The Laudable Pursuit: A Betrayal of Limited-Government Conservatism

Senator Mike Lee
2018-02-09 17:24:06
February 09, 2018 "to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln Chairman's Note: A Betrayal of Limited-Government Conservatism Last night, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the federal government funded through March 23. This is the fifth Continuing Resolution of the fiscal year-a sixth may be needed before March 23, since both parties have agreed to begin debate on an immigration bill next week. But as bad as the decision to continue funding the government through un-amended short-term auto-pilot bills is, the two-year budget cap deal that passed along with the CR is even worse. With the CR, Congress agreed to fund specific government programs at specific levels only through March 23.The larger budget deal set overallspending levels for two years. The breakdown of spending on specific programs after March 23 will be decided in future funding decisions. But no matter how Congress divvies up the budget in the months ahead, last night's budget deal guaranteed that the end result will blow the top off the nation's already rising debt. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the spending increases in last night's budget deal will drive next year's budget deficit to almost $1.2 trillion, a level not seen since the beginning of President Obama's failed stimulus program. This is a complete betrayal of everything limited-government conservatives fought for during Obama's presidency. It also is a betrayal of the limited-government vision the Trump administration outlined in its FY 2018 budget. That document called for a $1.4 trillion reduction in discretionary spending over the next ten years. By contrast, this bill sets up a path to dramatically increase discretionary spending. But that's not all. The bill also threw in more than $17 billion in tax loopholes to special interests, including tax rebates for rum producers in Puerto Rico, accelerated depreciation for racehorse investors, special expensing provisions for Hollywood producers, and tax subsidies for electric vehicles. It even suspended the federal government's $20.5 trillion debt limit through March 1, 2019. Suspending the debt limit functionally raises the borrowing authority of the federal government by over one trillion dollars-and it does so without any effort to reduce or reform federal spending. If you hoped that this budget deal would create the possibility for welfare orspending reform, I have bad news for you. By setting spending levels for the next two years, the deal has made passage of a budget resolution this year extremely unlikely. Without a budget resolution, there can be no reconciliation process. And without a reconciliation process, any serious effort to reform welfare or spending is dead. It is unclear what the Senate will do legislatively between now and the November elections. What should be clear to limited-government conservatives is that they have been completely abandoned by the Republican Congress. He's Always Lucas First Click here to watch video Issue in Focus: A Threat to Marriage from the EEOC The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may seem like an unlikely threat to religious liberty and the institution of marriage. After all, the federal agency was created to combat workplace discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But sadly, the agency created to fight discrimination now threatens to discriminate itself; one nominee to the commission's five-member board wants to use the federal agency's power to undermine our nation's founding principles. Chai Feldblum was first nominated to the EEOC by President Barack Obama in 2009, but she was not confirmed by the Senate. In March 2010, President Obama skirted the Senate by seating Feldblum on the commission when Congress was in recess. The Senate ultimately confirmed Feldblum on a 54-41 vote during a lame-duck session in December of that year. Only two Republicans voted for Feldblum's confirmation. Last December, President Donald Trump re-nominated Feldblum, along with two Republicans, to the EEOC. If all three nominees are confirmed, Republicans will have a 3-2 majority on the EEOC. If Feldblum were a typical Democrat, it might make sense to let her nomination proceed through the Senate along with her two Republican colleagues. But Feldblum is no typical Democrat. Her radical views on marriage and the appropriate use of government power place her far outside even the liberal mainstream. Feldblum has argued that, "I, for one, am not sure marriage is a normatively good institution." Instead of promoting marriage as the best arrangement for the emotional and economic security of families, Feldblum believes "all of us are harmed… when society fails to acknowledge the wide array of non-marital social structures." Feldblum even signed a manifesto proposing government recognition of "diverse kinds" of partnerships that "move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics" in the United States. Don't think for a second that Feldblum's derogatory views about marriage will stay private. Feldblum wants to turn her opinions into federal policy through the EEOC. "The EEOC has jurisdiction only over employment," Feldblum told The Washington Blade in 2015. "But other federal agencies that enforce sex discrimination provisions often look to our interpretation for guidance in interpreting the laws they enforce." And don't think for a second that you, your family, and your neighbors will be left alone if Feldblum gets her way. Feldblum has described modern-day politics as a "zero-sum game," where rights for LGBT Americans are secured only by curtailing the rights of religious Americans. Likewise, Feldblum believes her radical agenda "cannot be adequately advanced if pockets of resistance… are permitted to flourish." She therefore has argued that "no individual exceptions based on religious beliefs" should ever be allowed if they conflict with "the goal of liberty for gay people." Feldblum's desire to use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters stands in stark contrast to Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, which redefined marriage in 2015. "The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons (emphasis added) are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths," Kennedy wrote. "And to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered." As the Supreme Court acknowledges, America's tradition of religious freedom embraces all. Rather than a "zero-sum game" that pits Americans against each other, we should work to build an America where "all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship," as George Washington wrote in 1790. President Trump and Senate Democrats should reject Chai Feldblum's divisive agenda by finding a more mainstream candidate for the EEOC, one who respects the institution of marriage and religious freedom for all Americans. Washington, D.C. Office 361A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510 Phone: 202.224.5444 Fax: 202.228.1168 Salt Lake City Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building 125 South State, Suite 4225 Salt Lake City, UT 84138 Phone: 801.524.5933 Fax: 801.524.5730 St. George Office of Senator Michael S. Lee 285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200 St. George, UT 84770 Phone: 435.628.5514 SaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSaveSave Save Save Save Save Save Save SaveSave SaveSaveSave SaveSave Save This message was intended for: xxx You were added to the system October 2, 2015. For more information please follow the URL below: newsletter.senate.gov/p/isHAGhQVNW Follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out: newsletter.senate.gov/p/osHAGhQVNW To unsubscribe from future mailings, send an email to mailto:xxx?Subject=Unsubscribe&body=Please%20remove%20me%20from%20further%20mailings with "Unsubscribe" as the subject line.
February 09, 2018

"to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln

Chairman's Note: A Betrayal of Limited-Government Conservatism

Last night, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep the federal government funded through March 23. This is the fifth Continuing Resolution of the fiscal year—a sixth may be needed before March 23, since both parties have agreed to begin debate on an immigration bill next week.
 
But as bad as the decision to continue funding the government through un-amended short-term auto-pilot bills is, the two-year budget cap deal that passed along with the CR is even worse.
 
With the CR, Congress agreed to fund specific government programs at specific levels only through March 23.The larger budget deal set overallspending levels for two years. The breakdown of spending on specific programs after March 23 will be decided in future funding decisions.
 
But no matter how Congress divvies up the budget in the months ahead, last night’s budget deal guaranteed that the end result will blow the top off the nation’s already rising debt.
 
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the spending increases in last night’s budget deal will drive next year’s budget deficit to almost $1.2 trillion, a level not seen since the beginning of President Obama’s failed stimulus program.
 
This is a complete betrayal of everything limited-government conservatives fought for during Obama’s presidency.
 
It also is a betrayal of the limited-government vision the Trump administration outlined in its FY 2018 budget. That document called for a $1.4 trillion reduction in discretionary spending over the next ten years. By contrast, this bill sets up a path to dramatically increase discretionary spending.
 
But that’s not all. The bill also threw in more than $17 billion in tax loopholes to special interests, including tax rebates for rum producers in Puerto Rico, accelerated depreciation for racehorse investors, special expensing provisions for Hollywood producers, and tax subsidies for electric vehicles.
 
It even suspended the federal government’s $20.5 trillion debt limit through March 1, 2019. Suspending the debt limit functionally raises the borrowing authority of the federal government by over one trillion dollars—and it does so without any effort to reduce or reform federal spending.
 
If you hoped that this budget deal would create the possibility for welfare orspending reform, I have bad news for you. By setting spending levels for the next two years, the deal has made passage of a budget resolution this year extremely unlikely. Without a budget resolution, there can be no reconciliation process. And without a reconciliation process, any serious effort to reform welfare or spending is dead.
 
It is unclear what the Senate will do legislatively between now and the November elections. What should be clear to limited-government conservatives is that they have been completely abandoned by the Republican Congress.

 

He's Always Lucas First

Click here to watch video

 

Issue in Focus: A Threat to Marriage from the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may seem like an unlikely threat to religious liberty and the institution of marriage. After all, the federal agency was created to combat workplace discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But sadly, the agency created to fight discrimination now threatens to discriminate itself; one nominee to the commission’s five-member board wants to use the federal agency’s power to undermine our nation’s founding principles.
 
Chai Feldblum was first nominated to the EEOC by President Barack Obama in 2009, but she was not confirmed by the Senate. In March 2010, President Obama skirted the Senate by seating Feldblum on the commission when Congress was in recess. The Senate ultimately confirmed Feldblum on a 54-41 vote during a lame-duck session in December of that year. Only two Republicans voted for Feldblum’s confirmation.
 
Last December, President Donald Trump re-nominated Feldblum, along with two Republicans, to the EEOC. If all three nominees are confirmed, Republicans will have a 3-2 majority on the EEOC.
 
If Feldblum were a typical Democrat, it might make sense to let her nomination proceed through the Senate along with her two Republican colleagues. But Feldblum is no typical Democrat. Her radical views on marriage and the appropriate use of government power place her far outside even the liberal mainstream.
 
Feldblum has argued that, “I, for one, am not sure marriage is a normatively good institution.” Instead of promoting marriage as the best arrangement for the emotional and economic security of families, Feldblum believes “all of us are harmed… when society fails to acknowledge the wide array of non-marital social structures.”
 
Feldblum even signed a manifesto proposing government recognition of “diverse kinds” of partnerships that “move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics” in the United States.
 
Don’t think for a second that Feldblum’s derogatory views about marriage will stay private. Feldblum wants to turn her opinions into federal policy through the EEOC.
 
“The EEOC has jurisdiction only over employment,” Feldblum told The Washington Blade in 2015. “But other federal agencies that enforce sex discrimination provisions often look to our interpretation for guidance in interpreting the laws they enforce.”
 
And don’t think for a second that you, your family, and your neighbors will be left alone if Feldblum gets her way. Feldblum has described modern-day politics as a “zero-sum game,” where rights for LGBT Americans are secured only by curtailing the rights of religious Americans.
 
Likewise, Feldblum believes her radical agenda “cannot be adequately advanced if pockets of resistance… are permitted to flourish.” She therefore has argued that “no individual exceptions based on religious beliefs” should ever be allowed if they conflict with “the goal of liberty for gay people.”
 
Feldblum’s desire to use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters stands in stark contrast to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, which redefined marriage in 2015.
 
“The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons (emphasis added) are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths,” Kennedy wrote. “And to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
 
As the Supreme Court acknowledges, America’s tradition of religious freedom embraces all. Rather than a “zero-sum game” that pits Americans against each other, we should work to build an America where “all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship,” as George Washington wrote in 1790.
 
President Trump and Senate Democrats should reject Chai Feldblum’s divisive agenda by finding a more mainstream candidate for the EEOC, one who respects the institution of marriage and religious freedom for all Americans.

 

Washington, D.C. Office
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Phone: 202.224.5444
Fax: 202.228.1168

Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
125 South State, Suite 4225
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Phone: 801.524.5933
Fax: 801.524.5730

St. George
Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
285 West Tabernacle, Suite 200
St. George, UT 84770
Phone: 435.628.5514




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