Won’t Or Cantor?

It’s amazing how HR 1207, The Federal Reserve Transparency Act continues to gather co-sponsors.  Since my post on April 30 when there were a little over 100 co-sponsors, the list has ballooned to 224!  In fact, I just got an email from my Representative’s office on this very issue.  It reads:

Dear Joshua:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the need for greater accountability of the Federal Reserve System, commonly referred to as “the Fed.” It is good to hear from you, and I am pleased to inform you that I have cosponsored legislation addressing this issue.

The Fed has a unique role in our financial system. Since its creation by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, this central banking organization has been the subject of relatively loose scrutiny. The Fed is currently required to publish numerous annual reports and is audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). However, the GAO is prohibited from auditing monetary policy operations, foreign transactions, and the operations of the Federal Open Market Committee, the primary policy-making body through which monetary policy is formulated. This is particularly troubling considering the fact that the Fed has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out failing financial institutions in the past year alone.

I believe that the Fed’s funding facilities and relationship with the Department of the Treasury deserve careful evaluation, as does its relationship with foreign entities. Our financial system has experienced a period of shock over the last several months. To avoid unnecessary further damage, I believe it is fundamental that we provide stronger oversight of the Fed.

To address this problem, Representative Ron Paul of Texas introduced H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009. This legislation would provide the GAO the authority to fully audit the Fed and require an audit of its Board of Governors. H.R. 1207 would require this audit to be completed by the end of 2010, presented to the relevant Congressional committees of jurisdiction and Congressional leadership, and made available to any Member of Congress within 90 days.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 was introduced on February 26, 2009, and was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. No further action has taken place. As a cosponsor of H.R. 1207, rest assured I will work hard to see this legislation signed into law.

I appreciate you taking the time to contact me. I feel it is important to keep an open line of communication so I can best serve the interests of the 6th District. I hope you will continue to be in touch as the 111th Congress debates issues of importance to the United States.

Again, thanks for the benefit of your comments. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance.

Sincerely,
Bob Goodlatte
Member of Congress

I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate a letter from my Congressman.  Now given that there are 435 members in the House of Representatives, that means that over a half of the members openly support this legislation. According to my count, 117 of the 178 Republican members of the House of Representatives are in favor, as are 61 Democrats.  Joining the ranks of our Rep. Wittman (VA-1) and Rep. Goodlatte (VA-6) are Randy Forbes (VA-4), Frank Wolf (VA-10), and even newly elected Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello (VA-5).  Thank you!  Every Virginia House Republican has joined in the effort…every Virginia Republican but one…Rep. Eric Cantor.

Representative Eric Cantor (VA-7) is arguably the most powerful member in the Virginia Republican House delegation as he serves as the Republican Whip.  One function of the whip is to rally fellow party members behind important legislation.  But where is Eric Cantor when it comes to HR 1207?  Why has he not taken a stand?  Have his fellow Republicans charted the course ahead of him?  Is he content to be a silent follower on this issue?  Or does he intend to balk at the wishes of the majority of his party?  I recently called his Culpeper office to discover the answer.  Not surprisingly, that office referred me to his office in Washington, D.C.  From there, I was redirected to a nonfunctioning voice mail.  Whoops!  So, undeterred, on Monday, I tried again.  This time, the D.C. office informed me that Rep. Cantor has not yet reached a decision regarding The Federal Reserve Transparency Act.  Not reached a decision?  Come on Representative Cantor!  Using your influence and position as whip, you can and should lead other Republicans to support greater accountability and openness in the federal government.  Therefore as a reader of this article, your mission is clear.  If you live within the 7th district and support HR 1207, then I strongly recommend that you contact Rep. Cantor’s D.C. office (202.225-2815) and urge him to support the resolution.

Goodlatte On Board

Several days ago, I sent a message to the staff of my Representative, Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) regarding HR 1207, also known as the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Specifically, I wanted to know the Congressman’s opinion on the legislation, and, if he agreed with such legislation, if he would sign on as a co-sponsor.  This resolution (text found here) sponsored by Ron Paul (TX-14) seeks to curtail the vast power of the Federal Reserve by requiring an audit of the system prior to 2011.  I believe that it is an important step to restoring fiscal integrity and making the government and independent agencies accountable to the people.

This evening, while reading an updated list of co-sponsors to the resolution (now over 100 fellow members of the House of Representatives), I was delighted to see that Representative Goodlatte’s name along side Rep. Broun (GA-10) and Rep. Garrett (NJ-5).  Thank you Rep. Wittman (VA-1) too!  What about the rest of the Virginia delegation?  I’m talking about you, Glenn Nye, Bobby Scott, Randy Forbes, Tom Perriello, Eric Cantor, Jim Moran, Rick Boucher, Frank Wolf, and Gerry Connolly.  It’s time for you to make a stand for freedom, limited government, and the Constitution…or are all those things outdated?  Anyway, maybe, just maybe the government will start to shift in the right direction.  Here’s hoping.

Grahamnesty Comes to Harrisonburg (Part 2)

Well, it turns out that GOPguy1 was right.  The event on Tuesday at the GOP headquarters served as little more than a McCain pep rally.  I’m not quite sure why they did not label the event as such ahead of time.  The HQ was pretty crowded and, as expected, the three politicians showed up late.  Looking around, I saw they’d gotten a bunch of new high tech phones that likely came from the RNC.  State Senator Obenshain (26th-R Harrisonburg) was in attendance too.  As you might know, I was hoping he would’ve run for Attorney General in 2009, but I suppose we’ll have to wait another four years.  I don’t know where our Delegate, Matt Lohr (26th-R Broadway) has been keeping himself.  Although I don’t attend every GOP event here, I cannot recall the last time I saw him.  I wonder if he has been intentionally staying out of the limelight (for some unknown reason) or if he is just busy with his farming duties.

Even though the experience was not terribly exciting, I thought that there were two extremely amusing moments during the event, both from our local McCain representative, Michael Ganoe.  First, as he implored the attendees to volunteer during the last two week period, he stated that we should forgo our social and recreational activities, like our children’s sports, because, I kid you not, if Barack Obama wins then we will no longer be able to enjoy these activities.  That suggestion was greeted by a vocal amen from one man in the crowd.  Although I know the importance of hyping every campaign, the suggestion is still ridiculous!  It further illustrates the tactics of fear that have become so commonplace to the campaign.  Should we all leave the country if Obama is victorious?  How soon until we are rounded up into camps?  If McCain cannot win on his own merits (which I believe is impossible), then they resort to demonizing Obama.  The second funny moment came once Congressman Goodlatte arrived.  Here Mr. Ganoe, along with the crowd, thanked Bob Goodlatte for voting against the bailout.  If only Senators Warner and Graham were there then, I would been interested to witness their reactions as they, along with Senator McCain, both voted for the massive corporate welfare.  If that issue is as important to you as it is to me, how can you support a candidate like McCain who rammed the bill through Congress irrespective of the Constitution?

Later, Senator Warner arrived, followed by Senator Graham and they sang their praises of Senator McCain.  Although they sounded fairly reasonable, (at least for neoconservatives), unfortunately both speeches focused more on what’s wrong with Barack Obama rather than what is right about John McCain.  Senator Graham stated “If we send one more dollar of your money to Washington DC in the name of compassion we’re going to break the back of business and some of you are going to lose your jobs.”  So true Senator Graham.  Good thing you voted for the bailout huh?  I think I’d like my excess tax dollars back rather than ship them off to failing corporations.  I guess, unlike you, I’m not very compassionate.  After his speech, Senator Graham parroted McCain’s plan of compelling the federal government to buy up the bad mortgages.  Good idea!  I’m sure that plan won’t require more dollars to be sent to Washington.

But what’s a post about an event without pictures?  Oh, oh…what is this?  A shaky video too?  Hot dog!  Here.  Enjoy!

Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (1)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (1)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (2)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (2)
Fancy new phones for the HQ
Fancy new phones for the HQ
Looking for Volunteers
Looking for Volunteers
Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Warner
Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Warner
Sen. Warner, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Graham
Sen. Warner, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Graham

Grahamnesty comes to Harrisonburg?

A few hours ago I got an email from the local GOP indicating that Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) as well as Senator Warner will be coming to Harrisonburg tomorrow in support of Representative Goodlatte.

The details (in case you can make it):

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA

WHO: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA)

U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

WHAT: Rally at Harrisonburg Virginia Victory Headquarters

WHEN: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 12:45 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Harrisonburg Virginia Victory Headquarters

182 Neff Avenue

Harrisonburg, VA

This email raises numerous questions.  First, why would they announce the event less than 24 hours in advance?  Won’t turnout be extremely low?  Second, why are liberal “maverick” senators like Graham and Warner supporting Goodlatte?  For the record, Warner hasn’t supported Gilmore and, most likely, will not do so.  Also, shouldn’t Graham focus his time on his own re-election bid against Bob Conley?  Third, and perhaps most importantly, why the heck would a conservative like Goodlatte want face time with Graham and Warner?

It is strange, very strange indeed.  If I can make it, I’ll let you know what I can find out.

Update:  I suppose that Louis is correct.  Calling Warner and Graham liberals would likely be incorrect.  They, like McCain, sometimes have liberal policies and sometimes have conservative policies.  Unfortunately, they are not wed to the strict conservative philosophies of limited government and personal responsibility.  I believe that both South Carolina and Virginia are conservative enough to find Senators who are closer to true conservatives (Conley and Gilmore in the present election).

Hurrah for the Welfare State

Well folks, the bailout is now a fact of life. Rather than the nasty $700 billion version first suggested, we now have a version that is loaded with so much pork and special projects that it turns our federal government into a corporate Santa Claus. Goody. Although a majority of the house members voted against the first package, a number of congressmen were quite willing to support a revised bill that gives gifts to their districts and pet interests, at the expense of the taxpayers of course. Fortunately, some constitutionally minded members of the House were able to retain their sanity like my own Representative Bob Goodlatte, such as Ron Paul and Scott Garrett. I don’t know who are worse, members like Eric Cantor who twice blatantly disregarded the constitution in favor of corporate greed, or congressional prostitutes who only will sellout their principles for an agreed upon price. Normally I would take the opportunity to rail against the votes of liberal Virginia Republicans like Rep. Tom Davis and Sen. John Warner, but fortunately neither will misrepresent Virginia values for much longer. While I’m on the topic, how can some Republicans claim personal welfare is a terrible thing and yet ardently support corporate welfare? Welfare, in either form, is the government-sanctioned redistribution of wealth from one person or group to another. I do not believe that either is constitutional and therefore both are tantamount to “legalized” theft. Despite what some politicians say, remember that just because something is made legal, it is not necessarily moral. Although a Democrat (therefore I hold you to a different standard), please know that I am still disappointed in you Sen. Jim Webb. Didn’t you campaign as a fairly conservative Democrat? Where are those conservative principles now? Will both parties drag us kicking and screaming into a new and glorious government welfare paradise? Must all Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, be forced shout “Hurrah for the Welfare State”?

In response to the bailout bill, Congressman Goodlatte (6th-VA) responded with the following statement:

“Today the U.S. House of Representatives considered legislation, the Financial Stabilization Package, aimed at stabilizing the growing financial crisis currently facing our country. Nothing is more important to me than ensuring the future growth of our economy and we can all agree that Congress has a responsibility to act to ensure that credit, the lifeline of our economy, remains available to individuals, families, students, and small businesses all across this country.

Inaction has never been an option. However, after much deliberation, I reached the conclusion that this legislation, which I voted against, is not the solution to our long-term financial problems or our short term credit liquidity crisis. While improvements have been made to the legislation, at its core it is the same as the revised Paulson plan which the House defeated earlier this week.

The Financial Stabilization Package represents the largest corporate bailout in American history by taking 700 billion dollars of taxpayers’ hard-earned money and handing it over to the very companies that made the bad decisions which led us into this mess in the first place. We literally reward those financial institutions who engaged in risky behavior to the tune of up to $8,000 for every family of four in the U.S. Since the federal government has to get this money from somewhere, it will borrow it, increasing the national debt. Not only will the government be paying $700 billion to bailout these reckless Wall Street companies, but also the billions of dollars in interest to pay off the debt. The bill requires the federal government to evaluate and purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of complex securities. Then the government will have to manage and ultimately sell these assets in an effort to recoup the taxpayers’ money. This is a responsibility for which it has no expertise and is a major intrusion in the financial markets with untold unintended consequences. This will directly affect every American by weakening the dollar and raising the cost of goods and services.

I believe there are other ways to turn this credit crisis around and stabilize our economy without penalizing taxpayers for the sins of those on Wall Street. The fundamental problem we face today is that no one knows how much the risky mortgage-backed securities are worth, and thus no private buyers are willing to purchase them. I am supportive of alternative initiatives to mandate that financial institutions purchase insurance from the federal government on these risky assets which places the burden on financial institutions to pay premiums for the insurance. The guarantee by the federal government would help unlock the liquidity of these assets by placing a minimum value on them. This would also limit the negative effects on taxpayers.

Other proposals worthy of consideration include funding assistance through a guaranteed bond program, which would be purchased by private investors, or a guarantee initiative similar to the net worth certificate program of the 1980s. These initiatives deserved scrutiny and consideration. Each of these would involve some financial participation by those who caused the problem. None were debated or voted on in this process.

I am pleased that after much urging from many Members of Congress, including myself, the mark-to-market accounting rules, which allows all financial institutions including local banks, to fairly value their assets and help to ease the credit crisis facing the country, were eased.

Our economy faces historic and unprecedented challenges. Most importantly Congress must not view the passage of the Financial Stabilization Package as the lone solution to the troubles in our national economy. It is critical that Congress continue to examine the root cause of this crisis, including fiscal irresponsibility and a lack of resolve to rebuild our domestic economy, including energy production.

I remain committed to working with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure that businesses are held accountable for their actions, which should help restore long term confidence in our financial markets and set our economy back on the right track.”

As the stock market continues to slide downward, like water circling a drain, I could not help but think of the song “Stay Together for the Kids” by Blink-182 and how appropriately it applies to not only this bailout, but also the federal government in general. As the lyrics say, they rarely find solutions, create many more problems, and are routinely generous with the possessions of others.

I’m pleased to say that there is some good news friends. Fortunately for constitutional conservatives like myself, on the issue of welfare, we are offered a clear choice for president in this election. On the one hand, we have a candidate who vigorously supports a version of the welfare state and voted for the largest corporate welfare bailout in history. On the other hand, we have…hmm…well…another candidate who vigorously supports a version of the welfare state and voted for the largest corporate welfare bailout in history.

Uh oh.

That Special Time of Year

Well, the time is upon us once again. What time you might ask? True, it is football season, but also important is the official start of the election season here in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Although we have our annual booth at the fair (if you’ve never experienced it, you really should), the true start to the season begins with the opening of the city/county Republican Party Headquarters.

On Friday, after the usual gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet, we met at our new headquarters. This year, like many in the past, it is located in the same shopping center as Heavenly Ham behind the Valley Mall. It is a good location I think. Although I do enjoy the charm offered by a downtown setting, the parking and proximity to many places of business make it more accessible. Though to be honest, as long as we aren’t in the former tattoo parlor on route 11 as we were in 2006, I think we are doing pretty well.

Our own Congressman Bob Goodlatte was there to open the HQ, which was a nice touch. I wish our State Senator and Delegate could have made it too, but as for Senator Obenshain, I was told he had to attend to his attorney duties at that time. It was certainly understandable. It looks as it we will have a goodly number of people in the building at most hours of the day as one desk appeared to be set aside for an RPV staffer and the McCain campaign has sent one or two employees to work out of the location. It is a smart move I think. Certainly this area is fertile ground for likely Republican voters and John McCain would likely need strong majorities in this region to counteract northern Virginia.

But, what would this post be without pictures? Enjoy!

Front of Headquarters
Front of Headquarters

The Crowd Gathers (1)
The Crowd Gathers (1)

A View of the Crowd (2)
A View of the Crowd (2)

Making Signs
Making Signs

The very hard working Chairman, Mike Meredith
The very hard working Chairman, Mike Meredith

Our Representative, Bob Goodlatte
Our Representative, Bob Goodlatte

The Crowd Again
The Crowd Again

Back to Sign Making
Back to Sign Making

Divided We Fail Update

Hello once again. I wanted to give you all an update concerning my earlier post about the AARP group, “Divided We Fail” which is pushing for greater government intervention in healthcare and retirement. In the early part of this month I wrote a letter to both Representative Goodlatte (VA-6) and Representative Garrett (NJ-5) as a follow-up to my earlier post about the subject called “Divided We Succeed?” Just the other day, I got a response from my Congressman Bob Goodlatte. Unfortunately, as I am not a constituent of Congressman Garrett, I assume by this point I will not get any answer from him, which is a bit of a disappointment but not entirely unexpected. Should I get a letter or email from the New Jersey Congressman, I will be certain to let you know.  Rather than comment right now, I wanted to post both my letter and Representative Goodlatte’s response.

To: The Honorable Representative Bob Goodlatte
Of the 6th Congressional District of Virginia

Good afternoon to you, Sir.

I am writing you today as a result of my research concerning the group Divided We Fail. Although I have seen their efforts, including their booth at the Republican Convention in Richmond in May, I never gave them much thought. Recently, however I decided to find out what they are all about, and I found the results troubling. According to their own mission statement, they believe that “all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care”, “all Americans should have peace of mind about their future long-term financial security”, and “We stand as strong champions for the new American dream — to build a 21st century America where these issues are paramount so that all people can have the opportunity for a prosperous future. We also believe that individuals, businesses, health care providers, non-profit organizations, and government must work together to find solutions – personally, privately and publicly. We represent tens of millions of Americans and we believe that all of us share a responsibility for making our society work and restoring peace of mind to all Americans.”

If I understand them correctly, they are pushing for greater Federal government involvement in the areas of retirement and health care. The problem as I see it is twofold. First, as Americans, do we not have faith in the individual and the free market to plan for his or her own future, free from the tendrils of utopian Socialistic schemes? Second, and perhaps far more troubling, is the continued and blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution for it does not grant such power to the National government. Although not as celebrated as the rest of the Bill of Rights, doesn’t the 10th Amendment reserve such authority to the states and the citizens? Is my comprehension of this unconstitutional effort led by the AARP the same as your own, sir? And if so, how is it that some supposedly conservative members of Congress support such a blatant move toward a liberal welfare state?

Thank you for your time. May you continue to promote the values and principles of the people of the 6th district.

Sincerely,

Joshua

To follow would have been Congressman Goodlatte’s letter in reply, however, after speaking with Congressman Goodlatte’s Chief of Staff a few moments ago, I was asked not to post the letter out of concern that it may be taken out of context.  Apparently it was not written for general consumption, just for me.  Therefore, out of respect for the Congressman, I will not be including his letter, truly sorry about that readers.  Nevertheless, I will mention that he does address the issues of health care choice, federal spending and a balanced budget amendment, and the 10th Amendment and the Enumerated Powers Act. I do want to point out though that the Congressman stated that he indeed did not sign the “Divided We Fail” pledge nor was he planning to do so.

Now, as voters in this great commonwealth, or perhaps another state, if you agree with my above letter, I strongly recommend that you write your Representative or Senators.  Perhaps your Congressmen or Women adhere to the principles of the Constitution, or maybe they do not, but I strongly believe that if enough of their constituents demand accountability, they will listen.  For myself, I think I’ll try contacting our newest Senator, Jim Webb.  He hasn’t signed the “Divided We Fail” pledge yet.  Let’s see what he says…

Until next time,

The Virginia Conservative