Legislative Lowdown

The Obama budget — dead on arrival

The Obama budget -- dead on arrival

President Obama $3.8 trillion budget for America is a roadmap to a European version of soft socialism. It massively expands government, borrows untold trillions, and increases the tax burden on the private sector. The end result is bigger government, higher taxes and a doubling of the national debt during President Obama’s (presumptive) eight years in office.

That is why many expect the president’s 2013 budget to suffer the same fate of his proposal that was unanimously defeated in the Senate last year. The president’s budget is merely a campaign document for him to show the American people how much he will increase taxes on job creators while spending trillions in borrowed cash for government funded electric cars and solar panels.

Highway bill detour

House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to bring up and pass the House version of the Highway Bill suffered a breakdown. A scheduled vote on final passage of the bill was postponed last week on Boehner’s five-year, $260 billion authorization. House Republicans had settled on a provision forcing federal employees to pay an increased share of pension contributions to fund new highway spending, but then that offset was used to pay for a payroll tax-cut extension.

As bad as the House version is, the Senate one is worse. It spends $109 billion over two years. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has a better idea. Devolve highway programs back to the states. Get rid of the 18.3 cent federal tax on every gallon of gas and allow the states to increase gas taxes so they can build their own roads. There is no reason why the federal government should be building roads nationwide when states can do it.

Now that earmarking is not allowed on the highway bill, it’s hard for House and Senate leaders to buy votes by promising special projects in a specific district or state.

Obama’s anti-gun agenda

If the American people need any more evidence that the president hates the Second Amendment, they need look no further than the justices he nominated to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Before they were appointed to the Court, both showed strong hostility to the idea that all Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Comes now the president’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York: Jesse Furman.

When an undergraduate student at Harvard, Furman wrote an article titled “Bang, Bang, You’re Dead! The National Rifle Association Supplied the Lead!” In this article, Furman wrote that the “right to bear arms is no longer as crucial to the maintenance of a democracy as it was two hundred years ago.” Yes, he said during his confirmation hearing that he would respect recent Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment. But so did Kagan and Sotomayor.

Obama’s plan to end armed pilots

One of the few anti-terrorist programs that have been an unmitigated success is the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO), that allows pilots to carry guns in cockpits of commercial planes. Yet the president has proposed a cut in the program, from $25 million this year to $12 million next year. Clearly, he would rather rely on very intrusive searches of America’s grandmothers and toddlers versus guns in the cockpit.

This program is a cost-effective success. The anti-gun Obama administration, however, would prefer to take away guns from approved and trained pilots. Ever-intrusive screening procedures, it seems, are more preferable than to allow the targets and victims of terrorism to be allowed to protect themselves. Pilots were, in fact, disarmed years ago—and that act made it far easier for terrorists to commit the horrible acts on 9/11. Do we have to learn the hard way again?

Egyptian aid on hold

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a unique idea. Let’s stop rewarding governments who are holding Americans hostage with billions in taxpayer-funded aid. The Egyptian government has arrested American citizens and other foreign nationals who were working with nonprofit groups to promote democracy and better living conditions in Egypt. Yet the U.S. government still wants to provide aid to a government preparing to prosecute American citizens for promoting democracy in Egypt.

Some in the Senate are blocking an effort by Sen. Paul to bar any aid to Egypt until they drop the prosecution and persecution of Americans and others fighting for democracy. Paul has been filibustering judges and the highway bill until he is allowed a vote on an amendment to block aid to Egypt. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) would prefer a toothless non-binding resolution condemning the actions of the Egyptian government while continuing to funnel billions in aid to the same government that is holding Americans.

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