Morning Action: Undermining the Rule of Law is Not Okay, Mr. Perez
BALANCE. Heritage experts have proven that balancing the budget would be great for the economy and would provide a framework in which to reduce federal spending responsibly, but as it turns out, balancing the budget is supported by public opinion as well, according to the polls:
When Rep. Paul Ryan first introduced his new budget plan, Democrats dismissed it as draconian for balancing the budget in 10 years.
But the message of bringing the federal government’s books into balance — the central idea behind the Wisconsin lawmaker’s 2014 spending plan — was quietly tested in 18 competitive House races in a late February poll by the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was a winning argument across a broad swath of politically moderate — and nearly split — districts.
The poll showed that 45 percent of Democratic voters think “balancing … the federal budget would significantly increase economic growth and create millions of American jobs.” A sky-high 61 percent of independents and 76 percent of Republicans agree.
LABOR’S THUG. President Obama has made Mr. Thomas Perez – a passionate champion of the disparate-impact theory and Obama’s nominee to head up the Department of Labor – a veritable saint. But Perez’s actions as a senior Justice Department official have been questioned several lawmakers, especially with regard to how he used “political muscle [to undermine] the rule of law” (sub. req’d):
President Obama nominated Thomas Perez on Monday to run the Labor Department, praising him as “a consensus-builder” who passed the nation’s “first statewide living-wage law” in Maryland. That isn’t his only talent. Consider how Mr. Perez worked behind the scenes to undermine two civil cases against the City of St. Paul in order to stop a Supreme Court case that might have repudiated his discrimination enforcement theories.
Mr. Perez is a champion of disparate-impact theory, which purports to prove racial discrimination by examining statistics rather than intent or specific cases. Soon after Mr. Perez assumed his job in October 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder established a unit under Mr. Perez to examine loans to minorities. The unit proceeded to threaten a series of lawsuits against banks under the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
Congressmen Darrell Issa, Lamar Smith and Patrick McHenry, along with Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, are investigating the St. Paul quid pro quo, and with good reason. To recap: A senior Justice Department official, Mr. Perez, intervened to undermine two civil complaints against the City of St. Paul in order to get St. Paul to drop a Supreme Court case that might have blown apart the legal rationale for his dubious discrimination crusade against law-abiding businesses.
NO DEFICIT. The Wall Street Journal has a headline (sub. req’d) that’s pretty satisfying to those craving an end to our nation’s chronic deficits: House GOP Group Would End Deficit in 4 Years. The article explains:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s latest budget would eliminate the annual federal deficit within a decade. But for some, that’s still too long.
The Republican Study Committee, an influential group of 171 conservative House lawmakers, introduced a budget Monday that it says would eliminate the deficit in four years through deeper spending cuts and more immediate changes to federal health-care programs than the Ryan plan, which the House is expected to vote on later this week.
Not only would the RSC plan differ in terms of timelines, but the details would be different too. Seniors would have option of buying private health insurance or traditional Medicare beginning in 2019 and exempt only those 60 years old and older. The plan also presents more specific reforms to Social Security, whereas Ryan’s budget leaves it to the President and Congress to fill in the lines on Social Security.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on Monday that a controversial assault weapons ban will not be part of a Democratic gun bill that was expected to reach the Senate floor next month.
After a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday, a frustrated Feinstein said she learned that the bill she sponsored — which bans 157 different models of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — wouldn’t be part of a Democratic gun bill to be offered on the Senate floor. Instead, it can be offered as an amendment. But its exclusion from the package makes what was already an uphill battle an almost certain defeat.
Reid’s decision highlights the tightrope walked by the majority leader in governing the gun control issue. Trapped between the White House and rank-and-file Democrats who support broad gun control legislation following the shootings last December in Newtown, Conn., Reid must also be mindful of red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014 who favor gun rights.
AMNESTY. Showers and flowers might not be center stage this April, as comprehensive immigration “reform” may steal the show:
Members of the Senate’s Gang of Eight say they are on track to reach a deal on immigration reform by the end of March, despite skepticism and sniping among outside groups.
Sources familiar with closed-door talks between the four Democratic and four Republican senators said members hope to unveil a bill when the Senate returns from a two-week recess in early April.
“We’re still planning to finish this by the end of March,” said a source close to the negotiations. “The end of the month falls squarely in the middle of a recess. We wouldn’t announce anything in the middle of the recess, but wait until people get back at the beginning of April.”
“I don’t think there’s anything fatal that’s emerged. People are in very much a posture of negotiating in good faith,” said another source close to the Gang of Eight.
Recall that the Heritage Foundation has warned against tackling an issue as complex and important as immigration in one fell swoop, such as a “comprehensive” reform bill.
BUDGET. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is calling on lawmakers to get their work done in a timely fashion if they want to catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny this year. Unfortunately, talk is cheap, especially in Washington. And while punctuality would be a welcome attribute in Congress, we would also appreciate well thought out, principled legislation. Hopefully, their potentially exhausting schedule will also produce such legislation:
Senate negotiators were close to an agreement Monday on amendment limits that would enable the chamber to complete a bill to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.
But Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also warned that if senators don’t get going on that bill, they may find themselves held in Washington into the weekend or perhaps even into the two-week spring recess that begins next week.
“Senators should expect several long nights and late votes. And we will stay as long as it takes to complete work on both the continuing resolution and the budget resolution-even if that means working into the weekend and the Easter-Passover recess,” Reid said on the Senate floor. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared on Monday that he will not be voting for the Senate’s temporary funding bill when it comes up for a final vote, criticizing it for including “numerous examples of egregious pork-barrel projects” as well as spending never authorized by the appropriate committee or by the administration.