In the middle of reading a story about a possible breakup between two conservative factions in the House, I found what should be a very, very fascinating tidbit to folks in these parts. According to Phillip Wegmann at the Daily Signal:
“I’ve heard of no mass exodus (from the Republican Study Committee),” a GOP aide said, “just a few members here and there who don’t feel they use the resources [RSC] provides often enough to justify paying the dues.”
The right candidate for RSC chairman could change that dynamic though, the aide speculated. “I’d imagine a Chairman Andy Harris would make (House Freedom Caucus) folks more likely to stick around.”
Harris, a Maryland Republican, is a potential candidate for RSC chairman, according to multiple Capitol Hill sources. He has remained tight-lipped about his plans, however. Harris’ office did not respond to multiple requests by email and phone from The Daily Signal.
The race for RSC chairman will officially be decided after the November election, but members have been talking about it at least since July when Flores announced this year’s process. When lawmakers return in September, interested candidates will meet with the study committee’s founders. Because the House is in recess all of October and most of November, that only leaves next month for campaigning.
No congressmen have declared their candidacy officially, but a senior GOP aide told The Daily Signal that both Harris and Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., are building support inside the caucus for a bid. (Emphasis mine.)
I realize we are going by the word of an unnamed “GOP aide” – for all we know, he or she may work for Andy – but assuming this is true, it is an intriguing prospect for Andy’s national profile. Because he is far more conservative than most Maryland voters are perceived to be (and certainly Democrats are happy to help that perception along) it’s quite likely that a statewide position isn’t in the cards for Andy. However, he does represent a conservative district that is quite pleased with his record based on the fact he’s received over 75% of the primary vote each time since his 2010 election against challengers who ranged from neophyte to crackpot to serious enough to have some name recognition in portions of the district.
While the RSC has maintained a reputation as the conservative hangout for the House, the fact that membership includes the vast majority of the Republican caucus seems to give a perception that the RSC is now the “establishment.” At the beginning of the current iteration of Congress, the more conservative members decided they needed their own group because they felt the large size of the RSC was watering down its conservative message – hence, the House Freedom Caucus was born. While Harris wasn’t a founding member of that group, he is one of 42 members of the Freedom Caucus as well as an RSC participant.
As leadership will likely be rearranged in the wake of November’s election, Andy Harris may be presented with a number of opportunities. Given that the state’s blatant gerrymandering has placed Harris in an exceptionally safe seat, he has used the opportunity to try and build up the GOP farm team in his district – but now could be a spokesperson on a larger stage. (However, I am holding him to something he promised when first elected – six terms and out.) Love him or hate him, we will see if the back half of Harris’s Congressional service becomes a springboard to a leading role in the national conservative movement.
It’s been a topic of discussion on this website for about a year, but those who believe the Export-Import Bank of the United States is simply a hotbed for crony capitalism and a classic example of government picking winners and losers restored a supporter in Andy Harris.
From our friends at Heritage Action:
Over the past month, momentum has grown for allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire. It is now clear the bank will not be reauthorized by June 30th. Additionally, conservatives leaders and caucuses will fight any efforts to revive the bank, which is a slush fund for the government to pick favorites and give taxpayer dollars to a handful of well-connected special interests. Last month, the 170-member Republican Study Committee joined the 40-member House Freedom Caucus in official opposition to the bank. They are joined by the House Majority Leader, Majority Whip and eight prominent chairmen. What’s more, Senator Mike Lee made clear conservatives will (use the) procedural tools available to ensure a reauthorization effort is not on autopilot and will entail a lot of floor time.
But that’s not to say that Ex-Im is dead by any means. Giving it new life could be one of those items attached to a “must-pass” bill, as Kathleen Miller at Bloomberg notes:
In the House, Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he won’t let the bank’s reauthorization be attached to a measure that would speed consideration of trade agreements.
“Ex-Im Bank will not be included in any of these trade deals,” Ryan, who opposes the bank, said last week. “We are not doing that.”
That leaves supporters searching for must-pass legislation to carry the reauthorization, something that Ex-Im opponents would be reluctant to vote against even if it means extending the bank’s charter.
Or the reauthorization may be used as a wedge issue by factions in either party to extract concessions. Like any government program, Ex-Im has had its demise predicted before only to survive unscathed, like a cockroach after nuclear holocaust.
I’ll believe it’s dead when I see its lifeless corpse.
By the way, I reached out to Harris’s primary opponent, former Delegate Mike Smigiel, but he did not reply to my inquiry.
In a few days, after it’s all over and soft-headed Republicans who forget that sequestration was Barack Obama’s idea in the first place cave once again to the ginned-up outrage created by the subterfuge of groups like Organizing Against America For Action, everything will go back to the way it was on the road to serfdom.
Don’t believe OFA isn’t heaping blame on Republicans? Check out the excerpts from these e-mails I’ve received over the last few days. The first is from OFA’s Jim Messina, who should know better but obviously remains either delusional or worried his story won’t stick:
If congressional Republicans don’t act by tomorrow, we’re going to be hit by a series of devastating, automatic budget cuts called the sequester.
It’s a sledgehammer to the budget, our economy, and millions of Americans across the country — and the most frustrating part? It doesn’t have to happen.
The majority of Americans support President Obama’s balanced approach to deficit reduction — add your name if you do, too.
So far, congressional Republicans are refusing to compromise — all because they don’t want to close tax loopholes for millionaires, billionaires, vacation homes, and corporate jets. Seriously.
This has very real consequences.
On the chopping block are 10,000 teaching jobs, more than 70,000 kids’ spots in Head Start, $35 million for local fire departments, $43 million to make sure seniors don’t go hungry, and access to nutrition assistance for 600,000 women and their families. That’s just a few of the things we’ll lose.
The second came from OFA’s Jon Carson yesterday:
Today, because congressional Republicans refused to act, devastating budget cuts known as the sequester are going into effect.
They’re self-inflicted wounds, and they didn’t have to happen.
Congress can stop all of this right away — and pursue a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
That’s what the vast majority of Americans want, and yesterday, more than 100,000 Americans called on Congress to be reasonable about the budget.
Finally, from Stephanie Cutter. Note the similarities in phrasing and dire predictions of gloom ahead:
Prepare yourself for job layoffs, reduced access to early education, slower emergency response, slashed health care, and more people living on the street.
This Friday is the final deadline for congressional Republicans to stop disastrous automatic spending cuts (known as the “sequester”) that will hurt everyday Americans — including you.
These budget cuts will take a sledgehammer to the budget, and indiscriminately cut critical programs vital to economic growth and middle class families.
If Congress fails to act, we’d see budget cuts pretty much across the board to critical services that teachers, first responders, seniors, children, and our men and women in uniform rely on every day.
It sounds bad because it is. And with all these cuts on the line, why are congressional Republicans refusing to budge?
Because to do so, they’d have to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners. I’m not kidding.
It’s on each of us to speak up. Share what these budget cuts could mean to you — or someone you know — today. Congress needs to hear it.
President Obama has offered a balanced plan to reduce our deficit, asking the wealthy to pay their fair share so that we can protect programs that are incredibly important for working and middle-class Americans.
But congressional Republicans so far are refusing to compromise.
Here are some of the consequences if Congress fails to act by Friday:
— 10,000 teachers would be laid off, $400 million would be cut from Head Start, the program that makes sure at-risk preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and 70,000 kids would be kicked out of the early-education program completely.
— The budget for firemen and other first responders to react when natural disasters strike would be cut by $35 million.
— Nutrition programs that help make sure seniors don’t go hungry would be cut by $43 million.
— A program that helps provide housing for the formerly homeless, including many veterans, would be shuttered, putting them at risk of going back on the street.
— A number of programs that help the most vulnerable families and children would be slashed — including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children dropping 600,000 women alone.
Right now, each of us has a responsibility to step up and make sure Congress hears our voices.
Whether you’d be directly affected by these sequester cuts, or whether they’d affect a senior, veteran, or teacher you know, please share what they mean to you:
Let’s keep the pressure on congressional Republicans to do the right thing.
What they don’t tell you is that Republicans DID “the right thing”, but their cuts weren’t to Barack Obama’s liking because they insisted on no tax increases this time. (Remember, the last “fiscal cliff” deal at the end of last year increased taxes on the so-called “wealthy” back to the nearly 40 percent rate they paid under the Clinton Administration, piling on over $600 billion in revenue Washington will spend, spend, spend.)
As Stephen Dinan wrote in the Washington Times, this wheel was set in motion two years ago:
The sequesters were set into motion by the 2011 debt deal, and were meant to be too painful for anyone to accept. They were part of a package that gave Mr. Obama the power to raise the government’s debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion, in exchange for spending caps and the deeper sequester spending cuts.
That debt increase has been used up, but Congress and Mr. Obama are still fighting over whether to follow through on the spending cuts.
Mr. Obama said he was unwilling to shoulder responsibility for the cuts and threatened to veto the Republican plan, saying he would accept a bill only with tax increases included. The Republican plan fell 22 votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead. (Emphasis mine.)
So the unwillingness to compromise is exclusively from the White House, because Obama seems to believe that if he can make the cuts as painful as possible he’ll shame Republicans into accepting yet more tax increases (which he seems to have direction his minions to dub as “tax loopholes.”) The Republican Study Committee puts this into perspective:
The sequester was the brainchild of the Obama administration in the first place, and the House passed targeted spending cuts to replace the across-the-board sequester nearly 300 days ago. Washington clearly has a spending problem, and we need real spending cuts in order to get our country back on track.
Remember, this is all over $85 billion which, thanks to typical Washington accounting, isn’t really $85 billion in actual spending but mainly projected spending. In terms of a $3.7 trillion budget we’re almost talking about a rounding error – to me, real cuts would be more in the neighborhood of $370 billion in actual dollars not spent (or borrowed).
“The fact is, when we accepted the president’s sequester 18 months ago, we made a deal, a dollar for cuts for a dollar of debt limit increase,” (Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas) said during a press conference with House Republican leaders. “If he wants to do the bait-and-switch now, we will have lied to our constituents by replacing those with tax increases.”
“This leads you to the truth, and the truth is the president needs to come back from his campaign style tour, stop scaring people, and work with us to address the issue of the debt and deficits, get the economy moving and people back to work,” Jenkins said.
So, President Obama, you can keep trying to blame Republicans or you can get in there and address the problem by working on the cuts YOU agreed to. You can fool enough of the people to get elected twice, but you’re not fooling me.
So far I’ve survived sequestration just fine, and I plan to continue doing so.
More dollops of blogworthy goodness, neatly bundled up in short, paragraph-or-three packages. I put them together and you raptly absorb them. It seems to be a good formula.
If you believe it’s time to ditch Dutch, you may want to know your contributions are paying for this. Here’s 30 seconds from State Senator and GOP hopeful Nancy Jacobs:
Now this is a good message, but oh! the cheesy video effects. It sort of reminds me of the Eric Wargotz “Political Insidersaurus” commercial, which had a message muddled by production. Sometimes people try too hard to be funny, but that shot of Dutch peeking around the Capitol dome might have the same effect clowns do on certain people who find them creepy.
A longer form of communication comes from a filmmaker who somehow got in touch with me to promote his upcoming documentary. It may not be “2016: Obama’s America” but Agustin Blazquez is an expert on communism, having left Castro’s Cuba as a young man nearly 50 years ago.
Perhaps it’s hard to read, but the gist of the film is that it exposes “Obama and his supporting network of organizations that helped him win the Presidency…and the connections with George Soros and the Communist Party U.S.A.”
I’m not going to speak to the merits of the film because I haven’t seen it. But this is a good opportunity to relate something I’ve encountered in my personal experience – the ones who seem to be most concerned about America’s slide leftward are those who have experienced Communist oppression firsthand, risking life and limb in many cases to escape to America. And they have no desire to go back.
One more video in that vein is the most recent web ad from First District Libertarian candidate Muir Boda.
One may debate whether we have a purpose for being in Afghanistan and Iraq, although in both cases we are in the slow process of withdrawing. But Boda goes farther and talks about rescinding foreign aid entirely, and that changes the terms of the debate dramatically. We can also include the idea of withdrawing from the United Nations in there.
It’s unfortunate that Andy Harris has chosen to skip the debates this time around because, in the wake of the Chris Stevens murder in Benghazi (“Obama lied, Chris Stevens died”: new foreign policy slogan) the time has come for a robust debate about how we treat both foreign relations and our dealings with Islamic extremists such as the ones who attacked our compound there.
Meanwhile, we also have to worry about our own border security in the wake of the killing of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie last week. The Center for Immigration Studies rushed out their assessment of the situation, which bolsters an argument that we need to mind our own borders. They add:
Nicholas Ivie’s name is now added to the large and growing list of individuals killed on both sides of the border as a result of failed and corrupt policies.
We need border security, but perhaps it’s time to be more libertarian and consider the impact of our War on Drugs. I can’t promise it would eliminate the Mexican cartels, and honestly their battles with a corrupt Mexican government may end up as a civil war on our doorstep. But one also has to consider what the crackdown does to American youth as well.
You’ll note I panned Andy Harris for his apparent refusal to debate a couple paragraphs ago. That works for both sides, and especially so in the wake of Barack Obama’s recent debacle.
Fifth District Congressman Steny Hoyer claims people know where he stands, but he’s obviously afraid to defend his views onstage and challenger Tony O’Donnell takes exception to that:
Regardless of where we stand on the issues, this election is not about where we both have been, it is about where we are going. The citizens of our district reserve the right to witness the passion I encompass when I know our rights are in jeopardy. Representative Steny Hoyer has lost this spark and is merely a smoldering ember underneath the smokescreen of his 45 years as an elected official in Maryland. It’s time to blow the smoke away and ignite a new fire.
My campaign has invited Representative Hoyer to debate in front of the citizens in each county and once on television. In addition, The Chris Plante Show attempted to arrange an on-air debate. Also, citizens throughout the District have called for a debate. Yet Representative Hoyer rebuffed all requests.
That’s because Hoyer knows he has some built-in advantages: the power of incumbency along with the franking privilege, a willing and compliant press, and lots of money in the bank to create 30 second commercials. In a debate he can’t control the narrative, and that’s a position of a politician who knows he’s not as popular as he may let on.
I would expect that attitude of arrogance mixed with fear from Steny Hoyer, who’s long past his sell-by date, but I hoped Andy Harris would be better than that.
In Hoyer’s case, this ad from Americans from Prosperity should be beamed into his office. It’s simple but powerful in its message.
Time to try something different indeed. I received a number of reactions to the latest unemployment report, including ones from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Lt. Col. (and Congressman) Allen West which flat-out accused the Obama administration of making it up. That’s okay, the Democrats lie on Medicare too.
Even Andy Harris responded, noting that:
I agree with what Vice President Joe Biden recently said when he stated that the middle class was “buried” over the past four years.
That is why the House voted to stop President Obama’s tax hike proposal on small business owners and the middle class, which would destroy over 700,000 jobs. We need the President and the Senate to work with House Republicans instead of continuing to promote job-destroying policies that the American people can no longer afford.
Even before the unemployment figures came out, though, the Republican Study Committee hammered President Obama and the Democrats for incomes which had fallen faster during this so-called recovery than during the preceding recession, particularly at a time where gasoline prices are skyrocketing.
The jobless recovery even extends to Wicomico County. As local researcher Johnnie Miller writes in an e-mail I obtained:
Wicomico has 132 fewer workers this year as compared to the same period last year – (08/12 vs. 08/11). Even though the unemployment rate has declined in Wicomico from 8.8% to 8.2% – the real indicator points to the fact that those receiving unemployment checks have now exhausted their benefits and still not found jobs.
More alarmingly, somehow the county lost 1,613 workers from their labor force between July and August. 190 of them simply disappeared off the unemployment rolls as well, allowing the county’s unemployment rate to drop to 8.2%.
If this is recovery, I’d hate to see a depression. I could only imagine what the county’s U-6 unemployment rate would be.
I suppose there’s the possibility that these employment rolls may have been kept up like voter rolls are – perhaps they forgot to remove a few deceased workers. After all, the deceased really can vote in Maryland, according to the watchdog group Election Integrity Maryland:
While just scratching the surface of voter roll research, having looked at 35,000 voter registration records so far in Maryland, EIM has discovered 1,566 names of deceased still on the voter rolls. Of these names, apparently two voted and three registered to vote after their deaths.
Talk about a serious case of rigor mortis. But there are about 3.5 million registered voters in Maryland so if you extrapolate the numbers in a statewide race that’s 200 voters who would have been discovered, not the mention the potential for 156,600 zombie voters. It’s long past time to cull the voter rolls AND enact photo voter ID.
But let’s go back to the economy for a little bit, since those dead voters seem to be among those supporting a Governor who seems to be killing Maryland’s prospects for economic recovery in the next decade.
After Governor O’Malley appeared on CNBC yesterday, his nemesis Change Maryland immediately found significant fault with his remarks. Larry Hogan, Chairman of the group, delivered the real story:
We are very familiar with Martin O’Malley putting out falsehoods about his own record when it comes to Maryland’s economic performance. Maryland is a laggard in economic performance in our region, so he compares us to states like Michigan and Nevada. The difference in those hard-hit states is that there top elected officials are dealing with structural problems in their economies while our Governor enjoys seeing himself on TV and making partisan attacks.
Martin O’Malley does seem to suck up a lot of airtime these days. I’ll bet a debate with him and Larry Hogan would be fun to watch in much the same manner some watch NASCAR rooting for the 14-car pileups. We all know the engineer of that train wreck would be Martin O’Malley, so the trick would be seeing if Larry Hogan could keep a straight face during all that. I’m sure I couldn’t.
What I can do, though, is leave you on that note as my e-mailbox is in much better shape. I do have some Question 7 and SB236/PlanMaryland/Agenda 21 items to discuss, but those merit their own posts. Three score odds and ends are in the books.
Let me just say up top that this occasional look at items which can be covered in a paragraph or three will also serve to clean up some of the loose ends remaining after our Spring Convention over the weekend.
In my first installment on the proceedings, I mentioned that the group Change Maryland has 12,000 members – although their cake maker wanted to grow them tenfold. But something I didn’t realize is that the number of those liking the group on Facebook is larger than those who like the state Democratic and Republican parties combined, and also more than those who like Anthony Brown, Peter Franchot, or Doug Gansler. Coincidentally, these are three of the top contenders for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
And Larry Hogan told me the group appeals to a broad cross-section of voters, drawing interest from Democrats and unaffiliated voters as well as Republicans. I was hoping to get a more formalized sit-down with him before the Executive Committee meeting, but we will have to do it another time.
It took us many decades to dig ourselves into this hole, but at least there are some Republicans out there looking to build the ladder to climb our way out. (Obviously they have already adopted the common sense to know we can’t dig our way out of a hole, as President Obama seems to think.)
The Republican Study Committee came up with a budget that’s supposedly going to balance by 2017. Now I know this brings back memories of President Clinton telling us that the budget would be balanced in four, five, six, seven, or ten years (take your pick; he pretty much promised all of them) and of course, the Congress we have in five years could be completely different than the one we have now. So there’s no safe prediction in Washington, just as it was a surprise that Clinton adopted budgets which were at least nominally balanced thanks to Newt Gingrich and House Republicans.
And while readers can partake in several analyses of the RSC budget (like these by the Heritage Foundation and Veronique de Rugy) I want to focus on the actions of our local Congressman, Andy Harris.
This morning most of my usual rundown of items that, as always, don’t merit a full post but perhaps 1-3 paragraphs, concern the goings-on here in the great state of Maryland. (Note: additional update at bottom.)
And gas prices aren’t just a state issue. The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative Congressional Republicans, raises a valid argument:
Oil production on private and state-owned land – land beyond the federal government’s grip – grew 14% last year. At the exact same time, production on federal land fell 11%. Gas prices have nearly doubled since Obama’s inauguration, and energy analysts predict that more Americans than ever before will pay $5.00 per gallon this year.
The President’s response to soaring gas prices is to shrug his shoulders and say, “There’s not much we can do.” And his Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has actually called for raising gas prices to European levels. Italians currently pay about $9.00 per gallon!
This isn’t the energy policy Americans deserve. Aggressively increasing our energy production will help lower gas prices and create more jobs. To do it, we must unlock more areas for exploration, cut through the red tape that slows production, and green light common sense projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
The smart and responsible path to American energy security is clear, and the Republican Study Committee’s Jobs Through Growth Act shows the way. We quite literally cannot afford to wait. (Emphasis mine.)
Read that first sentence again – oil exploration on private land grew, but public lands waned. And the Democrats’ response? They want to once again raid the Strategic Petroleum Reserve rather than admitting their culpability in holding up production for a decade or more – oil which could have already been on the market.
I’m a strong believer in the concept of “highest and best use” when it comes to land, although I adapt it somewhat to consider the resource value. Furthermore, I feel that recreational usage, preservation, and energy extraction need not be mutually exclusive over large tracts of land. It wouldn’t be any worse to see an oil well or fracking operation than to have a wind turbine hovering hundreds of feet in the air, either offshore or land-based, or a field full of solar panels.
As an example of how energy is becoming a national campaign issue, even in local races, I can direct you to Second District Congressional candidate Larry Smith, who both put forth his energy plan and challenged opponent Dutch Ruppersberger to” support the Keystone XL pipeline” and “stand up to President Obama and the special interest groups in Washington. It is time for him to fight for the people of his district and begin taking constructive measures to help end the pain at the pump.”
It’s good that Smith is another Maryland Republican who is taking the fight to the Democrat rather than his primary opponents. We can leave that for the other side, even when they’re correct in pointing it out.
Another race where this is occurring is the U.S. Senate race, where both the leading contenders are hammering the opponent. Dan Bongino recently called Ben Cardin the “milquetoast senator.” Bongino continued, “I like to say that Maryland is missing two senators because they just vote the party line. No reason for Maryland to get any national interest because there is no diversity of political thought.”
Richard Douglas called Maryland “desperate for leaders” and blasted the state’s junior Senator for being out of touch:
For most Americans, longevity brings wisdom. In Congress, longevity brings isolation. Isolation from the people invites tyranny. Such isolation is visible in Baghdad’s fortified ‘Green Zone,’ whose original architect was Saddam Hussein, not the American soldier. America must not tolerate creation of a Green Zone around Congress by politicians-for-life. A Senate leader who is truly concerned about the interests of his state and nation knows this. Like General Washington, he understands the critical value to the nation of a Farewell Address. He leaves on a warhorse, not a gurney.
Ben Cardin has held elected office since 1967. His time is up.
Indeed, it is time for a change, and these two gentlemen lead a group which would do a far better job representing the true interests of Marylanders.
And Free Staters could be well served without the need for tax increases, simply by adopting a more austere budget than the one proposed by Governor O’Malley. But it certainly wouldn’t be bare-bones, says Delegate Justin Ready.
Negotiations are taking place to avoid what liberal interest groups are calling a doomsday budget – one that would reduce approximately $500 million from Governor O’Malley’s proposed $36 Billion budget. A reduction of 1.4% out of the largest projected budget in Maryland history does not sound like doomsday to me, it sounds like a very good idea to get our state’s finances back on track.
It’s important to note that a cut of $500-$700 million out of Gov. O’Malley’s proposed FY2013 budget would still leave Maryland’s state government spending more than in last year’s budget. That’s not an unreasonable request to make of our government in a time when families have seen their budgets reduced dramatically.
So we would STILL spend more, but that’s not good enough for Annapolis liberals. They seem to want the whole enchilada, middle class (and everyone else not on the government teat) be damned.
But before I get to my new links, I wanted to add a quick news update: Mitt Romney won the Washington caucuses, although in truth it doesn’t mean much because the hard work of picking delegates to the national convention comes later on. Of course, I’m waiting for the Ron Paul cult to tell me that he’ll end up with all the delegates despite the fact he finished a distant second.
But there’s a simple truth at play: even if Paul got EVERY delegate from EVERY caucus, he would still be far short of the number needed for nomination. And getting 10 percent of the primary vote in a particular state isn’t going to get it.
I have one new link to share. She’s a California-based conservative who is most famous for the message below.
She’s also spoken about the Sandra Fluke imbroglio in this classic, no-holds-barred style. Her name is Kira Davis, and her website is quite interesting, so check it out.
And to close, another sad note of passing. Fellow Maryland blogger T.J. Grogg (The Grogg Report) passed away last week. She was 68.
Update: I had to add this in because Robert Stacy McCain just destroys Sandra Fluke and her $3,000 for birth control argument.
The Republican Study Committee (of which our Congressman, Andy Harris, is a member) has a new website:
Government red tape costs small businesses on average $10,585 for every single employee. Complying with our incredibly complex federal tax code? That cost Americans $160 billion in 2009, according to one estimate. And every penny increase in gas prices costs consumers – many of them small businesses – a total of $4 million per day. This is money that can’t be used to build a business, hire new workers, or develop new products.
House Republicans are working on all three of these problems. To tackle onerous regulations, we built AmericanJobCreators.com, a website where small business owners can tell Congress about the red tape that stands in the way of job creation. On taxes, our 2012 budget proposed to simplify the tax code and reduce tax rates without sacrificing revenue. A simplified tax structure will strengthen the private sector’s ability to create jobs and put our economy on more stable ground. And last week RSC members introduced the Consumer Relief for Pain at the Pump Act, a broad plan to increase our supply of North American energy, reduce regulatory burdens, and repeal government policies that artificially inflate the price of gasoline.
The government can take away wealth and prosperity, but it can’t create them. Only the private sector can do that.
Now you know they’re correct in a philosophical sense, and the Congressional remedy for high gasoline prices they prescribe is, on balance, a good piece of legislation. (Many things with the term ‘repeal’ in them are things I tend to favor.)
I suppose the only thing I take issue with is the idea that that reducing tax rates “sacrifices” revenue, considering the government should be paid for by the pleasure of the people, not the other way around. I think the government could run just fine on half of what it takes in, largely by phasing out entitlement programs. (I didn’t say mine was a quick fix.) I think people should plan their lives as if they would retire strictly through their own devices and plan accordingly for those ailments sure to crop up as they age. Obviously those who are above a certain age would need to have the system stay pretty close to status quo, but for those around my age or younger, well, I think we can suck it up a bit.
But the RSC addresses this in part as well. In a letter to House leadership they write:
Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. Leader,
The fast-approaching debt ceiling vote gives us an opportunity to make a bold statement to the American people about what direction we want our country to go. Further, given the condition of the country’s finances, it is imperative to the future of the country that we fight for an immediate shift toward fiscal responsibility. Consider these staggering facts:
The debt held by the public has more than doubled in the past 5 years.
The interest paid on the debt is currently projected to more than triple over the next 10 years and may alone consume all of our tax revenues by the middle of this century.
Several weeks ago, PIMCO, a management company handling $1.2 trillion in assets, dumped all of its U.S. government debt holdings; its cofounder William Gross saying that regardless of borrowing authority, unless spending is curtailed, the government will in essence default on its debt by ‘picking the pocket of savers.’
In April, for the first time since 1941, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) revised its outlook on the United States credit rating from stable to negative, citing the fear that Congress will fail to address the nation’s medium- and long-term budgetary challenges.
As China considers ceasing its purchase of U.S. debt securities, the International Monetary Fund has forecasted that the size of China’s economy will surpass that of the United States in 2016, effectively ending the ‘Age of America.’
Put in the context of the above facts, we believe the willingness of our conference to pursue bold solutions to Washington’s spending problems can breathe new life into the ‘Age of America’.
We must state unequivocally that we will not vote for a ‘clean’ debt ceiling increase. We share your belief, as articulated in your speech in New York on May 9th, Mr. Speaker, that if we do not reverse the out-of-control spending that has led us here, it would be grossly irresponsible for us to extend the limit on the national credit card.
We look forward to working together with you and our entire Republican team on developing bold solutions for reducing spending and reforming the way Washington budgets and spends taxpayer dollars. Following are some solutions that we know will achieve this goal.
Americans deserve immediate spending cuts that demonstrate that we are charting a swift path toward a balanced budget. We must implement discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year.
To ensure that spending cuts continue, we need statutory, enforceable total-spending caps to reduce federal spending to 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with automatic spending reductions if the caps are breached. Reps. Mack, Kingston, Flake, and Graves, for example, are developing spending-cap legislation to this effect.
To fundamentally and permanently reform the way that Washington budgets and spends, we must send to the states a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) with strong protections against federal tax increases and including a Spending Limitation Amendment (SLA) like the statutory spending caps described above. Rep. Joe Walsh has introduced a BBA with a spending limit provision (H.J.Res. 56) that has already earned the support of 47 Republican senators.
We believe it is prudent to limit the extension of borrowing authority as much as possible, in order to demand accountability from Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration.
With each passing day our nation’s fiscal health gets worse, leaving our children and grandchildren falling farther into debt. The Democrats have given up, saying that the only answer to excessive borrowing is more borrowing. Therefore, it is imperative that we move quickly and unite behind a plan to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington and renew the Age of America.
Since I was born an American and happen to believe, based on the simple historical fact that we’ve created perhaps the most prosperous society imaginable through our systems of economics and government, I really don’t want to watch the Democrats screw it up anymore.
When he was running in 2008, I asked Andy if he would be part of the Republican Study Group and he said yes. Given these solutions to the big government which ails us, can you see why I’d ask?
Here’s what Harris had to say on the House floor the other day:
Her remark on Facebook was short, sweet, and to the point:
It is with confidence in Jeb Hensarling’s leadership that I bring my candidacy for Republican Conference Chair to a close and proudly support him.
So Michele Bachmann won’t create the tempest in the teapot some feared in her bid for a leadership post, but those who followed her rise in prominence with the advent of the TEA Party may be disappointed. However, Jeb Hensarling of Texas (who will become Conference Chair) had a 100 ACU rating in 2009 and was formerly Chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the primary outlet for conservative Republicans in Congress. So it’s not like the position is going to a squishy moderate.
[By the way, when I spoke to Andy Harris about the subject two years ago he indicated he would be part of the Republican Study Committee if elected so I presume he’ll become a member of that august body come January. Conversely, Wayne Gilchrest (and Bob Ehrlich when he was in office) were both members of the Republican Main Street Partnership – their membership roll reflects the moderate wing of the party.]
Most of the remaining drama for the House now shifts to the Energy and Commerce Committee, where Fred Upton of Michigan is in line to become Chairman. Unfortunately, this member of the RMSP draws a lot of concern about his record on energy-related issues (see pages 10-13 here, although the rest is troubling too) so his effort has drawn opposition. In this case Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking member, is term-limited (by agreement) but would be a better choice. He introduced legislation to kill the very regulations Upton championed.
Meanwhile, Bachmann still has a pretty good consolation prize: she still heads the 52-member strong House TEA Party Caucus. Its membership roster is sure to grow given the election results; hopefully Andy Harris will join that group too.
The last episode before the historic midterm and state elections may be a little on the long side. I have four videos from earlier today to feature first, with Andy Harris, Bob Ehrlich, and two doses of Michael Steele speaking before a crowded Salisbury GOP Victory Center earlier today.
Another short video which is important to our election on a more local scale comes from State’s Attorney hopeful Matt Maciarello.
All in all, Barb Mikulski’s another brick in the wall.
Perhaps a good way to look at the future is remembering the past, like this video from the Republican Study Committee does. This man is a good one to study.
We can roll back the damage done.
I told you I might reuse this one.
That WILL be Tuesday. We can truly drain the swamp of all the scum that’s accumulated over the last couple election cycles.
And when you go to vote, don’t forget what Ava says.
You just HAD to know I would call it a wrap with her – there is no other way but to close a long and bitterly fought election season but with that song.