Another Victory for Fiscal Responsibility: The Death of Earmarks

December 7, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Earmarks can have a good use, but most of them are just institutionalized corruption, bribes to get votes on bills. Good riddance.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I wrote a few days ago that advocates of smaller government have won a very significant victory over the past five years, as measured by the fact that there’s been zero growth in overall federal spending.

And because the private economy has grown while the federal budget has been flat, this means that the burden of government spending – measured as a share of GDP – has declined.

This doesn’t mean our fiscal problems are solved. Indeed, the long-run numbers are still horrible and we desperately need genuine entitlement reform to avoid becoming a failed European-style welfare state.

But a long journey begins with a first step and the spending freeze over the past five years is worth celebrating.

And let’s also celebrate the fact that members of Congress no longer have carte blanche, generally using “appropriations” legislation, to specifically allocate spending for campaign contributors and other favored constituencies. Such…

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#Immigration: Congress *can* defund Obama’s executive order

November 26, 2014

Obamacaligula

Apparently Caesar Obama can decree all he wants, but getting the money to pay for his tyranny is another matter altogether:

The letter, requested by a Republican lawmaker, addressed an issue raised by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has claimed it is impossible for Republicans to defund Obama’s amnesty since the agency in charge of issuing the work permits, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services office, is almost entirely funded by user fees.

The [Congressional Research Service] found that Rogers’ claim was completely false. From the letter:

“In light of Congress’s constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that “Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes.” Where Congress has done so, “an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities. Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.”

This makes perfect sense constitutionally and legally: the agency is a creation of Congress, which has told it to raise money for its operations from user fees. It would be risible to say that Congress somehow lacked the power to tell that same agency how to spend the money Congress authorized it to collect in the first place.

The Republican leadership is discussing a long-term funding resolution for most of the government, and a short-term one for the Immigration Service, so that the new Republican legislature could then order it not to spend any money to enforce Obama’s order. This would be a first good step toward reining in Obama’s usurping presidency.

Let’s hope they have the courage to do it.


TURLEY AGREES TO SERVE AS LEAD COUNSEL FOR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE

November 18, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is a very interesting development. Turley is a leading liberal lawyer and a supporter of some form of national health care, but has also been a strong voice criticizing Obama’s unconstitutional usurpations. I still think seeking judicial refereeing of a political fight between the other two branches is a weak move, but I’ll be nonetheless interested to hear his arguments.

Originally posted on JONATHAN TURLEY:

800px-Capitol_Building_Full_ViewAs many on this blog are aware, I have previously testified, written, and litigated in opposition to the rise of executive power and the countervailing decline in congressional power in our tripartite system. I have also spent years encouraging Congress, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, to more actively defend its authority, including seeking judicial review in separation of powers conflicts. For that reason, it may come as little surprise this morning that I have agreed to represent the United States House of Representatives in its challenge of unilateral, unconstitutional actions taken by the Obama Administration with respect to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is an honor to represent the institution in this historic lawsuit and to work with the talented staff of the House General Counsel’s Office. As in the past, this posting is meant to be transparent about my representation as well as my need…

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LOL! Obama’s Climate Plan Spooks U.S. Democrats

August 27, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

I wonder when Senate Democrats will finally get it through their thick, obsequious heads that Obama doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss if they get reelected? This climate accord is the latest example of how, in Obama’s mind, Congress is an option, not a requirement when writing laws issuing ukases.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Yesterday we mentioned Obama’s nuclear option event, and now the fallout begins. |

From Timothy Cama and Scott Wong, The Hill
keep-calm-and-run-for-your-life-66[1]President Obama’s election-year plan to win a new international climate change accord is making vulnerable Democrats nervous.

The administration is in talks at the United Nations about a deal that would seek to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by “naming and shaming” governments that fail to take significant action.

The State Department on Wednesday denied a report in The New York Times that the plan is to come up with a treaty that would not require Senate confirmation, but that appeared to provide cold comfort to Democrats worried the issue will revive GOP cries about an imperial Obama presidency.

One Democratic strategist said the proposal would put swing-state candidates who are critical to the party keeping its Senate majority “in front of the firing squad.”

“You’re … making it more difficult for…

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Disagreeing with Jim Geraghty: Senate Democrats do want their jobs

August 18, 2014
"Waiting for Caesar"

“Waiting for Caesar”

Just not the jobs we all think they’re supposed to be doing.

Last week Jim pointed to an article in Politico about the Democrats’ immigration conundrum and their wish for President Obama to do their work for them. He wrote:

If indeed, as Politico reports, Senate Democrats want President Obama to “make immigration changes through executive action” — changes that they themselves are not willing to vote for in legislative form… why do they want to be Senators?

But it’s not that they don’t want to be senators, per se. They like the nice offices and all the perks: fawning staff; people who need favors from them, chauffeured cars; face time on TV; junkets overseas paid for by taxpayers — it’s a pretty sweet racket. Who wouldn’t want that?

Trouble is, the job of a United States senator includes this little duty in their job description, found in Article 1, section 1 of a musty old document called the Constitution:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

“Legislative power,” of course, is the power to set national policy via enacting laws. The president doesn’t have that authority –pace Obama– only the House and Senate do. That means that, to achieve goals the Democratic senators want, such as amnesty and a path to citizenship for millions of people here illegally, they have to make a public decision. Vote. Go on record. Pass a law.

And, God forbid, as Jim and the Politico piece point out, that’s the last thing these clowns want to do; they can see the polls are going against them on the issue. Voting for comprehensive immigration reform now might well cost several of these senators those nice offices and perks, and no one would any longer treat them as if they’re important.

Can’t have that, so they want Obama to do their jobs for them, and constitutionality be damned.

And here’s where I disagree with Jim: it’s not that they don’t want to be senators, they just don’t to be United States senators. What they really want to be are senators of the Roman Empire, with a nice place to meet and servants to tend their needs and deals to be made to make them wealthy, but no real work. Just show up every so often to hear the words of the Emperor and then applaud on cue. Let him make all the decisions. That’s the job the Democrat senators really want.

Can’t wait until one slips and calls the president “Caesar Obama” on TV.


#KYsen: Allison Grimes, national security sooper-genius

July 30, 2014
Perfect against tunneling jihadis!

Perfect against tunneling jihadis!

Federal senators deal with issues of national and international importance, including matters of war and peace, and overall national security. You would think, then, that someone wishing to ascend to the Senate would at least know the basics about a game-changing weapon wielded by one of our key allies, who happens to be in a shooting war.

That is, until you meet Kentucky Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes:

As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel’s missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.

“Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.

Iron Dome — as normal, intelligent folks such as you, Dear Readers, can probably tell without needing the above highlighting — is a missile-defense system. It is designed to shoot down things flying through the air: incoming tactical rockets with only minutes or seconds to spare, and it does an amazingly good job at it. One thing it does not do is stop things tunneling under the ground, jihadis or even gophers.

Someone should explain these tricky technical details to Ms. Grimes.

Grimes is hoping to defeat Mitch McConnell and capture his seat for the Democrats, and it’s a tight race. While McConnell hasn’t been one of my favorite senators, he also doesn’t give me the gas that he gives many of my fellow Righties. Regardless of one’s opinion of him, though, I think we can agree that it’s important that his seat be kept in Republican hands, for the Republic.

Even against a defense wiz like Allison Lundergan Grimes.

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#MTsen: Who does John Walsh think he is? Joe Biden?

July 23, 2014
Cheater?

Cheater?

Well, this is embarrassing. The Democratic nominee for the seat once held by Max Baucus (D – Train Wreck), who is now Ambassador to China, has been called out by no less than that arch-conservative rag The New York Times for plagiarizing his Army War College master’s thesis:

Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.

On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.

But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.

Read the rest; it’s pretty damning stuff, as in wholesale cutting-and-pasting from publicly available think-tank reports. For example:

Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”

The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it.

As we used to say in school, “bus-TED!”

Naturally, the Democrats will immediately call on Senator Walsh to withdraw from the race, if not resign, so… Wait. I’m sorry, I’m mixing that up with what the Democrats would do if a Republican were the miscreant. In Walsh’s case, he fits right in with the party’s leaders.

Walsh is fighting to keep this seat for the Democrats against Republican challenger Rep. Steve Daines. Daines has been doing well in the polls, and this scandal isn’t likely to help Senator Walsh, but this is no time to get comfortable. You’ll find Steve Daines’ web site here. If you can, send him some money.

Because every seat counts.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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