In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) announced a two-year budget agreement that could potentially offer a respite from the fiscal fights of the past few years. But many conservative House Republicans are already balking at the deal because it breaks the spending caps called for under the sequester. Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, have already come out in opposition, offering threats to GOP incumbents who vote for it.
Our bet is that the bill will pass, perhaps handily. But legislative politics is trickier in some ways than electoral politics because the number of "voters" is far smaller, and they are all highly informed and strategic in their thinking. Therefore, let's suppose the Crystal Ball is wrong in its prediction of passage. How would the budget compromise be defeated in Congress?
At present, there are 432 members in the U.S. House. While the special election to replace now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took place on Tuesday and saw Katherine Clark (D) duly elected, she hasn't been seated yet. It's also unlikely that Rep. Mel Watt (D, NC-12) will vote considering he was just confirmed in the Senate as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This means that we can expect about 430 votes on the Murray-Ryan deal, as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH-8) may not vote (the speaker rarely votes, although he did vote for the deal to end the shutdown). For simplicity's sake, let's just say 216 votes are needed to stop the deal. more >>
A bipartisan committee of House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Tuesday on a new budget. The agreement was not the "grand bargain" that many deficit hawks had hoped for, but, if passed, it would provide some stability through 2014 by preventing future "crises," like October's government shutdown.
The agreement was announced by the two chairs of the conference committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), in a late Tuesday press conference.
"I'm proud of this agreement," Ryan said. "It reduces the deficit – without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It's a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it." more >>
Even as ObamaCare is trying to self-destruct, its advocates suggest a détente in which "Republicans recognize the conservative nature of the law," in the words of Austin Frakt in Bloomberg News.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), they point out, incorporates some ideas from a Heritage Foundation proposal and a law promoted by Mitt Romney. Those are not, however, conservative ideas, much less good ideas, and are not a "sound chassis" for anything.
There is nothing conservative about the forcible redistribution of wealth. And even Wall Street Occupiers should be against redistributing people's earnings to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Hospitals, Big Data Mining, and nameless unaccountable bureaucrats in the vast, ever-expanding realm of Kathleen Sebelius. more >>
Surviving and even thriving in the midst of today's economic upheaval is the challenging task we all face. Many churches in addressing financial matters will focus on the area of giving the tithe, which is paramount, yet oftentimes overlook what God says about handling the other 90 percent. As a result, millions of people look to financial counselors like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman or secular forecasters for guidance and help.
Here's the deal as we close out this year: God wants to both encourage and instruct all of us (myself included)to be ever looking to Him as our ultimate Provider in addition to being better financial stewards so we can glorify Him and be channels of blessing to others in need.
This is personal for my wife and me as we find ourselves closing the year without any more partial salary from a local church, health insurance, cell phone coverage or any perks that have been part of my ministry for over 41 years. This is by divine design as God recently transitioned me from a local church involvement "because of the impending distress" (1 Cor 7:26) coming upon America to serve the wider Body of Christ in our desperate need for spiritual awakening and assurance as children of God. more >>
Fast food workers are planning a strike to force employers to pay them $15 per hour. This Thursday, in over 100 cities across the nation, Big Labor is coordinating with "grassroots" activists to pressure these employers to pay a "living wage." From all the press, you'd think the push toward higher wages was something noble. But, this is Big Labor. And no one will bully, threaten or intimidate to steal your hard earned money more than Big Labor.
The group Fast Food Forward, one of the organizations in sync with Big Labor to shame fast food restaurants into extinction, states their purpose:
In America, people who work hard should be able to afford basic necessities like groceries, rent, childcare and transportation. While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by - many are forced to be on public assistance despite having a job. Raising pay for fast food workers will benefit workers and strengthen the overall economy. more >>