This episode is a mash-up of the State of the Union and the 2014 budget. We compare the impression President Obama gave us about what to expect for this upcoming year with the reality of what was funded in the last-minute and little-examined budget which he signed into law just two weeks before the speech.
Information Presented in this Episode
The following quotes are from the 2014 State of the Union. Let’s compare them to what was in the budget which he recently signed into law:
The 2014 Budget (H.R. 3547)
“Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got every-thing they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way, but the budget com-promise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.” – President Obama
- The budget should have been done by September 30, 2013.
- This new law puts all 12 appropriations bills into one big monster law.
- The bill was put on the House’s schedule on January 13th at 8pm and was passed on January 15.
- The budget is 1,582 pages long.
- The budget was attached as an amendment to H.R. 3547, the bill extending the insurance program for commercial space flight which was highlighted in episode CD058. The insurance program was originally extended for a year; the budget bill extended it until 2017.)
“Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of- the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades. One of the reasons why is natural gas. If extracted safely, it is the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to in-vest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I will cut red tape to help States get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.” – President Obama
- (Division G – Section 108) The Interior Secretary will set up Internet program for oil and gas leasing.
Lip Service to Fracking Water Poisoning
“Meanwhile, my administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.”
(Explanatory Statement) Prohibits more than $6 million for a joint research effort by the EPA and USGS into hydraulic fracturing that aims “to address the health, safety, and environmental risks of shale gas extraction.”
“It is not just oil and natural gas pro-duction that’s booming. We are becom-ing a global leader in solar, too. Every 4 minutes, another American home or business goes solar, every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be outsourced. Let’s con-tinue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.” – President Obama
- Solar will receive $257 million in 2014. (Explanatory Statement)
- Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy = $1.7 billion, about half of what was requested (Wind & Solar = 20% of budget at $345 million)
- Fossil Fuel Research and Development will get $562 million, $142 million more than requested
- Only time the word ‘solar’ appears in the budget, the law prohibits the Department of Interior from processing a grant or lease for a commercial scale solar project on public land in the Mojave Desert (Division G – Section 116)
- Money is given to the Air Force to upgrade the heating at Kaiserslautern Military Community in Germany and forces the little town to use United States coal as the power source, even though the power comes from German municipal sources.
Climate Change – Flood Preparation
“Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past 8 years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming Western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods.” – President Obama
- Authorizes $1.6 billion for a maximum of 4 new Army Corps of Engineers construction projects. One has to be for environmental restoration, the other three are for navigation OR flood and storm damage reduction, which means that it is possible that none of these projects will be for storm damage reduction. (Division D)
- Authorizes $28 million for preparation for floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. (Division D) and $154 million for flood plain mapping and management. (Division F)
- Disaster Relief Fund will receive $6.2 billion. (Division E)
- Reduces money available for weatherization programs that were part of the stimulus bill and also changes eligibility to make it harder to get; the law prohibits the Department of Energy from paying employees who enforce the changes made by the stimulus. (Section 308, Division D)
- Prohibits enforcement of energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. (Section 322, Division D)
- Prohibits money to be used to pay the salary of the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change (Section 621, Division E)
New Carbon Standards
“That’s why I directed my administration to work with States, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.” -President Obama
- No money can go towards a regulation for, among other things, carbon dioxide and methane caused by livestock production.(Division G – Section 420)
- No money can go towards a rule requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions of manure management systems.
(Division G – Section 421)
- No money can go towards implementing regulations on high-carbon intensity projects of the Export-Import bank that would prohibit any coal-fired or “other power-generation project” in USAID (poor, indebted countries) that would “provide affordable electricity” or increase US exports or jobs. (Division K – Section 7081)
“Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Sen-ate have acted. I know that Members of both parties in the House want to do the same.” – President Obama
- Republicans discussed immigration on their three day ” bayside retreat”, specifically a border fence, but didn’t mention immigration in their letter to President Obama.
- Detention: Must have at least 34,000 detention beds (Division F)
- Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated (UNICOR) has 83 factories, which pay their prisoner slaves between $0.23 and $1.15 per hour, which manufacture all kinds of things and provide services, including call center services than can be purchased by the private sector.
- (Division F – Section 558) No money can be spent on a public advocate in Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
- (Division F – Section 566) Prohibits a border crossing fee.
“Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘‘we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, in our shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.” – President Obama
- (Division H – Section 217) No money may be used to advocate or promote gun control.
“With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over. – President Obama
- None of the money can be used to “establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of US Armed Forces in Afghanistan” (Division C – Section 9007)
- No money for new construction projects (Division C – Section 9016)
“After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. If the Afghan Government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counter-terrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda. For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.” – President Obama
“When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq.” – President Obama
- None of the money can be used to “establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of US Armed Forces in Iraq” or “to exercise United States control of any oil resource of Iraq” (Division C – Section 9007)
- $209 million to support “United States government transition activities” (Division C – Section 9012) which includes security assistance, facilities renovation and construction, training of Iraqi troops and counter-terrorism personnel.
- Orders a report from DoD and the Secretary of State for their plan to transfer “training activities that they determine are needed after the end of fiscal year 2014 to existing or new contracts for the sale of defense articles or defense services”
- $250 million for “democracy programs”
“From Tunisia to Burma, we are sup-porting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy.” – President Obama
- No money can be used by the IRS to “target citizens of the US for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” (Division E – Section 107)
- No money can be used by the IRS to “target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs.” (Division E – Section 108)
- No money can be used to require any company with a government contract or requesting a government contract to disclose political contributions to candidates or committees (political action committees) or payments made towards political advertising. (Division E – Section 735)
“In Syria, we’ll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks.” – President Obama
- “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution.” (Division C-Section 8117) which says the President needs to declare war within 60 days AFTER he starts one. He doesn’t have to do this at all if he has an Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
- Funds for Iraq can be used in Syria “to support international efforts to promote regional security”(Division K – Section 7041)
- Funds for the State Department can be used to “establish governance in Syria that is representative, inclusive and accountable”, and to “counter extremist ideologies” (Division K – Section 7041)
“America must move off a permanent war footing. That’s why I have imposed prudent limits on the use of drones, for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence.” – President Obama
“And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.” -President Obama
- Can’t use money to transfer anyone into the United States from Guantanamo Bay, but can upgrade and repair Guantanamo Bay
(Division C – Section 8110)(Division F -Section 537)
“As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in the difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel—a Jewish State that knows America will always be at their side.” – President Obama
“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program. He was a strong, impressive young man with an easy manner. He was sharp as a tack. We joked around and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch. A few months later, on his 10th deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, under water, shrapnel in his brain.” – President Obama
- The budget cancels the pension cut from December’s budget agreement for people who are disabled, like Cory. The cut remains for anyone lucky enough to escape the military uninjured. The cuts start December 1, 2015.
- Over $92 is going toward procurement – the buying of stuff for the military. Every single category allowed our money to pay for expansion of private plants, including the land, to pay for equipment, appliances, and tools in those private plants and pay the layaway payments for contractor-owned equipment. (Division C)
- Air Force must spend the money it’s given for the RQ-4B Global Hawk drones, the drones the Air Force wants to put into storage (Division C-Section 8118). RQ-4 Global Hawks drones are manufactured by Northrup Grumman; Northrup Grumman manufacturers the drones in Buck McKeon’s district; Buck McKeon is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; the House Armed Services Committee is in charge of Defense money. Northrup Grumman is Buck McKeon top contributor since the last election:
Will Work Around Congress
“What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I am eager to work with all of you; but America does not stand still, and neither will I, so wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that is what I am going to do.” – President Obama
“Today, the Federal minimum wage is worth about 20 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. TOM HARKIN and GEORGE MILLER have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. It is easy to remember— 10, 10. This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It does not involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say ‘‘yes.” Give America a raise. Give them a raise.” – President Obama
“That is why tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It is a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.”- President Obama
“That’s why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveil-lance programs, because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.” -President Obama
- “Information pertaining to United States persons shall only be handled in accordance with protections provided in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution as implemented through Executive Order 12333” (Division C- Section 8079). Executive Order 12333 was created during the Reagan administration and updated several times, notably by George W. Bush when his administration started his Total Information Awareness program.
- One way they appear to be authorizing and funding NSA spying: Money “shall be available for the inter-agency funding of national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications initiatives which benefit multiple Federal departments, agencies, or entities, as provided by Executive Order 13618” (Division E -Section 711). Executive Order 13618 orders the Defense Secretary to “provide, operate, and maintain communication services and facilities adequate to execute responsibilities consistent with Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, as amended.”
- “No money can be used by any Federal Agency to collect “personally identifiable information” relating to our access or use of any website. There are exceptions which include voluntary submissions of personally identifiable information, actions taken for law enforcement, regulatory, or supervisory purposes, in accordance with applicable law, and actions taken to protect the rights or property of the Internet provider. (Division E – Section 725)
“Over the past 5 years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other, and when 98 percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partner-ships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create even more jobs.” – President Obama
- Our tax money will be allowed to be used to advertise for “United States” corporations overseas.
- Prohibits the trade representative from seeking “the removal by any foreign country of restrictions on the marketing of tobacco or tobacco products” (Division B – Section 509).
- Prohibits the use of text from the US-Singapore, US-Australia, & Morocco Free Trade Agreement which granted strict patent rights to industry. The Morocco FTA forced both countries to allow patents on plants, animals, and surgical procedures and including that in the TPP is now illegal. (Division B – Section 519)
Not Mentioned By President Obama But In The Budget
- “None of the funds made available in this Act shall be used in any way whatsoever to support or justify the use of torture by any official or contract employee of the United States Government.” (Division B – Section 516)
Food Safety and Inspection Service
- Will get $1 billion for 148 full time inspectors… for the entire country. (Division A)
- Federal money can’t pay for abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger or if she was the victim of rape and/or incest. (Division B – Section 202-103 )(Division E – Section 613-614)(Division H – Section 506-507)(Division K-Section 7018 ) This includes prisoners.
- Government health care that provides for prescription drugs must include birth control (Division E – Section 726)
- Prohibits funding for propaganda inside the United States that isn’t already authorized by Congress (Division B – Section 501) (Division E – Section 718)(Division K – Section 7055)
- No money can be used to “enact or carry out and law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of… any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative” (Division E- Section 809)
- No money can be used to promote the legalization of any drug, except when there is “significant medical evidence of a therapeutic advantage to the use of such drug” (Division H-Section 509 )
- No money can go towards sterile needles for junkies. (Division H – Section 522)
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