Allen West’s Weekly Wrap-Up: 8-10-11

Published By: All Right Magazine on August 10, 2011

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans, it’s time for our weekly recap and this has been a truly historic week.

For the first time in the history of the United States, our bond rating has been downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s. Yes, it is interesting that Moody’s decided the concluding debt agreement reached last Monday was a “holding action” and they shall await our way forward. However, to have America’s credit rating reduced to that of, by example, Belgium, must serve as a wake-up call.

We clearly have an opportunity to do some bigger things with our budget deficit issue. I would recommend we go back into session. I believe the perception of Congress being on a “vacation” is absolutely inappropriate for these times.

We should come together and seek out those deeper cuts to the budget right now. We can go back and push hard for Cut, Cap, and Balance to be passed by the Senate and sent to the President for signature. Quite simply, the Senate Democrats and the President have lost credibility in my assessment, and can no longer be obstructionists.

We should have immediate cuts based on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report of earlier this year identifying $200-$300 billion of duplicative and redundant programs in Washington. We should cut the corporate/business tax rate to 21% and eliminate loopholes and subsidies, retroactive to January 1, 2011.

We should eliminate capital gains, dividends, and death taxes. All this could be “repackaged” as part of a revised Cut, Cap, and Balance legislation.

It is imperative that we do the business of setting the conditions for economic and job growth in America. And no, Mr. President, that does not mean extending unemployment insurance, giving out more free cell phones, and issuing free birth control pills on the backs of private sector insurance agencies.

Right now, we must restore confidence in our fiscal, tax, and regulatory policies. We must seek to open access to capital for our small business owners. And, most importantly, we must give certainty to our free market/free enterprise system. No more class warfare rhetoric of “shared sacrifice” or “paying fair share” or “corporate jets.”

Which of course begs the question, “How many corporate jet owners attended the President’s inexpensive little birthday party?”

We should return back to Capitol Hill and stop this status quo August “recess” in order to complete work on the appropriations bills.

Yes, we are indeed rather dysfunctional and I want to do more, but it will take a series of at least three election cycles to right the aircraft carrier called the United States federal government… and it does take five miles to turn an aircraft carrier.

We must show the world, Standard and Poor’s and the American people that we got the message and we as a Congress shall not sit by idly.

As a final note, my sincere condolences go out to the United States Special Operations and Afghanistan National Army troops who were killed this past week in Wardak Province, Afghanistan when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down. It brought back memories of Operation Redwing back in 2005 (the basis for the book “Lone Survivor”) when we had the same thing occur. God be with these fine young men and welcome them into His loving arms.

Now, we need to take the gloves off and make these illegal enemy combatants pay dearly.

Legislative Lowdown

- Budget Control Act — On Friday, July 29, the House approved the Budget Control Act of 2011, Amendment to S. 267, by a vote of 218-210, I voted YES. The bill would create and enforce discretionary spending caps to cut and restrain spending over the next ten years. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the bill would reduce total spending by $917 billion between Fiscal Year 2012 and Fiscal Year 2021, relative to the CBO’s current baseline, and provide for a $900 billion increase in the statutory debt limit, subject to a Congressional disapproval process. The bill would cut a total of $22 billion in spending in Fiscal Year 2012. The bill would establish a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with producing a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling by $1.6 trillion (subject to Congressional disapproval). The debt ceiling increase would also be subject to enactment of the spending cuts and the submission of a balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification. The bill would also provide mandatory savings through enhanced program integrity and address the Pell Grant shortfall, offset by making reforms to the student loan program.

- Sen. Reid’s Debt Ceiling Proposal – On Saturday, July 30, the House disapproved H.R. 2693 by a vote of 173-246, I voted NO. The Reid plan would allow the President to increase the debt limit by $2.4 trillion in two $1.2 trillion tranches and without intervening legislation required from Congress. Each tranche would be subject to a congressional disapproval resolution, however, the President could veto the resolution and the debt limit would increase if Congress could not override the veto. According to the CBO, the legislation would reduce the deficit by $2.19 trillion over ten years, which includes $1 trillion in phantom savings for war spending which has never been appropriated or requested, and is not expected to be spent. Even when these theoretical war savings are accounted for, the Reid plan would still increase the debt limit by $206 billion more than the savings the bill produces. When the phantom war savings are excluded, the CBO states the bill would only reduce spending by $927 billion over ten years compared to a debt limit increase of $2.4 trillion. Lastly, the bill would not provide for the consideration of a Balanced Budget Amendment—much less require its adoption.

- Budget Control Act (amended) — On Monday, Aug 1, the House approved an amended Budget Control Act of 2011, Amendment to S. 365, by a vote of 269-161, I voted YES. The bill would create and enforce discretionary spending caps to cut and restrain spending over the next ten years. The bill would also provide a mechanism for increasing the debt limit from between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion in two steps (subject to congressional disapproval and more than dollar-for-dollar spending cuts), establish a Joint Committee to produce deficit reduction legislation, and provide for automatic sequestration of mandatory and discretionary spending to achieve cuts equal to a debt limit increase if the deficit committee’s legislation is not enacted or falls short of the amount of the debt limit increase. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce deficits by at least $2.117 trillion over ten years with the possibility of greater reductions based on the enactment of legislation produced by the Joint Committee. Debt limit increases authorized by the bill could not exceed the amount of deficit reduction achieved either through the enactment of deficit reduction legislation proposed by the Joint Committee or through automatic sequestration. According to the CBO, provisions in the bill not related to the Joint Committee’s recommendations or further sequestration accompanying the second debt limit increase would reduce total spending by $917 billion between Fiscal Year 2012 and Fiscal Year 2021, relative to the CBO’s current baseline, and provide for a $900 billion increase in the statutory debt limit, subject to a congressional disapproval process. The bill would immediately cut a total of $21 billion in spending in Fiscal Year 2012. In addition, the bill would require congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment (BBA) in the House and Senate by December 31, 2011. The bill would establish a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions and allow for an additional increase of the debt limit of up to $1.5 trillion (subject to disapproval), if the deficit reduction plan set forth by the joint select committee is enacted and contains cuts equal to the second debt limit increase or if a BBA were sent to the states. Even if a BBA is sent to the states, spending would still be cut. The bill would also provide mandatory savings through enhanced program integrity and address the Pell Grant shortfall, offset by making reforms to the student loan program.


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