Morning Action: Intense Debates Wage on in Washington
MARRIAGE. We’ve argued that the left must resort to emotional rhetoric and feelings to make their point when reason, fact, history, and in the case of marriage, social science and biology are not on their side. And last night on CNN, Piers Morgan and Suze Orman played right into our hands. Heritage’s Ryan T. Anderson spoke eloquently in favor of traditional marriage, and he was met with a barrage of insults and personal attacks. Heritage’s Rob Bluey described the scene:
After peppering Anderson with several hostile questions on marriage — all of which he answered with composure — Morgan turned to his guest Orman to deliver an emotionally charged tirade in which she called Anderson “uneducated.”
“What are you really feeling right now?” Morgan asked Orman. “Because this is the debate laid bare. This is a guy sitting a few feet away from you who says, ‘Nope, I don’t want people like you to have the same right to get married as people like him.’”
Had he had the chance to respond, Anderson would have likely returned to a point he’s made throughout the marriage debate: “Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. Marriage is based on the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and on the social reality that children need a mother and a father.”
SEQUESTER. It’s clear that the Obama administration and the left have been using the sequester as a political football and that they want to make the cuts as painful as possible. The Federal Aviation Administration cuts are prime example of this, because busy airports are a place where many folks could potentially feel the sting of longer lines. But what do airlines have to say? Does it have to be this painful? The answer appears to be a resounding ‘no.’
Major airlines, as well as the industry’s leading trade organization, Airlines for America, have drafted legal memos arguing that the FAA can and should exercise greater flexibility in implementing sequestration cuts.
The memos acknowledge that the sequester does impose some rigidity on how spending reductions happen, but also maintain that the FAA has sufficient flexibility to minimize disruptions to essential operations, which the White House budget office has encouraged all federal agencies to prioritize.
Some argue that the FAA’s decision to announce employee furloughs less than a week after President Obama signed the budgetary order departs from the spirit of the 1985 Gramm-Rudman Act on which the sequestration measure was based. That legislation was accompanied by a conference report urging federal program managers to “employ all other options available to them in order to achieve savings required under a sequestration order and resort to personnel furloughs only if other methods prove insufficient.”
SPENDING. Taxpayers, the government has an opportunity to save us up to $8 billion by simply selling 55 thousand to 77 thousand vacant properties it owns or leases, but there are some obstructions:
One of the largest hurdles to expediting the sale of vacant federal buildings is a 1987 law that forces properties first to be offered to other federal agencies, then state agencies, and finally offered for use as homeless shelters before they can be sold.
“We spend about 8 billion dollars a year maintaining properties that we have no use for,” said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). “Now that 8 billion dollars is just thrown down the drain because we can’t get past the homeless lobby to get a common-sense way to take care of their problems and also us to unload properties.”
OBAMACARE. The evidence continues to stack up against Obamacare and shows that the Affordable Care Act is proving not to be so affordable after all:
President Barack Obama’s top healthcare adviser acknowledged on Tuesday that costs could rise in the individual health insurance market, particularly for men and younger people, because of the landmark 2010 healthcare restructuring due to take effect next year.
GUNS. Washington continues to debate gun control ideas:
Obama may still get a bill, but not like the one he and his allies envisioned in December. There won’t be new bans on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines. Universal background checks have moved from an assumed yes to a wish list item for gun control advocates. Even a new gun trafficking law — the smallest and weakest of the issues — is not a sure thing to pass the Senate.