Washington is determined not to kick its spending habit. During his press conference yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that “[w]e can’t cut our way to prosperity,” a line that has been used frequently by President Barack Obama. The comment prompted this tweet from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
I agree with @speakerboehner: We can’t cut our way to prosperity.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) May 9, 2013
After four years of $1+ trillion budget deficits, Washington needs to begin taking steps to dam the river of red ink. And if there is question as to the severity of the fiscal mess President Obama and Congress has left us, here’s some perspective from Bankrupting America:
Just last week, the whistleblowers claimed that they had been threatened by Obama Administration officials as they were cooperating with congressional investigators who trying to piece together the events that led up to the terrorist attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya. And now there is yet another instance of Obama Administration officials trying to silence a whistleblower.
John Sopko, the independent inspector general in Afghanistan, alleges that administration officials and bureaucreats are criticizing him privately or trying to silence him as he documents waste and fraud in the rebuilding effort in the country that the United States has occupied for nearly 12 years:
“Since my appointment by the president last summer, I have been surprised to learn how many people both in and out of the government do not understand the role of an independent inspector general,” Sopko said.
The Pentagon did not address Sopko’s remarks about pre-screening, but it endorsed his role keeping watch over the Afghanistan effort.
“We value inputs from independent oversight, including from inspectors-general, who play a key role in advancing the missions of the Department of Defense,” said press secretary George Little.
Even so, Sopko slammed the government for what he called a hostile attitude toward his work.
During the debate in the House of Representatives over cyber-security, the White House issued veto threat over CISPA due to Internet privacy concerns. Despite that strong stance on a controversial piece of legislation, there have been a number of news stories recently showing various government agencies willingness to ignore constitutional protections to gain access to e-mail and other forms of electronic communication and files.
In fact, it’s the official policy of President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that agents do not need a warrant when they want to gain access to e-mail and Facebook accounts:
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don’t need a search warrant to review Americans’ e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.
Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they’re not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access to e-mail correspondence.
Vice President Joe Biden has telegraphed his plan to make another push for new gun control laws and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is still pushing to gain support for his completely pointless background check proposal. But the public has other priorities. According to a recent Gallup poll, 86% of Americans rank job creation and the economy as their top priorities:
A new Gallup poll released Wednesday finds 86 percent of voters saying Congress should make its top focus job creation, with 86 percent saying Congress should prioritize work on improving the economy.
Those two issues are the top concerns for voters, with gun violence and an overhaul of the nation’s immigration reform laws at the bottom of the list of 12 priorities.
Only 55 percent of those surveyed said reducing gun violence should be a top priority, and a similar 50 percent said that Congress should focus on immigration reform.
In response to our post yesterday about FreedomWorks targeting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), we just received this e-mail:
Are you guys nuts???? We should have 55 Rep Senators right now and you are spending money going after our SC senator. Start going after the Dems and leave the Rep senators alone. Get some good candidates in Iowa, Montana, Georgia and other states we can win. How in the world can you spend 5 cents going after Graham when we cant even get candidates in these states we can win. The focus should be on a majority senate.
You guys have gone off the rails. You keep it up and your boy Obama will have his 60 senators and god help us. Me and a lot of other people are going to get very vocal about this. Stay the hell out of SC and leave our Senator alone.
The problem with the Republican Party are politicians like Lindsey Graham. They are why we can’t have nice things. Now, you may be fine with big government Republicans who have contributed substantially towards the debt explosion over the last two administrations. But Lindsey Graham isn’t just South Carolina’s problem. Every single time he votes for more spending and more government involvement in our lives, as he’s done so many times before; he becomes the rest of the country’s problem.
Amid more reports of Obama Administration-backed (ie. taxpayer-funded) green energy companies going under or facing severe financial problems, a new report shows that the $26 billion in so-called “investments” that have been made to prop up these companies average out to around $11 million per job:
According to the Institute for Energy Research, the Department of Energy has spent nearly $26 billion since 2009 on its Section 1703 and 1705 loan programs. However, these two programs only yielded 2,308 permanent jobs — meaning the cost to taxpayers was $11.25 million per job.
“Clearly, in terms of ‘bang for the buck,” government programs that coddle renewable energy are losers,” according to IER. “In terms of jobs, the losers are the American workers who would otherwise be gainfully employed but for the tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars on the administration’s obsession with “green energy.’”
The loans were part of the Obama Administration’s plans to create a “green economy” in the aftermath of the Great Recession. However, the loans have become symbolic of the cronyism and waste that has come with the policies it has pursued.
There’s a long list of failed “green energy” companies that have received taxpayer funding and/or tax breaks. In November, the Heritage Foundation released the names of 33 companies that received anywhere from $500,000 to $1.46 billion in taxpayer subsidies.
With another debt ceiling fight potentially brewing, the House of Representatives passed the Full Faith and Credit Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), which would require the Treasury Department to prioritize debt service and Social Security payments to keep the United States’ credit rating intact:
The House on Thursday passed legislation that would allow the government to borrow money above the debt ceiling, but only to service U.S. bondholders and make payments related to the Social Security Trust Fund.
The Full Faith and Credit Act, H.R. 807, was passed in a 221-207 vote that saw all but eight Republicans favor the bill, and every Democrat oppose it.
Republicans said the bill creates a necessary option for the government to extend its borrowing ability in the event that it bumps up against the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats are expected to begin talks this month on increasing the debt limit.
You can view the roll call vote here.
President Obama, who has pledged a veto should it pass the Senate, Democrats have attacked the measure because it would take one of their favorite talking points off the table. President Obama has frequently claimed during debt ceiling fights that Social Security checks could be held up if the statutory national debt limit is not raised.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) didn’t mince any words for the White House during a press conference yesterday — he wants the White House to cooperate with investigators by turning over e-mails relating to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
House Speaker John Boehner is demanding that the White House release a series of unclassified emails related to the Sept. 11 fatal terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Boehner is seeking emails Republican lawmakers say were sent the day after the attack from a senior state department official to her superiors in which she reported that she told the Libyan ambassador that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack.
“The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed,” Boehner said. “I would call on the President to order the State Department to release this email so the American people can see it.”
The letters Boehner is seeking would show the State Department was aware it was a terrorist attack well before Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on a round of Sunday talk shows to push the YouTube video as the cause.
His demand comes a day after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on startling revelations brought forward by State Department whistleblowers that shined light on the events that led up to, during, and after the attack.
While they may not exactly be flocking to Republicans, young voters, perhaps better known as “millennials,” are beginning to express signs of dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
In a column last week, Charlie Cook, one of the best political analysts in the business, noted the results of a recent survey of these voters which shows significant disapproval ratings for President Obama on hot-button issues and a healthy skepticism of government:
President Obama carried the 18-to-29-year-old voting bloc by 34 points in 2008 and by 23 points last year. But a new national survey of millennial voters conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics suggests this emerging generation might not be as locked into the Democratic camp as conventional wisdom suggests, and that young voters exhibit some of the same stark partisan divides as older Americans.
Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders in the House are apparently worried about Rep.-elect Mark Sanford (R-SC):
Boehner on Tuesday morning suggested that he was less than thrilled about Sanford’s potential return to the House. And while the Speaker tweeted out a quick “congrats” to Sanford with the hash-tag jobs, a comment from his spokesman following the results was less than a bear-hug.
“He could be an added voice to the opposition — to those who like to make trouble for the Republican leadership,” GOP strategist Ron Bonjean, a former top House leadership aide, told The Hill. “It’ll definitely be a leadership management issue.”
Sanford made it clear in Tuesday night’s victory speech that he wasn’t returning to Washington to make friends — the same approach he took when he was a thorn in the side of GOP leadership during his first stint in Congress in the 1990s, and when he fought tooth-and-nail with the Republican-controlled statehouse during his governorship.
The newly elected congressman said voters had sent a “message to Washington, D.C., and a messenger to Washington, D.C., on the importance on changing things in that fair city.”