EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for May 16, 2012
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The Federal Reserve is not my issue. Audit it if you want, I’m with you. But it’s not something that drives me crazy or makes me passionate. But there is one issue that really gets me and the Fed has been at the center of it lately — crony capitalism.
Barack Obama has nominated Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors for six years each. Senator David Vitter (R-LA — HAFA Score 85%) placed a hold on both men. They are creatures of Wall Street and, in the biggest red flag of the day, both Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have been pressuring Senator Vitter to drop his hold.
The issue here is bailouts. Mark Calabria notes the Federal Reserve has bailout powers, but it needs the support of five Federal Reserve governors. Stein and Powell are both in favor of the Federal Reserve continuing to bailout banks and other entities with little oversight.
Harry Reid can bring these men to the floor any time he wants. The word in the Senate is that he is about to.
Many have called President Obama’s election historic, and rightly so. His presidency however, is another matter entirely. It’s historic in a lot of senses be it his record breaking debt accumulation & spending or his being the first president to have a rainbow halo placed on his head. But compared to the historic achievements of other presidents that did things like ending slavery or saving the planet, he falls woefully short.
Unless you ask him.
This week, the House will fulfill our most important constitutional duty by debating the FY 13 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In accordance with the framer’s intent, this act is the primary check that Congress can apply to the Executive Branch on defense and national security policy.
Last year, constitutional conservatives raised the alarm bell about some provisions in the FY 12 NDAA; provisions that many were concerned would grant President Obama far reaching powers to detain American citizens without trial. The bill ultimately passed, but has become the subject of countless town hall meetings, tweets, and Facebook posts in the months since.
The debate has become so heated that many believe that the NDAA is a bill that deals strictly with detaining terrorists. It is much more than that. Aside from dictating how the military can handle any al Qaeda terrorists they capture, the FY13 NDAA deals with the full scope of national security issues. There is much in it, from a rejection of the Obama administration’s effort to raise health care fees on military retirees; to making sure the President doesn’t trade our missile defenses away to the Russians, that Conservatives can be proud of.
You know, when I saw this secondhand whine from Wisconsin Democrats upset that the DNC apparently wasn’t prepared to throw half a million dollars at the general recall election, I assumed that this would be resolved. I mean, really: the Left has already thrown away tens of millions of dollars; what’s a bit more? Admittedly, not throwing utterly horrible money after bad (we’ve passed the ‘throwing good money after bad’ stage already) would be the right answer, in a strictly utilitarian sense; but the state party is in a bad way right now. They sort of need an indication that the President cares for more than his own election, right?
Last week, the House passed H.R. 5326, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, by a vote of 247-163, providing $51.131 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2013. That’s $1.61 billion or 3% below the amount of funding provided for these programs in fiscal year 2012–and $731 million or 1.4% below the amount requested by the president for fiscal year 2013.
Not terrible, but clearly there was room to cut more spending, right? Surely House Republicans realized that Americans want them to cut more spending than 3%–and be more than 1.4% below where President Obama is, right?
Ezra Klein at the Washington Post put out a piece promoting Common Cause’s lawsuit to have the Senate filibuster declared unconstitutional. Klein repeats myth after myth about the filibuster. This piece should commence an interesting national debate finally putting the argument to bed that the filibuster is somehow unconstitutional. Abolition of the filibuster will lead to a Senate with less time for debate and limited transparency for the American people.
It is interesting to note that these short sighted leftists may be laying the table for an easy repeal of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and extending the Bush tax cuts. Clearly, Republicans control of the Senate is within reach (see RCP analysis of Senate polls). There is also a 50-50 chance that Republicans win the presidency. Liberals are trying to get rid of the one tool they would have to stop Republicans from dismantling the Obama legacy of higher taxes and more regulation.
I have to imagine that some Republicans will want to take liberals up on the offer of ridding the Senate of the filibuster in January of 2013.