Why More Lawmakers Should Have Fought the Debt Ceiling Suspension

My Foundry piece this week explains the clean debt ceiling suspension is just the beginning of a sustained effort to abdicate fiscal responsibility.  Some Republicans are discussing the possibility of reinstating the “Gephardt Rule,” a mechanism that allowed for approval of legislation increasing the nation’s statutory debt limit without an actual vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Reinstating this rule would supposedly allow lawmakers to avoid periodic debt ceiling dramas, to the detriment of the American people:

America established a statutory debt ceiling in 1917 as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Services, the debt ceiling “imposes a form of fiscal accountability that compels Congress and the President to take visible action to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects in revenues.”

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See How Your Representative Voted on the $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill

After passing the Ryan-Murray budget agreement that increased spending by $63 billion over the next two years, legislators took a winter break. Upon returning they irresponsibly rushed to construct the omnibus spending full of wasteful programs, then gave the House less than 48 hours to read the 1,582-page bill.

On Wednesday, the House passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill, 359 to 67, (64 Republicans voted no).

Now the spending bill moves to the Senate, where a vote is expected this week. The omnibus takes the country in the wrong direction, both in terms of policy and overall spending levels.

Check out our Scorecard to see how your Representative voted. Then make sure to thank the 64 conservatives who voted against this irresponsible omnibus spending bill.

See How Your Representative Voted

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The Taxpayer Transparency Act Exposes Government Waste

With conferees still struggling to strike a bad deal on a $1 trillion food stamp and farm welfare bill, conservative efforts to reform an out-of-control food stamp program and constrain lavish farm subsidies have met stiff resistance from lawmakers and entrenched special interests.

In the midst of the larger effort to separate food stamps and farm programs so that each can be debated and reformed on its own merits, there are efforts to shed light on the federal government’s shameful (and wasteful) campaign to promote big government programs like food stamps.

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When Fighting Poverty, Good Intentions Aren’t Good Enough

Liberal politicians often defend ineffective, costly legislative initiatives that at first glance seem compassionate.  As we reflect today on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” we need to question its effectiveness and that of other liberal, big government attempts to solve or reduce the problem of poverty in America.  Despite the fact that the federal government spends billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars on big-government programs, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty.

That’s unchanged since the birth of the “War on Poverty” in the mid-1960’s.  The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector notes in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req’d):

LBJ promised that the war on poverty would be an “investment” that would “return its cost manifold to the entire economy.” But the country has invested $20.7 trillion in 2011 dollars over the past 50 years. What does America have to show for its investment? Apparently, almost nothing: The official poverty rate persists with little improvement.

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An Unemployment Insurance Extension is not as “Empathetic” as Harry Reid Suggests

“I hope a few reasonable and empathetic Republicans will… help us advance [the unemployment insurance extension] bill today,” said Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% on the Senate floor Monday, as he championed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (S.1845), which is up for a procedural vote Monday evening.  The bill would cost $6.6 billion in federal taxpayer dollars.

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