Should Congress undo the super committee's automatic spending cuts?
February 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Should Congress undo the super committee's automatic spending cuts?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. is on a collision course with financial disaster.

The Congressional budget office is out with a grim report suggesting the deficit for 2012 will top $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

The CBO also gives a worst-case scenario in which Congress extends all the current Bush-era tax cuts and undoes the super committee's automatic spending cuts. More on that in a minute.

If those two things happen - which is entirely possible in an election year - the U.S. could add another $4.7 trillion to the national debt over the next five years.

Keep in mind we're already $15 trillion in debt. That means we could be looking at a $20 trillion national debt by 2017, and some think even this is a rosy scenario.

Back to the not-so-super committee - remember when the 12 members couldn't come to an agreement on deficit spending cuts? Well that set into motion an automatic $1.2 trillion dollars in cuts.

Not so fast. Congress is busy trying to find a way to undo those spending cuts.

Politico reports that Republicans and a handful of Democrats have vowed to unravel these cuts - which would hit defense and domestic programs equally next January.

There are currently several measures floating around Capitol Hill aimed at doing just that.

President Obama has said he will veto any measure to override the automatic spending cuts unless Congress can give him a "balanced" plan to cut the deficit.

It's really quite sad. Our children's future is being thrown in the garbage so the Washington politicians can continue to steal the public's money. And no one seems too interested in stopping the madness - at least not during an election year. Re-election always Trumps the general welfare these days.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress undo the super committee's automatic spending cuts?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending
March 8th, 2011
05:29 PM ET

Should Congress vote again to raise nation's debt ceiling?


The National Debt Clock in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As Congress continues to all but ignore the debt crisis in this country, the threat of a government shutdown is now less than two weeks away. Lawmakers are looking to make spending cuts for this fiscal year's budget both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

It won't happen.

With a $14 trillion debt and a projected deficit of $1.6 trillion for this year alone, Congress is arguing over whether to cut $10 billion or $60 billion from the budget. They are completely divorced from reality in Washington.

Here's the reality:

Sometime between April 15 and May 31, our national debt is going to exceed the debt ceiling – the U.S. borrowing limit – which now stands at $14.29 trillion.

The debt ceiling has been raised 40 times in the last 30 years. Under President George W. Bush, Congress approved measures to increase the debt limit seven times.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke both want the debt limit raised. If it's not raised, they say the United States could default on loans and other financial obligations, which could lead to an economic meltdown.

President Obama and Democratic leaders support raising the debt ceiling. Of course. But Republicans say they'll vote down any measure to increase the debt limit unless some sort of cap on federal spending is included.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress vote again to raise the nation's debt ceiling?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • National debt
December 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

2,000-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill that some lawmakers haven't seen? 

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress had all year to do the public's business, but it didn't.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/12/15/art.reid.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)"]
It's Congress' job to pass a budget, which they didn't even bother to try to do. But check out what they came up with at the last minute:

A $1.1 trillion, 2,000-page omnibus spending bill put together behind closed doors. This Senate bill - which would fund the federal government for a year - includes more than 6,000 earmarks. Of course, this all comes only weeks after many senators swore off earmarks.

Republicans are blasting the bill, calling it "completely inappropriate." They say many in their caucus haven't even seen the bill.

Here we go again. Some lawmakers haven't even read the thing, but congressional leaders expect it to just sail through.

Instead of a government-wide, or omnibus spending bill, Republicans are calling for a short-term continuing budget resolution, which is similar to what the House passed last week - without any pork.

Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is threatening to keep Congress in session through the Christmas holidays and into next near, saying, "We're not through. Congress ends on January 4."

You see, with just days to go before the Democrats lose their majority in the House, they've decided now is the time to pass the legislation they haven't gotten around to in the last two years including an arms treaty with Russia, an immigration bill, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," you name it.

It's no wonder that according to Gallup polling Congress' job approval is at a historic low of 13 percent. That's the worst it's ever been in the 36 years they've asked this question.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress pass a 2,000-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill that some members haven't even seen?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending
July 6th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Huge tax increase coming in January: What should Congress do?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In 2008, President Obama said no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.

Well, unless something is done in the next six months, that won't be true.

What Americans for Tax Reform calls "The largest tax hikes in the history of America" will go into effect in January of next year when the Bush tax cuts are set to start expiring.

Here's a sample of what's in store for all of us:

Personal income tax rates are set to raise across the board with the highest rate going from 35 percent to 39.5 percent and the lowest rate going from 10 percent to 15 percent.

All the rates in between will rise as well. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out. The marriage penalty returns on the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from one thousand to five hundred dollars per child. The death tax returns with a top rate of 55 percent on estates over one million dollars. Capital gains taxes will rise from 15 percent to 20 percent and taxes on dividends will go from 15 percent to a maximum 39.6 percent.

There are over 20 new or higher taxes in the new health care law and several go into effect on January 1 of next year. The alternative minimum tax will ensnare 28 million families, up from four million families this year, and taxes are set to go up on all types of businesses.

Congress of course knows all this... but they're on vacation and haven't said what they plan to do if anything.

Here’s my question to you: A huge tax increase is coming next January. What should Congress do?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • Taxes
April 28th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How serious is Congress about reducing natl. debt?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Everything has to be on the table." That's what Pres. Obama says about reducing our skyrocketing deficits. Don't bet on it.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/28/art.debt.clock.jpg caption="The National Debt Clock in Manhattan."]
For one thing the president refuses to say which programs may be cut. And, other lawmakers have been all over the place lately saying what they want off the table. No value-added tax, no cuts to Social Security, and not allowing tax cuts for low and middle income families to expire.

All this as the president's 18-member bipartisan debt commission gets to work. The commission is meant to bring the federal budget down to three percent of the country's GDP by 2015. Right now the deficit is on track to be double that.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns that if we don't do something about these deficits they will do "great damage" to the U.S. economy. Bernanke says our debt levels are on an "unsustainable path."

Budget experts point out that new measures will have to rein in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs. But we continue to be represented by people who won't make any tough decisions because they're afraid if they do they won't be reelected. Time to vote them out. We can't keep kicking the deficit can down the road any longer.

And don't get too excited about this so-called debt panel created by Pres. Obama, either. It has no legal authority. They need 14 of the 18 members to agree to any recommendations, which can then be ignored by Congress. This is sort of like sitting on the railroad tracks, seeing the train barreling down on you, and refusing to move out of the way.

Here’s my question to you: How serious is Congress about reducing the national debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • National debt
October 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Congress add $250 billion to deficit with separate bill for higher doctor fees?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's just another example of your government at work - Senate Democrats want to get quick approval of a bill - separate from the overall health care reform plan - that would increase Medicare payments to doctors by nearly $250 billion over 10 years. This money would be added to the deficit.

The measure would avoid a 21 percent reduction in Medicare fees paid to doctors that's scheduled to go into effect in January... along with future cuts. The American Medical Association is of course calling on Congress to pass this thing - saying it will "protect seniors' access to quality care."

The measure was introduced without much attention in the Senate Tuesday - and it's been set aside for a quick vote next week... instead of being sent to the Finance Committee for hearings - which is the way things usually work.

It will need 60 votes to pass. Republican leaders along with some Democrats are opposed. They rightfully feel our deficits are big enough without adding another quarter of a trillion dollars if these increases in doctors' payments are put into place.

Why are there two separate bills? Well - if this $250 billion isn't included as part of the overall health care reform tab... then Democrats can say they're not exceeding President Obama's goal of $900 billion for health care reform over 10 years.

I know the government treats us with contempt... but we're not stupid. It's as if nothing is beneath these people.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress add $250 billion to the deficit with a separate bill for higher doctor fees?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • Health care
January 22nd, 2008
06:21 PM ET

Pork spending, will it ever end?


Capitol Hill at night. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It just ain't Washington without the pork.

The New York Times reports that President Bush is unlikely to defy Congress on spending billions of dollars earmarked for pet projects. However, administration officials say he will probably insist that in the future, lawmakers give more justification for such spending.

A group of fiscal conservatives in Congress, along with budget watchdog groups, have been trying to get the president to clamp down on earmarks. They want him to issue an executive order that would instruct agencies to disregard earmarks not listed in the text of the legislation. Get this: more than 90% of earmarks are not actually included in the bills, but in committee reports.

Mr. Bush said in last year's State of the Union address: "The time has come to end this practice." Guess that time hasn't come quite yet.

Despite those calling for tougher rules when it comes to earmarks, there are more lawmakers who are trying to score such pet projects and brag about bringing home the bacon to their constituents.

The White House Office of Management and Budget shows that the 2008 spending bills signed by the president include more than 11,700 earmarks, totaling almost $17 billion.

Some of the pet projects this year include: museums, bicycle trails, control of agricultural pests, and aid to military contractors who are making things like "merino wool boot socks." The military contractors in this country definitely are a hardship case. Poor things.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to get rid of pork spending by Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congressional Spending