Legislative News
for the Week of
August 22, 2012
 
President:
Rae Chornenky
 
Editor:
Maria Jeffrey

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National Federation of

Republican Women

President:
Rae Lynne Chornenky

 

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Florida's Election Laws Draw Lawsuits Across the State
    
     Lawsuits are being filed across the state of Florida regarding who will be eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election--and when, how, and where. The August 20th edition of the Washington Post referred to a law passed in Florida in 2011 that "imposes more than 75 changes," in election practices including restrictions on who can register voters and limits on the time allowed for early voting. Supporters of the measure believe it creates a more reliable system that combats voter fraud. Opponents, including every Democratic lawmaker, claim the law is a bipartisan ploy to suppress voters who traditionally favor Democrats.
     One portion of the new law reduced the number of days that Florida's 67 counties may offer early voting from 14 days to eight days. It also continued to allow that Sundays be offered for early voting with the exception that the Sunday before the election could not be available for early voting. Many African Americans in Florida object strenuously to cancelling voting on the Sunday two days before the election because traditionally, that's their big day to get out the vote after church services. The Washington Post observed that "on the Sunday before the election, church vans and church members" ferried those without transportation to early voting stations. In the 2008 presidential election, on the Sunday prior to that election, 43 percent of the early votes cast that day came from African Americans even though they make up only 28 percent of the country's electorate.      
   
Obama Attacks Ryan on Pell Grants Despite Creating a "Funding Cliff" With the Program    
     After spending last week attacking Representative Ryan for the Medicare revisions in his House-passed budget, President Obama traveled to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, today to attack Ryan on his education policy in the budget. A radio ad the Obama campaign is currently running in New Hampshire claims that 21,000 collegiates in that state alone would have their Pell Grants cut by $800 in the Ryan budget. As the Associated Press reports, "those estimates assume the cuts in Ryan's budget are applied evenly across all programs starting in 2014--something Ryan aides say would not happen. His budget does not directly address Pell Grant funding, and his aides say the cuts would not take a one-size-fits all approach."
 
     As Ryan himself has pointed out, financial aid is driving up the cost of going to college when it is supposed to have the opposite effect: "college costs have risen at twice the rate of inflation for about thirty years and economists have pointed out that these rapid increases would have been constrained if the federal government had not stepped in so often to subsidize rising tuitions." On Pell Grants, Ryan states that spending on the program has doubled since 2008, with Obama increasing the maximum Pell Grant by more than $900 while advocating for another increase next year. However, these increases will apply only through the 2014-2015 school year, "creating a 'funding cliff' that puts the program at risk of breaking its promises to students" which "could force sudden, deep cuts in Pell Grant support to eligible students or necessitate cuts to other education programs to prop up this out of control spending." Because Ryan's House-passed budget actually cuts spending, it can ensure that the maximum Pell Grant award is kept for the next 10 years--unlike Obama's promise.
 

Obama's Regulations Choke Manufacturers 

 

     The Washington Post, referring to a report by an industry group released yesterday, has pointed out that "the average number of major federal regulations--those expected to have an economic impact in excess of $100,000--that have been finalized each year has risen with each recent administration. Under President Clinton it was 27 per year. It now stands at 44 per year between 2009 and 2011 under President Obama.

 

     The Post goes on to say that the report makes clear the increasing number of regulations has harmed the manufacturing sector's production. All aspects of the manufacturing sector's production are impacted negatively by the myriad of regulations. For example, the report shows that the regulatory burden on manufacturers has more than doubled over ten years, growing from about $80 billion in 2001 to more than $164 billion in 2011.

 

     Mitt Romney, according to the Post, has called such regulation a 'hidden tax' and says that "the economy has been harmed by the whims of the unaccountable bureaucrats pursuing their own agenda."

 
What Needs to Be Taken from Last Week's Fight over Medicare
    
     The President and the Republican presidential candidates traveled the country last week propelling the debate about Medicare. Two facts should stand out from the fray: 
  1. President Obama's health care law raided $716 billion from the Medicare trust fund; and 
  2. Obama's health care law puts in place a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats and gives them the power to make additional cuts to Medicare without even having to get approval from Congress.

Consider this graph from GOP.gov

 What drives our debt chart