Congressional GOP talk about immigration reform is much to do about nothing!

GOP talk about immigration reform is much to do about nothing!Hear the latest on the GOP talks about Immigration reform from Congress College radio. This 30 min show will let you hear from the only woman ever elected by the United States Senate to serve as the U.S. Senate Secretary for the Majority for the GOP. You will hear Elizabeth break down the code talk from Capitol Hill using her 26 yrs of Senate service. http://tobtr.com/s/6023747

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GradeGov.com launches state sites

Wanna own your very own GradeGov.com website? Wanna be able to get state issues in front of your state legislators or maybe even your Governor? Consider buying a GradeGov state website. These state sites are being franchised out in all 50 states + the District of Columbia. You can generate as much revenue as you want using your Gradegov state site. The rules are simple. The site must operate as does GradeGov.com only the users of GradeGov state site will be grading their state legislators and their Governor. A small monthly franchise fee will be required. The site is built in a very easy to operate way, using plug ‘n play software. A tech support and user session is included in your franchise fee. You will be taught how to use and upload on your own GradeGov state site.

Check it out at GradeGov.com under the franchise link. Tell your friends and family.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Federal Budget for dumbies

I found this on the internet and thought it was worth passing along. Hold on to your britches…this will make you want to scream!

United States Tax revenue     $2,170,000,000,000

Fed. Budget                                   $3,820,000,000,000

New Debt                                        $1,650,000,000,000

National Debt                                $14,271,000,000,000

Recent Budget cuts                              $38,500,000,000

_____________________

Now removed 8 of the zeros and pretend it is your household budget.

Family income                            $21,700

Money the family spent           $38,200

New Debt on credit cards        $16,500

Balance on credit cards            $142,710

Total belt tightening by family        $385

This is so very, very sad! Let your voice be heard on GradeGov.com. Let your MOC know how you feel.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shame on you Mr. President!

President Obama’s budget chief, Jack Lew, took to his White House blog in early March of 2011 to repeat his claim that the Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2037. This means that the money we put into SS each week from our pay checks is being put in the Social Security lock-box for safe keeping.

POTUS is saying now that he may not be able to write the SS checks that are due to our seniors after Aug. 2 if the Debt limit isn’t increased. Obviously he must be robbing the Social Security trust fund since he is claiming their isn’t any money to write the checks. If he is taking the SS money out of the fund, then he is stealing from our elderly. That money is put in a lock box each time it is taken from our checks. It isn’t supposed to be used for anything but writting the SS checks to our seniors. After all, Jack Lew said they system was flush or “solvent” thru 2037.

HUM…………….either POTUS be trying to scare our seniors or he is stealing from our seniors………… Which one is it? Shame on you Mr. President!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Get Congress to care about the next generation instead of their next election

Today in the Senate, all 47 U.S. Republican Senators will join in the introduction of a Constitutional amendment that will require the Federal Government to Balance its Budget. This Constitutional amendment will be voted on at some point during the week of July 18, 2011 in the U.S. Senate. This is a pledge that the Senate Republican Leader Sen. McConnell (R-KY) has made publically on several occasions. The last time Congress voted on a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget was in 1997. The amendment to the Constitution passed the House of Representatives but failed to pass in the Senate by one vote. The vote count in the Senate for passage of an amendment to the Constitution is 67. This means that any upcoming Senate vote will require 20 additional Democratic Senators to vote in favor of the Constitutional amendment. If our government was bound by a requirement that the budget be balanced, it would permanently change the way Washington, DC and Congress thinks and acts. It would bring Congress back to thinking about the next generation rather than their next election. If our government had to live within its means, just like all businesses, households, schools, local and state governments do, that action would singlehandedly reduce the threat to our security that are as a result of our spiraling out-of-control debt.

Write your Members of Congress on GradeGov.com and let them know you don’t want this Constitutional amendment to fail in Congress again. The 23 Democratic Senate seats that are up for election next November are listed on GradeGov.com. Tell Members of Congress that you want them to support the next generation and not their next election. Keep the faith!

The Honorable Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired elected U.S. Senate Secretary for the Majority & Minority, a senior legislative advisor @ Covington & Burling, LLC and the owner of GradeGov.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Is Congress negotiating or Trash talking?

Congress needs to stop all the trash-talking and get down to serious negotiations to resolve the federal spending battle. Both the House and Senate leaders have spent much of the past month exchanging barbs and pointing fingers. Sen. Schumer (D-NY) called the Tea Party group “extremist” and said he was instructed to label them as such by his democratic leadership. Sen. Reid (D-NV) said the following when talking about the House legislation to fund our federal government for the next six months; “What they did with H.R. 1 is this bill did such mean-spirited things, not to cut the debt, but to send an ideological message.” Other members of Congress have complained that the GOP in Congress need to stop adding “riders” to this appropriations process. These statements show how the trash-talking spin has been taken to a new level in Congress.

You see, the process that Congress is debating is the annual appropriations process. If the Pelosi/Reid lead Congress of last year had done their duty, the Congress would have debated the eleven individual appropriations bill separately in both chambers. They would have debated the merits of the programs and policies for each department and agency. Members of the House and Senate would have been able to offer amendments and hear debate on whether certain programs should be partially, fully or not funded at all. That is the normal routine appropriations process that has occurred each spring and summer since the appropriations process was created by Congress back in 1867. An amendment to cut funding is not a “rider” but rather an appropriate amendment to be offered when debating the funding of the program. However, since the Congress of last year failed to pass even one of the eleven appropriations bills that fund our government, this current Congress is stuck cleaning up the unfinished business of last Congress. The “riders” that have been deamonized are simply an expression by Congress as to the funding of the department, agency, policy or program. Since this process was denied to all 535 members of Congress last year, members have no choice but to offer them to the current appropriations process, now called the Omnibus/CR or continuing resolution.

Many political  pundits are comparing this current appropriations impasse to that of 1995 when Congress shut down the federal government. This writer believes the shut down of 1995 and the upcoming potential shut down is really a comparison between apples and oranges. They are not at all the same and really can’t be compared as such.

In 1995, the Omnibus appropriations bill or Continuing resolution only affected the department of Interior and related agencies and the Labor and Education department.  The Republican controlled Congress, lead by Speaker Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Dole had been successful in passing all of the other appropriations bills for that year that funded our federal government.  The 2011 shut down involves all departments and agencies of our federal government. The Democratically controlled Congress, lead by Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, failed to pass even one appropriations bill.

In 1995 our armed forces were not involved in conflicts overseas. By contrast, in 2011, our armed forces are involved in two wars and a defense action in a third country. In 1995, the Congress had not created the Department of Homeland Security or the TSA (Transportation safety administration). Yet in 2011, our Department of Homeland Security and the TSA help bring us as sense of security daily.  Finally, the 1995 federal government  shut down occurred when the Senate Majority Leader, Robert Dole (R-KS) had announced his intention to run for President. So the 1995 shut down became in part a battle between Congress, lead in part by Sen. Dole, and President Clinton. While President Obama announced his candidacy for reelection this week, the GOP have not presented any candidates to date and thus true battle lines can’t be drawn between Presidential candidates.

The 1995 federal government shutdown can’t be compared to a government shutdown of today. A shutdown in 2011 would involve the department of defense during wartime, is the result of the Congressional leadership of last year completely failing in their duty to pass a single appropriations bill through Congress and won’t include  the under-toe of Presidential politics.

Stay tuned to see if the trash-talking subsides and members of Congress and the President finally get down to work to head-off a full government shutdown. If not, strap on your seatbelts for the political ride of your life when the media and pundits begin to describe the mayham that could occur within our federal  government and with our government contractors.

Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate Secretary for the Majority and Minority. Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of GradeGov.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

House to repeal Obama Care while Senate may repeal 200+ yrs of tradition

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is considering canceling the results of the November elections by changing the Senate rules when Senators conduct their opening day procedures on Wednesday. The change in the Senate rules will be used in an effort to reduce the number of Senators needed to invoke cloture (limit debate). The cloture rule, Rule 22, requires 60 votes to limit debate in the Senate. Efforts in the Senate Rules committee last year, lead by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Udall (D-CO), are pushing the Senate Leader to end over two hundred years of tradition and set a precedent by declaring that the Senate is NOT a continuous body. If the Senate is deemed NOT a continuous body, then it stands to reason that the Senate rules would need to be ratified every two years when the new Congress convenes on opening day.  If Sen. Reid is successful making the case that the Senate is NOT a continuous body, and thereby needs to ratify the rules at the beginning of the Congress, then the rules governing the new Congress could then be put in place by a simple majority vote and not the super majority vote of 67 now needed under the “Standing Rules of the Senate.”

If you read the Senate’s own “Standing Rules of the Senate” specifically Rule V it clearly states: “The rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in these rules.” Also, the Senate’s own website affirms that the Senate is a continuous body when the Senate site states:

“The Senate’s three-class system was established by the Constitution that has been in operation since 1789. Every two years, one-third of the members of the Senate are elected/reelected, leaving the other two-thirds of the members to carry on business. Never is there a total turnover of members. (In the House of Representatives, on the other hand, the entire membership is elected/re-elected every two years.) When the Framers set-up this system of election–dividing the Senate into three “classes” for election purposes–they had in mind that the business of the Senate would continue from Congress to Congress without interruption.” 

Meanwhile on the House side of the U.S. Capitol, the opening day procedures will be basically routine with the swearing-in of the entire House membership being first on the list. The Leaders of the new Congress will be formally elected by various resolutions and other housekeeping resolutions will be considered all designed to organize and operate the House for the coming Congress. The House is also expected to introduce HR 1. This first bill to be introduced in the new Congress will repeal the Obama Health care law. It is the intention of Speaker Boehner to have this bill pass the House prior to the yet to be scheduled State of the Union address. Typically, the President delivers his address to Congress and the nation during the third week in January.

On Thursday, the House chamber is expected to read the entire U.S. Constitution. This is designed in part to be symbolic but also to prove that the new Congress will take their role outlined in our Constitution very seriously.

Back on the Senate side, if the Senate Majority Leader does turn the Senate on its head by changing the Senate rules by creating bedlam, then the Senate’s routine housekeeping resolutions and organization matters will be in jeopardy. The Senate GOP has threatened to retaliate in any way possible in order to keep the Senate rules and traditions intact for the 112th Congress.

The special election of Scott Brown (R-MA) back in early 2010 is a perfect example of how the Reid rules change would disenfranchise the American electorate. Remember, Senate candidate Brown focused much of his campaign on being the GOP’s 41st vote in the Senate. The significance of being the 41st GOP vote was to essentially deny Sen. Reid the 60th vote needed to end a filibuster on Obama Health Care.  That filibuster-cloture rule is the law of the Senate until changed by a super majority of Senators or by unanimous agreement.  The cloture rule, Rule 22, is just one of 44 rules contained in the “Standing Rules of the Senate.” HUM….. an interesting use of the word “Standing” in the title of the Senate rule book.

 If Sen. Reid uses his Majority of Democratic Senators to change the Senate rules by a simple Majority vote, this blatant abuse of power should be a major campaign issue in the election of the 23 Democratic Senators up for election in 2012. If these 23 Democratic Senators will vote to destroy over 200 years of Senate tradition all for their agenda achievements, where will this abuse of power end?

Stay tuned to see if the Senate Democratic Leader will ruin over 200 years of Senate procedure when the Senate opens the 112th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. If this happens, the American people may just have to develop very long memories.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Question before the lame duck Congres: “Hire me or higher taxes?”

The question before Congress—Hire me or higher taxes?

This last leg of the lame duck session of Congress has a critical question it must answer before December 31, 2010. The question is:  Hire me or higher taxes? The higher taxes would be the result of the Pelosi/Reid lead Congress failing to extend all of the Bush tax cuts before December 31, 2010. The hire me part of the question would be the result of the Pelosi/Reid lead Congress agreeing to extend all of the Bush tax cuts before December 31, 2010. In an October, 2010 article entitled “Higher taxes impact small business” by

Gail Buckner, the writer interviews several small business owners and finds that the higher taxes will result in less hiring by the small business community. In her article she asks Mr. Jim Wordsworth who is a small business owner in Washington, D.C. what effect higher personal income tax rates will have on his business. Mr. Wordsworth replied that the likelihood of higher personal income tax rates on January 1st is going to have a direct impact on what, if anything he can reinvest in his businesses and how many employees he can afford.

Mr. Wordsworth also was quoted in the article as saying: “Politicians say ‘We need to create more jobs.’  They’re wrong. They need to create the economic climate that will [enable us to] create more jobs.  That’s what businesses do.”

According to the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), their organization urges small businesses to contact their member of Congress regarding the Bush tax cuts. In a sample letter to Congress, the site mentions the following to help businesses express their concern to Congress. The letter reads in part: “The failure of Congress to take action to extend the current tax rates is having a chilling effect on small businesses and their decisions to invest and create jobs. With just a few weeks left in the 111th Congress, we need Congress to stand up for Main Street and protect our small businesses from this unprecedented tax hike in the middle of weak economy.”

Finally, the chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Bell, quoted the chief economist and co-founder of Moddy analytics, Mr. Mark Zandi in his latest post on the Chamber’s website. Mr. Zandi contends that if Congress fails to extend the Bush tax cuts and the tax rates are increased for high-income households, then an estimated 770,000 jobs would be lost by mid-2012.

So when the “slurpee summit” convenes at the White House on Tuesday, Nov. 30, I would hope that the President and the Congressional leadership would consider these small business opinions when they are negotiating the extension of the Bush tax cuts. After they have debated all the options, they should be able to answer the question: “hire me or higher taxes?”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did President Reagan cause the Lame Duck session?

In this era of playing the blame game, can the blame for the current lame duck session be pinned on President Reagan? This writer thinks so and it goes like this. Ronald Reagan won his first presidency in a landslide election back in 1980. That election “shellacking” produced the second largest GOP freshman Senate class with 12 new Senators.  The number one largest class of GOP Senators in modern history is the in-coming class for the 112th Congress totaling 13. The class of 1980 brought to the Senate members who had little or no public service. The new Majority Leader, Howard Baker (R-TN) found himself having to educate some of these new members about what it takes to be a U.S. Senator, including conducting tough political votes. As their terms of office came up for reelection they asked the leadership to protect them from some of the more polarizing votes by not having the Senate debate these issues close to their election dates. As the years went on, members of Congress began to expect this protection more and more from their leadership.

Now fast-forward the tape to 2010. The Pelosi/Reid Congress expended all of their political capital on getting the Obama Health Care bill through Congress. After the back room deals like the corn-husker kick- back, the Louisiana Purchase, the Slaughter solution and the others had been exposed, members of Congress began to hear from their constituents in a loud way.  Each time members of Congress returned home during their Congressional recesses, it became clear that their constituents were not happy with their performance in DC. This disgruntlement caused members of Congress to demand from Pelosi and Reid that they not be asked to conduct any more controversial or “sexy” votes. They were afraid further polarizing votes would put them at odds with their constituents. Thus began the “kicking the can” down the road on all of the major legislative initiatives that Congresses of the past have routinely enacted. For example, this Congress made history by not enacting a single appropriations bill. This Congress also made history by failing to pass a Congressional Budget through either House of Congress. Finally, this Congress made history by refusing to enact a defense department authorization bill. All three of these feats were accomplished under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now the answer to these and other issues rests in the hands of members of Congress who were relieved of their duties by a vote held on Nov. 2. Does that show backbone and leadership or what?

So you now have a two-staged lame duck session of Congress jammed with major legislation punted from the regular Congressional session. These bills have huge ramifications on all economic levels of our American citizenry. This is because the leadership sheltered members of Congress from conducting ticklish votes during the regular session of Congress in an election year cycle. This phenomenon has become a deadly habit with the leaders in Congress and in this writer’s opinion needs to end with the new 112th Congress. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that every Congress since the GOP took over in 2000, including when the Democrats took over in 2006, has convened a lame duck session of Congress. This current one happens to be a real doozie since it includes all of the appropriations bills, taxes affecting just about every American, small business tax deductions affecting over 700,000 small businesses, a defense department authorization which affects all of our troops serving here and overseas, the unemployed as well as doctors and hospitals who serve Medicare patients. Gee did they leave out any segment of America from this lame duck session?

Stay tuned to see if the new 112th Congress under the helm of Speaker Boehner has the leadership skills to convince all members of Congress to man-up and not run from tough political votes. This writer will be watching. This country can’t take many more of these two-headed, jam- packed lame duck sessions of Congress.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do TSA scanners have another purpose?

It seems a bit curious that the Secretary of our Homeland Security Department launches these very evasive TSA scanners right before the Thanksgiving Holiday. It also seems wierd that last Friday, Nov. 15, the Federal Labor Relations Board declared that the TSA employees have a right to unionize if they choose to do so. Finally, it seems more than odd that some former Homeland Security heads might have profited from the current DHS awarding the government  contract to the scanner company. With all this strangeness floating around, the bigger question is did Congress specially warn about the TSA unionizing when the first created the TSA back in 2001? More to come.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments