Congress

Congressional leaders to push through a $1.01 trillion dollar budget this week

Featured image As expected, congressional leaders have reached a budget deal. The government will be funded to the tune of $1.01 trillion. This amount will keep all agencies running through September of next year, except for the Department of Homeland Security. It will be funded only through late February. Mitch McConnell says that the Senate will pass the bill before it leaves town this week. Unfortunately, this means that legislators, not to »

How should Congress combat executive amnesty?

Featured image The Republican congressional leadership has formulated its short-term strategy for responding to President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. It wants to pass a continuing resolution that will fund most of the government for a full year, but will fund the Department of Homeland Security — which is responsible for implementing the amnesty — for only a few months. It’s not a terrible strategy, but neither is it optimal, for two reasons. »

U.S. Sanctions against Iran? What’s that about?

Featured image As John has noted, the Obama administration is contemplating the imposition of sanctions on Israel as a response to new settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. So says Haaretz, a reliable Israeli source. When asked about this report, White House press secretary Josh Ernest did not deny it. Neither did the State Department’s spokesperson Marie Harf. At a minimum, then, President Obama wants Israel to believe that »

Time to Revitalize Congress?

Featured image Scott kindly noted a couple days ago my appearance earlier this month at Yale’s William F. Buckley Program on the topic of James Burnham. While Burnham’s classic Suicide of the West was the main focus of the conference, in rereading the Burnham corpus before the conference I was struck by one of his neglected books, Congress and the American Tradition (1959). Even in 1959 Burnham could see the capacities of »

To fight amnesty, say no to a long-term budget deal

Featured image According to several reports, President Obama is poised to announce a plan to issue work permits to 4.5 million or more illegal immigrants. This move should throw a major kink into the plan of congressional Republican leaders to pass a long-term budget deal during the lame duck session. The Republican leadership’s desire for a long-term deal is not surprising. No sensible Republican wants another government shutdown. Moreover, other things being »

A chance to get to the bottom of the IRS scandals

Featured image The Republican takeover of the Senate is rich in potential consequences. One such consequence is the opportunity to get to the bottom of the IRS targeting scandal. Cleta Mitchell, the attorney who has led the charge to uncover the truth about IRS abuses, points out that Republicans now control key Senate committee’s with jurisdiction over the matter: Finance, Judiciary, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The new chairmen are, respectively, »

Revive Congress?

Featured image Public approval of Congress is in the single digits, down to blood relatives and pets as the joke goes in Washington. So perhaps the answer to our political troubles is to focus on making Congress more powerful? Yes—that’s the well-reasoned argument my old boss Chris DeMuth makes in The Weekly Standard in “A Constitutional Congress?” Here’s the important core of the argument that supplies its title: A constitutional revival will »

The Eisenhower Memorial farce

Featured image We have sporadically followed the long, sad saga of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has now survived 15 years. We have no Eisenhower Memorial, but the commission has a plan (a bad one) and a promotional website. For good and sufficient reason the National Capital Planning Commission rejected the proposed memorial plan earlier this year. The Washington Examiner reported on the NCPC’s rejection in a long article »

From the Archives: House GOP Leadership Then and Now

Featured image Found another old videotape, this one from the summer of 1989, when I still had ALL of my hair, and used to moonlight on a local PBS public affairs program during my final years in graduate school.  This nearly five-minute clip is useful for one current purpose: putting into comparative context the complaints many people (including many of our loyal readers) have today about House GOP leadership.  I have from »

Theory of the coup

Featured image Ross Douthat’s New York Times column this past Sunday eloquently warned against Obama’s threatened coup with respect to immigration law. Douthat characterized the action threatened by anonymous White House leakers as “executive fiat.” Douthat rightly condemned the threatened action as “lawless, reckless, a leap into the antidemocratic dark.” University of Chicago Law School Professor Eric Posner comes to Obama’s defense and responds to Douthat in the New Republic column “Obama »

The politics of crying “impeachment” [UPDATED]

Featured image The Democrats have been fundraising like crazy based on claims that President Obama is in danger of being impeached by House Republicans. Last night, John wondered whether it’s good idea to tell your party’s members repeatedly that the leader of their party is in danger of being impeached. The answer, I think, is that it is a good idea to the extent the message is heard only by party members. »

When more diversity means less real diversity

Featured image A fascinating footnote to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 acceptance speech, about which I wrote about here, was the Arizona conservative’s insistence on the importance of “diversity.” Goldwater used the word six times in his 30-plus minute address. In describing the problems besetting America, Goldwater complained that “we have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity.” In describing his vision of America, Goldwater spoke of “cherished diversity »

Is this where it all ENDAs?

Featured image I’ve suspected for some time that there is something radically out of kilter with the gay rights movement in America. Now, I’m sure of it. The Washington Post reports: Several major gay rights groups withdrew support Tuesday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would bolster gay and transgender rights in the workplace, saying they fear that broad religious exemptions included in the current bill might compel private companies to begin »

Legislation trumps administrative regulation, left irate

Featured image Lost in the sound and fury coming from the left in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby is this point, made in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle by Emmett C. Stanton: People choose to forget that when Obamacare passed so narrowly, it was in large part because the administration misled pro-life Democrats about its abortion and abortifacient coverage. The legislation never would have passed if »

#this: Leahy Law Makes It Harder To Bring Back Our Girls

Featured image Fox News reports that American drones are scouring an area the size of West Virginia in search of the nearly 300 school girls held by an Islamist warlord. The search and any subsequent rescue attempt obviously will be difficult. But an obscure law called the Leahy Amendment makes the project more difficult than it should be. The Leahy Amendment, passed in 1997 thanks to the persistence of Sen. Patrick Leahy, »

Do the Benghazi hearings pose a political risk for Republicans?

Featured image Charles Krauthammer argues that the upcoming Benghazi hearings “are a big political risk to Republicans,” but should go forward anyway because “the country deserves the truth.” Krauthammer worries that the hearings could distract voters from major issues like Obamacare, the economy, and chronic unemployment. He also recalls that the Clinton impeachment proceedings in 1998 backfired politically. The Republicans actually lost a few House seats in the election that year, even »

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation could put Obama in a bind

Featured image Last week, as was widely reported, rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah announced that they had agreed to reconcile and will begin discussing the formation of a unity government. The announcement caused Israel to pull out “peace” negotiations, to the relief, no doubt, of all concerned except for John Kerry and a few stray Obama administration members. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation has potential implications beyond the demise of “peace talks” that »