EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for November 18, 2011
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This afternoon, the House passed Harry Reid’s first minibus appropriations bill (Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-HUD), which contains record levels of spending for Food Stamps, WIC, and international food aid. It also contains $2.3 billion for disaster spending, which is excluded from the budget caps. Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers promised today on the House floor that spending will not exceed the $1.043 trillion spending cap. Well, the extra $2.3 billion in disaster spending allowed him to do just that. Moreover, if they continue to adopt the higher spending levels of the Democrats, the only way to stay below the cap will be to cut defense appropriations. Worse, this bill has a provision, which was inserted into the conference report, to expand the role of Fannie Mae and Freddi Mac.
Last year, as part of their ‘Pledge To America,‘ Republicans promised to downsize Freddie/Fannie. They also promised to end the practice of minibus bills. Today, they violated both pledges. Yes, we know that mantra; it’s a minibus bill; not an omnibus. But the reality is that House Republicans never had an opportunity to vote and amend two-thirds of the bill.
Fortunately, more and more members are hearing the voice of the grassroots. Even though the ‘don’t call it an Omnibus’ bill passed 298-121, it was opposed by 101 Republicans, and only passed with the help of Democrats. In the Senate, Jim DeMint and David Vitter have already blocked Harry Reid from passing a second minibus bill. So what is the response of the political appropriations establishment?
The day has arrived. Our total debt has surpassed $15 trillion. At the close of business on Wednesday, the debt stood at $15.033 trillion, and is on the cusp of overtaking our GDP. Overall, the federal debt has risen $4.41 trillion (41.5%) since Obama took office and $6.36 trillion (73%) since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007. Our GDP has grown by only $1.3 trillion during Obama’s presidency. Pick your adjective of choice to describe this calamity: unparalleled, unprecedented, uncharted. No word can begin to describe the destruction that Obama has wrought on our republic.
Over the next few days, you will read many factoids and statistics about the federal debt, but here is one acerbic point you may miss. Ninety-one percent of Obama’s $4.41 trillion legacy of debt comes from the debt held by the public.
Decisions about our fuel standards are not inconsequential. They move forward an agenda that rewards some energy sectors while punishing others, and at the same time, moves taxpayer dollars right along with those rules and subsidies.
Under the current requirements of the Clean Air Act, the EPA can certify a new fuel for the marketplace as long as it does not increase emissions. As a result, when the ethanol lobby requested the EPA allow a higher concentration of ethanol in gasoline, based on a narrow test by the Department of Energy, the agency determined E15 could be used in vehicles made after 2001.
Now, normally I don’t like to do this sort of thing when it comes to people who will be eventually on my side when it comes to an election. Truly, I do not. But while I was reading this Jen Rubin Washington Post article targeting the latest anti-Romney… excuse me, I meant to type out “Newt Gingrich,” there… I was struck by something in these two paragraphs . . .