It was a mere tweet, but it summed up the entirety of the modern conservative movement:
Sequestration Cuts the DHS Off at the Knees herit.ag/WUTzw8
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) February 21, 2013
It has everything: the source is the preeminent conservative “think tank” in DC, soon to be headed by Tea Party conservative and former senator Jim DeMint; lamenting about spending cuts; the laments are all about a government department that by all rights should not exist; and for good measure, it has a photograph. It shows precisely how the sequester had torpedoed conservative credibility.
We have heard relentlessly these past five years, ever since Obama was elected, that we need to cut spending. (Indeed, another Heritage article is a dorky little bit that specifically notes a “thrifty” House which demands that they have a balanced budget and avoid deficits.) Yet now that there is something which will cut—no, sorry, I can’t type that with a straight face; it will not cut spending, but merely slightly decrease the rate of spending—Heritage is up in arms about it.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Military Contractors) wrote the following in an op-ed:
Today is the start of a new Congress. That means Speaker Boehner is up for reelection as speaker. Rumors are circling that there are enough Republican Congressmen willing to remove Boehner from the role of speaker. Whether that’ll happen or not remains to be seen, but Boehner is toxic for the GOP needs to be replaced.
He has shown that he has no backbone. He has shown that he has no willingness to stand up against the president. A spineless coward does not need to be the Speaker of the House.
The GOP has a lot of rebuilding to do. They control one house of one branch of government. The leader in that position needs to be someone who can articulate a clear viewpoint and work toward that end.
This approach of opposing Obama until the very last minute and then giving them exactly what they want isn’t working. Democrats are getting exactly what they want out of Republicans, and they are getting it in a way that lets them blame the GOP for everything that goes wrong.
This can’t continue.
I don’t write this post in support of a specific member of Congress that could challenge him. The people in the House that I actually like (which are few and far between) aren’t the type of people with broad support within the party. (That’s par for the course when you lean libertarian.)
Instead, I write this as someone who can use some common sense to see that Boehner is doing everything in his power to ruin any chance of a Republican victory in 2014. Or 2016. Or maybe even 2018.
Replacing Boehner is the right thing to do. He’s proven himself inept and unqualified. If the GOP is going to turn this ship around, they first need to throw Boehner overboard.
Do you remember those four staunch fiscal conservatives — Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), and David Schweikert (R-AZ) — who were unceremoniously booted off from their committees assignments? Republican leadership insisted that they were removed based on some yet-to-be-seen “scorecard.” House Speaker John Boehner later denied that, telling the affected members that “there is no scorecard” and that Steering Committee, which ultimately made the decision, “reviews all appropriate information” before reaching a decision on committee assignments.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who serves as House Whip, was supposed to address the removal of these members from their committees during a House Republican Conference meeting on Wednesday. However, McCarthy has still yet to provide details to even his duly elected colleagues.
Yesterday, however, Politico reported comments from Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the Steering Committee, who explained that the reason these fiscal conservatives were removed was because of the “asshole factor”:
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative who is close to party leaders, told them that “the a—hole factor” came into play in the Steering decision.
Yesterday afternoon, details came out of a proposal that the White House had made to House Republicans over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” In the proposal, President Obama asked for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes. As you might imagine, that was far too high a price:
The White House is seeking $1.6 trillion in tax increases up front, as well as $50 billion in additional stimulus spending, as part of any “fiscal cliff” deal, Republican aides said Thursday as talks aimed at averting the economy-rattling cliff turned testy.
President Barack Obama also wants a permanent increase in the federal debt ceiling, a one-year expansion of jobless benefits and an extension of the payroll tax credit, these aides said.
The latest proposals were presented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who visited Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss the fiscal cliff with leaders of both parties.
After Geithner’s visit, Republican House Speaker John Boehner publicly lambasted the Obama administration, saying “the White House has to get serious.”
Some spending cuts were included in the proposal, about $400 billion over 10 years — ranging from farm subsidies to postal service costs. However, the White House wants an additional $50 billion for infrastructure spending.
None of this is going to happen; nor should it happen. House Speaker John Boehner, as well as some other Republicans in both chambers, have already signaled a willingness to bend on tax revenues, a prospect met with dismay and derision amongst conservatives and libertarians (myself included).
House Republicans have recently put forward a new bill, H.R. 6213, otherwise known as the “No More Solyndras Act.” It was passed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee on August 1st, and sounds quite promising when you consider the colossal mistake that Solyndra, supported by federal loans, was. It’s estimated that taxpayers will lose over half a billion dollars on Solyndra, which went bankrupt last year. Preventing that from happening again is a great idea.
Unfortunately, the Republicans backing this bill are not really saving you from another Solyndra, or Beacon Power, or Abound. For the “No More Solyndras Act” leaves a gaping hole—as in, everything before December 2011 is still totally cool.
See, it’s “No More Solyndras,” not “No Solyndras.” As the text of the bill makes plain, the Act only prevents new applications from new companies, not applications from ones “grandfathered” in:
Cuts to defense and military spending should reflect a principled commitment to reducing wasteful spending, crony capitalism, and the size and scope of the part of the federal government with all the bullets and bombs — it should not be a matter of political convenience.
When congressional leaders sparred over whether or not to raise the debt ceiling last year, the parties agreed that if Congress failed to come up with a deficit reduction plan, automatic triggers would kick in, and would sequester $1.2 trillion in spending across the federal budget (mandatory and discretionary; defense and non-defense). That agreement, which came to fruition almost exactly a year ago to the day, reflected a trade the president made with House Republicans: he gave up demanding revenue increases in exchange for an agreement to include defense spending in sequestration. Speaker of the House John Boehner reluctantly agreed, making sure no triggers would go into effect until January 2, 2013.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. The Supercommittee) on August 2nd, 2011. The panel of 12 members, 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans is tasked with closing the deficit between revenues and spending by $1.2 Trillion over 10 years, the standard CBO measuring stick. This could be achieved in several ways: Cut spending by $120 Billion in year one – leading to more than $120 Billion in deficit reductions. A combination of revenue increases and cuts to equal the total of $1.2 Trillion over 10 years, or by completely covering the deficit with new revenues. Keep in mind however, that reductions could include a reduction in CBO projected expense year over year. Meaning that instead of increasing the spending budget for a given arm of expenditure by say 5%, they only increase it by 3%.
Currently, some Presidential candidates have put some bold ideas on the table: Ron Paul has promised to cut $1 Trillion from the 2013 budget, and Gary Johnson has promised to submit a balanced budget for 2013. Making this deficit reduction solution seemingly small, a “five minute job” if you will. However, the liberty minded among us have searched deep to try to find some sort of sign that a panel of 12 would do anything other than promise fake cuts and increase taxes. Frankly, the Supercommittee seems more like a way to deny culpability than anything else. It seems designed to fail. It seems designed to keep the status quo rather than effect real change. A term familiar to those who elected Barack Obama.
Apparently, President Obama is a little pissed right now. After all, his partisanship was trumped by Speaker of the House John Boehner’s partisanship. For those who missed it, President Obama wanted to speak to a joint session of Congress. Per usual, the President asked the Speaker of the House if that was all cool. Boehner said no. That’s the Reader’s Digest version anyways.
Obama’s timing of his speech coincided with a debate between GOP candidates, a move many considered to have been strategic in nature rather than coincidence. I’m inclined to agree. Boehner, a Republican after all, said, “Nah. How about the next day?” The White House agreed.
However, all doesn’t seem to be puppies and daisies in the nation’s capital. Politico has learned from a White House source that apparently the President and his staff are more than a little upset.
“It is a big deal that the House said ‘no’ to the president from our end,” a White House source with intimate knowledge of what took place between the House and the president told me Thursday. “This confirms what we all know: They will do anything in the House to muck us up.”
Indeed. After all, a 24 hour delay will kill the whole deal, right? I mean, everything in his proposals was calculated to the exact position of the moon and the stars in relation to Jupiter or something, right? The source went on to comment about the debate conflict.
Yet the White House did not see this as an obstacle. “With all due respect, the POLITICO-MSNBC debate was one that was going on a cable station,” the White House source said. “It was not sacrosanct. We knew they would push it back and then there would be a GOP debate totally trashing the president. So it wasn’t all an upside for us.”
All of the Members of Congress that will serve on the so-called “Super Committee,” the group created as part of the debt deal between the White House and Congress to find $1.5 trillion in “deficit reduction” in the coming months, have been made public:
The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six more lawmakers on Wednesday to the bipartisan committee that is supposed to recommend steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Speaker John A. Boehner chose three senior Republican House members: Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan.
Mr. Hensarling, who is chairman of the House Republican Conference, will be co-chairman of the new panel, along with Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, chose Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania for the 12-member panel.
As noted, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who hasn’t been one to restrain spending, was named by Senate Majority Harry Reid. She will serve with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Max Baucus (D-MT). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named her picks today:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has selected Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) for the so-called “supercommittee” on Thursday.
With the August 2 deadline fast approaching, many people are getting more than a little anxious for some kind of deal on the debt ceiling. One of those is syndicated columnist Donna Brazile. In her column, she calls on Congress to “drop politics”. Unfortunately, like most any other person who calls for folks to drop politics, her motivations are political.
You see, any time anyone calls on the opposition group to drop politics, it’s really a call for that other side to shut up and do what the person wants. It’s no different than calls for bipartisanship. It doesn’t matter on political affiliation either, because both major parties do it pretty regularly.
However, if Brazile was serious about helping the nation, I would argue, then she would also beg for deep, deep spending cuts that exceed John Bohner and Harry Reid’s plans. She would be calling for a serious rollback on intrusive government and job hampering regulations that would, ultimately, lead to increased revenue for the federal government. She would call for a lot of things, but she isn’t.
Like so many others out there, Brazile is just wanting Republicans to shut up and do what she thinks they should be doing. Is she necessarily wrong? Well, that’s a topic for debate all on its own. I honestly don’t want to get into that one right now. But right or wrong doesn’t really matter, not for the purposes of this post as it applies to the debt ceiling.