Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

OMG: One of Dem’s loose cannons unloads on Obama…

March 11, 2019

Congresswoman Omar: “Hope and change was just a mirage”
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Frosh Congresswoman ilhan Omer set off an anti-Israel, anti-Semite bruhaha last week.

That was broadly covered by the MSM.

But, the MSM has largely ignored the Congresswoman’s interview with left-leaning Politico.

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In the lPolitico: interview Omar is quoted as saying:

We can’t be only upset with Trump.

His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies.

They just were more polished than he is.

Who was she talking about?

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Congress cut military pensions … did they cut their own?

December 20, 2013

The flap over the budget deal that cut military pensions – including those for disabled vets — resurrected an old question of mine: I’ve always wondered what retired members of the Congress and Senate got to live on when they retired.

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Here’s the scoop …

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Deja Vu: Anybody remember zero-based budgeting?

October 3, 2013

First, a quick refresher course courtesy of the Government Finance Officers Association (of Canada, that is).

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When using zero-base budgeting (ZBB), a government builds a budget from the ground up, starting from zero.

There has been renewed interest in ZBB in today’s environment of fiscal constraint, not least because the “zero” in zero-base budgeting sends a powerful message that taxes and spending will be held in check.

Zero-base budgeting, also known simply as ZBB, has had a long …  history in the public sector.

Zero-base budgeting first rose to prominence in government in the 1970s when U.S. President Jimmy Carter promised to balance the federal budget in his first term and reform the federal budgeting system using zero-base budgeting, a system he had used while governor of Georgia.

ZBB, as Carter and budget theorists envisioned it, requires expenditure proposals to compete for funding on an equal basis – starting from zero. In theory, the organization’s entire budget needs to be justified and approved, rather than just the incremental change from the prior year.

Today, there is an apparent resurgent interest in ZBB.

GFOA’s survey shows that traditional budgeting methods, namely line-item and incremental budgeting, have declined in use in the last few years, while all forms of budgeting that are thought to be better adapted to cutting back the budget, not just ZBB, have increased Source

OK, they’re talking about Canada, not the U.S.

Still a couple of takeaways:

1. The process – in government, at least – traces back to Jimmy Carter.

2. Many Canadian governments are using ZBB

3. In Canada, the use of ZBB is increasing

Now. here’s what I think is interesting …

 


Although they stumbled into it, the GOP may have landed on a masterful plan.

In effect, the GOP’s piecemeal approach to unraveling the government shutdown is nothing more than real-time ZBB.

Think about it for a second.

A week ago the gambit was to fund everything except ObamaCare.

Non-starter, right?

Now, in concept at least, the piecemealing approach allows everything to be funded … except ObamaCare.

Everything that matters – either really or because of political optics – can be quickly restored with short, separate authorization bills.

Anything that’s questionable stays squashed.

Anything that’s essential gets an appropriation,

Eventually everything that’s essential gets funded.

Gee, that sounds like zero-based budgeting, doesn’t it?

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Cajones: Congress considers an exemption to ObamaCare … to themselves!

April 26, 2013

From the you can’t make this stuff up files …

During the 2009-10 battle over what’s now dubbed Obamacare, Republicans insisted that Capitol Hill hands must have the same health care as the rest of the American people.

Now, according to left-leaning Politico, “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting 535 lawmakers and their aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of ObamaCare.”

“The lawmakers — especially those with long careers in public service and smaller bank accounts — are concerned about the hit to their own wallets.”

Obviously, “by removing themselves from a key ObamaCare mandate, lawmakers – who passed the law — and aides would be held to a different standard than the people on whom they’re imposing the law.”

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Picture credit

Politico keenly observes: “If Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public.”

You think?

Good for us, bad for them.

Hmmm.

There’s more. Here’s the real head-scratcher …

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Snippet from the Goldman Sachs hearing …

April 28, 2010

Amid the blah-blah-blah. one question caught my attention:

Sen. Levin: “Which do you put first, the interests of your customers or the interests of your firm ?”

The GS guy stammered and gave a non-answer.

I wish he had answered either:

(a)  “Obviously, the interests of our customers because they are our business — so serving their interests is in the best interest of our firm.”

… or better yet, wish he had answered the question with a question …

(b) “Senator, when you vote, which do you put first, the interests of your constituents (the majority of whom are and were opposed to ObamaCare), or the interests of your party and President Obama ?”

The guy would have been charged with contempt of Congress, but it would have made for great theater …

Government gridlock … you ain’t seen nothing yet.

April 8, 2010

This may be obvious to the rest of the world, but it’s a new revelation to me … there’s no chance of anything material been passed out of Congress for quite awhile.

Why ? It centers on the Dems blatant use the 51-vote reconciliation process on ObamaCare to bypass the super-majority that’s traditional in the Senate.

Here’s a common scenario: The House passes a bill.  Then, the Senate passes a related, but different bill — the differences can be big or little — that doesn’t matter.

Under traditional rules, the two bills get consolidated by a conference committee and then is submitted to a majority vote in the House and a super-majority vote in the Senate.

Under reconciliation rules, the Senate’s super-majority is bypassed and 51 votes carries the day.

So what ?

Bottom line, the initial Senate bill — passed by a super-majority — is meaningless since it can be altered in the conference committee and passed back for a 51-vote reconciliation.

The only way that the minority party in the Senate has any residual clout is if it fillibusters initial bills so they don’t go to conference and reconciliation … or, if the Senate passes a House bill without changes — that wouldn’t be subject to conference and reconciliation. The latter has long odds for any material legislation.

So, expect GOPers to fillibuster just about everything.  Until the November elections, that is. 

Conceivably, the GOP will win back a majority in the Senate — but no way it gets to a super-majority.

So, the tables may get turned, with Dems fillbustering to stop the GOP from reconciling.

Follow all of that ?

The good news, in my opinion, is the likelihood of complete gridlock … for as far as the eye can see. 

HIGH ALERT: To the lifeboats … Guam may capsize!

April 2, 2010

I got a laugh out this one …

The pay-off comes right after the geography lesson.

Keep in mind: the questioner is a US Congressman ( YIPES !)

Ask yourself: How can the Admiral who is being questioned keep a straight face

Our government at work …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg&feature=player_embedded

Hat tip to Tags for feeding:
http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/12301.html

Is Congress dysfunctional … or working the way it’s supposed to?

February 19, 2010

An interesting take that cuts to the chase …

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Excerpted from: The Economist:What’s gone wrong in Washington?, Feb 18, 2010

Washington seems incapable of fixing America’s deeper problems.  Certainly the system looks dysfunctional.

This, argue the critics, is what happens when

  • A mere 41 senators (in a 100-strong chamber) can filibuster a bill to death; when states like Wyoming (population: 500,000) have the same clout in the Senate as California (37m), so that senators representing less than 11% of the population can block bills.
  • Thanks to gerrymandering, many congressional seats are immune from competitive elections.
  • A tide of lobbying cash corrupts everything.

A criticism with more weight is that American government is good at solving acute problems (like averting a Depression) but less good at confronting chronic ones (like the burden of entitlements).

America’s political structure was designed to make legislation at the federal level difficult, not easy.

The founders believed that a country the size of America is best governed locally, not nationally.

The basic system works; but that is no excuse for ignoring areas where it could be reformed.

In the House the main outrage is gerrymandering. Tortuously shaped “safe” Republican and Democratic seats mean that the real battles are fought among party activists for their party’s nomination. This leads candidates to pander to extremes, and lessens the chances of bipartisan co-operation.

In the Senate the filibuster is used too often, in part because it is too easy. Senators who want to talk out a bill ought to be obliged to do just that, not rely on a simple procedural vote: voters could then see exactly who was obstructing what.

These defects and others should be corrected. But even if they are not, they do not add up to a system that is as broken as people now claim.

Full article
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15545983&source=hptextfeature