Archives for July 2011

House rejects Reid’s debt plan

Last night, the House passed Speaker John Boehner’s debt proposal by a vote of 218 to 210 (22 Republicans opposed it, no Democrats voted for it). As we noted yesterday, the House Republican leaders made changes to attract support from fiscally conservative members. However, the bill was almost immediately tabled in the Senate; effectively killing it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan doesn’t have enough support to bypass a Republican filibuster in the Senate, but Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) introduced it and it failed by a vote of 173 to 246 - no Republicans voted for it and 11 Democrats voted against it, that’s far-short of the 2/3 needed to pass it (the threshold for this bill was higher because House rules were suspended to bring it forward):

The House voted 173-246 on the bill, short of a majority and well short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage, which was required because Republicans brought up the bill under a suspension of House rules. Every Republican voted no, along with 11 Democrats.

There was some discussion among Democrats of voting “present” to protest the vote and show it up as a political stunt by Republicans, but ultimately all voting members voted for or against the measure.

Boehner tweaks bill to pass the House, final vote expected this evening

Earlier today, House Republicans rolled out a tweaked debt bill that could attract enough support from tea party-backed Republicans. The new language requires passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) before a second increase in the debt ceiling can be considered six months down the road:

House Republican leaders presented members on Friday with a re-worked plan to raise the country’s debt ceiling, and several previously skeptical members said that they would now support the plan.

Members who left a House Republican conference meeting said that the new proposal would not change the first step of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to raise the debt limit but would call for Congress to send to the states a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in order for the second stage of the debt-ceiling plan to take effect early next year.

You can read the new language of Boehner’s bill here. The House has already passed two procedural motions to move the bill to a final vote this evening. Final passage of the bill is expected some time after 6pm this evening.

Texas proves that free trade works

As the economy continues to struggle, Texas has been booming. Recently, the Wall Street Journal noted that the Lone Star State has accounted for nearly half of job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the country during the economic “recovery.” Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, attributes the job growth to “reject[ing] the economic model that now prevails in Washington.”

Dan Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, also notes that free trade has much to done with the state’s success while others are stuggling:

[F]or those who scapegoat trade for the nation’s persistently high unemployment rate, consider that Texas is the nation’s no. 1 trading state. As the USA Today story notes,

Overseas shipments by Texas’ strong computer, electronics, petrochemical and other industries rose 21% last year, compared with 15% for the nation, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. The state also benefits from its proximity to Latin American countries that are big importers of U.S. goods … The surge creates jobs for Texas manufacturers and ports.

As I can attest from recent speaking engagements in San Antonio and Laredo, Texans have embraced their state’s position as the nation’s leading gateway for trade with NAFTA-partner Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

Stossel: Our lack of education about freedom hurts us

Over at Reason, John Stossel chats with Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States about our collective lack of knowledge about history and the benefits of living in a free society hurts us:

What liberates oppressed people? I was taught it’s often American power. Just the threat of our military buildup defeated the Soviet Union, and our troops in the Middle East will create islands of freedom.

Unlikely, says historian Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States.

“As a matter of fact,” Russell told me, “in general American military intervention has increased anti-Americanism and hardened repressive regimes. On the other hand, American popular culture—what was often called the worst of our culture in many cases—has actually done more for liberation and our national security than anything that the 82nd Airborne could do.”

I told him that I thought that the Soviet Union collapsed because the Soviets spent so much trying to keep pace with Ronald Reagan’s military buildup

On the contrary, Russell said, “it collapsed from within. … People simply walked away from the ideology of communism. And that began especially when American popular culture—jazz and rock and roll—began infiltrating those countries after World War II.”
[…]
People want choices, and you can’t indoctrinate that out of them.

Which leads me to the most destructive myth about history: the idea that if we are to prosper, government must make smart plans for us. I was taught that in college, and despite the failure of the Soviet Union, many government leaders still believe it.

House Democrat: “This is almost like dictatorship”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently claimed that GOP efforts to get what they want in the debt ceiling debate is akin to dictatorship in recent comments reported by Politico.  I understand that tensions are high right now.  The debt ceiling issue is dominating the political landscape right now and a lot of folks just want it over.  I have little doubt that Wasserman Schultz is one of them.  Unfortunately for her, she really needs to understand the difference between GOP efforts and dictatorship.

Her quote from Politico:

“This is not leadership. This is almost like dictatorship. I know they want to force the outcome that … their extremists would like to impose. But they are getting ready to spark panic and chaos, and they seem to be OK with that. And it’s just really disappointing, and potentially devastating.”

Please note the scare words, namely “dictatorship” and “extremists”.  This is a usual tactic designed to paint your opponent as unreasonable, regardless of anything approaching a fact.  Now, I’m not saying the GOP hasn’t be intransigent, because to an extent they have been.  But dictatorship?

Here’s the definition of dictatorship, courtesy of dictionary.com.

No, Mr. President, FDR was not a fiscal conservative

During a townhall last Friday, President Barack Obama told a whopper of a lie. Ever the believer in revisionist history, he claimed that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a “fiscal conservative.” Huh, come again?

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Henry Morgenthau, who served as FDR’s Treasury Secretary, famously said of their efforts to combat the Great Depression, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Spending money on that level is obviously not what a fiscal conservative would do.

In 2004, a study by two UCLA economists found that FDR’s statist economic intervention, through his New Deal policies, prolonged the Great Depression by seven years, which was noted in this Reason TV video about how Obama hoped to follow in FDR’s footsteps after the 2008 financial crisis by pushing Keynesian economics:

Boehner can’t win enough support from House GOP to pass debt bill

There’s no denying that House Republican leaders, specifically Speaker John Boehner, looked bad yesterday as they were forced to pull their bill off the floor due to a lack of votes from tea party-backed caucus members; though it looks like they’ll try again today:

House Republican leaders have postponed indefinitely a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) debt-limit bill after they could not persuade enough Republicans to support the measure.

“No vote tonight,” the third-ranking House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), told reporters after leaving Boehner’s office shortly before 10:30 p.m.
[…]
The Rules Committee will convene at 11 p.m. to pass a rule allowing them to work on the bill tomorrow.

GOP leaders announced the postponement after a day and evening of arm-twisting in which they worked to convince reluctant lawmakers to support Boehner’s measure to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion and cut deficits by $917 billion over the next decade.

Boehner needs 216 votes to pass his bill, meaning that he cannot have more than 24 Republicans vote against the proposal. There are 25 currently on record opposing the proposal, including Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.

The reasoning for not supporting the bill is understandable. Chris Edwards, an economist at the Cato Institute, noted that the plan ostensibly doesn’t cut spending:

Boehner Plan Might Raise Taxes: If a Republican Sells Us Out

Interesting piece from FreedomWorks on why we need to Support ‘Cut Cap Balance’:

boehnerMostly because it succinctly describes the Boehner plan.

The Boehner plan creates a “Super Committee” of 12 members of Congress, who will be empowered to come up with a plan next year to reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

Looks like Republicans are hoping that this “Super Committee” will consist of a majority of Republicans…

Four leaders will get to appoint 3 members, each, to the Super Committee: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell.

But it’s safe to say each Democrat will likely support tax increases… So should we start guessing which one of the Republicans will sell us out?

We are absolutely confident that the Super Committee will have at least 7 members – a majority – who will agree to include tax hikes.  Therefore, the Super Committee will raise our taxes, end of discussion.  Some Republicans are hoping the Super Committee will lower tax rates as well, but this is a slender reed to cling to. It’s no accident that congressional Democrats are strongly supporting the Super Committee.

House Democrats to Obama: Ignore the debt ceiling

House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to use the Fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, even though such action would be constitutionally questionable (and yes, I’m aware of the arguments that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional):

Rep. James Clyburn and a group of House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress can’t come up with a satisfactory plan before the Tuesday deadline.

Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”

“If that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term lifting of the ceiling, the debt ceiling, he should put it on his desk next to an executive order,” Clyburn said at a press conference. “He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue.” The Associated Press reported that he was applauded when he suggested the idea at a caucus meeting earlier in the day.

“I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets,” Clyburn added, noting that President Harry Truman did it once during his presidency after Congress was unable to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

Pamela Geller: I’m not responsible

Pamela Geller isn’t exactly a friend of Islam.  She’s pretty well known for that.  It’s not surprising that her name popped up in Anders Breivik’s manifesto either.  Geller, however, isn’t going to sit quietly while some lash out and try and blame her for Breivik’s heinous act.

Conservative blogger and anti-jihadist Pamela Geller told The Daily Caller it’s “outrageous” that she’s been “assign[ed] blame” for Oslo shooter Anders Behring Breivik’s actions.

“It’s like equating Charles Manson, who heard in the lyrics of Helter Skelter a calling for the Manson murders,” Geller said in an exclusive phone interview. “It’s like blaming the Beatles. It’s patently ridiculous.”

[…]

In the manifesto, Breivik cites Geller and other anti-Jihadists as sources for his inspiration. The appearance earned Geller and company a lashing at the hands of The New York Times and many other mainstream media outlets. Reporters have scoured Breivik’s writings, in his manifesto and elsewhere, looking for a connection to anti-jihad activists like Geller.

Geller points out that while she and Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer appear in Breivik’s manifesto, so do several influential historical thinkers. For instance, the New Yorker reports that Breivik cites Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Adam Smith. “Are they responsible too?” Geller asks.

 


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