Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will not run for re-election.
Said Snowe: “After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate.”
In 2008, while serving in the Senate, Ken Salazar refused to vote for new off-shore drilling even if gas prices climbed to $10 a gallon. Video of then Senator Salazar can be seen here: http://bit.ly/aJamO and documented in a New York Post column here: http://nyp.st/m3MtVu
By Rep. Eric Cantor & Rep. Stephen Fincher
America has always offered immense opportunity because innovators have had the ability to take risks, work hard and be rewarded for it. Innovators, entrepreneurs and small-business people built the framework for American success, creating legacies lasting generations.
Companies like Ford, Apple and Boeing started as small businesses and became industry leaders, creating high-quality jobs and boosting economic growth. More recently, companies like Google and Facebook were launched by a single idea and then revolutionized the way we live.
The entrepreneurs who had these ideas are the key ingredient in the formula for success and opportunity in America. Each one took a risk and did whatever they needed to do to make it work. In the process, they helped thousands – if not millions – of families, neighbors and friends.
Those who earn their success not only create good jobs and services that improve our lives, they give back and help everyone move just a little bit further up the ladder of success.
Yet, today, the ability of an individual to take a risk and create a small business or startup company is threatened because of the barrage of red tape and uncertainty – much of it from Washington.
Since 1980, startup firms less than five years old have created the vast majority of new jobs in this country, nearly 40 million of them, according to the Kauffman Foundation. The past few years however, have seen a 23 percent decline in these small-business startups — sapping 1.8 million additional jobs from the economy.
Whether it’s due to the threat of higher taxes; or regulations that place higher costs on businesses and limits on who can invest, small businesses and entrepreneurs are frozen in their tracks.
For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s increasing regulation has made costs prohibitive for companies to go public — leading to a huge drop in small-scale initial public offerings over the past 15 years. This worrisome statistic highlights the need to reform costly regulations that are keeping companies from growing — particularly because, on average, 92 percent of business expansion and hiring occurs after it goes public.
This cannot become the new normal. We need to do everything we can to ensure that America remains a country of opportunity, in which jobs are created, startups and innovation happen, risks are taken and small businesses flourish.
President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address asked Congress to send him a bill that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. That is exactly what we intend to do.
Last year, the House worked on a series of bills to remove regulatory barriers that are holding back entrepreneurs and small businesses. Today, we are unveiling a bipartisan legislative package that puts all of these items together: the JOBS Act — Jumpstart Our Business Startups. This represents an important opportunity to work together to help our small-business startups grow, create jobs and get the economy back on track.
The JOBS Act contains several measures to remove the obstacles preventing small businesses and startups from accessing the capital they need to grow. A measure championed by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) repeals the solicitation ban on companies trying to raise capital, and North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry’s bill removes the ban on “crowdfunding,” enabling entrepreneurs to pool investments from smaller investors.
A measure from Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona eases shareholder threshold regulations that slam small businesses with costly requirements before they have the capital to comply. And a bill by Rep. Ben Quayle, also of Arizona, modifies securities regulations governing the registration of small bank holding companies.
These measures will increase capital formation and spur growth, paving the way for more startups and smaller businesses to go public.
The final provision of the JOBS Act gives small businesses a reprieve from costly SEC regulations, allowing them to go public sooner, grow faster and create more jobs.
Individually, these bills have garnered broad bipartisan support from both sides of the Capitol, and from members of the business community who represent current or former startup companies. Specifically, Steve Case, former AOL chairman and founder and a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Economic Competitiveness, has highlighted the need for these tools to boost startups and has endorsed the JOBS Act.
In January, the council recommended that the president move forward on the measures that we have included in our act, calling them essential to our global competitiveness, economic growth and job creation.
The JOBS Act will help ensure that America remains the best economy in the world. These solutions restore opportunities for Americans who have a dream, work hard, play by the rules and create the businesses that define our nation’s success.
In a time marked by partisan battles and finger-pointing between the White House and Congress, the JOBS Act is an opportunity for both parties in Washington to work together and produce results for our nation’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. We are hopeful that the president will stand by his State of the Union pledge and work with us to pass an agenda that helps entrepreneurs succeed. The president called on Congress to put the measures in a bill and “get it on my desk this year.”
Here it is, Mr. President.
(Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is the House majority leader. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) serves on the House Financial Services Committee and on the Jobs Creators Caucus.)
A New GAO Study Shows That ‘The Federal Government Is Doing A Poor Job Coordinating Its Responsibilities,’ Costing ‘Tens Of Billions Of Dollars Annually’
SEN. TOM COBURN (R-OK): “At a time when our debt is the greatest threat to our economic and national security, Congress should be doing everything in its power to set common sense priorities. Eliminating duplicative spending should be the easy part.” (Sen. Coburn, Press Release, 2/28/12)
GAO: ‘Duplication,’ ‘Overlap,’ ‘Fragmentation’
GAO: “Opportunities exist for the Congress and federal agencies to continue to address the needed actions identified in our March 2011 and February 2012 reports. Collectively, these reports show that, if the actions are implemented, the government could potentially save tens of billions of dollars annually.” (Report Highlights, Government Accountability Office, 2/28/12)
· GAO: “We identified 51 areas in our 2012 annual report, including 32 areas of potential duplication, overlap, or fragmentation as well as 19 opportunities for agencies or Congress to consider taking action that could either reduce the cost of government operations or enhance revenue collections for the Treasury.” (Report Highlights, Government Accountability Office, 2/28/12)
“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday reported that the federal government has done little to address 81 areas GAO identified a year ago where the government duplicates its own efforts or fails to collect revenue it is owed.” (“Little Progress Found In Reducing Waste By Federal Government,” The Hill’s ‘On The Money’ Blog, 2/28/12)
‘The Federal Government Is Doing A Poor Job’
“The federal government is doing a poor job of coordinating its responsibilities in dozens of areas, including food safety, breast cancer research, assistance to small business owners and home buyers and background investigations for federal job applicants — a disorganization that could be costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars annually…” (“GAO: Overlapping Government Programs Cost Billions,” The Washington Post, 2/28/12)
· GREEN BUILDING: “… there are 94 federal initiatives GAO identified to foster green building in the nonfederal sector…” (Report, Government Accountability Office, P.175, 2/12)
· DIESEL EMISSIONS: “Fourteen grant and loan programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency and three tax expenditures fund activities that have the effect of reducing mobile source diesel emissions… In addition to fragmentation across three agencies, each of the 14 programs overlaps with at least 1 other program in the specific activities they fund, the program goals, or the eligible recipients of funding.” (Report, Government Accountability Office, P.162-3, 2/12)
· EDUCATION PROGRAMS: “Thirteen agencies fund 209 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs — and 173 of those programs overlap with at least one other program.” (“GAO Report: Billions Spent On Duplicate Federal Programs,” USA Today, 2/28/12)
· DOJ GRANTS: “Since fiscal year 2005, Congress has appropriated approximately $30 billion for crime prevention, law enforcement, and crime victim services for more than 200 federal financial assistance programs that the Department of Justice (Justice) manages. GAO found instances where Justice’s granting agencies had awarded funds from different grant programs to the same applicants whose applications described similar—and in some cases, the same—purposes for using the grant funds…” (Report, Government Accountability Office, P.110, 2/12)
· FINANCIAL LITERACY: “And the government has at least 15 major financial literacy programs — including three new ones established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” (“GAO Report: Billions Spent On Duplicate Federal Programs,” USA Today, 2/28/12)
· TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: “There are 17 programs providing ‘technical assistance’ to entrepreneurs: Two at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, six run by the Small Business Administration, five run by the Agriculture Department and four out of the Commerce Department.” (“GAO: Overlapping Government Programs Cost Billions,” The Washington Post, 2/28/12)
· HOUSING: “Twenty different entities administer 160 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools GAO identified that supported homeownership and rental housing in fiscal year 2010… For example, 39 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools provide assistance for buying, selling, or financing a home… Eight programs and tax expenditures provide assistance for rental property owners…” (Report, Government Accountability Office, P.186, 2/12)
From The Wall Street Journal:
President Obama claims that voters aren’t stupid about gas prices, but then they’d have to be to understand his energy policy. Try to parse the latest turn—make that backward triple somersault with two twists—in the Keystone XL pipeline saga.
Yesterday TransCanada announced that it plans to break up the $7.6 billion project into several stand-alone parts, beginning immediately with a leg connecting Cushing, Oklahoma with the Gulf Coast. The original plan was to connect U.S. refiners with Alberta’s oil sands crude and other Canadian and U.S. energy resources, but to mollify the environmental lobby Mr. Obama’s State Department refused to issue the cross-border permits last month.
Now, apparently, it’s time to mollify the Administration’s union supporters that favored the thousands of jobs that the shovel-ready Keystone would have thrown off—not to mention the many not-so-stupid voters who’ve noticed Mr. Obama’s antijobs politics. The White House immediately put out a statement claiming that “The President welcomes today’s news” and even that “we support the company’s interest in proceeding with this project.”
In other words, Mr. Obama is simultaneously opposing and supporting the Keystone XL. The only problem is that he hasn’t had a change of heart on the important part. The new side-project will help alleviate some of the bottlenecks around Cushing, but it doesn’t do anything to get oil from Canada to the U.S., which is the main point of the pipeline.
The White House has also been encouraging TransCanada to reapply before the November election for a new permit from State that it may never receive if Mr. Obama wins the election, in another bid to have it both ways. Perhaps TransCanada should call Mr. Obama’s bluff. Split the Keystone into two sections, each running a mile or so up to the 49th parallel, and then let State decide on the short interconnection. It isn’t any crazier than the status quo.
‘A Gradual Adjustment’ To ‘Levels In Europe’
President Obama And His Cabinet Seem To Agree That It’s OK For Gas Prices To Climb
‘The Main Problem With High Gasoline Prices Is Their Rapid Rise, Not Their Total’
“…Obama suggested that the main problem with high gasoline prices is their rapid rise, not their total of about $4 a gallon. ‘I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment,’ Obama said.” (“One Down, More To Go For Republicans Aiding McCain,” The Associated Press, 6/12/08)
· CNBC’S JOHN HARWOOD: “So could these high prices help us?” SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.” (CNBC’s “Special Report,” 6/10/08)
Energy Secretary Previously Said He Wanted ‘To Boost The Price Of Gasoline’
STEVEN CHU: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” (“Times Tough For Energy Overhaul,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/12/08)
Current Price Of Gas ‘In Europe’
Italy: $9.24 Per Gallon
Germany: $8.36 Per Gallon
France: $8.33 Per Gallon
UK: $8.26 Per Gallon
As Senator, Interior Secretary Objected To Drilling For American Energy, Even If Gas Reaches $10 A Gallon
SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of a Senate bill to address drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf…” SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): “I object.” (Sens. McConnell & Salazar, Congressional Record, S.7827, 7/31/08)
· SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I renew consent for the very same proposed consent agreement with one modification–that the enactment date is triggered when the price of gasoline reaches $4.50 a gallon.” … SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): “I object.” (Sens. McConnell & Salazar, Congressional Record, S.7827, 7/31/08)
· SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “I renew my consent agreement with the following modification, that the enactment date is triggered when the price of gasoline reaches $5 a gallon.” SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): “Mr. President, reserving the right to object, and I will object again, it is a phantom solution, and therefore I do object.” (Sens. McConnell & Salazar, Congressional Record, S.7827, 7/31/08)
· SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Mr. President, if $5 a gallon gasoline is not an emergency, I am compelled to ask what is the definition of an emergency? Maybe it is $7.50 a gallon gasoline. Therefore, I renew my consent request with the following modification: that the enactment date which triggered the implementation of the amendment would occur when the price of gasoline reaches $7.50 a gallon.” … SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): “I object.” (Sens. McConnell & Salazar, Congressional Record, S.7827, 7/31/08)
· SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Mr. President, I renew my request with the modification that the trigger be $10 a gallon at the pump.” … SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): “I object.” (Sens. McConnell & Salazar, Congressional Record, S.7827, 7/31/08)
From Roll Call:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) knows exactly where she needs to be positioned. And she has done about as good a job as possible to sell herself to Show-Me State voters as an “independent” Democrat who doesn’t always agree with her party or her president.
But even veteran party operatives agree that the Senator, identified early on as one of the election cycle’s more vulnerable incumbents, remains in a precarious position. More accurately, perhaps, McCaskill looks like a very weak incumbent who will need some help from the top of the ticket to earn a second term.
“Claire has done a good job of trying to establish herself as an independent Democrat. That’s why she is even in the ballgame,” said one Democrat who thinks that she could win if everything falls her way but readily acknowledges that the odds are stacked against her.
McCaskill’s main problem certainly isn’t her opponents.
Rep. Todd Akin, former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner aren’t the kind of top-tier recruits that would normally make an incumbent shudder with dread.
Akin, from northeast Missouri, isn’t well-known outside his Congressional district and may be too conservative even for Missouri Republicans. Brunner, a businessman with no political experience, laid an egg when he announced his candidacy. And Steelman, whose base in reliably Republican and very conservative southwestern Missouri could be important both in the primary and general election, still has to prove herself as both a fundraiser and a campaigner.
Multiple polls show McCaskill running about even with the three Republicans and drawing 38 percent to 43 percent of the vote.
While an inexperienced observer might figure that those numbers show she has an even-money chance of winning a second term, longtime observers will see a very different situation. They will note that after almost six years in office, far less than half of the electorate is inclined to vote for her against largely unknown opponents — a clear sign of McCaskill’s weakness.
Note from Steve Foley: We’re rapidly approaching the ballot filing deadline and need all hands on deck to push us over the top in the funds we need to get on the ballot. Please donate what you can today! Thank you.
Tired of the political establishment in Washington playing games with the enormous challenges we’re facing as a nation?
Looking for a candidate who’ll do more than just talk about limited government and fiscal responsibility?
There’s only one in Congressional District (CD) 47.
Steve Foley understands the challenges we’re facing today because he’s living them, too.
All of his opponents are career politicians, content to maintain the status quo.
Steve doesn’t want to make a career out of our problems. He wants to solve them.
He’s proposed bold solutions to do just that. At the top of Steve’s agenda:
- Fix the Economy (9-9-9 Plan)
- Create jobs
- Repeal Obamacare
- Secure our borders
A former U.S. Marine and a successful small businessman, Steve Foley has a solid reputation as a consistent, trusted conservative.
Say no to the status quo. Stop the career politicians.
Decimate Nancy Pelosi’s plan to use newly created congressional seats to recapture the U.S. House of Representatives for the radical left.
Send Steve Foley to Washington, D.C. to represent the people of CD 47!
Steve can’t get to our nation’s Capitol to make a difference without your personal investment in his campaign.
To guarantee Steve’s place on the ballot in the District 47 race, please donate $10, $25, $50, $100, or more to his campaign today.
Thank you for your commitment to restoring the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility in Washington.
Summary: Hackers urge citizens to vote out lawmakers, but also declare war on the government.
Anonymous continues its transition to digital revolutionaries, partnering with the Occupy movement to urge people to vote in the November elections.
The activist group has announced a new joint effort to hold politicians accountable to the people.
“Last year, many of our elected officials let us down by giving in to deep-pocketed lobbyists and passing laws meant to boost corporate profits at the expense of individual liberty,” the groups said in an online flyer. “Our Senators and Representatives showed how little they cared about personal freedoms when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
The NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, even U.S. citizens, without trial and expands the use of U.S. military in this country. Civil libertarians allege that the law violates due process and other constitutional rights and gives the military authority to engage in civilian law enforcement.
And then there’s the proposed SOPA/PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act) measures, which have been in limbo since Wikipedia, Google and other sites staged blackouts and other actions to protest the legislation. Anonymous, and other opponents, argue such a measure would give authorities broad power to shut down Web sites for the mere accusation that they had pirated content on them.
Anonymous launched denial-of-service attacks on the Web sites of the Justice Department, the FBI, Universal Music, the Motion Picture Association of America and others in an anti-SOPA protest after the arrest of the founder of the file-hosting site MegaUpload for alleged piracy.
“Even if the goal was to merely regulate pirated content, the ambiguous wording demonstrates that the authors and supporters of SOPA and PIPA have little-to-no understanding of the Internet’s architecture or the frightening implications of the legislation,” Anonymous writes.
The collective urges people to hold elected officials accountable for supporting NDAA, SOPA and PIPA. (The activists have also been actie in opposing the European anti-piracy law called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). More
The Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB) is dead after a long battle with Pentagon budgetary priorities and Congress. ALTB is best remembered for being a far-out directed-energy beam missile defense interceptor that dodged cancellation by the SecDef himself in 2010 by successfully zapping a test missile from the sky, earning it $40 million more and a new lease on life. More
And from Danger Room:
Yes, it sounds completely crazy: A 747 jumbo-jet, embedded with a powerful laser, that can shoot missiles right out of the sky. But for sixteen long years, the U.S. military tried to turn that idea — called the Airborne Laser Test Bed — into a reality.
Now, after myriad ups and downs, the Airborne Laser (ABL) has finally been put out of its misery. Last week, the Missile Defense Agency announced that the ABL completed its final test flight.
The jet will now be dispatched to a locale from which planes don’t typically return: The Air Force’s Maintenance and Regeneration Group, also known as “The Boneyard.”
There, the ABL will join more than 4,200 other outdated or useless vessels. The sorry vessels in this plane purgatory are often picked to pieces, their various hardwares used for spare parts. Others are kept intact, waiting to be used in a museum exhibit or on a movie set. More