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  • Morning Bell: Bring Honesty Back to War Funding

    When Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson first announced his $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised: “We will not Christmas-tree this bill. The times are too urgent. Everyone has their own desires and needs. It’s going to have to wait.” So how did Congress live up to Schumer’s promise? When the bill finally passed, in addition to the $700 billion given to Paulson, another $150 billion in goodies was also given to special interests, including tax breaks for makers of wooden toy bow-and-arrow sets. The same kind of toys one might find under a Christmas tree.

    Unfortunately, this behavior has become the status quo in Congress. No emergency legislation can pass without attracting billions in unrelated spending. Perhaps the worst example of this phenomenon is the supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the early stages of the conflict, Congress managed to keep unrelated spending items out of emergency spending legislation. But as the scope and cost of these operations has become more predictable, Congress has chosen to add more wasteful spending to each bill. In 2006, Congress tried to add $14 billion in unrelated domestic spending (including a Mississippi “railroad to nowhere”) to the war funding. In 2007, Congress successfully added $21 billion in domestic spending (including another farmer bailout, despite record farm incomes). And in 2008, the Iraq and Afghanistan supplemental spending measure included an astounding $71 billion in new domestic spending. As you can see, the problem is only getting worse.

    Each year Congress passes a budget resolution capping total discretionary spending at a specific level for the following year. But emergency supplemental spending exists outside the normal appropriations process and is not subject to these caps. So if a congressman can’t get his favorite project funded through the normal budget process, he just waits for the yearly war funding bill to come along, and tacks his spending priorities on that bill. This gateway to uncapped domestic spending can exist only if Congress can count on an “emergency” funding bill every year.

    Given the length of time the military has been engaged and the increased predictability of what is required to succeed, the Pentagon should no longer use supplementals to pay for the war. The costs of the respective American operations now average about $10 billion per month. Congress should instead begin funding these operations as part of the regular defense budget beginning in fiscal 2010. Funding for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are becoming increasingly about “resetting” the military, making them more difficult to distinguish from the core defense program. Therefore, the costs of the supplemental appropriations ought to be incorporated into the funding requirements of the core defense budget. Even beyond the non-emergency domestic spending add-ons by Congress, Iraq and Afghanistan should have to compete with other federal programs within the normal budget process. No single spending item exists in a vacuum, so Congress must have an opportunity to set priorities and make trade-offs across the entire federal budget.

    It is shameful the way our leaders in Washington feel compelled to load up emergency spending measures with their own narrow priorities. According to Rasmussen Reports, 59% of voters would like to throw all of Congress out and start over again. We understand America’s frustration. Hopefully removing an annual temptation for budgeting chicanery will help restore some honesty and responsibility to Capitol Hill.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Morning Bell: Bring Honesty Back to War Funding

    1. E A S--Medford Orego says:

      Please do your homework on the arrow-bill….It was to cover a tax on toy arrows to help compete with China. The tax should never have been applied. When it was the company had to lay off 25% of its work force…..EAS-Medford, Oregon

    2. Joanne Rangel says:

      The government is broken!!!! How will it ever be corrected? In my estimation, it never will be. It should be started over again. I know this sounds juvenile but please tell me what can be done in my lifetime. Are there any honest politicians left? There is so much in all areas of government that needs to be corrected. Is there anyone that is willing to do the RIGHT thing?

    3. Bert Bloodworth, Mid says:

      Please, someone assist us in trying to find a way to undo what has been done. My guess is that we do not vote for US Representative and Senate incumbents(sp)in November. Vote all of them OUT no matter what. Then instruct the new ones to repeal the Bail-Out and give us our money back with interest. Let's do something now! It's time! It's important! It's necessary! If there is anyone who can lead us to any action group already in motion, please step up to the plate and help!

    4. Ken Jarvis says:

      How can the HF use

      Honesty

      and

      War

      in the same headline?

    5. Dave, laguna niguel, says:

      The answer to our problems is staring us right in the face and we refuse to look at it. Back to capitalism, free markets, with govt regulation NOT INTERVENTION. We watched free enterprise provide us with the strongest economy, the strongest military, the most generous country on earth, and the highest standard of living for a country our size. More and more immigrants brought with them socialism, and a need for US to take care of THEM! After so many years of our government ignoring their responsibility to enforce immigration laws, the THEMS became more than the USes! You simply can not withdraw more money from your bank account than you deposited into it! This is the simplest law in the world, but democrats are blind to anything and everything and all they see are huge piles of money earned by the non-government WORKERS and they want their greedy little fingers in it so they can spread that money around to those who don't deserve it just to make themselves feel good and allow them to say, "just vote for me and I will GIVE…..". Promises, promises, promises! No wonder the democrats learned years ago(after fighting against civil rights for so long) the best way to attract the black vote is to PROMISE, PROMISE, PROMISE…even though the dems have NEVER delivered on those promises!! The dems preached "you can not succeed without us because whitey is racist and will keep you down", rather than the republican ideals of stay in school, learn a trade and apply yourself and the world is yours no matter what color you are. Now which one of those won out? Of course, the EASY ROAD! Learn this lesson NOW…the most difficult thing to do is THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!! Now the world AGAIN sees the fruits of SOCIALISM!! The FRUIT IS ROTTEN, always was and always will be! There simply is no better outcome for socialism than disaster because it can not support itself without everyone in it being completely braindead, non-creative, having no initiative and no conscience!! Liberals/socialists are a conglomeration of the LAZIEST, hollier-than-thou elitists, gimmie gimmies, always looking for a handout(the homeless are NOT republicans..DUH!)and very thoughtless people and lets not forget those people who only want to vote for Obama the socialist JUST BECAUSE HE IS BLACK!? I would never vote for somone JUST BECAUSE HE/SHE IS WHITE OR ANY OTHER COLOR! VALUES MATTER! TRACK RECORDS MATTER! ASSOCIATIONS MATTER! IDEAS MATTER! AFFILIATIONS MATTER! EXPERIENCE MATTERS! COLOR DOES NOT MATTER even if it just makes you dumbass liberals FEEL GOOD! The republicans would have voted in Colin Powell in a second! NOt because of his color, because he was accomplished and a HERO!!!And why is it you see more of our black brothers and sisters in a republican administration than you do in any democrat administration(even the one headed by the first black president CLINTON!). My God you folks are just plain stupid it appears! You make fun of republicans for having money BECAUSE THEY WORK FOR IT!! Your democrat politicians like CHRIS DODD, JAMIE GORLICK(my God this is a dangerous person!!!), Franklin Raines, Barack Obama, Barney Frank figured out its easier to steal from the taxpayers to the tune of MILLIONS OF DOLLARS then BLAME BUSH! And I say it is BUSH'S FAULT, he let it happen and did not expose the democrats for being the crooks they are!! And your socialist media is right in sync! Guess what media, if we go down YOU go down and YOU have brought this upon us, YOU are just as guilty as the lefties!!You better learn your lesson and quickly…socialism will kill you or get you killed because when it drags everyone down as it always has and always will there will be CHAOS at the bottom and only the meanest and strongest will survive. Thank you very much lefties for what you have caused. It was surely kind of you to offer poor people home loans when they had no way of paying the loan back….Now we can all pay!AND STILL…Nothing from that idiot Pelosi! What about drilling everywhere, what about nuclear plant construction, clean coal, natural gas, and how about a few oil refineries you clowns! Oil companies are not the villans, GOVERNMENT IS!! LETS GET BACK TO WORK NOW! All current politicians to be VOTED OUT! THEY ALL CAUSED THIS TRAIN WRECK, AND TAKE BACK THE MONEY THEY STOLE FIRST!

    6. Pingback: Morning Bell: Bring Honesty Back to War Funding : $700 Billion Bailout Plan

    7. Sherry Quick, Orange says:

      Let's cut to the chase. We, the Citizens of this country, need to wake up and make Government mind. Tough love is painful but the lack of it is far more painful. This bail out should never have gone through for any amount of money and Congress needs to quit tacking on pork barrel junk. If an issue is urgent and legit, then it can stand on its own legislation. We, the People, need to start paying attention to our voting habits and what it is we are voting in!!!!

    8. Melody, Holly Spring says:

      Firing all the congressional members and starting afresh should only be the beginning, in my opinion. Frankly, I think the federal government should have a very thorough house-cleaning, from top to bottom. Then cut the pay, perks, kick-backs, and all other extras that the fat cats get, pare it down to what an average American lives on. And thats it. No free cars, free postage, free spa visits, free executive chefs, etc. Let them buy THEIR own health care coverage. Have very specific job descriptions about what these people are supposed to be doing FOR us. If they don't, then fire their butts. Also completely stop allowing them to run for second terms. Make one term 5 years, and thats it. Any campaigning (for other party members) should not be allowed on the job – breaking that rule would be grounds for instant dismissal.

      These ground rules are not that different from what most working people in this country live with each day. Why should Washington politicians be any different?

    9. John C. Chambers Pel says:

      I have been advocating to vote anti-incumbent to my friends and contacts and vote a new crew in every time an election comes up. Also they need to throw all the special interest groups out of Washington and all the state capitals.

      WE THE PEOPLE need to wake up and take back what our founding fathers gave us!

      Thanks for all you do!

    10. Darvin Dowdy, Houst says:

      The American voter chose the absolute 2 worst candidates within each of the 2 major political parties and they sit around fretting now wondering why things went wrong! We had a primary process with good people, true leaders available. Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney or even Tom Tancredo. But they got no support.

      The fickle, unenlightened American voter has what it deserves. They should stop complaining. They made these choices. Thank you Iowa. Thank you New Hampshire. And thank you South Carolina! You people have seriously injured our nation. Congratulations. Darvin Dowdy

    11. Bert Bloodworth, Mid says:

      Dear Friends,

      If you're anything like me, you've been more than a little concerned these past few days as you've watched the "meltdown" occur in Washington, on Wall Street, and yes, on Main Street. And while we are all being negatively effected by this travesty, our elected officials are busily blaming someone else for what's happened. "It's the greedy guys on Wall Street ! ", or "It's the Regulators who should have done there job better ! ", or "It's the Democrats !", or "It's the Republicans", or "It's the American people, who borrowed too much, created too much debt, blah, blah, blah !!!"

      Have you heard one Congressman or Senator who has had the courage to say that he or she bears some blame, that his or her party is responsible in the slightest way? I haven't, and I've been listening very carefully.

      There is a big outcry to trot the leaders on Wall Street before Congress and "pin them to the wall' for causing all of this. But they didn't cause it all. The presidential Election will probably be won, or lost to some degree, on the basis of our desire to make one party or the other "accountable" for what's happened.

      Our Washington Representation is betting that we will probably not get to the core of the problem, because we'll take our collective eye off the reality that there are 468 people in the USA up for re-election on November 4, (435 in the US House Of Representatives and 33 in the Senate) all of whom have consistently shunned accountability for any part of the financial mess we face. Many, far too many, of these Incumbents are career politicians, not the citizen legislators that the framers of our Constitution envisioned. They are "fat cat" professionals who have sold you and your future out to the good life in Washington, to the incessant influence of big spending lobbyists, and to the mantra of party politics. It is time that these folks came home to stay, and that we as Americans work together to put a whole new bunch on the floor of the House and Senate to finally get our beloved country headed in the right direction. It is our obligation as American Voters to bring them HOME!

      Enough Is Enough!!!

      It makes little or no difference that these new folks are Democrat or Republican. You have been betrayed by both parties. What IS important, however, is that they be "NEW", and that they HEAR our collective message as individual voters, and that message ring in each of their ears as they begin their work in late January. Our message will be loud and clear – we have FIRED the old Congress (or as many as we could), and we expect these new men and women to truly cooperate with one another and lead this country in a way that we as Americans can take pride in.

      The folks in Washington who we thought were working for us, have been working for themselves for far too long. Obama and McCain are both right – it's time for a change, a 100% change in Congress.

      The task at hand is a simple one; simply deny any incumbent US Representative and/or US Senator the right to return to Washington except to pack their belongings. Vote for the OTHER GUY!

      We Must Act NOW!!!

      God Bless,

      Bert Bloodworth

    12. Kenneth Whitaker Ce says:

      I aggree we need to stop this Dishonesty In Congress, and return it to an Honest congress, and If Congressman don't wish to be honest then we can Vote them out of office and put in some who will.

      Ken Whitaker,

      May God Be with America.

    13. Lisa LaRosee, Massac says:

      This article was right on the money. So much for Senator Shumers' promise. Earmarks have become a common occurance and should be stopped. Are there any honest politicians left? Maybe starting all over might help. Electing inexperienced people, might be the answer. They have not learned how to borrow for special pet projects. What are taxpayers funding without even knowing anything about it? Should the government be bailing everyone and everything out? Free market seems fair.

    14. Dwight Arrington, So says:

      I'll agree that the crooks on Wall Street should be hung from the lamp posts. However, it was the POLITICIANS and the BUREAUCRATS who were SUPPOSED to OVERSEE agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. People like Barney Frank , Chris Dodd and were the people who THREATENED lending institutions with if they did not loan money to people who they KNEW could not and would not pay it back! Sure the Wall Street thieves emptied the vaults but it was YOUR inept,corrupt, POLITICIANS and BUREAUCRATS in DC that left the door to the vault open and looked the other way!!!!

      Now, like a bunch of FOOLS we let THEM vote to let THEM "fix" the problem that THEY created in the first place! Of course WE the American working fools that they ALL claim to love and respect so much , picks up the tab for THEIR INEPTNESS and CORRUPTION. You know, the guy ALWAYS tells the girl that he respects her when he has her pants down in the back seat!

      Lastly has ANYONE heard a single question asked by ANY moderator from ANY network to ANY of the candidates about ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION? The politicians claim we have a healthcare "CRISIS" but are they doing anything to prevent the 12-20 MILLION ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from accessing OUR TAXPAYER-FUNDED services? NO! Are they drafting legislation that would prevent the children of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from becoming AUTOMATIC CITIZENS thus being enabling them to sign up for programs like Medicaid. NO, they are not! Why not? Because politicians Like Lindsey Graham and Ted Kennedy are using YOUR TAX MONEY to fund organizations like LaRazza (The Race) an Hispanic open borders lobby who was given FIFTEEN MILLION of YOUR tax dollars to lobby for AMNESTY for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! The politicians were simply BUYING the Hispanic votes with YOUR MONEY and giving corporations cheap NON-AMERICAN workers.

      WAKE UP PEOPLE! BOOT THESE CORRUPT SLOBS TO THE CURB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    15. C B LAW, Sr. says:

      Folks: it has become crystal clear that Congress is BROKEN, and so DYSFUNCTIONAL that it's a major embarrassment. I agree with the concept that the very first step to cure that is for we Americans to VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBANTS–vote only for new candidates. But that's only a FIRST step, which will (maybe) get their attention; next step is for us to get serious about establishing TERM LIMITS for all Congress and Senate Jobs..( Maybe two or three 2 yr terms for Congress–and maybe one or two 6 yr terms for the US Senate)–no more "career Legislators)—-Let them go to Washington for a few years of that heady experience, and then come home and live like the rest of us…No more career politicians; No more oppulent lifestyles at the taxpayers expense; no more congressional pension…that's the most unfair system imaginable! YECH ! How could we have let that happen? There would be so many benefits from establishing Term Limits! If we fail to do that we are overlooking a very real and ticking time-bomb. Our national legislatures ( both Houses) have become totally twisted…they really don't know anything but that very corrupted and dysfunctional system; the few members that have any principles left are just barely able to hang on, because the majority is in control and can ruin those that don't "sign on and go with the flow"…Just look at the terible actions in the past few years…can you imagine such a horror story? Approving and funding a War-without-a-reason; letting the financial industry get right out of control, (despite many warnings of troubles ),then, the BAILOUT of those Financial giants (despite the solid opposition of the public; it's sickening! Term limits has been popular with the public for a long time now. Why not get on with it? We badly need them….I can't think of any other way to get congress back in control of its citizens. Right now congress is totally OUT–OF-CONTROL.

    16. Brenda, California says:

      I couldn't have said it better. I am ashamed of our government too, not only for the weakness we show our terrorist friends, the terrible financial burden they continue to pile on citizens, but most of all to try to change our American Constitution. The only thing that can pull us back from liberals and Socialists is to vote out ( if we still have that right ) them out of office.

      I will always have pride in America but we have to keep it strong to survive.

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