Hagel’s Problem is Hagel

Yesterday, the Senate delayed the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.  The delay was not historic, unexpected or unfounded.  Unfortunately, too many Senators (and thus the media) are “insisting that the administration must first answer more questions” about Libya.  What they should concern themselves with is Hagel’s “quiet incompetence that makes him unfit to lead America’s armed forces.

Simply put, Chuck Hagel’s problem is Chuck Hagel.

Senators should ask themselves one simple question: is there a single shred of paper that Obama administration could hand over that would make Chuck Hagel a palatable defense secretary?

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Hagel Is Under Scrutiny Today

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is under scrutiny today, and for good reason.

President Obama nominated Hagel to be our country’s next Secretary of Defense and today he is responding to his critics during a confirmation hearing.  A number of GOP senators, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) prominent among them, are eager to “erode support” for this nomination.

A source close to Hagel said “once people are able to hear him lay out his worldview in the open, I think it will really re-frame the way that the conversation has gone.”  He’s confident that his record will speak for itself – in his favor.

Conversely, “Republicans are just as hungry for the clash,” and again, for good reason.

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Saving America for Future Generations, Cliffs and All

When Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful in 1893, she sang the praises of our purple mountain majesties and fruited plains, but she made no mention of our cliffs, although we do have a sprinkling of them across the country.  Little did she know that 119 years later, our whole country would be headed over a cliff, fiscal though it may be.  Thankfully, the Heritage Foundation is helping to fulfill her prayer and to mend our nation’s flaws:

America! America! 
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law! 

Heritage experts Alison Acosta Fraser, William W. Beach, and Stuart M. Butler have produced valuable research and proposed suggestions for saving the American Dream during “fiscal cliff” negotiations and beyond.   Heritage is putting forth the ideas necessary to reverse the negative Washington trends of fiscal irresponsibility, out of control spending, and excessive taxation, which are all affronts to our liberty and prosperity.

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lame duck

Lame Duck Threat: Defense Sequester

Lame Duck Threat: About this series
With the election behind us, Congress will convene a lame-duck session.  This series will highlight major issues facing Congress that may be decided by defeated and retiring lawmakers. 

Issue Description: Sequestration is a budgetary measure implemented by the Budget Control Act of 2012 that automatically cuts $1.2 trillion over 10 years beginning on January 2.  Instead of targeting entitlement spending, which totals nearly 62 percent of all federal spending, lawmakers’ targeted defense.  Of the $1.2 trillion, defense takes the biggest hit of all — nearly $500 billion.  The scheduled defense sequester “would implement automatic defense cuts that would slow important Pentagon programs.”  Heritage explains that a halt to these programs would be detrimental to our defense infrastructure which is “in dire need of an update.”

Why Lame-Duck:  Because the sequester was not really supposed to happen, there is pressure for Congress to provide a temporary alternative in the lame duck, such as deferring sequestration of defense spending.  Whether Congress attempts to fix the problem in the lame duck, or defers to the 113th Congress, the need for a real solution is evident.

Conservative Position: Our military’s infrastructure is in serious need of updating and improvement.  The sequester would render these necessary improvements to our military nearly impossible, as the budget cuts are not made strategically, and would result in grave and negative consequences for our national security and for our military. 

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A Second Term Highway Stimulus… It Hasn’t Worked So Far, But Let’s Try Again!

In his once off-the-record endorsement interview with Iowa’s Des Moines Register, President Obama ran through a list of his first term “accomplishments” and some of his second term goals.  We take issue with the idea that he’s accomplished anything through infrastructure stimulus dollars in his first term.  But first, let’s talk about the two words that jumped off the page: deferred maintenance.

What does the President mean by deferred maintenance?  Spending – er, investment – in roads, bridges and the like.  The newly release transcript provides the context:

“And finally, using some of the war savings to put people back to work on infrastructure — roads, bridges. We’ve fallen behind in that area. And we can — this deferred maintenance, we can put people to work, back, right now, and at the same time make sure that our economy is more competitive over the long term.” 

Make no mistake; the President is laying the rhetorical groundwork for a second term stimulus centered around infrastructure. 

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