In the world according to House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH), the $4 billion in federal spending cuts that accompanied the two-week Continuing Resolution (CR) allowing the government to stay in business was a good start.
In fact his office released the following statement; “Yesterday, the House passed a temporary budget stopgap that cuts $4 billion in spending and keeps the government running for two weeks. With the March 4th budget deadline looming, we passed these meaningful cuts because Washington’s ongoing spending binge is destroying jobs, and we refuse to pile on trillions more in debt on the backs of our kids and grandkids.”
It was hard for Tea Party activists and tax advocacy groups to share in Boehner’s optimism. “The $4 billion in cuts are a joke,” says Gary Gonsalves M.D. and co-founder of Stop Taxing Us.
“There are no more excuses for politicians not to enact meaningful spending cuts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a report earmarking $200 billion in wasteful spending each year,” he pointed out.
Boehner’s email continued to place the blame on all politicians because neither party has made a real effort to curtail spending habits. “Instead, Congress has continuously passed irresponsible spending bills, such as the ‘stimulus’ bill, that have left us with even higher debt and fewer jobs,” Boehner said. However, he failed to acknowledge that he was a big part of Congress for the past 20 years.
Boehner contends Republicans will now live up to their word because they penned the document Pledge to America, which didn’t receive much fanfare, but promise to take action to reduce government spending and create jobs.
However, Tea Party groups across the nation are skeptical that the GOP will fall in line with the landslide mandate elections. “Our political movement will mobilize in 2012 and we will vote accordingly. Those in D.C. shouldn’t get too comfortable because they will be voted out if they don’t change their drunken-sailor spending habits,” Gonsalves said.
When asked about Congress’ ability to change their ways and reign in spending Gonsalves said “I really think it will take a government shutdown to see any real change in Washington.”
Nevertheless the newly-minted GOP leader says they “will continue to stand firm, insisting on real spending cuts and reforms so we can help create an environment that allows for private sector job growth and protects future generations from the burden of unsustainable debt.”
According to a GAO report, the U.S. government has more than 100 transportation programs, 82 programs dealing with teacher quality, 80 programs looking at economic development, 47 job training programs, 20 programs devoted to homelessness and 17 different disaster preparedness grant programs. The list goes on and on.
The report concluded that, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” Government officials said merging or terminating these overlapping programs would save several billion dollars per year. “These are the changes Tea Party groups are looking for,” Gonsalves says.
The GAO study was authorized last year when Congress wanted to raise the federal debt ceiling.
“This report will make us look like jackasses,” said Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who sponsored the amendment requiring the GAO report.
Gonsalves said that is one statement he can agree with.
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
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A new pledge to America from Republicans was unveiled to give voters on the fence a reason to take a look at the energized GOP and change the balance of power in Washington.
The 21-page plan put forth to a weary electorate begins with, “America is an idea- an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Sound familiar? It should it is taken from America’s founding fathers and has been used by many of the tea party organizations from California to New York. It’s simple, straightforward and what dismayed voters are looking for – a smaller, leaner and more responsible government.
Will the GOP blueprint help or hurt the Republicans in 40 days? No one really knows as both parties are claiming they can use it to their advantage. However, the Democrats will most likely succumb to the country’s first political tsunami since the 1994 Newt Gingrich revolution.
Some of the hallmarks Republican lawmakers are calling for include the government’s need to slash spending, repeal Obama’s signature piece of healthcare legislation as well as preventing the Bush tax cuts to expire.
Top GOP leaders also came up with ideas to help Americans get back on their feet. Specifically there are plans for job creation, reforms to curb “out-of-control” spending, repealing and replacing “the government takeover of healthcare,” adding real government transparency, providing more stringent homeland security measures, securing the southern borders and allowing states to enforce illegal immigration.
The document looks to inspire the swing voters and even quotes Democratic President John F. Kennedy, “An economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs.”
The roll out of the Pledge to America admits politicians haven’t listened to the people and many of them have imposed a party agenda that doesn’t reflect the folks on Main Street. Clearly, the angry voters are not happy with all the backroom dealing elected officials participate in to ensure their reelections.
Other points listed in the document include ensuring terrorists are kept out of America, imposing a freeze on federal hiring for non-security related employees, cut the Congressional budget, reduce government spending to “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels,” and get the government out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an effort to let banks lend money to worthy buyers who are good credit risks.
While the familiar ideas read well, critics say the 21-page change in course is short on details and puts forth no specifics to accomplish the real change Republican’s claim are needed in Washington.
In an effort to resonate with the tea party organization, nostalgic prose weaves its way throughout the document. “America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.” So far the tea party movement hasn’t commented on the new pledge.
While the Pledge to America harkens back to the founding fathers, irritated voters are still not convinced the Republicans have what it takes to return to their common-sense conservative roots. So far it has been the electricity provided by the tea party candidates that has sparked a reemergence of “for the people, by the people” attitude.
As a result, status quo politicians need not apply for the 2010 midterms and as such the founding fathers may actually be proud of the electoral enthusiasm demonstrated by ordinary Americans, who have shown they are not so ordinary after all.
In a united front all House Republicans voted to end any earmarks in every piece of legislation for the rest of the year.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after House Republicans adopted a unilateral moratorium on all earmarks, including tax and tariff-related earmarks.
“For millions of Americans, the earmark process in Congress has become a symbol of a broken Washington. Today House Republicans took an important step toward showing the American people we’re serious about reform by adopting an immediate, unilateral ban on all earmarks. But the more difficult battle lies ahead, and that’s stopping the spending spree in Washington that is saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in debt. Only then will we have succeeded in bringing fundamental change to the way Congress spends taxpayers’ money.”
Democrats had a dissenting view on earmarks. “I don’t believe this policy or ceding authority to the executive branch on any spending decision is in the best interests of the Congress or the American people,” Senator Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) said.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) Chairman of the Republican Conference Committee had this to say about the passage of the new earmark moratorium.
“Republicans are going to the American people and saying that we are making a clean break from the runaway spending of the past,” Pence said. We are going to start over and put the American people and fiscal discipline back in the drivers seat and that’s going to be quite a contrast to the House Democrats and this Administration.”
Congressman Pence explained that Americans don’t want this particular health care bill and are tired of the “cornhusker kickback deals” and the new measure by the Republicans promising no more earmarks will make it even tougher to push through the trillion dollar government health care entitlement program.
“The American people are on to this favor factory and earmarking,” Pence said.
He also admitted that Republicans were a part of the runaway spending, but they are united in reversing their credit card spending ways. “We are listening.”
In an impromptu press meeting, Rep. David Obey, (D-Wis.), chairman of the Appropriations panel, said the ban on earmarks to companies that make profits will mean 1,000 fewer earmarks and break the connection between campaign contributions and earmarks that has resulted in numerous ethics probes of lawmakers. But wasn’t for banning all earmarks.
It remains unclear if Senate members will vote on a similar moratorium, however the looming midterms will surely up the ante for political leaders looking for votes.