More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have illegally crossed America’s southern border this year. Their presence in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico is putting pressure on Congress to grant the President’s $3.7 billion request for emergency funds.
Heritage Foundation policy analyst David Inserra has broken down the proposals in the House’s immigration working group here, and noted that “the U.S. does not need to throw money at the problem but rather carefully consider the better policies that more effectively enforce the law and contribute to border security.”
If any funding at all is to be allocated, it must be on the condition that the package addresses the root causes of the unlawful immigrant surge.
Rarely is the link between a policy and a problem as clear as with President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the current situation at our southern border. Despite the overwhelming consensus that executive decree has caused the crisis, Congress and the White House are refusing to end DACA.
The House is now preparing to vote on a bill to authorize $659 million for border and immigration spending. The problem is this spending bill doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. Fortunately, some lawmakers are pushing to include language to stop Obama’s lawless DACA program, but we only have a few hours to make a difference.
To try to fix this system, the House and Senate VA committees have released a conference report full of new provisions. The most troubling of these is a new program that will permit veterans facing a certain wait time to seek care outside of the VA program, at a private facility. Congress has proposed $10 billion to kick start this program, which will not be offset by any savings, but spent under an “emergency” designation.
I think we can all agree, in this state of our nation’s fiscal climate, this seems unwise, especially given previous assurances any new spending would be paid for. What’s more, the dysfunction and red tape-laden bureaucracy that the media has reported on these last six months will remain intact, and in addition, Congress will call upon taxpayers to layer a new entitlement on top that looks like it could grow unchecked into the distant future.
A quick note on that $10 billion authorization. It is held under an artificial cap that does nothing to actually limit the size, scope or real cost of this new program. Once the money dries up, Congress will face immense pressure to allocate more “emergency” funds to refill it, piling onto the deficit without any reforms to the underlying VA system.
The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that this entitlement provision sideshow will encourage other eligible vets, currently enrolled in other systems, to transition to VA coverage, expanding the pool of participants. This means that once again the system will have to bear the burden of overloads, putting the vets most in need of care at a disadvantage.
A functional, cost-effective VA health care system is crucial not just for the vets of this generation, but to tomorrow’s servicemen and women, as well. Any solution that is not sustainable in the long term leaves future veterans in the lurch. Rather than spend blindly to achieve a quick result, Congress must legislate from the premise that all generations of heroes are deserving of our gratitude, and will benefit from effective and responsible governing.
The reality of this massive expansion bill is far from patriotic or compassionate. The VA system is woefully inefficient and routinely challenged by backlogs, disorganization and a misallocation of resources. Rather than attempt to reform its weaknesses and target the federal aid, Congress is seeking to add to the heap of clutter with a costly new program that will expand the population dependent upon it and run up an unimaginable tab.
As former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has declared repeatedly, “the single biggest threat to our national security” is the national debt. Those who take up the great cause of defending the liberty and security of our homeland deserve the best from their leaders; this bill is a poor substitute, indeed.
Does Export-Import Bank provide cheap loans?
Tony Fratto, Hamilton Place Strategies: All of you that have been writing that Ex-Im makes cheap loans — they actually make expensive loans. (AEI Debate, July 24, 2014)
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH): By allowing American companies, mostly very large ones, to finance the products they want to sell to a foreign company or government at a reduced rate, the Ex-Im Bank in fact represents an American commercial threat to foreign companies. (The Hill, July 28, 2014)
Does the Export-Import Bank create job?
The approach in H.R. 1022 is misguided. The Heritage Foundation explains rather than creating a new government program and subsidizing “technologies the private sector won’t invest in without a handout, the government should open access to the 13 states where rare earths lie and establish an efficient regulatory pathway that provides companies the certainty needed to extract REEs.”
Rather than create an expensive new government program, Congress should deregulate the market for rare earth elements and energy-critical elements.
Use POPVOX to easily and directly email your Representative and ask him or her to oppose the Rare Earth Mineral bill: