Lobbyists will be busier than ever in the next weeks and months ahead, trying to influence both the makeup and the recommendations of the new "supercommittee" that is supposed to recommend $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next ten years. Under the terms of Budget Control Act of 2011 passed by the Congress and signed by President Obama on Tuesday, mandatory budget cuts will take effect if Congress cannot agree on the committee recommendations or some other plan to reduce the amounts being added annually to the nation's debt. The prospect of mandatory cuts has alarmed and aroused lobbyists and trade groups, especially those in the powerful defense and health care industries.
Texas Congressman and GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul continues to champion constitutional rights. His latest endeavor is a bill that would abolish “gun-free zones,” ultimately permitting teachers to carry firearms on school grounds. Predictably, anti-gun groups are calling the legislation “extremist.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's campaign for President announced that Romney has a committee of 63 lawyers advising his campaign August 2, and that list includes Bush administration torture lawyer Steven Bradbury. Bradbury, the Deputy Attorney General who approved the Bush administration torture policy written by John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, is also known for telling congressional investigators, "The President is always right."
A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against a Kansas law that bans funding of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Court Judge J. Thomas Marten was “incredulous” at the state’s insistence that the law prohibiting abortion funding did not target Planned Parenthood specifically, ruling that the law was intended to punish the abortion provider and would eventually be overturned.
Undoubtedly it was just an oversight on Thomas Jefferson’s part when he wrote that man’s unalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — but not free cellphones. True, the telephone hadn’t even been invented in 1776, but surely the Sage of Monticello could have included a right to any and all means of communication. How can one be expected to pursue happiness without it?
Mexican trucks may begin hauling freight throughout the United States by the end of this month or early September under a bilateral trade agreement that resolves a long-standing trade dispute, but not the controversy over driving goods across the U.S.-Mexican border.
A number of constitutionalists have warned that the new "Super Congress" — technically a joint committee of Congress — may be unconstitutional. The new entity will be created out of the Obama-Boehner debt limit deal. "It smells," Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) told Fox News August 1. "I just don't understand why Congress is so willing to give up its responsibilities to 12 people.... It's a reflection that they don't have answers."
A federal Judge in Ohio ruled on Monday that a former Democratic Congressman is permitted to proceed with a lawsuit against a pro-life group that he claims defamed him during his campaign. Analysts say the case may test the bounds of free speech.
Despite the back-patting that many Congressmen are giving themselves as a result of the so-called Budget Control Act of 2011, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker contends that the United States is still only three years away from becoming Greece. Walker told CNBC, “We are less than three years away from where Greece had its debt crisis as to where they were from debt to GDP.”
Boston Logan International Airport has announced that it will be adopting Israeli-style behavior screening procedures. The new methods were introduced yesterday at the busy airport and involve screeners at the Transportation Security Administration engaging in more conversations with travelers in order to assess potential threats. Boston Logan International Airport is the first airport in the United States to adopt Israel’s enhanced airport screening practices.