e-News January 8, 20101/8/10
- Look Out America: More Backroom Dealing on Healthcare!
- The Week Just Past
- New Year – Same Old Dangerous Policies!
- By the Numbers: Bringing Terrorists to American soil
- Court Upholds U.S. Right To Hold Terror Suspects
- The Rush to Declassify?
- Those Bailouts Keep on Coming!
Look Out America: More Backroom Dealing on Healthcare!
President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are short-circuiting the traditional legislative process and excluding the public and Republican leaders during final Congressional health care deliberations. They will not convene the traditional public “conference committee” to allow for negotiations to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the so-called health reform bills. They say they are trying to prevent the Republicans from using long-standing Senate rules – rules they used when they were in the minority - to slow the push for final passage of a government takeover of health care.
If that was not bad enough, the Congressional leadership is also apparently preparing to cut the American people out of the final negotiations as well. These negotiations could jeopardize private health care policies for nearly 180 million people, threaten the quality of care and slap families with significantly higher taxes.
On multiple occasions during 2008, President Obama promised voters that health care negotiations would be open and “transparent.” In fact, he practically guaranteed that they would be televised on C-SPAN. Of course, in a headlong rush to get the health care bill to the President’s desk, that promise has been broken time and time again.
This week, C-SPAN wrote to the Congressional Leadership, asking them to allow live televised coverage of any Congressional negotiations on health care. The request by C-SPAN provides the President one last chance to make good on his promise for openness in the health care debate. The American people deserve a “seat at the table.”
You can read the C-SPAN letter here:
“It has been clear for a long time that a majority of Americans continue to oppose both the House and the Senate health bills,” Rodney said. “However, rather than listening to their concerns, Democrats are once again preparing to meet behind closed doors to finalize their plans for a government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy, including massive tax increases and dangerous cuts to the Medicare program that will reduce services for older Americans. The American people are tired of backroom deals and big government spending. They have a right to know how Democrats plan to pass this monstrosity and how many more expensive sweetheart deals they will have to cut to do so.”
Recommended Reading: “Tens of millions of consumers face higher costs for over-the-counter medicines such as cold remedies and vitamins if Democrats keep a provision in their health care overhaul bills to limit the use of tax-free health care spending accounts.” “Reforms bode ill for tax-free health accounts” in Wednesday’s WashingtonTimes:
The Week Just Past
“We’ve just completed the first week of the New Year and as the House of Representatives prepares to return to Washington next Tuesday, it is very apparent that we have much important work to complete.
“Job #1 for this Congress should be restoring growth to the economy.
The Administration and Congress should be working aggressively together to find more effective ways to spur private sector job creation and not increase public payrolls!
“The first ‘rule of holes’ is that when you’re in one, stop digging. Congress should not pass the massively expensive health care bill being pushed by President Obama because, using a formula developed by the White House’s own economist, Christina Romer, it could kill as many as 5.5 million jobs!
“Next, we have to stop spending borrowed federal dollars like there is no tomorrow! Since control of Congress changed hands in 2007, appropriations spending has jumped 41 percent, making the government more dependent on new taxing and borrowing! And that does not even include the ‘stimulus’ dollars and other ‘emergency’ measures the Congress approved last year!
“Three weeks ago I supported finding a solution to the nation's growing spending problem by casting a ‘no’ vote to raise the national debt limit of $12.1 billion by another $290 billion dollars.
"If you reach your spending limit on a credit card you can't ask the company to increase your line of credit, you have to make fiscally responsible decisions to pay down your debt.
"We just had a $1.4 trillion dollar deficit at the end of our budget year in September. It is time to say enough is enough, stop pointing fingers and fix this crushing debt burden facing our country.
“In addition, Congress should immediately do three things:
1) Allow small businessmen and women to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income.
2) Let small businesses join together to purchase health insurance for their workers the way large businesses and labor unions do.
3) Lower taxes for all taxpayers by reducing the current 15 percent income tax rate to 10 percent and reducing the current 10 percent rate to 5 percent. This will provide an immediate increase in income to every taxpaying family in America and free up capital to help small businesses hire more workers.
“American families and small businesses continue to struggle. High unemployment rates continue. The so-called ‘stimulus’ is not working. So it is past time that Democrats and Republicans work on policies that promote private sector job creation in America and help get our economy moving again.
“That’s the main task before Congress in 2010.”
The Administration’s review of the “systemic failure” that allowed a 23-year old Nigerian would be suicide bomber onto a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day was completed this week. Just before New Year’s Day, the President called the security breach “totally unacceptable and yesterday he assigned responsibility for the failure to disrupt the plot to top intelligence and homeland security officials. And yet, every one of them, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who initially said “the system worked,” keep their jobs!
Now, that’s unacceptable!
The President said he is "less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes." There is a significant difference between “passing blame” and making sure our government has the right people in the right jobs protecting the American people.
New Year – Same Old Dangerous Policies!
President Obama said Tuesday that no more Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to Yemen, where the Christmas Day 2009 Flight 253 attack was apparently planned. Despite acknowledging that “systemic failure” that led to the attack, the President reaffirmed his misguided decision to bring terrorists to U.S. soil and give them the same rights as U.S. citizens.
Members of both parties are raising new questions about the Administration’s plan to import dangerous terrorists to the U. S. and house them at a “Gitmo North” facility outside Chicago.
“We know the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay facility has not stopped al Qaeda from plotting attacks on Americans,” Rodney said. “Turning these terrorists over to other countries is potentially very dangerous, and we should not import them into the United States. It’s time for the President to reverse his decision to close Guantanamo Bay.”
“It’s a New Year, but the same basic question remains: what is this Administration’s overarching strategy to confront the terrorist threat and keep America safe?” he continued. “The American people deserve answers to this question and they deserve the honest assurance that their government is doing everything it can to detect and stop future attacks, rather than just responding to them after they happen.”
By the Numbers: Bringing Terrorists to American soil
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has placed the price for security operations for the trials in New York City of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda terrorism suspects at more than $200 million a year!
This week the mayor sent a letter to the President’s budget director, seeking federal reimbursement for the full costs of providing security for the trials. In the letter, the mayor said the cost for security operations would be $216 million for the first year and $206 million per year in subsequent years! Many experts predict that the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terrorists could take three or four years to complete!
This request brings into focus the additional financial costs of President Obama’s ill-considered decision to bring al Qaeda terrorists to the U.S. for civilian criminal trails and to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The largest waste of taxpayer money is the approximately $500 million the government paid to build and renovate facilities at Guantanamo Bay (new cells, courtrooms, kitchens and dining halls – all air conditioned) to make them exceed international detention standards.
Noted with Interest: Court Upholds U.S. Right To Hold Suspects With Ties To Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
With a wide war on terrorism still being fought, an appellate court said this week Guantanamo Bay prison detainees had few legal rights, so long as the government could show they fought for or actively supported the Taliban or al Qaeda. A panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld the government's broad power to hold indefinitely suspected former Taliban fighters and their supporters who were captured abroad and sent to the detention facility in Cuba.
The Rush to Declassify?
During his recent vacation, President Obama ordered the federal government to rethink how it protects the nation's secrets, in a move that is expected to declassify more than 400 million pages of documents and curb the number of government records “hidden” from the public and international allies and adversaries. Among the changes is a requirement that every record be released eventually and that federal agencies review how and why they mark documents classified or deny the release of historical records.
“While excessive secrecy is not healthy for our democracy, certain information must remain classified,” said Rodney, a member of the House Special Intelligence Oversight Panel (SIOP). “Beyond inciting international violence against American interests, a decision to prematurely declassify secret documents will endanger necessary overseas operations and Americans who conduct them. We must not hamper international security cooperation to satisfy some political or ideological theory.”
Recommended Reading II: Bill McGurn’s Tuesday column in the Wall Street Journal, “A salute to West Point.” Note: Rodney nominated Timothy Dore to the United States Military Academy.
Those Bailouts Keep on Coming!
While most Americans were celebrating the holidays, the federal government was deepening its involvement in both the financial markets and the auto industry as it provided GMAC Financial Services another $3.8 billion in cash. Translated: the taxpayers now have a majority stake – 56 percent - in the lender.
The latest injection of federal dollars comes on top of $12.5 billion GMAC has already received from the federal government.
By the way, the taxpayers now hold a majority stake in three companies they have bailed out: GMAC, General Motors and insurer American International Group Inc. The federal government also has taken control of the housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Recommended Reading III: Gilbert Ross’s piece in the Thursday Wall Street Journal: “Why Drug ‘Reimportation’ Will Not Die. The drug industry made a foolish bet in supporting health reform.”