House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ushered in a new Congress. The "change" she believes in includes making it easier to raise taxes, spend like a drunken sailor and give the minority no opportunities to offer amendments in the House of Representatives. If you liked the out-of-control spending during the Bush administration, you'll love the rule changes that allow for even more spending and a way to pay for the spending -- higher taxes. In short, these changes will make it easier for Speaker Pelosi to run the House without having to listen to conservative voices.
A new rules package changed one provision in House rules to restrict the rights of Republicans during floor consideration of a bill. The rule was changed in a way that eliminates motions to lower taxes or motions to restrict spending. Pelosi gutted the "pay-as-you-go" rules that mandated that any mandatory spending increases or tax cuts must be offset. And a new loophole declares a piece of legislation an emergency when the U.S. is experiencing "sustained low economic growth."
Furthermore, Pelosi removed a standing rule that made it impossible to hold votes open. That way, when liberals are losing a tough vote, she'll have enough time to twist the necessary arms. The effect of the rules changes allows House liberals to push for higher taxes, because conservatives won't be allowed to force votes anymore to remove tax increases from legislation on the floor.
Holder on Terrorism -- Give Them a Pardon
Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder is going to have to testify this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and explain why members of a terrorist organization received a pardon from President Bill Clinton while he was deputy attorney general.
According to Joseph Connor, a man who lost his father to an attack by the Armed Forces for National Liberation of Puerto Rico (FALN), Holder was "a driving force behind President Clinton's pardons of members of the notorious Puerto Rican terrorist group." This group "was one of the most prolific terrorist organizations ever to wage war against the American people" and "proudly claimed responsibility for over 130 bombings and incendiary attacks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico between 1974 and 1983, killing six and wounding scores." Senate Judiciary Committee members need to know what role Holder played in securing pardons for these unrepentant criminals.
Fuzzy Math in Minnesota
"Change" is in the air -- yet that air seems full of partisan rancor, and we're not yet out of January. Conservatives need to keep a close eye on Washington policymakers to ensure that liberals don't use the fog of "change" to sneak in a new era of strong-arm tactics and massive government powers.
Many worry that partisan motives are behind efforts to seat Al Franken in the Senate, to change the rules of the House to restrict the rights of the minority party, to nominate a partisan as the next attorney general, and to railroad through an enormous new spending program in an attempt to dedicate $1 trillion of your tax dollars to roads, bridges, windmills, solar panels and other liberal pet projects.
In the Senate, there is a deep concern that Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) may have his Senate seat taken away by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a close and hotly contested election. Last week, the Minnesota Canvassing Board declared Democrat funnyman Al Franken the winner by a mere 225 votes. Coleman retained a 215-vote lead after the first count of ballots and the initial close margin of victory triggered a mandatory recount of ballots. The decision of the Canvassing Board isn't the end of the process; Coleman has filed several legal challenges, and Minnesota law forbids certification of a winner until the courts resolve those challenges.
The crux of Coleman's case is simple; the Canvassing Board botched the recount. So far, claims of missing ballots, double-counted ballots and questionable counting methods on absentee ballots have been dismissed. "Minnesotans deserve a hundred percent confidence that their senator was fairly elected by the people," Coleman has said.
Reid evidently knows better than the Minnesota courts and declared "the race in Minnesota's over." Reid further ordered that "Coleman will never, ever, serve in the Senate." Americans should be deeply concerned that a senator from Nevada believes he has the power to supersede Minnesota election law.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation
First Appeared in Human Events