Category archives: Government

Funding the War on Sugar Beets

by Family Research Council

March 28, 2007

Last week, the U.S. House proposed funding the war on spinach. This week the Senate has shifted the funding to the war on sugar beets. Here is 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:

1) $24 million for funding for sugar beets.

2) $3 million for funding for sugar cane (goes to one Hawaiian co-op).

3) $20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

4) $2.1 billion for crop production losses.

5) $1.5 billion for livestock production losses.

6) $100 million for Dairy Production Losses.

7) $13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program.

8) $32 million for Livestock Indemnity Program.

9) $40 million for the Tree Assistance Program.

10) $100 million for Small Agricultural Dependent Businesses.

11) $6 million for North Dakota flooded crop land.

12) $35 million for emergency conservation program.

13) $50 million for the emergency watershed program.

14) $115 million for the conservation security program.

15) $18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West.

16) Provision that extends the availability by a year $3.5 million in funding for guided tours of the Capitol. Also a provision allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.

17) 165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through NOAA (including $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region).

18) $12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget).

19) $425 million for education grants for rural areas - (Secure Rural Schools program).

20) $640 million for LIHEAP.

21) $25 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant.

22) $388.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects.

23) $22.8 million for geothermal research and development.

24) $500 million for wildland fire management.

25) $13 million for mine safety technology research.

26) $31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC)

27) $50 million for fisheries disaster mitigation fund.

28) $100 million to help pay for Republican and Democrat party conventions.

Public Libraries Overdue for Internet Filters

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

Thanks to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), parents who drop off their kids at the public library can now have more assurance that their children are checking out books and not pornography on the Internet. After a prolonged, three-year battle, state legislators passed a bill that requires public libraries to install filtering software on their computers to protect patrons from pornography and indecency.

Before the legislation passed, fewer than half of the library systems in Virginia had installed the software. Without them, a simple, misspelled word in a web search could lead children to pornographic and violent sites instead. The bill passed both the House and Senate by wide margins, echoing the broad local support for the proposal.

According to a survey by the Virginia Family Foundation, 89% of citizens supported the measure when asked last October. Virginia will join 21 other states that have similar legislation in place. Unfortunately, several other states legislatures have debated comparable bills but seen them fall prey to “free speech” objections. Ironically, some politicians seem more interested in protecting kids from the so-called “dangers of religious speech” than from the perils of pornography.

Virginia leaders were able to overcome the First Amendment obstacles by including a provision that allows adults to have the filters disabled for legitimate purposes. We applaud the Virginia Family Foundation and pro-family leaders, all of whom fought tirelessly for “safe surfing” in the state.

Wedding Crashers: States Battle Against Same-Sex Marriage

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

As their motto implies, residents of Indiana truly are at “The Crossroads of America” when it comes to traditional marriage. When Rep. Patrick Bauer (D) campaigned to become the next Speaker of the state House, he pledged to “allow committee meetings, floor debate, and a final vote in the chamber on a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriages in Indiana.”

Since his election, things may have changed. Bauer is reportedly considering new language that would undercut traditional marriage and deny citizens a vote on the issue until at least 2010. In response, FRC Action and allies placed a full-page ad today in the South Bend Tribune calling on the Speaker to keep his promise on the amendment and let the people of Indiana decide.

Perhaps Bauer could take his cue from the Senate President of Massachusetts, Therese Murray, who announced this week that she will not use her power to block a vote on the state’s marriage protection amendment. Despite her objections to the proposal, Murray put the democratic process ahead of her political agenda. In Maryland, the prospects of passing a marriage amendment were crushed by the House Judiciary Committee, whose members rejected the bill before it reached the floor.

On the bright side, South Carolina celebrated the formal ratification of its new constitutional amendment upholding traditional marriage last week. The state officially joins 27 others that have resolved to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Life in These United States

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

While the federal government is mired in debates about the culture of life, three states have taken it upon themselves to pass a bevy of pro-life legislation. In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill that would prohibit abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. In the meantime, the legislation requires abortion clinics to offer women an ultrasound before they consent to the procedure.

Neighboring Arkansas approved a House measure that requires abortion businesses to tell women that they cannot be coerced into having an abortion. Vermont tackled a bill that affects the end of life. Despite pressure to follow in Oregon’s footsteps, the Vermont House defeated a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire is one state that has become the focus of an intense attack from anti-family forces. Next week, legislators are considering bills on every subject from parental notification and abortion regulation to legalizing civil unions and a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. Our friends at Cornerstone Policy Research are hosting a rally tomorrow at the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord. The Granite State is increasingly a key battle ground in the nation’s culture wars.

Quote of the Week

by Family Research Council

March 24, 2007

Last week I pointed out that the bill to provide supplemental war funding included $25 million for payments to spinach producers, $120 million to the shrimp industry, $74 million for peanut storage, and $5 million for shellfish, oyster and clam producers (see: Funding the War on Spinach). In response to this pork-loading, Congressman Mike Pence has a great retort:

Spinach, shrimp, peanuts and shellfish? That’s not a war funding bill, that’s the salad bar at Denny’s. “

Brownback And Terry: A Cut Above The Rest

by Tony Perkins

March 23, 2007

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

Remember the old saying haste makes waste? Well, two congressmen have found an exception. If their tax cuts pass, haste may actually prevent waste. Senator Sam Brownback and Representative Lee Terry introduced a bill last week that would help counter the Democrats push to raise taxes. Instead of waiting for liberals to undo the Presidents tax breaks, these two are trying to speed up family tax reliefbefore its gone for good. Under their proposal, the $1,000 child tax credits would become permanent. And the bill would also give stay-at-home parents a break from Uncle Sam. Right now, only families who use day care get a tax deduction. Their policy would level the playing field and give parents a choice to spend more time with their kids without paying for it. But the Parents Tax Relief Act isnt just for moms and dadsits for couples too. Although Democrats are threatening to reinstate the marriage tax penalty, this bill would fully eliminate it. As far as Brownback and Terry are concerned, what God has joined together, let no tax put asunder.

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

The Thinking Primary

by Jared Bridges

March 23, 2007

Is there anything good about presidential political campaigns starting so early? Ken Blackwell, FRC’s new Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, says there is:

There appears to be every possibility that ideas will ultimately decide the nomination, perhaps for both parties. The thinking primary has begun. That’s a welcome sign, because this is the primary that matters, and if there is any advantage to having our presidential competitions start almost two years away from Election Day it’s the opportunity to examine and think about our options.

Read the whole commentary at Townhall.com.

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.

Archives