Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has long objected to federal funds being spent on everything from veterans benefits to relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is already insisting that any additional appropriations should be paid for with cuts elsewhere. “That’s always been his position [to offset disaster aid],” Coburn spokesman John Hart said. “He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort.”
Indeed, during his time in Congress, Coburn has portrayed his efforts to rein in federal spending as a principled stance against accumulating larger deficits and passing debt to future generations. But Coburn hasn’t always opposed government spending that is not offset by budget cuts. The senator known as “Doctor No” has voted to fund the war in Iraq, the 2008 bank bail out, and even relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
– 2005: The “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act” (H.R. 1268) provided $82 billion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2006: The Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R.2863) provided approximately $40 billion for the war in Iraq. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2006: “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act,” (H.R. 4939 ) provided $72 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
MORE: Oklahoma Senator Won’t Support Tornado Relief Without Budget Cuts | ThinkProgress.
A recent nonpartisan Pew Research Poll finds our knee-jerk partisanship has increased dramatically.
This road were on will lead us step-by-step to an extreme: either an autocratic government that functions, or a dysfunctional anarchy. The petty squabbles, bilge in the name of party or principle, will dissolve our self-government.
Abraham Lincoln felt no foreign power could ever defeat the United States. He said, “From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never…No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
Were pointing a pistol at our heads. A government of, by, and for the people requires that people talk to people, that we can agree to disagree but do so in civility. If we let the politicians and those who report dictate our discourse, then our course will be dictated.
Why am I alarmed? Because two “scandals” — the IRS tax-exempt inquiries and the Department of Justices tapping of reporters phones — have become lynch parties. And the congressional investigation of Benghazi may become a scandal in itself.
The IRS scandal has sparked bipartisan outrage that should require a bipartisan solution. The director who oversaw this was a Bush appointee who was confirmed by a Democratic Congress. Even Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says he doubts very much that Obama was involved.
We, the people, need to stay focused on facts, causes and solutions.
MORE: Opinion: If democracy dies, we will have killed it – CNN.com.
The Canadian government has nearly doubled its spending to promote the Keystone XL pipeline to $16.5 million, up from $9 million a year ago.
This dramatic spending increase is a result of an increased lobbying effort the government is planning, which includes high-profile ad buys and dispatching a series of officials to reiterate talking points that the pipeline will increase U.S. energy security and provide us with thousands of home-grown jobs.
Their expanded lobbying efforts include Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveling to New York City to speak with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and participate in roundtables with American business leaders. During his Q&A session with the CFR, Mr. Harper advocated for approval of the pipeline, insisting it would add “almost nothing globally” to carbon emissions.
Harper’s claim just isn’t true — extracting crude from the oil sands is an incredibly energy intensive process that emits 3 to 4 times more greenhouse gases than producing conventional crude oil, making it one of the world’s dirtiest forms of fuels. Approving Keystone would more than double the production of carbon-intensive tar sands by 2024, leading to an increase in greenhouse gases equivalent to adding 8 million cars on the road every year. Without the pipeline, tar sands production is expected to fall flat by 2020.
MORE: Canadian Government Pursuing Aggressive Lobbying Push On Keystone XL | ThinkProgress.
There’s new evidence to suggest that Obamacare is impacting the health industry for the better by successfully encouraging a greater emphasis on primary care. Ensuring that Americans are receiving regular preventative care is an important tenant of the health law, since it can ultimately help lower costs by preventing people from delaying medical treatment until they’re already very sick.
For the first time ever, Americans are now spending more money on primary care physicians than they are on specialists, according to a new survey by the physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins. In what Merrit Hawkins’ president referred to as a “seismic shift” in medicine, primary care doctors are now the greatest source of revenue for the hospitals where they work:
For the first time, primary care physicians are driving more revenue on a per-doctor basis to hospitals than are specialists, according to a survey of hospital chief financial officers by physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins. It’s expected that this result is not a fluke, but a reflection of the growing emphasis on primary care by hospitals and the health care system in general.
MORE: Yet Another Piece Of Evidence That Obamacare Is Already Positively Impacting The Health Sector | ThinkProgress.
If a woman in Virginia has a miscarriage without a doctor present, they must report it within 24 hours to the police or risk going to jail for a full year. At least, that’s what would have happened if a bill introduced by Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain R had become law.
And yet, the Virginia Republican Party wants to make Obenshain into the state’s top prosecutor. This weekend, Virginia Republicans selected Obenshain as their nominee to replace tea party stalwart Ken Cuccinelli R as the state’s attorney general.
Under Obenshain’s bill, which was introduced in 2009,
When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother at or after the delivery or abortion, the mother or someone acting on her behalf shall, within 24 hours, report the fetal death, location of the remains, and identity of the mother to the local or state police or sheriff’s department
MORE: Virginia GOP Nominee For Attorney General Would Force Women To Report Their Miscarriages To Police | ThinkProgress.