September 29, 2009
By Brian Darling
It's been a rough few weeks for the Obama administration, and
the president's honeymoon with the American people is clearly over.
The left wing group ACORN, a favorite of the left and training
ground for many Obama administration officials, is under fire.
Then-Sen. Obama supported a surge of troops in Afghanistan, but now
officials of his administration are reportedly backing away from
that campaign plank. Finally, the Obamacare bill is floundering in
the Senate; therefore Senators are hiding the text of the final
bill in an effort to railroad comprehensive health care reform,
1/6th of the U.S. economy, through Congress.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
(ACORN) calls itself, "the nation's largest grassroots community
organization of low- and moderate-income people with over 400,000
member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood
chapters in about 75 cities across the country." It's also a
controversial organization that pockets plenty of federal funding
and allegedly engaged in corrupt voter registration drives and
left-wing political advocacy. ACORN was thrust into the national
spotlight when two young and brave journalists taped ACORN
employees advising them (they were posing as a prostitute and a
pimp), how to hide assets from the government.
Conservatives in Congress are on the offensive and liberals are
distancing themselves from the group. According to Minority Leader
John Boehner (R-OH), ACORN has received about $53 million of your
tax money over the last 15 years. The House of Representatives
passed legislation to defund ACORN a 345-75 vote.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) authored an amendment to bar any monies
from the Interior Appropriations bill from going to ACORN. It
passed 85-11. In both votes, Democrats ran away from ACORN.
Furthermore, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to Majority
Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) requesting public hearings and an
investigation into the group.
After the IRS announced that they were dropping ACORN as a
participant in the volunteer tax assistance program, Republican
Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) said that "taxpayers will
not be satisfied until ACORN is flushed out of all corners of the
government." Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has gone a step further
and requested an investigation by Attorney General Eric Holder as
to whether ACORN is in violation of the RICO Act because many are
concerned that ACORN is a corrupt organization using taxpayer
dollars for partisan political activities.
Some defenders of ACORN remain. Senate Leader Reid has refused
to open hearings. Some left-wing members of the House allege that
these bills are unconstitutional. Hans von Spakovsky, a colleague
at The Heritage Foundation, debunks the constitutional argument and
says that "the claims that these are bills of attainder are simply
wrong -- they don't meet the legal criteria established by the
Supreme Court, which has not overturned a law on this basis since
A Broken Promise to Afghanistan?
Press reports indicate that the Pentagon is holding off on
requests for more troops because Obama administration officials may
decide to change policy. Well, candidate Barack Obama argued for a
surge in Afghanistan. This was the sole area where he appeared to
be hawkish on foreign policy. President Obama seemingly kept that
promise in March, announcing a massive surge in Afghanistan that
may now be reversed.
Something similar is happening in Eastern Europe. The Obama
administration announced in September that it will back away from
its own promises (and those of previous presidents) to deploy
missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. Yet in March,
Obama praised Poland and the Czech Republic for standing with us on
missile defense. Now we've hung them out to dry, which can only
serve to harm allies of the United States. Conservatives who
believe in President Reagan's timeless adage "Peace Through
Strength" should be worried that our enemies may be sensing
weakness in Washington, D.C. No Time to Read Health Care Bill?
No Time to Read Health Care Bill?
During the mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee, the
Committee defeated an Amendment by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) that
would have required the bill's text and price tag be made publicly
available on the Committee's website for at least 72 hours before
the Committee could vote on the bill. The Committee debated a
document that was an outline of the bill, not the actual
legislative text, and some Senators actually want to read the bill
before they vote on it.
Senate Leaders want to march a bill to the Senate floor as early
as this week. The American people should be appalled if they're
given no time to review Obamacare before Senators are asked to vote
on what would be the most radical change in health care law in our
Brian Darling is director of U.S.
Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in Human Events
It's been a rough few weeks for the Obama administration, and the president's honeymoon with the American people is clearly over. The left wing group ACORN, a favorite of the left and training ground for many Obama administration officials, is under fire.
Senior Fellow for Government Studies
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