Legislative Lowdown: A feckless tea-party Congress

Brian Darling Liberty Government Affairs
Font Size:

Mitt Romney’s finest moment

Mitt Romney was attacked by some in the left-leaning media for daring to critique President Obama’s foreign policy blunders in Libya and Egypt in the wake of attacks on the anniversary of 9/11. In fact, Romney’s comments were spot on. Obama’s “lead from behind” foreign policy has been a national security disaster.

Romney was outraged that the Obama administration put out the following statement: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” Though the statement was put out by diplomats in Egypt before the murder of Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it is evidence of the apology-first foreign policy mindset of the Obama administration.

Romney responded by saying that “having an embassy which is — has been breached and has protesters on its grounds, having violated the sovereignty of the United States, having that embassy reiterate a statement effectively apologizing for the right of free speech is not the right course for an administration.”

According to Politico, this controversy has spurred a push in Congress to stop a pending taxpayer-funded bailout of the governments of Egypt and Libya, led by Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.).

Republicans in Congress mailing it in

Republicans seem to be “mailing it in” right now. They don’t seem to have the fight in the belly to defund Obamacare.

The lack of fight on the part of Republicans in Congress seems to be part of a strategy to win the fall elections through inaction. In football terms, this is the “prevent defense.” Fall back into defense mode to sit on a big lead. The problem is that, according to the polls, Republicans don’t have a lead.

Furthermore, voters tend not to reward “leaders” who refuse to lead. Who would ever have predicted that the so-called “Tea Party Congress” would be scared to confront a president who champions higher taxes and bigger government and tells those working hard in the private sector, “You didn’t build that”?

A continuing resolution sell-out

Conservatives have fumbled the football on the continuing resolution to fund the government into next year.

Congress is working through legislation to fund the government for six months that fully funds Obamacare and does nothing to undo the administration’s gutting of the work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program.

Daniel Horowitz of Red State notes that the whole purpose of conservatives supporting a $1.047 trillion continuing resolution was to avoid a lame-duck session, yet the lame-duck session is still on the agenda. Horowitz terms this continuing resolution “another legislative surrender.” He writes that “the proposed continuing resolution is neither clean nor will it prevent the lame-duck session.”

Horowitz argues that the continuing resolution does not reinstate the work requirements for welfare. He also argues that there is extra spending in this bill over last year’s levels because of increased revenues over the past few months. Furthermore, this bill adds in disaster relief that puts the price tag of this bill higher than the level of funding agreed to as part of the debt-limit deal.

Secret Obama cyber-security executive order

President Obama leaked a draft cyber-security executive order last weekend that may infringe on Americans’ freedom and privacy rights on the Internet. Yet Congress appears to be rubber-stamping this secretly drafted power grab. The continuing resolution pending in Congress appears to grant the president authority to implement a secretly drafted plan that has yet to be passed in Congress.

Section 137 of the continuing resolution appropriates $1.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security for “Federal Network Security that may be obligated at a rate for operations necessary to establish and sustain essential cyber-security activities.” The section further provides that “Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to [Congress] an expenditure plan for essential cyber-security activities.” According to news reports, the administration has a secretly drafted plan ready to go.

Federal News Radio reports that a leaked draft of an Obama executive order “includes eight sections, including the requirement to develop a way for industry to submit threat and vulnerability data to the government.” FNR reports that this draft order is similar to a proposal pending in the Senate drafted by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Steven Bucci of The Heritage Foundation argues that the legislative proposal was “based on a regulatory framework” that is “the wrong way to foster cyber-security.”

Brian Darling is Senior Fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).