Tag Archives: Senate

Republican leadership pushes Democrat-approved budget deal

Betrayal: Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has finally released the language of the next short term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government through December 9, 2016, and it appears it was written by the Democratic leadership in the Senate.

As far as conservative priorities go, the bill is a failure. Among its many obvious flaws, it funds the government through Dec. 9—setting up a lame-duck session of Congress. In the lame-duck session, which occurs after the election but before new lawmakers are sworn in, unaccountable legislators are likely to pass a bevy of backroom deals, to the detriment of representative democracy (and, we can assume, to the wallets of the taxpayer).

Even though it only funds the government for a scant 69 days, the McConnell continuing resolution manages to do it at the bloated Boehner-Obama spending levels that were jammed down the throats of conservatives in 2015. In doing so, the continuing resolution sets up yet another spending cliff that will spawn a false panic in the lame-duck session, and lay the groundwork for more “must-pass” terrible deals. In other words, in December, lawmakers will once more have to pass yet another spending bill in order to ensure the government continues normal operations.

There’s more. Read it all. The bottom line is that McConnell has forged a deal that allows Democrats to gloat and Republican conservatives to tear their hair out in horror. No wonder outsiders like Trump and Cruz did so well in the primary season, and why Trump is now their Presidential candidate. The Republican leadership, which still doesn’t comprehend why this happened, also has no idea why the public gave them strong House and Senate majorities in 2010 and 2014. Maybe they don’t care and simply want to cash in quickly even if it destroys the country. Either way, they continue to betray the very people that voted them into power.

Senate committee throws money at NASA

The Senate appropriations subcommittee has announced its proposed 2017 budget for NASA, including significant budget increases for SLS and Orion.

SLS is the big winner in the bill, according to a summary of its contents provided by the committee. The heavy-lift launch vehicle would get $2.15 billion, $150 million more than it received in 2016 and $840 million above the administration’s request. The SLS funding includes $300 million directed for work on the Exploration Upper Stage with the goal of having it ready as soon as 2021, the earliest planned date for the first crewed SLS/Orion mission.

The bill also provides $1.3 billion for Orion, $30 million above 2016 and $180 million above the administration’s request. It also directs Orion to be ready for its first crewed mission in 2021.

The bill provides $5.4 billion for science programs overall, $200 million below the request. The summary does not break out spending among the various science mission directorates. Commercial crew would get $1.18 billion, the amount requested by NASA, and space technology would get $687 million, the same as 2016 but $140 million less than requested.

Meanwhile, in order to keep NASA’s overall budget about the same as last year the subcommittee, led by porkmeister Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), apparently trimmed the agency’s science budget.

The full plan will be revealed tomorrow. Moreover, the House still has to make its budget proposal, and then the House and Senate have to agree. Regardless, this Senate budget proposal is more indication that this Republican Congress is going to throw endless gobs of money at SLS and Orion, so the boondoggle can fly once, maybe twice, and then get mothballed. What a waste.

It also tells us how insincere many Republican elected officials are when they claim they are for fiscal responsibility.

Want a law passed? Bribe your Senator!

Good work if you can get it: A survey of the Senators who voted for the secret fast track trade legislation — whose language has still not been published for the public to read — has found that they all received huge donations in the past few months from businesses that support the legislation, while the law was being written and voted on.

Some were Democrats who held back until they got a lot of cash donations, then voted yes. Some were Republicans who took the money up front and then wrote the legislation. All told more than a million dollars in bribes were handed over to senators to guarantee their “yay” votes.

“No Republican should vote for her confirmation.”

Guess who said it. You will be surprised.

As noted at the webpage, these comments raise the likelihood considerably that Loretta Lynch’s appointment for U.S. attorney general will be voted down by the Senate. Such a defeat would be a first by the Republicans against a liberal appointee, in my lifetime.

“Oh, she’s going down.”

Rand Paul today became the fourth senator to announce his opposition to Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general.

Earlier Wednesday, in his office in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Breitbart News watched as the senator’s legal and press team briefed him final time before the interview. Sergio Gor, Paul’s communications director, his press secretary Eleanor May and attorney Brian Darling were all present.

Paul asked the team about Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) question during Lynch’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing about whether she’d oppose using a drone to kill an American citizen on American soil.

When Paul heard about her non-answer—she wouldn’t commit that the federal government does not have such authority—he was incredulous. Furthermore, Paul was appalled that Lynch came out in favor of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and the use of asset forfeiture—where the federal government seizes people’s property sometimes with flimsy reasoning, something even the Obama administration has offered slight opposition to—and then told his office staff he’s going to oppose her and aim to derail her nomination chances. “Oh, she’s going down,” Paul said to the room.

The video of Lynch’s non-answer to Cruz’s question is quite shocking. I dare you to watch it and tell me afterward that this administration and Democratic Party is not a threat to your freedom and rights.

Whether the Republicans in the Senate will have the courage to stand up to this threat, however, remains a very big unknown. That four senators have announced their opposition so early is a good sign, but we shall see.

The fascist Senate Democrats who voted to repeal the first amendment

George Will, in an op-ed condemning the Democratic Party’s effort to partially repeal the first amendment of the Bill of Rights in order to limit free speech, also provides us a convenient list of the Democrats who voted for this amendment, also highlighting those senators who are up for reelection in November.

As Will notes,

The 48 senators proposing to give legislators speech-regulating powers describe their amendment in anodyne language, as “relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.” But what affects elections is speech, and the vast majority of contributions and expenditures are made to disseminate speech. The Democrats’ amendment says: “Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections,” and may “prohibit” corporations — including nonprofit issue-advocacy corporations (such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America and thousands of others across the political spectrum) from spending any money “to influence elections,” which is what most of them exist to do.

Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed “reasonable” will surely serve incumbents’ interests. The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders.

If you stand for freedom, you will stand to remove these fascists from office.

Democrats vote to squelch free speech

Fascists: The Democrats in the Senate tonight voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to partially repeal the first amendment.

Tonight the Senate voted 78-18 to advance the Democrats’ proposal to amend the Constitution to give Congress the power to prohibit or restrict participation in political campaigns. A number of Republicans voted to advance the bill, but will oppose it in debate and will vote against it. Charles Grassley said, “We should have debate on this important amendment. The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics.”

I call them fascists without shame, as that’s what they are. Their only reason for pushing this amendment is to silence their critics and shut down freedom, which is what fascists do. Sadly, there appears to be about 40% of the American populace that agrees with them. I call them fascists as well.

CIA admits it hacked the Senate’s computers

These people should be fired, then imprisoned: The CIA today admitted that illegally hacked into the Senate’s computer system.

Oh wait, I have a better idea! Let’s put them in charge of our healthcare and patrolling the borders and our tax system and space exploration and climate research and any number of other important issues of the day in which we need honesty, ethics, reliability, and competence!

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) today expressed concern on the Senate floor over the budget language inserted by Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) that many think will cripple the new commercial manned space companies with high costs and extensive paperwork.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) today expressed concern on the Senate floor over the budget language inserted by Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) that many think will cripple the new commercial manned space companies with high costs and extensive paperwork.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) took to the Senate floor June 18 and tapped the brakes on a powerful appropriator’s plan to subject NASA’s commercial crew program to strict federal accounting standards the agency waived when it solicited bids for crew transportation in November. Nelson, the chairman of the Senate Commerce science and space subcommittee, said NASA’s commercial crew program to fly astronauts to and from the international space station aboard commercially designed spacecraft needs “the right mix of oversight and innovation” to start ferrying crews by NASA’s target date of late 2017.

The senior senator from Florida was alluding to a directive Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, personally fought to include in a report appended to a spending bill now awaiting debate on the Senate floor, and which would if signed into law require NASA to either comply with section 15.403-4 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, or risk a legal mandate to do so. Nelson said he wanted to work with Shelby “as the bill goes to the conference committee to make sure that we have the right mix of oversight and innovation in how NASA contracts for this competition.”

While Nelson was apparently very careful in how he stated his public criticism of Shelby, he also made it clear that he wants the language changed. As the article noted, this gives opponents of Shelby a powerful ally in the Senate. Expect the Shelby language to be significantly watered down.

The Democrats in the Senate moved this week to introduce a constitutional amendment for limiting the first amendment and the freedom of speech.

At least they are finally being honest: The Democrats in the Senate moved this week to introduce a constitutional amendment for limiting the first amendment and the freedom of speech.

The 13 Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2014 who voted for Obamacare, both in 2009 and last month.

The 13 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 who voted for Obamacare, both in 2009 and last month.

Here are the Dirty Baker’s Dozen:

  • Mark Begich (Alaska)
  • Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
  • Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
  • Al Franken (Minnesota)
  • Max “Trainwreck” Baucus (Montana)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
  • Tom Udall (New Mexico)
  • Kay Hagan (North Carolina)
  • Jeff Merkeley (Oregon)
  • Tim Johnson (South Dakota)
  • Mark Warner (Virginia)
  • Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia)

It is time for these politicians to find other work.

The toxic combination of Obamacare and the proposed Senate immigration bill would create a big financial incentive for employers to hire non-citizens.

Congress passes a law: The toxic combination of Obamacare and the proposed Senate immigration bill would create a big financial incentive for employers to hire non-citizens.

Under Obamacare, businesses with over 50 workers that employ American citizens without offering them qualifying health insurance could be subject to fines of up to $3,000 per worker. But because newly legalized immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges until after they become citizens – at least 13 years under the Senate bill – businesses could avoid such fines by hiring the new immigrants instead.

Not surprisingly, the idiots who voted for this immigration bill haven’t read it and have no idea this problem exists.

The Democrats in the Senate passed their first budget in four years yesterday.

Pigs fly! The Democrats in the Senate passed their first budget in four years yesterday.

The budget cuts practically nothing while increasing taxes by almost $1 trillion, which essentially illustrates how little the Democrats want to bring the debt under control. That four Democrats who face a tough election in 2014 voted against the budget also suggests that the Democrat’s traditional spendthrift approach might finally be becoming dangerous at the polls.

The first Democratic Party budget from the Senate in four years calls for a 62% increase in federal spending over the next ten years.

Fiddling while Rome burns: The first Democratic Party budget from the Senate in four years calls for a 62% increase in federal spending over the next ten years.

The worst aspect of this story is that this is what the voters requested in the November elections. Bankruptcy, here we come!

The Democrats in the Senate are about to introduce their legally required annual budget — for the first time in four years.

Pigs fly! The Democrats in the Senate are about to introduce their legally required annual budget — for the first time in four years.

Not that this budget will do much to solve the federal debt, as it will likely continue the out-of-control spending and is expected to be loaded with new taxes galore.

On that note, has anyone but me noticed this tendency of the modern Democratic Party to grab and grab and grab? They want a blank check in spending, for their own uses, while repeatedly demanding as much money from everyone else as possible. In another time, this behavior would have been perceived as somewhat power-hungry, even tyrannical.

And then there’s this: “We don’t have a spending problem.” Guess who said it.

Rand Paul’s proposed non-binding resolution on the use of drones that the Senate Democrats refuse to bring to a vote.

Rand Paul’s proposed non-binding resolution on the use of drones that the Senate Democrats refuse to bring to a vote.

Read it and I dare you to tell me that the Democrats still believe in civil rights and the Constitution.

“1,200 days and $5 trillion in new debt since Senate Democrats passed a budget.”

“1,200 days and $5 trillion in new debt since Senate Democrats passed a budget.”

An annual budget is required by law. Harry Reid’s answer: “It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.” And what do the American people do? They reward the Democrats, providing proof positive that we are in very bad shape and heading for disaster.

The Democratic senator seeking the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee has refused to promise to write a budget next year.

What Americans apparently wanted: The Democratic senator seeking the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee has refused to promise to write a budget next year.

This will be the fourth year in a row that the Democrats in the Senate have failed to write a budget. And note, they don’t need a single Republican vote to do it, since budget bills cannot be fillibusted.

As I like to say, the day of reckoning looms.

Todd Akin, the Republican running for the senate in Missouri, tried to explain his opposition to all abortion, even in instances of rape, by saying that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.

The stupid party: Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican running for the Senate, tried to explain his opposition to all abortion, even in instances of rape, by saying that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.

Note that this is more evidence that Republicans should listen to Sarah Palin, who endorsed and campaigned for one of Akin’s opponents in the primary. It is also evidence that for voters to favor a tea party candidate is not necessarily a big risk.

Two Democrats joined Republicans yesterday on a Senate committee to block the U.S. military from increasing its use of alternatives fossil fuels.

Two Democrats joined Republicans yesterday on a Senate committee to block the U.S. military from increasing its use of alternatives fossil fuels.

What stood out to me in this article was the following quote:

As part of this support, in December the Navy agreed to spend $12 million for 450,000 gallons of “advanced biofuels,” which can be blended with petroleum in a 50:50 mixture and burned in conventional engines. The Navy and Air Force have both set a goal of using advanced biofuels for 50% of their fuel use by the end of this decade. But the current $26-a-gallon price tag angered congressional Republicans, who accuse the Obama Administration of using the military to support its green agenda. [emphasis mine]

$26 per gallon for biofuels? I find it astonishing that anyone voted for this program.

Of course the military wants options. And of course we want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, if only to reduce the money pouring into the hands of the radical Islamists of the Middle East. But at that price, these alternative fuels are simply not competitive or affordable.

The Senate today rejected President Obama’s proposed budget 99-0.

Fiddling away: The Senate today rejected President Obama’s proposed budget 99-0.

Too bad Harry Reid won’t offer up a budget of his own. The only reason this got voted on at all was that the Republicans forced a vote.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government fell another several billion dollars into debt even as the vote was being taken.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) on Monday attacked the House version of NASA’s budget that required the agency to make a quick decision on its commercial manned launch company.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) on Monday attacked the House version of NASA’s budget that required the agency to make a quick decision on its commercial manned launch company.

Nelson faces a difficult election campaign from the right. Thus, I suspect he has realized that he is better off promoting free enterprise than local pork. It is unfortunate that the Republicans in the House haven’t yet realized this.

Senate Democrats don’t even bother to show up for a budget meeting called by their own leader.

Senate Democrats don’t even bother to show up for a budget meeting called by their own leader.

Since the year 2009, not one single Democrat or Democrat-aligned member of the United States Senate has voted “yes” on any budget. They’ve refused to present their own ideas, of course, but they’ve also unanimously voted down every last alternative, from both Republicans and their own party’s president. Think about that.

Senate panel proposes major NASA/NOAA budget changes

A Senate panel today proposed shifting the responsibility for building weather satellites from NOAA to NASA.

It is very unclear from this article why the Senate panel proposed this shift. They claim it will save money but I don’t see how.

What I can guess is that there is probably a turf war going on in Congress over this money. For example, shifting these weather satellites to NASA almost certainly means that the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland will get more money, which is almost certainly why Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) is for it.

One thought however: NASA generally focuses on individual missions, not long term operational stuff like weather. I suspect it probably is not a good idea to give this work to NASA.

The same article above also outlined the panel’s proposals for other areas of NASA’s budget. To me, the key issue is the budget for commercial space. The White House requested $830 million. The Senate panel has instead proposed $525 million.
» Read more

The Senate’s tea party caucus has introduced a budget plan aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2017.

The Senate’s tea party caucus yesterday proposed a budget plan aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2017.

The news article gives a broad outline of the plan, including some basic changes to several entitlement programs, a freezing of government spending at 2008 levels, and the elimination of four government agencies and the privatization of the TSA. A detailed look will probably find that some of these proposals are poorly thought out or impractical. However, at least these senators are proposing something, unlike the Democrats, who in the Senate have not even introduced a budget for more than three years.

Senate Democrats reject religious exemption in Obamacare.

Telling us who they really are: The Democrats in the Senate today rejected any religious exemption to anyone who does not wish to pay for someone else’s contraceptives or abortion drugs.

Personally, I have no problem with anyone who wants to use contraceptives or abortion drugs. What I and all free-thinking individuals have a problem with is the idea of the government forcing someone to pay for this, against their religious beliefs.

I guarantee that if this Obamacare requirement does not fall, people will end up choosing jail to honor their personal conscience.

Testimony at a Senate hearing about the theft of customer funds at MF Global revealed today the Jon Corzine did know of the theft, contrary to his own testimony before Congress.

Testimony today at a Senate hearing about the MF Global scandal revealed that Jon Corzine, the former Democratic New Jersey governor and a fundraiser for President Obama, was aware of the theft of customer funds, contrary to his own testimony before Congress. More here.

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