vote.
“But I think it is important that America know what we’re talking about here. At this point in the Senate 94 percent of all the bills are passed unanimous consent. 94 percent. So this is hardly a lack of productivity, and what this means is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate have no debate, no vote, no amendments, no reading of the bill, no online disclosure, and very often, no score from the Congressional Budget Office.
“When I first took over the Steering Committee, one of the things I learned real quickly, is that whenever we’re having a break, if we’re going for a week like we’re going this week, on my way to the airport, I would get a call from staff telling me there were dozens of request to pass bills unanimous consent, cause they knew we were all going out of town. And a lot of them had some pretty big price tags on them.

“Folks, you don’t get $13 Trillion in debt when you’re doing things right. And part of the problem is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate, pass in secret. The problem is not secret holds, it’s the secret passing of bills, when very often we don’t even know who’s requesting bills. And if we didn’t have staff available at night when they run their so-called hotlines, which means the phone in your office rings, they ask if you will agree to pass a bill, you haven’t read it, you don’t know what it costs, but if you don’t agree to pass it by unanimous consent, you are holding the bill.

“If you ask to read it for the next day or two, it’s very likely that some association is getting e-mails from either the Republican or the Democrat side that Senator DeMint is holding this desperately needed piece of legislation, who nobody else is read. I’d be glad to work with my colleagues on dealing with this issue if they believe secret holds are a problem, but I frankly think passing 94 percent of the bills without anybody even reading them or knowing they’re getting passed is not a good way to do business.”

This is a rather jaw-dropping revelation that calls for at least three questions.
First, who is writing these bills?
The American people know that our legislators aren’t the ones who actually write the bills, because they’ve already conceded they don’t read the bills, after all, according to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), there’s no point in doing so because “you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you’ve read the bill”. The actual writers of these bills are never accounted for, thus, not only do we have secret bills, we have secret writers writing the secret bills.
Second, if our legislators aren’t writing the bills, nor are they reading the bills, then what job is it that We the People, have hired them to do? 
At this rate, we might as well go with trained chimps and/or drinking bird toys, could they do any worse?
Third, how can one support a bill that they know nothing about because they’ve had no hand in its construction or its review, and then honestly tell their constituents that they are being effectively served?
This amount of incompetence can’t possibly be accidentally, and this unconscionable behavior can be tolerated no longer.
At this point, it’s questionable that “vote the bastards out” is the best solution to cure what ails this nation.
The political system has been completely corrupted at all levels of government, and unfortunately we have too many elected officials who are more willing to go along and play the game rather than reform it, and to make matters worse, the so-called reformers, i.e. Obama, only pose as such to garner support, and then just add more dung to the pile.
How can we expect better when we keep sending politicians, who may initially be honest and forthright with their aims to dutifully serve their constituents, to the metastasized cancer of greed, deceit, and corruption that Washington has become?
At least we can thank Senator DeMint for bringing this practice of secret bills to our attention, he is one of the few who has avoided the sickness and is trying to serve us the way our Founders intended, unfortunately he is just that; one of the few.
J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com

Morning Bell: This Congress Has No Shame

Morning Bell: This Congress Has No Shame

Posted By Conn Carroll On May 27, 2010 @ 9:38 am In Ongoing Priorities | No Comments

On February 4, 2010, pushing for passage of her pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said [1] on the House floor: “When I became Speaker of the House, the very first day we passed legislation that made PAYGO the rule of the House. Today we will make it the law of the land. … So the time is long overdue for this to be taken for granted. The federal government will pay as it goes.” That was the promise. But here is the reality [2]: in the three years that Speaker Pelosi has enforced her PAYGO rule, the House has violated it by nearly $1 trillion [3].

And now with the U.S. Debt Clock [4] officially passing the $13 trillion milestone Wednesday, the House is set to violate their own PAYGO law yet again, this time to the tune of around $150 billion [5]. The legislation clocks-in at almost one-fifth the size of President Barack Obama’s original $862 billion failed economic stimulus, and the leftist majority in Congress has titled it “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” And it is a tax-hiking, spending-exploding, job-killing, deficit-hiking wonder.

The Tax Hikes: The entire purpose of this bill was originally to extend some popular and well-established tax cuts that have been around for years but have to be reapproved every year. But being the big government lovers that they are, the left has crafted a bill that actually increases tax revenues by $57 billion over ten years [6]. The biggest items are a job-killing tax on American corporations that compete overseas [7], a job-killing tax on innovation-creating venture capital partnerships [6], and a four-fold increase in the tax on oil production [6] that ostensibly is supposed to go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, but is instead being siphoned off to help pay for completely unrelated new domestic spending [8].

The Spending: The bill originally clocked-in at almost $200 billion [9], and Democrats have since cut the spending to just under $150 billion, $95 billion of which will go straight onto our children’s credit card bill [9] in flagrant violation of Congress’ own PAYGO rules. Goodies include $26 billion for infrastructure, more than $40 billion for yet another unemployment insurance extension, another $24 billion bailout of state Medicaid programs, $8 billion in needlessly expensive health insurance subsidies [8], and $2.5 billion for states to increase their welfare rolls [10].  Even some Democrats are beginning to question the endless UI extensions, with Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) telling The Washington Post [11] that businesses back home complain that they want to start hiring but are getting few applicants because Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits. [11]

And then there is what was originally the largest-ticket item in the bill: $65 billion over three and a half years for increasing physician Medicare reimbursements, aka the “doc fix.” This one item alone proves that all of President Barack Obama’s claims that his health care law reduces the deficit are 100% false. The CBO report this month estimated that $276 billion would be required to shore up the “doc fix” over the next decade. Adding that spending to Obamacare’s already $940 billion total would easily push it into the red. That is why Congress did not address the problem in Obamacare. Brandeis University professor Stuart Altman calls the “doc fix” charade “one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen.” [12] The House has cut this version of the “doc fix” down to $21.8 billion just through December 2011.

Across the country, millions of American families are struggling to make family budgets and keep to them. Not Congress. For the first time in the history of the budget process, the House of Representatives has failed to plan how they will spend your tax dollars [13]. Instead they will recklessly continue to flagrantly violate their own PAYGO rules as they add billions and billions worth of debt onto your children. This Congress has no shame.

Quick Hits:

  • The front page of USA TODAY [14] asks “Is oil spill becoming Obama’s Katrina?” and cites a new Gallup poll finding that 53% of adults say President Obama is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job of handling the spill.
  • Democrats Majority Whip Dick Durbin (IL) and Gov. Ed Rendell (PA) called on Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) to detail his claim [15] that the White House offered him a job in exchange for dropping out of the PA Senate primary, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said if Sestak’s allegations are true, it is an impeachable [16] offense.
  • Judicial Watch filed suit against the Obama Justice Department yesterday seeking documents relating to the Obama administration’s decision to abandon a default judgment against the New Black Panther Party [17] for voter intimidation.
  • The Obama Justice Department has drafted a legal challenge [18] asserting that Arizona’s immigration enforcement law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s authority to police the nation’s borders.
  • The facts on Elena Kagan, Harvard, and the military. [19]
  •  

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