Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. It was originally posted on Friday, September 14th, and is cross-posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Yesterday, the House passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded for the next six months. Republicans and Democrats were eager to avoid a budget fight—and possibly a government shutdown—with little more than a month to go before the elections. With that potential distraction out of the way, the two sides can now focus on convincing voters that their brand of big government is the superior choice.
Politico has a good breakdown of the CR’s contents. Here are a couple of snippets:
[The continuing resolution] restores the higher spending targets set in the Budget Control Act—and with such haste and pique—that billions will go out without any distinction between the merits of different programs. Labor, health, and education spending that’s so often targeted for cuts by the GOP will grow by close to $1 billion. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission budget, the bane of anti-regulatory forces, inches up again, albeit far less than the White House requested…
The new top line for non-emergency appropriations will be $1.047 trillion, an $8 billion increase over what the Congressional Budget Office estimates is the current rate of spending… But in their desire to keep the bill simple—and move fast—Republicans opted to distribute most of the increase, $5.9 billion, through a mechanical formula that automatically ups most accounts by 0.612 percent.
The House Republicans will continue to try to shake things up in the Obama Administration. They’re already launched inquiries and investigations unto the Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious scandals, finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on the latter issue for his failure to comply with information requests.
According to The Daily Caller, Republicans aren’t done. Concerned about the expansion of executive power, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who once served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, will go before the House Judiciary Committee today to testify on several examples of abuse of presidential authority:
The House Ways and Means Committee is drilling into how the Treasury Department terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees during the 2009 auto bailout. House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa remains intent as ever on his quest for justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. And, House Energy and Commerce committee Republicans are planning on continuing to draw attention to the failures of Obama’s green energy programs – with emphasis on Solyndra — as they’re moving forward with new “No More Solyndras” legislation.
While the race got interesting at times, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is endeared by grassroots and Tea Party groups, easily defeated Wil Cardon and other challengers last week to win the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Arizona:
Flake, who has served six terms in the House, jumped out to a huge lead over businessman Wil Cardon, who spent millions of his own dollars trying to win the GOP nomination. Cardon, a political unknown, had flooded the radio and TV airwaves with his ads, but in pre-election polls, Flake always held commanding double-digit leads — a difference that showed up immediately in Tuesday’s vote counts.
Flake will now face Carmona, who had no opponent in the primary. Some polls earlier in the summer indicated Carmona in a tight race with Flake and with a slight advantage in campaign funds headed into the general election.
Flake, speaking from his home in Mesa on Tuesday night, said he believes he and Carmona offer such differing visions for Arizona that voters will find the choice easy to make.
“I’m going to be talking about jobs, the economy, about our debt, our deficit, what our federal government needs to do to allow job creation,” Flake said. “What you’ll see is Rich Carmona defending the president’s agenda. It’s what he’s done so far, and it’s what he’s going to do.”
Last night was highly anticipated as both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christe and Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, spoke to delegates at the Republican National Convention.
There had been some talk that Gov. Christie was asked by the RNC to tone down his usual firebreathing for the national stage. Based on what I’ve read this morning and afternoon, that was probably a mistake. Gov. Christie looked slightly out of his element, not necessarily uncomfortable, but it obviously wasn’t what we’re used to seeing from this very animated character.
Here’s video of Gov. Christie. You can judge for yourself:
On the other hand, Mrs. Romney’s speech has received rave reviews, definitively putting herself on the national stage, offering a sorely needed human side to the Romney family. And I don’t mean that as an insult, but polls show that Romney needs help connecting with skeptical voters:
Ted Cruz, a Tea Party candidate who won a tough primary against an establishment-backed favorite, also spoke yesterday. Cruz, along with Mia Love and Artur Davis, showed diversity in the Republican Party lineup:
Just a few moments ago, I got a chance to chat with Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, about the Republican National Convention, efforts by pro-establishment GOPers to curtail grassroots activists, libertarian involvement in the Tea Party movement, and what to expect from a Romney-Ryan administration.
With concern rising over rule changes dealing with selection of state delegates to future conventions and talk of a floor fight growing, Team Romney has struck a deal with Ron Paul to avoid any embarrassment today:
Republican Party officials struck a last-minute deal Monday night in an attempt to avert a messy convention floor battle with supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Supporters of the libertarian lawmaker were spoiling for a fight over an attempted change to the GOP delegate rules aimed at limiting their ability to gain delegate slots at future conventions. But the bigger concern for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign was assuaging concerns from a number of powerful longtime party stalwarts that the new rule infringed on states’ rights to determine their own delegates.
In an email to Republican National Committee (RNC) members, James Bopp, an Indiana delegate and GOP power player, said he and other conservative power brokers had reached an agreement with Romney’s emissaries to end the dispute, which threatened to be a distraction on the first full day of convention events.
Under the agreement, a bound delegate must vote for the presidential candidate that they are required to vote for under state law or state party rules, leaving the actual selection of delegates up to the states.
Previously, a proposal would have given presidential candidates the power to veto delegates sent by the states — a change that had Paul supporters crying foul, seeing it as an establishment attempt to stifle the upstart contingent.
Here is Part 1 of Max Pappas’ interview with Congressman Tom McClintock of California. The Congressman talks about his inspiration for getting into politics, and how he has fought against the big-government policies of both parties for his entire career.
It looks like FreedomWorks’ video team had a lot of fun with the introduction animation. If he can develop the mid-Atlantic accent, Max would certainly make a fine replacement host for William F. Buckley’s Firing Line:
Julianne Thompson, one of the founders of Georgia Tea Party Patriots and a convention delegate, has written an open letter to Republican National Committee on rule changes made that would allow the party’s presidential nominee to revoke delegates. You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Chairman Reince Preibus, members of the Rules Committee, and the entire voting delegation of the 2012 Republican National Convention:
As a National Delegate to the 2012 RNC, I am extremely disappointed that a rule would be passed throug committee that essentially strips the grassroots of all of it’s representative power by ridding State Parties of their ability to choose whom they will send as delegates and alternates to represent their State to the Republican National Convention. The rules change would allow the Presidential nominee sweeping new power to override that process and choose their own National Delegates. The rule also allows the RNC (with only a 3/4 vote) the power to amend the party’s rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention.
The GOP is the political Party of the grassroots. Our national delegates are the boots-on-the-ground that get Republicans elected. We are there for County meetings, State Conventions, National Conventions, and most importantly we spend our time and money canvassing our neighborhoods, going door to door, making phone calls, writing personal endorsement letters, and getting-out-the-vote for Republicans. We are the worker bees, and we are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.