Tag Archives: BUDGET

The Washington Free Beacon: Congress Gives Itself a Bonus in Omnibus

22 Mar


Senate increases budget by $48 million, salaries by $12 million

BY: Elizabeth Harrington
March 22, 2018 4:15 pm

The House and Senate increased their own budgets in the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package.

The Senate increased its total salaries of officers and employees by $12.6 million in the 2,232-page bill that lawmakers had fewer than 48 hours to read and vote on. The bill avoids a government shutdown that would take place at midnight on Friday.

Aside from giving their own institutions a bonus, the omnibus also gives away millions to prevent “elderly falls,” promote breastfeeding, and fight “excessive alcohol use.”

The legislation increases the Senate budget to $919.9 million, up $48.8 million from fiscal year 2017, according to the congressional summary of the bill.

“The increase provides funding necessary for critical modernization and upgrades of the Senate financial management system and investments in IT security,” the summary states.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives increased its budget to $1.2 billion, which is $10.9 million above 2017 levels.

Salaries of staffers in the Senate are also set for an increase. Division I of the legislation breaks down the total salaries of officers and employees, which are being raised from $182 million in 2017 to $194.8 million in the final bill, an increase of $12.58 million.

The Senate also increased its expense account, as expense allowances are going from $177,000 to $192,000, an increase of $15,000.

The House, however, kept its budget for salaries the same at $22.3 million and lowered expenses by $4.4 million.

Committee offices got an increase of $22.9 million in salaries, from $181.5 million in 2017 to $204.4 million in the final bill.

The omnibus also boosts funding for health research, including a $3 billion increase to the ever-growing budget of the National Institutes of Health.

Health care spending in the omnibus includes $4 million to combat “excessive alcohol use” through a CDC prevention and health promotion program.

Another $15 million goes to study “high obesity counties” and an increase of $5 million for the CDC program that seeks to “address obesity in counties” by leveraging “the community extension services provided by land grant universities who are mandated to translate science into practical action and promote healthy lifestyles.”

The bill also spends $2.05 million to prevent “elderly falls” and $8 million in the form of “breastfeeding grants.”

The legislation also mandates the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to improve “wine label accuracy.”

The House passed the spending package Friday, and the Senate is expected to follow.


Mark Caserta: Budget deal outlines repeal of Obamacare

7 May

This isn’t a settled deal…if the GOP keeps their promise.

mark 2

Mark Caserta:  Editor, Free State Patriot

May. 07, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
 dems turn 3

For the first time since 2009, both chambers of Congress have reached an agreement on a combined budget, setting the stage for financially curbing critical components of President Obama’s liberal agenda – including Obamacare.

Last week a budget proposal was agreed upon which would boost military spending while outlining a path to end deficits over the coming decade by cutting some $5 trillion in spending. And, to the chagrin of many Democrats, the budget does not include any additional taxes on the American people.

Additionally, this budget resolution would unlock a procedural tool that Republicans say they will use to send the White House a repeal of Obamacare. The process known as “reconciliation” allows legislation to pass Congress with a simple majority. Some may recall in 2009, Democrats wrote into its budget rules that they could use the reconciliation maneuver to pass the president’s healthcare reform bill. At that time, many warned this could come back to bite Democrats should they lose power in Congress, so it only seems poetic justice that the process be used to begin the repealing and replacing of Obamacare.

Yes, President Obama still wields the veto pen, but the case for moving forward on Obamacare’s repeal is still very straightforward. Nearly every poll shows that most Americans dislike the law and want more freedom in their health insurance choices. A recent Rasmussen Poll shows that 54 percent of likely U.S. voters view the national health care law unfavorably while 37 percent have a “very” unfavorable opinion of it.

nfl 4

For many voters, ridding our country of this healthcare abomination will be a litmus test for a presidential candidate. Astute voters realize the GOP does not yet have a veto-proof majority in Congress. Forcing a presidential veto of a bill repealing Obamacare will force every 2016 presidential candidate to respond as to whether they would have signed or vetoed a similar bill.

Politically speaking, the process of drafting and passing the reconciliation measure through both chambers will serve as an effective trial run, and affirm the GOP-controlled Congress’s commitment to sending a bill repealing Obamacare to the president’s desk in 2017. This will ensure that every insurance company or industry with a vested interest in the Affordable Care Act realize the law remains very unsettled rendering them less likely to make changes permanently embedding the job-killing law into our lives.

The leveraging of reconciliation also will prompt the GOP to offer a viable healthcare alternative which no doubt will impact the pending Supreme Court’s ruling on whether to strike down subsidies received by millions of Americans who purchased health insurance through a federally run exchange. Such a decision would dramatically increase the cost for many potential 2016 voters and further fan the flames of discontent.

Five years into this healthcare debacle, Americans are still learning of its adverse impact on their lives. And frankly, it’s a huge reason we have a GOP majority in Congress.

Republicans must pass this budget and follow through with their pledge to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Foreign aid must be cut to bolster US stability

15 Apr

foreign aid

Dec. 05, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

The United States simply cannot sustain current levels of assistance to other countries.

According to the Treasury Department, our projected deficit for Fiscal Year 2014 is about $744 billion and our national debt is around $17 trillion, or about $52,807 per person.

I’d say it’s time to keep some cash at home until we can get our own financial house in order.

From a business perspective, it’s inconceivable that Congress has been operating without a federal budget for over three years. And sadly, our current mix of representation lacks the competencies required to build relationships and collaborate on viable financial solutions.

Additionally, President Obama, who is required by law to submit a budget to Congress on or before the first Monday in February of each year, has missed the mark four of the past five years and has yet to have a proposal seriously considered by either chamber of Congress.

Understand, the U.S. budgetary process is essential in determining funding levels for the next fiscal year and directly affects the monetary amounts allocated to foreign assistance programs.

The U.S. Agency for International Development states its function is to provide “economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.” The U.S. provides around $50 billion in aid to other countries each year, according to the agency.

Now, humanitarian aid, at reasonable levels, has a strong political constituency in the U.S. But development aid remains controversial, and many contend it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Multiple reports reveal inadequate oversight has resulted in billions of dollars in wasted resources.

The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) compiled each year by the Center for Global Development ranks the “quantifiable performance” of foreign aid for 27 of the world’s richest countries. The index uniquely assesses multiple categories ranging from trade to technology — not based on how much aid a nation provides, but the weighted value of the aid given.

Of the 27 countries, while the United States was by far the world’s top financial donor, it ranked 19th in overall value, behind countries like Denmark, Ireland and Canada.

Conspicuously missing from the donor list was China, which recently surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy and is forecasted to overtake the U.S. by 2016.

Yet, according to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. provided $28.3 million in foreign assistance to China in 2012 to promote human rights, democracy, the rule of law, environmental conservation and to support Tibetan culture!

While perhaps noble in nature, do these causes supersede the fundamental needs of Americans?

What portion of U.S. foreign aid could have been re-allocated as tax subsidies for the 15 percent of Americans who were without health coverage, pre-Obamacare? And still could.

Our government has become a poor steward of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money — domestically and internationally.

And until we achieve financial stability, we must limit foreign aid to humanitarian needs and require other nations to be more assertive in their own development.

The U.S. has its own problems.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.


8 Apr

americans for prosperity

I couldn’t agree more with the vision of this fine organization.
Government spending is bankrupting our children’s future and “Americans For Prosperity” is at the front lines working for the American taxpayer.

I want to thank Wendy McCuskey, WV State Director, for her endeavors for the people for several years now. I also plan to do whatever I can to support her in her new position with AFP WV.

Godspeed Wendy!

AFP WV TAX Day of Activism

%d bloggers like this: