What’s Up in the Washington Political Arena

...the Obama administration continues to focus on climate change, the gender gap, income inequality, white privilege, golf, vacations, and all things gay.

By Allen Tharp

By Allen Tharp

1. Last week, President Obama signed an executive order lifting sanctions on Iran.

2. From the Department of Actions Have Consequences: Obama paid a $1.7 billion ransom to Iran in another lopsided prisoner swap.  In related news, North Korea imprisoned Otto Frederick, a University of Virginia college student from Cincinnati, accusing him of a “hostile act” against the government.  Time for another ransom to be paid, Obama?

3. The Senate failed to protect Americans and did not advance the bill that had passed in the House to increase security screening for refugees entering the country from Syria and Iraq.

4. While both our Texas Senators missed an important vote to oppose the confirmation of the very liberal Wilhelmina Wright to a Federal court judge position, Senator Chuck Grassley set a record for longest stretch of time without missing a single vote:  22 years, 6 months, 6 days.  Their two votes would not have changed the outcome, but it would have been nice to have Texas represented.

5. The CBO projected that deficits will rise again in 2016 to $544 billion.  That’s a $105-billion increase over last year, and $130 billion higher than what had been forecast in August.  As always, it is all about too much spending on too many unnecessary or unconstitutional government programs.  Revenues are expected to rise by 4%, but spending is increasing by 6% in 2016, leading to the imbalance.

Increasing deficits will continue to pile on to the nation’s almost $19 trillion debt load, leading to higher interest costs in the years to come. CBO said interest payments will double over the decade.

6. Last Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case against Obama’s unilateral immigration plan to shield five million illegal aliens from deportation. The program was challenged by a coalition of 26 states. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas ruled that Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority and had created a “total abdication and surrender” of the duty to enforce immigration laws. The Obama administration then appealed and lost the case in Federal appeals Court. Now the case goes to the Supreme Court. However, Obama still might lose on immigration, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules because the decision will not be rendered until mid-summer and may not give him enough time to flood the country with illegals.

7. The U.S. State Department continues to stonewall and has asked a federal judge for an additional month to roll out the last batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her tenure as Secretary of State, which are supposed to be released January 31. The delay no doubt is because, as everyone knows, releasing emails is so terribly, terribly time consuming.

8. The Senate failed to override Obama’s veto of the Water Rule Rollback that expands  Federal authority over all waters of the United States.

9. Senate Republicans held a special meeting this week to discuss proposed changes such as:

  • Eliminating the minority party’s ability to filibuster motions to begin debate on spending bills.
  • Changing the rule through regular order (requiring 67 votes and bipartisan support).
  • Using the “nuclear option” to change filibuster rules with a simple majority vote (the way Harry Reid did in 2013 to eliminate filibusters of executive branch and judicial nominees).
  • Not a smart move since eliminating the filibuster means more legislation passes, and they pass a lot more bad legislation than good.

10. The GOP had their annual legislative retreat in Baltimore and came up with policy goals in five main areas:

  • National security
  • Jobs and economic growth
  • Health care
  • Poverty and opportunity
  • Restoring the constitutional balance of powers

Meanwhile the Obama administration continues to focus on climate change, the gender gap, income inequality, white privilege, golf, vacations, and all things gay.

Allen Tharp is President of the San Antonio Tea Party.

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