For nearly four decades Congress has ensured that federal spending rises inexorably by guaranteeing that every budget item increases automatically each year. And woe to anyone who seeks merely to reduce these automatic increases, for he shall be labeled a heartless, slash-and-burn budget cutter!
As the Obama administration prepares to present a budget to Congress that includes $487 billion in military cuts over the next 10 years, some experts are warning that the downsized defense that is planned could severely jeopardize the nation’s security posture. As reported by the Associated Press, the projected military cuts announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) January 26 would include slashing combat brigades from 45 to as low as 32, and shrinking Army ground forces by at least 80,000 soldiers and the Marines by about 20,000 over the next five years.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) missed a flight to Washington, D.C., this morning after being detained by screeners with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for refusing a full-body pat-down, his staff said. The incident happened at the Nashville, Tennessee, airport when a so-called “naked-body scanner” found some sort of anomaly around the conservative Senator’s knee.
Feeling pain at the gas pump? Congressman Dennis Kucinich thinks he has a solution: Tax “unreasonable” oil company profits. The Ohio Democrat has introduced the Gas Price Spike Act, which he claims will “reduce the price of gasoline” by confiscating part or all of an oil company’s profits that exceed an amount deemed “reasonable” by a panel of unelected bureaucrats.
All new legislation offered by members of the House of Representatives since January 3, 2011 is required to include, under House Rule XII, a reference to the constitutional authority under which the bill is presented. Most of the bills offered since then show either the members’ lack of understanding of, or blatant disregard for, the purpose of Rule XII: to tie the proposed legislation to the enumerated powers under the Constitution.
How high can America’s astronomical debt reach? The level is set to increase once more in late January as Congress, in effect, rubber stamps President Obama’s request to raise the limit on the nation’s debt beyond its current $15 trillion.
Rhode Island Representative Daniel Gordon has drafted a resolution to express his opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) “that suspended habeas corpus and civil liberties” under Section 1021. In an interview with World Net Daily, Gordon explained that that section of the act, signed into law by President Obama on New Year's Eve, "provides for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military on American soil, without charge, and without right to legal counsel and [the] right to trial."
How did your U.S. Representative and Senators vote on last summer's debt deal that raised the national debt limit while promising to reduce future spending and deficit projections? How did your Representative vote on a measure that would have repealed the federal phaseout of the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb? And how did your Senators vote on an amendment to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely in the ongoing war against terrorism without being given a trial?
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced his annual report, "2011 Wastebook,” noting, “This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government and paid for with your tax dollars this year.” He added, "Over the past 12 months, Washington politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign [sic] in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not need, like the $6.9 billion worth of examples provided in this report."
Congressmen long ago granted themselves the privilege of mailing items to constituents at taxpayers’ expense, a process called “franking.” Usually such a mailing amounts to a barely disguised plea for reelection, bragging about how much pork the congressman has brought home and listing services he offers to his constituents.
Debate over the payroll tax cut remains heated as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio, left) demanded from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a year-long tax cut. The challenge threw another wrench into the negotiations on the deal, which, if not reached by the New Year, will result in an increase in payroll taxes as the present payroll tax reduction expires.