Secretary 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.
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.
Although President Barack Obama correctly understood that his party had taken a "shellacking" in the November elections, he seems not to have drawn the obvious lesson from that defeat: Americans are unhappy with his policies. Even now, reports the Washington Examiner, he "is expected to make more frequent use of executive orders, vetoes, signing statements and policy initiatives that originate within the federal agencies to maneuver around congressional Republicans who are threatening to derail initiatives he has already put in place, including health care reforms, and to launch serial investigations into his administration's spending."