KStreet

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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lame duck

Intent on Destroying Conservatives, Obama Returns to Washington

President Obama is cutting his Hawaiian vacation short.  CNN says he will return to Washington on Thursday “to make a late-hour bid to reach a fiscal-cliff deal before the year ends.”  This is nothing more than political theater, though.  He hasn’t been negotiating in good faith and there is absolutely no indication that will change.

As explained by Philip Klein in The Examiner, the President’s objective is simply to raise taxes:

During an election in which Obama gave very few details about his second term agenda, one thing he made clear was that he wanted to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 by allowing the Bush era rates to expire on the income group. Doing that would raise taxes by $824 billion over a decade. But once the election ended and “fiscal cliff” discussions began, Obama raised his demands to $1.6 trillion in tax hikes — double what he campaigned on. Now, it’s true that Obama did unveil a debt proposal in 2011 to raise taxes by $1.6 trillion and he did occasionally mention that proposal during the campaign. But the one point that he hammered home again and again was his demand that taxes go up on those earning more than $250,000 — the top two percent of earners.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal put a finer point on President Obama’s approach:

At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?” 

“You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.”

How do you negotiate with this guy?  It’s hard, if not impossible.  President Obama’s plans are broader, though.  He will only accept a deal if it fundamentally splits the Republican Party and begins the process of breaking the GOP’s decades-long opposition to raising taxes.  More than anything else, the disruption of the opposition party is President Obama’s goal.

Heritage Action’s CEO Michael Needham says Republicans must move beyond tactics:

Republicans must learn they cannot out-gimmick the Democrats; nor can they offer up enough tax increases to appease President Obama. Remember, President Obama originally called for an $800 billion tax increase. This month, after Republicans put $800 billion in tax increases on the table, President Obama requested $1.6 trillion tax increase. 

[…] 

Conservatives should rally around ideas and principles that unite them, not tactics that create exploitable divisions. As we move to the next phase of the fiscal cliff debate, conservatives, especially those elected to represent the American people, must recommit to explaining and fighting for pro-growth policies that advance freedom and create opportunity. 

In August 2011, a prominent Democrat strategist told Politico the plan was to “kill Romney.”  Make no mistake; President Obama’s objective during the fiscal cliff negotiations is to kill the Republican Party.  If Republicans alienate conservatives by endorsing a massive tax increase, President Obama will be well on his way.

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lame duck

Lame Duck Update: VAWA Does Violence to the U.S. Constitution

While House Republicans and President Obama continue their behind the scenes negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff,” backroom negotiations continue on other year-end legislative “priorities.” One of these is the reauthorization of the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The Senate version of VAWA (S. 1925) greatly expands the scope and focus of a 1994 law. As Heritage’s David Muhlhausen and Independent Women’s Forum’s Christina Villegas pointed out in their report last summer:

The bill engages in mission creep by expanding VAWA to men and prisoners, despite the lack of scientifically rigorous evaluations to determine the effectiveness of existing VAWA programs; the bill expands upon the already duplicative grant programs authorized by VAWA; and without precedent , the bill surrenders the rights of Americans who are not American Indians to racially exclusive tribal courts.

It is the last provision that has stirred the most controversy. The House passed its reauthorization of VAWA (HR 4970) back in May without extending the criminal jurisdiction of tribal courts. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner summarized the concerns of many conservatives when he stated, “Making an issue of whether a non-Indian can be prosecuted in a tribal court…brings huge constitutional issues because the Bill of Rights does not apply in tribal courts.”

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Tax Forms 2

Obstructionist Republicans?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was on Fox News Sunday  to paint Republicans as obstructionist in the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations.  He said, in a rather patronizing tone, that Democrats “may need to give [Republicans] time to figure out where they go next.”

How sweet!  Thank goodness for liberal leftist politicians’ benevolence, which knows no shortage, especially since it is subsidized by taxpayers’ money.

Yes.  Liberal Democrats will give the silly Republicans time to wrap their pretty little heads around the “modest” $1.6 trillion tax dollars that Obama plans, ever so graciously, to confiscate from American taxpayers and then sink into the black hole of government spending.  (Remember, what goes into a black hole doesn’t come back out.) 

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fiscal cliff

Honesty is the Best Policy, Right?

“We need to be honest on our side of the aisle… put everything on the table,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Words have meaning, but how you say those words can obscure the actual meaning.  That’s why when someone testifies in court they take an oath that they’ll tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God.

Shouldn’t we hold our elected officials to the same level of scrutiny whenever they speak?  After all, the future of our country is at stake.  No biggie.

If Senator Durbin really cares about honesty, he should tell the whole truth, which is that he, and many other liberals like him, think that Congress should put everything on the table except the things they don’t want on the table.  That important little detail is part of the “whole truth.” Let’s be honest…

He even had Soledad O’Brien a little exasperated this morning on CNN.

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