Saturday, October 10, 2015
By Romina Bocciaon Fri, 9 Oct 2015
Important budget questions were discussed this week at a widely attended event by the Institute to Reduce Spending that featured Chairman of the House Budget Committee Dr. Tom Price, R-Ga., as well as a panel of experts (I was delighted to be among the panelists).
Price explained that the goal of fiscal policy and of balancing the budget is to ensure that the “greatest amount of opportunities, the greatest amount of success, is secured for the greatest amount of Americans, to realize the greatest amount of American dreams.”
This message can get lost in discussions over the latest deficit or debt number. It’s important that we be reminded that budget debates are ultimately about what’s best for the country.
The event comes at a time when Congress is faced with the debt limit, the imminent highway trust fund shortfall, and an expiring continuing resolution to fund government agencies—all before Christmas. As Congress lurches from crisis to crisis, real fiscal reform remains elusive.This is not for a lack of solutions, but for a lack of will.
Price was not shy in telling the audience that although Congress passed a budget that would cut more than $5 trillion in projected spending over the next decade to reach balance, the ugly fact is that Congress was not following its budget. Automatic spending on Medicare, Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare present the greatest challenge because Congress allows this spending to grow uncontrolled.
A key theme that emerged from the event was that many U.S. states, as well as nations around the globe, use fiscal rules to control spending and debt.
Fiscal rules enshrine budget commitments and facilitate enforcement. They bind lawmakers to fiscal targets in order to help them resist the temptation to overspend. Fiscal rules force and enforce spending control.
Among the other panelists were Dr. Barry Poulson, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Colorado-Boulder, who shared a new fiscal rule designed for the U.S. based on the successful Swiss spending brake (a report from the Institute to Reduce Spending is forthcoming), and Jonathan Williams, director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who shared success stories from the states, highlighting Colorado and its model fiscal rule (TABOR) in particular.
Getting Congress to move from promises to actually adhering to its budget will be a tough battle. However, it is a battle of utmost importance, and absolutely worthwhile. The future of the country is at stake. We have a moral obligation to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the same or better opportunities than those who came before them did.
Conservative Who Tried to Oust Boehner Says Paul Ryan Could Be Unstoppable
By Josh Siegelon Fri, 9 Oct 2015
After a band of conservatives undercut Kevin McCarthy’s assumed ascension to speaker of the House, Republicans turned to the only person they see as indestructible: Paul Ryan.
Though Ryan has so far resisted the persistent pleas of his counterparts (he is said to be taking the weekend to make a final decision, according to The Washington Post) the force could be too strong.
Indeed, even the 40 or so members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus may be reluctant to block a Ryan speakership.
“If Paul Ryan enters the race, it will make it a much quicker race,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, who led the effort to oust Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and helped found the Freedom Caucus.
“Regardless of how he may or may not stand up on some conservative lists, you would be hard-pressed to have a vice presidential nominee not be considered enough of a candidate to be speaker of the House. If you voted for him for the second highest position, certainly voting for him as the third highest position would be difficult to make an argument against.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal on Friday, Meadows, R-N.C., said the Freedom Caucus would have a formal conference call over the House’s upcoming week-long recess to discuss Ryan specifically.
A day after the Freedom Caucus vowed to stand by long shot Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., Meadows made clear a Ryan run would change the equation.
“There are a number of my colleagues who certainly respect Paul Ryan and consider him to be a credible candidate for the speaker’s job,” Meadows said.
“I believe there was still a path for McCarthy to be the speaker, so suggesting that Ryan would be opposed by the Freedom Caucus is not really along the lines of where ultimately this election may lead.”
Meadows took it a step farther and said the Freedom Caucus is willing to support McCarthy, R-Calif., on the House floor—and would do the same for Ryan.
“The fact the Freedom Caucus endorsed Dan Webster for that first ballot—because it was such a fluid situation—doesn’t necessarily mean we would have stayed firm on that. We have individual areas we want addressed, whether it’s by Dan or someone else.”
Friday, October 9, 2015
By Jordan Fabian - 10-09-15 15:32 PM EDT
Gun-rights advocates on Friday protested President Obama's visit to Roseburg, Ore., where he will meet families of the victims of last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College.
Around 300 people gathered to protest Obama before his arrival in Roseburg, according to The Register-Guard newspaper. Demonstrators held signs saying “Go Away” and “Obama Free Zone.”
Opponents and supporters of Obama lined the motorcade route as he traveled to the site of the meeting.
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) October 9, 2015
The shooting at Umpqua Community College last week left 10 dead — including the suspected shooter — and seven injured.
On the same day of Obama’s visit, a gunman killed one and wounded three at a college campus in Arizona, according to officials. Two were shot in another incident in student housing at Texas Southern University, The Associated Press reported.
The Roseburg shooting reignited a contentious debate over the nation’s gun laws. Many residents of the small, rural community have vented anger at Obama for using the shooting to push for stricter gun control measures.
“It’s unconscionable to me that he would take the pain and the agony of people who just lost a loved one and basically say, no matter what you say and what you think, I’m going to use your personal tragedy for his own political agenda,” Michelle Finn, an organizer with the group Defend Roseburg — Deny Barack Obama, told CNN. “That’s the problem that this community has.”
Just hours after the shooting last Thursday, Obama said gun violence “is something we should politicize.”
“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” he said. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
Hours before Obama’s departure on Friday White House officials announced that he is considering new executive actions on gun control in response to the shooting.
But the White House said it would not use Obama’s Roseburg visit as a platform to push his gun control plans. The president is not expected to make public remarks during his Oregon visit.
“The trip would not be about politics, but that trip would be about merely consoling the families of those who were so profoundly affected by that tragedy,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday.
Finn said that Roseburg should have the chance to mourn and heal before entertaining a debate over gun laws.
“If the president wants to come and pay his condolences and pay his respects, that’s wonderful, that’s admirable,” she said. But she added the majority of people in Roseburg and the surrounding areas believe “this is a mental health issue. ... This is not a gun issue.”
- This story was updated at 3:57 p.m.