Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bridenstine: 'No Budget, No Pay', No Good [UPDATED]

From the office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine:

House Republicans have created a plan bold in name, but weak in substance.  It’s called “No Budget, No Pay”.  Here is the plan:

  1. Suspend the debt limit until May 19th.  
  2. Make zero cuts to spending in the deal.
  3. Violate the 27th Amendment of the Constitution by “varying” congressional compensation.
  4. Let military sequestration take effect, cutting $500 billion from the Department of Defense.
  5. Pass a Continuing Resolution codifying federal spending at post-sequester levels.
  6. Wait to fight for spending cuts until we hit the debt ceiling again in May 2013.

Here are the reasons I am voting “no” on “No Budget, No Pay.”

The first part of the “No Budget, No Pay” strategy is to suspend the debt limit through May 19, 2013 with no spending cuts.  It seems Republicans have decided not to leverage the debt limit to achieve real reforms.  In lieu of cuts, the bill will contain language stating that the Senate must pass a budget or not be paid.  This sounds strong, but there will be no clause stating that the Senate budget must place us on a path to fiscal responsibility.  Nor will there be a clause stating that the Senate budget must be reconciled with the House budget.  This is seemingly just a ploy.

American voters do not want the debt ceiling to be raised without spending cuts.  A CBS News / New York Times poll, conducted January 11-15, found 60% of all Americans want to see the debt ceiling raised with spending cuts.  Only 17% want the ceiling raised without cuts.  A Fox News poll reported 69% who say Congress should only raise the debt limit after agreeing on major cuts in spending.

A suspension of the debt ceiling is more alarming than an increase.  The bill as presented leaves no statutory limit on federal debt.  It assumes that the Treasury will not reverse its extraordinary measures, replacing the funds “borrowed” from other accounts by issuing billions of additional debt in the three month interval.  That is an assumption that has not been acceptable in the past and is not acceptable today.

I campaigned saying I would raise the debt ceiling only if substantial spending cuts or a balanced budget amendment was included.  Raising the ceiling without negotiating spending cuts will disappoint voters, putting a lot of pressure on everyone who campaigned on fiscal conservatism or responsibility.

Since the Democratic Senate will not go for a 3-month debt limit suspension that ties their pay to a budget, this plan will be spun as gimmicky and not serious.  Republicans will not win the public relations effort, but they will be on record voting to allow the debt to increase with no spending cuts.  This will alienate the Republican base.

The second part of the “No Budget, No Pay” strategy is to let sequestration take effect in March, cutting $500 billion from the Department of Defense.  This is intended to put pressure on the Democrats to reform entitlements.  Using threats to curtail military funding to create a crisis for the purpose of political advantage is an inappropriate policy.  This bad policy also enables the President to continue compromising our national security for a social welfare agenda that restricts economic freedom, punishes achievement, cripples our economy, and makes us less competitive in the world.

It should be noted that there are no new savings when we allow the Sequester to take place.  These savings were a result of the August 2011 debt ceiling increase negotiation.  It should also be noted that using a debt limit increase to control spending has been successful in the past and it will be successful in February 2013 if Republicans are willing to forgo the “No Budget, No Pay” debt limit suspension for a real negotiation.

The third part of the “No Budget, No Pay” strategy is to codify the Sequester with a continuing resolution at post-sequester spending levels.  Again, there are no new savings here.  These savings were a result of the 2011 debt limit increase negotiations.  We need new savings (cuts, reforms, etc.)

The fourth part of the “No Budget, No Pay” strategy is to have a “real” fight over the debt limit in May.  The reality is that if a vote to raise the debt limit ‘clean’ (without spending cuts) comes to the floor, 30 Republicans will join 200 Democrats and there will be no savings realized.

My final concern is the most difficult to ignore.  “Varying” congressional compensation appears unconstitutional by both letter and original intent.  The text of the 27th Amendment was submitted by the Framers as part of the original Bill of Rights in 1789.  It was ratified in 1992, 202 years later.  If the Framers of the 27th Amendment had simply meant that compensation of Senators and Representatives not be “increased nor diminished” then they would have used that exact phrase as it stands in the Constitution referring to the compensation of the President in Article II, Section 1.  Instead, the Amendment is written , “No law, varying the compensation.”  Varying the timing of payment is varying the payment.  Your banker will testify.

Jim Bridenstine is a freshman U.S. Representative from Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District. You can visit his congressional website here.

Once again, Republican leadership in the U.S. House appears to be kicking the can down the road on cutting spending. This latest proposal is dangerous, and conservatives in Congress ought to stand up against it. It would be a real shame if Jim Bridenstine is the only Oklahoma member of Congress to vote against the "No Budget, No Pay" scam.

It's time that Republicans in Congress got serious about cutting spending!

** UPDATE **

Call your members of Congress! As of last night, Rep. Bridenstine was the only Oklahoman committed to vote against the 'No Budget, No Pay' sham. Per phone calls this morning, Rep. Mullin may still be on the fence. The Muskogee Tea Party is urging members to call Congress today, as are other Oklahoma Tea Party groups like the Tulsa 912 Project, OKforTea.

Congressional District 1: Rep. Jim Bridenstine (freshman; THANK for committing to vote 'no'!)
D.C. 1-202-225-2211 
Tulsa: (918) 935-3222

Congressional District 2: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (freshman; enough calls and he might vote 'no')
D.C. 1-202-225-2701   
Claremore: (918) 341-9336
Muskogee: (918)-687-2533
McAlester: (918) 423-5951
Durant: (580)-931-0333

Congressional District 3: Rep. Frank Lucas
D.C. 1-202-225-5565
Yukon: (405) 373-1958

Congressional District 4: Rep. Tom Cole
D.C. 1-202-225-6165
Lawton: (580) 357-2131

Congressional District 5: Rep. James Lankford
D.C. 1-202-225-2132
OKC: (405) 234-9900


H.R. 325 passed the U.S. House on Wednesday afternoon, by a vote of 285 to 144. Republicans split 199-33 in favor, and Democrats went 86-111 against. Of Oklahoma's delegation, freshmen Reps. Bridenstine and Mullin joined other conservatives in voting against the measure. They deserve kudos for the right vote. 'No Budget, No Pay' is now headed to the U.S. Senate, where it seems likely to pass as well.

NBC pushes misleading poll on Roe v. Wade

NBC Poll Claiming Americans Favor Roe is Grossly Misleading

On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the supporters of abortion in the mainstream media are working overtime to push their dishonest message to the public. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing alleged public support for Roe v. Wade – the headline screams “Majority, for first time, want abortion to be legal” – is a prime example of how the mainstream media often manipulates facts, data, and people.

The most objectionable point of the poll is found in its depiction on NBC News’ website. According to Mark Murray, NBC News’ Senior Political Editor, “[t]he 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy.”

The poll itself depicted the Supreme Court decision the same way: “The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe versus Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy.”

This is a gross depiction of the real facts of Roe v. Wade. As James Agresti, President of Just Facts, pointed out just days ago in taking down the recent Pew poll on public support for Roe:

The designers of the Pew poll boost support for the ruling by telling respondents: “In 1973 the Roe versus Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?”

That language is misleading because Roe v. Wade, along with its accompanying ruling, Doe v. Bolton, mandate that abortion be legal up until the point of birth if any one physician willing to perform an abortion says it is needed for “the preservation of the … health of the mother.” Furthermore, Roe cites specific examples of what may be considered harmful to a mother’s health, such as the “stigma of unwed motherhood,” the work of “child care,” and “the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child.”

Likewise, Doe v. Bolton, which was issued by the Supreme Court on the same day as Roe v. Wade with an order that they “are to be read together,” states that “the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

Thus, “health,” as defined by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, provides broad leeway to perform abortions throughout pregnancy. In Roe v. Wade, the majority wrote that their ruling does not permit abortions “at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason” a woman chooses, but they provided no example of a circumstance where abortion could be prohibited.

Next on the list, but earlier in the article, Murray quotes a Republican pollster who worked on the poll:
McInturff adds that the abortion-related events and rhetoric over the past year – which included controversial remarks on abortion and rape by two Republican Senate candidates, as well as a highly charged debate over contraception – helped shaped these changing poll numbers.

“The dialogue we have had in the last year has contributed … to inform and shift attitudes.”

Clearly, McInturff has a different definition of “informing” than I do. The HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate “informed” Americans of the non-existent War on Women, which was portrayed as an attack on the ability of women to buy and use contraception. Its accurate depiction as an attack on religious liberty was often ignored. Additionally, the two rape comments by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were two very different comments. Akin’s were made through objectionable scientific ignorance, whereas Mourdock’s were merely an inartful expression of belief in God’s love for all children, regardless of how the child was created. Yet the media “informed” the public the two were similar.

My third objection to the poll is how only four questions are asked regarding the legalization of abortion. People are asked whether it should be legal, illegal, legal in most cases, or illegal except for cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Yet as Steven Ertelt pointed out last week, a much more comprehensive (and honest) Marist Poll showed different results:
Four decades after the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Roe v. Wade, a new Marist poll provides more details about Americans’ attitude on abortion, with 83 percent favoring significant restrictions. The poll reveals that support for significant abortion restrictions has increased by four points since last year — rising from 79 percent to 83 percent.

Looking at abortion in views in general, 10 percent believe abortion should never be permitted; 12 percent believe abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother; 34 percent would restrict abortion only to cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother; and 27 percent would limit abortion to — at most — the first three months of pregnancy.

Few Americans take the position of either President Barack Obama or Planned Parenthood, as only 11 percent would allow abortion at any time, while 6 percent would allow it during the first six months of pregnancy.

I am 100% in favor of the dialogue McInturff references in the NBC article – that is, open and honest dialogue based upon the facts of abortion. But to McInturff, NBC News, and most other mainstream media outlets, “dialogue” is about creating and disseminating deceptive pro-abortion perceptions of reality. That’s not dialogue – that’s propaganda.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Democrats lost voters in 49% of Oklahoma counties in 2012

As the previous maps have shown, 2012 was a banner year for Republicans, to the detriment of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Today, we look at numerical growth figures per county.

For Republicans and Independents, every county showed a net increase of voters. Statewide, the GOP added 69,389 voters, and Independents grew by 27,381. Tulsa County had the highest raw growth for Republicans, at +11,636, while Oklahoma County was top for Independents at +5,789.

On the other hand, Democrats show a different story. While they did grow by 18,789 voters statewide, only 39 of 77 counties had net increases, while 38 had net losses. The top numerical increase for Democrats came in Oklahoma County (+7,738), and the greatest decrease was in Rogers County (-503).

As bad as that is, things look even worse when you compare Democrats' numerical growth to that of Independents and Republicans on a county-by-county basis.

In only 16 counties did Democrats add more voters than Independents.

Republicans added more voters than Democrats in 74 of 77 counties.

It's a great time to be a Republican in Oklahoma. Not so much if you're a Democrat.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Voter Registration Growth by Party

This addition to the MuskogeePolitico.com's voter registration map series shows growth as a percentage in each county per political party.

Percentages for Republicans grew in 75 of 77 counties, coming short of positive growth only in Adair (-0.09%) and Oklahoma (-0.21%) counties. Marshall County Republicans grew by 3.77%, the largest percentage in the state.

Democrats had a terrible year, growing in percentage only in Adair County (+0.12%). Marshall County was the worst, coming in at a loss of 4.45%. Far western and southern Oklahoma is where the brunt of loss came for the Democratic Party.

Independents grew at a slow rate, dropping in percentage in Adair County (-0.03%), but gaining in the rest of the state. Ottawa County had the greatest percentage jump, at 1.39%.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

County-by-county voter registration swings, 1/2012 to 1/2013

Continuing my map series on voter registration, this shows the county-by-county trend from last January. Democrats had a positive trend in only one county (Adair), and that was only +0.29%. Republicans netted positive percentages in the other 76 counties, capped with +8.22% in Marshall County.

With the rate at which the GOP is catching up to the Democrats, the Republican Party will likely take the lead in voter registration sometime in 2014.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oklahoma Voter Registration Map, January 2013

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, I've compiled a map visualizing voter registration in Oklahoma. As you can see, Democrats still dominate registration rates in most of southern and eastern Oklahoma counties, but struggle in the higher population metropolitan areas.

Contrast this with my Election Results Maps series, and compare the registration rates to the actual voting data.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oklahoma Republicans net 370% more voters than Democrats in 2012

Release: OKGOP Crushes Democrats in 2012 Voter Registration Efforts

(Oklahoma City)--Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell released the following statement today in response to the State Election Board's official annual registration statistics report showing that over the past year, Republicans had a net increase of over 69,400 voters, while Democrats netted only 18,789.

"Today’s voter registration numbers echo what we have been saying since I became Chairman in 2010: the Democrat Party - both on a national and state level - has taken a hard-left turn and is not turning back,” said OKGOP Chairman Matt Pinnell. “It is no coincidence that as the Oklahoma Democratic Party has taken positions increasingly at odds with Oklahoma voters, that voter registration is tilting even more Republican.”

The State Election Board report notes that 2012 saw a continuation of Oklahoma’s decades-long trend of Republican and Independents increasing their share of registered voters. Twenty years ago, Democrats made up almost 64% of registered Oklahoma voters. Today, only 45%. Republicans on the other hand now comprise almost 43% of registered voters.

“The 2012 Democratic National Convention adopted a national platform that takes positions completely at odds with Oklahoma voters,” continued Pinnell. “From further gun restrictions and attacks on the energy sector to support for raising taxes in the midst of an economic crisis, the Oklahoma Democratic Party continues to embrace the far-left policies of Barack Obama and national Democrats.”

According to the State Election Board report, as of January 15, 2013, Oklahoma has 2,116,186 registered voters. This includes 962,072 Democrats, 897,663 Republicans, 256,450 Independents, and one (1) member of the Americans Elect political organization.

“More and more Oklahomans are awakening to the fact that there is no longer a place for them in today’s Democrat Party and they feel much more comfortable with today’s Republican Party that is championing lower taxes and less government intervention. When that awakening happens, we are ready with voter registration forms,” concluded Pinnell.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Planned Parenthood closes clinic in Tulsa

Planned Parenthood Closes Tulsa, Oklahoma Clinic After De-Funding
by Steven Ertelt | Oklahoma City, OK | LifeNews.com 

After Oklahoma officials revoked taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business, the organization has announced it will close its clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma that refers women for abortions.

Planned Parenthood is closing its Westside Health Center in Tulsa following the state’s decision to yank taxpayer funds it received through a taxpayer-funded program that provides food for low income women and children. In October, Oklahoma officials dropped the abortion giant so it could steer tax dollars to legitimate agencies helping women and children in need.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health ended its WIC contract with Planned Parenthood, whose CEO thinks the decision was politically motivated. The letter from the Health Department to Planned Parenthood is signed by Chief of WIC Services Terry Bryce and dated September 27 and says the contract will not be renewed and is ending September 30, but gives an extension to the end of the year.

The state also de-funded the abortion company because Planned Parenthood’s cost per participant exceeded those of legitimate centers.

Now, Planned Parenthood will close is Tulsa clinic by February 1 according to an email to staff from Jill June, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The Tulsa World newspaper has more details.

Six Planned Parenthood employees in Tulsa who worked with WIC clients have already been laid off, according to the email.

Planned Parenthood’s WIC contract ended Dec. 31. State health department officials have said the contract was terminated because of relatively low caseloads and high cost per participant as well as a lack of response to health department questions about the contract’s administration.

Planned Parenthood has maintained that the decision to end the contract was political, which the department of health denies.

In December, a federal judge ruled the state of Oklahoma has the right to cut taxpayer funding to the Planned Parenthood abortion business. U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot of the Western District of Oklahoma ruled that Planned Parenthood can’t stop Oklahoma from ending the contract. The ruling indicated the abortion company failed to prove that the contract was ended for political reasons because it supports abortion.

As Reuters reported:

The judge said Planned Parenthood’s performance shortfalls – mostly drops in caseload – did not themselves seem to be problems that could lead to a cut in ties.

“But a routine, solvable problem can become a justifiable basis for strong action when it is compounded by persistent unresponsiveness in addressing the challenge,” Friot wrote in his decision.

Losing the contract will force Planned Parenthood to close one of its three clinics in Tulsa, according to Penny Dickey, the organization’s chief operating officer.

State officials have said other clinics can absorb the Planned Parenthood caseload in the Tulsa area when the contract ends.

The WIC program brings in 3,000 people a month to the abortion giant, and will help women and children find the same services at a location that does not also refer women for abortions.

“This is a renewal period, and the agency has taken the option not to renew based on the needs of the Health Department, the contractor’s performance and funding availability,” according to a statement the department released.

The WIC program uses federal funds to provide food vouchers to low-income pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, and infants and children younger than 5.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Shannon sworn-in as House Speaker

Yesterday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives met for Organizational Day, and officially voted in Rep. T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) as Speaker of the House and Rep. Mike Jackson (R-Enid) as President Pro Tem.

Shannon, 34, is the first black speaker in Oklahoma history, and I believe is now the youngest speaker in the nation. Congratulations to Shannon on this achievement. I hope that he will lead the State House in a truly conservative direction.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Bridenstine lone Oklahoman to vote against Boehner

Amid conservative grumblings against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for his tenure over the past two years, there was discussion that conservative members of the House would attempt to replace Boehner with another member. However, no candidate came to fruition, and Boehner was re-elected as Speaker yesterday with 220 votes to Nancy Pelosi's 192. Twenty representatives cast protest votes, or otherwise did not vote. You can view the roll call vote here.

On the Democratic side, eight congressmen voted for someone other than Nancy Pelosi. Receiving votes from Democrats were Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Colin Powell, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). Primarily, those who voted this way were "Blue Dog" representatives.

On the Republican side of the aisle, twelve congressmen voted for someone other than John Boehner. Receiving votes from Republicans were Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), former Florida Rep. Allen West, and David Walker.

In a fact little known to those not intimately involved with congressional politics, the Speaker of the House does not have to be an actual congressman, hence why Powell, West, and Walker received votes.

Of the dozen Republicans, several had been stripped of committee assignments by Boehner for opposing House leadership on different issues (such as the debt ceiling, and other times Boehner has caved in to the liberals). The rest were staunch conservatives who took a stand to send a message that they will not stand for more compromising of conservative principles.

Of Oklahoma's delegation -- all Republican now with the election of Markwayne Mullin in the 2nd District -- only 1st District freshman Jim Bridenstine voted against Boehner. In light of the Speaker punishing other conservatives recently, doing so took a lot of guts for Bridenstine, especially since the voice vote was done alphabetically, making Bridenstine only the second Republican to vote against Boehner. When he voiced his vote for Cantor, blogger Michelle Malkin tweeted "Bridenstine votes for Cantor...audible murmurs on the floor." Chad Pergram of Fox News tweeted "Freshman Jim Bridenstine votes for Cantor over Boehner. Audible gasp in chamber. Audacious move for freshman."

A big target is now on Congressman Bridenstine's back, but he stood his ground and kept his word. Kudos to him. We will see if Speaker Boehner punishes him by removing him from the Armed Services Committee or the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

On the contrary, the other freshman from Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, voted for Boehner. On the campaign trail in 2012, Mullin railed against Boehner on many occasions, calling him "institutionalized", and indicating he would not vote for Boehner.

It will be interesting to watch the Oklahoma delegation moving forward. If this first vote is any indication, conservatives will be very happy with Jim Bridenstine as a member of Congress.

Stuart Jolly leaving AFP-OK for national post

AFP-OK Director Stuart Jolly Resigns after Six Years Building Army for Liberty
AFP President Tim Phillips Expresses Appreciation

Oklahoma City, OK – Americans for Prosperity today announced that Stuart Jolly, state director of the organization’s Oklahoma chapter, is resigning at the end of the month to become Executive Political Director of TeamCFA; which focuses on the areas of free-market economics, school choice and charter school legislative issues and innovative answers. Stuart’s responsibilities are now nationwide, with special focus on three regions surrounding North Carolina, Arizona, and Indiana.

Stuart has served as state director of Americans for Prosperity for over six years, during which time the chapter has grown by over 24,000 activists and successfully defended free-market principles around the state.

“I am proud to call Stuart a trusted colleague and friend and thank him for his leadership in the fight for economic freedom and limited government these past six years,” said Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity. “While we are sorry to see him go, we know that he will continue to be an ally in our common cause and we wish him all the best. The great state of Oklahoma is an even better place today because of Stuart's dedicated work.”

Prior to joining AFP, Stuart enjoyed a diverse career with the United States Army spanning nearly 22 years retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and Foreign Area Officer in the Defense Attaché Office in the US Embassy to Belgium. He’s earned multiple awards and decorations including the Senior Aviator Wings, Bronze Star and two Air Medals.

Americans for Prosperity is actively looking for candidates to fill the Oklahoma State Director position. You can see more details and apply by clicking here.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.  For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org


Stuart Jolly has been a great voice for free-market principles and a good ally of the Tea Party movement in Oklahoma. With Stuart at the helm, AFP-OK has done great work in the school choice field, in advancing conservative economic policies, and in educating grassroots activists. Although he will be missed in his former post, Stuart will do a great job at his new job. Congratulations on the promotion, Stuart!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Senate passes fiscal cliff bill; House yet to act

At 1:39am New Year's morning, the U.S. Senate passed a "compromise" deal on the fiscal cliff -- with nearly all of the compromise coming on the part of the Republicans.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the deal to raise tax revenue by $620 billion, while cutting only $15 billion in spending (which is off-set by increased spending elsewhere). That's $41 in higher taxes to every $1 cut. Additionally, only two billion dollars in cuts will take place during 2013 -- which means that when it's all said and done, not a penny will be cut. We've been down this road many times already.

Here are some details from RedState:
The bill raises income tax rates for those taxpayers with incomes more than $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. These higher income taxpayers will also pay higher rates on investment income, with rates on dividends and capital gains rising from 15 percent to 20 percent. Add the 3.8 percent ObamaCare surcharge on investment income — another tax that takes effect in January, and the top rate on investment income would rise to 23.8 percent for those high-income households.
The bill also raises taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 a year and single people earning more than $200,000 by limiting personal exemptions and itemized deductions.
Estates taxes will also be increased, with the top rate raised to 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates.
The bill also delays the automatic $1.2 trillion draconian sequester spending cuts for sixty days. The sequester cuts, evenly split between defense and certain domestic discretionary spending, were scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The $24 billion cost of the sequester delay is allegedly made up with a mix of spending cuts and new revenues from rules changes on converting traditional individual retirement accounts into Roth IRAs.
Worse, the bill actually increases the deficit by including:
  • A permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.
  • A five-year extension of tax credits for college tuition and the working poor, which were enacted as part of Obama’s failed 2009 stimulus.
  • A one-year extension for unemployment benefits, affecting two million people.
  • The long-term unemployed could count on receiving emergency benefits for another year, at a cost of about $30 billion.

The bill passed 89-8. Three Democrats voted no: Sens. Bennett (CO), Carper (DE), and Harkin (IA). Only five Republicans voted no: Sens. Grassley (IA), Lee (UT), Paul (KY), Rubio (FL), and Shelby (AL). 40 Republican senators voted for the measure, including Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn.

As of this moment, the House has yet to act on the bill.

One thing is for certain - Republicans in both houses of Congress need new leadership. Far too often have GOP leaders in D.C. betrayed the trust that grassroots conservatives have placed in them.