626 Days until Election Day
February 14, 2009
STIMULUS SCAM…unfortunately passed both houses of Congress last night as Republicans stood strong, completely rejecting the plan in the House and all but a few Republicans doing the same in the Senate.
After Mark Schauer and Gary Peters won their elections last fall, campaigning largely on cutting back on wasteful government spending and fiscal responsibility, both voted for this massive spending package as one of their first acts as Congressmen. Probably a preview of what we can expect from both as they serve as rubber-stamps for Pelosi’s and Obama’s policies.
GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR…to kick off our state convention Friday night. We will also have WJR’s Frank Beckmann there who will discuss "what media bias". All Friday night! For more information see the next paragraph.
MRP STATE CONVENTION…Just a quick note to let you know that the Michigan Republican’s website has been updated with State Convention information. For your reference in directing potential delegates to the site, the address is: http://www.migop.org/event.asp.
CPAC 2009 Timeless Principles, New Challenges…Register today for the largest gathering of conservative grassroots activists in the country! The American Conservative Union Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. The 36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held on February 26-28, 2009.
TWITTER…anyone can follow my daily activities and impressions throughout the day by joining and following along. Twitter.com is another social networking site most easily described as a type of instant messaging – but with tons of people. You can follow the ‘tweets’ of others – and they follow you and what you write. The catch is that your posts are limited to 140 characters. But for many, that’s enough to say the important things. To follow me click here.
FACEBOOK…is a great "social networking" tool that many Republicans are using. This is particularly popular with College Republicans, TeenAge Republicans and Young Republicans. If you would like to become a "friend" join me here.
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TODAY’S TOP STORIES
The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.
February 13, 2009
WASHINGTON — Intense pressure from the White House and outside groups failed to convince Michigan Republican lawmakers to support a massive economic stimulus plan that the House approved Friday.
Reps. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined the rest of the House GOP caucus in unanimously rejecting the measure, which includes nearly $800 billion in spending and tax cuts. They had been the target of radio ads from liberal groups pushing them to support the measure, and of intense lobbying from Democrats, including President Obama. Upton accompanied Obama this week to Elkhart, Ind., just across the state line from his West Michigan District.
The Senate is expected to pass the plan Friday evening, sending it to Obama’s desk.
By PATRICK O’CONNOR & ALEX ISENSTADT
Rep. Joseph Cao (R.-La.), defied convention once again on Friday by casting another vote against the Democrats’ economic stimulus package-hours after telling a crowd of reporters in the Capitol that he’d likely support it.
His surprising turn meant that the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts the House approved Friday passed without any Republican support.
While the party had unanimously opposed an earlier version of the bill last month, few expected a repeat party rejection this time around. But members of the minority once again sought safety in numbers by voting against the package as a unified bloc, giving the ever-dwindling number of Republicans in tight districts more political cover to explain their votes back home.
Only 3 Republicans in Congress vote for $787B plan that Obama may sign next week.
February 14, 2009
WASHINGTON — Congress gave President Barack Obama his first major victory Friday, a $787 billion package of tax cuts and spending that he believes will create jobs and help right the nation’s economy.
The Senate approved the measure 60-38, with three GOP moderates providing crucial support. Hours earlier, the House vote was 246-183, with all Republicans opposed to the package of tax cuts and federal spending that Obama has made the centerpiece of his plan for economic recovery.
The president could sign the bill as early as next week, less than a month after taking office.
By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and ERIC DASH
February 13, 2009
WASHINGTON – A provision buried deep inside the $787 billion economic stimulus bill would impose restrictions on executive bonuses at financial institutions that are much tougher than those proposed 10 days ago by the Treasury Department.
The provision, inserted by Senate Democrats over the objections of the Obama administration, is aimed at companies that have received financial bailout funds. It would prohibit cash bonuses and almost all other incentive compensation for the five most senior officers and the 20 highest-paid executives at large companies that receive money under the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
The stimulus package was approved by the House on Friday, then by the Senate in the late evening.
By PAUL D. RYAN
February 13, 2009
CONGRESS has made a terrible mistake. Amid a rhetorical debate centered on words like "crisis," "emergency" and "catastrophe," it acted too fast. While arguments were made about the stimulus bill’s specific components – taxpayer money for condoms, new green cars and golf carts for federal bureaucrats, another round of rebate checks – its more dangerous consequences were overlooked. And now the package threatens a return to the kind of stagflation last seen in the 1970s.
To get a sense of the pressures ahead, we must first assess our fiscal health. We started this year with a projected trillion-dollar budget deficit for the 2009 fiscal year. In 2008, we spent $451 billion just to pay the interest on our debt.
With the stimulus bill now becoming law, we’re digging even deeper into debt. The headline price tag of $787 billion doesn’t include the extra $348 billion it will take to finance the new debt, or what it will cost when Congress extends the spending programs in the bill, as is likely – as much as $2 trillion more. Add in the billions that are being used to prop up the financial system, and when the dust settles on 2009, with millions of baby boomers retiring and entitlement spending exploding, taxpayers will face a financial nightmare.
FEBRUARY 14, 2009
General Motors Corp., nearing a federally imposed deadline to present a restructuring plan, will offer the government two costly alternatives: commit billions more in bailout money to fund the company’s operations, or provide financial backing as part of a bankruptcy filing, said people familiar with GM’s thinking.
The competing choices, which highlight GM’s rapidly deteriorating operations, present a dilemma for Congress and the Obama administration. If they refuse to provide additional aid to GM on top of the $13.4 billion already committed they risk seeing an industrial icon fall into bankruptcy.
In the month or so since assuming office, two freshman state representatives have set a good example by posting their office expenditures online for public scrutiny. Tom McMillin of Rochester and Justin Amash of Grand Rapids, Republicans both, took up the Mackinac Center on its "Show Michigan the Money" challenge. The lawmakers follow Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in posting their spending. Voters should pressure more state government officials to do the same.
Students at Northern Michigan University will be granted a respite from the harsh Michigan winter and a chance to expand their horizons — thanks to an endowment funding the university’s study abroad program. The endowment, funded by a $1 million donation from Northern Michigan alum Gloria Jackson and her husband Bill, will allow students to travel and study all over the world without racking up too much debt. One student from each of the 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula will be granted a study abroad grant each year.
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF
February 14, 2009
The federal stimulus plan could spark a budgetary free-for-all in Lansing, as lawmakers ponder Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s plans to slash $670 million from state spending next fiscal year.
By one estimate, Michigan stands to receive $7 billion in direct payments from the stimulus package, a whopping windfall in light of a potential $1.6-billion deficit facing the state by 2010.
Most of the money will be restricted to fix roads, provide Medicaid health coverage and help schools pay for special education and programs for at-risk students.
Officials: Mich. budget cuts would hit hard
BY ROBIN ERB
February 14, 2009
If the governor’s budget is approved as proposed, Michigan State University officials warned Friday they may have to raise tuition or cut hundreds of jobs.
Additionally, MSU would have to slash outreach services — from helping farmers with crops to providing nutritional programs for needy people and mentoring programs for urban youth.
Though Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s budget plan announced Thursday is just the starting point of what promises to be a long debate over how cash-strapped Lansing spends state funds, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon and several trustees were already recoiling Friday.
February 13, 2009
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States indicated a willingness on Friday to slow plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe if Russia agreed to help stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Plans for the shield have contributed to a deterioration in the relationship between the United States and Russia over the past few years, but the administration of President Obama has said it wants to press the "reset button" and build better relations with Moscow.
"If we are able to work together to dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, we would be able to moderate the pace of development of missile defenses in Europe," a senior administration official said.