The House of Representatives voted down the latest proposal for a balanced budget amendment on November 18.
Under the terms of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. The vote in the House was 261 in favor and 165 opposed. That is 23 votes short of the necessary two-thirds.
In a statement issued by his office after the vote was taken, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) scolded the party across the aisle: “It’s unfortunate that Democrats still don’t recognize the urgency of stopping Washington’s job-crushing spending binge."
Others were pleased with the outcome, however.
Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, rejoiced in the rejection, calling it “a win for working families.” He praised Democrats in the House for boldly withstanding the attempt by supporters to pass a bill and “the deep cuts it would have made to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
The Supreme Court approved petitions last week to hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare. One of the issues that will be argued before the justices of the high court is the legality of the currently operating Medicaid scheme.
Admittedly, the question is a very “narrow” one, but it will have far-reaching impact on the future of federalism and on the power of Congress to raise and spend revenue.
In one of the cases filed against President Obama’s pet project, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected a similar claim against provisions of Medicaid. In that suit, filed by the Attorneys General of the states of Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Nebraska, the court held that the expansion of the program made under provisions of ObamaCare was constitutional.
The essence of the states’ argument is that the use of the existing Medicaid arrangement to provide expanded healthcare coverage to citizens of the states is unduly burdensome on the governments of those states. ObamaCare mandates that the states cover 100 percent of the administrative expenses associated with implementing the new Medicaid policies set out in ObamaCare.
The federal government continues its infringement upon private business rights by proposing legislation that mandates that airlines may no longer charge baggage fees to their passengers. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — who introduced the bill on Tuesday, just days before one of the busiest travel days of the year — described it as a way to spare passengers from having to pay “unfair fees.”
Entitled the Airline Passenger BASICS — Basic Airline Standards to Improve Customer Satisfaction — Landrieu’s proposal permits passengers to check in a single piece of luggage and carry on an additional one free of charge, as long as the two items are within the size limits. It also mandates that airlines provide free access to water and restrooms, imposing a penalty on any airline which fails to comply.
They arrive now with monotonous regularity. Another day, another announcement by a New Hampshire politician of his or her endorsement of Mitt Romney for President. Former Governor John Sununu. Former Governor and U.S. Senator Judd Gregg. Senator Kelly Ayotte. Umpteen members of the New Hampshire House and Senate. Romney's the one. A businessman. A leader. The one who will create what all America wants — jobs, jobs, jobs! Overseas, seas, seas. Yet the Romney record suggests he'll be creating the jobs overseas, seas, seas, and that's what we'll be hearing from the Obama camp from here to reelection.
Oh, how those beltway bandits love to promise jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the promise of the first President Bush. When we went to war with Iraq to liberate Kuwait, it was, said Secretary of State James Baker, for “o-i-l” and “jobs, jobs, jobs.” A year later, GOP challenger Pat Buchanan would ridicule the promise of new jobs, noting that Bush never told us they would be in Shanghai, Tokyo, and other ports of call. Manufacturing jobs. Good pay. Jobs that are gone and aren't coming back any time soon.
By their fruits, you shall know them. Our largest employer used to be General Motors. Now it's Wal-Mart. The siren song of free trade has carried off the best of American jobs and creativity.
Judge Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was unseated eight years ago for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments display from the state’s Judicial Building, has launched a campaign to regain his position.
During a press conference November 22 on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore said the time is right for a solidly conservative justice to lead the state’s judicial arm. “There is no question that I know this job,” he said, “and I believe the people of Alabama know exactly what I stand for.”
In announcing his candidacy, the 64-year-old Moore “pointed to his previous experience as chief justice, including keeping the courts open despite what he said were significant budget cuts,” reported the Associated Press. “He also said the court under his leadership effectively outlawed gambling machines in Alabama, ended an occupational tax in Montgomery County, and stopped a long-running school equity funding lawsuit.”
Governor Rick Perry, so goes the conventional wisdom, is a real conservative. How could he not be? After all, his three terms as governor of Texas has marked a period of spectacular job creation. It has been said that nearly 40 percent of all jobs in the United States at present are to be found in the Lone Star State. In addition to this consideration, there are several others to substantiate the pervasive belief that, from the conservative Republican’s perspective, Perry is the genuine article.
If we are to accept Republican Party rhetoric of “constitutionalism,” “limited government,” “individualism,” etc., then what we must determine is whether Perry is the partisan of liberty that, presumably, Republicans should want as their party’s presidential nominee and, ultimately, their President. It is to the end of making this determination that we shall now look at some highlights from Perry’s political career.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to boast high numbers in public polls despite the lack of media attention that Paul has received throughout the race for the GOP primary. Just prior to the start of last night’s GOP debate, Paul’s poll numbers were at their highest since the start of the race.
According to Revolution PAC, a SUPER Pac formed to support Ron Paul, Ron Paul leads among his fellow Republicans in Iowa with 25 percent of the vote. Revolution PAC has received early data from TeleResearch, who performed the survey, indicating Paul’s lead. The poll is a significant one as it is the first to incorporate disaffected Democrats and Independents who will not vote to re-elect President Obama and instead will cross over to vote in the Iowa Republican Caucus as well as Republican voters.
In the next phase of its litigious campaign to perpetuate the constitutionally unsupportable position that the federal government has exclusive authority in all matters of immigration policy, the Obama administration has sued the state of Utah over its recently enacted anti-immigration law.
The complaint filed on behalf the Department of Justice was accompanied by a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder:
"A patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system. While we appreciate cooperation from states, which remains important, it is clearly unconstitutional for a state to set its own immigration policy."
Co-claimant, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was quoted as saying that laws such as the one passed in Utah will encourage discrimination and will ultimately subvert “the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve."
In defense of his state and the recent statute lawfully enacted by the duly elected representatives of his state, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff lamented the decision of the Department of Justice to file the suit, as he insists he has made every good faith effort to work with the Obama administration.
The Lord Chief Justice of Great Britain, Igor Judge, gave a speech in March to the Judicial Studies Board in which he argued that English courts were moving away from reliance upon English common law in making decisions, and instead were resting decisions upon the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
The Lord Chief Justice queried: "Are we becoming so focused on Strasbourg and the Convention that instead of incorporating Convention principles within and developing the common law according to a single coherent unit, we are allowing the Convention to assume an unspoken priority over the common law? Or is it that we are just still on honeymoon with the Convention?"
A half dozen Republican candidates capitalized on their faith in an attempt to woo conservative voters in Iowa November 19, meeting with the faithful at an event entitled the Thanksgiving Family Forum. Sponsored by a state organization called the Family Leader, with the help of Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link and the National Organization for Marriage, the event was “meant to mimic the holiday dinner, with six candidates — Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum — gathered around a table participating in a discussion moderated by [conservative pollster] Frank Luntz,” reported the Los Angeles Times. The Times identified the lead sponsor of the event as Bob Vander Plaats, “a three-time gubernatorial candidate [who] founded Family Leader to be a galvanizing force for social conservatives ahead of the state’s lead-off nominating caucuses.”
While the evening at Des Moines’ First Federated Church was devoted to conservative values, it began with Luntz offering individuals from the small army of “Occupy Des Moines” protesters two minutes to speak their mind. While no one from that group stepped forward, a man did take the main stage to make a comment about the Federal Reserve. “I think that we need to speak about this bank tonight,” he told the crowd, challenging that the Fed is “not part of the United States.”