Political Musings January 1, 2014: Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obamas, Clinton send hospitalized former First Lady Barbara Bush recovery wishes

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A Bush family statement released on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday Dec. 31, 2013 made public that beloved former First Lady Barbara Bush was hospitalized on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas Medical Center. She…READ MORE

Political Headlines January 1, 2014: Former First Lady Barbara Bush Remains Hospitalized in Houston

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Barbara Bush Remains Hospitalized in Houston

Source: ABC News, 1-1-14

Former first lady Barbara Bush remains hospitalized with a respiratory-related issue, but her condition hasn’t changed, a spokesman for her husband’s office said Wednesday….READ MORE

Political Musings July 18, 2013: President Barack Obama honors Former President George H.W. Bush for Points of Light award

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama honors Former President George H.W. Bush for Points of Light award (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The 41st president of the United States George H.W. Bush returned to the White House Monday, July 15, 2013 to attend the ceremony for the 5000th Points of Light award recipients. Bush, a Republican created the award for volunteers…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency July 15, 2013: President Obama and President George H.W. Bush’s Speeches at Points of Light Award Ceremony

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama and President George H.W. Bush at Points of Light Award Ceremony

Source: WH, 7-15-13

President Barack Obama and former President George H. W. Bush present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Outreach Inc. co-founders

President Barack Obama and former President George H. W. Bush present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Outreach Inc. co-founders Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, winners of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award, in the East Room of the White House, July 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

East Room

1:55 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  And on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.

Twenty-three years ago, President George H.W. Bush began a tradition.  He knew that across the country every day, Americans were finding ways to serve others and give back to their communities — often with very few resources and very little recognition.  And President Bush knew that their good works were valuable to the people they helped — but beyond that, he knew that their spirit of service was vital to our national character.  So he created an award, the Daily Point of Light Award, to recognize Americans who serve their neighbors and communities in innovative ways that inspire us all.

And for the rest of his presidency, nearly every single day, President Bush gave someone a Daily Point of Light Award.  And after he left the White House, he kept going and going and going — in between skydiving and other activities — (laughter) — he kept going, which should come as no surprise, since we’re talking about somebody who has served his country in such extraordinary ways.  And when you do a parachute jump at the age of 85, not just a parachute jump, but another parachute jump — I believe his seventh — this is somebody who’s not going to slow down any time soon.

So, today, we are extraordinarily honored to be joined by the family that helped build the Points of Light Foundation into the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.  President Bush, Mrs. Bush, Neil Bush — we want to welcome you.  And we also want to recognize Michelle Nunn, the CEO of Points of Light.  It’s worth an applause.  (Applause.)

Now, this is not the first time President Bush and I have come together for an event like this.  Four years ago, I went down to Texas A&M University, where President Bush has his library, to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Points of Light.  And I appreciated the warm welcome — by which I mean the extremely loud “howdy” that I received.  (Laughter.)  I was deeply impressed by how invested the students there are in community service.  But, most of all, I was moved by how much they love President Bush.

And now we’ve come together to mark another milestone.  As of this minute, 4,999 Points of Light awards have been presented to individuals and organizations across this country.  And so now I have the honor of joining President Bush in presenting number 5,000.  (Applause.)  Number 5,000.  (Applause.)

About 10 years ago, Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton were getting ready to retire.  They had been farming for years.  They had earned a break.  They planned to sail around the world.  And then their friend told them about a special place that they should visit along the way:  In a village in Tanzania, a volunteer mission was helping to renovate an HIV-AIDS clinic.  And Floyd and Kathy thought it sounded like a worthwhile detour.

When they arrived in Tanzania, the country was in the third year of a brutal drought.  People were starving and dying.  Many of them were children.  And having seen this, Kathy and Floyd simply had to do something about it.  And so their vision of a leisurely retirement was replaced by a new mission:  fighting global hunger.

Today, the nonprofit they created, Outreach, has distributed free meals to hungry children here in the United States and in more than 15 countries worldwide — to date, more than 233 million meals.  They’ve gone to see many of the kids that they met in Tanzania grow up healthy and strong.  And this work, they say, is the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done.  And I have to say, having just been to Tanzania with Michelle, we can attest to how important this kind of work is, how it changes lives.

It’s also fitting that later this week, on July 18th, people around the world will celebrate the legacy of the magnificent public servant, Nelson Mandela, by performing acts of public and community service.  And as people look for examples, Outreach provides an extraordinary demonstration of how service can lift people’s lives.

And so if the purpose of this award is to celebrate Americans who work to make our country and world a better place — not for their own advantage or for any ulterior motives, but just to serve, pure and simple — I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer.

Now, before we actually present this award, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to honor the man who made this all possible.  He hates this, but I’m going to do it anyway.  (Laughter.)

Much has been said about President Bush’s own extraordinary life of service, but I’m not sure everybody fully appreciates how much he’s done to strengthen our country’s tradition of service.  In addition to this award, he created the first White House office dedicated to promoting volunteerism, and he championed and signed the National and Community Service Act.  By Washington standards, it was a modest law.  It involved little money; President Bush signed it with little fanfare.  But looking back, we see that it sparked a national movement.  By laying the groundwork for the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, it gave tens of millions of Americans meaningful opportunities to serve.
And today, thanks to those programs and others like them, and thanks to the passion of leaders like President Bush and citizens who found the same passion over the years, volunteerism has gone from something some people do some of the time to something lots of people do as a regular part of their lives.

Since 1989, the number of Americans who volunteer has grown by more than 25 million.  Service is up across age groups and across regions.  It’s now a graduation requirement in many high schools and colleges.  It’s embedded in the culture of businesses large and small.  And speaking for my family, volunteering has brought joy and meaning to Michelle and me and our daughters over the years, and I know that’s the case for many of your families, too.

This national tradition may seem perfectly ordinary to many Americans, especially those who have grown up during this period.  But, in fact, it reflects tremendous progress.  And today we can say that our country is a better and a stronger force for good in the world because, more and more, we are a people that serve.  And for that, we have to thank President Bush, and his better half, Barbara, who is just as committed as her husband to service, and has dedicated her life to it as well.  (Applause.)

The presidents who followed President Bush have had the good sense to continue this work — and not just because one of them calls him Dad.  (Laughter.)  Even after leaving office, President Clinton and both President Bushes have come together to help people affected by natural disasters here at home and around the world — a reminder that service is not a Democratic or a Republican value, but it’s a core part of being an American.  And at the White House today, we’re proud to carry forward that legacy.

I created the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation to find new ways to use innovation to strengthen service.  We expanded the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships — originally created by President George W. Bush — which works closely with religious and community organizations across the country to help Americans in need.

And today I want to announce a new task force, with representatives from Cabinet agencies and other departments across the government, to take a fresh look at how we can better support national service — in particular, on some of our most important national priorities:  improving schools, recovering from disasters and mentoring our kids.  And this task force will be led by my team here at the White House, along with Wendy Spencer, who is here — the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service — who previously led the volunteer commission in Florida for Governor Jeb Bush.  So we’ve got a whole family thing working.  (Laughter.)

In times of tight budgets and some very tough problems, we know that the greatest resource we have is the limitless energy and ingenuity of our citizens.  And when we harness that energy and create more opportunities for Americans to serve, we pay tribute to the extraordinary example set by President Bush.

And just to close on a personal note, Mr. President, I am one of millions of people who have been inspired by your passion and your commitment.  You have helped so many Americans discover that they, too, have something to contribute — that they, too, have the power to make a difference.

You’ve described for us those thousand points of light — all the people and organizations spread out all across the country who are like stars brightening the lives of those around them.  But given the humility that’s defined your life, I suspect it’s harder for you to see something that’s clear to everybody else around you, and that’s how bright a light you shine — how your vision and example have illuminated the path for so many others, how your love of service has kindled a similar love in the hearts of millions here at home and around the world.  And, frankly, just the fact that you’re such a gentleman and such a good and kind person I think helps to reinforce that spirit of service.

So on behalf of us all, let me just say that we are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you and we can’t thank you enough.  (Applause.)

So it is now my great pleasure to join President Bush and all of you in presenting this extraordinary award to an extraordinary couple who have done so much for so many people.  We are very grateful to them.  Floyd and Kathy, will you please step up and receive your award.  (Applause.)

(The award is presented.)

PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH:  My remarks are simply to say something nice about Neil, my son.  (Laughter.)  It’s not hard to do, and he’s been very active in this whole concept of volunteering, helping others.  And so it’s my privilege to introduce Neil, and first, of course, thank the President and Mrs. Obama for this wonderful hospitality.  It’s like coming home for Barbara and me with the rest of you just coming to this magnificent house and being greeted by this superb hospitality — knows no bounds.

So thank you all very much.  Now, Neil.  (Applause.)

*****

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, thank you very much, Michelle, for your outstanding work.  To all the Points of Light Award recipients, we’re proud of you, congratulations, and keep up the great work.  You inspire us and make us want to do that much more, especially when you see young people who are already making such a difference and such an impact, it gives you enormous confidence that America, for all its challenges, will always meet them because we’ve got this incredible character.

And with that, what I want to do is once again thank President and Mrs. Bush for their outstanding leadership.  We are so grateful to both of you.  I want to thank Neil for his leadership, and I want to make sure that everybody enjoys a reception.  I suspect the food may be pretty good.  (Laughter.)

So thank you very much, all of you, for being here.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
2:25 P.M. EDT

History Headlines June 13, 2013: Former President George H.W. Bush Celebrates 89th Birthday

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS

History Buzz

HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES

George HW Bush turns 89

Source: NBCNews.com, 6-13-13

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Donning a pair of Superman socks on his 89th birthday, former president George H.W. Bush celebrated another milestone….READ MORE

History Headlines April 8, 2013: 5 moments that show why Margaret Thatcher mattered in American politics & Speech to Joint Houses of Congress

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS

History Buzz

HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES

5 moments that show why Margaret Thatcher mattered in American politics

Source: WaPo, 4-8-13

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister, died Monday at age 87.

The longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, the “Iron Lady” held the office for more than 11 years, including all of the 1980s. During that time, she left a major mark on U.S. politics, mainly through her close relationship with President Ronald Reagan.

(Howard L. Sachs/AP)

(Howard L. Sachs/AP)

1) “The second most important man in my life.”

2) Strains in the relationship

3) Address before a joint session of Congress

4) “No time to go wobbly.”

5) Spurning Sarah Palin….READ MORE

1985 Feb 20 We
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Joint Houses of Congress

Source: Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: MT spoke to a joint meeting of the House and Senate at 1100, departing the Capitol at 1150.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 3321
Themes: Foreign policy (USA), Conservative Party (history), Foreign policy (general discussions), European Union (general), Defence (general), Foreign policy (USSR and successor states), Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Trade, Monetary policy, Conservatism, Privatised and state industries, Economy (general discussions), Defence (general), Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Terrorism, Northern Ireland, Foreign policy (USA)
[ Tip O'Neill ] Mr. Speaker, [ Ronald Reagan ] Mr. President, Distinguished Members of Congress:

On this, one of the most moving occasions of my life, my first words must be to say thank you for granting me this rare privilege of addressing a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress.

My thoughts turn to three earlier occasions when a British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill , has been honoured by a call to address both Houses. Among his many remarkable gifts, Winston held a special advantage here. Through his American mother, he had ties of blood with you. Alas, for me, these are not matters we can readily arrange for ourselves!

Those three occasions deserve to be recalled, because they serve as lamps along a dark road which our people trod together, and they remind us what an extraordinary period of history the world has passed through between that time and ours; and they tell us what later generations in both our countries sometimes find hard to grasp: why past associations bind us so closely.

Winston Churchill ‘s vision of a union of mind and purpose between the English-speaking peoples was to form the main spring of the West. No-one of my generation can forget[fo 1] that America has been the principal architect of a peace in Europe which has lasted forty years. Given the shield of the United States, we have been granted the opportunities to build a concept of Europe beyond the dreams of our fathers; a Europe which seemed unattainable amid the mud and slaughter of the First World War and the suffering and sacrifice of the Second.

When, in the Spring of 1945, the guns fell silent, General Eisenhower called our soldiers to a Service of Thanksgiving. In the order of service was a famous prayer of Sir Francis Drake :

“Oh Lord God, when Thou givest to Thy Servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory!”

On this day, close to the 40th anniversary of that service and of peace in Europe—one of the longest periods without war in all our history—I should like to recall those words and acknowledge how faithfully America has fulfilled them. For our deliverance from what might have befallen us, I would not have us leave our gratitude to the tributes of history. The debt the free peoples of Europe owe to this nation, generous with its bounty, willing to share its strength, seeking to protect the week, is incalculable. We thank and salute you! (applause)

Of course, in the years which separate us from the time when Winston Churchill last spoke to Congress, there have[fo 2] been disappointments as well as hopes fulfilled: the continued troubles in the Middle E* famine and oppression in Africa; genocide in South East Asia; the brutal occupation of Afghanistan; the undiminished agony of tortured Poland; and above all, the continued and continuing division of the European continent.

From these shores, it may seem to some of you that by comparison with the risk and sacrifice which America has borne through four decades and the courage with which you have shouldered unwanted burdens, Europe has not fully matched your expectations. Bear with me if I dwell for a moment on the Europe to which we now belong.

It is not the Europe of ancient Rome, of Charlemagne, of Bismarck. We who are alive today have passed through perhaps the greatest transformation of human affairs on the Continent of Europe since the fall of Rome. In but a short chapter of its long history, Europe lost the position which it had occupied for two thousand years—and it is your history as much as ours.

For five centuries, that small continent had extended its authority over islands and continents the world over.

For the first forty years of this century, there were seven great powers: United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy. Of those seven, two now tower over the rest—United States and the Soviet Union.

To that swift and historic change Europe—a Europe of many different histories and many different nations—has had to find a response. It has not been an easy passage to blend this[fo 3] conflux of nationalism, patriotism, sovereignty, into a European Community, yet I think that our children and grandchildren may see this period—these birth pangs of a new Europe—more clearly than we do now. They will see it as a visionary chapter in the creation of a Europe able to share the load alongside you. Do not doubt the firmness of our resolve in this march towards this goal, but do not underestimate what we already do.

Today, out of the forces of the Alliance in Europe, 95%; of the divisions, 85%; of the tanks, 80%; of the combat aircraft, and 70%; of the fighting ships are provided, manned and paid for by the European Allies (applause) and Europe has more than three million men under arms and more still in reserve. We have to. We are right in the front line. The frontier of freedom cuts across our continent.

Members of Congress, the defence of that frontier is as vital to you as it is to us (applause).

It is fashionable for some commentators to speak of the two super powers—United States and the Soviet Union—as though they were somehow of equal worth and equal significance. Mr. Speaker, that is a travesty of the truth! The Soviet Union has never concealed its real aim. In the words of Mr. Brezhnev , “the total triumph of all Socialism all over the world is inevitable—for this triumph we shall struggle with no lack of effort!” Indeed, there has been no lack of effort!

Contrast this with the record of the West. We do not aim at domination, at hegemony, in any part of the world. Even against those who oppose and who would destroy our ideas, we plot no aggression. Of course, we are[fo 4] ready to fight the battle of ideas with all the vigour at our command, but we do not try to impose our system on others. We do not believe that force should be the final arbiter in human affairs. We threaten no-one. Indeed, the Alliance has given a solemn assurance to the world—none of our weapons will be used except in response to attack (applause).

In talking to the Soviet Union, we find great difficulty in getting this message across. They judge us by their ambitions. They cannot conceive of a powerful nation not using its power for expansion or subversion, and yet they should remember that when, after the last War, the United States had a monopoly of nuclear weapons, she never once exploited her superiority. No country ever used such great power more responsibly or with such restraint. I wonder what would have befallen us in Western Europe and Great Britain if that monopoly had been in Soviet hands!

[ Tip O'Neill ] Mr. Speaker, wars are not caused by the build-up of weapons. They are caused when an aggressor believes he can achieve his objectives at an acceptable price (applause). The war of 1939 was not caused by an arms race. It sprang from a tyrant’s belief that other countries lacked the means and the will to resist him. Remember Bismarck ‘s phrase: “Do I want war? Of course not! I want victory!”

Our task is to see that potential aggressors, from whatever quarter, understand plainly that the capacity and the resolve of the West would deny them victory in war and that the price they would pay would be intolerable (applause). That is the basis of deterrence and it is the same whatever the nature of the weapons, for let us never forget the horrors of[fo 5] conventional war and the hideous sacrifice of those who have suffered in them.

Our task is not only to prevent nuclear war, but to prevent conventional war as well (applause).

No-one understood the importance of deterrence more clearly than Winston Churchill , when in his last speech to you he said: “Be careful above all things not to let go of the atomic weapon until you are sure and more than sure that other means of preserving peace are in your hands!” Thirty-three years on, those weapons are still keeping the peace, but since then technology has moved on and if we are to maintain deterrence—as we must—it is essential that our research and capacity do not fall behind the work being done by the Soviet Union (applause). That is why I firmly support President Reagan ‘s decision to pursue research into defence against ballistic nuclear missiles—the Strategic Defence Initiative (applause). Indeed, I hope that our own scientists will share in this research.

United States and the Soviet Union are both signatories to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a treaty without any terminal date. Nothing in that treaty precludes research, but should that research—on either side—lead to the possible deployment of new defence systems, that would be a matter for negotiation under the treaty.

Mr. Speaker, despite our differences with the Soviet Union, we have to talk with them, for we have one overriding interest in common—that never again should there be a conflict between our peoples. We hope too that we can achieve security with far fewer weapons than we have today and at lower cost, and[fo 6] thanks to the skilful diplomacy of Secretary Shultz , negotiations on arms control open in Geneva on the 12th March. They will be of immense importance to millions. They will be intricate, complex and demanding, and we should not expect too much too soon.

We must recognise that we have faced a Soviet political offensive designed to sow differences among us; calculated to create infirmity of purpose; to impair resolve, and even to arouse fear in the hearts of our people.

Hope is such a precious commodity in the world today, but some attempted to buy it at too high a price. We shall have to resist the muddled arguments of those who have been induced to believe that Russia’s intentions are benign and that ours are suspect, or who would have us simply give up our defences in the hope that where we led others would follow. As we learned cruelly in the 1930s, from good intentions can come tragic results!

Let us be under no illusions. It is our strength and not their goodwill that has brought the Soviet Union to the negotiating table in Geneva (applause)

Mr. Speaker, we know that our alliance—if it holds firm—cannot be defeated, but it could be outflanked. It is among the unfree and the underfed that subversion takes root. As Ethiopia demonstrated, those people get precious little help from the Soviet Union and its allies. The weapons which they pour in bring neither help nor hope to the hungry. It is the West which heard their cries; it is the West which responded massively to the heart-rending starvation in Africa; it is the West which has made a unique contribution to the uplifting of hundreds of millions of people from poverty, illiteracy and disease.[fo 7]

But the problems of the Third World are not only those of famine. They face also a mounting burden of debt, falling prices for primary products, protectionism by the industrialised countries. Some of the remedies are in the hands of the developing countries themselves. They can open their markets to productive investment; they can pursue responsible policies of economic adjustment. We should respect the courage and resolve with which so many of them have tackled their special problems, but we also have a duty to help.

How can we help? First and most important, by keeping our markets open to them. Protectionism is a danger to all our trading partnerships and for many countries trade is even more important than aid. And so, we in Britain support President Reagan ‘s call for a new GATT round (applause).

The current strength of the dollar, which is causing so much difficulty for some of your industries, creates obvious pressures for special cases, for new trade barriers to a free market. I am certain that your Administration is right to resist such pressures. To give in to them would betray the millions in the developing world, to say nothing of the strains on your other trading partners. The developing countries need our markets as we need theirs, and we cannot preach economic adjustment to them and refuse to practise it at home (applause).

And second, we must remember that the way in which we in the developed countries manage our economies determines whether the world’s financial framework is stable; it determines the level of interest rates; it determines the amount of capital available for sound investment the world over; and it determines[fo 8] whether or not the poor countries can service their past loans, let alone compete for new ones. And those are the reasons why we support so strongly your efforts to reduce the budget deficit (applause).

No other country in the world can be immune from its effects—such is the influence of the American economy on us all.

We in Europe have watched with admiration the burgeoning of this mighty American economy. There is a new mood in the United States. A visitor feels it at once. The resurgence of your self-confidence and your national pride is almost tangible. Now the sun is rising in the West (applause)

For many years, our vitality in Britain was blunted by excessive reliance on the State. Our industries were nationalised controlled and subsidised in a way that yours never were. We are having to recover the spirit of enterprise which you never lost. Many of the policies you are following are the policies we are following. You have brought inflation down. So have we. You have declared war on regulations and controls. So have we. Our Civil Service is now smaller than at any time since the War and controls on pay, prices, dividends, foreign exchange, all are gone.

You have encouraged small business—so often the source of tomorrow’s jobs. So have we. But above all, we are carrying out the largest programme of denationalisation in our history (applause).

Just a few years ago, in Britain, privatisation was thought to be a pipe dream. Now it is a reality and a popular[fo 9] one. Our latest success was the sale of British Telecommunications. It was the largest share issue ever to be brought to the market on either side of the Atlantic—some 2 million people bought shares.

Members of Congress, that is what capitalism is—a system which brings wealth to the many and not just to the few (applause)

The United Kingdom economy is in its fourth year of recovery. Slower than yours, but positive recovery. We have not yet shared your success in bringing down unemployment, although we are creating many new jobs, but output, investment and standard of living are all at record levels and profits are well up. And the pound? It is too low! For whatever the proper international level of sterling, it is a marvellous time for Americans not only to visit Britain but to invest with her (applause) and many are!

America is by far the largest direct investor in Britain and I am delighted to say that Britain is the largest direct investor in the United States (applause).

The British economy has an underlying strength and like you, we use our strength and resolve to carry out our duties to our allies and to the wider world.

We were the first country to station Cruise missiles on our territory. Britain led the rest (applause). In proportion to our population, we station the same number of troops as you in Germany. In Central America, we keep troops stationed in Belize at that government’s request. That is our contribution to sustaining democracy in a part of the world so vital to the United States (applause). We have troops in Cyprus[fo 10] and in the South Atlantic and at your request a small force in Sinai, and British servicemen are now on loan to some thirty foreign countries. We are alongside you in Beirut; we work with you in the Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean; our navy is on duty across the world. Mr. Speaker, Britain meets her responsibilities in the defence of freedom throughout the world and she will go on doing so (applause)

Members of Congress, closer to home there is a threat to freedom both savage and insiduous. Both our countries have suffered at the hands of terrorists. We have both lost some of our best young lives and I have lost some close and dear friends. Free, strong, democratic societies will not be driven by gunmen to abandon freedom or democracy (applause) The problems of the Middle East will not be solved by the cold blooded murder of American servicemen in Lebanon, nor by the murder of American civilians on a hi-jacked aircraft (applause) Nor will the problems of Northern Ireland be solved by the assassin’s gun or bomb.

Garret FitzGerald and I—and our respective governments—are united in condemning terrorism (applause). We recognise the differing traditions and identities of the two parts of the community of Northern Ireland—the Nationalist and the Unionist. We seek a political way forward acceptable to them both, which respects them both. So long as the majority of people of Northern Ireland wish to remain part of the United Kingdom, their wishes will be respected. If ever there were to be a majority in favour of change, then I believe that our Parliament would respond accordingly, for that is the principle of consent enshrined in[fo 11] your constitution and in an essential part of ours.

There is no disagreement on this principle between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Republic of Ireland. Indeed, the four constitutional nationalist parties of Ireland, north and south, who came together to issue the New Ireland Forum Report, made clear that any new arrangements could only come about by consent, and I welcome too their outright condemnation and total rejection of terrorism and all its works.

Be under no illusions about the Provisional IRA. They terrorise their own communities. They are the enemies of democracy and of freedom too. Don’t just take my word for it. Ask the Government of the Irish Republic, where it is an offence even to belong to that organisation—as indeed it also is in Northern Ireland.

I recognise and appreciate the efforts which have been made by the Administration and Congress alike to bring home this message to American citizens who may be misled into making contributions to seemingly innocuous groups. The fact is that money is used to buy the deaths of Irishmen north and south of the border and 70%; of those killed by the IRA are Irishmen—and that money buys the killing and wounding even of American citizens visiting our country.

Garret FitzGerald —and I salute him for the very brave thing he did yesterday in passing a special law to see that money did not get to the IRA— Garret FitzGerald and I will continue to consult together in the quest for stability and peace in Northern Ireland and we hope we will have your continued support for our joint efforts to find a way forward (applause)[fo 12]

Distinguished Members of Congress, our two countries have a common heritage as well as a common language. It is no mere figure of speech to say that many of your most enduring traditions—representative government, habeas corpus, trial by jury, a system of constitutional checks and balances—stem from our own small islands. But they are as much your lawful inheritance as ours. You did not borrow these traditions—you took them with you, because they were already your own.

Human progress is not automatic. Civilisation has its ebbs and flows, but if we look at the history of the last five hundred years, whether in the field of art, science, technology, religious tolerance or in the practise of politics, the conscious inspiration of it all has been the belief and practise of freedom under law; freedom disciplined by morality, under the law perceived to be just.

I cannot conclude this address without recalling words made immortal by your great President Abraham Lincoln in his second Inaugural Address, when he looked beyond an age when men fought and strove towards a more peaceful future.

“With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right that God gives us to see the right. Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations!”

Members of Congress, may our two kindred nations go forward together sharing Lincoln ‘s vision, firm of purpose, strong in faith, warm of heart, as we approach the third millenium of the Christian era.

Mr. Speaker, thank you! (applause)

History Buzz January 16, 2013: Martha Joynt Kumar: Historian Says President Barack Obama Held Less Press Conferences in First Term than Most of Previous Presidents

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Press Conferences Not Obama’s Cup of Tea

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to presidential scholar Martha Joynt Kumar, Obama has given 79 pressers during his first term in office.  Obama said that his press conference on Jan. 14 was the last one he’ll do until after his second inauguration on Monday.

How does the president stack up against the three previous commanders in chief?  He certainly wasn’t as anxious to meet the press in Term One as George W. Bush, who appeared 89 times, Bill Clinton, who held 133 pressers and the all-time winner, George H.W. Bush, with 142 press conferences….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 29, 2012: Former President George H.W. Bush Moves Out of ICU

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Former President George H.W. Bush Moves Out of ICU

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-29-12

Stefan Glidden/HBO

President George H.W. Bush has moved out of the intensive care unit at Houston’s Methodist Hospital on Saturday, and his “condition has improved,” according to his spokesman.

Bush will now be recovering in “a regular patient room” Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Saturday….READ MORE

Political Headlines December 27, 2012: Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hero of Operation Desert Storm, Dies at 78

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hero of Operation Desert Storm, Dies at 78

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-27-12

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the general credited with leading U.S.-allied forces to a victory in the first Gulf War, has died in Tampa, Florida at age 78, a U.S. official has confirmed to ABC News.

Schwarzkopf, known by the nickname “Stormin’ Norman” partly for his volcanic temper, led American forces to two military victories: a small one in Grenada under President Ronald Reagan and a big one as de facto commander of allied forces in the Gulf War….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines March 9, 2012: The Parallels Between Mitt Romney and George H.W. Bush

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

The Parallels Between Mitt Romney and George H.W. Bush

Source: NYT, 3-8-12
 
Mitt Romney, right, is working to appeal to both the Republican establishment and its outspoken conservatives.  The elder George Bush, left, at a Texas stop in 1992, faced the same challenge.

Left, J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press; right, Yana Paskova for The New York TimesMitt Romney, right, is working to appeal to both the Republican establishment and its outspoken conservatives.  The elder George Bush, left, at a Texas stop in 1992, faced the same challenge.

8:08 p.m. | Updated As a presidential candidate, he was awkwardly disconnected, a wealthy Republican who struggled to earn the trust of the conservatives in his party.

Now, two decades later, that candidate, the elder George Bush, is serving as a kind of political object lesson for a kindred spirit, Mitt Romney.

As Mr. Bush tried to do, Mr. Romney is working to bridge two worlds inside the Republican Party: an establishment wing with which he feels comfortable and a rabble-rousing wing that has a big influence over policy and ideology.

Mr. Bush managed to reconcile and unite both of those sometimes opposing forces, but not until he sought the White House as a sitting vice president in 1988. And those same divisions and suspicions from conservatives helped scuttle his re-election campaign four years later.

Mr. Romney now faces some of the same challenges….READ MORE

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Quiz: How well do you know our chief executives?

 

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day: How well do you know our chief executives?

Source: LAT, Chicago Tribune, 2-20-12

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan,  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford.

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Presidents’ Day. This holiday, which dates to 1971, originally was meant to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) but it’s also meant to honor all presidents. In the spirit, we offer you this quiz. How well do you know our chief executives? You’ll learn lots from visiting the 13 presidential libraries. Forty-four presidents have been installed in office, but there are only 43 people who have been president. Why? Take the quiz below and find out:

1. Barack Obama was the first sitting senator to win election to the presidency since what man?

2. Who was the first president to be impeached?

3. To what party did John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, belong?  Extra credit: Who was his father and when was he president?

4. Name another father-son presidential pair.

5. Who were the vice presidents of that father-son presidential pair in Question 4?

6. Who was the first president to die in office?

7. Who was the last president born under British rule?8. Whose grandson became president of the United States four dozen years after he was president?

9. What president was born in Iowa but orphaned at age 9 and sent to live in Oregon?

10. What president and his wife were Stanford graduates?

11. Which president graduated in 1809 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania?

12. What president refused renomination in 1880 and thus served only one term?

13. Who was elected president after Rutherford Hayes?

14. How long did James Garfield remain in office?

15. Who served as James Garfield’s secretary of War?

16. Who succeeded James Garfield and how many terms did he serve?

17. What president suffered what was then called Bright’s disease?

18. Who is the only president to serve two terms that weren’t consecutive?

19. Who was the last Civil War general to serve as president?

20. William McKinley was shot and killed in September 1901. He was succeeded by a man his campaign manager called “that damned cowboy.” Who was that?

21. What president frequently declared, “Politics makes me sick”?

22. What president died in 1923 in San Francisco?

23. What president died 10 months after his wife died of lung cancer? (He was out of office when he died.)

24. This president graduated from West Point in the class that was called “the class the stars fell on” because it produced 59 generals. Who was that and what year?

25. Which former president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002?Answers:

1. John Kennedy

2. Andrew Johnson

3. National Republican. John Q. was the oldest son of the second president, John Adams, 1797-1801.

4. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush

5. Dan Quayle for George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney for George W. Bush.

6. William Henry Harrison, who died just a month after taking office.

7. William Henry Harrison.

8. William Henry Harrison.

9. Herbert Hoover.

10. Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou.

11. James Buchanan

12. Rutherford Hayes

13. James Garfield

14. Four months. He was shot July 2 and died Sept. 19, 1881.

15. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

16. Chester Arthur. One term.

17. Chester Arthur. He lost the nomination for a second term, even though he knew he had Bright’s, a kidney disease. He died a year after leaving office.

18. Grover Cleveland

19. Benjamin Harrison

20. Theodore Roosevelt

21. William Howard Taft

22. Warren G. Harding

23. Richard Nixon

24. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1915.

25. Jimmy Carter

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton best of recent presidents — Richard Nixon & George W. Bush rated worst

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Presidents’ Day Gallup Poll: Americans rate Reagan, Clinton best of recent presidents

Source: LAT, 2-20-12

Reagan & Clinton

Former President Ronald Reagan presents then-President-elect Clinton with a jar of red, white and blue jelly beans in November 1992. (Paul Richards / AFP)

Presidents Day — or Washington’s Birthday, if you prefer — is a time to celebrate all of America’s past commanders in chief. Among the nation’s most recent leaders, two are celebrated far more than others: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

That’s the finding of Gallup, at least, which recently asked Americans to judge how the last eight presidents will go down in history.

Sixty-nine percent said Reagan would go down as “outstanding” or “above average,” compared to just 10% who said “below average” or “poor.” Clinton was rated favorably by 60% of those surveyed, a 10-point improvement from the last time Gallup asked the question in early 2009. Twelve percent rated him negatively, down from 20% three years ago….READ MORE

How do you think each of the following presidents will go down in history -- as an outstanding president, above average, average, below average, or poor?

Americans Judge Reagan, Clinton Best of Recent Presidents

Public split on whether Obama will be judged positively or negatively

Source: Gallup, 2-17-12

Americans believe history will judge Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton as the best among recent U.S. presidents, with at least 6 in 10 saying each will go down in history as an above-average or outstanding president. Only about 1 in 10 say each will be remembered as below average or poor. Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency, Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor….READ MORE

Gallup: Reagan and Clinton are favorite presidents

Source: USA Today, 2-20-12

Americans say Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton will be judged the best presidents of the past four decades, the Gallup Poll reports.

At least six in 10 respondents say Reagan and Clinton will be considered an above average or outstanding president, Gallup said.

“Three years into Barack Obama’s presidency,” Gallup said. “Americans are divided in their views of how he will be regarded, with 38% guessing he will be remembered as above average or outstanding and 35% as below average or poor.”

The poll said, “Aside from Clinton and Reagan, only George H.W. Bush gets significantly more positive than negative ratings. (Richard) Nixon and George W. Bush are rated as the worst, with roughly half of Americans believing each will be judged negatively.”

The key to the popularity of Reagan and Clinton: They governed during good economies and got credit for improving them.

It’s worth nothing that Reagan and Clinton also survived scandals during their tenures: Reagan, the Iran-Contra imbroglio; Clinton, impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky matter.

Presidential ratings change over time, the pollsters noted…..READ MORE

Presidential Report Card: How Will Recent Presidents Go Down in History?—PICTURES

Source: National Journal, 2-17-12

Asked in a recent Presidents Day Gallup poll to rank eight modern presidents, respondents said Ronald Reagan and then Bill Clinton will go down in history as outstanding or above-average presidents. We take a look at how the rankings panned out….READ MORE

Budget Showdown: Q & A – How Many Times in US History has the Government Shutdown Over the Budget?

HISTORY Q&A:

HISTORY Q&A:

How Many Times in US History Has the Government Shutdown Over the Budget?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

EPA USA BUDGET CONGRESS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Night falls on the Capitol on the eve of a government shutdown in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Michael Reynolds, EPA)

Days to the start of the 2014 fiscal year Congress cannot come to an agreement for a continuing resolution that would keep the government solvent. Adding to the issue this time is not just a budget that the administration could not agree, but also the debt ceiling is reaching its limit about 15 days after the budget expires.

This is second time in Barack Obama’s presidency that a major threat loomed with the pressure of government shutdown. There have been 17 shutdowns in American history concentrated between the 1970s to the 1990s. This will be the 18th shutdown to hit Washington, and by October 17, the government would not have enough funds to meet its international loan obligations.

The government’s budget has been at the center of all previous shutdowns, and the 2013 budget battle is only different that there is the added threat of hit the debt ceiling at the same time. A budget (annual appropriation bills) needs to be passed by Congress and signed by the President prior to the commence of the new fiscal year on October 1, or continuing resolutions also known as stopgap spending bills need to be passed to keep the government operating at the prior year’s fiscal spending limits. However, if Congress fails to pass the appropriation bills, a continuing resolution, or the President vetoes or does not sign the resolution; these results in a government shutdown as there are no funds allocations to operate government.

The last and longest government shutdown in American history was when Democrat Bill Clinton was President and Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the Republican Congress in November 1995 and in December 1995 through to January 1996. The clash over the 1996 budget caused a government shutdown for six days in the first shutdown and for 21 days during the second shutdown. High partisanship affected the budget negotiation process resulting in the shutdown. According to Charles Tien writing on continuing resolutions in Robert E. Dewhirst, John David Rausch Encyclopedia of the United States Congress, “The government has shut down (partially) a total of 11 times since 1980; the fiscal year 1996 budget battle included two lengthy shutdowns. To avoid or end a government shutdown, the president or Congress must pass either the regular appropriation bill or a continuing resolution.” (149)


JIMMY CARTER

  • September 30 to October 11, 1976 (10 days)
  • September 30 to October 13, 1977 (12 days)
  • October 31 to November 9, 1977 (8 days)
  • November 30 to December 9, 1977 (8 days)
  • September 30 to October 18, 1978 (18 days
  • September 30 to October 12, 1979 (11 days)

Throughout the 1970s, various agencies have had to shutdown because of budget issues. As economic problems increased throughout the 1970s, Democratic President Jimmy Carter became the first president to face the issue of budget fights in Congress leading to the threat of government shutdowns. Lowell Barrington, Michael J. Bosia, Kathleen Bruhn Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices explain Despite being a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress “As Jimmy Carter found out during his four years as president of the United States, even having a legislature controlled by your own party is no guarantee that your policies will pass quickly, or resemble the original initiatives once they do.” (240)

The whole concept of shutting down the government if a budget, appropriation bills, or continuing resolution, started with President Jimmy Carter. Charles Tien writing on continuing resolutions in Robert E. Dewhirst, John David Rausch Encyclopedia of the United States Congress explains, “Since 1980, failure to pass a CR or an appropriations bill has led to a government shutdown. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter’s administration, in reevaluating a law passed in 1870, the Anti-deficiency Act ruled that agencies without appropriations had to close operations. The 1870 law said that “[I]t shall not lawful for any department of the government to expend in any one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress for that fiscal year, or to involve the government in any contract for the future payment of money in a excess of appropriations.” The Carter administrations ruling of the 1870 Anti-deficiency Act required Agencies without appropriations to shut down immediately.”(149)

Congress used the law to shut down operations at the FTC in 1980. Tien explains; “The first agency to ever shut down for a lapse in appropriations was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC shutdown for one day in 1980 because Congress refused to pass a full-year appropriation for the agency until it had authorizing legislation.” (149)

RONALD REAGAN

  • November 20 to November 23, 1981 (2 days)
  • September 30 to October 2, 1982 (1 day)
  • December 17 to December 21, 1982 (3 days)
  • November 10 to November 14, 1983 (3 days)
  • September 30 to October 3, 1984 (2 days)
  • October 3 to October 5, 1984 (1 day)
  • October 16 to October 18, 1986 (1 day)
  • December 18 to December 20, 1987 (1 day)

The trend of government showdowns and shutdowns over the budget did not slow with the election of Republican President Ronald Reagan. The introduction of Keynesian supply-side economics to the Federal government, differing economic philosophies regarding spending, and an increase of partisanship between Democrats and Republicans accounted for the succession of government shutdowns throughout the 1980s.

During the Reagan administration, the government spent the most time on the brink of government closures. Steven Hayward writes in The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution 1980-1989; “Unable to agree on a budget, Congress passed a “continuing resolution” in November to keep the government running at current levels. Reagan cast his first veto and brieftly shut down the government, in a pattern that would repeat itself much of the next six years (and which was repeated most dramatically during Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1995).” (188)

It was a battle that began from the onset of the administration and spanning the administration’s two terms. Reagan and David Stockman worked to implement and impose his economic policies on Congress from the very start of his administration, causing friction.

The most remembered government shutdown in the Reagan Administration was in 1981. Tien explains that “President Ronald Reagan’s administration used the shutdown guidelines the following year when Reagan vetoed a continuing resolution that resulted in a three-day broader government shutdown.” (149) After short closures in 1981, 1984, 1985, and 1986, the government again faced similar situation in 1987 a closures were averted.

The Reagan administration in presenting and pursuing the passing of their first federal budget in 1981 looked to cut taxes, and cut spending in order to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. Reagan’s economic solution was a program entitled “America’s New Beginning”; a expansive program that would cut taxes, and spending across the board including social programs in order to reduce the swelling deficit, and infuse the lagging economic situation with life. The 1982 deficit was estimated to reach $109 billion.

Reagan in presenting his 1982 budget pleaded with the American people in a televised address; “Our immediate challenge is to hold down the deficit in the fiscal year that begins next week. A number of threats are now appearing that will drive the deficit upward if we fail to act… And without further cuts, we can’t achieve our goal of a balance budget by 1984…. I’m asking all of you who joined in this crusade to save our economy to help again, to let your representatives know that you will support them in making the hard decisions to further reduce the cost and size of government.” (187) Senator Ted Kennedy gave the Democratic response, “This is the government of the rich, by the rich for the rich.” Summing up that the Democratic Congress was not interested in cutting the deficit or spending especially when it came to social programs.

The Reagan administration looked to cut spending in the upcoming 1982 budget. However, as the economy became increasingly worse by September and the Democratic Congress inability to find areas to cut that would have limited impact to rely upon social programs, there was an impass. Reagan reduced the numbers to 13 billion and then again by late October to half that amount, 7-8 billion, without any tax raises, and finally to meet Congress halfway at 4 billion and no less.

Nov 23, 1981: The spending feud between the Republican President Reagan and the Democratic Congress led to a shutdown. The November 20 deadline for a stop gap spending bill was on a Friday, however the House-Senate Conference delayed it to the following Monday to finalize a bill. The compromise bill consisted of 4 billion in spending savings/cuts, by reducing 2 percent of government spending. The White House in reviewing the numbers claimed there would only be 2 billion in savings from the proposed cuts. When presented with the bill in the morning, Reagan refused to sign Congress’s continuing resolution.

Reporting in the New York Times stated; “President Reagan vetoed the measure as “budget-busting.” Faced with the “difficult choice” of either signing the bill or disrupting Government services, the President said, “I have chosen the latter.”  Reagan’s veto led to a shutdown in the government for the afternoon, forcing 400,000 of the 2.1 million federal employees home. Congress approved a stop gap spending bill which later the same day Reagan signed, ending the shutdown with work resuming the next morning. Only on December 12, 1981, did the Congress and and President Reagan approve an Omnibus spending bill, “setting the spending ceilings for the entire year, except in foreign aid. Thus, although the continuing resolution will be superseded by enactment of individual appropriation bills.” (NYT, 12-13-1981, pg. 80)

The one day shutdown cost the government $65 million with a total of 670,000 workers furloughed. A worker who came to work as part of the essential government workers described it as a “snow day without snow…. People come to work sit around confused worry about their car pools, then maybe get interviewed on television.” (NYT, 12-15-1985, pg. D23)

Oct. 4 1984: Congress failed to pass a stopgap money bill, when a new budget was not passed for the new fiscal year. On October 4th500,000 civil servants out of the 2.9 million civil servants where sent home from their jobs; leading to a partial shutdown. An emergency spending bill passed, which Reagan signed, and normal government operations continued the next morning. Both times the shutdowns were limited in their implications and impacts.

Nov 11, 1985: In Reagan’s second term the government again faced a shutdown. Congress could not agree over a budget agreement, and the need to extend the federal borrowing limit, beyond the limit which was 1,823 trillion, which contradicted plans to balance the budget by 1991.

Oct. 17, 1986: The Democratic Congress and the Presidency’s inability to agree on a new fiscal budget led to another half day furlough. Congress had also failed to come to an agreement and pass a spending bill. At Midday 500,000 non-essential federal employees were forced home. An emergency spending bill passed, returning employees the next day to work.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH

  • October 5 to October 9, 1990 (3 days)

All previous government shutdowns lasted only short periods of time, in 1990 that changed under Reagan’s successor and former Vice President, and then President George H.W. Bush when the government experienced its longest shutdown. In October 1990 the government was shut down a total of three days, because of Democratic Congress and the Republican President could not agree on a budget for 1991. As signs of economic problems were visible on the horizon, the battle was centered on the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act to balance the budget.

Democrats wanted to increase taxes on the nation’s richest to reduce the ballooning deficit, but in the 1988 campaign Bush had promise he would not increase any taxes across the board. Bush threatened to veto any budget that Congress presented to him that included a tax increase.
Oct. 6, 1990: President Bush made good on his veto threat; with the budget vetoed and without a continuing resolution agreed upon, the government was shut down throughout the three day Columbus Day weekend. Both the President and Congress wanted to limit the negative impact of a shutdown, and they agreed the new budget would not include any surtax or tax increases. Over the weekend President Bush then signed a continuance, and government opened on Tuesday morning.

The closure during the holiday weekend, limited the impact a three day closure would had on running the government, had it been closed for three days during the week. Bush was however, was forced to agree to tax increases, going against his main campaign pledge. The President signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 on November 5, 1990 securing a budget for the fiscal year.


BILL CLINTON

  • November 13  to November 19, 1995 (5 days)
  • December 5, 1995 to January 6, 1996 (21 days)

The 1995-1996 shutdowns were the longest amid the most heated battle over the budget between Congress and the President. President Clinton chose to veto several appropriation bills in the 1996 budget, at issue was funding amounts for social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, public health, education, and the environment, all programs Clinton pledged to maintain to the public, however, the Republicans wanted Clinton to submit a seven year plan for a balanced budget. The Republican Congress could have voted on a continuance to keep the government operating on the previous fiscal years spending limits. However, the Republican controlled Congress looked to shut down the government hoping the public would blame the Democratic President, leading to a Republican victory in the next year’s Presidential election.

Many believed Gingrich was motivated by revenge as opposed to policy when allowed the shutdown to occur, Senator Tom Delay in his memoirNo Retreat, No Surrender wrote, “He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One… (After Yizhak Rabin’s funeral, where Clinton refused to discuss the budget as well on the flight) Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child. The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same.” Throughout the shutdown Clinton suffered in the polls, but in the end the backlash was against the Republicans instead, whose popularity waned after the shutdowns, and in the 1996 election they actually lost 5 seats in the Congress to Democrats.

Nov 13, 1995: The first shutdown commenced at midnight on November 13, 2005, after a last minute attempt to avert the shut down; Clinton, Gingrich, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and Senator Bob Dole met, but failed to reach a compromise. Clinton described the negotiations in his memoirs, My Life; “Armey replied gruffly that if I didn’t give in to them, they would shut the government down and my presidency would be over. I shot back, saying I would never allow their budget to become law, “even if I drop to 5 percent in the polls. If you want your budget, you’ll have to get someone else to sit in this chair!” Not surprisingly, we didn’t make a deal.” At the midnight, a partial shutdown led to 800,000 “nonessential employees” being sent home or told not to come into to work, with only emergency government services remained open. This represented 42 percent of the civil servants employed. The shutdown only ceased with an agreement on a temporary spending bill.

Dec 16, 1995-Jan 5, 1996: When the temporary funding measures expired, and no continuance was yet again signed, the government shut down this time for 14 days from December 16, 1995 and finally ending on January 5, 1996; the longest shutdown period in US history. Although Congress enacted resolutions to end the shutdown and another temporary spending bill was signed ending the 21 day partial government shut down, the government did not go back to fully functioning until April. Clinton agreed to submit a seven year balanced budget plan approved by the Congressional Budget Office to ensure the government would keep running after the January 26, 1996 spending extension end date. With the agreement, Clinton declared ‘The era of big government is over.’

In 1990 and in 1995, 1996, the budget battles and their subsequent shutdowns forced compromises, especially on the side of the President more than Congress. In 1990 Bush had to agree to tax increases, while in 1996, Clinton had to agree to a seven year balanced budget plan. Bush going against his campaign pledge lost his 1992 bid for re-election, Clinton however, escaped with a higher approval rating for his handling of the 1996 budget showdown, and was re-elected later that same year, while Republicans heavily shouldered the blame for the shutdowns.

BARACK OBAMA

  • April 2011

President Obama and Congress were able to avert a shutdown during the last battle in April 2011, when at issue was the 7 million difference between the Democrats proposed 33 million and the Republicans 40 million in spending cuts. The President was willing to negotiate with Congress; discussions and reasoning averted a crisis at the last moment.

  • October 1, 2013

The U.S. began shutting down the government on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 at midnight after the battling Republican controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic controlled Senate could not agree on a continuing resolution, a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government funded for the new fiscal year. At the core of the conflict is the Senate and President Barack Obama wanting a “clean bill” without out any provisions, while the House has been insisting on some provisions to delays aspects of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, the new healthcare law which is beginning to be formally implemented and ready for individuals and families to start enrolling in also on Oct. 1, 2013.

With time run out and negotiations played out by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget’s Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell formally sent out a memo late Monday evening for all government agencies to begin the first government shut down in 17 years, stating that “agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations.” Approximately 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed as a result of the shutdown.

One aspect is almost certain, 2013 will be added to the list of recent government shutdowns over a budget battle, while only time will tell the long term political ramifications such a shutdown at a time when the economy is slowly recovering.

For Jeb Bush, Life Defending the Family Name

For Jeb Bush, Life Defending the Family Name

Source: NYT, 6-23-10

For months now, Jeb Bush has been listening as President Obama blasts his older brother’s administration for the battered economy, budget deficits and even the lax oversight of oil wells.

M. Spencer Green/Associated Press

A lot of Republican Party insiders think Jeb Bush could still be a serious presidential contender in 2012.

“It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ ” Mr. Bush, this state’s former governor, said over lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel. “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.”

In fact, instead of constantly bashing the 43rd president, Mr. Bush offered, perhaps Mr. Obama could learn something from him, especially when it comes to ignoring the Washington chatter. “This would break his heart, to get advice that applies some of the lessons of leadership my brother learned, because he apparently likes to act like he’s still campaigning, and he likes to blame George’s administration for everything,” Mr. Bush said, dangling a ketchup-soaked French fry. “But he really seems like he’s getting caught up in what people are writing about him.”

“I mean, good God, man, read a book!” Mr. Bush said with a laugh. “Go watch ESPN!… READ MORE

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