Category archives: Government

Barry Lynn: O, Ye of Little Faith

by Tony Perkins

March 23, 2007

While the country awaits a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of public funding of faith-based social services, a secularist group launched a related suit. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State tried, unsuccessfully, to strip funds from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant recipient because of its religious roots.

For years, the Northwest Marriage Institute has provided marriage workshops in an effort to strengthen relationships and eliminate poverty. Impressed by the organization’s strong track record, the Administration for Children & Families awarded the group three grants so that low-income couples could take the secular seminars for free. None of the funds were used for the biblical workshops, yet former ACLU chief Barry Lynn’s organization argued that Northwest’s religious affiliation should exclude it from participating in government programs.

Fortunately, Federal District Judge Franklin Burgess disagreed, ruling, “[It] has never been held that religious institutions are disabled by the First Amendment from participating in publicly sponsored social welfare programs.” We applaud the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the Institute and successfully convinced the court that religious groups—that provide valuable social services cannot be treated like “second-class citizens.”

Family Hangs in the Balance of New Budget

by Tony Perkins

March 22, 2007

As you fill out this year’s IRS paperwork, enjoy your family tax breaks. If the new Senate leadership has its way, they may be among your last. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unveiled a resolution that calls for a balanced budget by 2012. While it seems like an insurmountable task, liberals have found an easy solution. They’ll simply reverse every GOP tax cut and raise an extra $900 billion in revenue.

As part of the plan, Democrats would reinstate the tax penalty on married couples, causing the standard deduction for joint filers to shrink from 200 to 167 percent by 2011. Also, liberals recommend slashing the child tax credit in half, reducing it from $1,000 to $500. Although Congress has managed to whittle the death taxes down to nearly nothing under the current code, Democrats would resurrect them in four short years. Unfortunately, the tax rates would rise substantially in every bracket, even among low-income taxpayers who would be forced to pay Uncle Sam at a 15 percent rate. Under the measure, taxes on both dividends and capital gains would increase by January 2009.

Although painful, this would help erase the U.S. budget deficit, right? Wrong. Reid’s legislation actually increases spending for health care, education, and transportation projects. Republicans are understandably frustrated by the proposal, which could lead to the biggest tax increase in history. Families, who were finally experiencing some tax relief under President Bush, would again be forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden—not to ease American debt—but to pay for Democrats’ pet programs. As Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said, “As we [start to debate] the budget… we shouldn’t begin with a plan to grow an even more massive bureaucracy on the backs of the American taxpayer.”

House Bids ‘Aloha’ to Constitution

by Tony Perkins

March 21, 2007

The House leadership, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and company, is moving forward with bills that undermine the U.S. Constitution. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ruling that would have given native Hawaiians “sovereignty.” New legislation that would have a similar effect has been quietly introduced under the name “Hawaiian Homeownership Opportunity Act.” The bill could lead to exempting Hawaiians from the Constitution and allowing them to create their own race-based government.

A second proposal, which would give the District of Columbia its own representative in the House, has come under fire from the White House for being “unconstitutional.” The measure has already passed through two House committees and Pelosi vows to secure the bill’s approval on the floor.

Finally, as if there weren’t enough hot air in Congress this week, Al Gore is paying a visit to Capitol Hill to offer his flawed research as grounds for U.S. climate change legislation. He was invited to testify before a joint subcommittee despite the fact that scientists are increasingly critical of his methods and conclusions.

Mint Condition? Americans Question Agencys ‘Godless’ Coins

by Tony Perkins

March 20, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Congress must have decided that when it comes to currency, you cant serve both God and money. As a result, the U.S. Mint is dealing with thousands of complaints about the new dollar coin. For the first time since 1866, they were printed without In God We Trust on the front or back. Instead, the national motto is relegated to the rimin print so small you almost need a magnifying glass to read it. Some groups are on edge about marginalizing God. But, on the flip side, supporters argue that the Presidential $1 Act allows for bigger artwork. One of the bills sponsors said, It teaches history to students… and brings billions of dollars to our treasury. Heads or tails, its a win-win proposition. The actual law, which passed Congress almost unanimously in 2005, states that [its] appropriate to move… the mottos… to the edge of the coin. But I would bet that few leaders realized the new design would short-change God.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Funding the War on Spinach

by Family Research Council

March 16, 2007

A list of provisions in the emergency war supplemental U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007” that do not fund the war:

  • $74 million for peanut storage costs.
  • $25 million for spinach growers.
  • $25 million for livestock (2005 Hurricane Livestock Indemnity program).
  • $100 million for citrus assistance (2005 Hurricanes Citrus program)
  • $283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract program.
  • $120 million to compensate for the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the shrimp and menhaden fishing industries.
  • $60.4 million for salmon fishery “disaster” in the Klamath River region in California and Oregon.
  • $48 million for salaries and expenses for Farm Service Agency.
  • An additional $500 million for emergency wildfires suppression even though the Forest Service already has $831 million available for this purpose.
  • $400 million for rural schools.
  • Government contracting reform.
  • Minimum wage increase, which is already moving on a separate track.
  • $50 million for asbestos mitigation U.S. Capitol Plant.
  • $16 million for security upgrades to House of Representative Office buildings.
  • $6.4 million for House of Representatives Salaries and Expenses Account for business continuity and disaster recovery expenses.
  • $35 million for NASA risk mitigation projects in Gulf Coast.
  • $20 million for Emergency Conservation Program for farmland damaged by freezing temperatures.
  • $5 million for losses suffered by aquaculture businesses including breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish as a result of viral hemorrhagic septicemia.
  • $4 million for Office of Womens Health of FDA.
  • $10 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission, US/Mexico for the Rio Grande Flood Control System Rehabilitation project.

Nancy Pelosi Tries To Foster ‘CAIR

by Tony Perkins

March 16, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

In Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making room for radical Islam. Literally. Last week, despite protests from other members of Congress, Pelosi gave CAIRthe Council on American-Islamic Relationsa meeting room in the U.S. Capitol to host a panel on Islam. The groups already been tied with terror groups and questionable donors. In the last few years, five of their members have either been convicted or deported. Its ironic. Earlier this year, Pelosi wouldnt give congressmen a room to hold Bible studiesbut shell give one to radical Muslims, despite their animosity toward the very government that she serves. And she did so knowing that CAIR has refused to condemn terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Any organization that condones violence has no place in Americas greatest symbol of freedom and democracy. As one critic said, You cant fight a war on terrorism when [youre] acting with a terror front. In the future, Pelosi would be wise to handle CAIR with care.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Keeping ‘Pace’ With Military Morality

by Tony Perkins

March 15, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

With a new congressional majority in Washington there are new priorities. One apparent priority shift is the military’s mission from fighting war to becoming a battle ground of social experimentation. Congressman Martin Meehan from Massachusetts is attempting to repeal the military’s ban on homosexuals openly serving in the military. President Bill Clinton attempted to remove the ban but settled for a compromise known as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevents questions from being asked about military personnel’s sexual orientation. Clinton’s compromise policy was an act of accommodation for homosexuals. This week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, said he supports the current policy and would not recommend the change being entertained by congress. He said that homosexuality, like adultery, has a negative impact upon the mission of the military. Gen. Pace immediately came under fire for his comments and homosexual groups demanded his resignation. Gen. Pace is being criticized for failing to salute homosexuality. Foes of the current law don’t want just service in the military—they have that. Their response makes it clear that they will not settle for accommodation, they want forced acceptance.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Send Out the Clowns

by Tony Perkins

March 13, 2007

If liberal judicial activism were ever put on trial, the foolish decisions of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (sometimes referred to as the Ninth Circus) would be Exhibit A. An editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal notes that the Supreme Court has reviewed eight decisions by the Ninth Circuit in its current term—and has overturned all eight. The cumulative vote of the justices against the Ninth Circuit’s positions is an astronomical 67-5.

This gives hope that the Supremes will overturn another absurd Ninth Circuit ruling handed down Friday. The Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library makes meeting rooms available to the public for “educational, cultural and community related” activities—but forbids their use for “religious services.” A district court judge overturned this blatantly unconstitutional policy, but a Ninth Circuit panel overruled that decision, and now the full court has refused to hear an appeal. The judges argue that “mere religious worship” is entitled to less protection under the First Amendment than is secular speech or religious speech other than worship. The dissenting judges declared that “the majority has disregarded equal-access cases stretching back nearly three decades.”

It’s no wonder that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Dr. James Dobson last week in a radio interview that he favors abolishing the Ninth Circuit altogether.

Poll Position

by Tony Perkins

March 6, 2007

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), every GOP presidential candidate but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tried to stake a claim for conservative support. The results of CPAC’s presidential straw poll indicate that voters are grappling to find candidates whose platform addresses both the crisis abroad and the dilemmas at home.

Of 1,705 registrants, 21 percent backed former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for President. Rudy Giuliani, who was given a prime-time slot at the event, came in second-place with just 17 percent of the vote. Senator Sam Brownback received 15%. The poll also surveyed conservatives for their opinion on what the government’s priorities ought to be. Half responded that “their most important goal is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size of government.”

However, what voters considered the second biggest concern wasn’t national security or immigration, but “promoting traditional values by protecting marriage and the life of the unborn.” Although attendees deemed marriage and life priorities, CPAC organizers did not. Neither issue was highlighted during the three-day conference. These results are indicative of the greater divide in the GOP.

Contrary to what pundits said in the aftermath of the 2006 election, values voters are still a force to be reckoned with. This is even more evident in the CPAC split over the 2008 conservative frontrunner. Social conservatives are looking for a Commander-in-Chief who will provide bold leadership in tackling both the internal threats brought about by social decay and the external threats posed by radical Islamists.