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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Hal Rogers
House Republicans, encouraged by the start of debt negotiations with the White House, said Friday they are also rushing to reopen the government as soon as possible with a "continuing resolution," or "CR."
Members of Congress are exploring how to give Pentagon chiefs flexibility in implementing massive budget cuts that are scheduled to begin Friday.
More than 10 weeks after Superstorm Sandy brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast, the House approved $50.7 billion in emergency relief for the victims Tuesday night as Republican leaders struggled to close out an episode that exposed painful party divisions inside Congress and out.
The Senate on Friday approved a $60.4 billion emergency spending aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy that had been backed by Senate Democrats.
Inside a Pentagon loaded with drones, laser-guided missiles and bunker buster bombs, grease drip pans are hardly a sexy procurement item. But right now, the Army is paying a Kentucy company about $17,000 each for the pans designed to catch dripping lubricants from its Black Hawk helicopters.
Republicans in the House think federal belt-tightening needs to start with Congress and the White House itself. On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on a fiscal year 2012 government-operations appropriations bill that trimmed 5 percent from the Executive Office of the President. President Obama had originally sought to pump up his personal budget by $34 million, showing once more how out of touch he has become in these tough economic times.
Seeking to buy more time for spending negotiations to bear fruit, House Republican leaders announced another one-week stop-gap spending bill late Monday night that would cut $12 billion more from 2010 spending levels.
Congress appeared to be closing in Friday on a short-term spending bill to prevent a government shutdown next week, with House Republicans proposing a two-week extension that would cut $4 billion from last year's spending levels.
After more than 100 votes in four days, the lesson from last week's spending debate in the House is that nobody's pet projects are safe anymore.
The Republican House leadership's realization that it's going to have to keep its pledge to trim $100 billion from the federal budget is proof that elections can matter. The GOP's fiscal hawks, especially those who joined the ranks after November's electoral blowout, balked at attempts to pass off a $40 billion cut as sufficient.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has led the fight against drugs in the Appalachian region and is now calling for state lawmakers to require some over-the-counter cold medicines to be sold only to people with prescriptions.
The office nameplates are posted, key committee assignments doled out and the staff members are - more or less - in place. For the history-making class of freshmen who flipped the House from Democratic to Republican control, now comes the hard part: governing in opposition to a president intent on his own re-election.
The anti-pork brigade in Congress is poised to receive massive reinforcements next year, with nearly every non-incumbent GOP Senate candidate and hordes of House hopefuls swearing off earmarks themselves or even ready to consider an outright ban for all lawmakers.
"The goal here is to try to get something passed on the CR that would allow us to reopen the government," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Kentucky Republican. "That's what my aim is, that's what the leadership's aim is, and I assume the president's."
"It is a punt to the executive branch for the Congress not to exercise judgement about where our money is spent," he told reporters.