Listening to the People

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Listening to The People
    By Edwin Feulner, The Conservative Voice
    March 17, 2007

    Consider a recent poll conducted by Democracy Corps, a Democratic outfit.

    Registered voters were asked to select one of the following two statements: “I want Congress to first invest in areas like health care, education and energy, even if it means spending additional money,” and “I want Congress to first focus on cutting wasteful spending and making government more accountable.” A large majority (58 percent) opted for cutting wasteful spending. Little more than a third (36 percent) wanted lawmakers to spend--or as the firm euphemistically put it, “invest”--more.

    The same survey asked voters to choose between these statements: “Government mostly stimulates the economy and job growth,” and “government mostly gets in the way of the economy and job growth.” Only 34 percent said government stimulates the economy, while 54 percent said it mostly gets in the way.

    Liberal lawmakers can’t be pleased by these results, which show a solid preference for conservative policies.

    Recently Congress has been considering options that would undermine the president’s ability to win the war in Iraq. But as a recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican outfit) indicated, voters still want to win there. Half said that “our troops should stay there and do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country.” A mere 17 percent said the U.S. “should immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq.”

    That all sounds like an excellent agenda: Slash wasteful spending. Reduce federal involvement in the economy. Win the war in Iraq.

    The people have spoken. Will our leaders listen?

    for full article:
    http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/23559.html
     
  2. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Do not hold your breath. It seems Pres Bush is helping them - all in a feeble attemot to get along with Dems


    Earmark Subterfuge
    By Robert Novak

    WASHINGTON -- As part of "Sunshine Week" to promote transparent government, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last Monday was supposed to release a comprehensive database revealing the number and cost of earmarks since 2005. It did not. The word on Capitol Hill was that the OMB was muzzled by the White House for fear of offending powerful congressional appropriators.

    Meanwhile, the new majority staffs of Senate appropriations subcommittees under Democratic control are privately soliciting individual senators for their requested earmarks, without much transparency. That would seem to make a sham of the pledge by Appropriations Chairman Robert C. Byrd to "place a moratorium on all earmarks until a reformed process is put in place."

    Thanks partly to the outcome of the 2006 elections, members of Congress can no longer blithely earmark funds for unauthorized pet projects as they have done with increasing frequency. But in the dark recesses of Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties are continuing the pernicious practice as best they can. The question is whether they will be curbed by the Republican administration, the Democratic Congress, or both.

    OMB Director Rob Portman, a former member of the House Republican leadership, is a firm opponent of earmarks. On Jan. 25, he signed a memorandum for heads of departments on the collection of information about earmarks. It set forth a rigid timeline culminating in the posting March 12 of all this data on the "public Internet." What would be revealed would be a rare exposure of the murky world of congressional pork acquisition.

    But just as the OMB was prepared to put out this information, it sent word to Capitol Hill that -- over its protests -- it was being kept under wraps by the White House to appease the appropriators. With Congress in the midst of the budget process, President Bush's team did not want to stir up the Hill.

    All that was released last Monday was a compilation of earmarks in 2005, with few details. Portman publicly called it "an important first step towards providing greater transparency." In private, however, he said last week: "My hands are tied." Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, the scourge of earmarks, told me: "I think the American people should be very disappointed."

    An even stronger example of the resiliency by the congressional pork purveyors is the Appropriators' non-compliance with the ethics bill that has passed the Senate 96 to 2 but has not yet been finally enacted. Coburn last Monday delivered a letter to Chairman Byrd, saying: "The committee's failure to make earmark information public would make a mockery of recently passed earmark reforms and would suggest to taxpayers that the Senate wants to continue to earmark funds in secret."

    Skimpy though the information is, however, OMB's posting generated calls of protest to the agency from members of Congress. It is business as usual in the earmarks business orchestrated by the Senate Appropriations subcommittees.

    On Feb. 21, the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies subcommittee sent senators a detailed procedure for earmarks with a March 30 deadline. On Feb. 28, the chairman and ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Development subcommittee asked for earmark requests that "identify" their "beneficial role." On March 7, the Agriculture subcommittee sent senators a request form.

    Such request forms generally omit the new ethics bill's requirements, for example, disclosure of any personal financial interest in an earmark by a member of Congress. The Labor, HHS and Education subcommittee's form asks only that the request be made by April 13, 2007. Coburn's letter to Byrd: "Your experience and institutional knowledge are invaluable, and I look forward to working with you to ensure that all taxpayers dollars are expended in a fully transparent and responsible manner."

    Whether or not Coburn really expects help from Capitol Hill's reigning king of pork, he surely would like to see George W. Bush shrug off the threat of the appropriators and get involved in the war against earmarks. A senior White House aide has advised that the full story, expected last week, will be told by the end of the month. It will be a good test of presidential intent.

    Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/03/earmark_subterfuge.html
     
  3. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Funding more than war
    By S.A. Miller

    Nearly half of the $21 billion that House Democrats added to President Bush's request for emergency war funding would go to nonmilitary spending and to pork projects.
    The supplemental spending bill includes more than $3.7 billion in farm subsidies, $2.9 billion in additional Gulf Coast hurricane relief and $2.4 billion for social programs such as money for rural Northwest school districts, health insurance for poor children, energy assistance for poor families and others.
    Mr. Bush yesterday called on Congress to pass legislation that funds the troops without extraneous spending provisions or requirements for an early withdrawal from Iraq.
    "They have a responsibility to pass a clean bill that does not use funding for our troops as leverage to get special-interest spending for their districts," said Mr. Bush, whose initial request funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as about $3.4 billion in hurricane relief.
    "They have a responsibility to get this bill to my desk without strings and without delay."
    House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said nonmilitary items in the emergency spending bill address vital needs that the previous Republican-led Congress neglected and that can't go unfunded until the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
    "We are responding to needs that last Republican majority ignored, such as funding for children's health care that was requested by Republican and Democratic governors," Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards said.
    Emergency spending bills historically are a magnet for pork projects, but critics of the war supplemental say the new Democratic majority has broken their vow to restore fiscal restraint to Washington.
    Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Democratic leaders were trying to "wrap pork in Old Glory."
    "To call some of the stuff in this bill an emergency must have Webster spinning in his grave," Mr. Hensarling said. "The real emergency Democrats must have is the emergency of selling votes to get this thing passed."
    Debate is set to begin this week on the $124 billion emergency spending bill, which also would require all U.S. troops to pull out of Iraq by fall 2008 or sooner if benchmarks for progress are not met. A vote on the bill is scheduled for Thursday.
    The more than $9.9 billion of nonmilitary spending in the House bill includes $1 billion to buy vaccines against a major bird-flu epidemic, $750 million for State Children's Health Insurance Program, $500 million for wildfire suppression, $400 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $100 million in food aid to Africa.

    Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said the bill is "a blatant betrayal of the Democrats' campaign promise to restore fiscal accountability to Congress."
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned the validity of the criticism.
    "Are they talking about the money that we have in the bill for health care for the poorest children in America -- legislation that has been asked for by both Democratic and Republican governors?" Mrs. Pelosi said to reporters last week.
    "Are they talking about disaster assistance, which they have refused to give to America's farmers, which is long overdue?" she said. "I don't know, but I am very proud of the product that we are putting forth. It makes our country stronger by improving our military readiness. It holds the Iraqi government accountable by putting forth the president's own benchmarks."
    The bill's $3.7 billion in agriculture assistance to U.S. farmers includes $1.4 billion to compensate ranchers who lost livestock in disasters, $283 million in milk subsidies, $74 million in peanut subsidies and $25 million in spinach subsidies. The legislation also adds $400 million to continue funding for rural Northwest school districts facing cuts in federal compensation because of declines in timber and salmon harvests.
    It boosts the president's request for Gulf Coast hurricane relief by about $2.9 billion, adding $1.3 billion for Army Corps of Engineers' flood control projects, $30 million for colleges, $30 million for schools and $25.1 million for the Small Business Administration's disaster loan program.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has not indicated whether he will take up the House bill or introduce his own emergency spending legislation. Senate Republicans are expected to fight any funding that goes beyond the war effort or any measure to require a troop withdrawal.
    Last week, the Senate in a near party-line vote rejected a Democratic plan to force all U.S. troops to pull out from Iraq by March 2008.


    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20070320-120432-9527r.htm
     
  4. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    The people are hardly ever listened to in this nation. It's rather sad.

    Unfortunately, too many elites in Washington think they know better simply because they managed to win a popularity contest with a less charismatic candidate. Or be cause they have an R or D next to their name.

    Politicians are no fun.
     

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