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Reid, Dems, and RINO’s block debate on pork laden bill


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Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) forced a vote to block debate on a $10 billion, pork-laden Omnibus Lands bill. Sixty-six RINO’s and Democrats gave the move enough votes to get around a filibuster by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who had successfully blocked the legislation last year.

The bill was laden with “wasteful projects” according to Coburn, who for several months has been on a mission to cut Republican (RINO) and Democrat Senators’ pet projects from the bill.

With recent Democratic infighting over President-elect Obama’s warnings that pork will be excluded from his Generational Theft Act of 2009, one can only assume Reid, his Democratic cronies, and the RINOs (who are largely responsible for the dismal performance of the GOP in November’s elections) want to spend all they can, just in case Obama proves true to his word. Reid didn’t comment on Coburn’s charges of waste, but instead stated he was simply trying to get as much accomplished as possible before Obama’s inauguration next week.

Below is a list of all RINO senators who voted with Reid, complete with links to contact them.  I will be contacting each of these senators by phone and email this week to express my displeasure and encourage everyone who wishes to see our elected representatives spend our money responsibly to do the same.

RINOs Who Voted With Reid on Omnibus Lands Bill

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Senator James Risch (R-ID)

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)*

Senator Thad Cohran (R-MS)

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT)

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY)

*Senator Snowe’s website is unavailable as of this writing.

I’ll be emailing each of their offices a list of questions on Friday to give them a chance to explain their vote. I’ll follow up with a phone call to those who don’t respond by Tuesday of next week.  If you have any questions you’d like me to ask, please leave them in the comment thread on this post. I’ll report back with their responses in a follow-up post.


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Roll call vote: The first vote of the 111th Congress–Michelle Malkin

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, GOP | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sen. Reid (D-NV) blocks debate on pork-laden bill



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Press release from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Dr. Coburn Repeats Call for an Open and Transparent Debate on Controversial $10 Billion Omnibus Lands Bill

Urges Senate Leaders to set a new tone, allow debate

January 8, 2009

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today urged Senate leaders to reconsider their decision to block debate and obstruct all amendments to a 1,300 page omnibus lands bill with 164 different provisions. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has called the package “controversial” because it has angered groups on the left and right with its wasteful earmarks, anti-environmental provisions and provisions that erect new barriers to domestic energy production. Dr. Coburn today filed 13 amendments to the package that target Republican and Democrat projects. Full background on the lands package is here.

“I’m disappointed the Senate Majority Leader has refused to allow Senators the opportunity to improve, amend or eliminate any of the questionable provisions in his omnibus lands bill. When the American people asked Congress to set a new tone, I don’t believe refusing to listen to the concerns of others was what they had in mind. The American people expect us hold open, civil and thorough debates on costly legislation, not ram through 1,300 page bills when few are watching. Blocking debate undermines the public’s trust in Congress and suggests that Senators have something to hide. If Senators want to load this bill with earmarks and deepen our dependence on foreign oil, they should defend those provisions on the floor of the Senate, not hide behind procedural roadblocks,” Dr. Coburn said.

“The American people have a right to know that this package would prioritize the funding of new and egregious pork projects like a road to nowhere in Alaska over critical maintenance of our national parks. The American people also have a right to know that this bill would erect new barriers to American sources of energy. One provision in this bill, which the Majority Leader won’t subject to amendment, would permanently ban access to an enormous natural gas field in Wyoming that would match the annual production of our two largest natural gas producing states, Alaska and Texas. Congress seems to have forgotten that just a few months ago the price of oil hit $148 a barrel and gas cost $4 per gallon. We are once again putting our short-term parochial interests ahead of the best long-term interests of the country,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Finally, while some have complained that I have used every procedural tool to block this bill I would respectfully remind Senate leaders that many more tools remain available to me and any other Senator who wants to exercise his or her rights. Our founders gave each individual Senator extraordinary procedural powers in order to prevent the tyranny of the majority. My goal is to use the rules to encourage debate while, I believe, Senate leaders are using the rules to obstruct debate. Blocking amendments, and attempting to silence the voices of millions of Oklahomans and other Americans who oppose business as usual in the Senate, is not a sustainable governing strategy, particularly when the American people are demanding change,” Dr. Coburn said.

Dr. Coburn submitted the following amendments to Senate leaders earlier this week in hopes of reaching an agreement that would allow the Senate to consider this legislation in a timely manner. Dr. Coburn is confident the average American would expect the United States Senate to at least debate the merit of these amendments, which highlight questionable provisions in the legislation.

PRIORITIES

• No funds may be spent on the new units to the National Park Service, new National Heritage Areas, studies, new Wild and Scenic designations, or new wilderness designations authorized by this Act until the Secretary of the Interior certifies that the maintenance backlog at the Statute of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Gettysburg, Antietam, USS Arizona Memorial, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the National Mall in Washington, DC have been resolved

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

• Nullify all restrictions on energy exploration and production within the bill

• Strike provision restricting access to a major natural gas reserve in Wyoming

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

• Strike $1 billion California water project to restore 500 salmon

• Strike $3.5 million for the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine, Florida

• Strike $5 million for the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii and Florida

• Strike earmark allowing for the construction of a “road to nowhere” through a national wild life refuge in Alaska

• Strike a provision that would allow a cave institute in New Mexico to receive unlimited federal funding

EMINENT DOMAIN

• Prohibit the use of eminent domain for any provision authorized in the bill

TRANSPARENCY

• Annual report detailing total size and cost of federal property

• Disallow the National Landscape Conservation System authorization from taking effect until an investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Interior has been completed demonstrating that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the Department (There are allegations that the employees of the National Landscape Conservation System illegally coordinated with advocacy groups to permanently authorize the office)

INDIVDIUAL RIGHTS

• Prohibits restrictions on hunting, fishing, and the possession or use of a weapon, trap, or net in new public lands created by this Act

BORDER SECURITY

• Ensures that nothing in the Act shall prevent or obstruct the planning, construction, operation, or maintenance of a border fence or immigration enforcement


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January 11, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, Economy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reid Ignores Economy in Favor of Pork

 


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Press Release from Senator Jim Demint (R-SC)

 

Reid Ignores Economy to Force Vote on Pork Laden Omnibus Lands Bill

Democrat Majority Leader has allowed a vote on only 1 Republican amendment in last 6 months

January 9, 2009 – Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement regarding Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nevada) decision to hold the first vote of the 111th Congress this Sunday on a massive omnibus lands bill that contains numerous wasteful earmarks:

“This Sunday charade is proof that while President-Elect Obama talks about change and bipartisanship, the Senate Majority Leader is stuck in the partisan past. Instead of focusing on the economy, he has dusted off a pork laden lobbyist-giveaway bill from the previous Congress,” said Senator DeMint.

“This bill is 1,294 pages of pork, land-grabs, and other special interest goodies. According to the Congressional Research Service, many provisions of this bill are quite controversial. Many others are just plain ridiculous, such as $3.5 million to help celebrate the 450th birthday of St. Augustine Florida — in 2015, $5 million for botanical gardens in Hawaii and Florida, a $14 million tropical research institute in Panama, and a $12 million orchid museum in Maryland. And according to Americans for Tax Reform, Reid’s omnibus would hurt American energy by ending exploration on lands that are estimated to provide 300 million barrels of proven oil and 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

“Senator Coburn reached out to the Majority Leader last week and asked whether he would be able to offer a limited number of reasonable amendments to the bill, as is his right as a senator. The Majority Leader’s response: Nothing. Not even one amendment to strike wasteful programs.

“The Senate has only voted on one Republican amendment in the last six months, and it is clear that Senator Reid is returning to business as usual.

“The Democrat Leader runs the Senate like a kindergarten. If we don’t follow his instructions, he keeps the whole class after school.

“Tom Coburn has an election certificate from the people of Oklahoma, and he has the same right to the floor as the Majority Leader. He is a hero and he will have my full support every step of the way as he fights for the American taxpayer,” said Senator DeMint.


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January 10, 2009 Posted by | Democrats | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obamatopia not what Dems envisioned

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Remember how they gloated on November 4?  Do you recall the appearance of cohesiveness displayed after the Dems practically swept the elections?

Oh, all was right with the world, their dream was about to be realized…or was it?  After all, their dream was about consolidating power in the hands of  “progressive” politicians–translated:  those who take money from a few people and give some of it to a lot of other people to buy votes.

Now that unseverable bond in November is beginning to fall apart.

You see, Obama’s Democratic allies were foaming at the mouth to confiscate more of your money to fund their pet projects in their perpetual pursuit of re-election.  But shock of all shocks, the other day Obama declared he would ban his former colleagues’ from including pork barrel projects from his stimulus package, promising to post all budget data online and making government spending more transparent.

His liberal buddies didn’t make too many waves over this, probably figuring they had the know how to slip their little projects in without being noticed, or that Obama was just pandering to the crowd and didn’t really mean it.  Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) couldn’t stay completely quiet though and pointed out that “some earmark projects have proven tremendously popular and effective over the years.”  And besides, Obama made the remarks after stating his plans to spend almost a trillion dollars to stimulate the economy!  The Dems in Congress were probably drooling on themselves thinking about all that money they were going to get to spend.

But today, the seams that coalesced the Democratic Party two short months ago really started loosening.  When congressional libs heard the phrase they dread more than any other was part of the plan–tax cuts.

Now I haven’t seen too many details of Obama’s planned tax cuts, so I can’t say if I agree with it or not.  But the reaction from some Democrats make clear they don’t like it

Sen. Conrad’s comments illustrate his ineptitude where the economy’s concerned–“If I’m a business person, it’s unlikely if you give me a several-thousand-dollar credit that I’m going to hire people if I can’t sell the products they’re producing.” 

Can the Senator not understand the simple economic concept that more money in the hands of the people increases consumer spending which in turn creates demand for products and services that force employers to hire?

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) would “rather spend the money on the infrastructure, on direct investment, on energy conversion, on other kinds of things that much more directly, much more rapidly and much more certainly create a real job.”   You can bet he knows just what projects he has in mind.  In other words, he’ll just call his pork projects infrastructure, energy conversion, and other kinds of things to create jobs for which there is no current demand! 

Senator Kerry, real jobs are created by consumer spending which is a direct result of consumers keeping more of their own money.

One more Democratic economic genius moron, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) doesn’t think much of Obama’s proposed tax credits that would put $10-$20 more per week in almost everyone’s pocket.  “In tough times people don’t respond all that well to marginal changes, such as a small amount of money added per paycheck,” Wyden said.  (Meaning they don’t spend enough money under these circumstances.)

This takes the cake for moronic rationale.  Senator Wyden, when “times are tough” it’s because it takes all they have or more to live.  Putting a few dollars more in their pockets means they will spend that money because they have to!  Consumer spending will increase, and as I’ve already stated, and will drive up demand for goods and services forcing businesses to hire.

Good grief, this isn’t rocket science.

But these Dems who want you to believe that tax cuts are the equivalent of spending already know all this.  They really do understand.  They just don’t want you to understand.  Their power is derived straight from their ability to control how money is spent and what it is spent on.  Giving you control of money to stimulate the economy means (in their eyes) taking it away from them and with it goes the ability to wield their power.

As I said earlier, this is not an endorsement of Obama’s tax cuts.  Dems have a nasty habit of mislabeling wealth redistribution as tax cuts.  We need to see a lot more details before I can say whether I agree with these or not.

I will say though, the fact that these liberal Democrats don’t like it makes me believe at least parts of it may be alright.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Economy | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Press Release on Gov’t Waste

Coburn Report Highlights Worst Waste of 2008

Report Includes More Than $1.3 Billion in Pet Projects, Frivolous Grants and Other Ridiculous Spending

 

December 12, 2008

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, today released the oversight report “2008: Worst Waste of the Year.” The look back on 2008 features absurd federal spending from beltway bureaucrats and elected officials. To view the entire report click here.

“As we look back on federal spending for 2008, American taxpayers will laugh, and then cry at how their elected officials spent their hard-earned dollars. Not even these tough economic times have dulled Congress’ ability to find new and creative ways to waste taxpayer dollars,” Dr. Coburn said.

Examples of waste in 2008 include:

• $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam”

• $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees await basic repairs

• $2.4 million for a retractable shade canopy at a park in West Virginia

• $24.6 million for the National Park Service’s 100th year birthday in 2016 – 8 years early

• $3.2 million on a blimp the Pentagon does not want

• $367,000 wasted by a Texas school board on items like an inflatable alligator and under-the-sea waterslide, among other things

• $5 million for a bridge to a zoo parking lot in St. Louis

• $9,000 for a non-functioning airplane-shaped gas station in Tennessee

• $300,000 for specialty potatoes for high-end restaurants

“The waste highlighted in this report is only a fraction of the more than $385 billion the federal government throws away every year through waste, fraud and duplication. Yet, each example in this report is a snapshot that tells a larger story, just as the Bridge to Nowhere justifiably became a symbol of the corrupting nature of earmarks. The story the American people already understand is that Congress’ inability to make common sense decisions about spending priorities is putting our children’s future at risk. Until Congress abandons the short-term parochialism that gives us LobsterCams and inflatable alligators, we will never get a handle on the major economic challenges facing this country,” Dr. Coburn said.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | Conservatism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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