Robert GatesSecretary of Defense Robert Gates is scheduled to brief members of Congress on Thursday, January 6, on his drive to find $100 billion in savings in the defense budget over the next five years. But the White House and the Pentagon are at odds over how much needs to be cut and where to direct the money saved, according to a report from Reuters news service.

Roger WickerIn an effort to reaffirm the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states those powers  not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi introduced the Wicker Bill during the 2010 congressional lame-duck session. Dubbed "The Restoring the 10th Amendment Act," the Wicker bill is described by its author as “a step toward restoring states' rights.”

Now that the 112th Congress has been sworn in and subjected to the reading of the Constitution and its 27 amendments, the direction of that Congress is beginning to take shape. In response to pressure from Americanists, Tea Partiers, Constitutionalists, and other limited-government supporters, Congress� first effort at legislation will be to vote tomorrow to cut its own budget by 5 percent. That would result in savings of a minuscule $35 million, but loyalists are taking heart that the �first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest� and that much bigger targets and greater success lie ahead.  

A member of the New York City Council is calling upon her colleagues to support absolving a convicted terrorist. Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, a Democrat, circulated a petition last week calling upon her colleagues to support granting parole to Oscar Lopez-Rivera, a leader of the violent paramilitary group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación National (FALN), which calls for armed conflict in advocating for Puerto Rican independence, as an ideological heir to the Puerto Rican “Nacionalistas,” who used violence in their attempts to establish Puerto Rican independence. To date, Viverito claims that “six or seven” other councilpersons have signed on to the petition.

The national debt of the United States reached a new milestone this week when it surmounted $14 trillion. You read that right: $14,000,000,000,000. That’s $45,093 per American citizen. But remember that not all citizens pay taxes, which makes the figure even worse for those who do. The share per taxpayer is $126,642.