Tag archives: Congress

ProLifeCon Features Reps. Chris Smith and Vicky Hartzler

by Krystle Gabele

January 19, 2012

ProLifeCon is only five days away. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, and one of the goals is to empower online activists to bring awareness to the policies impacting the pro-life community in Washington.

We are excited to have Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey as one of our speakers. As co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Rep. Smith has been instrumental in advocating for pro-life legislation in the House of Representatives. Rep. Smith has also been a strong voice against human trafficking, and as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking, he has successfully written and passed into law The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler from Missouri will also be joining ProLifeCon as a featured speaker. Rep. Hartzler was elected to serve the Fourth District of Missouri in 2010, and she has been a tireless advocate for pro-life issues. She supported H.R. 3, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith. Rep. Hartzler is also a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking.

 

 

ProLifeCon has more exciting speakers who will be featured throughout this week. Click here to register today and learn how you can spread the pro-life message to others.

Should Catholics Have a Conscience?

by Krystle Gabele

November 22, 2011

Recently, Hot Air reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesnt understand why the U.S. Catholic bishops are against requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives, including known abortifacients. She belittles Catholics who object, conscientiously, to paying for or performing services that their church teaches are wrong.

Perhaps she should consider the Catholic Catechism, which says that Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. What could be more good than defending life? And what could be more evil than to disregard it, or denigrate those who seek to uphold it.

Even though the former Speaker is Catholic, she seems to have long forgotten that Catholicism is unequivocal in support of the sanctity of human life, from conception onward. This teaching is discussed throughout the Catechism, and there is even a section regarding the usage of abortifacients, and the Catholic Churchs stance against the use.

The Churchs teaching on this issue has a direct bearing on public policy. It is convenient to say, Im personally against abortion, but dont want to use my personal convictions to make laws. This is sad and silly: Our moral convictions inform our every decision, public or private; if one avers that personhood begins at conception, and believes this deeply, it should affect the way one legislates.

But as my colleagues Cathy Ruse and Rob Schwarzwalder have argued in their recent booklet, The Best Pro-Life Arguments for Secular Audiences, medical science and irreducible logic demonstrate that the embryo is a person and, if a person, deserving of legal protection.

As a Catholic, I am disheartened that Mrs. Pelosi would advocate against the sanctity of human life. God created life, and it is our role to protect the born and unborn. In fact, Mrs. Pelosi should be reminded of a passage in Jeremiah: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

As this passage indicates, God is the Author of life. If that is true, then one of governments most fundamental duties is to protect that which He has declared sacred. It is my hope that Mrs. Pelosi will come to recognize this truth.

Obamacare: More Bad News for Families?

by Chris Gacek

November 3, 2011

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, economist and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, concluded a recent column on Obamacare: Yes, health care will be affordable for low-income Americans but only if theyre unmarried. Her column doesnt appear to have received a great deal of attention, but Furchtgott-Roth was describing one line of analysis from an October 27th hearing conducted by the House Committee on Government Reform. The hearing was entitled Examining Obamacares Hidden Marriage Penalty and Its Impact on the Deficit. The details are a bit complicated, so I recommend reading the Furchtgott-Roth article. (A committee staff report is also available.) Suffice it to say that there is much to learn about Obamacare as Mrs. Pelosi once told us.

Deficit Deception: Don’t Bank on Social Security: A Primer in the Manifest Phoniness of the Social Security System

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 12, 2011

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the fiscal year 2010 deficit was $1.3 trillion. If the roughly $700 billion from Social Security had been kept in its own so-called Trust Fund and, as a result, subtracted from federal general revenues, the deficit would have been more than $2 trillion.

Instead, as economics writer James Pethokoukis observes, monies supposedly dedicated to Social Security are used as part of a fiduciary shell game” to “mask the true depth of the budget deficit.

How can Social Security and the federal government get away with this?

To answer that, a few foundational facts are needed.

For one thing, there is no Social Security Trust Fund. The Fund is an accounting device that’s used to hide the true size of the federal deficit.

The monies collected from taxpayers are, in an act of accounting sleight-of-hand, put into the Trust Fund for about a millisecond and are then replaced by “special-issue securities,” Treasury notes that the Social Security Administration (SSA) itself admits are “available only to the trust funds.”

In other words, the federal government takes money out of Social Security to pay for all kinds of things, including payments to retirees. It issues itself Treasury bonds to repay its loan from the Social Security Trust Fund but they are bonds only Social Security itself can buy. This is known, in stuffy bureaucracy-speak, as an intragovernmental loan.

SSA itself clarifies, “Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is invested in ‘special-issue’ securities. The cash exchanged for the securities goes into the general fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishable from other cash in the general fund.” Invested, indeed keep reading.

So, the money that the federal treasury siphons-out of the erstwhile “trust fund goes to cover general revenues of all kinds: From the common federal budget pot, the monies are used to pay for freeway projects in Iowa and aircraft carriers to U.S. Postal System delivery trucks. Oh, yes, and payments to Social Security recipients, or beneficiaries, as well.

Here’s how Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press explains it:

The money in the trust funds has been spent over the years to help fund other government programs. In return, the Treasury Department issued bonds to Social Security, which earn interest and are backed by the government, just like bonds sold in public debt markets. When Social Security runs a deficit, it redeems its bonds with the Treasury Department to cover the red ink. But Treasury gets the money to pay Social Security the same places the government gets all its money: either from taxes and other revenues or by borrowing it. Last year, the government borrowed 37 cents of every dollar it spent. This year it’s borrowing 43 cents of every dollar.”

The interest earned is merely a designed percentage payment Uncle Sam adds onto the amount of the loan derived not from any kind of profitable investment itself, but from the printing presses of the federal treasury. The interest is merely added out of fiat-drenched thin air.

Why does the government do this? Very simply: If Social Security designated funds - the money that comes out of all of our paychecks to pay Social Security income to seniors were not used for general revenue, the deficit would be shown to be even more gigantic than it is, as noted above.

How much money are we talking about? As indicated in the first graph of this piece, the CBO says that Social Security contributed $706 billion to the federal budget in FY 2010. Thats about one-fifth of the total budget.

Some argue that since beneficiaries are getting paid, whats the big deal?

Last year, the pay-out total to retirees was $41 billion more than what was taken in through Social Security taxes. For the first time in roughly 30 years, the SSA ran a deficit one larger, in itself, that all but a handful of the countries in the world.

Second, the false assurance that the trust funds dollars are invested is a lie pure and simple. This investment is actually nothing more than a credit slip that says, in as many words, that the money will be put back in by the Treasury with a certain percentage of interest, interest not derived from anywhere but balance side of a phony federal ledger.

Third, were the money actually invested in interest-bearing accounts, using historic rates of return, the SSA would not be facing the historic crisis it faces in the next quarter-century. Consider: Over the course of its history, the stock market with all the dips, depressions, recessions, wars, etc. we have faced has had an inflation adjusted return of between six and seven percent.

Given the monies poured into the Social Security system since its inception in the 1930s, such a return would have prevented the current, and future, profound shortfalls we are facing.

Fourth, and perhaps most ominously, is the dearth of workers who pay into the system. That number has shrunk from 16 employees per beneficiary to slightly under 3 workers per beneficiary today. As Americas population ages, that ratio will shrink, to our profound fiscal danger, more and more.

Charles Krauthammer notes that should the debt continue to build like a throbbing volcano, the full faith and credit of the federal government wont mean much and not just Social Security, but the whole economy, will be at grave risk:

In judging the creditworthiness of the United States, the world doesnt care what the left hand owes the right. Its all one entity. It cares only what that one entity owes the world … (W)hat would happen to financial markets if the Treasury stopped honoring the special issue bonds in the Social Security trust fund? A lot of angry grumbling at home for sure. But externally? Nothing. This default would simply be the Treasury telling the Social Security Administration that henceforth it would have to fend for itself in covering its annual shortfall.

The other alternative: Treasury tells SSA no such thing and simply pays back, using not real assets but accredited and/or printed monies from Treasurys printing presses, what it owes SSA: The money will, at some point, stop holding much, if any, value. At that point, the world will care a lot, because it will indicate the Weimar-esque quality of the U.S. greenback.

There are a number of ways to correct the problem before Social Security runs completely out of money in about 26 years.

Former FRC scholar and current Howard Center director Alan Carlson argues convincingly, as Americans have more children, we will remedy at least much of the crisis by having more workers to pay into the Social Security system itself. House Speaker John Boehner and others argue for raising the full retirement age from 65 to, say 67 or even 70, which more accurately reflects growing longevity and work patterns and would save large amounts annually.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is among the leading advocates of allowing younger income-earners to invest at least a graduated/growing portion of their Social Security dollars into private retirement accounts, not unlike the federal employees Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

This could be done directly, from the employees paycheck, and be directed into one or more of several fund-types managed independently, just as TSP funds are.

What is clear is that the current system is neither sustainable nor honest. While no one expects President Obama to advance the reforms necessary, the next President should.

If Social Security is not just to survive but refrain from being a fiscal anvil around the national neck, the next President must.

Formerly chief of staff to two Members of Congress and a presidential appointee in the George W. Bush Administration, Schwarzwalder is senior vice-president of the Family Research Council.

Marcia Walden’s Story: Losing My Job for My Christian Beliefs

by FRC Media Office

March 29, 2011

Marcia Walden, a licensed counselor in Georgia, explains why she was fired after referring a homosexual client to a colleague. Marcia referred the client to another colleague because offering counseling services would conflict with her Christian beliefs on homosexuality. Under ENDA legislation currently before Congress, Christian employers and employees across the nation would experience similar attacks on their Constitutional right to freedom of religion, speech and association.

For more on how you can protect the religious liberties of employers and employees, visit FightEnda.org.

Homosexual Agenda is Low PriorityEven for Democrats

by Peter Sprigg

July 13, 2010

Not only are the Obama administration and the Pelosi-led Democrats in Congress out of step with the American public in giving high priority to pushing a radical homosexual agenda, but they are out of step with their own Democratic base. Thats the message of a recent, admittedly unscientific survey conducted by The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). Heres how they described the survey:

More than 2,000 Democratic supporters offered input, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia… . Respondents were asked to rank how important a series of issues were to them. The issues were: Fully Funding Public Schools, Expanding Environmental Protections and Clean Energy, Strengthening Government Ethics Rules, Promoting Job Growth, and Promoting Equal Rights for the LGBT Community.

The results? All five issues were rated “extremely important” by a majority of respondents—except for LGBT “Equal Rights,” which got that rating from only 47.3%. By contrast, over 80% of respondents rated Public Education as extremely important. The homosexual agenda even had 19.3% of these Democratic activists dismissing it with replies of “not very important” (7.9%), “not important at all” (5.6%), or “no answer” (5.8%). Only 5.6% were as negative toward education as a priority.

We can only hope Congressional leadership will take this into account in determining whether to make homosexuals in the military and ENDA a priority in the tight legislative calendar between now and next January, when the new Congress takes office.

Democrats 2010 Legislative Priorities Survey

The Fumes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood

by Chris Curry

November 13, 2009

Wednesdays headline in The Hill led with the caption Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriquez and Teague. Apparently NARAL and Planned Parenthood are ticked because Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) and Congressman Harry Teague (D-N.M.) voted in support of the Stupak Amendment which removed abortion funding from the health care bill (1).

Very few news organizations are reporting on the divide that is developing within the Democratic Party. Many Congressional Democrats, who firmly believe in the federal funding of abortion, are out for the blood of those who exercised a vote according to their conscience. This shouldnt be terribly surprising since these pro-abortion House Members are also interested in taking away the conscience rights of doctors, but I digress.

Still, there is a huge overlooked question that begs to be asked. Why is a charitable organization which receives federal funds allowed to make financial contributions to candidates who vote for giving federal funds back to the organization? Let alone threaten to remove the base of support when the candidate votes their conscience. Does anyone see anything wrong with this circular problem? Planned Parenthood receives over $350 million annually in federal funds (2). Through this legislation, they were lobbying to up the ante significantly, thus lining their fat pockets even more. And, although the Stupak Amendment passed the House for now, they are not done with that fight!

While NARAL doesnt receive federal funds, their business practices are questionable as they fail to meet the Better Business Standards for Charity Accountability (3). Considering NARALs work got its start through the successful use of enormous lies, this is simply par for the course (4). Every time NARAL comments on issues like these, the public should be reminded of their questionable practices and roots

When will this outrageous behavior end? Who are elected officials representing: the people who vote for them; or the special interests who pay for slick advertising to sway the voters? Okay, so that question is too easy.

Every time Planned Parenthood opens their mouth on an issue like this, why arent reporters calling into question the dog Planned Parenthood has in this hunt?

Why isnt Planned Parenthood being investigated? As previously mentioned, they make campaign contributions to Members of Congress who reciprocate through the funding of Planned Parenthood. Their staff have been recorded numerous times counseling underage girls who admit to being impregnated by adults. Instead of reporting a crime of rape, they provide abortion counseling support and encourage the girls to conceal the age and specifics of their rapists (5).

Reporters need to stop scratching their heads and the surface of these stories. Weve heard it before and Ill shout it again, its time they dig deep, accurately investigate and report on these issues. Weve come a long way from the days of Murrow. Even worse, weve come even further from a time when our elected truly represented the electorate.

(1) Abortion-rights groups threaten not to fund Rodriguez and Teague http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/67473-threat-to-rodriguez-teague-from-abortion-rights-groups-

(2) Planned Parenthood Annual Report: Abortion Totals, Government Funding Increase http://www.lifenews.com/nat4978.html

(3) BBB Wise Giving Report for

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/human-services/naral-pro-choice-america-foundation-in-washington-dc-507

(4) Lies and Fraud of Roe v. Wade: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53872

(5) Live Action Films: http://liveaction.org/

Live Webcast Tonight - Government Takeover of Healthcare: Counting the Cost

by Jared Bridges

November 3, 2009

Be sure to tune in tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST for the live video webcast of Government Takeover of Health Care: Counting the Cost. Weve invited Members of Congress, financial analysts, and FRC policy experts to join us live at our Washington, D.C. headquarters to help us assess this bill as Congress prepares to vote this week.

Participants include:

  • Host: Tony Perkins, President, FRC Action
  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
  • Congressman Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-La.)
  • Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
  • Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, National Right to Life
  • Karen Steward, Research Analyst, The Polling Company
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
  • Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis, American Family Association
  • Richard Scott, Chairman, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, Conservatives for Patients Rights
  • Phil Kerpen, Policy Director, Americans for Prosperity
  • Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, FRC Action
  • David Christensen, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs, Family Research Council
  • Dr. David Prentice, Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, Center for Human Life and Bioethics, Family Research Council
  • Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, Family Research Council

An archive of the webcast will be available following the event.

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