This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on March 12, 2015
President Obama’s energy policies have been a debacle since his first day in office. Now, with Americans dubious of his schemes after being burned by his war on coal, stifling environmental regulations, and refusal to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is pulling a new tactic from his bag of tricks in hopes of winning back public support: The old switcheroo. Last month, when the president announced his draconian new policies that would block the production of as much as 30 billion barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska and ban future generations from recovering an estimated 10 billion more sitting beneath Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he included a trade-off meant to help American energy production efforts elsewhere. Or so it seemed. In his compromise, Obama promised to open up areas of the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Georgia to new opportunities for offshore oil and natural gas leasing … sometime between 2017 and 2022 … maybe. That same area had previously been approved for energy exploration before, but the president killed that plan in 2010. There’s little reason to believe that any drilling will occur in the region this time around, either.
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS TO FCC: SCRAP THE PRESIDENT’S NET NEUTRALITY PLAN
Taxpayers Protection Alliance President slams upcoming vote by the Federal Communications Commission on President Obama’s net neutrality rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, criticized plans by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to vote on new rule making regarding net neutrality and reclassification of the Internet under Title II. The new rules reflect proposed plans from the Obama Administration that would undercut the very essence of an open Internet and stifle innovation and commerce, while harming taxpayers and consumers. TPA President David Williams slammed the proposal in a statement released today: “The proposal coming from the White House and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is completely antithetical to the innovative nature that has been a hallmark of the Internet for nearly two decades. There is absolutely no rationale for moving forward with an aggressive regulatory approach to keep the Internet open.” Williams also talked about the harm to taxpayers and the economy, noting that, “Reclassification of the Internet could lead to new taxes, which would be a disaster for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses at time when there are already massive taxes on telecommunications.”
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement
Billions Blown on Solar Offer Little Bang for the Bucks
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) today published the first in a series of "Solar Spotlight" issue briefs, as part of a national campaign to educate Americans about the fiscal, economic and even environmental impacts of government support for the heavily-subsidized solar energy industry. In a new report, Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang, TPA concludes that solar subsidies, tax breaks and other preferences have cost taxpayers more than $39 billion annually — exposing Americans to substantial financial risk while distorting our nation’s energy markets. “American taxpayers spent an average of $39 billion a year over the past 5 years financing grants, subsidizing tax credits, guaranteeing loans, bailing out failed solar energy boondoggles and otherwise underwriting every idea under the sun to make solar energy cheaper and more popular,” concludes the TPA report—the first in a multi-part expose on the solar industry. “But none of it has worked. Solar energy remains prohibitively expensive—often three times more than electricity produced from natural gas and other sources. As a result, less than 1 percent of the electricity consumers by Americans comes from solar energy sources.” Furthermore, over the past five years, the federal government spent an estimated $150 billion on solar energy and other renewable energy projects.
Click 'read more' below to see the full release
In Washington, there are rare occasions when competing political parties and opposite branches of the federal government share a similar goal and work together to achieve it. Unfortunately, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Pentagon budget, which breaks the spending caps set by sequestration, might be a time for bi-partisan agreement. The Defense spending caps is set at $499 billion; but President Obama appears to be preparing to send to Congress a Pentagon budget request of $534 billion, which will be coupled with a request of $51 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to fund conflicts in the Middle East. That additional $35 billion could present a problem because that increase could mean an automatic trigger in mandatory cuts. The $534 billion request for Pentagon spending is the highest base budget ever submitted. The $534 billion is a 7.9 percent increase over the $495 billion FY15 base budget. When adding in OCO funds, this budget is the largest since 2012.
This article originally appeared in Roll Call January 20, 2014
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give his sixth State of the Union Address and there is no doubt that the speech will contain familiar themes on policy initiatives his administration has long championed. Perhaps chief among them though is telecommunications policy, an area that Congress and the president must address if the country is to remain competitive around the world. For starters, it has been almost 20 years since the Communications Act has been updated. Coincidentally, the last time the Act was updated, there was a Democrat in the White House and a GOP-controlled Congress. Much has changed technologically in the last two decades, and with the massive change in virtually every facet of telecommunications, it is crucial to make sure that innovation can still be a key ingredient.
On Tuesday night, the President will be giving his sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the country. After you get past all the pomp and circumstance of his arrival on Capitol Hill and shaking the hands of members of Congress, President Obama will launch into his policy agenda for the next year. The speech will not only be a preview for next year, but also be a peek into what his priorities will be and how he intends to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate and increased Republican majority in the House. There will be opportunities for the President to reach out to the Congress to pass much-needed reform, but there will also be differences. Besides listening for buzzwords like “investment” which really means more spending, TPA will be listening very intently to the whole speech, but there will be a few issues that taxpayers should especially be listening for when President Obama speaks to the nation tomorrow night.
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS: MUNICIPAL BROADBAND IS AFFORDABLE LIKE OBAMACARE IS AFFORDABLE
Taxpayers Protection Alliance leader discusses the cost of Internet access ahead of President Obama’s trip to Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in advance of President Obama’s Iowa speech addressing the need to increase access to high-speed Internet across the country: “Municipal broadband is affordable like ObamaCare is affordable – in other words, it is not. Cedar Falls boasts that it offers its citizens the ‘gold standard’ in broadband connections. This gold standard comes at a steep price of nearly $140 per month for rural residents. In contrast, the costs soar to almost $1,000 a month for businesses, subsequently causing a significant impact on the amount of money small businesses will have to reinvest in their own growth. Access to high-speed Internet is hailed by big-government spenders as a pseudo human right, but what they gloss over are the enormous costs to taxpayers that are not recouped when broadband networks fail or are sold.
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement from TPA
Congress has a full plate of issues that they will need to deal with right from the start. But with all the issues that appear to be dominating the new session of Congress, one issue that cannot be ignored is net neutrality, a direct assault on the future of the Internet. Last year, President Obama and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were rebuked by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Verizon vs FCC case. But, just one year later it appears that net neutrality advocates in the Obama Administration appear ready to move forward quickly (as early as February) with plans to reclassify the internet as a utility under Title II. Any reclassification would be disastrous for consumers, taxpayers, and the future of the Internet. Reclassification of the Internet could pave the way for new taxes, harm upcoming spectrum auctions, and totally upend the economy by stifling innovation and commerce.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed that the passage of the Keystone XL pipeline will be one of the first Senate votes in the 114th Congress. This is good news because the project has been delayed for several years by the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate. According to Politico, “Sen. John Hoeven will officially file legislation on Tuesday to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin as his new main Democratic co-sponsor.” This is good news for the U.S. economy and all Americans. The proposed construction of the pipeline provides the capacity to move more than 700,000 barrels of oil each day. The increased production would provide thousands of jobs and help lower energy costs for working families nationwide
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Next week, the 114th Congress will be sworn in and with it many taxpayer and economic possibilities will follow. While the House of Representatives will see no change in which party controls the chamber, the Senate will see a shift from Democrat control to Republican control. This will be the first time since the end of 2006 that the GOP will run both chambers of Congress and with this new shift in the dynamic of power on Capitol Hill there are going to be opportunities for cooperation with President Obama. One area that could see mutual agreement and partnership is trade policy, specifically Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Opening up trade would be a win-win for taxpayers and the economy. Agreement on how to proceed with trade policy has been stalled because Senate leaders and the President have been at odds over the direction and language of various trade agreements on the table. Last July it was clear that Democrats controlling the Senate were not in the same mindset as President Obama when it came to TPA and TPP. The problems weren’t limited to just the Senate and then-Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, but also other members of the President’s own party including Nancy Pelosi in the House, who had vowed to block TPA legislation.