Sunday, January 13

The next big battles in Washington: Guns, Debt and Immigration

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Guns, Debt and Immigration 

It seems like just yesterday the country avoided going over a fiscal cliff and as a whole had lasted through years of Debt Ceiling debates in which Republicans and Democrats fought tooth and nail against each other to gain the upper hand on concessions and the shaping of the road-map that would unfold from the outcome of the process. Raised Debt Ceiling 

Here we go again.

The Gun debate rages on and the administration is attempting to cash in on public sentiment as they press forward as quickly as possible, knowing that if they let too much time elapse between the tragedy of the Newtown shootings and legislation being presented for review and vote that they will loose the advantage. 

The Vice President's gun violence task force is in full swing having held meetings with gun violence survivor groups, gun advocate groups like the NRA and entertainment companies over the past week in an attempt to put together options for Presidential and Legislative action in February. Much of the meetings intent was to maintain the public's focused attention on the current gun laws while allowing the crafting of bills and legislative options behind the scenes. Vice President Biden in his famous slip of the tongue fashion, mentioned  the possibility of President Obama using Executive Orders to reshape the countries standing gun laws.  The fact is President Obama could use an Executive Order to change standing laws on the subject, but legislation would seem to be the way to go for lasting changes. We will have to wait to see how public sentiment comes to play in the next few weeks to see which direction the Obama administration will take on gun control.

Debt or rather the Debt Ceiling is coming back to center stage with the current Debt Ceiling, the maximum in which the nation can put it's spending on a "credit card" is about to be reached for the second time during the Obama administration. With the previous Debt Ceiling being raised by passage through the Senate in August of 2012 - after a long period of political combat and posturing, you can bet this round won't be much different. The time line might be shorter bu the outcome will be much the same except the President has indicated that this time around he will not be negotiating with Republicans on spending concessions as he had during the last go round. This will undoubtedly be a brutal fight over the next weeks and possibly months as we will undoubtedly see our government play another game of "kick the can" in an effort to postpone the inevitable for a few weeks once again. Democrats are urging the administration to act through "any means necessary" with or without the support of Congress. This would appear to be a reference to the Executive Order coming into play as a tool to adjust the National Debt Ceiling. 

President Obama may also be able to invoke the 14th Amendment in which it states that the country's debt "shall not be questioned". Some constitutional experts are reported to believe that this line means the Congress can not block the Government from meeting it's current obligations and would allow the Government to borrow additional funds and increase the Debt Ceiling. President Obama staff has indicated that he disagrees with that interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and feels that the Debt Limit set by the Congress can not be bypassed. 

GOP leaders are pushing for cuts in Medicare and Social Security to offset the increase in the Debt Ceiling. Democrat leaders are calling the request "outrageous".

Just as outrageous is the idea of minting a "Trillion" dollar coin (which again is legal as the U S Mint can produce coins in any value, legally) to pay down the National Debt by one Trillion dollars (in theory) by depositing the coin. The additional Trillion dollars in paid down debt would only keep the government running for a short time while opening up Pandora's Box and releasing economic ripple effects that would be felt for generations to come. 

While the country's attention is captivated by the gun control and debt ceiling controversy over the coming weeks and months you are going to see a single piece of immigration reform flying about. We have 11 Million illegal immigrants in this nation and according to Obama Administration officials, the President plans on carving out a path for them to become citizens over the next few months. The timing of this may allow the sweeping legislation to be brought forward while attention is diverted on other pressing issues like Gun Control and National Debt and this may be by grand design.

The Obama administration intends on presenting the immigration reform in one single, large scope bill. The GOP prefers that the legislation be presented in several smaller, digestible bills dividing the class of immigrant out to separate skills as grounds to allow or deny immigration status for the nations current illegal immigrants.

The Obama administration says that the bill being crafted will include imposing fines, requiring payments of back-taxes as well as meeting other requirements to be eligible for obtaining legal status in the United States. They also plan to put a nationwide worker verification program in place to verify the legal status of potential and newly hired employees. 

Legislation is expected to be introduced by no later than March.

Guns, Debt and Immigration undoubtedly will be the main talking points in the President's State of the Union Address as President Obama lays out his plans for the next 1,461 days.

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