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Coming up: a Senate vote on ObamaCare

From Hot Air:

One of the more intriguing parts of the budget deal announced late last night was a commitment from Harry Reid to allow two floor votes on Republican legislative priorities, both of which would never have otherwise seen in the Senate chamber before 2013.  The first is the effort to defund Planned Parenthood, a rider that got stripped out of last night’s final compromise, which would have an uncertain future in the Senate anyway.   The second, though, holds a great deal more promise, and a great deal of political risk for Democrats:

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, agreed to remove the Planned Parenthood provision in exchange for an agreement that would allow Congress to take up the funding issue separately.The Republicans also won inclusion of a provision that will require the Senate to vote on a bill to de-fund the health care reform law.

This codicil didn’t even get a mention in other news reports, but could be one of the more significant aspects of the agreement.  The House has already worked on a bill to repeal ObamaCare, which before now had absolutely no chance of consideration while Harry Reid ran the Senate.  As we repeatedly pointed out during the election, repeal of ObamaCare will be impossible until at least 2013, when we have an opportunity to elect and install a new President who will sign such a bill, even had we won control of the Senate.

So this isn’t important because it holds some new hope for a quicker repeal.  Rather, it forces Democrats to defend the massive government expansion of control yet again, this time closer to the 2012 election.  Democrats didn’t run on ObamaCare in 2010, except in reliably liberal districts for House races, and the last thing they need in an already-difficult cycle is another reminder to voters of the unpopular program.  By forcing a floor vote in this agreement, Reid will have to get his caucus — now reduced to 53 rather than 59 — to entirely back ObamaCare in a new vote.

Read the rest at Hot Air.

Who Won the Shutdown Showdown? It Wasn’t Even Close

From Fox News:

by Carl Cameron | April 09, 2011

While Republicans wanted to cut more spending in Saturday’s early morning compromise to keep the government open, they think they got the better of the deal.

Here’s why: HR1 was originally to seek spending cuts of $32 billion until Tea Party conservatives insisted on more than $ 60 billion. House Speaker John Boehner won more cuts than he originally sought and got the Senate to agree to votes to defund the health care reform law and groups like the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood – once votes Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said he’d never allow to come to the floor.Back on February 3, Reid called $32 billion in cuts “extreme” and “draconian.”

At a news conference New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed, “I happen to think some of their cuts are extreme and go overboard. But every week they keep upping the ante and proposing extreme cuts.”

Over the next decade the cuts are expected to save hundreds of billions of dollars.

The deal mandates a host of studies and audits of Obama administration policies. It also blocks additional funds for the IRS sought by the Obama administration and bans federal funding of abortion in Washington, D.C.

The history of offers on this bill goes something like this. Democrats first offered no cuts, then $4 billion, then $6.5 billion, then $33 billion, then settled at $38.5 billion.

Boehner made numerous adjustments to his offer in recent days too, but started at $32 billion, then with a Tea Party push went to $62 billion, then dropped to $40 billion, then $38.5 billion.

Democrats claimed they met Republicans halfway after the $10 billion in cuts that already passed this year were approved. They settled late Friday night at three and a half times more.

Boehner came in $8.5 billion higher than the halfway point between his high offer of $61 billion in cuts and the Democrats opening bid of zero cuts.

It was not a totally lopsided bargain. Dems have some silver linings. There were no votes on defunding the EPA or PBS and NPR. Democrats fought for and won a $2 billion cut from the Department of Defense, knocking the military appropriation for the rest of the year down to $513 billion.

But the GOP had to be able to see this as a win in the end, because it is puny compared to what they want to do next.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget resolution proposes cuts of $5 TRILLION in the next 10 yrs.

But the resolution is a non-binding roadmap for the committees to use as they approve tax and spending bills for next year, the resolution will never be signed into law by the president.

The next battle with consequences begins in a matter of two short weeks when the accumulated U.S. debt will be nearing it’s $14 trillion legal limit.  So Congress will have to vote to raise the ceiling so Uncle Sam can borrow still more money.

The administration has said it will need to be raised between April 15 and May 31 or the U.S. could default and create a new fiscal crisis of unknowable magnitude. Fiscal hawks plan to demand strict, enforceable spending caps, triggers for across the board cuts, and austerity measures in exchange for raising the debt limit.

This short-term agreement was just a beginning.

Not a Big Enough Fight

From RedState:

Posted by Rep. Michele Bachmann

Since Republicans took the House majority in January I have been calling for our leadership to fight. We must answer the bell that was rung last November when the American people called us to fight for deep cuts in spending, for the full repeal of ObamaCare, for an end to taxpayer funding of abortion, and for a government that will live within its Constitutional boundaries. Those would be the kind of large-scale fights that could change the arc of history. Unfortunately, the fight that’s happening today in Washington is not even close to being on the same scale.

Our federal government spent $3.5 trillion last year, and is on a similar pace this year. On average, our spending adds about $30 billion to the deficit every week. Yet Washington is now embroiled in a pitched battle – that could lead to a government slowdown – over possible spending cuts of just $40 billion. Even the best case scenario would be cuts of $61 billion.


Don’t get me wrong, cuts in spending are a move in the right direction. House Republicans have brought about a change from the spending binge of the last two years. But it’s time to face the facts. This is the “small ball” battle that House leadership has chosen to engage. The current battle has devolved to an agenda that is almost too limited to warrant the kind of fighting that we’re now seeing in Washington.

Democrats only want to cut $33 billion of spending, while some reports say Republicans might settle for $40 billion. Either way, it’s not enough. We should be playing “big ball.” We should be fighting over trillions, not billions. We should be defunding ObamaCare, but we’re not.

I made a commitment to vote “no” on any Continuing Resolution that does not defund ObamaCare. That pledge to the American people remains unchanged. I believe that’s a battle we cannot walk away from. But, it’s not been an option in the recent government funding bills that House leaders have put up for a vote.

I am ready for a big fight, the kind that will change the arc of history. And, I’m hoping that when it comes to issues like the debt ceiling, ObamaCare, and the 2012 budget, House Republicans will take the lead, draw a line in the sand and not back down from the fight.


Republican “Austerity”

From RedState:

So, let me get this straight…

After all the back and forth, pledges, promises, tough fiscal talk and discussions of shutdown… Republicans have agreed to pass another short term CR with a few billion dollars in cuts – all being jammed through tonight by voice vote and basically sight-unseen (classic Washington transparency). This to get us to next week.

Then, Republicans are likely going to cut a deal for something around $40 billion max (likely upper-30’s) of cuts, and not uphold their own pledge to cut $100 billion (much less the smaller amount of $61 billion originally offered), and then fail to draw even the faintest line in the sand on policies (so-called “riders”) of any significance, such as federal funding of Planned Parenthood (i.e. tax dollars used to support the death of hundreds of thousands of babies annually) or Obamacare.

Oh sure, Republican leadership will hide behind some symbolic votes in the Senate (which can easily be gained through any real effort anyway) and behind supposedly “significant” cuts of $39 billion, or some such.

Keep in mind that our national deficit – not debt, mind you, but annual deficit – this year alone will surpass $1.5 Trillion, and thus, the $39 billion in cuts represents well less than 3% of the hole we are digging…

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan is praised as the Second Coming for writing a budget that adds $6-9 trillion in debt, fails to touch social security, and is still well out of balance and hemorrhaging hundreds of billions of dollars in 10 years… and more importantly, the Ryan budget won’t even ever be implemented – at least not until 2013, that is if Republicans can find a candidate worth running, much less capable of winning.

So now we move to raising the federal debt ceiling for the umpteenth time without any significant structural change toward fiscal responsibility. Should we expect anything other than cutting a “deal” for a vote on the BBA or some other gesture as opposed to passage of the BBA (with a spending limit)?

Republicans clearly run scared from the 1995 Government shutdown despite the fact 1) Republicans gained 2 Senate seats and lost only 9 (if memory serves) House seats in a year when Bob Dole was acting as dead weight, 2) a shutdown only shuts down a portion of the federal government, 3) any shutdown saves at least some money and means less Washington interference in our lives, and 4) polls today indicate Americans would generally not be terribly bothered by such a shut down.

So instead of pushing hard for any real policy changes or truly significant, game-changing spending cuts – Republicans cut a deal for fear of being seen as obstructionist.

Leadership and fiscal austerity, Republican-style.


Why a Government Shutdown is Not a Bad Thing

From RedState:

The same media and Democrat communications apparati (but I repeat myself) that have been claiming that the Republican-proposed budget would kill 700,000 children are now wringing their hands about a looming “government shutdown,” which we may assume would be fictively responsible for an astronomically higher number of deaths than a federal budget that spends 98.4% of what was spent the previous year.

If passing a budget alone really is the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of young Americans, the Democrats sure do have a lot of blood on their hands for the last year-plus they spent not passing a budget so that they wouldn’t have to have difficult votes on their records heading into last November’s electoral referendum on unsustainable fiscal practices.

However, as usual, this Democrat-and-media handwringing and fearmongering does not reflect anything even remotely approaching reality.  The fact that a “government shutdown” simply requires that “non-essential” personnel be furloughed (historically, they’ve even received back pay for time missed) makes the Chicken Little cries that the Sky Is Falling just so much more sensationalism. In fact, the very fact that government agencies and organizations have non-essential personnel present in the first place could be viewed as a testament to our bloated, overfunded (with borrowed money), unsustainable government, which is badly in need of trimming and streamlining.

The only real issue with a so-called shutdown, military pay, is only an issue because the Democrats have fought to make it one. Historically (see, for example, 1995), those serving in the military have continued to be paid during a shutdown. However, in their desperation to keep America on an unsustainable fiscal course, President Obama and his congressional Democrats are determined to ensure that our wartime military is both a pawn and their best leverage in this budget fight. This effort, which is almost as despicable as the late Rep. Jack Murtha’s “slow bleed strategy” to force troop withdrawal from Iraq, has no place in civilized debate, discourse, or legislative activity.

Unfortunately, Republican efforts to take military pay off the table by guaranteeing its funding regardless of a “shutdown” have been met by absolute refusals by a president and congressional caucus who are unwilling to allow our men and women in uniform to be anything other than pawns in a political game of chicken.

A “government shutdown” would do all Americans a favor by removing “non-essential” workers from the taxpayers’ payroll, at least for a period of time. Regardless of whether or not such a so-called shutdown takes place, though President Obama and the Democrats in Congress – who could have avoided every bit of this had they passed a budget last year, when they could have done so without a single Republican vote – should man up and take military pay off the table as a negotiating tool. Unfortunately, they’re unlikely to do so – a fact which speaks volumes about them as individuals, and about their priorities as an executive and as legislators.

Senator: Obama May Have Planned Shutdown Last Year With “Malicious” Intent

From RealClearPolitics:

Freshman GOP Senator Mike Lee (Utah) says President Obama’s inability to get a budget passed last year may have been “deliberate.”

“It was either irresponsible on one hand or deliberate and malicious on the other with intention to bring about a sequence of events that would culminate inevitably in a government shutdown,” Senator Mike Lee said on the Senate floor today.

Click this link to see video of Senator Lee.

Obama: I’ll Shut Down the Government and Suspend Military Pay

From Big Government:

Rather than accept a few billion in budget cuts (read rounding error), President Obama has signaled his willingness to shut down the federal government. (Yah!) For those keeping score at home, any government shutdown that happens is on Obama’s plate. He is the President. All on him.

The worst part of this whole debate is the Obama Administration’s decision to hold military pay hostage to the budget debate. For the last few decades, government shutdowns have been guided by an OMB directive issued during the Reagan Administration. Under this directive, military personnel would continue to receive the paychecks while politicians argued about the budget. The Clinton Administration, during the last government shutdown, kept the paychecks flowing.

But, not Obama.

The Obama Administration has overturned the old OMB directive and has decided to suspend military paychecks if there is a government shutdown. No reason to do it…but they have decided to. Reprehensible.

Senate Libs Complain About Government Shutdown Then Go On Vacation

From RedState:

Only in Washington can politicians get away with complaining about a government shutdown, while going on vacation for a whole week.

Senate Democrats took to the air on Sunday to warn the American people about a government shutdown on March 4th.  They argued that the Senate may not agree to the House passed Continuing Resolution (CR), because the bill’s $61 billion in cuts to spending for the remainder of the year are too much.  Yet the problem is not serious enough for these same Senators to come back to the Capitol to debate and negotiate the House passed spending measure this week to avoid a shutdown.

You see — the Senate has a vacation scheduled for this week — can’t miss that. 

The House passed measure to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year is reasonable.  The Pledge to America promised $100 billion in cuts this year, yet the House could only pass $61 billion in cuts.  The American people want politicians in Washington to cut, not freeze, spending this year.  The federal government is carrying $14.1 trillion in debt and a record $1.6 trillion deficit for this year alone.  Those numbers are evidence of a big spending problem in Washington.

If the federal government shuts down, it is the fault of Senate liberals in leadership who refuse to call the Senate back into session this week.  It is also the fault of the President who has failed to bring the two parties together to negotiate an agreement on the CR.

The cuts were not as deep as some wanted in the House.  Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, lost an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House to cut $100 billion.  The Jordan Amendment was rejected and the House settled on $61 billion in cuts.  Over 400 amendments to the measure were filed in the House and the House spent many a late night last week working on this bill.  The final vote was at 4am on Saturday, yet the Senate can’t be bothered to cancel the scheduled vacation for the week.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on Meet the Press on Sunday “if we end up shutting down the government and calling into question whether we are going to meet our obligations for Social Security checks and paying our troops then that is an absolute utter failure.”  Not to be outdone, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on CNN “Speaker Boehner has said, even before negotiations, that he wants it a certain way.  That is reckless and what Newt Gingrich did in 1995.”  The left is fear mongering by trying to blame cost cutting conservatives for a potential government shutdown, when they have yet to cast one vote on the Senate version of a CR.

Conservatives are leading the nation in cutting spending.  We are seeing great examples of leadership on the state level with Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin taking actions to balance state budgets.  In Washington, we are seeing Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee and Senator Jeff Session (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, address the tough fiscal issues facing the federal government.  On the other hand, President Obama presented a budget to the American people for next year that adds trillions in new spending, taxes and debt over the next 10 years.  A missing line item in the President’s budget is entitlement reform and cuts to programs.  Liberals have taken a long vacation on spending restraint and entitlement reform.

The bottom line is that many will message all week about a “government shutdown,” yet the Senate is not concerned enough to cancel the scheduled vacation this week to start work on a funding measure for the remainder of the year.

Looming Government Shutdown Anarchy?

From Big Government:

As the battle of the budget wages on, the March 4th D-Day moves inexorably closer, and with the Continuing Resolution passed in the House of Representatives early this morning, including two amendments by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to defund Obamacare, the media is increasingly raising the specter of a possible government shutdown. What every Republican, every patriot, every person conceivably affected needs to understand is how this will impact average Americans.

Will airports shut down because air traffic controllers have gone on leave? Will those mean Republicans throw granny out in the street when Social Security stops sending payments? Will everyone who receives checks in the mail see their income dry up because the Post Office shuts down?

The Democrats will tell you that and more. A Google search of “government shutdown” brings up pages describing dire consequences. But if you follow the links you will see that this is more a reflection of leftist web domination than anything else.

The greatest consequence of a government shutdown will be the Democrat-generated media hysteria we will have to put up with unless/until they get their way. They will demagogue at every opportunity, describing fantastic scenes of nationwide anarchy. They will do what they always do, about the only thing they do well, and in fact have already begun doing:

They will lie.

President Obama almost immediately threatened that Social Security checks would stop coming.

He lied.

Think Progress, the archetypical radical left propaganda rag, interviewed freshman Republican Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who pooh poohed worries about a government shutdown. They didn’t ask him to qualify, but later attempted to discredit his message:

Kelly’s assertions are simply not true. One need look no further than the federal government shutdown of 1995 for proof. During the nearly four-week shutdown, Social Security checks were not mailed and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements were disrupted.

They lie.

 The whole article is a carefully constructed deception—an echo chamber for Democrat demagoguery. Follow the links. They’re hoping you won’t.

Read the rest at Big Government.

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