Congress and the President, Crushing the American People

In his seven minute victory speech last night, President Obama doubled down, saying we can’t continue to cut our way to prosperity.  Continue?  I was unaware the cutting had begun.   Instead, the goal is to tax his way to America’s demise.  He espoused a number of untruths throughout the speech, but his central theme was painfully clear: I’m going to tax you more, America!

Throughout the supposed fiscal cliff negotiations, the absence any meaningful discussion about spending as our country’s real fiscal problem was glaringly conspicuous.  Rather, the pendulum was swinging back and forth from Obama’s desired $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue and a number of slightly lower numbers, finally settling at $600 billion in tax increases over ten years at the last possible moment.  The Hill reports:

The 257-167 vote capped off a day of high drama in the Capitol, as Republican leaders considered and then quickly abandoned a plan to attach steep spending cuts to a measure passed overwhelmingly by the Senate early Tuesday morning.

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UPDATE: Senate Votes on Fiscal Cliff Without Reading

Last night, some predicted the Senate could vote on the fiscal cliff deal – a $600 billion tax increase – without an official score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Sadly, that’s exactly that happened.  At roughly 1:40 AM, Senators took to the floor to vote on a 157-page that no one had seen.

Heritage Action’s key vote warned lawmakers:

In addition to increasing taxes, the emerging deal contains a host of other provisions, the details of which have yet to become public.  Based on the information available, it appears there will be substantial conservative concerns with these provisions as well.

Yes, Nancy Pelosi is surely smiling.



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Fiscal Cliff Becomes K Street Gravy Train

This morning, even as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Vice President Joe Biden make “major progress” on the fiscal cliff, one thing is clear: this is becoming a K Street Gravy Train.

Because legislative text is unavailable, it is impossible to know just how larded up a potential deal will become, but the Examiner’s Tim Carney has this nugget:

An all-star lineup of lobbyists, featuring former congressmen and many of Obama’s closest allies, is fighting to save a tax credit for wind energy that expires at midnight Monday.

The lobbying team to renew the tax credit is formidable, packed with Obama’s closest corporate confidants as well as former congressmen from both parties.

Subsidizing wind doesn’t stimulate the economy, it simply fosters cronyism.  Lawmakers should not allow special interest lobbyists to sneak a last minute extension of bad policy into a year-end bill.

An extension of the so-called farm bill (which is about 80% food stamps) may also hitch a ride.  The Hill reports a one-year extension is “gaining support” with House Republicans:

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Waiting for Details on Fiscal Cliff

Last night, as Senate aides worked to strike a deal on the fiscal cliff, President Obama and his team were nowhere to found.  Although they were apparently receiving updates on the kick-the-can deal, the disengagement of the Obama administration is palpable.

Heritage Action’s Tripp Baird said President Obama should look in the mirror, instead of delivering a “sanctimonious lecture” about “Congress about not doing their job.”


Tripp continues:

The president thinks he can just sit there and blame [Congress] for whatever happens.  They are going to remember if we go over this cliff…this was on Obama’s watch and he is going to get some of the blame…but the true fact is that they really do want to go to the cliff.  They want this revenue.

As we’ve explained before, President Obama’s objective during the fiscal cliff negotiations is to destroy the Republican Party by forcing it to sign off on massive tax increases or assigning it blame for cliff diving.  Conservatives cannot allow themselves to succumb to President Obama’s outrageous and destructive tactics.

Key events today:

  • 1:00 PM – Senate reconvenes
  • 2:00 PM – House reconvenes
  • 3:00 PM (approx) – Senate recesses for party caucus meeting to discuss potential deal
  • TBD – meeting of House Rules Committee, necessary before House considers Senate deal
  • TBD – meeting of House GOP Conference





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What Will Make the Cut in a Fiscal Cliff Deal?

As lawmakers try to reach (or avoid) a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, tax hikes aren’t the only things on their minds.  They’re also trying to negotiate a number of other legislative “priorities,” some of which have better chances of becoming part of the agreement than others.  One thing they all have in common though is they should be considered in the next Congress, not rammed through carelessly in any last-minute fiscal cliff deal lawmakers might strike.

Below, we’ve highlighted seven such “priorities”:

  1. VAWA: There has been pressure from the left to include the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as part of the fiscal cliff deal.  First enacted in 1994 with the intention of better protecting women from domestic violence, the most recent Senate reauthorization of VAWA “engages in mission creep by expanding VAWA to men and prisoners… and without precedent, the bill surrenders the rights of Americans who are not American Indians to racially exclusive tribal courts.”  Not only this, but there have been no scientifically rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of this bill, and there has been no proof that it actually helps protect women against violence.  In this vein, historically and constitutionally, the police power is reserved to the states, which have laws to protect all citizens from crimes committed against them.  The goals of VAWA are a federal overreach; both in its original form and in its subsequent reauthorizations.
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