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The Friday Faxline Issue 500

Location: Washington, DC

The Friday Faxline Issue 500

Democrats' budget calls for historic tax hike

On Wednesday, House Democrats unveiled their budget proposal for fiscal year 2008. Unfortunately, it's bad news for the American taxpayer. The blueprint calls for the largest tax increase in American history, all while proposing more than $28 billion in new spending beyond the President's budget request. It also fails to address entitlement spending programs that continue to grow at unsustainable rates. The tax cuts passed by Congressional Republicans in 2001 and 2003 have sparked tremendous economic growth. More than 7.5 million new jobs have been added, GDP has grown, on average, at three percent per year since 2001, and unemployment rates continue to hover at record lows. Saddling hardworking Americans with a massive tax increase is not the way to continue this growth.

With troop funding bill's fate uncertain, Pelosi heads to NYC fundraiser

The new Democrat majority had a rough week in the House. On Thursday, they were left scrambling when Republicans moved to give D.C. residents their Second Amendment rights back (see next item). Democrat leaders also struggled all week to pressure enough members into voting for a pork-laden troop funding bill that sets arbitrary dates for withdrawing from Iraq. As all of this was going on, the person most responsible for keeping the Democrat caucus in order, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), decided to leave Washington to attend a $28,500 per couple fundraiser at an exclusive New York City restaurant. Everyone has to raise money for reelection, but with funding for our troops hanging in the balance, the work of the House should have first priority.

Democrats abruptly pull D.C. voting bill from House floor

Democrats brought a bill to the House floor this week that would unconstitutionally give the District of Columbia a full vote in the House. But, before a vote was called on the bill, Republicans used a procedural motion to add language to the bill to restore D.C. citizens' Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. D.C. has long had some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation (and some of the highest crime rates to go with them). In fact, a federal judge ruled earlier this month that D.C.'s gun laws go too far in violating the Second Amendment. When Democrat leaders realized the Republican language restoring gun ownership rights would likely pass with strong bipartisan support, they abruptly withdrew the bill from consideration, not allowing it to be voted on. It is unclear when the original D.C. voting bill will be reconsidered, but Democrats will almost certainly not do so without first passing a new rule prohibiting Second Amendment language from being added.

National newspapers blast Iraq funding bill

Republicans found an unlikely ally in their opposition to this week's Iraq funding bill. While Republicans support providing our troops the funding they need, they objected to the bill's unrelated pork-barrel spending and language that seeks to micromanage the conduct of the war. The editorial boards of several major American newspapers had similar criticisms. The Washington Post said, "House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the endorsement of but excludes the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates." Referring to the millions of dollars added to the bill for peanut storage programs, USA Today said, "It's hard to say which is worse: leaders offering peanuts for a vote of this magnitude, or members allowing their votes to be bought for peanuts…" The LA Times put it this way: "The plan is an unruly mess: bad public policy, bad precedent and bad politics. If the legislation passes, Bush says he'll veto it, as well he should…"

Quote of the Week

"My constituents are asking, ‘who put that in the bill, Popeye?'"

- Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), referring to the $25 million in spinach subsidies added to a war funding bill this week. In all, Democrat leaders attached more than $20 billion in unrelated pork projects.

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