Rangel’s actions not without consequences

It is always a little sad to see prominent and powerful people brought low, especially when the fall is due to their own weaknesses and a certain sense of invulnerability that powerful people sometimes acquire. It is also the case that the line can be difficult to draw between business-as-usual in Congress and outright criminal […]

Congress passes benefits package

It’s unusual for Congress to pass a comprehensive bill to help thousands of veterans with a final legislative sprint that leaves veterans’ service organizations wondering what just happened. But that’s what the Senate and House did last week. After a burst of closed-door compromises, they agreed to and separately passed the Veterans’ Benefits Act of […]

Criminal justice complex among issues on ballot

Kevin Wilson By Kevin Wilson CNJ STAFF WRITER kwilson@cnjonline.com With only one member of Congress on the ballot for eastern New Mexico, there aren’t many federal changes this area can make on the ballot box. But Tuesday marks the first day voters can weigh in on several state issues, including local races, state races with […]

Postponing vote on tax cuts lame decision

Freedom New Mexico Accountability took a back seat this week when Democrats in control of Congress decided to postpone voting on extension of the Bush tax cuts until after the Nov. 2 election. We prefer elected officials to be as accountable as possible. Delaying a vote on extending the tax cuts, which expire Jan. 1, […]

‘Quality of life’ benefit falls short

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Disabled veterans were thrilled in 2007 when the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission asked Congress to enact an immediate “quality of life” increase to disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The special increase, said VDBC commissioners, should be across the board, benefiting all veterans with service-connected health conditions, and […]

Press release: Cannon funding makes progress in Congress

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act by a vote of 411 to 6. The legislation provides a 7.4 percent funding increase for veterans’ health care and benefits, including funding for more than 4,000 additional permanent claims processors. The legislation strengthens the […]

Congress should consider USPS privatization

The U.S. Postal Service has increased rates so often in recent years it came out with the Forever Stamp, which is good for a first-class mailing into the indefinite future. On July 6, the USPS proposed another increase, a two-cent hike, to 46 cents, in 2011. That’s a 4 percent increase. Rates for other types […]

Congress holds strongest power of influence

Freedom New Mexico Congressional Democrats and their minions are applauding the financial oversight bill that was hammered out on Friday. President Obama and his leaders in Congress say the compromise bill should be ready for the president’s signature before the Independence Day break. There is plenty of cause for worry in the bill. It places […]

U.S. embargo on Cuba no longer relevant

Freedom New Mexico New efforts are being made in Congress to open trade with Cuba. We encourage our members of Congress to support those efforts. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., last week filed House Resolution 4645. Named the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, it would help […]

Nurse shortage overshadows health debate

Freedom New Mexico While the president and Congress bicker over private insurance and tax funding in Washington, the question of who will provide our nation’s health care has a more direct, and important, meaning. A growing shortage of doctors and nurses already affects many Americans’ ability to get the care they need. The Robert Wood […]

Pay raises, fee increases proposed

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist The Obama administration proposes to spend three percent more next year on support programs for war-strained military families. But officials are urging Congress to stop adding extra dollars to the military pay raise every January and find a way to raise TRICARE fees for the first time in 15 years. […]

Immigration reform needs streamlining

Freedom Communications Congress’ latest effort to reform our nation’s immigration laws has begun. Unfortunately, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 offers little in the way of real reform. The proposal, given the unwieldy name to create the ASAP acronym, is touted and condemned as a new means to enable […]

Congress setting debt limit pointless

Freedom New Mexico It’s almost enough to make you wonder why Congress, in a show of ersatz fiscal responsibility, bothers to set a limit to the national debt at all. But back in more innocent days — 1917, with the passage of a second war bonds act — Congress had the na

Congress extends benefits to military spouses

The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Congress on Monday sent President Barack Obama a bill that allows military spouses to claim residency in the same state as their wives or husbands. Under current law, service members can choose to keep their original residency as they relocate. Spouses who lobbied for the change said having that same […]

Pet projects leave troops ill-prepared

Freedom New Mexico This country would be much safer, with its core national interests better served, if the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan were ended immediately. While U.S troops are in the field, however, it is difficult to express just how utterly unconscionable it is for Congress to divert money requested for fuel, ammunition […]

Obama plan aids disabled retirees

By Tom Philpott: Syndicated columnist As reported here last week, President Obama has asked Congress to phase in “concurrent receipt” for all Chapter 61 retirees — those who received a disability retirement from the Department of Defense. This week we explain more details of the plan which, if enacted, would boost pay for 103,000 veterans […]

Obama urges Congress to act on credit card bill in N.M. stop

By Darlene Superville: The Associated Press RIO RANCHO — President Barack Obama urged Congress on Thursday to quickly send him legislation ending abusive credit card practices. But his populist appeal also included a stern warning to shoppers whose eyes are bigger than their budgets. “There’s no doubt that people need to accept responsibility,” Obama said […]

Editorial: Budget cuts at Congress’ disposal

Boy, oh boy, he sure sounded like the stern avatar of fiscal responsibility. “We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits do not matter and waste is not our problem,” President Obama said. “We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration — or the […]

Editorial: Cap-and-trade bill promises paltry returns

Democratic dissension, Republican opposition and growing public skepticism may derail Congress’ potentially economy-crippling carbon cap-and-trade bill, perhaps saving Americans billions of dollars. The bill’s author, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is opposed by centrist Democrats, who fear the Draconian regulations would severely harm their constituents. Congress members representing the steel industry and coal and nuclear power […]