"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins

The Battle Over the Deficit and Spending; Obama's Foreign Policy

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - limited video this week

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Diane W. Collins

The Weekly Wrap

Diane W. Collins

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins. Let's look at some of the activities on Capital Hill this past week and then move to a summary of the situation in Egypt.


President Obama paid a visit to the Chamber of Commerce on Monday, February 7th. His purpose was to stress the importance of government and business “working together” to get the economy going again. The President recognized his not-so-perfect relationship with the Chamber and suggested, "...maybe if we'd brought over a fruit cake when I first moved in we'd have gotten off to a better start." He attempted to bury the hatchet by telling those present what the “government was willing to do… invest.” The new code word for spend. Following his offer to give, President Obama clarified what he expected from business in return... to create more jobs in America, "support the American economy and invest in this nation."


Chairman Bachus & Rep. Frank

House Financial Services Committee


There were a number of House Committee meetings this week as Republicans geared up to take on the Obama Administration regarding the budget, the deficit, financial reform, energy, homeland security, foreign affairs, and intelligence. (Okay, breathe. It was a busy week.)


We heard testimony before the Budget Committee from Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke and Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. Watched with unabashed glee as the Financial Services Committee Chairman, Spencer Bachus (R-AL) presided over the Markup of the Committee’s Oversight Plan for the 112th Congress… not Rep. Barney Frank (D- MA). Side note: I found it interesting when Rep. Frank remarked on the “mean spirited” nature of the hearing. Mean spirited? Did you catch then-Chairman Frank’s maneuvers during the mark-up of the Dodd-Frank Financial Services Reform Bill? There were times I thought Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) was going to come right out of his chair as consistent blocks to offering amendments on the inclusion of Fannie and Freddie were encountered.


Speaking of Fannie and Freddie, Treasury Secretary Geithner released his new “Housing Plan” under which Fannie and Freddie Mac would cease to exist. The plan offers three options for achieving the goal; calls for a gradual wind down; and projects the transition will take five to seven years. However, according to The Hill newspaper, “…the plan rejects the notion of a housing system where the government does not assist low and moderate-income borrowers.” This week Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NY) of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Government Supported Enterprises (GSEs) said he welcomed working with Secretary Geithner and although much attention had been given to the Treasury Secretary’s plan, Garrett wanted to look at things that could be "done right now."

Then there was the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power which held a hearing concerning “The Effects of Middle East Events on US Energy Markets. That end foreign oil dependence idea came up which we fully support, as long as you do it the right way. Our stance? We need to take an all of the above approach to energy on a regional basis… but, don’t get me started. Go to our energy project www.EndForeignOilDependence.com to learn more.


The House Appropriations Committee introduced a Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) to fund the government for the next seven months in the absence of Congress passing the FY 2011 Federal Budget. You may remember the battles during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress over spending control that ended in a short-term CR, funding the government through March 4th. The new CR (H.R. 1) picks up where the last one ends and does so in a historic manner. H.R. 1 proposes to cut spending by over $100 billion from the President's FY 2011 request. The bill is to be introduced on the House floor Wednesday. Coincidentally, President Obama's FY 2012 budget will be released on Monday.


Amb. John Bolton

CPAC 2011

Other activities on the Hill included the testimony of John Pistole, TSA Administrator (remember the “naked scanners”) before the Homeland Securities Subcommittee on Transportation Security; and the Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings on the “Recent Developments in Egypt and Lebanon” delving into the implications for US policy and allies in the broader Middle East.


But, the committee hearing garnering the most press was that of the House Intelligence Committee during which President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper told the Committee the Muslim Brotherhood was a “… largely secular organization…. has eschewed violence… and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” The media went wild. This wasn’t Clapper's first gaffe. There was the interview with Diane Sawyer last December where Clapper admittedly was unaware of the widely-reported, alleged terror plot in London. Twelve men had been arrested.


Saturday, at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Amb. John Bolton addressed Clapper's remarks saying, “Some have called for General Clapper to resign. I’m not one of them. In this Administration we could get someone worse to replace him.”


I leave you with the video of Amb. Bolton's remarks on the Obama Administration's "foreign policy" and the situation in Egypt. He summarizes the past week's issues better than I ever could.


See you next week.



Contact: Representatives, Contact: Senators



Further Reading:

Financial Services Subcommittee on GSEs, video