Thursday, December 15, 2011

House Passes 50th Consecutive Defense Authorization Bill

In its race to the finish line, the House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) on Wednesday. The legislation is the final step in fully funding the Department of Defense for the 2012 fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. The bill would authorize $554 billion for domestic programs and $115.5 billion for overseas operations for our armed services. This reduces spending from FY2011 levels by $19 billion and reduces spending from President Obama’s proposed FY2012 budget by $24.1 billion. If sequestration takes effect for FY2013, an additional $500 billion is expected to be cut between FY2013 and FY2022.

“This legislation will ensure our troops have the resources they need and will provide the much-deserved support they have earned, while at the same time eliminating some unnecessary or wasteful spending at the Department of Defense,” stated Westmoreland. “As our country continues to be mired in overwhelming debt, no federal agency – not even the DOD – should be exempt from spending cuts. In fact, to date, over half of all deficit reduction efforts have come out of the military.”

The legislation authorizes funding for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, requires the president to sanction entities who engage in financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, and freezes nearly $700 million in aid to Pakistan. Although some activist organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have tried to claim that it gives the military the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil, the opposite is actually the case. The NDAA contains no provision to extend or create any new authority to detain U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and explicitly exempts U.S. citizens from provisions related to military custody of terrorists.

“I understand the concerns and that is why there were numerous questions asked about this, so I want to reassure that you will be protected,” stated Westmoreland. “The U.S. Constitution guarantees U.S. citizens on U.S. soil will have due process and nothing within this legislation will take away that right. These people claiming your constitutional rights are violated by this legislation are using fear tactics to drum up support against legislation that is needed to make sure our men and women in uniform get paid for their service to our country.”

The Senate has yet to pass the conference report, but since it is an agreement between the two chambers it is expected they will do so before the end of the week. Once they approve it, it will be sent to the president for signature. Earlier, the president had threatened to veto the bill but has since lifted his threat.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

20 issues trump birth certificate circus

In the wake of the much-discussed release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle had this to say:

"Instead of wasting so much ink on this birther story, the press should be giving a lot more attention to the many real disasters of the Obama administration. The Libertarian Party recently released a list of '20 Obama problems, 20 Libertarian solutions.'

"Of course, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are only part of the problem equation. The Republicans deserve an equal share of the blame, for their unwillingness to cut military spending or entitlements, their addiction to government programs like farm subsidies, and their big-spending compromise bills of December 2010 and April 2011.

"I wonder if Obama and the Republicans might just be conspiring to keep this birther stuff alive, to distract everyone from all the real problems they're causing. The president might have been worried that the birther talk was about to die down.

"When you consider that we're involved in three foreign wars, our entitlement state is crumbling, we have record-level spending and deficits, unemployment is high, and inflation is growing, the president's birth certificate seems less significant somehow.

"We need to be more focused on the fact that massive debt is driving our government toward bankruptcy -- something Republican birther Donald Trump would know a lot about.

"Nearly two years ago, one of our junior staffers mocked this very issue:

Socialized healthcare is on the horizon. The DHS, NSA, TSA police state is expanding, the Drug War is still being pursued by an arrogant, ignorant government and Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan! Frankly we have got bigger problems to pursue than blogging endlessly about where the President was born.

"Hopefully Americans will worry less about long-form birth certificates, and more about thousand-page spending bills."


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Libertarians speak against Obama's War on Poker

Following the Obama administration Justice Department's April 15 shutdown of three online poker sites and indictment of their executives, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said, "The Obama administration has just trampled on the rights of millions of Americans."

Hinkle continued, "This is also a scary reminder of President Obama's vision of a government with the power to shut down websites it doesn't like, before a trial has even started.

"Even worse, shutting down this peaceful, honest commerce further weakens our economy.

"We Libertarians believe that adults have the right to gamble with their own money. Government has no business interfering. The Obama administration should drop these charges and restore the websites. Congress should repeal the laws that prohibit gambling, whatever the format."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Libertarians call spending compromise "travesty"

Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement today (April 15):

"Just in time for Tax Day, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have joined hands to clobber American taxpayers.

"According to the Associated Press, the 2011 spending compromise will 'cut federal outlays from non-war accounts by just $352 million through Sept. 30....When war funding is factored in the legislation would actually increase total federal outlays by $3.3 billion relative to current levels.'

"This is happening at a time when federal spending and deficits are at unprecedented high levels. Federal spending this year is expected to be about 5 percent higher than last year. This is a travesty.

"In 2000 under Bill Clinton, federal spending was $1.79 trillion. This year it's expected to be at least $3.63 trillion.

"Neither Democrats nor Republicans have made any serious proposals to change the course of the federal government. In particular, both President Obama's and Congressman Ryan's 2012 budget proposals are absurd. I fear that America will soon be overtaken by events. Inflation, high interest rates, high unemployment, and probably other unforeseen problems will start to force everyone's hand. One way or another, people aren't going to get what they have been led to expect.

"Unless American voters stop supporting Republicans and Democrats very soon, and start supporting Libertarians and Libertarian policies, I believe our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren, will be bleak."


Friday, April 15, 2011

Westmoreland Supports Budget to Cut $6.2 Trillion, Reduce Deficits $4.4 Trillion Over Ten Years

The House of Representatives today passed a budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which will run from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. The legislation will cut $6.2 trillion in spending from President Obama’s budget proposal over the next ten years and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion. It puts the nation on a path to actually paying off our more than $14 trillion in debt and drops federal spending to below 20 percent of the gross domestic product. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s statement.

“I am proud to have joined a group of my colleagues in the House and passed Congressman Ryan’s plan for 2012 and beyond. This budget truly puts us on the ‘Path to Prosperity.’ Not only does it dramatically curb federal spending, but it also encourages economic development, works towards ensuring programs like Medicare will be available to future generations, and does not irresponsibly raise taxes on American families and small businesses.

“I know there have been some irresponsible public figures who have been using scare tactics and out-and-out lies to put fear and doubt in Americans about the impact of this budget, especially with regards to the changes to Medicare. So I would like to set a few things straight. First, this legislation does not create a voucher system for Medicare. What it does is allow individuals to pick a plan, just like federal employees and Members of Congress do now, and the government will pay for the plan rather than directly paying the doctor. We are not trying to end Medicare; we are trying to save it for the next generation. Without reform, Medicare spending will eclipse all other federal spending in the next decade and completely bankrupt our budget. This solution allows us to keep Medicare without dragging down our entire economy. Second, if you are age 55 or over, these changes will not affect you at all. Both your Medicare and your Social Security will remain exactly the same as it is now. So any comments made in the press about this budget ‘killing seniors’ or ‘ending Medicare’ are completely false.

“I also know that there are those out there who feel these cuts are ‘extreme.’ However, the mess we have gotten ourselves into over the last few years is also extreme. Our national debt tops more than $14 trillion, almost equivalent to our entire economy. If we continue down President Obama’s path of ‘spend now, pay later,’ we would see the national debt double over the next ten years. This mentality is simply no longer sustainable and we must make some very serious changes to the way we operate here in Washington if we want to pass on a better country to our children and grandchildren,” stated Westmoreland.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FRC Condemns Obama Justice Department for Abandoning DOMA, Urges Congress to Intervene

/PRNewswire/ -- Family Research Council condemned the decision today by President Obama that the U.S. Justice Department will abdicate its responsibility and no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) enacted overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, is currently under attack in the courts.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments regarding the decision:

"This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President's failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to 'faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.' What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

"Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama's decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

"With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President's neglect of duty," concluded Perkins.

For more information on the Defense of Marriage Act, read the Family Research Council's pamphlet on the Act here:

Read the Family Research Council's amicus brief in the Massachusetts Defense of Marriage Act case here:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Obama Makes Super False Tax Claim: 'I Didn't Raise Taxes Once'

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, Americans for Tax Reform issued the following:

On Sunday, in a live, nationally televised interview just prior to the Super Bowl, President Obama made the following claim:

"I didn't raise taxes once. I lowered taxes over the last two years. I lowered taxes for the last two years."

Let's break down the statement, starting with Obama's "I didn't raise taxes once" claim. This assertion is blatantly false, as President Obama has signed into law at least two dozen tax increases:

Feb. 4, 2009 – Obama signs federal tobacco tax hike: Just sixteen days into his presidency, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco – a hike of 62 cents per pack. Obama's signature on this tax hike was a violation of his central campaign promise – a "firm pledge" that no American making less than $250,000 would see "any form of tax increase." The median income of smokers is just over $36,000.

March 23, 2010 – Obama signs the healthcare bill into law: Obama's signature on the healthcare bill enacted two dozen new or higher taxes (at least seven of which violate his "firm pledge" on taxes), including but not limited to:

* Individual Mandate Excise Tax
* Employer Mandate Excise Tax
* Small business 1099-MISC Information Reporting
* Surtax on Investment Income
* Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
* Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax
* Medicine Cabinet Tax
* HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike
* Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka "Special Needs Kids Tax"
* Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
* "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI
* Tax on Indoor Tanning Services
* Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage
* Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike
* Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals
* Tax on Innovator Drug Companies
* Tax on Health Insurers
* Biofuel "black liquor" tax hike
* Codification of the "economic substance doctrine"

Now let's turn to the second part of Obama's claim: "I lowered taxes over the last two years. I lowered taxes for the last two years."

* President Obama's entire claim of being a net tax-cutter rests merely upon the temporary tax relief he has signed into law. The tax increases Obama has signed into law have invariably been permanent. In fact, Obama signed into law $7 in permanent tax hikes for every $1 in permanent tax cuts
* Over 90% of the dollar value of the tax cuts Obama signed into law are only temporary
* 100% of the tax increases Obama signed into law are, however, permanent
* Permanent changes to tax law signed by Obama amount to a net tax hike of $618.7 billion