Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category
Today’s Someone Left the Irony On Award goes to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the Deficit Commission. Barack Obama created the panel ostensibly to reach some kind of bipartisan consensus on reducing the federal deficit; a better title may have been the Accountability Avoidance Commission, since it owes its existence to the need for Obama to avoid political blame for the massive tax hikes he needs to fund his nanny-state agenda. Even before they get to that stage, however, they have already proven that government naturally inclines towards unthinking growth and irresponsibility, as the Tax Prof discovered at Tax Analysts:
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. …
According to fiscal commission staffers, there are 10 to 15 people who work for the commission, including two full-time employees, interns, employees “borrowed” from other agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department, and special government employees, who are expected to work no more than 130 days in a calendar year. The number of workers will likely grow to around 20 by midsummer.
The White House has set aside the resources to provide the equivalent of four full-time salaries and $500,000 in operating costs for the commission, fiscal commission Executive Director Bruce Reed told Tax Analysts.
The commission has as many as 15 employees, two full-time, for their work. Congress has allocated $500,000 in operating costs apart from the four full-time employees for the life of the panel, which produces its report on December 1. That is about $50,000 per month to analyze the federal budget and develop proposals for cuts, based on having an unpaid commission full of supposed experts in this field. I ran a call center of 45 people with a budget just over four times that much, which included the salaries and a lot of costs that the Deficit Commission won’t have to address, such as phone lines, rent, capital depreciation, and so on.
This is a microcosm of the very problem that the commission is supposed to fix, and the reaction from Washington pols is priceless for understanding it. The gripe from Harry Reid is that the staffing doesn’t match that of Congressional panels, such as the House Ways and Means Committee. That panel employs 90 staffers and spent over $8 million in FY2009. Ninety staffers equals more than 20% of the entire Congress. Maybe the problem isn’t that the NCFRR doesn’t have enough people, but that Ways and Means spends way beyond our means. In fact, the entire federal government spends way beyond our means, and we can thank the Democrats who added over a trillion dollars in annual federal spending in just three short years for that, increasing the budget by 40% during their control of Congress.
Alvin Greene is the latest Democrat to be accused of a a felony. The only real shocker here is that it happened during the election process instead of after spending a few years in Congress. View his odd interview below.
Great video from the NSRC.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… From Human Events:
In February, the White House released its “Annual Report on the Middle Class” containing new regulations favored by Big Labor including a bailout of critically underfunded union pension plans through “retirement security” options.
The radical solution most favored by Big Labor is the seizure of private 401(k) plans for government disbursement — which lets them off the hook for their collapsing retirement scheme. And, of course, the Obama administration is eager to accommodate their buddies.
Vice President Joe Biden floated the idea, called “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs), in the February “Middle Class” report.
In conjunction with the report’s release, the Obama administration jointly issued through the Departments of Labor and Treasury a “Request for Information” regarding the “annuitization” of 401(k) plans through “Lifetime Income Options” in the form of a notice to the public of proposed issuance of rules and regulations. (pdf)House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and a group of House Republicans are mounting an effort to fight back.
The American people have become painfully aware over the past year that elections sometimes have calamitous consequences. Republicans lack the votes (for now) to reign in the Obama administration’s myriad nationalization plans for everything from health care to the automobile industry.
Now the backdoor bulls-eye is on your 401(k) plan and the trillions of dollars the government would control through seizure, regulation and federal disbursement of mandatory retirement accounts.
From Randall Hoven in the American Thinker:
“Given current law and certain changes to that law that are broadly supported by the Administration and Congress, the budget deficit and debt are on a worrisome path-unsustainable in the long run and posing growing risks even during the next several years.” Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the CBO, April 23, 2010.
Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.
At a recent event in Florida, Nancy Pelosi had 20 taxpayer-funded guards and 18 guests. To her credit, I’m surprised she drew that many. From Foxnews.com:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly had more security guards than guests at a recent Florida fundraiser. The Palm Beach Post writes Pelosi had 12 guards, mostly Capitol police, plus four Palm Beach officers, two sheriff’s deputies and two police boats, adding up to at least 20 in her security detail. There were 18 guests.
California Republican congressional candidate Dana Walsh is asking that Pelosi or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee repay taxpayers for the expense. Pelosi’s office told us the numbers in the newspaper story are not true, but would not comment directly on security arrangements.
Love it. When Libs heckle a Republican the media applauds the actions or try to get to the root of “why” people are upset. Not so when a Democrat is on the receiving end.
From his Greta interview which aired on 3/5/2010.
Yet another Democrat being investigated. From Gateway Pundit:
A federal grand jury is investigating Democrat Gregory Meeks for his involvement with a charity that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received a dime. Meeks is also being investigated for a shady house deal.
The National Legal and Policy Center reported:
According to the New York Daily News today, a federal grand jury is investigating some of Queens’ most prominent politicians, including Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). NLPC first exposed Meeks’ involvement with a charity called New Direction that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it. NLPC also first exposed Meeks’ purchase of a home for far less than it is worth.
In a Complaint to the House Ethics Committee filed on March 19, NLPC asked for an investigation of Meeks’ purchase of the house. The Complaint detailed how a contractor named Robert Gaskin not only built the home for Meeks, but also did work for several other Queens politicians and nonprofits they control. At the same time, Gaskin received numerous contracts on taxpayer-funded projects.
This is classic. Jason refuses to back down, which is not surprising based on his Fox News appearances. Props to Rep. Moran’s aides though, who handled the situation well. The same can’t be said of Rep. Moran.
Frankly, it’s Congressman Waxman who can’t be justified. View the related article on Hotair.com.
You never know.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries – the benchmark price of global capital – surged 30 basis points in just two days last week to over 3.9pc, the highest level since the Lehman crisis. Alan Greenspan, ex-head of the US Federal Reserve, said the abrupt move may be “the canary in the coal mine”, a warning to Washington that it can no longer borrow with impunity. He said there is a “huge overhang of federal debt, which we have never seen before”.
David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff said Treasury yields have ratcheted up 90 basis points since December in a “destabilising fashion”, for the wrong reasons. Growth has not been strong enough to revive fears of inflation. Commodity prices peaked in January and US home sales have fallen for the last three months, pointing to a double-dip in the housing market.The trigger for last week’s sell-off was poor demand at Treasury auctions, linked to the passage of the Obama health care reform. Critics say it will add $1 trillion (£670bn) to America’s debt over the next decade, a claim disputed fiercely by Democrats.
From John McLaughlin in the American Thinker:
From the New Ledger blog comes news reported by Ben Domenech of an interesting item in the newly passed ObamaCare legislation now being scrutinized in detail:One such surprise is found on page 158 of the legislation, which appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans.Sweet, huh? Domenech explains that, during passage of the legislation, controversy arose as to whether Congress would commit to placing themselves under the same health care exchanges being mandated for average citizens. To that end, the words were added to the legislation mandating that each Member of Congress and the Member’s congressional staff would have health plans created under the Healthcare Act.
Sounds great until you dig into those pesky details — such as the definition of “congressional staff” (emphasis added):(ii) DEFINITIONS- In this section:(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS- The term ‘Member of Congress’ means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF- The term ‘congressional staff’ means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.Thus, by this definition, the legislation applies only to a Member of Congress and the member’s personal office staff. It does not apply to the Democrat staffers employed by the various Congressional committees or the Congressional leadership. Domenech confirms:According to the Congressional Research Service, this definition of staff will only apply to those staffers employed within a member’s “personal office” – meaning that it will absolutely not apply to committee staff members, and may not apply to leadership staff.
It starts. As of today, nearly a dozen states are set to sue with another 26 in the initial phases of filing suit. From state-controlled Reuters:
“The health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night clearly violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on each state’s sovereignty,” Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, said in a prepared statement announcing a news conference.
“On behalf of the State of Florida and of the Attorneys General from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alabama if the President signs this bill into law, we will file a lawsuit to protect the rights and the interests of American citizens.”
From John Boehner’s speech on the House floor:
“We have failed to listen to America. And we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents. And when we fail to reflect that will – we fail ourselves and we fail our country.”
Sen. Jim DeMint, one of the few Republican Senators not afraid to raise his voice, will introduce legislation to repeal the healthcare bill. It begins.
From The Freedom Post:
“This bill is unconstitutional and it cannot be fixed. It must be repealed,” said Senator DeMint. “The battle for health care freedom is not over and I will introduce legislation this week to repeal this health care takeover.
“Unless this trillion-dollar assault on our freedoms is repealed, it will force Americans to purchase Washington-approved health plans or face stiff penalties. It will fund abortions, raise taxes and insurance premiums, while reducing health care choices and quality.This arrogant power grab proves that the President and his party care more about government control than the will of the American people. Americans told Washington to keep its hands off their health care in opinion polls, at public protests, and at the ballot box, but their pleas were ignored. If the President and Democrats were serious about true health care reform, there were many free-market solutions we could have easily passed. Americans support commonsense reforms such as purchasing coverage across state lines, stopping frivolous medical lawsuits, and giving the same tax breaks to Americans who don’t get their insurance at work. Unfortunately, Democrats refused to listen.”
At least he’s honest.
Illinois Senate Democrat Dick Durbin is actually telling the truth on this. One has to think that wasn’t what he meant to do… Courtesy of Hotair.com.
Another Democrat embroiled in a scandal. How novel. Welcome to Hope and Change.
Facing “allegations of misconduct” that reportedly involve sexual harassment against a male staffer, freshman Rep. Eric Massa is resigning Monday.
“I own his reality,” the New York Democrat said in a statement, admitting to using language that “might make a chief petty officer feel uncomfortable.”
Massa went on to call Washington an “incredibly toxic atmosphere” and said the ethics committee probe “would tear my family and my staff apart.”
“In that investigators would be free to ask anything about me going back to my birth, I simply cannot rise to that level of perfection,” he said. “God knows that I am a deeply flawed and imperfect person.”
The House ethics panel is reviewing a complaint by a male staffer who reportedly felt uncomfortable in a situation with Massa that had sexual overtones.
Massa said he is resigning with a “profound sense of failure and a deep apology to all those whom, for the past year, I tried to represent as our nation struggles with problems far greater than anyone can possibly imagine.”
Massa announced Wednesday he would retire at the end of his term because of a recurrence of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, first diagnosed in 1996. He also addressed head-on the harassment allegations.
“The allegations are totally false. I am a salty old sailor,” Massa, a former Navy officer, said at a news conference. “These are blogs that are saying that I am leaving because of charges of harassing my staff. Do and have I used salty language? Yes, and I have tried to do better.”
Salty language? Don’t think so. View the full article here.