House of Representatives
Based on a preliminary inquiry, I conclude that “Bachass,” as I hear some call him, is a Representative truly worthy of a special level of contempt. Unfortunately, he will not be held to it in this year’s election, as he is running unopposed. Nevertheless, he deserves a quality opponent in 2010 to send him into a well-deserved retirement.
The Lawson for Congress team is hard at work, making sure that B J Lawson , aka “Ron Paul, Jr.”, gives incumbent Democrat, David Price, a run for his money.
You know it’s getting close when a 20-year incumbent needs to attack his opponent, and his political ideology, head on. Anyone who’s in office for that long should be able to stand on the merits of his own record, rather than launching attacks. Here is an excerpt from a letter that he recently sent out to his supporters.
The discussion between Dr. Lawson and Congressman Price at the TROSA forum on October 13 was an interesting one, to say the least. The Durham Herald Sun wrote an particularly fascinating report on the discussion between the two candidates on drug-related issues:
Lawson and Price sparred over issues including health care and law enforcement, especially enforcement of drug laws.
You know that I don’t mince words and I don’t back down in fighting a federal government that has far exceeded the confines of our Constitution. I could use some help in the House, and that’s why I’m asking you to support my friend Tom McClintock.
You may remember when he stood up to the liberal Republican establishment in California and took on Arnold Schwarzenegger during the recall election in 2003. This guy will stand and fight, and we need him in the Congress. Tom has said that he expects our federal government to protect our borders and to preserve our individual freedoms as Americans. And beyond that, he wants it out of our pockets, away from our families and out of our faces. That’s my kind of candidate.
He’s facing the Daily Kos and DCCC fundraising machine, and he’ll need our financial help on his side.
So, much to my chagrin the House of Representatives voted to pass the bailout bill yesterday, after it was made into a mashup of the proposed bailout, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, and the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008. In addition to the EIEA to woo Democrats, and the TEAMTRA to woo Republicans, many specifically targeted pork projects were added to entice lawmakers to vote for it. The sections and their “enticements” are listed below:
Sec. 101. Extension of alternative minimum tax relief for nonrefundable personal credits.
Sec. 102. Extension of increased alternative minimum tax exemption amount.
Sec. 103. Increase of AMT refundable credit amount for individuals with longterm unused
credits for prior year minimum tax liability, etc.
Sec. 201. Deduction for State and local sales taxes.
Though the ongoing controversy and revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs have slowed any legislative action to reform loopholes in outdated electronic communications laws, The Hill reports that the Email Privacy Act is picking up steam in the House of Representatives:
The Email Privacy Act from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has 181 co-sponsors in the House, and the authors are “still pushing to get more,” according to a Yoder spokesman.
“There’s a lot of growing support for that bill,” said Mark Stanley of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “A lot of members of Congress see this as a common sense thing.”
More than 40 lawmakers have signed onto the bill since November, pushing the total close to the magic number of 218, which would represent a majority of the House.
Passage of legislation to limit warrantless email searches appeared to be a done deal last year until revelations about National Security Agency surveillance rocked the debate.
The focus on the activities of the NSA shifted Congress’s focus from law enforcement access to national security, shunting the email issue aside.
House Republicans are planning an onslaught of legislation aimed at the Internal Revenue Service, a powerful agency that is currently considering regulations that would ostensibly legitimatize and institutionalize its targeting of conservative groups, and to promote transparency in how taxpayer dollars are spent:
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is the author of two of the bills to be considered next week, both of which respond to the targeting scandal.
One of his bills is the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530. This bill would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year.
Republicans are wary that the IRS will improperly share personal tax information with other agencies as it tries to implement ObamaCare and make determinations about who may qualify for tax credits when buying health insurance.
Another bill from Roskam up next week is the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, H.R. 2531. This bill would prevent the IRS from asking about people’s religious or political beliefs.
The House will also look at two other suspension bills mean to ensure taxpayers know how their money, once collected by the IRS, is being spent.
President Barack Obama has said that he will continue to take action into own hands when he can — what has been referred to as the “pen and phone” strategy — if Congress doesn’t act on contentious policy issues.
The White House and the administration has already defied the constitutionally-defined separation of powers, using executive orders and administration actions already on several different occasions. The most recent examples of his the illegal delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate and the minimum wage increase on federal contractors.
Interestingly, this legally questionable approach to policy-making is something that then-candidate Obama decried in 2008. “I taught constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously,” he said on the campaign trail. “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”
It seems that Americans agree more with candidate Obama on separation of powers than President Obama, who has continued the trend of concentrating power in the executive branch.
Just hours after DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) conceded that Democrats aren’t likely to win control of the House of Representatives this fall, Politico ran a story noting that many high-dollar donors are shifting their focus to the Senate races in which vulnerable Democrats are running:
With Democrats’ grasp on the Senate increasingly tenuous — and the House all but beyond reach — some top party donors and strategists are moving to do something in the midterm election as painful as it is coldblooded: Admit the House can’t be won and go all in to save the Senate.
Their calculation is uncomplicated. With only so much money to go around in an election year that is tilting the GOP’s way, Democrats need to concentrate resources on preserving the chamber they have now. Losing the Senate, they know, could doom whatever hopes Barack Obama has of salvaging the final years of his presidency.
Some Democratic operatives think a big chunk of that money should be going to Senate contests instead — and they’re beginning to make that case to wealthy contributors. One senior Democratic strategist who is involved in a number of Senate races said conversations with many of the party’s biggest donors about shifting their giving away from the House and toward the Senate had begun and that, “it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing the results.”
“After the health care rollout and with the start of the new year, Democratic donors are starting to focus on a critical choice they have to make: Donate money to pick up a small handful of House races or defend the Senate majority at all costs so that the president can get something — anything — done,” the strategist said.