Thursday, March 3, 2011

Senators Coburn, McCain, DeMint, Ensign, Johnson, Paul, Lee, Ayotte Sign Letter Promising to Hold Unconstitutional and Fiscally Irresponsible Bills

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), John McCain (R-AZ), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today sent aDear Colleague letter to all Senators announcing their intention to withhold unanimous consent, or “hold,” bills that fail meet the following criteria:
 All New Spending Must Be Offset with Cuts to Lower Priority Spending: Congress authorizes billions of dollars in new spending every year to create new or expand existing government programs. Yet, few bills are passed to eliminate outdated, duplicative, unnecessary, inefficient, wasteful, or low priority programs. To make government more efficient, any legislation authorizing new spending or creating a new agency, office, program, activity, or benefit or increasing the authorization of an existing function must offset the cost of this expansion by eliminating an existing program or function or reducing the authorized funding level of ongoing spending.
 Government Programs Must Be Periodically Reviewed and Renewed: Never ending government programs must end. Congress should periodically determine whether or not every government program is working as intended, is still needed, or is worthy of continued taxpayer support. To ensure this happens, any legislation establishing or continuing an agency, office, or program must also include a “sunset” date at which point Congress must decide whether or not to update or extend the life of the program.
 The Cost and Text of Bills Must Be Available Prior to Passage: Too many bills costing billions of dollars with far reaching implications are approved by the Senate with little debate, few if any amendments, and not even time to read the actual text of the legislation. To guarantee taxpayers and senators have sufficient time to read bills and information to understand their cost and impact, all legislation must be publicly available in an electronic format for at least three full days along with a cost estimate completed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prior to being passed.
 Duplicative Government Programs Must Be Consolidated or Eliminated: Despite the existence of hundreds of duplicative federal programs costing billions of dollars, Congress continues to create new programs with similar missions, goals, and purposes. To reduce redundancy, any bill creating a new program that replicates a current government mission must consolidate overlapping activities or eliminate the existing programs.
 Congress Must Not Infringe Upon the Constitutional Rights of the People: Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress a very limited set of enumerated powers. Far too often, Congress infringes upon the rights and liberties reserved for the people and the states provided elsewhere in the Constitution. These overreaches are no more than an afterthought when most bills are debated. To restore the intended balance of powers between the states and the federal government and to preserve the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, all bills must have a clear and obvious basis connected to one of the enumerated powers and must not infringe upon any of the rights guaranteed to the people.
“Before we can get our fiscal house in order, Congress first has to stop making the problem worse. I’m pleased so many of my colleagues have agreed to withhold consent from bills that borrow and spend new money, duplicate existing programs, violate the Constitution or are not a legitimate role of the federal government. This week’s GAO report exposing widespread duplication in the federal government shows why Congress needs to eliminate programs that don’t work instead of creating new programs we don’t need, and can’t afford,” said Dr. Coburn.
“Each year, the federal government washes billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain through wasteful and duplicative spending. This waste is even more unconscionable in the present economy, as American families and businesses are struggling financially,” said Senator John McCain. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in working to implement simple, commonsense practices in the Senate to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending.”
“The problem in the Senate isn’t that we’re not passing enough legislation, it’s that we’re passing so many new spending bills and regulations with little review or debate,” said Senator Jim DeMint. “I’m proud to stand with my fellow conservative Senate colleagues to require thorough review of bills to prevent secret passage of wasteful spending and unconstitutional legislation. Our nation is on the edge of bankruptcy and we simply cannot afford more borrowing from foreign nations to spend on programs we don’t need.”
“These gross duplications in federal programs and agencies, along with billions of dollars in binge spending increases, are crippling the present and future of the United States,” said Senator John Ensign. “The GAO report underscores the great negligence of the federal government when it comes to managing hard-earned taxpayer dollars and further highlights the need for Congress to get our fiscal house in order. The time has come for the government to get its act together: decrease its size and increase its effectiveness so that it does what we need it to do not just what some want it to do.”
“This year, according to the Congressional Budget Office, we will spend 1.65 trillion dollars that we don’t have. That is a huge amount of money and a huge problem. It is a problem we must start to address. The letter I have signed - initiated by Senator Coburn - is just a very common sense approach to beginning the process of reining in the out of control spending and debt. We need to hold the federal government accountable. Families are not able to spend beyond their means; Washington certainly shouldn’t be able to do so either,” said Senator Ron Johnson.
“The American people deserve better from their federal government,” said Senator Mike Lee. “By holding bills that spend irresponsibly and overstep the proper role of the federal government, we can begin to rebuild their trust and make Congress more transparent and accountable. I'm proud to stand with my colleagues who agree that this wasteful, irresponsible spending must stop.”
“The status quo in Washington is unacceptable. Rather than continue to create new government programs, we must tighten our belts in Congress and live within our means like families do,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte.


Health Care Law Small Business Requirements

U.S. House of Representatives | Radio and Television Gallery
House Republicans spoke to reporters about a bill to remove a tax requirement that was included in the 2010 health care law.

House discussion of next weeks Session............

Mr Hoyer and Mr Canter
4:09:55 to 4:38:58

Wisconsin Governor Walker Hires Bounty Hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's to Capture Wayward Democratic Senators

by Kamal El-Din

The Dog Goes After Wisconsin Democratic Senators.
The Dog Goes After Wisconsin Democratic Senators.
Unconfirmed sources are reporting that Governor Walker has hired the The Dog to return the missing Democratic Senators to the State House. The Dog, and his team have been briefed by the Governor and have already begun their search. The 14 Democratic Senators are believed to be hiding out in Illinois in an attempt to thwart the Governors plans to gut state employee labor unions. "We need to get those fugitive Senators back here so Governor Walker can ram this legislation thought," Says the governor's spokesmen Ben Lyon. "So we hired the best bounty hunter in the country to get the job done. The Dog is going to go get those cowards and haul them back here to do their jobs."

The Dog who has captured over 6,000 scoff laws in his 27 year career and estimated that we would have the Senator in custody within a few days.

"With this many folks hiding together this job shouldn't be too hard," explained The Dog before his team departed. "In most cases like this some loyal citizen comes forward and lets us know where the fugitives are. We then show up and take them into custody and nobody get hurt."

Governor Walker said in a statement that he hopes the Senators come peacefully, but if they don't "...well that would be ok with me too."

Government Unions 101: What They Won’t Tell You

Posted March 1st, 2011 at 1:00pm in Ongoing Priorities

There has been a lot of discussion and confusion as of late about the role of government unions. What does collective bargaining look like for government workers? The Heritage Foundation has released a new factsheet that explains everything you need to know about Government Unions, what they do, and what they won’t tell you.
For government workers, collective bargaining gives unions a monopoly on the government’s workforce. The government may not hire non-union workers. In the 28 non-right-to-work states (which includes Wisconsin), this means that unions can force government employees to pay union dues or get fired.
There are major differences in collective bargaining for government workers and private sector workers. In the private sector, unions bargain with owners to redistribute the profits created by the company. Governments make no profit. The only thing government workers bargain for is more tax dollars.
It wasn’t always this way. Collective bargaining with the government is a relatively new concept.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned us about the dangers of a government strike which he called “unthinkable and intolerable.” The president of the AFL-CIO, in 1955, said it was “impossible to collectively bargain with the government”.
What is happening in Wisconsin is that Governor Walker (R-WI) is trying to reform collective bargaining. He wants to give the voters more influence on where money is being spent. He is not eliminating collective bargaining or “busting” the unions. This is an important battle to fight because there are lots of states are facing large budget shortfalls. This is simply a measure to balance the budget and avoid layoffs.
You can download the pdf of this fact sheet here.

What Public-Sector Unions Won’t Tell You

What Is Government Collective Bargaining?

Legal Monopoly: Government collective bargaining gives unions a monopoly on the government’s workforce. The
government must employ workers on the terms the union negotiates. It may not hire competing workers.
Private vs. Public-Sector: Unions operate differently in government than in the private sector. Private-sector unions
bargain over limited profits. Competition from other businesses moderates wage demands. Governments earn no
profits and have no competition. Government unions negotiate for more tax dollars.
Risking Public Services: When government unions strike, they can deprive citizens of essential services—such as
education for children—until demands are met.
History of Government Collective Bargaining
Unions Once Rejected: Early labor leaders didn’t believe unions
belonged in government. In 1955, George Meany, then-president
of the AFL-CIO, said, “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.” In 1959 the AFL-CIO Executive Council declared,“In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress—aright available to every citizen.”

FDR: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) gave unions extensive powers
to bargain collectively in the private sector but excluded them from
government. FDR believed collective bargaining had no place in public
service and that a government strike was “unthinkable and intolerable.”

A Change of Heart: Union membership peaked in the private sector
in the 1950s. Unions came to see government employees as valuable
new dues-paying members. Some states, like VA and NC, still do not
negotiate public spending with government unions. 52% of union members in the U.S. now work for a government.
The Consequences of Government Collective Bargaining

Leverage over Government: Granting unions a monopoly over work done in government gives unions enormous
leverage over budgets and taxes. Unions use this power to raise taxes and get more of the budget spent on them.
Inflated Government Pay: Government unions win above-market compensation for their members. The average
government employee enjoys better health benefits, better pensions, better job security, and an earlier retirement than
the average private-sector worker, although cash wages are typically not inflated at the state or local level.
Forced Union Dues: In the 28 non-right-to-work states, unions negotiate provisions that force government employees
to pay union dues or get fired. This brings government unions billions of dollars.
Politicized Civil Service: Government unions have the power to elect the management they negotiate with, so they
spend heavily to elect politicians who promise them concessions. Government unions were the top political spenders,
outside the two major parties, in the 2010 election cycle.
What about Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker (R) is reforming collective bargaining. His proposal restores voter control over
most spending decisions but does not completely eliminate collective bargaining.
Reforms: Walker’s proposal restricts government unions to negotiating over wages only, and not benefits or work rules
(such as job guarantees for failing teachers). Voters would have to approve any wage increase beyond inflation. Unions
would have to demonstrate that they have the support of a majority of members through an annual secret ballot.
Wisconsin would stop subsidizing union fundraising by collecting union dues through its payroll system, and would
no longer fire workers who choose not to pay union dues.
Is This Union Busting? A union is only “busted” if its members are forced to quit the union. Giving employees the
choice to pay or not pay expensive dues is hardly union busting. Under Walker’s plan, Wisconsin unions would still
have considerably more negotiating power than even federal employee unions.

For more information, please visit:

Fact Sheet #79
February 28, 2011 

  1. George Colgrove, VA on at said:
    As the mantra goes, unions were created to go up against “bad” and “evil” rich bosses. But we all know they are the first step of implementing socialism – which BTW worked!
    Let’s go with the mantra. The boss has a company which makes a widget that people are willing to pay high prices for. In return the boss provides very little pay to his employees for their work.
    Just want to note that these people decided to work for the company when they were hired, knowing what they were getting paid. In addition, I would like to point out that there might be employment alternatives a disgruntled low paid employee could seek out for higher pay. But that is beside the point.
    The bosses employee’s decide they want a bigger cut of the profits so they organize and force their way. The boss either will end up with less cash or he will raise the price. To maintain his personal incentive to keep the business going, he will probably raise his prices to compensate. Because of the higher prices, less people buy the widget so profits decline and the higher paid employees are laid off. Then less widgets can be made so even less can be sold. The boss ends up with fewer profits and maybe even no profits – or worse, debt. All his workers are laid off. . . but I digress again.
    The idea is that the employees unionize to collectively bargain for more pay or whatever. But regardless how you feel about the boss, the company and the boss is answerable to the volunteer actions of the customers. Ideally, the boss or the company should do better than their employees.
    An enterprise exists out of incentive for the owners to get more in life. But never the less, the “give and take” is within an intimate relationship between the employees and a single entity.
    Unionizing against the taxpayers on the other hand can be damaging. Going too far a privae sector union will only kill a single company, but nothing else. Also the boss usually does have a financial reserve to work through or has control to make adjustments either by increasing efficiencies, raising prices, closing shop or so on.
    When public employees go too far, they bankrupt the ENTIRE NATION/STATE or TOWN! The taxpayers are on fixed incomes, they have no reserves. They have no administrative ability to increase efficiencies, reduce cost or even go so far as to shut it down. The agreements with union public workers are made by other public workers (namely elected officials). We the boss – the people – have no rights to make adjustments to compensate. Look at congress, they refuse to listen to the people! What have they cut so far?? Nothing! They only have proposals. (I guess the current CR has effectively reduced $4 billion – so yea! We have $1.596 trillion to go!)
    Worse even, the boss has the advantage to “bail-out” if his incentive goes away. Public unions with their evil grab for our money cannot be avoided. We are thrown in jail or have our property taken away if we do not pay them. Private sector unions – as bad as they are – at least have a small impact if they end up destroying the hand that feeds them. Public employee unions destroy all. The boss is usually richer than his employees. The taxpayer earns half of what most public sector employees are paid (especially the feds!). It is clear that when you look around, we are being destroyed.
  2. Margaret Wilkin on at said:
    Thanks, for the information and facts. When is enough going to be enough and common sense come back to this great country? So I get it tomorrow I’m going to my bank and if my banker gives me a lone I will vote for him at the next shareholder meeting. Can you say bribery .I support Governor Walker and just wished we had someone as brave here in California?

House Session and Point of Order.......Repeal 1099 Reporting Requiirements

From 2:56:17 to 4:09:56
Mr. Camp, Mr McNerney, Mr Levin, Mr Levvy, Mr Crowley, Mr, Weiner, and Speaker Pro Tempore

Morning House Session 1 minute general Speeches about 22 minutes

U.S. Forein Policy Priorities March 2, 2011

House Committee Foreign Affairs

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on funding for State Departent programs and foreign policy priorities. She reiterated her testimony from the previous day before the House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding Libya that Moammar Qadhafi should step down that no actions were yet "off the table" in response to unrest in that country. Other topics included Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, intellectual property, and Voice of America.

U.S. Forein Policy Priorities March 1, 2011

House Committee Foreign Affairs

Secretary of State Clinton testified on U.S. foreign policy priorities before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She urged no spending cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid. She told the committee that Libya is an example of the need for the U.S. needs funds to deal with crisis abroad and warned that other countries like China are competing for influence in the world and will fill a vacuum is the U.S is not present. This is a two hour portion of a three and one half hour hearing.