Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Morning Must Reads

Altoona Mirror: Shuster gets $6 million for contracts: Last summer when employees of a Bedford defense contractor were in Oklahoma testing an experimental weapons control program, a soldier spoke of a battlefield dilemma he'd faced in Iraq.

He wanted to launch a rocket toward the enemy but couldn't put down his rifle to work the command keyboard because he was under fire.

Szanca Solutions' program for voice-activated control of systems like rocket launchers could have helped him then, and a $2 million earmark from U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster may ensure the firm can finish its development, so future soldiers won't face a similar dilemma.

Somerset Daily American: Congressmen push for 219 funding

Somerset Daily American: Flight 93 Memorial to get $4 million

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GITMO Detainees "Never Again"

Morning Must Reads

Politico: Congress Punts Problems to 2010: “The House, anxious to go home, is to begin voting Wednesday on four year-end bills, most of which share one thing in common: a two-month punt on every tough issue, from managing the federal debt to helping the nation’s growing ranks of long-term unemployed… It makes for a remarkable February, when President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget is also due. And all this will be sandwiched between January’s Senate debate on the Federal Reserve’s management and what promises to be a painful March fight in the House over new war funding for Afghanistan.”

Roll Call: GOP Promises Consequences for GITMO Move: “Congressional Republicans expressed outrage Tuesday over President Barack Obama’s plan to transfer detainees from the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison facility to Thomson, Ill., and warned that Democrats in the House and Senate will pay a stiff price if they agree to the proposal. Ownership of the Thomson prison could be transferred to the Justice Department by January, but the first vote on whether to allow detainees to be held indefinitely on U.S. soil — a key aspect of the proposal — might not occur until next September at the earliest, right as the 2010 elections enter the home stretch…But Republicans said broader efforts in the House and Senate appeared unlikely for now. Instead, Republican aides said GOP lawmakers are content to continue their rhetorical war on the administration and Congressional Democrats.”

Wall Street Journal: Obama's Push on Jobs Gets a Slow Start: “President Barack Obama used the backdrop of a suburban Virginia Home Depot Tuesday to press his plans for job creation, the third event in four days in which the president has tried to show his concern for economic woes on Main Street.

But political realities are clouding Mr. Obama's efforts. On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders unveiled a $75 billion job-creation package that doesn't include the two new ideas the president proposed last week: tax rebates for home energy-efficiency renovations -- dubbed "cash for caulkers" -- and tax credits for small businesses that hire new employees.

A presidential push to loosen lending to small business has been weakened by the big banks' repayment of federal bailout money to get out from under government control. And looming over all of Mr. Obama's efforts on the jobs front is an annual budget deficit running at a projected $1.4 trillion that White House aides promise to address in the fiscal 2011 budget release in February.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

**COMMUNITY NOTICE**Shuster Staff to Hold Office Hours in Cambria County


Members of Congressman Bill Shuster’s district staff will hold office hours in Cambria County this Wednesday, December 16th from 2:00 to 3:00pm.

These office hours are an opportunity for residents of Cambria County to meet with members of Congressman Shuster’s district staff to discuss issues related to the federal government like social security and veterans affairs.

WHO: Members of Congressman Shuster’s district staff

WHAT: Northern Cambria Office Hours

WHERE: Boro Building Conference Room located at 1202 Philadelphia Avenue in Northern Cambria, PA 15714.

WHEN: Wednesday December 16th from 2:00 to 3:00pm.

Shuster Signs Letter to Pelosi: Fund Troops, not Profligate Spending

Congressman Bill Shuster joined 173 of his House Republican colleagues in singing a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to produce a clean DOD Appropriations Conference Report that does not include miscellaneous spending and the largest debt increase in American history:

“The Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi are preparing to bring a DOD spending bill to the floor of the House in the form of a Christmas tree laden with gifts to special interests and Democrat priorities,” Shuster said.

“Giving Speaker Pelosi and her leaders in Congress a blank check to spend more by increasing our debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion is irresponsible and to tie it to legislation to fund our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan is reprehensible,” Shuster continued. “We need to pass a clean defense spending bill without delay.”

The House is expected to take up the DOD Appropriations Conference Report in the next few days. The text of the letter bearing Shuster’s signature is attached below and a copy can be found online here.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Madam Speaker,

We write today to express our strong opposition to reports that the Democrat Majority is considering attaching unrelated and extremely controversial proposals, such as an increase in the public debt limit, to the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. We object to maneuvers to use our troops as leverage to enact proposals that the Majority either cannot pass on their own or for which they wish to avoid directly voting on and we will oppose a Defense Appropriations package that includes such provisions.

Unfortunately, there seems to be pattern developing this year of using legislation that supports our men and women in uniform to pass other contentious proposals that are extraneous to our troops. We should supply those who risk their lives for our country with the resources they need without conditions and without using them to accomplish other legislative goals. House Republicans stand ready to help the Majority enact a defense bill that meets the needs of our troops, but we will not assist your effort to use the troops to enact an increase in our national debt limit so as to finance the irresponsible spending policies of your party.


(174 House Republicans)

Shuster Votes to End Tarp

On Friday, Congressman Bill Shuster voted for a Republican motion to block any more funds from being spent through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Instead, the Republican motion would have used TARP funds to pay down the debt and lower our sky-high debt ceiling. The motion failed 190-232.

“Like so many government programs before it, TARP has begun to develop a life of its own and must be stopped. The American people do not want to see this program turn into another round of bailouts or a new political slush fund.

Instead of looking for more ways to ‘spread the wealth around’ with TARP money while raising the national debt ceiling by a massive $1.8 trillion, congressional Democrats should focus their attention at paying down the debt and getting our economy back on the right track.

The American people want an end to the bailouts and all of the reckless spending now taking place in Washington. Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues could have shown the nation that they are serious about governing responsibly. They failed the test.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wall Street Journal Editorial - Worse than the Public Option

“Worse Than the Public Option” (The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board)

It's hard to imagine a better illustration of the panic and recklessness stringing ObamaCare along in the Senate than the putative deal that Harry Reid announced this week. The Majority Leader is claiming that a Medicare "buy-in" for people from ages 55 to 64 has overcome the liberal-moderate impasse over the "public option." But if anything, this gambit is an even faster road to government-run health care.

The public option—an insurance program open to everyone, financed by taxpayers and run like Medicare—is intended as a veiled substitute for "single-payer" Canada-style insurance. Under the cover of "choice" and "competition," the entitlement would quickly squeeze out private insurance as people gravitated to "free" coverage and the government held down costs via price controls the way Medicare does now.

Mr. Reid's buy-in simply cuts out the middle man. Why go to the trouble of creating a new plan like Medicare when Medicare itself is already handy? A buy-in is an old chestnut of single-payer advocate Pete Stark, and it's the political strategy liberals have tried since the Great Society: Ratchet down the enrollment age for Medicare, boost the income limits to qualify for Medicaid, and soon health care for the entire middle class becomes a taxpayer commitment.

In the case of Medicare, this means expanding a program that is already going broke. Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals at rates 70% to 80% below those of private insurers, which means below the actual treatment costs in many cities and regions. Providers either eat these losses—about half of U.S. hospitals are running a deficit or close to it—or they raise prices for private payers. This cost-shifting isn't dollar for dollar, but all empirical research shows that it adds tens of billions of dollars to consumer health bills, and this will accelerate if several million new patients are added to Medicare. That means higher prices for health insurance.

Adverse selection will also be a big problem, as the people who choose to join will inevitably be higher risk or in poorer health. Mr. Reid hasn't released any details on his plan, if they even exist, but would the sub-65 uninsured who join Medicare be subsidized? If so, in what sense is this one-hand-subsidizes-the-other taxpayer self-dealing a "buy-in"? It sounds simply like a huge Medicare expansion, especially if employers decide to drop coverage for anyone older than 55.

As for costs, how does adding new beneficiaries square with Democratic promises that they will cut Medicare spending on paper by two percentage points a year for the next two decades—just as the baby boomers retire and health costs continue to climb?

This last-minute, back-room ploy shows again that Democrats are simply winging it as they rush to pass something—anything—that can get 60 votes by Christmas. President Obama praised the proposal as "a creative new framework," while Finance Chairman Max Baucus told the Washington Post, "If there's 60 Senators who can reach agreement, I'm for it." Now there's a model standard to use for reordering 17% of the U.S. economy.

The latest polls show public support for the Senate plan falling into the mid-30%-range. The remaining supporters must not be paying attention.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hold Your Breath: CO2 is now hazardous to your health

Declaring CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant First Step Paving the Way for Costly Cap and Trade

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement today after the EPA formally declared carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant:

“Today’s move by the EPA naming carbon dioxide and five other gasses dangerous pollutants is a purely political move by the Obama Administration to save face on the eve of the Copenhagen summit and to counteract failing support for cap and trade in Congress.

In reality, the EPA finding is nothing more than a Trojan Horse that will completely bypass the legislative process by enacting cap and trade through a change in federal regulation. This is a costly decision that could easily cost the American people over $2 million in economic activity and kill millions of jobs every year not to mention $3,100 for each Pennsylvania family $3,100 in higher electricity costs.

The American people are facing a 10 percent unemployment rate and they are asking the President and Congress “where are the jobs?” My constituents do not want to trade away our future economic freedom to placate leftist European politicians on the issue of global warming, which in the midst of the climategate controversy, may not even be occurring.

It’s time for the Obama Administration and Congress to stop enabling the politicization of science and return to the realm of the practical like creating jobs and getting our economy growing again.”

Obama Misery Index

Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee have put together a graph showing how public debt and unemployment have grown over the past 10 months - calling it the "Obama misery index."

Shuster Signs Letter Supporting Navy SEALS Facing Court Marshall

Congressman Shuster has signed a letter in support of the three Navy SEALS who face court marshall for allegedly striking one of the world's most wanted terrorists in the stomach after capturing him in Iraq.

The terrorist in question, Ahmed Hashim Abed, is the alleged planner of the March 2004 ambush in Fallujah that resulted in the murder, mutilation and desecration of four Blackwater contractors. Two of the murdered contractors were hung over a bridge on the Euphrtates River after being burned and mutilated. Video of this atrocity was broadcast across the world on the major news networks.

The letter makes the point that prosecution of these sailors for such an apparently limited action would have a negative impact on others in the military who risk their lives in dangerous and often ambiguous situations.

Shuster reacts to President Obama's Afghanistan strategy

Morning Must Reads