Entries Tagged as 'Congress'

This is What Anonymous Funding Looks Like

David Frum October 4th, 2011 at 7:31 am 36 Comments

Who paid William McKinley’s presidential campaign expenses?

The short answer is: we have no idea. Prior to the 20th century, and especially prior the 1970s, campaign finance was the darkest secret of American politics. Money was raised in secret, often in very large amounts, and spent in ways often very difficult to trace.

For 40 years, the US tried to achieve a more transparent finance system. It proved an uphill struggle, now ending in failure. The dark mystery of anonymity is closing in again.

American Crossroads and an army of other conservative outside groups played a catalytic role in creating the GOP House majority — and this year Democrats in at least a dozen races say they are hiring staff earlier, raising cash faster and mapping out TV advertising plans sooner in an effort to fight back.

Click here to read more

Solyndra’s Solar Flame-Out

October 2nd, 2011 at 8:24 am 45 Comments

Basic question for Congress to ask: “Sir, Let’s start with the basics, don’t tell us what you were thinking, tell us if you were thinking.”

Click here to read more

Another “Clever” White House Maneuver

September 1st, 2011 at 9:11 am 49 Comments

Here’s how you arrange for the President of the United States to make a speech to a Joint Session of Congress. The template is decades old.

Presidential staff talks to Congressional leadership:

“Hey, the President wants to make a big time speech to a Joint Session. He’d like to make it in this timeframe. Can we work it out?”

Congressional staff responds.

“Sure, let us look at the schedule, check with our bosses, and no problem.”

Click here to read more

Enough Washington Drama

August 5th, 2011 at 9:14 am 6 Comments

These certainly are interesting times. The United States is in an increasingly precarious position. Growth at home is anemic.  There’s not much in Europe to be up about either. Markets are increasingly skiddish, and yesterday plunged.

Click here to read more

Boehner’s New Plan – Even Deader

July 29th, 2011 at 3:46 pm 75 Comments

A few thoughts on the implications of Boehner adding a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to his debt-ceiling bill (which would now require that Congress pass a BBA before a second debt-ceiling increase could take place early in 2012):

Adding the BBA makes the bill very likely to pass the House. This addition appeases Tea Partiers, who had denied Boehner the majority he needs to pass it.

The Boehner bill as it stood on Thursday night might not have been able to pass the Senate; the Boehner bill of today definitely can’t. The very thing that makes the bill likely to pass the House – its Tea Party pedigree – will kill it in the Senate.

Click here to read more

This is Scary

July 28th, 2011 at 2:04 pm 79 Comments

Early this morning, I had breakfast with a member of Congress—a person I like, respect, have donated to in the past, will donate to in the future, and know isn’t crazy. This man shares at least 90 percent of my views. He’s not a Tea Party Caucus member but is a stalwart in the conservative Republican Study Committee.  He has a safe seat and, like me, sees some serious problems with the Boehner plan. That said, he made it clear that he’s not going to vote for the plan or anything much like it. I didn’t argue with him—he’s a man of conviction and believes in what he’s doing—but he’s exactly the sort of level-headed conservative who is going to be needed to get the plan (or anything realistic that raises the debt ceiling) across the finish line. Without his vote, we’re heading for default.

Ratings Agencies Want to See Bush Tax Cuts Lapse

July 26th, 2011 at 11:58 pm 79 Comments

The suggestion that the US needs to cut $4 trillion in projected debt over the next ten years in order to avoid a downgrade in its debt rating, posed here in an S&P report, has gained significant traction among many on the right. Erick Erickson, when he’s not denying “absolution” to the falsely faithful in the GOP, has emphasized this cut of $4 trillion as crucial to avoid a downgrade.

However, digging into the S&P report reveals some details that might be more problematic for many seeming “deficit hawks.” Though this report does suggest that $4 trillion in cuts/increased revenue over the next ten years would be enough to keep an AAA rating, it also says that its baseline for savings assumes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2012. Will many of these “deficit hawks” abandon those tax cuts in order to appease S&P and keep an AAA rating?

Click here to read more

Reid’s $40 Billion: Yeah, Right

July 26th, 2011 at 8:28 am 9 Comments

On balance, Harry Reid’s plan for raising the debt ceiling and cutting spending looks pretty good to me. Congress will eventually need to do more but the plan he’s devised is a fair enough middle ground: real spending cuts with no broad-based tax increases. One feature of the plan, an effort to, as CNN put it, root out “waste, fraud, and abuse,” and save $40 billion in the process is particularly interesting. I mean, why didn’t anybody think of that before?

It isn’t as if we have an army of Inspectors’ General, huge anti-fraud offices, and harsh criminal penalties for people who defraud the government? We also, of course, don’t have federal laws to let private citizens bring lawsuits on behalf of the federal government or strong protections for Whistle-blowers.  Do we? Oh wait. All that is wrong. We actually have all of those things.

Click here to read more

Obama: “Make Your Voices Heard”

David Frum July 26th, 2011 at 8:15 am 114 Comments

President Obama last night appealed to supporters to make their voices heard, to pressure Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

The demand he emphasized most: that any deal extend the administration enough credit to get past the next election.

Odd priority, no? You might have expected that this liberal Democratic president’s red line would be the protection of unemployment coverage or some other social program. Perhaps that’s what he says on the room. But in his speech, social spending is fully on the table to be negotiated away. He’s willing to accept, he said, the tightest restrictions on federal discretionary spending since the Eisenhower administration.

Click here to read more

Jim DeMint’s Nation-Wrecking Fantasy

David Frum July 21st, 2011 at 2:35 pm 38 Comments

NRO has a report on the Republican members of Congress willing to force default in order to get a Senate vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment.

In the Senate, DeMint is also counting noses, hoping to stir an eleventh-hour movement. Conservative voters, he says, will lose faith in the party if it backs the “Gang” plan and does not fight for a balanced-budget amendment. “Frankly, I believe if we had 41 Republicans who were willing to go past August 2, these things would happen in a hurry,” he says. “I don’t know that we do, but that is the kind of approach we need, and the approach we should have had all along.”

DeMint, who is working closely with Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), sees hope for a last-minute standoff, even as many of his GOP colleagues flock to the “Gang,” which is led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), a respected fiscal hawk. So far, he can count two established Senate dealmakers, Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), as allies.

Graham, for instance, attended a closed-door confab with DeMint and conservative activists on Tuesday, urging the various groups to push Republicans to hold. He told the audience that if Republicans did not battle for a balanced-budget amendment in the summer heat, the chances for its passage would quickly wilt. Waiting until August 3, he argued, would give the GOP sufficient leverage.

Click here to read more