EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Air strikes in Tripoli, Libya. US fighter jet crashes.


BEHIND THE SCENES: Top Democrats plead for Obama’s involvement in budget battle.

Frustrated Senate Democrats gave senior White House advisers an earful Thursday afternoon during a private meeting, telling them that President Obama needs to get more involved in the budget battle, according to Democratic sources.

Obama dispatched his budget director, Jack Lew, and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling to soothe the restive Democrats.

“I don’t think they’re enjoying coming up here that much during budget season,” said a Senate Democratic source, who said lawmakers delivered the message “loud and clear.”

“The message to the White House is we need to ramp this up, we need to get going,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

Several Democratic senators confirmed that they and their colleagues told Lew and Sperling on Thursday that Obama needed to take a more active public role.

“We’ve committed not to talk publicly about private conversations with the Democratic Caucus,” said the official.

Democratic officials on Capitol Hill say they are uncertain about what the president’s endgame plan is for the budget standoff.

They added that it’s difficult to vote against short-term resolutions that cut $4 billion here or $2 billion there over the span of a few weeks.  The projected federal deficit for this year is $1.6 trillion.

There was said to be an “uproar” on Tuesday during the weekly Democratic lunch meeting, when lawmakers complained about the lack of the president’s public involvement in the debate over spending cuts.

“He’s waiting until the last hour to come in.” was a common complaint.

The aide compared Obama’s strategy in the spending debate to the approach he used late last year during the fight over extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts.

Obama tapped Vice President Joe Biden, Lew and White House chief of staff William Daley last week to conduct spending talks with congressional Republican leaders.

But Biden this week, soon after he offered a proposal to immediately cut $6.5 billion from the budget over the next six-and-a half months, left the country for an extended trip to Finland, Russia and Moldova. How convenient.

Senate Democrats were further chagrined to discover that Obama plans to take a multi-day trip to South America, scheduled to depart right after the stop-gap measure funding the government runs out, which is March 18. (Obama and his wife Michelle are scheduled to travel in Brazil, Chile and El Salvador March 19-23.)

A growing number of Democrats believe they should counter House GOP proposals to cut non-security discretionary spending with a plan to raise tax revenues.

The Democratic tax ideas include eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and for companies that move manufacturing facilities out of the country. They are also circulating a proposal to impose a surtax on millionaires.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said these proposals can gain traction in Congress only if Obama gets more involved.

“He’s played a role but it’s been behind the scenes. I’d like to see him more visible,” Levin said.

Schumer said the lesson is that “H.R. 1 can’t pass, and if you insist on H.R. 1 we’re going to be gridlocked, so give us some alternatives,” making reference to the House-passed package of cuts.

Whoa; what ever happened to the Democrats taking the initiative to reduce our budget? So is it safe to assume that the Democrats will not provide a budget but rather negate a Republican proposal?

It appears that way even though there are some Democrats who would like to see a more proactive stance.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who voted against the Democratic spending alternative, said Democrats should “come up with a clearer picture of what the CR and what the future spending should look like instead of simply reacting to the Republican side.”

Proving to me that my understanding of the Democratic political move regarding our budget (or lack thereof) is completely accurate and they are being just as callous and manipulating as I thought they were being.

Copyright (c) March 10, 2011. All rights reserved.

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Senate rejected House Budget Cut of $57 Billion.

Senators voted largely along party lines Wednesday afternoon to reject a House-passed proposal to cut an additional $57 billion in federal spending this year.

The vote was 44 to 56. All Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats, voted against it. Republican Senators Mike Lee , Jim DeMint and Rand Paul also voted against it.

The controversial legislation would have eliminated funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Planned Parenthood and would have made steep cuts to the women, infants, children nutrition program,  job training programs and ethanol production.

Meanwhile, House GOP leaders have begun behind-the-scenes negotiations on another short-term stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating beyond March 18 with House Republican leaders taking some the $6.2 billion in cuts Senate Democrats included in the alternative package they put on the floor this week.

Very clever from a strategic standpoint as it would be difficult for Democrats to vote against a short-term continuing resolution that includes the cuts they’ve proposed.

Democratic leaders, however, will insist on passing a long-term continuing resolution so they can concentrate on other legislative priorities, such as energy legislation and their jobs agenda.

“I don’t like this death by a thousand cuts but I also don’t want a government shutdown,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said last week.

If the Democrats dont want a government shut down nor want “death by a thousand cuts”- then why dont they quit their crying and buckle up and take a serious hack at the budget?

They need to use the $100 billions of govt waste that the GAO just found (read more: https://theheartofamerica.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/sound-off-34-major-areas-of-wasteful-spending-found/) as a starting guide and then throw on the cutting of the REAL ID Act that ranks in at $11 billion, for good measure.

That’s $111 billion start, right there.

Unfortuantely, the Democrats have only been able to must up $6 billion in cuts and even then, they will not reveal any of the details.

Much like the healthcare bill, we will have to vote on the cuts to find out what is in them.

Sigh. Is it 2012 yet?

Copyright (c) March 9, 2011. All rights reserved.

Where IS the President? 2011 stopgap and the lack of 2012 Budget Resolution and a Pres/VP to preside over it all.

House Republicans escalated pressure on President Obama to become directly involved in the budget debate on Capitol Hill, criticizing the White House for allowing a vacuum of leadership on the issue.

“Where is the president?” Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked in a press conference Wednesday morning, repeating the refrain 5 times in the 10-minute briefing.

Negotiations on a spending bill to fund the government through September have hit a wall in the 6 days since Obama dispatched Vice President Biden to meet with congressional leaders at the Capitol.

What I find outright offense and almost comical that Obama named Vice President Biden to lead the negotiations only days before he left for a 5 day trip to Finland, Moldova and Russia.

The Vice President is not even in the country; how can he be expected to provide leadership over the budget discussions?

What’s worse is that new White House press secretary (who I am starting to loathe more than Fmr. Press Sec Robert Gibbs) refused to identify who was negotiating for the administration in Biden’s absence.

You know what else is interesting?

The Federal Budget Process begins the First Monday in February of each year and should be concluded by October 1, in which the Presdient submits his proposal which serves as a “Starting Point” for Congress to consider.

In order to do so, the Budget Committees are required to present their Budget Resolution for consideration by April 1. Today is March 9th 2011. Less than a month away.

We have not decided on a budget for 2011, let alone are anywhere even near setting the resolution for 2012.

I will be participating in a teleconference call with Budget Committee Chair Representative Paul Ryan and FreedomWorks Chair, Dick Armey tonight and will be listening closely to how they view our 2011 budget (which  I think will be made up of majority stopgap/continuing resolutions), the lack of a 2012 budget resolution and to figure out who is really presiding over the Budget hearings.

Stay tuned to Heart of America for the latest and the greatest.

Copyright (c) March 9, 2011. All rights reserved.

Senator Kerry asked Transportation Secretary LaHood to divert funding for high speed rail.

After Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, U.S., leaving the skeptics happy and the hopeful not so much.

Other Senators jump the mark in an effort to cash in on Florida’s poorly made decision to abandon the project.

Kerry and nine other senators wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last Friday urging the Obama administration to divert the funding earmarked for Florida to the Northeast corridor.

“Our states are ready to put these funds to good use to improve our existing high speed rail service, reduce congestion and create jobs,” they wrote.

Kerry and the other senators noted that more than 250 million passengers ride the rails along the northeast corridor annually, a number that is expected to increase 60 percent by 2030.

Ironically, Governor Rick Scott’s “Let Get to Work” motto falls flat on its face with the rejection of the stimulus package.

Scott rejected the federal high-speed rail funding on Feb. 16, calling the proposed project a “boondoggle” that would wind up costing Florida taxpayers millions more than expected.

This highly divided issue in Florida politics tends to anger many, myself included. As many of my friends were against the rail due to the financial problem it could potentially provide for taxpayers- Heart of America’s CEO, Denise Haywald, offers a differing opinion:

“I have lived in Florida my entire life- I can easily visualize the benefits of having a high speed rail connecting Tampa, Orlando (and even Miami & Pensacola). Not only would it promote tourism and reduce car accidents but it would also reduce our carbon emissions and improve our air quality.”

“It is a shame that people  could only focus on the negative of this governmental funded money. I have learned of the decision making behind the scenes and I am appalled by the lack of planning and attention giving to a job creation program.”

“I find it especially ironic that Florida Governor Rick Scott’s election slogan was “Let’s Get to Work”- when he rejected a job creation program without even a second glance or an active standing committee to weigh the risk/benefits analysis. What a slap in the face to an unemployed Floridian who would desperately needs a job.”

“Not to mention the economic boost from increased tourism and the benefits to the environment.”

Other Senators see the possibilities; Senator Kerry hopes the Northeast can once again benefit from other states rejecting federal high-speed rail funding after the Obama administration steered $2.9 million to Massachusetts last December after governors in Ohio and Wisconsin rejected $1.2 billion in federal support.

“We believe this is an insufficient investment in the Northeast Corridor, given our region’s position as a population and economic mega-region,” the senators wrote.

Governor Scott and LaHood met last Friday and LaHood gave the Florida governor a week to reconsider his decision after Scott asked for more information about a revised plan.

Time is up. I guarantee that Governor Scott will reject it and I can guaranteed that he has hasnt put any additional thought or analysis into it.

It is apparent that Governor Scott is adamant on not creating jobs via a high speed rail.  Our loss is the NE’s gain.

Copyright (c) March 4, 2011. All rights reserved.

Wisconsin Democrats will be fined $100 per day of absence.

Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to begin fining Democrats $100 for every day they’re absent without leave. The Democratic senators, who fled the state to quash a bill that would limit public-employee unions, say the threat of a fine won’t sway them.

With Wisconsin Senate Democrats staying in Illinois to prevent a vote on a bill curbing collective bargaining rights, Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is turning up the pressure.

Fitzgerald and the Republicans will begin imposing fines of $100 a day Friday on members who are absent without leave.

“This majority is trying to compel those senators to come back and do their job,” Fitzgerald said.

Republicans have also taken away parking spaces and photocopying privileges from the Democrats’ staff.

Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller calls the moves petty, and school-yard bully tactics. He added that his caucus would come back in a minute, if Republicans would only compromise.

Wait a minute, who s being petty? The Democratic Senators ran across state lines in an effort to stall the vote.

Congratulations to the Wisconsin Republicans for using all means necessary to bring them back so they can do their job that they were elected to do.

Copyright (c) March 2, 2011. All rights reserved.

House Speaker Boehner rejects Continuing Resolution of 1 month.

House Speaker John Boehner rejected a Democratic proposal to extend government funding for four weeks instead of the two-week bill the House is voting on Tuesday afternoon.

“If there had been a conversation about this ten days ago or two days ago we might have something to talk about,” Boehner said.

Instead, the Democratic Party towed the line of freeze spending not allowing any budget cuts to our spiraling out of control debt.

Speaker Boehner met with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Monday to discuss the next steps of the government budget which included a continuing resolution and $4 billion budget cuts.

Boehner told reporters the House will proceed with its vote Tuesday, “But the fact is we were forced to move on our own. I think we’re taking a responsible path forward to keep the government open and to cut spending.”

I completely agree and fully support the Republicans Party effort to reign in our out of control spending.

Asked if he would accept a longer term measure to allow more time, Boehner again pushed the House GOP plan. “I know what the House is going to do today and that is we’re going to cut $4 billion and keep the government open until March 19th. I can’t predict what the Senate will or won’t do.”

Many Senate Democrats have said they would prefer a 30-day extension of government funding because it would give them more time to negotiate a spending measure that would last for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.

Instead of fighting amongst each other, serious cuts and compromises need to be made. We cannot continue to kick down the road like the Democrats have done for the past 2 years.

Our children’s future depends on the action of fiscal responsibility.

Copyright (c) March 1, 2011. All rights reserved.

EU approves sanctions against Libya

The European Union has agreed upon sanctions against Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and visa ban.

Monday’s decision was made by the EU ambassadors meeting to assess the rapidly deteriorating situation in the north African nation, said Hungarian Energy Minister Tamas Fellegi.

The EU “imposed an arms embargo on Libya and sanctions on those responsible for the violent crackdown on the civilian population,” Fellegi said.

The asset freeze and visa ban was targeted against Gadhafi and two dozen of his closest family and government associates.

The move came after days of increasing protest against the hundreds of deaths caused by Gadhafi military resistance against the popular uprising in his country.

The measures are aimed at reinforcing Saturday’s U.N. Security Council measures. The EU also includes measures to ban sale of any equipment that might be used for repression by Gadhafi.

Great call, Europe! I agree with all steps taken.

I will be watching your nation in your dealing with Libya as you consume 80% of their oil.

You will be leading by example. God bless and God speed.

Copyright (c) February 28, 2011. All rights reserved.

Stop attacking the defense budget.

People wildly overestimate how much we spend on defense and greatly underestimate how much we spend on entitlements.

Unless we reform Welfare and Medicaid, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts, spending on just those 2 entitlements plus interest alone  will consume all federal revenues within the next 35 years. Nothing would be left for defense — or any other discretionary spending, for that matter.

Annual federal spending for these entitlement spending accounts for 32.6 percent of all federal outlays (excluding interest). Defense outlays come in much smaller than that, of just 21.1% of federal spending.

We spend just 4 percent of the gross domestic product, or GDP, on core defense (excluding overseas operations), well below our historical average.

Clearly, defense spending is not “out of control,” nor is it the cause of our rapidly ballooning debt. And yet lawmakers insist our security take a hit.

Defense cuts will have real negative consequences on the military. They will only ratchet up defense spending over the long term.

To accommodate cuts, the Pentagon will need to stretch out buying times for weapons and other equipment. That causes unit prices to soar, raising the ultimate tab for those procurements. Thus, the supposed “cutting” actions actually add upward pressure on long-term spending and debt.

Defense cuts could adversely affect our military capability as well.

The Air Force would need to ground some of its F-15 fleet, weakening the Air National Guards ability to patrol and provide U.S. air defense.

Remember how important those planes were after Sept. 11.

A second Virginia-class submarine and additional destroyer cannot be started, which will delay bringing those capabilities online and drive up costs.

The Army likely would have to postpone working on a new ground-combat vehicle to improve protection for its soldiers. Production of new drones for use in Afghanistan will be pushed back.

Training for soldiers and sailors will be scaled down, and shipyard repairs and maintenance will be canceled.

What I found interesting is that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) as well as a handful of Freshman Republicans were gun ho on cutting defense but lacked the understanding of the importance of such programs.

Sure, savings can be found through greater efficiencies at the Department of Defense. But they should be put back into long-term funding for military modernization and force structure. The military services already have said their modernization accounts are underfunded by about $50 billion a year.

It would be one thing if providing for the “common defense” were some extraconstitutional luxury and thus rightly a target for budget cutting as a matter of principle. But that most definitely is not the case here. Defending the country is a core, enumerated, federal power mandated by the Constitution.

Entitlement spending, not defense, is the source of our nation’s debt problem. Those who ignore this fact aren’t serious about reducing the nation’s spiraling debt. Worse, they undermine the federal government’s ability to meet its constitutional obligation to defend the country.

To see the full text of H.R. 1: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 – please visit, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1

Copyright (c) February 25, 2011. All rights reserved.

Modern Fables: The Ant & the Grasshopper.

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.  How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Then a representative of the NAAGB (The National Association for the Advancement of Green Bugs) shows up on Nightline and charges the ant with “green bias”, and makes the case that the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of greenism.

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

President Obama make a special guest appearance on the CBS Evening News to tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly.

Richard Gephardt exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his “fair share”.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the “Economic Equity and Anti-greenism Act,” retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

The ant fights back but the jury feels bad for the grasshoper so the ant loses the case and his home.The ant gets engulfed by snow and disappears in the snow.  And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ant’s food, they are showing President Obama standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of “fairness” has dawned in America.

Meanwhile, the grasshopper ends up freezing to death next winter because his house feel apart due to lack of maintenance, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

The End.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,