Three Principles for Budget Process Reform

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, is tasked with identifying reforms to improve the existing budget process.  They could be bold and overhaul the entire existing Congressional Budget Act of 1974, or they could propose incremental reforms aimed at improving the existing process.

It has been 22 years since the process was followed. Clearly it is broken.  Worse, the new norm is budgeting by crisis, lurching from one high stakes deal to another in the hopes of avoiding a government shutdown.  The result is ever-higher spending, political stagnation, and fiscal uncertainty.

The committee should consider these three principles and potential recommendations when formulating its November report.

Principles: The budget process should include strong fiscal targets for the entire budget that are sustainable year after year. Congress should set priorities and make choices across all federal programs within those targets.

The Reality:

  • There is no firm vision for fiscal policy or enforceable limits for how much in total the federal government will spend and tax.
  • Only discretionary spending, currently just 30 percent of total federal spending, is subject to annual appropriations. Entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare, are currently funded on autopilot without a vote of Congress.
  • Congress is not required to reauthorize Social Security and Medicare regularly as are most programs, from the farm bill to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • With such a small share of the budget that must be appropriated each year, lawmakers are not required to make policy trade-offs across the entire budget, making it easy and likely to increase spending.

The Solutions:

  • Set a limit on total spending that will require balancing policy goals and making trade-offs across the entire budget.
  • Tie total federal spending to a stable metric such as the average growth rate in tax revenues calculated over multiple years or potential GDP that will put spending on a path that is sustainable and affordable.
  • Put entitlements on a regular budget, perhaps every 5 -7 years, setting affordable targets, potentially keeping the programs on track through automatic adjustments.

Principles: The legislative process should run smoothly and meet defined deadlines allowing legislators and the administration to set priorities, and plan and execute budget policies smoothly and efficiently.

The Reality:

  • The budget calendar is not synchronized with congressional sessions.
  • There are no penalties for failing to meet budget deadlines.
  • There is no contingency if Congress fails to meet funding deadlines, resulting in automatic shutdowns.
  • The amount of legislation necessary to complete all the budget steps is massive: Each chamber must produce a non-binding budget resolution and 12 appropriations bills, then typically a conference report for the budget resolution and each appropriation bill. There is not adequate time to achieve all the required budget and appropriation legislation in addition to other legislative priorities.
  • Tight time frames and back-room dealmaking mean few legislators have time to read the bills.
  • The “must-pass” and massive nature of omnibus spending bills are subject to frequent unrelated policy riders.

The Solutions:

  • Change the federal government’s fiscal year from October 1 to January 1 to synchronize the budget process with the calendar year and the legislative calendar. This would allow a full year for the budget process rather than the current 9 months and allow for a regular order process where legislators can read legislation before they vote.
  • Establish a “back up” automatic spending appropriation provision through an automatic continuing resolution for one year maximum at no more than the previous year’s spending for any appropriation legislation bill(s) that did not get enacted.
  • Raise the bar for abusing the process through procedural rules such as requiring a strong supermajority for including unrelated policy riders or to ensure adequate time to read legislation.

Principles: Congress should set clear priorities and specific, actionable policy goals for spending and taxes in a clear and transparent manner. Policymakers should have a clear understanding of the fiscal implications of current policy and changes to it.

The Reality:

  • The budget resolution is non-binding so Congress is less likely to meet deadlines, set priorities or even pass a resolution at all.
  • The non-binding nature also incentivizes political documents rather than setting realistic budget targets and achievable policy priorities.
  • The Congressional Budget Office scores are often very opaque assumptions that are either unclear or not disclosed. CBO analysts cannot benefit from best knowledge regarding its models and modeling practices.
  • Use of current policy baselines without firm limits on spending clearly biases the budget towards ever-higher spending, while current law baseline biases towards higher taxes.

The Solutions:

  • Change the budget resolution to a binding, joint resolution signed by the president.
  • Involve the president “up front” on the budget resolution.
  • End the practice of unrealistic “show budgets” that are political documents.
  • Congress and the Congressional Budget Office should increase transparency over its work, helping lawmakers understand its assumptions, certainty over projections, and the very models it uses to make forecasts and projections.
  • Eliminate budget gimmicks that allow new spending to appear paid for when it is not.
  • Remove the bias towards higher taxes and spending in the baseline.

For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to [email protected].

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

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Double outrage over GWU’s tolerance of anti-Semitism

anti-Israel BDS protestersAn Israel support group is outraged that a university in Washington, D.C., passed an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution, and they are even more incensed that they failed to censure an anti-Semitic member of the school’s board.

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New TOR Fusion Light/Laser Combo from Steiner

Miniature rail-mounted light/laser combo for pistols
Miniature rail-mounted light/laser combo for pistols

GREELEY, Colo.-(Ammoland.com)- Steiner eOptics now offers the TOR Fusion, a rail-mounted light & aiming laser combination specifically designed for pistols and small enough to fit inside the majority of all commercially produced holsters on the market.

The new TOR Fusion aiming laser features left and right fire buttons for ambidextrous use and is available in red (635 nm) or green (520 nm) visible lasers. The TOR Fusion is based on mil spec engineering resulting in a device that is tested and proven to operate in extreme climates and conditions including ultra-cold weather, a known weak area of operation for competitor products. Ruggedly built with a Mil-Grade aluminum machined housing, the TOR Fusion is framed by a rail mount and illuminator bezel, ambient sealed, dustproof, and is splash-proof to IP54 standards.

For night, low light or difficult to see in environments, the TOR Fusion’s cool white LED and total internal reflector produces a uniform circular illumination spot plus wide-angle flood lighting for total situational awareness. Incorporating a proprietary patented constant power drive circuit to ensure that the laser output remains stable throughout the life of the battery, the TOR Fusion aiming laser also features a convenient low battery indicator for remaining energy status.

The universal rail mount on the TOR Fusion will fit all pistols that have a Picatinny or Weaver style rail forward of the trigger guard. This design of the TOR Fusion allows for optimum positioning of the laser so that the fire buttons are easily accessible for a wide range of users.

Other features of the TOR Fusion include windage and elevation bore sight adjustment screws user selectable modes, adjustable laser and illuminator power, optional auto-on and boost mode.

When set to the Auto On mode, the internal accelerometer senses the position of the pistol and the laser will turn on when the pistol is drawn from a holster and brought up level. This feature will also work when the pistol is picked up from lying on its side. The laser will automatically turn itself off when the pistol is holstered or set down.

When set to Boost Mode, the TOR Fusion will automatically come on to maximum power, no matter what level the Fusion had been set on, including off. After one minute of run time, the Fusion will automatically return to the previous power level it had been set on.

TOR Fusion Specifications:

  • Max Laser Power: 5.0 mW
  • Battery: (1) CR123
  • Max Continuous Illuminator Power: 350 Lumen
  • Boost Mode Illuminator power: 470 Lumen
  • Height: 1.39 in.
  • Width: 1.34 in.
  • Length: 2.70 in.
  • MSRP: $399

Follow Steiner on social media, including Facebook at www.facebook.com/SteinerOpticsUSA and Instagram at @SteinerOpticsUSA.


About SteinerSteiner eOptics

For 70 years, Steiner has made trusted optics for life’s defining moments. The successful pursuit and capture of these moments demands the fastest and precise detection, location and identification of a distant objective. Weather the objective is wildlife, marine bearing, law enforcement or military combatant, Steiner products enhance an individuals most important sense, vision, so that on land or sea – Nothing Escapes You. For more information, visit the company website at www.steiner-optics.com.

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AAC Ti-Raid 30 Silencer, Engineered for Hard Use & Hellfire Full Auto Abuse

AAC Ti-Raid 30 Silencer
AAC Ti-Raid 30 Silencer

Huntsville, AL – -(Ammoland.com)- Advanced Armament Corp (AAC) is proud to introduce the Ti-Raid 30, a completely user-serviceable, no tools required silencer for ease of maintenance.

The Ti-Raid is 100% Grade 9 Titanium providing extreme durability and lightweight performance. The Ti-Raid tube and mount are PVD coated to ensure no gauling of threads, the coating will not wear off over time. The S-Line finish reduces carbon build up on the tube, mount and endcap. The shielded baffles are keyed in ensuring repeatable alignment.

The Ti-Raid 30 is offered in two mounting options, Direct Thread 5/8 x 24 and Taper 90T or 51T. For optimum accuracy, choose direct thread, but for quick set up and tear down go with our fast attach taper mount.

Engineered for 30 caliber rifles up to 300 Win Mag, including the most demanding full-auto applications. Full auto rated for 308 Win/7.62 Nato and below.

Click here to see the Ti-Raid in action.

Advanced Armament Corp

Advanced Armament Corp., LLC (AAC)

Advanced Armament Corp., LLC (AAC), headquartered in Huntsville, AL is an industry-leading supplier of noise and flash signature reduction devices and combat-related accessories for the military, government and commercial markets. With their innovative design concepts, technologically-advanced manufacturing techniques, and core focus on the end-user, AAC silencers and accessories have been selected by major firearms manufacturers, law enforcement agencies, commercial consumers, and military organizations globally since the company’s inception in 1994.

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When the state condemns a disabled child to death – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

Imagine your own beloved child was lying in a hospital with a mysterious brain disease. Should you, as the parent, be allowed to decide whether to continue treatment for your son or daughter? Or should the state have the power to overrule you and cut off life support over your objections?

The vast majority of Americans say the final decision should be left with parents. That’s because, under our system, the purpose of the state is to protect our inalienable rights to life and liberty. But in Britain, it seems, the state has the power to trample life and liberty and condemn a disabled child to death.

England murdered alfie evans

A woman looks at flowers, candles and childrens’ toys left as a memorial to Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler who died a week after his life support was withdrawn, outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, Britain, April 28, 2018. Reuters

That is precisely what the British High Court of Justice did in the case of Alfie Evans, a little boy who suffered from a rapidly progressive terminal brain disease. Doctors at London’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital concluded that further treatment was futile and asked the court — over his parents’ objections — to order the removal of his ventilator. Alfie’s parents pleaded for permission to transfer him to Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome, where doctors had agreed to take over his treatment at no cost. Pope Francis had arranged free medical transport, and the Italian government had granted Alfie citizenship to facilitate his transfer. A hospital in Munich had also offered to relieve British doctors of the burden of caring for Alfie.

But the court ruled that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to die. Doctors had told the court he might “be able to muster just a handful of breaths and survive just a few minutes if ventilation were completely stopped.” In fact, he kept fighting to live for five full days without life support. A phalanx of police officers was posted outside his hospital, holding the child hostage in order to ensure that his mom and dad did not try to take him away while the death sentence was carried out.

This is, quite simply, tyrannical. It is one thing for a judge to decide that British taxpayers should not have to bear the cost of what doctors in its national health service have concluded is futile treatment. Under a single-payer system, resources are limited and care is rationed (which is why we don’t want socialized medicine here in America). But where does a British court get the right to deny the child life-extending treatment abroad when someone else is willing to pay for it? Who gave the British state the right to determine what kind of life is worth living and for how long?

Diabolically, High Court Justice Anthony Hayden actually cited the pope in justifying his decision to end Alfie’s life, quoting out-of-context a speech Francis gave in which he warned against “the temptation to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person.” But Francis also declared in that speech that decisions about whether to continue treatment “should be made by the patient.” Nowhere did he say such decisions should be made by the state. And indeed, the pontiff made clear he stood with Alfie’s parents, tweeting, “I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.” For the British High Court to twist the pope’s words to justify killing a little boy is monstrous.

The culture of death is on the march across Europe. CBS News recently reported that Iceland was on the verge of “eliminating” Down syndrome, not by some medical miracle but because the country’s abortion rate for Down syndrome babies is close to 100 percent. Now, with Alfie Evans and previously Charlie Gard, British courts have ordered the death of disabled children over the objections of parents.

That is barbaric. Nikolaus Haas, a German physician who had offered to take over Alfie’s care, told the court, “Because of our history in Germany, we’ve learned that there are some things you just don’t do with severely handicapped children. A society must be prepared to look after these severely handicapped children and not decide that life support has to be withdrawn against the will of the parents.” Hayden declared this “inflammatory.” In fact, the comparison is spot on. London survived the Blitz to stop the advance of a regime bent on the eugenic killing of, among others, the handicapped. Now Britain has such a regime anyway, by self-imposed judicial fiat.

Unless Americans are vigilant, it is only a matter of time before it happens here.

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Giuliani puts the kibosh on Stormy ‘payoff’ claim, and throws Laura Ingraham for a loop

Rudy Giuliani dropped what many are calling a bombshell during an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, saying that President Donald Trump paid back his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

And while Giuliani was adamant that the pay off didn’t involve campaign money, the revelation sent the left into a frenzy because Trump stated on April 6 that he was not aware of the payment — even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a former defense attorney, said “that’s a problem,” but is there a simple explanation that’s being missed?

In a panel discussion Wednesday night on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle, contributor Byron York suggested that Giuliani “may not have thought this whole thing through,” prompting an interesting reply from Ingraham.

“If you go on ‘Hannity,’ you better think it through,” she said. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that, that’s a problem.”

Giuliani told Hannity that the $130,000 payment was “perfectly legal.”

“That money was not campaign money, sorry,” he claimed. “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

When Hannity asked if this was because the money was “funneled” through Cohen’s law firm, the former mayor said, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”

But Giuliani would also say Trump “didn’t know the specifics” of the payment.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a participant on Ingraham’s panel, had a ready explanation that proved to be much closer to the truth, based on a later clarification by Giuliani.

“I don’t think somebody with President Trump’s income level writes all of his checks, you know what I mean?” he told Ingraham. “It would not surprise me if he authorized a payment and it gets lost in the shuffle. I know that sounds crazy perhaps on a certain level but here’s a guy with a massive income and he’s dealing with a lot of things.”

In a later interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani insisted the disclosure was no gaffe, saying he discussed it with Trump beforehand.

With the anti-Trump forces whipped into a lather over the possibility that Trump has been caught in a lie, Giuliani added more context to his comment with Fox News’ John Roberts — which is being described as “damage control” by the media.

“Rudy Giuliani told me that while reimbursed Cohen for the $130k SD payment, POTUS didn’t know what the money was used for. Giuliani says Cohen merely told the President he had “expenses” for which POTUS reimbursed him,” Roberts tweeted.

The payment is being described in the media as a “loan” because Trump reimbursed Cohen and anti-Trump forces insist it is related to his campaign, which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage.

But there’s so much vagueness in Giuliani’s revelation. In the end, it’s more likely to serve as another rabbit hole the president’s detractors will go chasing down in their quest to destroy him.

Read more from BRP – BizPac Review…