Patty Murray

Conservatives to Congress: “Spend one dollar less”

A new strategy has emerged from conservative groups over the debt ceiling as they emerge from a fractured fight over the government shutdown. The message to Congress: spend one dollar less than last year.

The coalition of 20 groups, first reported by National Review, has written a letter to lawmakers urging them to take caution in their approach on the debt ceiling and government funding as House and Senate tackling the budget.

“The undersigned public policy organizations are writing to you today about the upcoming debt ceiling debate and our belief that Congress has a moral obligation to pursue additional spending reductions before taking on additional debt,” wrote the organizations in the letter to members of Congress.

“Specifically, we propose the following: If Washington wants to take on more debt, isn’t it fair that they at least be forced to spend One Dollar Less next year than they’re spending this year?” the letter continued. “Most families are reducing their budgets by far more than one dollar, shouldn’t Washington at least do this much? The American people certainly think so.”

Signers to the letter include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Phil Kerpen of American Commitment.

Congress passes Reid-McConnell funding, debt ceiling deal

Passage of Reid-McConnell in the House

The government shutdown has come to an end and the debt ceiling has been raised after Congress passed the deal worked out between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The final deal is funds the federal government through January 15 and raises the debt ceiling to February 7. It also allows for budget negotiations between the two chambers, with the goal of coming to an agreement by December 13. Those points were sort of the basic parts of the deal.

Other aspects of the deal include, according to Jamie Dupree, back-pay for furloughed federal workers, reporting requirements on verification procedures for ObamaCare subsidies, and blocks a pay raise for Congress in FY 2014.

Obamanomics: Not Smarter Than a Cave Man (or JFK)

Obamanomics

One thousand, four hundred and twenty four…that’s the number of days that have passed since the Democrat-controlled Senate performed their constitutional duty to pass a budget, more than a year before the ubiquitous iPad was invented. Judging by the contents of that budget, we can see why Democrats were scared to reveal their plans before Obama was safely re-elected and no longer accountable to the voters. It is unbridled recklessness that passes for the Democrat budgeting process.

Such sheer irresponsibility reminds me of P.J. O’Rourke, the civil libertarian who once said “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Admittedly, it is not fair to compare elected Democrats to drunken teenage boys who, even with a fleet of cars and a swimming pool filled with whiskey could not hope to achieve as much damage as is being done by Democrats right now.

The Senate budget demands nearly one trillion dollars in new tax increases, on top of the nearly $700 billion already conceded by Republicans just a few months ago in the “Fiscal Cliff” deal. An almost equal amount would supposedly be cut from spending, but considering the bait-and-switch tactics that have become the modus operandi for Democrats, it is hard to believe that those cuts would ever come to fruition.

“Super Committee” members named

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.

Just what we need: Flights even more pricey due to asinine bipartisan blunder. Thanks, Congress!

Shortly after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) reached a budget deal in December with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray (D-WA), he declared that the agreement “reduces the deficit — without raising taxes.” Well, that depends on your definition of a tax.

Thanks to the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the fee tax passengers pay to fly to fund the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — known as the “September 11th security fee” — more than doubled on Monday, from $2.50 to $5.60 per one-way flight:

The current fee is $2.50 for a non-stop flight or $5 for a connecting flight. The new fee will be $5.60 for all flights, with any connection longer than four hours counting as a separate flight.
[…]
Congress agreed to the increase in December to raise $12.6 billion to cut the deficit. TSA estimates the hike will generate $16.9 billion more than current collections.

“In accordance with federal law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman. “The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit.”

Paul Ryan plans to balance budget in 10 years, reform Medicare

Tom Price and Paul Ryan
Image credit: Ellen Carmichael

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) rolled out House Republicans’ FY 2015 budget proposal yesterday. The latest iteration of the “Path to Prosperity” seeks to balance the federal budget in a decade, reform Medicare, and repeal Obamacare.

“This is a plan to balance the budget and create jobs, and it builds off a simple fact: We can’t keep spending money we don’t have,” Ryan said in a statement from the House Budget Committee. “This budget provides relief for families. Too many Americans struggle to make ends meet, while Washington continues to live beyond its means. It’s irresponsible to take more from hardworking families to spend more in Washington.

“Today’s proposal—The Path to Prosperity—shows that it’s not too late to tackle our country’s most pressing challenges,” he continued. “By cutting wasteful spending, strengthening key priorities, and laying the foundation for a stronger economy, we have shown the American people there’s a better way forward.”

Obama produces another tax and spend budget

President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.9 trillion budget for FY 2015, just days after Senate Democrats announced that they have no intention of trying to push through a budget in a what’s expected to be a contentious election year.

The proposal doesn’t offer anything in terms of new ideas or policy changes, though it does respect the budget framework agreed upon by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairs of the respective congressional budget committees, for FY 2015 before blowing past it in later years.

President Obama’s budget is more a nod to the leftist Democratic base than an actual blueprint for governing the country. It’s not passable, and the White House knows it. The proposal is so toxic that no vulnerable Democrat could support it and win reelection.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the budget would impose $1 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. Including new taxes and fees and rather rosy economic projections, the White House anticipates $3.15 trillion in new revenue through 2024, according to Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner.

No, Congress isn’t cutting military benefits

Given all the insane things that our government has done over the past few years, it’s easy to fall into the habit of believing everything you read. DEA working with drug cartels? Check. Federally funded penis pumps? But of course. Congress cuts military benefits to reach a budget deal? You be…wait. Not so fast.

At the end of December, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray reached a rare bipartisan compromise on a budget agreement to end the short and contentious series of continuing resolutions that have funded the government since 2010. Once the details of the plan were revealed, it was immediately denounced, explicitly in conservative publications, and implicitly in mainstream ones, for draconian “cuts” to military benefits:

Biggest Stories of 2013: The Republican Surrender Act of 2013

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.

Republicans won a hard fought debt ceiling battle in 2011, getting $1.2 trillion in reductions in spending over the course of 10 years. The spending cuts were hailed by supporters as one of the biggest achievements for fiscal conservatives in several years.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) passed both the House of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, including votes from Pelosi and Reid, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

But before those bipartisan cuts even kicked in, Republicans began retreating from them, and, in the process, blew their messaging on the need for lower spending and deficit reduction. Why? They wanted to restore some of the defense spending cuts mandated by the BCA, because they wanted to protect crony contractors from cutbacks.

Budget committee chairs float tax reform prospects in 2014

Paul Ryan and Patty Murray on "Meet the Press"

Fresh off a budget agreement that rolls back spending cuts approved with strong bipartisan support in 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of respective House and Senate budget committees, openly and optimistically discussed the possibility of a tax reform deal that could happen next year.

“But the fact that we’re doing this, prevent shutdowns, passing bipartisan legislation, it passed the House— 332 to 94, majority of both parties.  That’s a good step in the right direction,” Ryan told Meet the Press host David Gregory in a joint appearance with his Senate counterpart. “You gotta, you know, crawl before you can walk before you can run.”

“I’m hopeful, as a Ways and Means member as well, that we can start moving tax reform legislation,” he said, before Gregory, who surmised that Republicans don’t want tax reform, cut him off.

Ryan disputed that notion, telling the host to “[w]atch the Ways and Means Committee in the first quarter of next year,” which, he said, will be “advancing tax reform legislation because we think that’s a key ingredient to getting people back to work, to increasing take-home pay, to grow this economy.”


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