Morning Action: Liberal Senator Wants Obama to Back Her Assault Weapons Ban
GUNS. Wrap your mind around this one, because I certainly can’t. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) believes her proposed “assault weapons” ban, which the Senate Judiciary Committee just passed , will have more appeal with Republicans and moderate Democrats if she can get President Barack Obama to back her up. Here’s the skinny:
Obama made an assault weapons ban part of the gun curbs he proposed in January, a month after a shooter with an assault rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at a school in Newtown, Conn. Feinstein and others have argued that such firearms are used in a disproportionate number of mass shootings and shouldn’t be available to civilians.
The prohibition has emerged as one of the most controversial of the gun restrictions being considered in Congress. Foes of barring the weapons say law-abiding citizens should not lose their Second Amendment right to own the weapons, which they say are popular for self-defense, hunting and collecting.
The measure’s passage by the Judiciary panel has been a foregone conclusion for some time. It will be far more vulnerable in the full Senate, where Democrats are expected to need 60 votes for passage through the 100-member chamber. That is where the NRA and other pro-gun groups are working hard for the ban’s defeat.
Though Sen. Feinstein may believe that President Obama’s backing will give her more political clout with her colleagues, she would do better to find a reasonable and compelling rebuttal to the following evidence about guns, which Heritage has stated:
Gun control laws do not correlate with decreased violence. If gun control were a panacea, then Washington, D.C., Oakland, and Chicago, which have very strict gun control laws, would be among the safest places to live rather than among the most dangerous.
Until then, her fellow lawmakers are obliged to weigh the real damage done to or encroachments upon Americans’ Second Amendment rights against tenuously grounded claims that assault weapons bans would reduce violence or save lives.
TAXES. Discussions between the President and members of Congress have lead to a simple conclusion: the budgets proposed by liberal Democrats and more conservative Republicans are very different. Thus, finding “common ground” will be difficult.
The hour long discussion at the Capitol, and the release of a new budget by Senate Democrats on Wednesday that adds $100 billion in new stimulus spending and would impose higher taxes on large corporations and wealthy Americans, illustrated anew just how difficult it will be to resolve the issues that have split the Congress for years and created a perpetual cycle of deadline-driven short-term fiscal policy. Given the gap in the budget approaches, the president conceded as much in an interview with ABC News that ran on Wednesday before he went to the Capitol for the second consecutive day.
Democrats, who in this dialogue are lead by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), are opposed to “austerity measures” which “rob the country of needed investment.” Perhaps they have not witnessed how “investments” by the federal government have failed to improve the economy during the Obama presidency. They also operate under the erroneous assumption that deficit reduction can only be accomplished at the expense of economic growth.
Also, Sen. Murray has had to use “vague language” on taxes to win the support of members in the Democrat caucus from an array of ideological backgrounds:
To win over a diverse group of members that includes the socialist Sanders and centrists like King and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Murray used vague language, particularly on taxes.
For example, Murray does not specify which tax breaks would be cut to supply $975 billion in new revenues from eliminating deductions, exclusions or credits.
The maneuver might have helped Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who fretted about singling out oil-and-gas tax breaks, to support the budget measure, as she says she will.
The Senate budget also does not call for — or rule out — a minimum tax on millionaires, known as the Buffett Rule. Sanders and many other liberals favor that measure, while centrist and conservative Democrats, including Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), are cool to it.
SEQUESTER. People across the political spectrum and on both sides of the aisle can see that the sequester hype was and continues to be overblown, but here’s yet another piece of evidence that the globe continues to spin after the federal government made a 2.4 percent budget cut, bringing it from 69 percent increase in spending over ten years to a 67 percent increase over that time:
Despite this new season of sequestration, a host of federal agencies continue to offer high-paying internships, often requiring applicants have little more than a mediocre GPA and a year of college under their belt
A cursory search Wednesday on the USA Jobs federal employment website showed 84 open internships and student programs posted in the last 10 days.
SKILLS. Today, the House will vote on the SKILLS Act. Heritage Action’s Drew White described the bill’s benefits:
This bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), would consolidate 35 federal job training programs into a single workforce investment fund that the states would oversee. While the legislation is technically “budget neutral,” any effort to trim back ineffective and redundant federal programs is one that should be applauded.
As the Heritage Foundation’s David Muhlhausen has pointed out, federal jobs training programs simply don’t work. Not to mention the fact that they have historically been saturated by fraud and mismanagement.