By Brian Darling
111th Congress’s Fruit Cake Christmas Present to America
You know how popular fruitcakes are at Christmas? Well, it looks as if that’s what the 111th Congress is giving to many Americans. The presents under the Christmas tree this year for conservatives are few, the presents for liberals plenty. Thank goodness some balance is coming to the House and Senate next year.
A federal judge in Virginia has declared the individual mandate in ObamaCare unconstitutional. This was a nice Christmas present for conservatives who treasure freedom. It is expected that next year, House Republicans will attempt to defund and repeal ObamaCare.
The liberals have shown what they want to do with ObamaCare next year with the funding priorities contained in the Omnibus spending bill being considered last week. Liberals loaded in $1 billion in new funding to implement the President’s unconstitutional healthcare law. They want to fully fund a law that the U.S. Supreme Court may deem unconstitutional in the next two years.
The New York Times reported last week that Maryland healthcare officials have leased office space for 230 bureaucrats to start the implementation process for ObamaCare. The Obama Administration has spent $18 million of your money on propaganda in the past year to tout the purported benefits of government-run healthcare for seniors. They spent millions on ads featuring Andy Griffith and postcards bragging about a small-business tax credit. Expect more wasteful healthcare spending in 2011.
Although conservatives did secure some short-term tax relief for 2011, the liberals tacked on an unpaid-for extension of unemployment benefits. It is expected that taxes will remain at current rates for 2011, so expect conservatives in Congress to push for permanent tax relief. Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) both have proposals to extend the tax cuts for good and they may get some debate time early in the next Congress.
Congress’s Lump of Coal
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) has stated his intent to keep the Senate in session right up until Christmas to pass the DREAM Act, the 9-11 first responders heath bill, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” some nominations, and one last federal land grab.
These liberals refuse to give up power. They’re planning on being in session until the day the new Congress is sworn in: Jan. 5, 2011.
When they come back into session, liberals are going to try to strong-arm a change in the Senate rules to restrict the use of filibusters by senators. This will end the rights of all senators to engage in extended debate and to offer amendments to bills. The point of this power grab? Giving Senate liberals the chance to railroad through liberal nominees and cut conservatives completely out of the legislative process.
Senate Earmark-Filled Omnibus Could Cost Taxpayers $18 Billion More
The Senate is debating a catch-all spending bill for the year called the Omnibus Spending Bill, loaded with $8 billion in earmarks. They are trying to pass this in place of a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded into next year. According to Congressional Quarterly, the earmark-filled Omnibus costs $18 billion more than the Continuing Resolution. Free-spending appropriators in the Senate are trying to use that $8 billion in special projects to buy $18 billion in new spending for fiscal year 2011.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) has documented 6,714 earmarks and is expected to move to strike all the earmarks from the bill. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has documented earmarks ranging from $277,000 for potato pest management in Wisconsin to $500,000 for oyster safety in Florida. Don’t worry about Christmas peanuts; there’s a $413,000 earmark for peanut research in Alabama. If you love to have pancakes with maple syrup on Christmas morning, you’re in luck—wearmarkers have put in $165,000 for maple research in Vermont.
Next time some politician tells you that earmarks don’t cost anything, point out that earmarks are used to buy votes for bloated spending bills.
Cheers and Jeers
Cheers to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for pushing a resolution in the House congratulating imprisoned Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo on winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize . Jeers to communist China for keeping Xiaobo imprisoned.