The controversial USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act), signed into law in 2001, is quietly up again for renewal. The Raw Story reports that Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has introduced a bill intended to “renew controversial provisions of the Bush administration's USA Patriot Act that are due to expire this year."
The American people, according to a January 11 Reuters poll, strongly oppose raising the debt ceiling of the federal government. The poll shows that 71 percent of respondents are against raising the limit on federal borrowing authority, while only 18 percent support such a move.
“We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else,” Rep. James Clyburn (left, D-S.C.) told Fox News Sunday.
Among the top priorities for some GOP House leaders is challenging a raise of the nation’s debt ceiling. On Thursday, House Republicans told the White House that its request to raise the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.3 trillion, will not be considered without federal spending cuts.
Nine words taken from Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution are causing quite a stir among journalists and pundits today. The “controversial” clause reads in relevant part:
Incoming Tea Party-elected officials continue to vow to target deficit spending. Fox News writes, “Republicans elected to Congress with the help of Tea Party support pledged Sunday to devote themselves to balancing the budget over all else when they start their new jobs on Wednesday.”
According to the federal government’s 2010 financial statements, released in late December, the 2010 deficit was $1.29 trillion, a slight decrease from the 2009 deficit of $1.42 trillion. Despite this minor improvement, the long-term debt when all obligations are taken into account, including such major unfunded liabilities as Social Security and Medicare, is an astounding $64 trillion — and that may be understating things by about $12.3 trillion, says John Williams of ShadowStats.com (as reported by Douglas French on the Ludwig von Mises Institute blog).
When the House of Representatives announced new rules for the Congress that convenes on Wednesday, the mainstream media immediately called them “strict” and even “unprecedented.” The first new rule to take effect will be the reading of the Constitution of the United States and its 27 amendments on the floor of the chamber.
Tea Party support helped coast a number of congressional candidates to victory in the 2010 midterm elections. However, whether those victors will stay true to their alleged Tea Party values remains to be seen. For example, politicians affiliated with the movement have come under harsh criticism for their hypocritical stance on earmarks, as many of the same people who lashed out against earmarks have requested a number of them.