The Tea Party movement is named, of course, for the famous event in late 1773 when cases of tea were dumped unceremoniously into the Boston harbor. The Boston Tea Party—a carefully orchestrated strike against a commodity that was being taxed and sold by a monopoly provider—was intended as a one-time thing, though it ended up being an important link in the chain of events that led to the American Revolution. Today’s Tea Party, on the other hand, has ambitions to become an ongoing force—maybe even the major force—in American conservatism. And it strives for a revolution of its own, a return to a more limited, more constitutional form of government. If I had to judge its performance so far, I would say that it has been courageous and right in its diagnosis of the problems facing American politics, but somewhat off in its prescriptions.
This week, your United States Congress voted to turn off the military retiree cuts that passed just before Christmas. If you’ve been receiving this newsletter for a while, you know how bewildered and frustrated I was that Congress decided to cut military pensions in the first place. I voted against it twice. So the fact that Congress, after much hemming and hawing, decided to undo the cuts they’d just passed should have been a major win to me.
Unless you spend a lot of time on federal lands or you are directly impacted by water rights in California, this week’s legislative activity probably isn’t going to be all that interesting to you. So in lieu of rehashing all of the technical amendments and details of the most recent floor activity, I wanted to try to use this week’s letter to explain the stir caused by the latest economic projections related to the President’s healthcare law.
From the moment I was elected in November 2010, one of my top priorities has been to ensure that every Floridian who needs my office’s assistance is well-served to the best of our abilities. On day one of my term, we had an experienced constituent service team in place ready to help people encountering problems with our dysfunctional federal government.
One of the central cost-saving components of the budget deal was a proposal to cut the annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for military retirees under age 62. The new plan would call for a revised COLA formula of inflation minus one percent. The whole point of a cost of living adjustment is to keep up with inflation. The budget says that military families will never again have their retirement benefits keep up with that inflation. Each year, they will lose more and more and more.
On Thursday, December 12th, the House passed a bipartisan budget deal worked out by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and his Senate counterpart, Senator Patty Murray. The deal passed overwhelmingly, with huge support from both sides.
This week was the second to last week of the legislative year. And since Congress doesn’t do anything until the very last minute, that means it was a very quiet week. On Tuesday, however, a mad scramble to finish up the nation’s business is likely to begin. The Farm Bill remains outstanding, as does the National Defense Authorization and some other fairly large ticket items.
The 2008 financial crisis was a major event, equivalent in its initial scope—if not its duration—to the Great Depression of the 1930s. At the time, many commentators said that we were witnessing a crisis of capitalism, proof that the free market system was inherently unstable. Government officials who participated in efforts to mitigate its effects claim that their actions prevented a complete meltdown of the world’s financial system, an idea that has found acceptance among academic and other observers, particularly the media. These views culminated in the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act that is founded on the notion that the financial system is inherently unstable and must be controlled by government regulation.
"We can thank God that there are still judges out there who seek to protect religious freedom, namely those at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago who decided a few days ago that Obamacare infringes on that freedom," rights advocate Dan Weber said.
I want to wish all of the veterans out there a very happy Veterans Day. As many of you know, our district is home to more than 100,000 veterans and that makes today a very special day in our area. If you see a veteran today, please let them know we’re thinking about them and we appreciate everything they have done for this country.
It’s been a relatively slow week in Washington. The main news of the week is already splashed all over everybody’s screens, so I’m not going to pile on too much more. I’ll just leave it at this: The President’s healthcare plan isn’t exactly performing as promised. Saturday Night Live joked about the website, saying that is was only designed to handle six users at a time. As it turned out, back in the real world, only six people actually registered successfully the first day. Supporters remain hopeful that the government’s ability to manage the entire United States’ healthcare system is better than their ability to manage a complicated website. Some of us remain a little… skeptical
As you’d expect, a lot of people on both sides of the fence have been asking me why I decided to vote against the “deal” that would end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling by another several hundred billion dollars.
"There's a foul odor emanating from the nation's capital that should have Americans wrinkling their noses. It's the stench of a political power-grab undertaken by ideologues intent on usurping the Constitutional rights of the people," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
With everything going on this week, I want to take a moment to give you the background you need on two things: First, I want to try to explain exactly what the debt ceiling is, what the deadline of October 17th means, and what the practical implications are – for better or worse. Second, I want to give you the best insight I can as to where things stand in the negotiations.
The average American household has drastically cut personal spending, according to a new Gallup research report. "So, why can't the Democrats in Congress get together with their Republican colleagues in Congress and make federal spending cuts in exchange for the Obama administration's demands for a hike in the nation's debt ceiling," Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens asked.
"Life isn't fair and President Obama and the Senate Democrats who gave us Obamacare pressed the point this week. They adamantly refused to negotiate a compromise to keep the federal government open for business in exchange for a little time and effort to tweak a few unpalatable kinks in the Affordable Care Act," Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, commented.
On Saturday night, the House sent the Senate a third proposal (the first two defunded or delayed implementation of the Affordable Care Act). The third proposal included funding for the government and attached the repeal of the Medical Device Tax.
On Friday afternoon, the House passed a bill to fund the government at current levels without providing funding to implement or enforce the President’s healthcare law. Supporters of the law argue that this is just a silly political stunt – that we’re just trying to oppose anything the President puts forward. I can’t speak for anybody else, but what I can tell you is where I stand on repealing, replacing, and defunding (if necessary) Obamacare.
The President has made the appropriate decision in seeking congressional approval, but he won’t get that approval from me. In my opinion, Syria does not pose an imminent threat to our nation or our allies. Attacking them is likely to change that. And while I think most of us agree that the use of chemical weapons – particularly on civilians – is a gross violation of international norms and basic human dignity, I also believe that the United States cannot continue to do the heavy lifting for every other country on the planet.
Health insurance policy holders across the country can expect letters from their providers notifying them of "staggering" rate increases, some even approaching 300%, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
"The Obama administration's liberal, 'big government' agenda is serving to reinvigorate the nation's conservative base," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.