Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) introduced three amendments to the recently passed Energy & Water appropriations bill that would have eliminated a slew of business subsidies at the Department of Energy. Unfortunately, House Republicans once again teamed up with their Democratic colleagues to keep the corporate welfare spigot flowing.
From The Hill:
The largest spending cut proposal came from Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), which would have eliminated the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account at the Department of Energy and used the $1.45 billion in savings toward deficit reduction. Like other Republicans, McClintock argued that this account needlessly spends money on questionable private investments that have not led to any measurable returns. But the House rejected McClintock’s amendment in a 113-275 vote, in which 113 Republicans voted for it but 107 Republicans joined every Democrat in opposition.
From a second article from The Hill:
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) proposed ending all nuclear energy research subsidies to private companies, which would have saved $514 million and used that money to lower the deficit. But the House rejected that amendment in a 106-281 vote that divided Republicans 91-134. McClintock also proposed language cutting fossil energy research subsidies, which would have saved $554 million. But the House killed that amendment 138-249, as Republicans split again 102-123.
A few comments:
First, Democrats voted overwhelmingly to continue to subsidize commercial interests. And here I thought Democrats were concerned about the have and have-nots.
Second, Rep. McClintock deserves a round of applause for his efforts. These votes speak volumes about a member’s beliefs about the proper role of the federal government. A lot of members—especially Republicans—talk a good game when it comes to spending, limited government, free markets, etc. However, when the time comes to put their money where their mouths are, many choose to instead put other people’s money in the mouths of special interests.
For those taxpayers who are interested in seeing how their member voted, the following are the roll call tallies for McClintock’s amendments:
- Reduce the energy efficiency and renewable energy account by $1.45 billion: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll311.xml.
- Reduce the construction and expansion account of nuclear energy by $514 million: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll315.xml.
- Reduce the fossil energy research and development account by $554 million: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll317.xml.
[See here for more on why energy subsidies should be eliminated.]
Update: Steve Ellis from Taxpayers for Common Sense alerted me to an amendment introduced by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and McClintock that would have shut down the Department of Energy’s Title 17 loan guarantee program. That’s the program that gave us Solyndra. The amendment failed 136-282 with 127 Republicans joining 155 Democrats to defeat the amendment. That the Republican-led House couldn’t get rid of the program that begot Solyndra is about as low as it gets.
- McClintock: Obama’s Subtle War On Tea Parties – A Warning (constitutionclub.org)
- NTU urges “YES” votes on the following Amendments to H.R. 5325: (ntu.org)
The highest-level meeting between a U.S. diplomat and Muslim Brotherhood officials will take place today in Cairo, Egypt.
U.S. deputy secretary of state, William Burns, will meet officials of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing in the highest-level meeting yet between the two sides. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. has long shunned Egypt‘s Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of links to terrorists. Looks like that is about to change.
The State Department‘s number two diplomat, William Burns, will meet with leaders of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which just won roughly 40 percent of the seats in parliament, AFP reports. (Final results of Egypt’s recent legislative elections have not yet been released).
The meeting marks part of a shift towards rapprochment from a decades-old U.S. policy of hostility toward the Brotherhood, who many in the U.S still fear will pose a threat to Israel and boost support for more extreme Islamists.
Still, the rise of Islamists, moderate and extreme, is a new reality in post-Mubarak Egypt. See Middle East highlights in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bills from Jul. 2012, when the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved an amendment to limit the Secretary of State from using funds to support the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Why Is Obama Lying to Cover for the Muslim Brotherhood? (codybateman.org)
- What would an Islamist Egypt mean? (moroccotomorrow.org)
- Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Peril? (papundits.wordpress.com)
By Phil Kerpen Published January 04, 2012
In 2008 candidate Sen. Barack Obama famously said: “This is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing and end run around Congress.”
Now, we find that not only was he kidding about signing statements – he recently used one to ignore about 20 provisions of the omnibus spending bill – but Obama also believes he can decide for himself that the Senate is in recess when it is not, overturn at least a hundred years of precedent, and bypass the Constitution’s
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Moreover, the president now considers it a political virtue that he is doing precisely what he criticized George Bush for doing: “make laws as he is going along.” Obama now says: “I refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer… when Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”
If he were acting within the confines of the law and the Constitution, the argument might make sense.But Obama has now adopted a theory of executive power so expansive that a reporter at a recent press conference understandably asked whether the president believes we have a virtual monarchy, a president of unlimited powers subject only to periodic elections but not to the rule of law.
According to a 1993 brief from the Clinton Justice Department, Congress must remain adjourned for at least three days before the adjournment constitutes a “recess” for the purposes the recess appointment power.
The origin of this three day period is Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, which states: “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days.”
In other words, the president can only recess appoint when the Senate has adjourned for more than three days, and the Senate cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the House.
Speaker John Boehner has properly withheld that consent to prevent Obama from installing radical appointees into key positions.
There is recent precedent for this action and for its legitimacy.In fact, then-Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan wrote to the Supreme Court on April 26, 2010:“Although a President may fill such vacancies through the use of his recess appointment power … the Senate may act to foreclose this option by declining to recess for more than two or three days at a time over a lengthy period. For example, the Senate did not recess intrasession for more than three days at a time for over a year beginning in late 2007.”
Obama’s attempt to “recess appoint” Richard Cordray while the Senate is in pro forma session is especially galling in light of the history of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the broad powers that Cordray – if Obama’s sleight of hand is permitted by the courts – will wield over the United States economy.
The CFPB has the power to interfere with every consumer financial transaction in the economy. It is housed in the Federal Reserve and funded out of Fed operations, not congressional appropriations, avoiding effective congressional oversight.
All power is vested in one individual – now, presumably Cordray – with no board or commission.None of this was part of Elizabeth Warren’s original design, which included a five-member commission that was funded and overseen by Congress.Senate Republicans have correctly called for reforms to make the new agency accountable before confirming a nominee and allowing it to begin writing rules that could have a major negative impact on the economy.
Obama doesn’t care.He’s making is up as he goes along.What a difference four years makes.
Phil Kerpenis vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity and author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him.
- Obama’s 2012 Slogan: ‘Can’t Work With Others’ (genomega1.wordpress.com)
- Constitutional Scholar: White House Entirely Ignoring Article 1, Section 5 | CNSnews.com (manifestinjustice.wordpress.com)
- Is the Cordray Appointment Constitutional? (usnews.com)
- Constitutional Scholar: White House Entirely Ignoring Article 1, Section 5 | CNSnews.com (nootkabear.wordpress.com)
- Obama: Forget Congress; Richard Cordray’s my consumer… (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Obama bypassing Senate to appoint Richard Cordray consumer chief – Chicago Tribune (chicagotribune.com)