Archived Story

Will Congress act for America?

Published 9:34am Friday, May 17, 2013

There are good reasons why Americans hold Congress in low esteem. The Senate is virtually closed due to the abuses of the filibuster and the House can only say “No” while failing to offer any positive agenda for America. It has been enough to make voters want to fire everyone but their own Congressperson.

But now we need Congress to fulfill one of its core roles, the responsibility to provide balance in government to an executive branch that has grown toward an imperial presidency since the Reagan years and has now virtually demanded, by its actions, that Congress assert its role.

To be generous, Republicans have tried to create scandal in the Obama Administration since 2009. First with the horror stories of Obamacare run amuck, which never really happened. Then with Fast and Furious; but asking Americans to be stunned that with 300 million guns in the streets and more gun dealers in Arizona than fast food restaurants, when some guns went into the hands of Mexican criminals is not exactly big news.

Then came the 2012 election and the incredible charge that in Benghazi someone actually tampered with the words in a talking point message.

The shock of it all!

Again, though one cannot blame Fox or Republicans for a lack of effort, Americans just have not cared so much about a completely politicized narrative of events, overshadowing the deaths of four American patriots.

This week that has all changed, and if Republicans can keep from their own excesses (see the Clinton presidency) they can actually act with Democrats to protect the country from presidential overreach.

There are two key issues of administration overreach that demand response.

First, the IG’s report on the IRS abuse of conservative non-profit applications for status is damning across all layers of the IRS. And while President Obama asked for and was given the resignation of Steven Miller, acting director of the IRS, the issue should not be near closure.

The Justice Department has undertaken an investigation to determine if federal laws were broken during the two years of punitive treatment of conservative groups, and that is important.

Equally important is a Congressional investigation of whom within the IRS may have lied to Congress, and just how deeply in the IRS this corruption pervaded.

The American people need to know that our institutions act ethically and that oversight is never minimized. Congress has that clear responsibility of oversight, and in this case failed miserably to find the facts before the internal IG report.

There is no indication of any administration involvement in the IRS actions here, but that should be provided absolute clarity as well. When agencies act politically Americans need to know the source of motivation for those actions.

The second issue that demands Congressional investigation is the possible violation of the First Amendment rights of the press by the Justice Department subpoena and collection of reporters’ records from the Associated Press.

Attorney General Holder has said the action took place because a security leak put American lives at risk, but so far has failed to provide any specific information to support that claim. And, given the seriousness of this action, it should be clear to Congress that such explanation is absolutely necessary.

Congress has, in recent years, authorized a President to declare war, a role constitutionally reserved for Congress. Congress has supported laws like the Patriot Act, which resulted in admitted abuse by the FBI toward groups who posed no threat to the nation. Congress has also permitted “death by drone” policies without review of the executive branch’s right to such actions.

But now we need a Congress to assert its role of oversight aggressively, seeking nothing less than complete answers to how the IRS could go so far astray and how the Attorney General’s office could justify an attack on the First Amendment.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

  • mikehaney

    President Obama is the most corrupt president in U.S. history. His actions are against everything this country was founded upon and stands for. He is a danger to America. We are therefore calling for his impeachment and removal from office. We urge you to join us for the good of our nation and to keep the legacy of our Founding Fathers alive.

    (Report comment)

  • BILLCO

    I can’t see what workers that he has (worked tirelessly)for unless it is the gays, abortionists, and illegals, here taking our jobs, and as of the past few weeks, now our social security. Now as far as these three subjects go he’s done a bang up job. If you don’t fall within these three categories, I don’t see much that he has done for the working people of this country. jmo.

    (Report comment)

  • deist

    History will show this President to have been one of the top 15 Presidents. He not only had to fight a second depression, but had to fight an obstructionist, republican majority , House of Representatives and a filibuster happy , republican minority Senate.And he still turned this country around and got many domestic and foreign policy victorys, in spite of those obstacles. Were there problems , of course as no President comes out without some bruises, this President is and always will be an honorable and good man who fought tirelessly for the workers of this country.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; Do you feel Congress and President Barack Obama are a reflection of the American People? Sad to say Jim, I think so. As a countries morals go, so goes the country. History bears this fact out. We as a people, are poor students of history, our actions reflect this. Barack Obama is without a doubt, the weakest President I have seen in my lifetime. The ultimate responsibility and failure lies on, we the people, we put him in this position. Our ignorance and lack of wisdom astounds me.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Train wreck now, train wreck around the bend in 2014.
    ————————————-
    mplementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable care Act of 2010 (ACA), which comes into fuller effect in 2014, is going to present a challenge to the IRS. After all, it will be the one administering approximately 50 provisions of this act – penalty imposition, tax credits to name a few. At least eight of these provisions will require that the IRS build new computer applications and business processes. In 2012, the IRS received $299 million to support the hiring of 664 full-time equivalent employees in order to start the ball rolling on this major project. The 2014 budget request is for an additional $440 million to provide 1,954 full time employees to continue the process.

    Tax enforcement is always an issue. The Tax Gap, which is the difference between what the IRS is owed and what they collect, has widened over the years. This is due to not only filers who can’t afford to pay but also non-filers in the underground economy. The latest measure of the Tax Gap in 2006 was $450 billion compared to $345 billion in 2001.

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  • mikehaney

    Administration Mail-igned over Benghazi

    While the President promises that he knew nothing about the IRS racket, emails prove that his administration knew plenty about Benghazi. In a major document dump, almost 100 emails show an obvious conspiracy by the State Department to hide the truth about who was responsible for the embassy attack and what the White House knew of the tragedy. The conversations tie administration officials to a major rewrite of the CIA’s talking points–despite their public statements to the contrary.

    In one email, reported by the Weekly Standard, a CIA official explains, “The State Department had major reservations with much or most of the document. We revised the document with their concerns in mind.” Yet Secretary Clinton, during her January 23 testimony, insisted, “It was an intelligence project… [The] intelligence community was the principle decider about what went into the talking points.” To most people, that sounded fishy. After all, why would intelligence community revise their own document unless they were directed to? Based on these exchanges, that’s exactly what happened, as State Department officials intervened to try to shield Clinton and the President from blame.
    ————————–
    Put Benghazi on back burner?–absolutely not.

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  • mikehaney

    A Torrent of Tyrants

    While the President tries to contain the IRS scandal by firing the acting chief, new details are trickling out about the administration’s ideological harassment. According to the Washington Examiner, the corruption went straight to the top, as even the President’s pals seemed to have power over which groups were approved for tax-exempt status. In one instance, even Planned Parenthood seemed to hold sway in the application of Coalition for Life of Iowa. The IRS specifically withheld approval until the Coalition sent a letter “with the entire board’s signatures, stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest outside of Planned Parenthood.” The IRS explained that only when they received that letter would their application be approved.

    If that isn’t government tyranny, I don’t know what is. The administration was actually withholding the group’s nonprofit status until it surrendered its constitutional rights to peacefully assemble. It’s almost Orwellian, the extent to which the IRS was willing to go to control people’s thoughts and actions. And obviously, this goes well beyond the tea party to a direct assault on pro-family, pro-life conservatives. So it comes as cold comfort to our movement that the Justice Department–which has its own vendetta against pro-life groups–is heading up the IRS’s criminal investigation. Under President Obama, the DOJ has relentlessly targeted pro-lifers with frivolous lawsuits, which judges have consistently rebuked for their “chilling effect on free speech.” Forgive us for being skeptical that the DOJ could put its agenda aside long enough to prosecute this wrongdoing!

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    • mikehaney

      And speaking of planned parenthood.
      ——————
      Monsters, Inc? Texas Doc Picks up where Gosnell Left off

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  • Cashmere

    Well, since the heads of the cabinet(and apparently the President) and other agencies have no clue what is going on in their departments and want no responsibility, let’s sequester their salaries and perks since apparently, they are not needed.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Thank goodness Obama won a 2nd term in office. It gives us a front row seat on how a dictatorship/socialist/communist operates. And the amazing number of goose stepping people that support him.

    (Report comment)

  • deist

    Well said Jim. The electorate , for the most part, do not know about or at the very least understand, filibuster. And then add on top of that the concept of Cloture and you are simply swimming against the current to explain why the Senate Republicans control the Senate, not the Democrats who have more members.Education of the electorate is the key to this country getting back on track.

    (Report comment)

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