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E-News 1/6/12

The Week Just Past: Trampling Tradition

Jobs: THE Congressional Priority for 2012

Closing the Treasury’s Books on 2011

Iran in our backyard

Defend or Retreat?

The Week Just Past: Trampling Tradition

“In this first week of the New Year, an arcane, yet important, Constitutional conflict is developing in Washington. President Obama this week decided to circumvent the authority of the U.S. Senate and unilaterally install a Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“The Wall Street Journal explained the situation well yesterday when it wrote: ‘A President has the power to make a ‘recess appointment’, and we've supported Mr. Obama's right to do so. The Constitutional catch is that Congress must be in recess.  The last clause of Section 5 of Article 1 of the Constitution says that ‘Neither House’ of Congress can adjourn for more than three days ‘without the Consent of the other’ house. In this case, the House of Representatives had not formally consented to Senate adjournment. It's true the House did this to block the President from making recess appointments, but it is following the Constitution in doing so. Let's hear Mr. Obama's legal justification.’

“Such time-honored traditions as federal ‘checks and balances’ enshrined by our country’s founders are apparently no match for President Obama’s drive to enlarge government and vest expansive powers in a new regulatory agency as part of the Dodd-Frank permanent bailout of Wall Street.  With the President’s ‘recess appointment’ of Richard Cordray as the new Director of the CFPB, he is ignoring legitimate Republican concerns about the new agency’s structure, power and accountability. 

“Establishment of the CFPB ranks as one of the largest transfers of regulatory power in the nation’s history.  Senate Republicans were absolutely right to work within their rules to stop the nomination last year, and they are right to demand meaningful changes to this new government bureaucracy so that it is more accountable to the American people. 

“Under Dodd-Frank, this single credit czar will have the power to decide whether a family in Stanhope can get a car loan or a family in West Caldwell can obtain a mortgage. The CFPB Director can determine whether a family in Bloomingdale can even get a credit card in order to buy their groceries.

“Critics of Dodd-Frank want the director replaced by a five-member commission and tighter oversight of the agency’s decisions by other regulatory bodies. They are also seeking to subject the CFPB to the congressional appropriations process; currently, it is funded through the unaccountable and relatively non-transparent Federal Reserve.

“This position had not been filled for one reason: the agency it heads will not create private sector jobs and is bad for the economy. Unfortunately, President Obama apparently would rather trample our time-honored system of separation of powers than work with Congress to move the country forward.  This action goes beyond the President’s authority, and I expect the courts will find his appointment to be illegitimate.”

                                                          Rodney Frelinghuysen

Recommended Reading: Thursday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Contempt for Congress.”

Jobs: THE Congressional Priority for 2012

The Department of Labor announced this morning that the nation’s “official” unemployment rate stands at 8.5 percent.   That means that unemployment has been near, at or above 9 percent since January 2009.

The Obama economy has burdened the nation with the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression—unemployment has been higher than 8 percent for 34 straight months.

Private sector job growth continues to be the number one job for House Republicans.

Following the House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators, the House has passed more than 30 bipartisan jobs bills over the past year.

As Americans suffer through the Obama economy, it is a disgrace that 28 House-passed jobs bills remain stacked like cordwood on Harry Reid’s doorstep awaiting the support of the Senate.

House Republicans have acted. It’s time for the President to convince the Senate to do so as well.

You can find more information here.

Closing the Treasury’s Books on 2011

America has closed the books on 2011 with debt at an all time record $15,222,940,045,451.09.

That means that the U.S. debt to GDP (the output of our economy) is now officially over 100%, or 100.3% to be specific.

Recommended Reading:  Iran in our Backyard

Joby Warrick writes in the Sunday Washington Post  that Iran is seeking to expand influence in Latin America. Read the story here.

Defend or Retreat?

Consider these facts:

·        North Korea is now being run by the world’s most inexperienced, untested and unpredictable leader, who, by the way, is apparently in control of one of the world’s largest armies and nuclear weapons. 

·        China has embarked upon an historic military build-up.  The People’s Liberation Army now actually has an aircraft carrier and a record number of “blue water” submarines.

·        Russian leader Putin is working to reassemble the old Soviet empire.

·        Syria is on the brink of full-scale civil war.

·        Iran is threatening to close a vital oil route through the Straits of Hormuz and is warning our Navy not to send our aircraft carriers back into the Persian Gulf.

·        Just a few weeks after our withdrawal, Iraq may be falling apart at the seams.

·        The “promise” of the Arab Spring has yielded to the harsh reality that Islamists and other forces hostile to our interests are gaining the upper hand in key areas of the Middle East.

·        Al-Qaeda Central has splintered into dozens of dangerous transnational extremist groups across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

Yet, it is in this context, the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense announced a new strategy yesterday that will ensure massive military cuts, jeopardizing the global security architecture that has protected U.S. vital interests across the globe since 1945.

The Obama Administration admits that the foundation of its new strategy is driven by today’s austere budget environment. 

“Last year, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, correctly declared the biggest threat to our security is our dangerous national debt,” said Rodney, a member of the House Defense Appropriations Committee and a liaison to the House Intelligence Committee.  “It is imperative that we quickly put our fiscal house in order and foster an environment where our allies can support their OWN defense.”

He continued, “There are those in Congress who want to cut our defense and intelligence budgets deeply.  I submit that reductions without any analysis of their impact on the military are, as former Defense Secretary Gates has said, simply ‘math, not strategy.’  We cannot protect America ‘on the cheap.’  National security is simply too important. Yes, it is critical to cut spending and eliminate the deficit, but we must use great care. “

Gutting defense will not balance the budget. However, it would certainly contribute to making the world less safe for America and its allies and leave the U.S. less prepared to deal with dangers ahead.

It should be noted that the Administration and Congress already are trimming defense spending to reflect the closeout of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan. The defense budget planned for next year is $27 billion less than President Obama wanted and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon this year.