Our Congress At Work

Like a bunch of college kids putting off what everyone knows they are supposed to do, Congress is just now beginning the serious parrying and thrusting over budget issues with Christmas break looming.  Some folks like the idea of a split Congress, not minding the standoffs that keep things from advancing.  Politicians like Harry Reid don’t like it when he can’t ram through the things he wants to pass.  He rails about “partisanship” and “politics” when it blocks his legislation.  Of course, Harry’s idea of a compromise is typical of the left: compromise is when you give up what you want so that I can have what I want.  That’s why compromise is a dirty word to many conservatives.

 As for me, this year was always likely to be a year in which the best we could hope for – we being those who prefer the free market, limited government and a lower, revised tax structure – was delaying actions, much like a rear guard fighting off an advancing enemy while the rest of the army escaped to regroup.  In this case, the rest of the “army” is our economy, our country and our Constitution.  Much like we talked about in 2009-2010, the Party of No is the best answer to many of the ideas hatched in Congress in recent years.  It is a badge of honor.

 So how is the Christmas fight shaping up?

 As you’re probably aware, the two-percentage point Social Security payroll tax holiday expires at the end of the year.  So also do unemployment benefits for some folks who are reaching the end of their 99-week helping hand.  Congress has never solved its “doc fix” issue, so each year it has to renew a temporary extension or all the doctors providing care under Medicare or their reimbursement drops 27 percent next year.  All of these items are really just temporary pain medications, waiting for the physician to fix the economy and our health care problems.  Most Democrats and most Republicans – although somewhat reluctantly – would go along with these Band-Aids. 

 Of course, the Democrats have proven experts at spending – along with way too many Republicans – but they want to cover their spending by raising taxes on the “rich,” which is shaping up to be anybody who makes anything more than a decent water-treading wage.  The Democrats never talk about paying for any of their spending.  They only bring up paying when it comes to tax cuts they believe we cannot and should not afford.

 The Republicans had found other places to cut spending in order to cover the costs of things like extended unemployment benefits, many of them ideas Obama and the Democrats had advanced in precious discussion.  But as has been the case, when it comes to actually cutting spending, the Democrats refuse.

 The Republicans at least have taken note of the outrageous way the Obama administration has handled the Keystone XL pipeline affair and tied it up in the package to force Obama and the left to fish or cut bait on the pipeline.  It is incredible to what lengths this administration will go to further its environmental religion, no matter what the cost to our country, its economy and jobs.  I’m only surprised Obama didn’t send someone to South Africa to help craft and sign us on to a continuation of the Kyoto treaty.  Copenhagen and the global warming scandals seem to have taught the Obama administration nothing except they have to try harder domestically.

 I know some folks in Nebraska have some concerns about the pipeline route and the Sand Hills.  I understand the importance of the Ogallala aquifer.  I also know it varies in distance from surface to aquifer from hundreds of feet to bubbling out of the ground.  Keystone has offered to alter the route to avoid the Sand Hills and that should be allowed without another year or two of environmental “studies.”  They already have a pipeline through Nebraska that avoids the Sand Hills.

 The Senate has already torpedoed versions of balanced budget bills crafted from each party.  Noises coming out of Washington on Thursday made it sound like they were close to some deal on the “payroll deductions” bill.  Don’t hold your breath.  They also haven’t forged a budget deal to fund the government beyond Friday night – yes, Dec. 16, 2011 and they have had months to work on that.  After all, the Senate – supposedly chock full of the nation’s greatest statesmen – has not passed a budget in over 900 days.  The 1,200-page omnibus spending bill is rumored to arrive on Congressmen’s desks Thursday night for a Friday vote.  Sound familiar?

 A half-dozen government agencies have had their budgets passed and would not have to shut down.  Agriculture, for example, would continue operating.

 If you believe the pipeline will create lots of new jobs and bring oil from our friends in Canada a lot cheaper than floating it from the Middle East, now would be the time to contact your senator.  The enviros have talked about some spills the pipeline company who would be building the Keystone XL has had on other pipelines.  What you have to research is that the oil from all the spills would fit in a couple 5-gallon buckets.  That’s how inane our nation’s energy policy has become.  Forego 5-10,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs and a flow of oil to push energy our gas and diesel prices down on the green altar of “sacrifice” and higher costs and a weakened economy.

 At best, Obama’s call to delay the pipeline at least another year is like the Free Trade Agreements in which he willing gave up hundreds of millions of dollars to agriculture and manufacturing, tax revenue to the government and jobs to thousands of Americans on Big Labor’s altar for three years, only to cave in to election pressures later.  The money and the jobs can never be gotten back.  So it is with this pipeline.  So it is with the mCOOL law that everyone knows will have to be repealed or hundreds of millions in penalties paid, after the WTO ruled against the U.S.  But the money to the livestock meat production chain is gone forever.  That’s the best spin.  I can’t even tell you what the worst-case scenario of what Obama is trying to do.  It is horrible to contemplate.

 Don’t forget the final debate before primary voting begins is tonight, Thursday at 9:00 EST on the Fox News Channel.

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Published in: on December 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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