Tag Archives: Rights

Rep. Campbell: Government, IRS, EPA Are ‘The Police State’

Rep. Campbell: Government, IRS, EPA Are ‘The Police State’

Rep. Campbell: Government, IRS, EPA Are ‘The Police State’
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) (AP)

(CNSNews.com) — Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) called the government, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “the police state” at a Financial Services Committee hearing at the Capitol on Thursday.

At the July 10 hearing, Legislation to Reform the Federal Reserve on Its 100-year Anniversary, the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act (HR 5018) was discussed, legislation which would require “the Federal Reserve to provide the Congress with a clear rule to describe the course of monetary policy.”

The act would also require the Fed to conduct cost-benefit analysis, require transparency on bank stress tests and international financial regulatory negotiations, and would order the Fed to disclose the salaries of highly paid employees.

An opponent of the measure, Dr. Simon Johnson, a professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, likened the Fed being audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is the government’s auditing office, to a “police state.”

In response, Rep. Campbell said, “The GAO? Having the GAO audit a government agency is a police state?”

“The police state is the government they’re auditing, that’s the police state,” Campbell said. “The police state is the IRS, the police state is the EPA, the police state is all them. That’s the police state. Auditing is not a police state. Now you’re really ticking me off.”

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) who introduced the Act, said the Fed must be accountable to the American people.

“Over the past several years, the Federal Reserve has been gaining unprecedented power, influence, and control over the financial system in Washington, while remaining shrouded in mystery to the American people,” Huizenga said.  “The standard operating procedure cannot continue. We must lift this veil of secrecy and ensure that the Fed is accountable to the people’s representatives.”

Huizenga’s statement was echoed by the chair of the committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

“Most recently we have seen a radical departure from the historic norms of monetary policy conduct from an unprecedented use of 13(3) exigent powers, to select intervention and distinct credit markets, to the facilitation of our sustainable national debt to a blurring of the lines between fiscal and monetary policy all of which presents large and unwarranted risk to our economy,” said Hensarling.

But opponents of the measure called it “tedious,” “expensive,” and like “audit the fed on steroids.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

“Today, under the guise of reform, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have put forth legislation that will cripple the Federal Reserve’s ability to promote growth, stabilize the economy, and in times of extraordinary crisis, take decisive action to avoid an economic collapse,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

“This legislation is a concession to the opponents of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act,” she said.  “By making the Fed’s rulemaking more tedious, more expensive, and subject to endless legal challenges than those who do not agree with these decisions. Unfortunately, this proposal follows a Republican roadmap we have seen too often on this Committee.”

Similarly, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said, “This bill also goes far beyond the ‘audit the fed’ bill that this House voted on last Congress. As one newspaper described it, it is ‘audit the fed on steroids.’”

“While it’s true that this bill doesn’t force by law the Fed to follow a particular formula for interest rates, it does attempt to bully the Fed into following the Republicans preferred monetary policy,” said Maloney.

Huizinga stood by the bill and questioned the constitutional standing of his colleagues, saying, “I cannot figure out why so many of my colleagues are willing to hand over their constitutional standing, I would argue their constitutional duty, to fulfill oversight responsibility.”

Obama administration to announce more benefits for same-sex couples

Obama administration to announce more benefits for same-sex couples

Gay marriage benefits
Gay marriage supporter Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in anticipation of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the cases against California’s gay marriage ban known as Prop 8 and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), outside the court building in Washington.

The White House is set to announce the extension of more benefits to same-sex married couples Friday, including plans to give workers across America leave from work to care for same-sex spouses.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration will urge Congress to pass legislation to make certain provisions like Social Security benefits to apply to same-sex married couples.

Friday’s announcement will arrive at the end of a nearly yearlong review of federal regulations after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied benefits to legally married gay couples.

After the ruling, President Obama directed Attorney General Eric Holder to work with the cabinet to review relevant status.

In a memo to the president, Mr. Holder is expected to report that they found impediments in the statutes governing only two agencies: the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, an administration official told The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the White House announcement, the Labor Department is expected to announce a notice of proposed rule making on employment leave, clarifying that the Family and Medical Leave Act will allow gay employees to take leave to care for a spouse of the same-sex.

The 2013 Supreme Court decision affected over 1,000 provisions of federal laws and many regulations that pertain to married couples. While the implementation of the court ruling will mean more federal benefits for married gay couples, legislation still will be required to change some provisions under current law.

The administration official said proposed legislation, including the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act, could fix the provisions that preclude same-sex married couples from receiving some federal benefits.