Posts Tagged ‘Congress’
by Lois Beckett – ProPublica, Nov. 23, 2011
One senator on the super committee, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, told the Washington Post, “We’re at a time in American history where everybody’s afraid — afraid of losing their job — to move toward the center. A deadline is insufficient. You’ve got to have people who are willing to move.”
Decrying partisanship is almost as old as the republic itself. But long-time observers of Congress say that Congress has actually taken a turn for the worse—more gridlock, more grandstanding, less compromise to get things done.
Old rules are being used in newly aggressive, partisan ways, and routine Congressional activities have become politicized—most notably, the vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Once a nonissue, the debt ceiling vote brought the nation to the brink of default.
Read the full story @ ProPublica
Will put small business and political experience to work creating jobs and balancing budgets
Winchester, TN – State Senator Eric Stewart announced today that he will run to represent Tennessee’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging to put partisanship aside so we can protect our nation’s commitment to seniors, create jobs to revive our economy and reduce our massive deficit.
“Congress is broken and all we see is fighting, political posturing and gridlock from the folks we sent there to work on our behalf and solve the serious problems we face,” said Eric Stewart. “People are struggling. Unemployment remains too high, and our economy is sluggish at best. Illegal drug problems continue to increase and many small businesses are hanging on by a thread, if at all. All the while, Congress is only focused on slinging mud and pointing fingers instead of taking action to create jobs and reduce our debt. I’m running for Congress to bring common sense back to Washington and put the needs of the people ahead of special interests, rigid ideology and petty partisanship.”
Born and raised in Franklin County, Stewart has owned a small business, ran his family’s business and served as s county commissioner and state Senator. In 2002 Stewart defeated a 12-year incumbent to win a seat on the Franklin County Commission and won a hotly contested seat for the State Senate in 2008. That year, Stewart defeated a well-financed Republican in the General Election despite large Democratic losses in the district.
As a county commissioner, Eric Stewart pushed for budget cuts within county departments, pay cuts for county commissioners, and he supported tax relief for senior citizens. In the State Senate, Stewart championed tax relief for small businesses that put Tennesseans back to work as well as breaks for military families. He has supported measures to reduce and eventually eliminate the sales taxes on food. Focused on cutting government waste, Stewart has only voted for balanced budgets. Stewart is also a staunch supporter of public education in Tennessee. He has worked diligently to improve the public education system in Tennessee and fought for the rights of teachers, students and parents.
“I come from a family of small business owners, educators and people who give back,” Stewart said. “We need representatives in Washington who understand that the people of this district are struggling, and are willing to roll up their sleeves and find common ground to solve the problems our families, children and small businesses face. My focus has always been on helping people, creating jobs and improving public education in a common sense, fiscally responsible way. You can’t reach these goals when folks in Washington care more about toeing the party line and keeping their job than they do about helping folks back home. I look forward to listening to the hopes and dreams of the voters in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district, and taking their voice to Washington.”
For more information on the campaign or to sign up for the newsletter to receive regular updates, please visit the campaign website, www.votestewart.com.
If you don’t really care for how our government is handling things then you’re not alone. I was just reading this article and it caught my eye. Apparently most of us are not very \”happy\” with our government is handling much of anything. The next elections should be really interesting and full of more \”promises\”. [...]
Best News & Politics
Is President Obama finally testing his administration’s muscle? On Wednesday, Obama directed several federal agencies to identify “high-impact, job-creating infrastructure projects” that can be expedited by administrative directive without congressional involvement or approval.
One week before he will make a major address to Congress on jobs, Obama is making sure they know he plans to move forward without them. The president has also directed the Education Department to come up with a “Plan B” updating the 2001 No Child Left Behind law in the absence of congressional action. The message to Congress is clear: Do your work or we’ll do it for you.
Under Wednesday’s order, the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation will each select up to three high-priority infrastructure projects that can be completed within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government.
The effort is labeled as a “common-sense approach” to spurring job growth “in the near term.” In practical terms, that means speeding up the permitting and waiver processes for green-building or highway projects to get the government out of the way. One of businesses’ foremost complaints with government infrastructure projects is that the paperwork is too cumbersome and creates unnecessary delays, according to White House economic advisers.
What is left unsaid in the administration’s rollout of the infrastructure project is that this may be the extent of the president’s powers while Congress embroils itself in months-long talks on cutting the deficit and responding to the White House’s jobs plan. Obama also pleaded with Congress on Wednesday to pass clean extensions of the Federal Aviation Administration and the surface-transportation laws, both of which expire this month.
IndependentVoting.org’s Nancy Ross Says Congress Should Investigate Situations As in Utah Where One-Third of Voters Are Independent and Locked Out of Primary VotingTuesday, September 6th, 2011
- Voter group disapproves of Utah’s closed primary elections (By Jennie Christensen, Cache Valley Daily) When it comes to politics, 54 percent of Utahns call themselves Independents. But Nancy Ross, national director for IndependentVoting.org, says the state of Utah is anything but Independent. She says four years ago 93 percent of the people voted for Mitt Romney.
- If you are a voter you’ll want to read this (By KMVT News) Before July 1st, the state of Idaho never required party registration. But because of the federal court decision in Idaho republican party versus Ysursa, the law’s changed. Only registered voters of a political party may vote to select their party’s nominee.
- Political Booths At County Fair Offer Friendly Alternative to Heated Debates (By Ben Botkin, Magic Valley Times News) There’s also voting information at the fair that doesn’t seek to sway your political views. The Twin Falls County Clerk’s office has a booth that explains the state’s switch to a closed primary system. It will require voters to declare a party affiliation before voting in the 2012 primaries, unless party leaders opt to allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots.
It’s up to Congress now to tackle the thorny issue of immigration reform after President Obama made his case Tuesday standing on the U.S. border, according to reform supporters.
Obama traveled to the border at El Paso, Texas to call for enactment of comprehensive immigration reform, an issue that both Obama and his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, have so far been unsuccessful in accomplishing.
“So one way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else. I want incomes for middle-class families to rise again,” Obama says. “I want prosperity in this country to be widely shared. I want everybody to be able to reach that American dream. And that’s why immigration reform is an economic imperative. It’s an economic imperative.
“And reform will also help to make America more competitive in the global economy. Today, we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities,” the president adds.
Independent advocates praised Obama’s remarks, and now want lawmakers to step up to the plate.
“The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund appreciates President Obama traveling to the border city of El Paso, Texas to speak this afternoon about the important issue of comprehensive immigration reform,” the organization, which facilitates Latinos in the American political process, says in a statement released after the president’s appearance. “He reiterated in his remarks today that border security is a top priority and is indeed being addressed, but not at the expense of fixing our broken immigration system.
“The President has listened to the community and is clearly ready to move forward. It is now time for Congress to do the same,” the NALEO statement adds.
A prominent group which represents U.S. cities also calls for immigration reform.
The mushrooming number of immigration statutes at the state and local level, such as Arizona’s controversial state law, demands federal action on the matter, according to the National League of Cities (NLC).
NLC calls for the president and Congress to overcome their differences and find a way to move forward. Reform will provide an avenue for cities to move illegal immigrants out of the shadows and allow them to become fully contributing participants within their communities, the organization says in a statement.
“Immigration has been a source for economic growth and innovation. From its founding, the nation has been strengthened socially, culturally and economically by recent immigrants,” says James Mitchell Jr., president of NLC and a councilmember in Charlotte, N.C.
“Our nation needs to remain open to new sources of ideas and inspiration if we are to compete in the global market,” he adds.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also praised Obama’s approach, saying that immigration reform must mean more than secure U.S. borders.
“No one can deny we have made significant strides in securing our border –- with more border patrol agents, better surveillance technology and a stronger fence than ever before. Democrats know there’s more work to be done, which is why we successfully fought a Republican budget that would have fired border agents and put our safety at risk. But as the President said today, to fix our broken immigration system, we must honestly assesses our immigration policies and their impact on our economy, legal system and local governments, and pursue a comprehensive solution to the problem,” Reid says.
“We need an effective and efficient legal immigration system. Part of securing our nation is knowing who is already here, so we must require the 11 million undocumented immigrants to register with the government, pay taxes and fines, learn English and go to the back of the line before they can achieve legal status,” he adds. “We should give the best and brightest students from around the globe –- who come here to take advantage of our world-class education system –- a chance to start businesses that employ American workers.”
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.
Two years back Sen. Barack Obama was barnstorming the country talking about hope and change you can believe in and how President Bush had and was oversteping his authority you thought Obama wouldn’t behave this way. When Obama said he would put on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk the picket line to show support for Union workers you might have taken him at his word. When Obama said two illegal wars was two wars too many and he would bring the troops home you may have thought he was sharing true feelings from his heart so when he opened up another front in Lybia you were surprised.
When you discovered that Obama didn’t have one spare co-worker he could send over to the Hill and conduct a meeting with the elected representatives of the people you might wonder what is going on here? Obama could have called a temp agency and rented a mouthpiece for the day and the Democrats and a third of the Republicans would have been satisfied. There is a group of Republicans who are up for a war any day, any time, all the time. John McCain daydreams about war, its all he keeps breathing for. The war monger hawks (Dick Cheney, John McCain, ect.) are usually old and burnt and given easily to daydreaming.
On at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress. This includes the United States fighting in Korea in 1950 and our continuing involvement there. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.
The Congress hasn’t exercised its war powers authority since last century, since 1941. All these Democratic phonies wanted was to be able to give the impression to the folks back home they they were involved and to make a few patriotic comments for the local news back in their districts. Pretending to have knowledge and to be involved is good publicity and keeps their names on their supporters minds. Since when does the President not look out for the interest of his own party. Where were these wild firey eyed Democrats when Bush was at war with the world?
Republicans are another matter altogether. In general they will oppose anything that Obama does. If Obama happens to do something they have been talking about they will flip-flop on their views and renew their attack on Obama from the other side. Republicans have no idea how we got into the two wars that are a decade old and refer to them as Obama’s wars. Republicans try never to say GW Bush’s name. Tea party members in the Republican party are proud of their ignorance and doing nothing to change it. Ignorance is a prime indicatior to look for when identifing a tea party member.
Its easy to see why President Obama neglected to get with them. The matter was urgent and all it takes in the Senate is one dummy conducting a fillerbuster and no decision will ever be made. Rand Paul would be happy to be that dummy and he’s just one of many who wants to grind things to a halt and freeze the government. As I write this the UN is ready to take over the operation of the No Fly Zone and just as Obama said in Days or Weeks Not Years. When Republicans enter a conflict it never ends and it costs multiple Trillions of Dollars and nobody helps us pay the bill.
We have just spent three quarters of a BILLION Dollars in Lybia and can’t afford to pay for our childrens education and teachers. We can buy TomaHawk Missles all day long just don’t look for funding for textbooks. The needs of our country must be met before we play sugar daddy to the world. Does Obama think we have friends in Lybia? Is he pretending that he can tell the difference between friend and foe? Who Knows but enough is enough. Stay in Washington and work on the problems we have here at home. Once our people are working and earning livings and our deficit is under control go nose in anybodies business you please. Until then focus on the USA.
Here’s the ACVDN Bottom Line. Obama is screwing up on a regular basis. Where are and Who are the people advising him?
Lastly where can we get him some competent advisors? Our political system is corrupt and broken and manned by dishonest
players on both (all) sides. Washington is where ethics, honesty, hard work and truth go to die. Washington is also where old Senators and Congressmen spend their final days being carried by their staffs.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) had been circulating a resolution “expressing the sense of Congress that the President is required to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed Forces in response to civil unrest in Libya.” The measure was supported by Reps. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), among others.
“In launching over 100 missiles on Libya this weekend, not only did the Defense Department undermine a carefully constructed consensus, which included the Arab League, but it leveled a devastating blow to our legislative-executive checks and balances,” read a statement by Honda, who is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Peace and Security Taskforce. “For the Pentagon to deliberately circumvent Congressional authority sets a new precedent for war powers authorization and sends the message to the world that American democracy is deeply dysfunctional. Secondly, for the Pentagon to pick its battles based on energy security considerations, which is particularly apparent given Libya’s 7th-ranked oil reserves, sends the message that America cares little about the human rights and freedoms of people in countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Western Sudan, or Ivory Coast, without critical energy resources.
Thirdly, for the Pentagon to pursue past precedent in employing a shock-and-awe-type invasion, indicates a deliberate disdain for the myriad of smaller pursuable efforts that are possible before pummeling a country with an air assault. I demand a serious conversation in Congress before new countries are incautiously invaded and before America’s legislative branch is eviscerated further.”
As the United States expands its military imprint on the international intervention into Libyan airspace, members of Congress have begun sounding the alarm over the lack of regard being paid by the president to the legal and advisory roles of the legislative branch.
On Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) offered his endorsement for a no fly zone over Libya. Conspicuous in his statement, however, was the threat to disrupt future operations should the president not consult Congress first.
“Before any further military commitments are made,” Boehner said, “the Administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission.”
A top GOP leadership aide clarified that Boehner wasn’t insisting that Obama needed congressional authorization for the use of military force in Libya. “The focus,” said the aide, “is on Congressional consultation.” At an off-camera briefing hours later, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon called such a request “fair” while arguing that it had been met by the president.
But Boehner’s remarks still underscore the domestic political limits Obama faces as he executes, what aides insist will be, a limited, internationally-led military intervention in Libya; which, this weekend, included cruise missile attacks and air strikes. While the majority of lawmakers who have spoken publicly say they support America’s involvement in the U.N.-backed mission (some Republicans wishing it had come sooner), several influential voices have argued — as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee did — that the President “has an obligation to explain” operational objectives to Congress.
Lower on the leadership ranks, a strange-bedfellows coalition of progressive-minded pols and Tea Party members has emerged, not only raising doubts about the underlying strategy but the legality of it as well.
“I think [the president] has a duty and an obligation to come to Congress,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah.) told The Huffington Post. “I see no clear and present danger to the United States of America. I just don’t. We’re in a bit of the fog at the moment as to what the president is trying to ultimately do.”
Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the president can send U.S. armed forces into conflict only with the authorization of Congress or if the United States is under attack or serious threat. Absent such authorization, however, the president does have a 48-hour window to report about military deployments overseas. While Congress is supposed to be consulted “in every possible instance,” a broadening interpretation of executive powers has greatly diminished its “sign-off” authority.
“More recently, due to an expansive interpretation of the president’s constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and of his inherent powers to use force without Congressional authorization, the President has welcomed support from the Congress in the form of legislation authorizing him to utilize U.S. military forces in a foreign conflict or engagement in support of U.S. interests, but has not taken the view that he is required to obtain such authorization,” reads a March 2007 Congressional Research Service report.
Nadler and Chaffetz aren’t alone among those classes of lawmakers (old and young) whose politics have been shaped by skepticism with this trend. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), put up a Facebook post on Sunday arguing that the president could not “launch strikes without authorization from the American people” and complaining Congress was being treated like “serfs.”
On Saturday, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, organized a Caucus wide conference call for all House Democrats to get an update on the situation. That same day, another call was organized with a dozen-or-so liberal Democrats to discuss the constitutionality of the president’s actions and chart out possible political responses.
At least two members — Nadler and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) — have called for an emergency congressional session to address and, potentially, authorize the use of military force.
“We should have been called into session yesterday or the day before,” said Nadler.
With Congress currently on recess, a resolution (let alone a hearing) on U.S. military actions in Libya is unlikely to happen for at least another week. In the interim, the White House, stating that it has operated squarely within legal parameters and with a deft of political caution, has pledged to keep lawmakers posted on events.
“We have been closely consulting Congress regarding the situation in Libya, including in a session the President conducted before his announcement yesterday with the bipartisan leadership,” said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor. “The President is committed to maintaining the full support of Congress in the course of ongoing and close consultation.”
To that point, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough held a conference call with top Congressional staffers on Friday afternoon. The President, meanwhile, hosted a meeting with House and Senate leadership later that afternoon. And while Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, declined to call it “consultation” — more along the lines of “laying it out,” he told Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy — others were content.
“One of the reasons I predict that there will be some strong bipartisan support in the Congress for the President’s decision is because it is a limited mission,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D- MI) said Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “I saw that in person in the White House on Friday– and was very impressed by the caution and the care that the President is putting into this.”
Amherst County Virginia Democratic News
Staff at LP.org:
President Obama and Vice President Biden have both said in the past that it’s unconstitutional for a president to initiate a war without congressional authorization.
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