On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took a shot at the Tea Party movement while discussing the sequester and the Simpson-Bowles fiscal reform plan with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Coburn, who is serving his last term in the Senate, objected to S. 788, which would suspend the sequester for the current fiscal year. The sequester — a plan that merely cuts the rate of spending increases, is being blamed for flight delays due to FAA furloughs of air traffic controllers — a move with political motivations behind it.
“What is happening in the Senate is phenomenal, and I want the American people to see this, Coburn explained. “The Federal Government is 89 percent bigger than it was 10 years ago. We just heard the majority leader say flexibility can’t work because we are already dealing with the same amount of money — 89 percent more than we were 10 years ago.”
“I didn’t vote for the Budget Control Act. I think sequester is a stupid way to cut spending. But I want us to understand exactly what is going on,” Coburn continued. “This is a contrived situation because no effort — zero effort — by the FAA or the Department of Transportation has been made to have any flexibility in terms of how they spend their money. They have made no request for a reprogramming of funds within the FAA. They have over $500 million unobligated sitting in balances that aren’t obligated, so none of this had to happen. This has been a created situation.”
Reid responded with revisionist history, bogus numbers, and a slam against both Coburn and the Tea Party movement.
After months of both parties trying to score political points along with repealing the 1099 tax reporting requirement that was included in ObamaCare, the Senate finally passed a measure to eliminate this onerous provision in an 87 to 12 vote:
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to repeal a tax-reporting requirement contained in last year’s health-care law that was widely criticized for being too burdensome, the first significant change to the law and one of the few bipartisan acts of Congress so far this year.
Republicans and Democrats had agreed that repealing the tax-reporting requirement was a good idea, but had differed over how to compensate for it. The approved repeal would make up for taxes lost to vendor evasion by requiring low- and middle-income Americans who receive a tax credit for buying their own health insurance to repay the credit if their income winds up being too high. The repayment obligation would show up as a tax charge during the tax filing season
“How would most middle-class families deal with a tax bill of $10,000 or more just because their income may have increased $1 above the eligibility limits during the year they got accepted?” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), who tried and failed to repeal the mechanism for dealing with the cost of the repeal.
The National Taxpayers Union, a group that focuses on cutting taxes, has estimated that the repeal would cost $19.7 billion. The group estimated that the losses would be offset by taking back $19.9 billion in overpayments.
In recent weeks, the debate over the the retention of tax cuts initiated during the George W. Bush administration monopolized the political discussion, aside from a few politicians showing us that they care nothing for the First Amendment as they condemn Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. What Congress and President Obama seem not to grasp is that regardless of tax policy, the underlying issue for our economic situation is spending, specifically our affinity to borrow money to pay for spending beyond revenue.
No matter what the Presidential Budget Commission recommends with regard to taxation, a value-added tax (VAT), a broader-based income tax with few exemptions, or a switch to a consumption-based tax system, the Federal Government has an addiction. That addiction is to spending taxpayer money.
Whether it is funding for our imperial efforts to expand the American reach across the globe in the name of democracy and fighting terrorism, to continue to fund Medicare, Social Security, and other entitlement programs, or a variety of other government programs, substantial cuts to spending MUST crop up in the debate over how to “right the ship.” The addiction to spend is not a Democrat problem, and it is not a Republican problem; it is a bipartisan problem, and the only answer lies in a nonpartisan solution to break the addiction.
I understand that there are significant obstacles to breaking any addiction, and the Federal Government committed funding to many people and programs. Currently, we are at a point that difficult choices must be made NOW to avoid necessary, drastic, and clumsy choices when the funding is no longer available.
As we’ve noted, President Barack Obama has made a deal with Republicans that would prevent a tax hike on all Americans, while at the same time getting extension of unemployment benefits and some other tax breaks his administration has pushed for (you can read the Obama Administration’s talking points here).
Obama defended his side of the deal yesterday in an afternoon press conference at the White House, though taking jabs at Republicans in the process:
With fellow Democrats balking, President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that a compromise with Republicans on tax cuts was necessary to help the economy and protect recession-weary Americans. He passionately defended his record against Democrats who complain he’s breaking campaign promises.
“Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I haven’t done or tried to do,” the president said.
He staunchly defended his decision to deal with the GOP in order to extend about-to-expire tax cuts for all Americans.
“There are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight,” the president said at a White House news conference a day after the compromise was announced. “And I understand the desire for a fight. I’m sympathetic to that.”
He promised a renewed fight during 2012 when the tax cuts would expire again, making the point that he still opposes the Republican position that high-income earners should get the extension, too. The agreement includes individuals making $200,000 or more a year and families making $250,000 or more.
According to a new poll conducted on behalf of The Hill, a noticable number of Democrats are support a repeal of ObamaCare:
President Obama predicted in the spring that the new law would become popular as people learned more about it. But the poll shows Republicans strongly oppose it, independents are wary of it and a surprising number of Democrats also want it overturned.
Republicans have vowed to repeal the law if they take control of Congress, and the findings of Mark Penn, who led Penn Schoen Berland’s polling team, show that healthcare is a major issue for voters this year.
When asked if they wanted the legislation repealed, 56 percent of voters in the surveyed districts said yes. “Only Democrats were opposed to repeal (23 percent to 64 percent),” Penn said. “Undecided voters wanted the healthcare law repealed by 49 percent to 27 percent.”
In each district, a majority of those surveyed said they want the controversial law gone.
Repeal of ObamaCare is a bipartisan issue. And why wouldn’t it be, after all, this bill has done the exact opposite of what the Obama Administration said it would do. Democrats that are in tough battle for re-election that voted for ObamaCare are left to face the wrath of voters in their district.
The media is addicted to the facade of the bipartisan effort. However, often this notion of ‘reaching across the aisle’ results in a big win for government - and a big loss for the American people. Consider this quote from McCain on his bipartisan cabinet:
“It’s going to be the best people in America, the smartest people in America,” McCain continued. “So many of these problems we face — for example, energy independence, what’s partisan about that? In other words, we’ve got to have people who are the best and the brightest. And I’ll tell you, some of them I’ll ask to work for a dollar a year.”
John McCain of course is talking about the “best” at implementing massive government programs - and “smartest” at deceiving the American people into accepting them.