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)
Mike Brownfield January 6, 2012 at 10:40 am
Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor was encouraging news for the U.S. economy. It shows that 200,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent. Jobs were created in every sector of the economy save one — government! This report is consistent with other economic indicators and shows that the economy is finally coming out of its malaise. But like any reports, they must be put into context. The creation of 200,000 new jobs is solid growth and above the 130,000 to 150,000 new jobs that must be created to keep up with population growth. However, this doesn’t mean happy times are here again.
There are not enough Americans working or looking for work. In fact participation in the labor force is at its lowest point in 30 years as many potential workers are not yet even attempting to find jobs. Moreover, at this stage in a recovery, new jobs should be surging instead of averaging less than 140,000 for the last three months. So all is not well and President Obama should not check the “mission accomplished” box. In fact, Obama’s painful economic policies will only serve to further hamstring America’s economic engine, thereby preventing a truly strong, vibrant economy that the country is capable of having.
The President single-handedly unleashed another poison pill on Wednesday with the White House’s announcement that he will exact another illegal, unconstitutional end-run around Congress with the appointment of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without Senate approval, all of whom are union officials. Here’s why that matters.
The NLRB is a five-member board that is responsible for investigating unfair labor practices, creating labor-related rules, and conducting elections for labor union representation. Last year the NLRB enacted measures shortening union elections to as little as 14 days, limiting employees’ ability to hear from both sides before they vote, allowing unions to cherry-pick which workers in a company can vote on unionizing, and preventing workers from insisting on a secret ballot in union drives, as Heritage’s James Sherk explains. These measures will make it much easier for unions to organize workers — but at the expense of workers’ rights. If workers want to join a union they have that right — management gets the union it deserves — but the government should not limit their rights in order to press workers into unionizing.
Prior to the President’s appointments, the NLRB had only three sitting members, with the one member’s term ending at the end of 2012. Were the NLRB to go down to two members, it wouldn’t have a quorum to conduct its business, meaning that the President’s Big Labor agenda couldn’t be enacted. Now, though, the President has appointed three new members who will undoubtedly carry out his agenda without any checks or balances.
And that agenda is to bolster America’s unions — a key constituency and political force standing behind the President. Unfortunately, their goal is not primarily to protect workers. The trouble is that the Big Labor agenda is fundamentally at odds with the pro-growth agenda that America is so thirsty for. Sherk explains:
Unions make businesses less competitive and discourage investment. This reduces job growth. Studies show that jobs fall by 5-10 percent at newly organized firms. Going forward, employment grows by three to four percentage points more slowly at unionized businesses than at otherwise identical non-union companies.
In short, America is witnessing President Obama put his Big Labor allies before workers, all in the guise of taking action on behalf of the American people. America’s job creators are sitting on the sidelines, as well, watching as this President takes actions that serve only to inject more poisonous uncertainty into the economy.
Apart from the economic ramifications of the President’s actions, the American people should also remember that his NLRB appointments are a blatantly unconstitutional, tyrannical abuse of power. The U.S. Constitution requires that the President receive the advice and consent of the Senate when making appointments — a requirement that President Obama entirely set aside in order to advance his agenda.
Today, the President may say he is finding success in fighting for the American worker, but in truth he is fighting for his political allies. Beneath the surface of his populist rhetoric, his policies are poisoning strong economic growth. And for the President, the Constitution is collateral damage.
- The Obama Administration is planning on a change to the nation’s immigration rules that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States while applying for citizenship.
- Was classified information leaked to filmmakers about how Osama bin Laden was killed? Representative Pete King (R-NY) says the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency are investigating, according to The Hill.
- Twenty-five people were killed and dozens were wounded in Damascus, Syria, after a suicide bomber attacked a busy intersection. The explosion is the second attack in the Syrian capital in two weeks, The New York Times reports.
- Ready for a “gas-pocalypse”? The Los Angeles Times reports that record-high gas prices are headed even higher due to expensive oil and changes in refinery operations.
- LUNCHTIME CHAT: Join us today from 12-1 ET as we discuss the Stop Online Piracy Act. Find out how Congress’s actions might affect how you surf the Internet. Click here to join in!
- Obama defies lawmakers with recess appointments to NLRB (thehill.com)
- Obama Uses Recess Appointments to Keep NLRB Alive (crooksandliars.com)
- Union Bosses Applaud Obama’s Unconstitutional Appointments (actualgrit.wordpress.com)
- Obama NLRB Recess Appointments Thrill Labor, Infuriate Business – more signs that Obama has been unleashed? : 0) (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Obama Again Bypasses Congress, Appoints 3 To Labor Board (foxnews.com)
- Obama defies lawmakers with recess appointments to NLRB (whoopsies.wordpress.com)
- Romney Ad for S.C. Slams NLRB (blogs.wsj.com)