Tag Archive: House


When legislators in Congress are appointed to a “presidential blue-ribbon committee,” their importance raises in their party. Instantly, their influence is more significant, and the media begins to seek them out for interviews. The six Democrats, three from the Senate and three from the House, and the six Republicans three from the Senate, and three from the House comprise “Obama’s Super Committee.”

The “Super Committee” is a twelve bipartisan Congressional group who will work on a debt-reduction strategy to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving of this year. The twelve member panel has a historic opportunity to overhaul the Tax Code and entitlements. If the committee fails to produce a debt reduction plan of $1.2 trillion, across-the-board cuts would kick in evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending to make up $1.2 trillion in cuts.

The committee’s co-chairs are Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The rest of the members are as follows; Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator John Kerry(D-MA), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI).

There is a good cross-section of experience and knowledge on the panel, but I wonder if anyone has the courage to significantly cut the military’s budget and funding. In the last ten years, the military base budget has increased by 80% from $302 billion in 2000 to $545 billion in 2011, says the National Priorities Project. The total cost of the Iraq war since 2001 is $869 billion, and the cost of the Afghanistan war $487 billion.

Most people ignore the nation’s security budget, but that became a new line item in 2001 with homeland security. This is a hard line item to arrive at because it flows through dozens of federal agencies. It started as a request for 16 billion, but in the last ten years the government has spent $636 billion.

When the figure for military spending for the last ten years is added up, the number is around $8 trillion. This is the number that the National Priorities Project has used, but a recent study published by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University took a broader approach. By including funding for such things as veterans benefits, future cost for treating the war-wounded, and interest payments on war related borrowing, they came up with an additional $3.2 trillion.

These additional expenses increase the number for military spending in ten years to be around $11 or $12 trillion. With all the serious discussion on reducing the debt, it would seem logical to take a hard look at military funding and spending. There are some on the Super Committee who are against cutting military spending and believe that funding should be increased.

Nevertheless, the question must be raised, is our country safer with all the money being spent, and is the money being wasted? For the last ten years, the government has tries to do an audit with the military, and they haven’t had any success. There are so many secret funds, because of national security, an audit is vertically impossible.

Everyone knows that there is fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the military’s budget. It would appear that in the military’s budget, the legislators could find $600 to $700 billion to cut over the next 5 to 10 years. Cutting another $500 billion is going to be tough and the Super Committee has its work cut out for them.

The president is finally getting the parties to sit down and arrive at a compromise. All eyes and the media will be focused on the Super Committee for the next four months.

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Representative Doug Lamborn

Last week, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sent a personal letter to President Obama apologizing for his use of the phrase “tar baby.” In his letter, he claims that he was attempting to verbalize his opinion that the President’s economic policies “have created a quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces.”

In a statement to The Denver Post, Lamborn had this to say: “I absolutely intended no offence, and if this is at all on his radar screen, I am sure that he will not take offence and he’ll be happy to accept my apology, because he is a man of character.” It appears that Lamborn thinks that the president will accept his apology, and his use of the term was not a big deal.

But all around the country, people are incensed and disturbed that a federal legislator would blatantly

Political radio host David Sirota

disrespect the office of the president publicly. David Sirota, AM 760 radio host said this in response to Lamborn’s “tar baby” remark: “The fact that a sitting member of the United States Congress would take to the airwaves to use such a racially derogatory term to describe the first African-American president in American history is disgusting.”

It is obvious that there is a pervasive sickness, which is prevalent in a certain group in the country, and they are not afraid to say in public what they say in private. This is creating an environment of disrespect and racist statements and actions are on the increase.

Also this week on the Al Sharpton radio show, Pat Buchanan, former GOP presidential candidate and current MSNBC analyst, referred to President Obama as “your boy.” Without a doubt this was disrespectful, but Mr. Buchanan said that he didn’t mean to slur President Obama by referring to him as “your boy” during a discussion with Al Sharpton. They were discussing Obama’s political strength when Buchanan said that “your boy” had caved in past negotiations, and was likely to do so in the future.

Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan face off on the Al Sharpton show when Buchanan makes a derogatory statement

Sharpton responded, “MY what…My president, Barack Obama and what did you say?” At this point Al Sharpton was very angry and the interview continued to deteriorate. Again it was no justification for using this type of derogatory language, when referring to the president.

For some reason, when conservatives criticize the president, they feel they can use almost any kind of language and it is okay. Probably, when they are in private their language is nasty, and their friends say ugly things about the president. But in public, certain decorum is expected, when you are in a position of authority and respectability.

The White House has not made any official comments about Representative Lamborn and Mr. Buchanan’s statements. Many Americans will say that we all have a right to freedom of speech. This would justify Lamborn and Buchanan the right to say what they think and there is nothing that anyone can do.

Shawn J. Parry-Giles is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland.

But I believe in protocol, and there are certain things that you do not say, because it is the right thing to do. I would be thoroughly disappointed if some reporter used the N word when referring to the president. Given that language is the purveyor of people’s deepest thoughts, as well as the fact that language use is often unconscious, “even a slip of the tongue can reflect the kind of prevalence of racism that still exist within our culture,” says Shawn Parry-Giles.

This week, there have been too many slips of the tongue by our leaders and the media. The race problem is still one of the major problems in the country, because the people in power are not willing to share with the people of color. President Obama was elected by the people, but many of our leaders are having problems calling him Mr. President.

President Obama speaks at the first White House Hispanic Policy Conference

On July 11 &12th, President Obama and his administration held the first-ever “Hispanic Policy Conference.” It was organized by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Attending the conference were 160 Hispanic leaders from 25 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, joined by over 100 administration officials to discuss the President’s agenda and its impact on their overall community.

In the last census, it was established that there are 54 million Hispanics in the country. The Hispanic community is no longer found in a handful of states, but in every state across the country. It is the largest and fastest growing minority group and critical to the future of our nation.

The purpose of the conference was three-fold: Relationship Building – connecting national leaders to key

Breakout session 4 at policy conference

administration decision makers; “Obama Administration 101” – ensuring folks gained a deeper understanding of the multifaceted ways this administration’s agenda connects to the Hispanic community; and Working Together – allowing participants to connect with each other and administration officials to address how they would improve access and outcomes for this community.

During the two-day conference, there were interactive, informal, small group conversations driven by the Hispanic leaders and not administration officials. There were no lectures, no power point presentations, or talking points led by administration officials. This was an opportunity for Hispanic leaders to meet, talk, and initiate relationships with 35 administration officials and 19 White House office and cabinet agencies.

This was an extremely innovative approach to reach out to the largest minority group in the country. At the end of the first day, President Obama spoke and urged all the participants to take the conversation back to their communities.

 

 
 
 
 
 
In 2012, the Hispanic community will play a pivotal role in the president’s re-election campaign. Now is the time for the president to connect to the Hispanic community and understand the nuances that make their culture different. This conference was a breaking of the ice, and now the administration is getting to know who the power brokers are in the Hispanic community.
 
There will always be a language barrier in the Hispanic community, because most Americans do not speak Spanish. There is also an immigration dilemma in the Hispanic community that the Obama administration will be forced to address. Nevertheless, these initial steps make it easier to build a political infrastructure, which focuses on their community’s needs.

Black leaders meet with Obama at White House

As the Obama Administration continues to reach out to other minority groups, the question must be asked, “When will the White House specifically reach out to the Black community?” Many of the same problems in the Hispanic community can also be found in the African American community. There is a need for the African-American community to request or demand their own policy or agenda conference.

There is still reluctance for the President to specifically identify and address Black problems and initiatives. The Black community and leaders are more involved in family feuds and bickering, than reaching out to the unmet needs in our community.

The key message in the Hispanic community is that it is not a monolithic community with a diversity of issues and problems. Jobs, education, health care and the economy are the most important challenges impacting the Hispanic community.

If the White House is able to hold a Hispanic Policy Conference, then it also has a responsibility to hold an African-American Policy Conference. Our leaders and representatives should request and petition the White House and President Obama for a policy conference of our own.

Last week President Obama decided to take his battle with the Republicans to the street and the public. He held a press conference and he sharply chastised Republicans as supporting tax breaks for jet-setting corporate executives, at the expense of college scholarships or medical research. The president also criticized members of the Republicans of not being prepared with their facts on the debt ceiling, and more concerned with taking a vacation.

Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho)

This press conference did not sit well with the Republicans and they immediately began to fire back at the president. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Obama to drop what he’s doing and come to the Capitol for a meeting.

Representative Raul Labrador said, “House Republicans acted, and now we await your spending reduction plan – perhaps not with open arms, but we have open minds.”

The Democrats and the Republicans have been debating for the last month over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. Both parties agree that in order for the country to continue to pay its bills, it is necessary to raise the debt ceiling. Since 2001 the credit limit has been raised 10 times, so every time the lawmakers vote for spending hikes essentially they have raised the ceiling.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to formally vote on the size of the increase, and some lawmakers want a bigger increase and others want a smaller increase. The first limit was set in 1917 at $11.5 billion, and the current debt limit is set at $14.2 trillion. The country’s accrued debt hit that number on May 16, 2011.

Either party or the president is not happy with our country being $14.2 trillion in debt, and the president at his news conference laid out his reason why it is necessary to raise the debt limit. “These are bills that Congress ran up,” Obama said, in explaining why the U.S. must not default on its debt obligations. “They took the vacation. They bought the car. Now they’re saying, maybe we don’t have to pay.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Treasury Secretary Geithner has set the date August 2, 2011 as the day when the debt limit must be raised for the country to continue to pay its bills. At this moment both parties are busy playing politics, but at some time soon every one will have to agree. Politics is a nerve racking business and our lawmakers tend to wait till the last days to strike a compromise.

Following President Obama’s press conference, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley had strong words for the Republicans. Many political pundits and experts are concerned with the bluntness of the Obama’s administration and are afraid that their tough position will drive the two sides further apart.

Bill Daley said, “I find that at times people who continually attack the president, beat him up on not only on

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley

policy, personality, and a whole bunch of things. The minute he takes a tone that is a little more direct, and it was not personal. It was direct in that the leaders of Congress in both parties and especially those who are saying that revenue are off the table period in trying to solve this problem, that somehow that’s going to hurt feelings of people. This is not a time to worry about feelings; this is a time to get results.”

Maybe the president is now putting on his boxing gloves, and he is going toe to toe with the Republican Party. It is too early to make that assumption, but in his last news conference, the president was aggressive and assertive. The president was elected to lead and sometime to lead, it is necessary to hurt feelings to get the job done.

America is struggling with paying its bills because we are deep in debt. Our politicians have done a terrible job when it comes to balancing the budget. Somehow our priorities are on war and no one really knows what we are spending or who we are fighting.

President Obama speaking at George Washington University

On Wednesday, April 13 at George Washington University, President Obama laid out his plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. Some political pundits and experts think he has an excellent plan, and others think the plan is light on details with very little substance.

There is no doubt that this speech and plan was a response to the House Republicans, who have created a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion. President Obama repeatedly attacked the budget released by the House Republicans last week in a sharp partisan tone. It appears that President Obama is drawing a line in the sand and he is preparing for a fight.

President Obama is not comfortable with the cuts that House Republicans are proposing and he is speaking up about what he does not like about their plan. “These are not the kind of cuts that the fiscal commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in, and I think you believe in,” said President Obama.

Bipartisan CommissionThere are 4 key areas which President Obama will focus on, based on research from a Bi-partisan Commission. The first area would be keeping domestic spending low, the second  making cuts to the Pentagon, the third healthcare savings in  Medicare and Medicaid and the fourth taxing the higher level income Americans.

President Obama did not say how he would initiate these changes and there was already push back from the Republicans about additional taxes on the wealthy. He also did not expound on which defense programs he would cut, and how he would achieve a simpler tax system. Nevertheless the Bipartisan Commission findings and suggestions in many Washington political circles made sense.

Stan Collender, budget expert

“Mathematically, the Bipartisan Commission apparently works,”said Stan Collender, a former Democratic House and budget analyst. “Politically, it is going to have a lot of trouble getting support from more than just the members of the commission.”

The speech that President Obama made on Wednesday showed that he has backbone and he is willing to confront the Republicans. His debt reduction plan is a political step in the right direction. “Doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy, if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal hose in order,” said the president.

With this speech, President Obama was focused on reaching the Democratic base and the independents. It is important that the president increases his base, because his administration in the coming months must increase the federal government debt ceiling.

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, everyone can agree that we have to begin to stop the bleeding and pay our bills. With 66% of our budget controlled by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense, we can not only cut from the other 34%. The Republicans and the Democrats will have to agree and work together to preserve the American dream for future generations.

For Americans to believe and trust in President Obama, there is a need for a balanced budget and the creation of hundreds of thousands new jobs. It is time for the president to be transparent with the budget and take control of entitlements. There is no way we can balance a budget and fight three wars around the world.

Senate Leader Harry Reid

In Washington, there is political theatrics controlling the Congress, and every politician wants to be on the news. Everyone is playing games and they know that they are not doing their job. The President ran on a platform of change and the expectation level in the country was incredible.

America was ready for fundamental changes in Washington, and President Obama initially was a politician that progressive citizens could believe. He started his term with a majority of Democrats in the Senate and the Congress, and he got passed over 60 bills. He was able to get the Healthcare Reform Bill passed that other presidents had tried but failed.

President Obama’s polls approval rating initially was in the high sixties into low seventies. Minority communities’ approval rating for the president was in the nineties. But as the euphoric honeymoon began to dissipate into reality, we found many of the problems with the Obama administration were the same as other administrations.

The political fights between the Republicans and the Democrats were the same, but in President Obama’s administration they were a little meaner and nastier. With the emergence of the Tea Party, a new ideology was initiated that wanted a smaller federal government and were extremely conservative.

President Obama and the Democratic Party underestimated the influence and the political clout of

Tea Party

 the power of the Tea party movement. It is a loosely organized nationalized movement, which is the mobilized radical arm of the Republican Party. They are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going and they are angry.

With the country $14 trillion in debt, and every state treasury in debt, the Tea Party is correct when they say the Congress needs to balance its books and control spending. The problem with the Tea Party is they want to go backward as opposed to forward. Much of their ideology is based on state’s rights, American supremacy, and the good old-boy’s system.

Nevertheless, without a doubt the Tea Party members are a major impediment, and they make it harder to get the federal budget passed. They are a divisive force, and with the election of 2010, the new 85 Republican House members are connected to the Tea Party.

But all the blame for not getting the 2010 budget passed can be blamed on the Republicans and the Tea Party. When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses, they still could not get the budget passed. Somewhere there appears to be a problem with leadership, or planning in the party. If the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate are both Democrats, they should be able to agree on a budget, and get it passed.

This week the government shutdown was averted with a late night deal right before the deadline. Even though the shutdown was avoided this fight was over peanuts, because the debate over the 2011 budget will soon start. With a divided Congress, who doesn’t like each other, there will probably be a major fight within the parties, and against each party.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House and Harry Reid, Senator Leader met President Obama four times in one week to finally come up with a deal. John Boehner says, “The president is not leading. He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget.”

President Obama meets with his aides

At times President Obama is not engaged and he leaves certain projects and initiatives in the hands of his administrators. It appears the president’s strategy is to remain behind the scenes and let his aides do the negotiating. No longer can the president let his aides do the negotiating.

The president must be engaged from the very beginning and be the leader of his team. Our government needs the president to get vocal, get serious, and demand results.             

 

Libya on the streets in protest

As President Obama takes a five day trip to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador, there are many major events bombarding the president. There are a series of bloodless revolutions and bloody civil wars that have spread through Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya. In Japan, there is an earthquake and tsunami, with the possibility of 10,000 people dead, and trillions worth of property destroyed.

Everyone has been waiting for decisive action from the president on global issues, and on Saturday, March 19, 2011, President Obama authorized limited military action against Libya. France, Britain, and the United States have warned Gadhafi that they would resort to military measures if he ignores the United Nations resolution demanding a cease-fire. 

Initially Libya agreed to a cease-fire, and promised to stop military operations against its citizens to prevent international military intervention. The United Nations authorized a “no-fly zone” and all necessary measures to prevent the regime from striking and killing its own people. Once this announcement came from the Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa

Moussa Koussa, foreign minister of Libya

 Koussa, it was followed with a fierce attack by Gadhafi’s forces against Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Once the coalition forces observed that Gadhafi was not going to abide by the United Nations cease-fire resolution, it was time to take decisive action. The United States is taking part in a five country operation, “Odyssey Dawn”: along with Britain, France, Canada, and Italy. Their goal is to stop the innocent slaughter of the civilians.

U.S. Navy soldiers stand in preparation for efforts towards Libya

The United States has a host of forces and ships in the area, including submarines, destroyers, amphibians’ assault and landing ships. A senior military official said the United States launched air defenses with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean. The assault would unfold in stages, and Obama once again stated that the United States would not send ground troops to Libya.

America is in a precarious situation in this particular conflict. This country is still one of Africa’s largest oil producing countries on the continent. We know we need oil and President Obama has emphasized that the purpose of this operation is not to get rid of Gaddafi.

In a letter to President Obama, Gaddafi said, “If you found rebels taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what would you do?” There is no simple answer to this question, because all around the world, in Asia and Africa there are civil wars with governments against rebels and grassroots people. Many of these people are deprived of their human rights and dignity, but very little is done because countries have their own national sovereignty.

President Obama addressing Libyan conflict

President Obama has laid out a leadership role for the United States for the Libyan civil war. “In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition. American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone – it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” says Obama.

It appears that the United States has learned its lessons in going into countries without international support. It makes sense to strategically plan responses to international conflicts, because once you are in, it is hard to get out. Hopefully the Libyan conflict will not be a long protracted war, but a quick conflict where the different factions can reach a compromise.  

President Obama is taking a stand concerning global justice and other tyrants and dictators should take notice. There are basic human rights that all citizens should have protected, and global coalitions can bring this to fruition. It is easy to talk justice and treating everyone with human rights, but it is hard to make it a reality.

President Obama

 The Democrats and the Republicans are on different sides of the fence, and neither party has a plan to reduce federal deficits, balance the budget, and cut spending. The Republicans in the House want to cut $61 billion to fund the government thru September 2011, and the Democrats in the Senate want to cut around $10 billion.

There is a huge gap between what the Republicans want to cut, and what the Democrats are willing to cut. The two parties were able to work out a deal to keep the federal government running until March 18, 2011. This Continuing Resolution included $4.1 billion in cuts, with $650 million from the highway, $468 million from Department of Education, and the rest from programs that were going to be cut by the president in his 2012 budget.

“I’m pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together and passed a plan that will cut spending and keep the government running for the next two weeks,” said President Obama. He also stated, “we cannot keep doing business this way. Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy.”

Both parties in the two Houses have an agenda and there is little room for compromise. As our leaders continue to operate the government with the threat of a shutdown, everyone is operating from an emergency mindset. Everyone is stressed and many of the plans and policies at this point are not well thought out.

In all probability, the two parties will pass another short term Continuing Resolution before the March 18, 2011 deadline, but still there is no movement on the $61 billion cuts that the House has agreed on. Somewhere in this bureaucratic mess, there is a need for leadership and direction from the president.

Michael Petit: president of Every Child Matters

The majority of the cuts that the Republicans are proposing in the House impact government social programs, children, youth, the poor, and families. Michael Petit, president of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, said: “Even before the House adopted its shortsighted budget; the United States was far behind most other developed nations in caring for children. To further shred our nation’s already frayed safety net with additional cuts to babies and mothers are unacceptable.”

The cuts that the Republicans in the House are proposing will cripple our country’s most vulnerable group of citizens and will attack social programs. Some of the programs that will be impacted if the Democrats in the Senate agree to the cuts by Republicans would be as follows: Head Start cut by $1.1 billion, Maternal and Child Health Block Grant cut by $50 million, School Health Clinics cut by $380 million, Low Income Heating Assistance Program cut by $390 million, Pell Grant Program cut by $5.7 billion, and other Block Grants cut by $55 million.

There appears to be an all out assault on our children, youth, and mothers and we hear very little from the president. The president has stated that he would not sign a bill that harms our children, but how far will he go to appease the radical arm of the Republicans?

President Obama is still talking compromise and bipartisan, but the Republicans in the House are pushing their agenda. The stage has been set and everyone is waiting for leadership from the president. He is always talking about shared responsibility, but the social programs are for the citizens who have barely anything.

It is time for President Obama to take a stand and protect the social programs that many of the citizens need. As the president takes a stand, more citizens will also take a stand and support the president’s initiatives. There are other ways to save money, than cutting programs that hurt children, youth, mothers and the poor.

Congress in session

Everywhere you go in the United States, you hear people talking about making the federal government smaller. Many conservatives are considering revolting against the federal government and making the states more powerful.

Even in the state of Florida, our governor is refusing money from the federal government to build high speed rail. Our governor believes that our state could end up owing the entire $2.4 billion back to the government, if there are problems with the construction and the project is not completed. Based on his studies, there are too many “ifs and maybes” to risk the taxpayer’s hard earned money and resources.

Many governors in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida have decided that they will solve their own problems with limited interference from the federal government. Many of these states are controlled by conservative legislatures and governors, and they want to limit union intervention, and collective bargaining. They believe that they have a mandate from the people, and the same philosophy is prevalent with Republicans in the federal Congress.

These Republicans in the Congress are conservative, and believe that they were sent to Washington with a mission. Their goal is to cut spending and help to shrink the federal government. Even though the budget was $3.1 trillion when Bush was president, they want to turn back the hands of time.

The Republicans argue with the Democrats, and the Democrats argue with the Republicans over $100 billion in cuts. Both parties know that $100 billion is a small percentage of the budget, and they are fighting over peanuts. When the proposed budget for 2012 is $3.7 trillion, and the deficit is $1.3 trillion, there are other fundamental problems with balancing our federal budget.

Our country continues to fight one major war that is costing on the average, $9 billion a month and we are also dumping around $5 billion a month in Iraq, and there is no telling what the expense to keep bases around the world.  It is obvious fighting wars that we can not win is a terrible strategy, and a drain on our resources and funds.

Somewhere in President Obama campaign and the reality of Washington, our country is caught between a rock and a hard place. Cutting social programs for the poor, minorities, women, children and the elderly is no way to run the richest country on earth. Our politicians are looking in the wrong places to cut expenses.

President Obama

President Obama was right when he stated that the rich 2% of our population needs to pay more taxes, because of our deficits, and they can afford it. By the same token, our international corporations and conglomerates can afford to pay more taxes. The middle class, the poor, and the small businesses should receive a break on taxes.

It is time for the president to take a position and establish his leadership role in the Congress, and with the conservative governors around the country. The president must take the initiative and establish where the right places to make the cuts in his budget. Shutting down some of the military bases around the world could save our country billions.

Our country could save billions by stopping policing the world and stop financing corrupt governments who we want to be our friends. Finally, we should stop fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and redirect the savings to balance our budget, and improve our infrastructure.

Many of the cuts that Republicans and the Democrats are making are for show. If they are serious about balancing our budget, they will help end the wars, and tax the people and the corporations in the country who can afford to pay.

At the present time, the 2011 budget has not been signed by the president, because both Houses cannot agree on spending cuts and what to fund. As a result, our government is operating on a continuing resolution that comes to an end on March 4, 2011.

Speaking at an event

Dick Morris, political author and commentator

Many conservatives in the country believe that in order to get President Obama’s attention that the Republicans should force a shutdown over health care funding. The ultra-conservative Republicans want the size of government reduced and they are wiling to try different tactics to make this a reality. “There’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in 1995 and 1996, but we’re going to win it this time,” said Dick Morris at the American for Prosperity Foundation Conference.

Conservatives have taken the position that the deficits and recession are a result of Democratic policies and they are holding the Obama administration as the culprits. The conservative Republicans believe that they have a mandate from the American people to stop spending money and slash government spending by tens of billions of dollars.

Recently, the Republicans in the House voted to cut $61 billion in federal spending this year from the budget. This is setting up for a budget confrontation, between the Democrat-controlled Senate over the 2011 budget. Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are not willing to accept the $61 billion cuts that the Republican House has proposed.

“Read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” House Speaker John Boehner, told reporters

Speaker of the House

 last week when announcing he won’t accept a short-term extension without some spending reductions. It appears that the House Republicans are drawing a line in the sand and they are refusing to budge.

As the Congress gets closer to the March 4, 2011 deadline, the two sides will have to make concessions if they plan to keep the government running. If the government was to shutdown, it would halt military pay, veterans’ benefits, Social Security checks, and government functions such as food-safety inspections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has introduced a temporary spending measure to keep government agencies running through March 31, and buy time for talks.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi

Many political experts and pundits expected in the 112th Congress that there would be gridlock with the new conservative Republicans elected in the mid-term elections. These Republicans want to eliminate 100 social programs and cut funding for 100 more. The cuts would impact programs in education, environment, health care, energy, science, the Peace Corps, and the Social Security Administration.

The Obama administration has not responded or established their position on the cuts. It is very early in the debate over the cuts, but leaks from the White House are the cuts could hurt the recovering economy. Many also believe that the cuts are too much too soon and they could cause a lost of jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is urging Republicans to negotiate a compromise. “Now that House Republicans have gotten this vote out of their system, I hope they will drop the threats of shutting down the government and work with the Senate on responsible cuts that allow our nation’s economic recovery to continue,” said Reid.

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader

This issue is not going away, because everyone is passionate about their philosophy and mindset. There is validity in both side’s positions, and everyone is pointing a finger at each other. Collaboration and compromise is the way to come to an agreement, but very few are willing to give in.

The government shutdown is possible if both sides refuse to budge. Nobody wins and millions will be hurt in the process if the government shuts down.