There was a time when Barack Obama claimed to believe that raising the national debt ceiling was a “sign of leadership failure” and proof of “reckless fiscal policies” — not to mention the horrors of “shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.” Less than eight years ago, in fact, then-Senator Obama argued that “Americans deserve better.” Apparently, now that Obama is president, they no longer do.
In yet another sign of “leadership failure,” as the current White House occupant once put it, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent a letter to congressional leaders this week demanding that Congress raise the borrowing limit by late February at the latest.
President Obama is pushing the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Fifty-three senators say they oppose it, but we can be sure some of them will flip unless they receive constant, overwhelming public pressure to hold fast.
Even as top officials in the communist regime ruling over mainland China were spewing increasingly militaristic anti-American rhetoric — not to mention the Beijing-based dictatorship’s massive espionage operations against the United States — the Obama administration reportedly waived laws prohibiting Chinese-made parts on U.S. weapons systems. Experts say the apparently unprecedented move represents a major national-security risk.
In the Senate today, a test vote narrowly advanced a bill to extend long-term unemployment benefits, with Democrats refusing to compromise and Republicans accusing them of political posturing.
In a January 5 Fox News Channel interview, New York Republican Congressman Peter King claimed that Senator Rand Paul tells “absolute lies” with respect to NSA surveillance of Americans, concluding of the Kentucky Republican that “he doesn't deserve to be in the United States Senate for spreading that kind of misperception and — absolute lies — to be honest with you.”
At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 55 popular tax breaks expired, adding further uncertainty for millions of businesses and individuals across the country. The Associated Press notes that this is a pattern seen virtually every year, where Congress permits the tax breaks to lapse only to renew them later, retroactively, just in time for taxpayers to claim them by the time they file their returns. Unfortunately for the businesses and individuals impacted, this pattern makes it difficult to plan ahead, and may not be guaranteed.
Already facing “pariah” status worldwide due to onerous IRS requirements, millions of Americans living and working abroad are preparing to deal with a deluge of even bigger problems in 2014, when a byzantine new tax regime starts going into effect. Known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, the deeply controversial and incredibly complex scheme is supposedly aimed at preventing tax evasion and gathering extra funds for the federal government. In reality, it will prove to be devastating, experts say — especially for middle-class Americans overseas and the U.S. economy.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted against the NDAA, noting that it retained the indefinite detention provisions of past versions.
President Obama has pledged to sign into law the Murray-Ryan budget deal formally known as the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.” The bill would increase discretionary spending limits over levels set by the sequester law signed two years ago, fund ObamaCare, and increase taxes — baggage “fees” for airline traffic.
House Liberty Caucus Chairman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) aptly summed up the bipartisan budget deal being pushed by House Speaker John Boehner in this quip on his Facebook page: “Republicans will agree to more spending, and in exchange, Republicans will get higher taxes.”
Congress is rushing to approve the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by the end of the year.