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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Care By Tim James~A Tribute To The Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims

Tim James i am a writer. and though i have been fortunate enough to have some "hits" in the country music world and have always had the need to put words to music, rarely i have felt the need to sit down and write something in direct response to an event. even more rare is the desire to take advantage of Facebook or any other social media in this manner. this is the exception. it is not meant for monetary gain, my only hope is that it gets paid forward and it it is meant to be, may it be heard by those in pain. there is no pretense, my voice is hoarse and the sound is not good, (it was recorded in my garage on my phone), but the message is what counts. God bless the victims and their families. @Warner-Tamerlane/T-Bird's Music. Tim James Facebook

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chris Wallace Interviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and House Speaker John Boehner On The 'fiscal cliff' Negotiations

Geithner: White House offered 'very detailed plan'


Boehner: 'Fiscal cliff' talks going 'nowhere'

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and House Speaker John Boehner talk 'fiscal cliff' negotiations

Written by Chris Wallace / Published December 02, 2012 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Secretary Timothy Geithner, Rep. John Boehner
The following is a rush transcript of the December 2, 2012, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
It's 30 days and counting, until we go over the fiscal cliff.

WALLACE: The president is demanding higher tax rates. Congressional Republicans want deeper spending cuts and entitlement reform. Will they make a deal before we bring in the New Year with a round of tax increases for all of us? We'll ask the two men at the center of the negotiations, where we really stand. For the president, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. For the GOP, House Speaker John Boehner.

Geithner and Boehner -- only on "Fox News Sunday."

Plus, we have seen this movie before. The two parties edging closer and closer to the brink. We'll ask our Sunday panel whether we'll get a happy ending for an economic disaster.

And our Power Player of the Week -- a young beauty queen has to make a tough choice.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: And, hello again from Fox News in Washington.

Well, we had quite a day around here Friday, with talks to avoid the fiscal cliff deadlock and everyone saying, the other side is to blame, Treasury Secretary Geithner scheduled a round of interviews. But then, Friday afternoon, Speaker Boehner's office called to say he wanted to come on "Fox News Sunday" to tell his side of the story.

You'll hear from Boehner in a few minutes, but first, here's my conversation with Tim Geithner about the lack of progress in steering away from that cliff.


WALLACE: Secretary Geithner, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: I spoke with House Speaker Boehner just before I came over here. He says when you present your plan to him on Thursday, he said you can't be serious, and, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader says he burst into laughter.

GEITHNER: You know, Chris, they are in a kind of tough position now and it's going to be -- it's obviously a little hard for them now and they are trying to figure out where they go next and we might need to give them time to figure out where they go next.   But what we did is, I think what you expect from us, is we laid out a very detailed, carefully designed set of spending, savings and tax changes that help put us back on a path of fiscal responsibility, to protect taxes, taxes from going up for 98 percent of Americans, and provide some modest room for investments on things we need, like infrastructure.

And we think that's a very good set of proposals. We think that's what's good for the economy.

If they've got some different suggestions, they want to go further in some areas, then they should lay it out to us.

WALLACE: When you say they are in a hard spot, what do you mean?

GEITHNER: Because they are trying to figure out how to find a way to support things that they know they are going to have to do. That's going to be hard for them.

Again, you've heard them for the first time, I think, in two decades, acknowledge that they are willing to have revenues go up as part of a balanced plan -- that's a good first step but they have to tell us what they are willing to do on rates and revenues. That's going to very hard for Republicans. We understand that, but there's no way through this without that.

And they have to tell us on the spending side -- if they want to go beyond where we are and do it differently, they have to tell us what makes sense to them.

What we can't do, Chris, is try to figure out what works for them.

WALLACE: The president campaigned for re-election on the idea of a, quote, "balanced approach," end quote, to deficit reduction -- a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts. Here's the plan that the Republicans say you presented to them this way --

GEITHNER: I can tell you what I presented. It will be helpful.

WALLACE: Let me ask you, they say --

GEITHNER: But it's our plan, Chris, why don't you let me do it? Why don't you let me explain it?

WALLACE: Well, I'd like to ask you about this part of it, and then anything I leave out, you can tell me.


WALLACE: $1.6 trillion in tax increases, more than $80 billion in new stimulus spending, next year, and, unspecified nonguaranteed spending cuts.


WALLACE: Question, is that your idea of balance?

GEITHNER: It is. And let me explain what is in the explain they didn't report to you and they didn't explain to people, which is, we propose alongside the trillion dollars in spending cuts we agreed with Republicans, last year, on defense and a comprehensive range of other government programs, we proposed $600 billion of detailed reforms and savings, to our health care and other government programs. That's $600 billion.

In fact, the health care savings in that plan are larger than the plans we have seen Republicans in the past in the context. Now --

WALLACE: Is that -- is that what was in the budget?

GEITHNER: Well, these proposals have been -- we proposed these things last fall and in the president's budget, they are very detailed. Now --

WALLACE: That was a budget voted down 99-to-nothing in the Senate.

GEITHNER: Well, Chris, you know, this is -- a lot of politics happen in this town, but this is very carefully designed set of reforms. And if Republicans would like to go beyond these reforms, or they want to do it differently, they should tell us how they want to do it.

Again, what we can't do is --

WALLACE: What if they were to propose the Republican budget that they passed? That they passed the last two years.

GEITHNER: There is no risk they're going to do that, Chris.

WALLACE: Well, wouldn't it be as serious as you proposed in your budget?

GEITHNER: No, but the American people have taken a long time to take a careful, hard look at the plan and they found no merit in it. So, the Republicans aren't going to propose it again.

WALLACE: Just like the Senate voted 99-to-nothing against your budget.

GEITHNER: No, the Senate has already proposed and enacted a middle class tax extension that protects 98 percent of Americans from their taxes going up. And we proposed very substantial additional spending reforms, alongside what we did last year, which is a trillion dollars, to make us get to a broader fiscal balance.

Now, again, Chris, you referred to things that will help make the economy stronger in the short-term and let me explain why we proposed that. What we are suggesting is that we work to rebuild the country's infrastructure, rather than just putting it off, doesn't save money just to put it off, to extend unemployment insurance benefits, to help make Americans -- easier for Americans to refinance their mortgages, take advantage of lower interest rates. We proposed some tax incentives for business investment, and we proposed how to do that in a fiscally responsible way that we can afford to pay for.

So, we matched those proposals, with spending savings that, together as part of the plan, get us down to the point where we stabilize our debt. And that is the critical test.

WALLACE: Let me drill down into the spending part of the equation. Here are the increases, spending increase as you are proposing: $150 billion, in stimulus, public works projects over several years; a $30 billion extension of unemployment insurance, for one year; extension of payroll tax cuts; mortgage relief; deferral of automatic cuts for doctors and Medicare.

Here are the spending cuts: unspecified savings from non- entitlement programs, next year -- let me finish -- and, the promise of $400 billion in savings, from entitlement programs to be worked out next year with no guarantees.

Speaker Boehner says, even if you get all of that, it's a net increase in spending, not a net cut.

GEITHNER: Not true and let me explain why. Again, those investments in infrastructure, extension of unemployment benefits those are very important things and they are very good things. And we can afford those. They have very modest cost, and we proposed how to pay for them.

And what we proposed is -- in contrast to what you said -- is we proposed $600 billion in reforms to mandatory programs, over 10 years and are prepared to do a substantial portion of those up front in ways that are measurable so that we can replace the much more damaging cuts in the sequester.

So, when Republicans say to us that we want to see spending savings locked in up front, we say we agree with you and we are prepared to do that. You have to -- you have to -- you have to give us some sense of what you think we should do up front, what we should do in the second stage and we are waiting to hear from them.

You know, again, if they need a little more time to figure out what they can do, what they want to do, that's OK. We don't have much time, though. And what they have to do is to make sure they commit to all Americans that they're not going to let taxes go up for 98 percent of Americans.

WALLACE: I just want to ask one more question on spending and then I want to move to taxes. The Bowles-Simpson debt commission proposed $3 in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases. In your $4 trillion, what's your ratio, spending cuts to tax increases?

GEITHNER: Very good question, roughly 2-1. Now, the Bowles- Simpson commission also proposed about $2.5 trillion in revenues over 10 years, relative to current policy. So, we proposed a more modest increase in revenues, alongside very substantial spending and savings, too. Again, the ratio is roughly --


WALLACE: -- $1.6 trillion in tax increases is a modest proposal?

GEITHNER: Well, again, it is. And relative to $2.5 trillion in the Simpson-Bowles commission, remember, Chris --

WALLACE: I think it's 3-1.

GEITHNER: No, hold on. No, again, we're -- it's true, we're not 3-1. We are roughly 2-1. And we think that's a better way to do it.

And, again, what we are trying to do is make sure we are strengthening Medicare, not shifting costs to seniors, and we're creating some room to invest in things that are very important to how we grow in the future.

WALLACE: Let's talk about taxes. The president made it very clear and made it clear during the campaign he will not extend the Bush tax cuts on the top earners. Does he insist on raising the top rate from 35 percent all the way up to the Clinton rate of 39.6 percent, or would he compromise on something lower, like 37 percent? Is that negotiable?

GEITHNER: We're not going to extend an extension of the tax rates for the top 2 percent. We think they should go back and need to go back to Clinton levels.

And let me explain why we believe that.

WALLACE: So, I just -- to answer my question, specifically, you are saying nonnegotiable, 39.6 percent?

GEITHNER: Again, we think that's the way to do it. Let me explain why, OK? If you don't do that, it costs a trillion dollars -- roughly a trillion dollars over 10 years.

WALLACE: Not if you went to 37 percent.

GEITHNER: Again, you're -- you're --

WALLACE: Well, that's one of the ideas that's out there, sir. I'm not just making this up.

GEITHNER: That's true. There's lots of ideas out there.

And, again, what we're -- we are proposing to let those rates go back to Clinton levels. Remember, that was a -- that was a time of remarkably good economic growth, in this country -- very strong private investment, strong job growth, strong broad-based growth in incomes. It was a good time for the American economy. It makes a lot of sense.

But in addition to that, we proposed to limit deductions for the top 2 percent of Americans as well. Now, we are willing to work with Republicans on tax reform to create a more simple, more fair system, but only as part of an agreement that has those rates go back up at the end of the year.

WALLACE: So, the Clinton rate?

GEITHNER: We think that's the way to do it.

WALLACE: Thirty-nine-point-six percent?

GEITHNER: And, again, the reason why is because --

WALLACE: I understand the reason why.

GEITHNER: If you -- again, if you don't you have to ask yourself, where are -- whose taxes are you going to raise, where are you going to find the money to bring a balanced plan in place that reduces our long term deficit?

WALLACE: How disastrous for the economy if we go over the cliff as the treasury secretary?

GEITHNER: For the American economy?


GEITHNER: It is pretty damaging to the average American. It would be very damaging. There's no reason it should happen.

Again, the only reason why it would happen is if a group of members of Congress decide they're going to block an agreement because they want to extend tax rates for the rich that we can't afford. That's the only reason that will happen.

WALLACE: Or they now say because you're not willing to cut spending enough.

GEITHNER: No, but that's not true. Again, if they want to do more on the spending side than the $600 billion we proposed on top of the trillion already enacted, in top of the savings from the wars, then they can tell us how they propose --

WALLACE: Savings in the wars that we were never going to fight?

GEITHNER: No, that's not true. We're -- as you know, we're winding down two wars.

WALLACE: I understand that.


WALLACE: And you are thinking savings that nobody thought that you were going to spend that money any way. It's a budget gimmick, sir.

GEITHNER: No, that's not right. You know, let me say it this way, those were expensive wars, not just in Americans lives but in terms of the taxpayers' resources. And when you end them as the president is doing, they reduce our long term deficits and like in the Republican budget proposals, the world should reflect and recognize what that does in savings.

And we propose to use those savings to reduce the deficits and help invest in rebuilding America. We think that makes a lot of sense.

WALLACE: But it was money that wasn't going to be spent anyway, and --

GEITHNER: If those wars have gone on, they would be spent.

WALLACE: I understand. But you're not saving -- you're not ending the wars for budget purposes. You're ending the wars because of a foreign policy decision. The wars weren't going to be fought. You're not really saving money.

GEITHNER: Chris, we all agree --

WALLACE: I mean, it's a budget gimmick, but it's money never intended to spend.

GEITHNER: No, it's not a budget gimmick unless you are -- when Republicans propose, it's a budget gimmick?

WALLACE: Sure, absolutely.

GEITHNER: And you should address that to them. But what it does is --

WALLACE: Well -- so, I'm addressing it to you.

GEITHNER: But, again, it's a basic challenge that we face, Chris. It's the biggest challenge we face, which is how to bring the deficit down over time.

Now, it's going to require spending savings, it's going to require increasing in rates of revenues. We think we can do that. We're going to work very hard to do that and I think we were in a very good chance to do it and there's no reason we can't do it.

WALLACE: Last question: can you promise that we will not go over the cliff?

GEITHNER: No, I can't promise that. That's a decision that lies in the hands of the Republicans that are now opposing increases in tax rates. If they recognize the reality that we can't afford to extend those tax rates, then we have the basis for an agreement that would be good for the American people.

WALLACE: And the president bears no responsibility, it's all up to the Republicans?

GEITHNER: Chris, ask yourself this question: why does it make sense for the country to force tax increases on all Americans, because a small group of Republicans want to extend tax rates for 2 percent of Americans, why does that make any sense?   There's no reason why it should happen. We can't afford the tax rates. That's like the deep tragic lesson of the last decade. We can't afford them
So we're not going to get through it -- we're not going to get to the end now without a recognition of the Republicans to that basic reality. And that's going to be the responsible thing to do.

And my judgment is, they're re going to do it because there's no alternative to that.

WALLACE: Mr. Secretary, thank you. Always a pleasure to talk with you.

GEITHNER: Good to see you.


WALLACE: Up next, you'll hear from Speaker of the House John Boehner. He describes his reaction when Geithner presented the White House plan. And he lays out what it will take to get a deal. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.


WALLACE: As we said, House Speaker Boehner's office called us to say he wanted to come on "Fox News Sunday" to tell his side of the story.

He says the president wants to ramrod a deal through, not work out a compromise. And Boehner might -- he suggests -- be willing to go over the cliff.


WALLACE: Speaker Boehner, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: How would you characterize the deal the Treasury Secretary Geithner offered you on behalf of the president this week?

BOEHNER: A non-serious proposal.

The president is asking for $1.6 trillion worth of new revenue over 10 years, twice as much as he has been asking for in public. He has stimulus spending in here that exceeded the amount of new cuts that he was willing to consider.

It was not a serious offer.

WALLACE: Wait, wait. You are saying that there is more spending than spending cuts?

BOEHNER: That is correct. They outlined -- they'd be willing to talk about $400 billion worth of cuts over 10 years. But, at the end of the year, they wanted to extend unemployment benefits, they wanted a new stimulus program for infrastructure, they wanted to extend some other tax breaks.
And all of this stimulus spending would literally be more than the spending cuts that he was willing to put on the table.

Now, understand, Chris, the day after the election, I saw the results, I to the cameras and made it clear: the Republicans were willing to put revenue on the table if there were serious spending cuts and reforms put in place. We've talked about it.

The president and the White House have had three weeks and this is the best we've got?

WALLACE: Take us behind the scenes. Take us inside the room. What was the mood music when Tim Geithner sits there, like we are here and presented this to you? What did you say?

BOEHNER: I was flabbergasted. I looked him and said, "You can't be serious."

I've just never seen anything like it. You know, we've got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense.

WALLACE: OK. So, if they are wasted, where are we now? And, quite frankly, what are the chances we're going to end up going over the cliff?

BOEHNER: Well, right now, I would say -- we're nowhere, period. We're nowhere.

We've put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing. They've actually asked for more revenue than they have been asking for the whole entire time.

WALLACE: So, what they're chances we're going to go over the cliff?

BOEHNER: Listen, if we go over the cliff, we'll hurt our economy. We'll hurt job creation in our country. It's not fair to the American people.

And this isn't an issue about Democrats and Republicans. My goodness, this is about our country. And we need to get serious about dealing with the problems at the end of the year and need to get serious about our deficit and our debt that are burying our children's future.

WALLACE: I want to ask you one other question about their offer, because this was a real surprise. Geithner also said they want you, Congress, to give up any powers over voting an increase in the debt limit forever.

BOEHNER: Forever. Silliness.

Congress is not going to give up this power. I've made it clear to the president, that every time we get to the debt limit, we need to cut some reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit. It's the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone.

WALLACE: OK. The president and Democrats are saying, look, we have already agreed since 2010, since the Republican victory, to more than $1 trillion in spending cuts without any increase in revenue, so we've already given.

BOEHNER: But it doesn't solve the problem. We have a debt burden that's crushing us, and it is -- you look at the president's budget, we've got trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. This is unsustainable.

We have 10,000 baby boomers like me retiring every day, 70,000 this week, 3.5 million, retirees, this year alone -- signing up for Social Security and Medicare, people living longer, accessing Medicaid. And, it's not like there's any money in the Social Security Trust Fund, or the Medicare Trust Fund. It's all been spent.

And the whipsaw effect it is having on the budget is horrendous. And if we don't get ahold of it, we're mortgaging our children's future and I am not going to be part of it.

WALLACE: Well, you say you're not going to be part of it. I mean, you are stuck, given the job you have.

BOEHNER: I'm not going to be part of further mortgaging our future.


BOEHNER: It's time to get serious about our debt.

WALLACE: What about the trillion dollars, though? Is it fair to count that as part of $4 trillion in debt reduction?

BOEHNER: You know, it can be part of the package if they want to count it. But where are the next $3 trillion or $4 trillion, $5 trillion worth of reductions that need to happen if we're going to put America on a fiscally sustainable path?

I mean, think about the proposal we got from the president. If we gave the president $1.6 trillion of new money, what do you think he'd do with it? He's going to spend it. That's what Washington does.

WALLACE: You don't think -- you don't believe he'd use it to help pay down the debt?

BOEHNER: He'll spend it. Look at the fact that they put $400 billion worth of unspecified cuts that they'd be willing to talk about, but yet at the same time, that's over $400 billion over 10 years. While he wants over $400 billion in new stimulus spending.

This is -- this is -- it's an unserious proposal.

WALLACE: You've talked about the fact that the president won and you came out with a concession the day after the election. They point out that the president campaigned on raising tax rates, you know, and it was the big issue, between him and Romney. And, they say, just as he had to cave, after your victory in the 2010 midterms, now, it's your turn to cave on tax rates.

BOEHNER: Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he's asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates.

But, here's the problem, Chris, when you go and increase tax rates, you make it more difficult for our economy to grow. Half of that income is the small business income. It's going to get taxed at a higher rate. And as a result, we're going to see slower economic growth.

We're not going to be able to cut our way out of this problem, nor can we can just grow our way out of the problem. We have to have a balanced approach.

But what the president wants to do will slow or economy at a time when he says he wants the economy to grow and create jobs.

WALLACE: Well, the White House says that while you have given this kind of talk, about, well, let's close loopholes, let's limit deductions, you haven't offered any specifics, have you.

BOEHNER: We have laid it all out for them, a dozen different ways you can raise the revenue from the richest Americans, as the president would describe them, without raising tax rates.

WALLACE: What's the biggest proposal you put on the table since the election in terms of raising revenue from closing loopholes and deductions?

BOEHNER: Well, you can cap -- there are a lot of different ways to get there. But you can cap deductions at a percent of income. It'd be one way to get there. You can eliminate certain deductions for those -- the wealthiest in our country. You could do all of that.

WALLACE: Let me ask you a couple of specifics, would you eliminate or lower the home mortgage deduction?

BOEHNER: Listen, there are lots of ways to get out there. Now, I'm not going to debate his or negotiate with you. But if you can sign the bill into law, I'd be happy to.

WALLACE: We're trying to get those powers, but we haven't yet.

BOEHNER: I understand.

WALLACE: Charitable deductions, would you be willing -- I mean, you are a big charity guy.

BOEHNER: Listen, the president has seen a lot of the options from us. There are a lot of them put on the table, and I'm hopeful that the conversations will continue.

WALLACE: OK. But, let's talk about your proposal, because, the president -- and I'm sure this has driven you nuts -- likes to say, the math tends not to work.

Let's look at your math. The White House says a realistic cap -- and I'll explain what that means -- of $25,000 on people making more than $250,000, a cap on their deductions, you can only take $25,000 in itemized deductions and exempting things like charitable deduction, which is pretty unlikely that you're going to do away with that, would only bring in $450 billion, not the $800 billion you are talking about, not the trillion -- $450 billion.

They say the math tends not to work.

BOEHNER: No, the White House knows that the math will work -- to put the kind of revenue on the table that we've been talking about. It won't work if we're trying to get the $1.6 trillion. I'll guarantee you that.

But you can put -- we've put the revenue on the table. And, again a dozen different ways to get there without raising tax rates.

WALLACE: And you can get up to what amount?

BOEHNER: Basically the number that we have been --

WALLACE: Eight hundred billion?

BOEHNER: Somewhere in that range.

WALLACE: The White House, talking about specifics, also says you and the Republicans have offered no specifics for spending cuts or entitlement reforms. Have you?

BOEHNER: Chris, look at the House Republican budget offered by Paul Ryan in 2011. The same budget in 2012, passed the Congress -- all types of specific proposals. I go back to the government --
WALLACE: But he campaigned against that and he won.

BOEHNER: Go back to the super committee -- all of the ideas that were out there.

Look at the conversations the president and I had -- based off the Simpson-Bowles commission, his own deficit reduction commission.

He knows what our proposals are. He knows what we're willing to do. What we don't know, Chris, is what's the president willing to do?

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you specifically about that. Is it true, because it's been said that's it's never -- you know, we have never seen a piece of paper. Is it true that the president offered to raise the eligibility age for Medicare and to slow cost of living adjustments for Social Security when you were in your debt talks in August of 2011?

BOEHNER: It was on the table. Did the president agree to it? He may have been close to an agreement to it. If he agreed to it, we might not have this problem today.

WALLACE: Is that on the table now?

BOEHNER: Of course, it's on the table.

WALLACE: No, is it on the table from their point of view?

BOEHNER: Listen, there are a lot of -- there are a lot of items on the table. The president knows what they are. The question is: what are they willing to do?

WALLACE: You are starting to have some political problems, because you are starting to have some splits in your ranks. I don't have to tell you that one of the top congressional Republicans, Tom Cole, said this week, you know what? I'm not comfortable standing in the way, holding hostage, extending the Bush tax cuts to lower rates for the 98 percent, people making under $250,000.

And you weren't happy that he said that.

BOEHNER: No, I wasn't.

WALLACE: Because that means you're breaking ranks. Isn't it tougher -- going to be tougher to hold to that as you get closer to the cliff and people are facing a tax increase of $2,000?

BOEHNER: Really, that's what's so sad about the situation that we're in. The president, not being serious about coming to an agreement, holding the middle class tax hikes over their heads.

WALLACE: Well, he says you are doing it.

BOEHNER: This is -- this is America. This is our economy. We all want the economy to get better and Americans to have more opportunities at jobs.

And this agreement should come sooner rather than later, because, just the threat of the fiscal cliff is already hurting our economy. Now, listen, I believe raising tax rates hurts our economy, hurts the prospects for more jobs in our country.

And I realize that the president may disagree. But the fact is, if there's another way to get revenue from upper income Americans that doesn't hurt our economy, then why wouldn't we consider it?

WALLACE: What if we go over the cliff? Doesn't the president hold all the cards, then? Because can he say: all right, everybody's taxes increased, I'm offering 98 percent a tax cut of $2,000 a year, you are the party of lower taxes -- are you going to refuse to cut people's taxes?

BOEHNER: Listen, nobody wants to go over the cliff. That's why the day after the election I tried to speed this process up by making a concession to put revenues on the table. And it's unfortunate that the White House spent three weeks doing basically nothing.

WALLACE: So, you've been around this time a long time, you've been in a lot of negotiations. What is their game? What is their thinking as to how they're going to work -- well, they just figure they won, they're going to get what they want?

BOEHNER: I have no idea, Chris. If I knew, I would share it with you. I don't know what they are thinking.

WALLACE: Do you think they are being bullies?

BOEHNER: I think -- they've won the election. They must have forgotten Republicans continue to hold a majority in the House. But, you know, the president's idea of a negotiation is: roll over and do what I ask.

We need to find common ground and we need to find it quickly.

WALLACE: And, again, you kind of didn't answer it the first time, what are the chances we're going to go over the cliff?

BOEHNER: There is clearly a chance. But I'm going to tell you, I might be an easy guy to get along with -- affable, obviously, I've worked in a bipartisan way on a number of agreements.
But I'm going to tell you one thing, Chris -- I'm determined to solve our debt problem. We have a serious spending problem and it's going to be dealt with.

WALLACE: And if the White House is unwilling to do it, are you prepared to say --

BOEHNER: We are going to deal with America's debt problem.

WALLACE: And if they refuse to do it in the way that you find acceptable?

BOEHNER: We're going to deal with it.

WALLACE: Sooner or later?

BOEHNER: Sooner or later. We're going to deal with this debt problem and we're going to do it now. We're not going to kick this can down the road again.

WALLACE: So, if it takes it, you'll go over the cliff.

BOEHNER: I don't want any part of going over the cliff. I'm going to do everything I can to avert that.


BOEHNER: We're going to solve America's debt problem.

WALLACE: Speaker Boehner, on that happy note, thanks for talking with us.

BOEHNER: Thank you.

WALLACE: Thank you.

And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Conservatives Beat Obama's #My2K Hashtag

President Obama asked Americans on Wednesday to tweet what they would do with an extra $2,000 that would come from a proposed extension of current tax cuts for middle-income households, with the hashtag #My2K.  
“Call your members of Congress. Write them an email. Tweet it using the hashtag #My2K.” —President Obama
There is already a coordinated effort by the left to rally behind this publicity stunt.

By the way, the savvy communications team at The Heritage Foundation got ahead of the game and bought the promoted tweet for the #My2K hashtag when they learned about the White House plans that morning.

Heritage’s tweet directed those on Twitter to a blog post at the think tank’s site (“4 Reasons Warren Buffett is Wrong on Tax Hikes“)

FYI... This is the tweet I sent to Barack Obama "While BO's threatening Americans that Republicans will steal their $2k he’s going on a 3 wk, $4Million Hawaiian vacation with

We need YOU to take a stand against the principles of Obama. We need YOU to tweet, call, and/or email YOUR members of Congress. Let Congress know they need to stand up to this tyrannical administration. They must stand their ground for a balanced approach with cuts to the out of control spending of this administration.

Based on research by Senator Tom Coburn, BILLIONS of dollars are being spent on MASSIVE waste, fraud and abuse within government departments.  When will actions to clean up this abuse be taken? We need to start there first.

Freedomworks is also asking us to remind Congress to keep their promise on the Sequester savings.
“Keep your promise on the sequester savings, and pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, in order to give Congress time to develop true fundamental tax reforms and genuine entitlement reforms.” Our representatives in Congress must keep their promise on the sequester savings and stop any efforts to raise taxes in this weak economy.
Related Links: Twitchy

Below you will find an alphabetical list of states with names of U.S. members of the 112th United States Congress. Each name links to the elected official's Twitter page.

Recommended guidelines for tweeting members of Congress: 
  • Only tweet Senators and Representatives from your state
  • Don't use any threatening verbiage
  • Don't be vulgar or crude
PLEASE share this with all you know.   

Senator Richard Shelby
Senator Jeff Sessions
Representative Jo Bonner
Representative Martha Roby
Representative Mike Rogers
Representative Robert B. Aderholt
Representative Mo Brooks
Representative Spencer Bachus

Senator Lisa Murkowski  
Senator Mark Begich
Representative Don Young

Senator John McCain
Senator Jon Kyl
Representative Paul A. Gosar
Representative Trent Franks
Representative Ben Quayle
Representative David Schweikert
Representative Jeff Flake
Representative Raul M. Grijalva
Representative Gabrielle Giffords


Senator John Boozman
Representative Rick Crawford
Representative Tim Griffin
Representative Steve Womack
Representative Mike Ross

Senator Barbara Boxer
Representative Tom McClintock
Representative Doris Matsui
Representative Lynn Woolsey
Representative George Miller
Representative Nancy Pelosi
Representative John Garamendi
Representative Jackie Speier
Representative Anna G. Eshoo
Representative Mike Honda
Representative Sam Farr
Representative Dennis Cardoza
Representative Jeff Denham
Representative Kevin McCarthy
Representative Elton Gallegly
Representative Howard P. (Buck) McKeon
Representative Brad Sherman
Representative Adam Schiff
Representative Xavier Becerra
Representative Karen Bass
Representative Maxine Waters
Representative Laura Richardson

Representative Grace Napolitano
Representative Ed Royce
Representative Jerry Lewis
Representative Gary Miller
Representative Joe Baca
Representative Ken Calvert
Representative Mary Bono Mack
Representative Dana Rohrabacher
Representative John Campbell
Representative Darrell Issa   
Representative Brian P. Bilbray
Representative Bob Filner

Senator Mark Udall

Senator Michael Bennet
Representative Diana DeGette
Representative Jared Polis
Representative Scott R. Tipton
Representative Cory Gardner
Representative Mike Coffman
Representative Ed Perlmutter


Senator Joe Lieberman
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Representative John Larson
Representative Rosa L. DeLauro
Representative Jim Himes
Representative Chris Murphy

Senator Tom Carper
Senator Christopher Coons
Representative John Carney


Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton

FLORIDASenator Bill NelsonSenator Marco RubioRepresentative Jeff MillerRepresentative Steve Southerland
Representative Corrine Brown
Representative Sandy Adams
Representative Ander Crenshaw
Representative Richard Nugent
Representative Cliff Stearns
Representative Daniel Webster
Representative Gus M. Bilirakis
Representative Dennis Ross
Representative Vern Buchanan
Representative Connie Mack
Representative Bill Posey
Representative Thomas J. Rooney
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Representative Ted Deutch
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart
Representative Allen West
Representative David Rivera


Senator Saxby Chambliss
Senator Johnny Isakson
Representative Jack Kingston
Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
Representative Lynn Westmoreland
Representative Hank Johnson
Representative Tom Price
Representative Austin Scott
Representative Tom Graves
Representative Paul C. Broun
Representative Phil Gingrey
Representative John Barrow
Representative David Scott

Senator Dan Inouye
Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka
Representative Colleen Hanabusa
Representative Mazie Hirono

Representative Raul Labrador
Representative Mike Simpson

Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Mark Kirk
Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Representative Luis V. Gutierrez
Representative Mike Quigley
Representative Peter Roskam
Representative Danny K. Davis
Representative Joe Walsh
Representative Janice Schakowsky
Representative Robert J. Dold
Representative Adam Kinzinger
Representative Jerry F. Costello
Representative Judy Biggert
Representative Randy Hultgren
Representative Don Manzullo
Representative Bobby Schilling
Representative Aaron Schock
Representative John Shimkus

Senator Richard G. Lugar
Senator Dan Coats
Representative Peter J. Visclosky
Representative Joe Donnelly
Representative Todd Rokita
Representative Dan Burton
Representative Mike Pence
Representative Andre Carson
Representative Larry Bucshon
Representative Todd Young

Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Tom Harkin
Representative Bruce Braley
Representative Leonard L. Boswell
Representative Tom Latham
Representative Steve King

Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Jerry Moran
Representative Tim Huelskamp
Representative Lynn Jenkins
Representative Kevin Yoder
Representative Mike Pompeo

Senator Rand Paul
Representative John Yarmuth
Representative Ed Whitfield
Representative Brett Guthrie
Representative Geoff Davis

Senator David Vitter
Representative Jeff Landry
Representative John Fleming
Representative Rodney Alexander
Representative Bill Cassidy
Representative Charles W. Boustany, Jr.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe
Senator Susan Collins
Representative Chellie Pingree
Representative Mike Michaud

Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Representative Steny Hoyer

Senator John Kerry
Senator Scott Brown
Representative Jim McGovern
Representative Niki Tsongas
Representative Ed Markey

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Carl Levin
Representative Dan Benishek
Representative Bill Huizenga
Representative Justin Amash
Representative Dave Camp
Representative Tim Walberg
Representative Gary Peters
Representative Candice Miller

Representative Thaddeus McCotter
Representative Sandy Levin
Representative Hansen Clarke
Representative John Conyers, Jr.
Representative John Dingell
Representative Dale E. Kildee
Representative Fred Upton

Senator Al Franken
Representative John Kline
Representative Erik Paulsen
Representative Keith Ellison
Representative Michele Bachmann
Representative Chip Cravaack

Senator Roger Wicker
Representative Alan Nunnelee
Representative Gregg Harper
Representative Steven Palazzo

Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Roy Blunt
Representative Todd W. Akin
Representative Russ Carnahan
Representative Billy Long

Senator Jon Tester
Representative Dennis Rehberg


Senator Ben Nelson
Senator Mike Johanns
Representative Jeff Fortenberry
Representative Lee Terry

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Dean Heller
Representative Shelley Berkley
Representative Joe Heck

Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Kelly Ayotte
Representative Frank C. Guinta
Representative Charles F. (Charlie) Bass

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
Senator Robert Menendez
Representative Frank A. LoBiondo
Representative Jon Runyan
Representative Frank Pallone, Jr.
Representative Rush Holt
Representative Albio Sires
Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Senator Tom Udall
Representative Martin Heinrich
Representative Steve Pearce
Representative Ben Ray Lujan

Senator Charles E. (Chuck) Schumer
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Representative Steve Israel
Representative Pete King
Representative Carolyn McCarthy
Representative Gregory W. Meeks
Representative Charles B. Rangel
Representative Jose E. Serrano
Representative Nita M. Lowey
Representative Nan A. S. Hayworth
Representative Chris Gibson
Representative Paul D. Tonko
Representative Maurice D. Hinchey
Representative Bill Owens
Representative Richard L. Hanna
Representative Ann Marie Buerkle
Representative Louise M. Slaughter
Representative Tom Reed
Representative Brian Higgins

Senator Richard Burr
Senator Kay Hagan
Representative Renee L. Ellmers
Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr.
Representative Virginia Foxx
Representative Mike McIntyre
Representative Sue Myrick
Representative Patrick McHenry
Representative Brad Miller


Representative Rick Berg


Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Rob Portman
Representative Steve Chabot
Representative Michael R. Turner
Representative Jim Jordan
Representative Bob Latta
Representative Bill Johnson
Representative Steve Austria
Representative John A. Boehner
Representative Dennis J. Kucinich
Representative Marcia L. Fudge
Representative Steven C. LaTourette
Representative Steve Stivers
Representative James B. Renacci
Representative Tim Ryan
Representative Bob Gibbs


Senator James M. Inhofe
Senator Tom Coburn
Representative John Sullivan
Representative James Lankford


Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeff Merkley
Representive Greg Walden
Representative Earl Bluemenauer
Representative Kurt Schrader

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Pat Toomey
Representative Robert A. Brady
Representative Chaka Fattah
Representative Jason Altmire
Representative Glenn (GT) Thompson
Representative Jim Gerlach
Representative Patrick Meehan
Representative Mike Fitzpatrick
Representative Bill Shuster
Representative Tom Marino
Representative Louis J. (Lou) Barletta
Representative Mark S. Critz  
Representative Mike Doyle
Representative Charlie Dent


Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Representative Jim Langevin

Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Jim DeMint
Representative Tim Scott
Representative Joe Wilson
Representative Trey Gowdy
Representative Mick Mulvaney
Representative James E. Clyburn
Representative Jeff Duncan

Senator Tim Johnson
Senator John Thune
Representative Kristi Noem


Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Bob Corker
Representative Phil Roe
Representative Chuck Fleischmann
Representative Scott DesJarlais
Representative Jim Cooper
Representative Diane Black
Representative Marsha Blackburn
Representative Steve Cohen

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
Senator John Cornyn
Representative Louie Gohmert
Representative Ted Poe
Representative Sam Johnson
Representative Jeb Hensarling
Representative Joe Barton
Representative John Culberson
Representative Kevin Brady
Representative Michael McCaul
Representative Kay Granger
Representative Ron Paul
Representative Bill Flores
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Representative Randy Neugebauer
Representative Lamar Smith
Representative Pete Olson
Representative Francisco R. (Quico) Canseco
Representative Kenny Marchant
Representative Michael C. Burgess
Representative Blake Farenthold
Representative Gene Green
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Representative John R. Carter
Representative Pete Sessions

Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Senator Mike Lee
Representative Jim Matheson
Representative Jason Chaffetz

Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Mark R. Warner
Representative Rob Wittman
Representative Scott Rigell
Representative Bobby Scott
Representative Randy Forbes
Representative Robert Hurt
Representative Bob Goodlatte
Representative Eric Cantor
Representative Jim Moran
Representative Morgan Griffith
Representative Gerry Connolly

Delegate Donna M. Christensen


Representative Jay Inslee
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Representative Norm Dicks
Representative Jim McDermott
Representative Dave Reichert
Representative Adam Smith


Senator Jay Rockefeller
Senator Joe Manchin
Representative David McKinley

Senator Ron Johnson
Representative Paul Ryan
Representative Tammy Baldwin
Representative Gwen Moore
Representative Sean Duffy
Representative Ron Kind
Representative Reid Ribble

Senator John Barrasso
Representative Cynthia Lummis

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"OBAMA IN PEE PEE" Glenn Beck Exposes More Hypocrisy Of The Left! Freedom Of Speech Through 'Art' Is Only For Liberals

The following is a clip from Glenn's TV show yesterday.  

(Editor’s note: The video above features Beck’s radio segment from Wednesday morning, discussing the eBay incident.)

If you ever used the term “whiz kid” to refer to Glenn Beck, you now have him pegged.
The media giant is reacting to controversy over a painting of President Obama resembling Jesus Christ on a crucifix by putting a bobblehead doll of President Obama into a container of what appeared to be urine.

“I like to call this ‘Flobama,’” Beck said with a false French accent, as he played the role of a freedom-loving artist expressing himself on his television program Tuesday evening.

A bobblehead doll of President Obama floating in a jar of what appeared to be urine.
He titled his artwork, “Obama in Pee Pee” and put a price tag of $25,000 on it. Ebay has since pulled the item, despite the proceeds slated for charity.

“I have been working on a masterpiece. I have been working on something for quite a while,” Beck clowned. “When I say quite a while, I mean all day, small little doses all day. I drank a lot of water when I did this.”

A note on Beck’s website the Blaze explained: “Beck decided that submerging an Obama ‘bobblehead’ doll in urine (later revealed to be completely fake) was necessary to convey his artistic message. He of course realizes this will be controversial and that many will find his use of the Obama figurine to be disrespectful. The idea, for Beck however, is not to be untoward, but through irony, to highlight the hypocrisy of those who would shout in defiance at defacing the image of a sitting U.S. president, but not that of an image so sacred to Christianity – the world’s largest religion.”

Beck also intended his artwork to highlight the hypocrisy of those who complain about demeaning Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“If his image were defaced in the same way as Christ’s has been so many times, the backlash could indeed be deadly and the ‘artist’ in question pursued by U.S. law enforcement (as was the case for the creators of the YouTube video ‘Innocence of Muslims’),” noted the Blaze.
Beck had singled out the artwork titled “Truth,” by Michael D’Antuono, which features Obama depicted as Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns, being crucified.

Public outrage prevented the work from being displayed in New York four years ago, but it is now in display at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery in Boston, as part of a larger exhibit called “Artists on the Stump – the Road to the White House 2012.”

It’s scheduled to remain on display through Dec. 15.

D’Antuono has said his “First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings” and that “we should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Attorney General of Virginia Suggests President Obama Stole The Election

Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, agreed with WMAL radio host Cheri Jacobus Tuesday when she insinuated that President Obama may have illegitimately won the election through lenient voting laws.

Jacobus stated, “He can’t win a state where photo ID is required. So clearly there’s something going on out there.” In fact, President Obama won Michigan and Florida, both of which have voter identification laws.

Jacobus’ co-host Brian Wilson claimed to have received several emails from listeners wishing to report voter fraud. He then asked Cuccinelli, “When you hear these kinds of stories, one wonders, why isn’t there a way for the Attorney General of the commonwealth of Virginia to get involved and to look into these matters?”

Cuccinelli told Wilson he was unable to investigate election violations unless state officials first requested an inquiry, but agreed that there “ought to be a way” for him to look into these matters. After Jacobus seemingly became angry with him for not investigating the voter fraud allegations, Cuccinelli stated, ”Your tone suggests you’re a little upset with me. You’re preaching to the choir. I’m with you completely.”

After the interview, Noah Wall, political spokesman for Cuccinnelli, said in an email that Cuccinelli never meant to question the legality of President Barack Obama‘s campaign: ”There is no question that President Obama legitimately won re-election. Ken was simply talking about the fact that there were problems on election day which need to be addressed.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

THIS is the best explanation of entitlements and class warfare-Dinesh D'Souza (VIDEO)

Excerpts from a debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Michael Shermer at the Socratic Club of Oregon State Univeristy on October 8, 2012.  D'Souza comments on the moral implications of government mandated services, specifically ObamaCare. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

After Obama's Failed Green Energy Investments In The US, WH Announces $6 Billion to Promote Clean Energy – in Asia

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. Obama is in Cambodia on the final leg of his three-country tour of Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
 White House Announces $6 Billion to Promote Clean Energy – in Asia
( – The White House announced the federal government will spend $6 billion over four years for a “sustainable energy future” plan with Asian countries that involves loaning tax dollars to other countries to increase their purchasing power for U.S. technology, services and equipment.

“Recognizing that energy and the environment are among the most pressing issues confronting our region, President Obama, in partnership with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, today proposed the U.S.-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future,” the White House announced Tuesday as Obama visits Asian Pacific countries.

The initiative comes after the Obama administration has been criticized for spending billions to subsidize U.S.-based green energy companies that went on to declare bankruptcy, including Solyndra, Ener1, A123, Beacon Power and other failed renewable energy ventures.

The White House announcement goes on to say that, “The United States will provide up to $6 billion to support the partnership.” Most of that will come from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which will launch a $5 billion export credit financing program to certain Asian countries over the next four years “to increase access to American technology, services and equipment to implement energy infrastructure.”

The Overseas Private Investment Corps (OPIC) will spend $1 billion in financing for sustainable power and clean energy infrastructure projects in Asia, according to the White House. OPIC is the federal government’s development finance institution that mobilizes private capital with the intent of advancing U.S. foreign policy and getting U.S. companies into emerging markets.

Read More: CNS News

Dems Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

"A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge."
Sen. Patrick Leahy previously said his bill boosts Americans' e-mail privacy protections by "requiring that the government obtain a search warrant." That's no longer the case.
Sen. Patrick Leahy previously said his bill boosts Americans' e-mail privacy protections by "requiring that the government obtain a search warrant." That's no longer the case.
(Credit: U.S. Senate)

Declan McCullagh by

Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans' e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.
CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Revised bill highlights

✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans' correspondence stored on systems not offered "to the public," including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant -- or subsequent court review -- if they claim "emergency" situations exist.

✭ Says providers "shall notify" law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they've been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to "10 business days." This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.

Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

It's an abrupt departure from Leahy's earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boasted last year that his bill "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."

Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys' Association and the National Sheriffs' Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to "reconsider acting" on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

One person participating in Capitol Hill meetings on this topic told CNET that Justice Department officials have expressed their displeasure about Leahy's original bill. The department is on record as opposing any such requirement: James Baker, the associate deputy attorney general, has publicly warned that requiring a warrant to obtain stored e-mail could have an "adverse impact" on criminal investigations.

Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that in light of the revelations about how former CIA director David Petraeus' e-mail was perused by the FBI, "even the Department of Justice should concede that there's a need for more judicial oversight," not less.

An aide to the Senate Judiciary committee told CNET that because discussions with interested parties are ongoing, it would be premature to comment on the legislation.

Markham Erickson, a lawyer in Washington, D.C. who has followed the topic closely and said he was speaking for himself and not his corporate clients, expressed concerns about the alphabet soup of federal agencies that would be granted more power:
❝ There is no good legal reason why federal regulatory agencies such as the NLRB, OSHA, SEC or FTC need to access customer information service providers with a mere subpoena. If those agencies feel they do not have the tools to do their jobs adequately, they should work with the appropriate authorizing committees to explore solutions. The Senate Judiciary committee is really not in a position to adequately make those determinations. ❞
The list of agencies that would receive civil subpoena authority for the contents of electronic communications also includes the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Maritime Commission, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Mine Enforcement Safety and Health Review Commission.

Leahy's modified bill retains some pro-privacy components, such as requiring police to secure a warrant in many cases. But the dramatic shift, especially the regulatory agency loophole and exemption for emergency account access, likely means it will be near-impossible for tech companies to support in its new form.

A bitter setback
This is a bitter setback for Internet companies and a liberal-conservative-libertarian coalition, which had hoped to convince Congress to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to protect documents stored in the cloud. Leahy glued those changes onto an unrelated privacy-related bill supported by Netflix.

At the moment, Internet users enjoy more privacy rights if they store data on their hard drives or under their mattresses, a legal hiccup that the companies fear could slow the shift to cloud-based services unless the law is changed to be more privacy-protective.

Members of the so-called Digital Due Process coalition include Apple,, Americans for Tax Reform, AT&T, the Center for Democracy and Technology, eBay, Google, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, TechFreedom, and Twitter. (CNET was the first to report on the coalition's creation.)

Leahy, a former prosecutor, has a mixed record on privacy. He criticized the FBI's efforts to require Internet providers to build in backdoors for law enforcement access, and introduced a bill in the 1990s protecting Americans' right to use whatever encryption products they wanted.
An excerpt from Leahy's revised legislation authorizing over 22 federal agencies to obtain Americans' e-mail without a search warrant signed by a judge.
An excerpt from Leahy's revised legislation authorizing over 22 federal agencies to obtain Americans' e-mail without a search warrant signed by a judge. Click for larger image.

But he also authored the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which is now looming over Web companies, as well as the reviled Protect IP Act. An article in The New Republic concluded Leahy's work on the Patriot Act "appears to have made the bill less protective of civil liberties." Leahy had introduced significant portions of the Patriot Act under the name Enhancement of Privacy and Public Safety in Cyberspace Act (PDF) a year earlier.

One obvious option for the Digital Due Process coalition is the simplest: if Leahy's committee proves to be an insurmountable roadblock in the Senate, try the courts instead.

Judges already have been wrestling with how to apply the Fourth Amendment to an always-on, always-connected society. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police needed a search warrant for GPS tracking of vehicles. Some courts have ruled that warrantless tracking of Americans' cell phones, another coalition concern, is unconstitutional.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies already must obtain warrants for e-mail in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, thanks to a ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010.


Contact you Senators and Congressmen and tell them to vote NO to this legislation:

Track this Bill HERE