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Three Years With No Budget: What, Me Worry?

Today Marks Three Years Since The Senate Passed A Budget; For A President Who Refuses To Lead, That’s Not A Big Deal

THE DEMOCRAT-CONTROLLED SENATE LAST PASSED A BUDGET THREE YEARS AGO TODAY AND IS ACTIVELY FIGHTING AGAINST PASSING ANOTHER

The Senate Last Passed A Budget Three Years, 1,097 Days Ago. (S. Con. Res. 13, Roll Call 173; D 53-3, R 0-40, I 2-0, 4/29/09)

“In A Stunning Backtrack,” Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) Canceled A Scheduled Vote On A FY2013 Budget Bill. “In a stunning backtrack that virtually guarantees Congress for the third year will be unable to produce a budget, Senate Democrats’ top budget writer Tuesday canceled this week’s expected votes on a 2013 fiscal blueprint.” (Stephen Dinan, “Democrats Punt On Senate Budget Bill For 3rd Year,” The Washington Times, 4/17/12)

  • Conrad “Bowed To Pressure From Fellow Democrats” And Postponed Considering A Budget Until After The Election.Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) bowed to pressure from fellow Democrats on Tuesday and postponed a committee vote on a 2013 budget resolution, most likely until after the November elections.” (Erik Wasson, “Sen. Conrad Backs Off Plan to Vote On Budget,” The Hill, 4/17/12)
  • It Was A “Surprise” To Democrat Leaders That He Wanted To Pass A Budget At All. “So it was a surprise to Democratic leaders when Conrad indicated in a Fox News interview April 8 that he wanted to mark up a 10-year plan to guide the lame-duck session after the elections when major decisions such as expiring taxes will need to be addressed.” (Humberto Sanchez, “Conrad Budget Plan Puzzling,” Roll Call, 4/16/12)

THE WHITE HOUSE HAS “NO OPINION” ON WHETHER DEMS SHOULD PASS A BUDGET AND NO PLANS TO PROPOSE A BUDGET THAT CONTROLS OUR DEBT

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Says The White House Has “No Opinion” On Whether The Senate Should Pass A Budget. ABC NEWS’ JAKE TAPPER:The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget? The president’s going to introduce one. The Fed chair says not having one is bad for growth. But the White House has no opinion about whether – ” JAY CARNEY:I have no opinion — the White House has no opinion on Chairman Bernanke’s assessment of how the Senate ought to do its business.” (White House Press Briefing, 2/8/12)

President Obama “Has Been All-Too-Willing To Avoid Making Tough Decisions.” “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions, hesitant to expend political capital for potential long-term gain.  Throughout his first term in office, he’s had a cautious governing style, and has avoided taking on some of his party’s core constituencies.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Obama Trying To Have It Both Ways,” National Journal, 11/30/11)

  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Admitted That The Administration Doesn’t Have A Plan, But “We Don’t Like Yours.” GEITHNER: “What our budget does is get our deficits down to a sustainable path over the budget window. Why do they take off again? Why do they do that?” REP. PAUL RYAN: “Because we got 10,000 people retiring every day, and healthcare costs going up…” GEITHNER: “That’s right. We have millions of Americans retiring every day, and that will drive substantially the rate of growth of healthcare costs. You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is, we don’t like yours.” (Committee On The Budget, U.S. House Of Representatives, 2/16/12)

According To CBO, The Massive Deficits Produced By Obama’s FY2013 Budget Will Reduce Economic Output. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Friday that President Obama’s 2013 budget will hurt the economy in the long term, arguing the larger deficits it would produce would reduce the amount of capital available to businesses. After five years, the CBO says, the Obama proposals would reduce economic output by between 0.5 percent and 2.2 percent.” (Erik Wasson, “CBO Estimates Obama 2013 Budget Will Hit Economic Growth,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 4/20/12)

Obama’s FY2013 Budget Increases The Deficit More Than His FY2012 Budget And Will “Have A More Negative Long-Run Effect.” “The effects of the 2013 budget differ from those of the preceding budget in four main ways. In particular, the proposals for 2013 would do the following: Increase deficits by a greater amount, largely because of a greater increase in spending compared with that in CBO’s baseline. Those larger deficits would provide a bigger short-run boost to output but then have a more negative long-run effect.” (“The Economic Impact Of The President’s 2013 Budget,” Congressional Budget Office, 4/20/12)

“Larger Deficits Caused By The Budget Would Cause The Government To Issue More Bonds, Sucking Up Private Capital To Finance Its Debts And Thereby Reducing The Funds Businesses Could Use To Expand And Hire, The CBO Said.” “Larger deficits caused by the budget would cause the government to issue more bonds, sucking up private capital to finance its debts and thereby reducing the funds businesses could use to expand and hire, the CBO said. An increased tax on capital gains included in the president’s plan would also tend to reduce private capital, it says.” (Erik Wasson, “CBO Estimates Obama 2013 Budget Will Hit Economic Growth,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 4/20/12)

  • “Slower Economic Growth Tends To Increase Deficits By Reducing Tax Collection And Increasing Spending On Items Like Unemployment Insurance.” (Erik Wasson, “CBO Estimates Obama 2013 Budget Will Hit Economic Growth,” The Hill’s “On The Money,” 4/20/12)
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Three Years With No Budget: What, Me Worry? | RNC: Republican National Committee | GOP.

Obama lobby of Senate leads to defeat of Keystone pipeline

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by Audrey Hudson

The Senate failed Thursday to overturn the White House’s decision to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline due in part to a last-minute lobbying effort by President Barack Obama.

Obama’s efforts to head off defiance of his order through phone calls to Democratic lawmakers resulted in 56 yeas and 42 nays — four short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

“The president believes that it is wrong to play politics with a pipeline project whose route has yet to be proposed,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked about Obama’s lobbying efforts earlier in the day.

The amendment to the highway bill authored by Sen. John Hoeven (R- N.D.) would have stripped the president of his authority to deny the needed permit to build the cross-border pipeline from Canada to Texas.

“Frankly, it’s hard to even comprehend how out of touch (Obama) is on this issue,” said Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“I mean, think about it: at a moment when millions are out of work, gas prices are skyrocketing and the Middle East is in turmoil, we’ve got a president who’s up making phone calls trying to block a pipeline here at home. It’s unbelievable,” McConnell said.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told Obama to put down the phone and stop lobbying against the creation of new jobs. Republicans tout the pipeline as the nation’s largest shovel-ready project that would create 20,000 jobs.

“This is ridiculous, with price of gas soaring, the president blasts anyone who criticizes his lack of an energy strategy, but then he’s lobbying to stop a common-sense amendment allowing Keystone XL pipeline to move forward,” Hatch said.

That measure was further diluted by an alternative amendment offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would eventually approve the project but also sought to block any export of oil brought into the U.S. to be refined.

“A vote for (Wyden’s) bill is a vote to block the project, make no mistake,” Hoeven said.

Wyden said his amendment would ensure that all of the oil would be used by American consumers and not sold to China.

“When you build a pipeline 2,000 miles across the nation, our challenge is to do it right,” Wyden said.

Wyden’s amendment also failed on a vote of 34 yeas to 64 nays.

“Millions of miles of pipelines cross this country, but for some reason, this one pipeline is a problem?” Hoeven said.

TransCanada has announced that it will go ahead and construct one leg of the project that extends from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas, and will push ahead for the permit to cross the northern border next year.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified before a House panel earlier in the day where he faced questions about the pipeline and previous comments he made that the administration’s goal was not to lower gas prices.

“The president and everybody in the administration want to do what we can to lower the price of gasoline because it has a severe effect on the pocketbook of Americans and it affects American businesses,” Chu told the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy and power.

“There is no single magic bullet that can instantaneously do that,” said Chu, who also told the panel he does not own a car.

Some lawmakers were not convinced that the administration is doing all it can to lower gas prices.

“What has the president done to help solve our energy problems?” asked Rep. Fred Upton, (R-Mich.), chairman of the full committee.

“President Obama has twice rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project and all the job creation and secure energy supplies it would deliver,” Upton said. “The president has recently begun to brag that he supports an ‘all of the above’ energy policy, but these actions look more like a policy of ‘nothing from below.’”

Chu was criticized last week after he suggested to the House Appropriations Committee that the Obama administration was not working to reduce the price of gas. Asked by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) then if the overall goal was to bring down the price of gasoline, Chu said “no.”

[ Energy Secretary Chu Admits Administration OK with High Gas Prices ]

“The overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu said.


Audrey Hudson, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a Congressional Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades — on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court.  Follow Audrey on Twitter and Facebook.

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Obama’s New Nationalism

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by Conn Carroll Senior Editorial Writer

Today, in Osawatomie, Kansas, President Obama will invoke Teddy Roosevelt as a model for his 2012 reelection campaign. Over 100 years ago, after leaving the White House, Roosevelt delivered a seminal speech, titled “The New Nationalism,” which would become the foundation for the Progressive Party he would later create to challenge President Taft’s reelection. Obama plans to identify with those same progressive roots today as he calls for higher taxes on the rich and more government control of the economy.

At the White House press briefing yesterday, spokesman Jay Carney said Obama, “Thinks it’s an opportune time and an opportune location to try to put into broader perspective the kind of debates we’ve been having and the issues that are of vital importance to give middle-class Americans the kind of fair shot that they deserve.” Obama will no doubt echo Roosevelt’s call for a “equality of opportunity” and recycle the speech’s “square deal” rhetoric.

But while there are many parts of Roosevelt’s New Nationalism speech that will sound great to modern ears, there are also many passages that will grate on independent voters:

Combinations in industry are the result of an imperative economic law which cannot be repealed by political legislation. The effort at prohibiting all combination has substantially failed. The way out lies, not in attempting to prevent such combinations, but in completely controlling them in the interest of the public welfare.

This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.

These words are as radical today as they were 100 years ago. When text of Roosevelt’s New Nationalism reached New York, The New York Times called it “Roosevelt’s Super-Socialism.” Don’t count on that paper using a similar description of Obama’s speech today.

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White House advances its energy policy without help from polarized Congress

By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman – 08/11/11 05:11 PM ET

The White House is serving notice that, when it comes to energy policy, the president doesn’t always need Capitol Hill.

President Obama, during a speech Thursday in Holland, Mich., urged Congress to quickly pass a slew of bills on issues ranging from patent reform to trade deals. But one topic was conspicuously missing from his to-do list for lawmakers: energy legislation.

Obama instead touted steps his administration has taken without Congress, including the new vehicle-fuel economy standards announced in recent weeks.

“Think about it. That’s what we got done — and by the way, we didn’t go through Congress to do it,” Obama told workers at an advanced battery plant. “But we did use the tools of government — us working together — to help make it happen.”

The White House has positioned energy policy as a key component of the economic recovery, and in the run-up to the 2012 elections, Obama is highlighting steps his administration has taken at a time when Capitol Hill divisions create huge hurdles for energy bills.

The fuel-economy standards represent just one of several instances in which the White House has touted energy policy actions it can take without Congress.

In recent weeks and months, the administration has also released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and announced a new interagency team to coordinate and streamline permitting for oil-and-gas projects in Alaska.

“In the wake of the debt-ceiling fiasco, the president is no doubt eager to demonstrate his ability to act independently of Congress, and specifically on an issue of concern to average Americans like gasoline prices,” said Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center who often works on energy matters.

While Obama has called on Congress to pass energy bills and the White House says it’s working with the Senate, Obama is also seeking to seize control of the political narrative on energy by focusing on executive actions rather than legislative goals.

“I think the White House continues to believe that oil politics are very important to the economy and the next election, and they are determined to enact whatever policies they can, especially those that have a populist bent,” Bledsoe said.

The White House is working to catalogue the president’s energy policy achievements. Ahead of Obama’s speech Thursday, the White House circulated a list of recent administration actions on energy policy, arguing they will play a major role in “spurring economic growth, and creating high-quality domestic jobs in cutting-edge industries across America.”

The White House is also defending against friendly fire from environmental groups, which argue that Obama has not been aggressive enough when it comes to environmental policy.

Thursday on Air Force One, White House press secretary Jay Carney spotlighted a new Time magazine article praising Obama’s energy and environmental record and blasting liberals for “whining” about the things the president has been unable to accomplish.

Despite the intense partisanship in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday he hopes to make energy one of Democrats’ “signature issues” in the coming months. Energy, he said, will play a role in Senate Democrats’ jobs agenda. But Reid has offered few details on what such an energy plan might look like.

Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, said later Wednesday that the White House is working “directly” with Reid on his energy agenda.

On Thursday, Obama said he’s planning to roll out more proposals to boost the economy in the days ahead.

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