Fiscal Conservatives Barred from Supercommittee Created by Debt Ceiling Legislation

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Well here’s the first thing we can see wrong with the “Super Congress”

The debt ceiling deal will pass the Senate early this afternoon. No suspense there. But the vote will be worth watching for another reason: Three Republican Senate sources tell TWS that senators who vote against the deal will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.

While there’s certain logic to such a policy, it could be self-defeating. Excluding those who vote against the debt deal will ensure that some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus, including most of its freshmen, will be reading about the committee’s activities in the newspaper rather than guiding its decisions. Among those who have already declared their opposition to the deal: libertarian-leaning senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul; Jim DeMint, the aggressive fiscal hawk from South Carolina; conservative reformers Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania; the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions; and Florida’s Marco Rubio, already one of the highest-profile conservatives in Congress.

More worrisome for conservatives, however, is that private whip counts in the Senate found that some 20 Republicans expressed support for the proposals that came out of the Gang of Six. And while many of the components of that plan have merit as individual policy proposals, the package involves compromises on taxes anathema to most conservatives. Picking a Gang of Six member – or supporter – would further antagonize conservatives skeptical of the debt ceiling deal.

There’s the problem. If, say, a dozen of the strongest fiscal conservatives vote against the deal, the pool of Republicans that can be expected to hold the line on taxes shrinks very quickly. And if a key Republican objective for the committee is to block tax increases, the exclusion of these strong fiscal conservatives makes meeting that goal more difficult.

Mitch McConnell, who will make the selections, isn’t worried. He told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto yesterday that the likelihood of tax hikes coming out of the committee is “pretty low.”

“What I can pretty certainly say to the American people, the chances of any kind of tax increase passing with this, with the appointees of John Boehner and I, are going to put in there are pretty low,” said McConnell. He added: “I’m comfortable we aren’t going to raise taxes coming out of this joint committee.”

UPDATE: McConnell spokesman Don Stewart says all senators will be considered. (Time will tell) “No one is stronger in his opposition to tax hikes than Sen. McConnell. He will have serious discussions with all those who are interested in serving prior to making any appointments.”

Weekly Standard

I might add:….

In addition, the Obama administration has already indicated that it will take the deciding vote as the de facto 13th member of the Super Congress. During his press briefing yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the government would work with the Super Congress to hike taxes in 2012 and beyond.

As the Huffington Post reported last month, the debt deal that has already been passed by the House and faces the Senate tomorrow will create an unconstitutional “Super Congress” that will be comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats and granted “extraordinary new powers” to quickly force legislation through both chambers.

Legislation decided on by the Super Congress would be immune from amendment and lawmakers would only be able to register an up or down vote, eliminating the ability to filibuster. The Speaker of the House would effectively lose the power to prevent unpopular bills from making it to the House floor.

But far from just being a committee that would make recommendations concerning the debt ceiling, the body is now to be granted “even greater super powers, according to multiple news reports and congressional aides with knowledge of the plan,” writes Michael McAuliff.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled no punches in making it plain that the Super Congress would have supreme authority. “The joint committee — there are no constraints,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “They (the Super Congress) can look at any program we have in government, any program. … It has the ability to look at everything.”


House to cast vote on Boehner debt ceiling bill after markets close

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The House won’t hold what’s expected to be a nail-biter of a vote on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to raise the debt limit until after the closing of U.S. financial markets on Thursday.

A vote on Boehner’s plan has been scheduled between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., well after the U.S. stock market closes at 4:00 p.m.

The decision means lawmakers won’t be casting their votes with plunging or rising markets as a backdrop. In the fall of 2008, the House rejected a financial bailout, and the Dow Jones Industrial lost hundreds of points.

Lawmakers who signed ‘Cut’ pledge will decide fate of Boehner bill

House Republicans who signed a “cut, cap and balance” pledge are expected to decide the fate of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) new debt and deficit reduction bill.

Thirty-nine House Republicans embraced the pledge, which vows to oppose any bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it calls for major cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment.

Nineteen of those 39 have said they will oppose, or will likely oppose, Boehner’s bill. Only six of them have publicly committed to backing the bill, or are leaning toward supporting it.

Then there are 14 others who have not said how they will vote. Republican leaders must convince most of these members to vote yes, or the bill will die on the House floor Thursday, according to an analysis by The Hill.

If every Democrat votes against the Boehner legislation, Republican leaders need to minimize defections to 23 in order to pass it.

The vote is, without doubt, the most important roll call of Boehner’s reign as Speaker. Passage would boost Boehner and his colleagues. A defeat would represent a devastating blow to the Ohio Republican.

According to The Hill’s whip list, there are now 22 Republicans who are planning to vote no, or are leaning no on the bill. Boehner and his lieutenants have little wiggle room because many of those 22 members are firm “nos.”

Boehner has made the case that his new bill adheres to the cut, cap and balance bill that passed the House last week. But others disagree strongly.

FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group headed by former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), is lobbying against the Boehner bill, arguing it violates the pledge “because it neither cuts nor caps nor balances federal spending.”

The Hill

Here below is the word from Tea Party leaders at this time:

The House has already passed Cut, Cap and Balance, while the Senate has done nothing.

Call as soon as you can. If you cannot reach the Washington office, call the local office! To find your senators’ and representative’s phone numbers, you may use our searchable online congressional directory or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators’ and/or representative’s office.

House Republicans against/leaning no on Boehner plan (22)
Todd Akin (Mo.) — Senate hopeful is a no
 Justin Amash (Mich.) — Not shy about breaking from GOP leaders

Michele Bachmann (Minn.) — Against raising debt ceiling; voted against CCB*

Paul Broun (Ga.) — Against raising debt ceiling; voted against CCB*

Jason Chaffetz (Utah) — Possible Senate candidate is a no

Jeff Duncan (S.C.), a South Caroline media outlet, that he is a no

Jeff Flake (Ariz.) — Senate hopeful “can’t support the current bill”
Phil Gingrey (Ga.) — A definite no

Louie Gohmert (Texas) — Planning to vote no

Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — Leaning no

Trey Gowdy (S.C.) — Leaning no

Tom Graves (Ga.) — Firm no

Andy Harris (Md.) — Strong proponent of BBA**; Indicated to Baltimore Sun he is a no

Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) — Firm no

Jim Jordan (Ohio) — RSC chairman is strongly opposed

Steve King (Iowa) — Firm no

Connie Mack (Fla.) — Voted against CCB*; firm no

Mick Mulvaney (S.C.) — A no vote

Ron Paul (Texas) — Against raising debt ceiling; voted against CCB*
Dennis Ross (Fla.) — Leaning no, according to National Journal Daily
Steve Southerland (Fla.) — Lawmaker told AP he is a no

Joe Walsh (Ill.) — Said on MSNBC he is a no

House Republicans leaning yes (11)

Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)

Sean Duffy (Wis.)

Blake Farenthold (Texas)

Bob Goodlatte (Va.) — Had been undecided

Doug Lamborn (Colo.)

Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) — Went from undecided to leaning yes
 Mike Pence (Ind.) — Sounded like a yes vote in floor speech on Wednesday; gubernatorial candidate pressing for BBA**

Tom Reed (N.Y.)

Bobby Schilling (Ill.)

Austin Scott (Ga.)

Rob Woodall (Ga.) — Went from undecided to leaning yes

Use The 14th Amendment to Raise Debt Ceiling and Deal With the Courts Later: Dem Senator Bernie Sanders

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Top 10 Obama Lies

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President Obama is becoming a veritable Pinocchio by stretching the truth on a regular basis.  Here are the Top 10 Obama Lies.

1.  Americans want higher taxes:  During the debate over raising the debt ceiling, President Obama said that 80% of Americans support including higher taxes as part of the deal.  But a Rasmussen poll taken the same week showed that only 34% believe a tax hike should be included in a debt-ceiling agreement.

2.  Mother denied health insurance:  During his presidential campaign, Obama said that his mother died of cancer after being denied coverage for a preexisting condition.  He used her image in a campaign ad, repeated the claim in debates, and used the same rhetoric as President when he tried to sell ObamaCare to the American people.  But a new book by New York Times reporter Janny Scott says that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, had health insurance through her employer and was only denied disability insurance.

3.  Tax restraint for middle and lower class:  Obama pledged during his campaign and throughout his presidency not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.  But ObamaCare’s individual mandate will hit many under the $250,000 mark. (Obama’s own Justice Department said the mandate was a tax, not a penalty, when it argued its constitutionality.)  Not to mention a higher federal cigarette tax and countless other “fees” in the health care law that hit the middle and lower class.

4.  Shovel-ready jobs:  When Obama was selling his $787 billion stimulus package, he consistently bragged about how shovel-ready construction jobs would be funded across the nation.  Even the President later admitted that was a lie, when he told the New York Times:  “There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

5.  Keep your doctor:  President Obama repeatedly pledged that under his health care measure, Americans would be able to keep their doctors.  However, with rising costs, many employers will dump their health care plans and force workers into the state health care exchanges (unless you belong to one of the unions getting ObamaCare waivers.)  A survey by McKinsey & Company found that more than 30% of companies will discontinue coverage for their workers.

6.  No lobbyists:  During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said:  “We have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over.  … I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”  At least a dozen former lobbyists got top jobs in his administration at the beginning of his presidency, according to Politico, and National Public Radio reported the Obama administration was granting waivers to lobbyists to circumvent the ban.

7.  Foreign money in campaigns:  During his 2010 State of the Union address, and again during the 2010 midterm elections, Obama railed against foreign money influencing U.S. elections.  The only problem was that there was no evidence to support the charge or, as Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in the State of the Union audience, silently mouthed, “Not true.”

8.  Arizona immigration law:  During the battle over Arizona’s immigration law, President Obama said:  “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you can be harassed, that’s something that could potentially happen.”  Uh, actually, Mr. President, it couldn’t.  The law would allow law enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status only when there is suspicion of a crime being committed.

9.  Transparency:  Obama pledged that transparency would be a top priority, but his administration refused to grant one-third of the Freedom of Information Act requests, according to an Associated Press analysis.  He also was dishonest about transparency when he said that health-care negotiations would be televised on C-SPAN and that he would wait five days to sign a bill so people would have a chance to read it online.

10.  Constitutional oath:  During his January 2009 inauguration, Barack Obama pledged to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” yet he has consistently ignored the 10th Amendment giving powers not enumerated in the Constitution to the states.  Exhibit No. 1: ObamaCare.

Human Events

Bill would force Obama to pay Social Security, military if US defaults

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Tea Party conservatives hope to make a push on the House floor to force President Obama to avoid a national default if Congress fails to raise the debt limit.

Members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus have met with House freshmen to discuss a plan to pressure House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Full Faith and Credit Act to the floor.

The legislation would direct Obama to prioritize federal payments to the nation’s creditors, Social Security recipients and soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The bill has been revised since it was introduced earlier this year. The previous version simply required the Treasury Department to pay the principal and interest on the debt held by the public over other obligations incurred by the federal government.

The challenge for conservatives is to persuade Boehner to bring it up for a vote in the ten days remaining before the Aug. 2 deadline.

“We have a bill that directs by law the president to pay the interest on the debt, pay social security checks and pay soldiers’ salaries. We’ve been talking with the House freshmen to see if they will force a vote on that next week,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.

“There are at least 100 members of the caucus that are in favor of it, they have to just convince their leadership it’s a good idea,” he said of the House Republican conference.

A House GOP aide confirmed that conservatives in the lower chamber are mulling the move.

“We’re certainly looking at the option of moving forward on that front,” said Brian Straessle, communications director of the House Republican Study Committee.

Obama has warned seniors that the federal government may not be able to disburse Social Security payments on Aug. 3 if Congress cannot agree to raise the debt limit.

“I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” Obama said earlier this month.

Republican strategists worry this could quickly turn public opinion against the GOP.

“Democrats have the leverage if we have to pay the Saudi royal family the money we owe them and granny doesn’t get her check,” a Senate Republican aide told The Hill earlier this month.

Even though public polling shows that a majority of people oppose raising the debt limit, Republican Senate leaders fear Democrats would quickly gain leverage in the event of a national default.

The Hill

Ron Paul On PBS: “Freedom Is a Young Idea and We’re Throwing It Away”

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