New Wisconsin Budget Repeals University Tenure

Walker Wins: New Budget Will Repeal University Tenure – Daily Caller

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is poised to win a huge victory on education as the state legislature passed a budget that repeals state tenure guarantees while also slashing the budget of the University of Wisconsin.

The victory was enunciated by the acquiescence of the university, which recognized its defeat by passing a spending plan that implements Walker’s cuts. All that remains is for Walker to consummate his victory by affixing his signature to the budget.

The two-year, $73 billion budget approved Thursday makes a host of changes Walker has sought in the realm of education. Wisconsin’s school voucher program is expanded, and $250 million in funding is taken from the University of Wisconsin. That’s down from the $300 million cut Walker originally sought, but still a substantial haircut.

Bowing to the fait accompli, later on Thursday the University of Wisconsin approved its own budget, implementing the big cuts expected of it. About 400 positions will be laid off or will go unfilled, and the university’s budgets no money for pay hikes. The school’s situation is made tougher because the legislature has also frozen in-state tuition.

While academics have accused Walker of sabotaging the school’s competitiveness, Walker has refused to yield, arguing that professors should be teaching more classes.

Walker’s push to slash spending at U-Wisconsin has received the most press, but his push to alter tenure may have the biggest long-term implications. Until now, tenure for professors at the University of Wisconsin has been protected by statute (Wisconsin is the only state with such a law). Now, that protection has been eliminated, leaving it up to the school’s board of regents to decide whether professors have tenure.

Not only that, but tenure itself has been weakened so that it doesn’t offer the protections it once did. Previously, only “financial exigency” (an urgent budget shortfall) could justify the firing of a tenured professor. Now, tenured professors may also be laid off whenever it is “deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection.”

The budget also rolls back the principle of “shared governance,” in which faculty are given heavy leeway to control the governance of their own departments. Instead, faculty are assigned a primary advisory role for helping the chancellor.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent a letter to Walker Friday begging him to veto the changes, saying they would drive away current and prospective faculty.

“Over its 165-year history, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has built an international reputation for the highest quality research and teaching,” said Blank. “For us to attract and retain the best faculty in the global higher education marketplace, it is imperative that UW-Madison not be seen as offering a less attractive package than can be found at our peer institutions.”

But given that rolling back tenure is Walker’s idea in the first place, a veto at the eleventh hour is a very unlikely concession.

Angry faculty have directed a great deal of venom toward Blank and the UW board of regents, accusing them of letting the tenure provisions pass by failing to make a loud protest.

Walker is expected to sign the budget by Monday, when he is scheduled to officially announce his presidential campaign.

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House Guts IRS Budget, Blocks Performance Bonuses For Senior Executives

Furious Over Scandals, House Guts IRS Budget, Blocks Performance Bonuses – Daily Caller

The House voted to block performance bonuses for senior Internal Revenue Service executives Wednesday, The Hill reported.

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“Giving out bonuses is ludicrous and amounts to a slap in the face to the American public,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, who introduced the amendment. “They should not be given performance awards in the wake of one of the largest scandals in recent history.”

The amendment passed by a vote of 282-138-1, with only Democrats voting against it.

“To suggest and paint with a broad brush the whole IRS and say that everyone there at the senior level is not worthy of a bonus or not worthy of our respect is really to do a disservice to public service employees,” said ranking member Democrat Rep. José Serrano.

The House also passed an amendment prohibiting the IRS from spending money on conferences, with Rep. Ron DeSantis noting that one recent conference alone cost more than $4 million.

These are just the latest move in the House’s war on the IRS. Earlier this week it voted to slash the IRS’s budget by $1.14 billion, motivated by anger over the Lois Lerner targeting scandal.

“The IRS is guilty of targeting innocent Americans, now… I am targeting them,” said Rep. Gosar, who also sponsored of one of the amendments that dramatically cut funding.

“We need to keep in mind that the IRS is one of the most feared agencies within the federal government,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga, who introduced a separate budget-cutting amendment, which also passed. “It is up to Congress to prevent the IRS from ever slipping back into its targeting practices. The best way to do that is to force the IRS to consolidate its resources and prioritize. Congress itself has been forced to do this. Our own offices have been forced to do this and there is no reason the IRS cannot follow suit. We cannot allow the IRS to be used as a political weapon.”

Gosar’s amendment cut the IRS’s budget by $353 million, while Huizenga’s chopped off another $788 million. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this leaves the IRS with $9.8 billion for the fiscal year beginning on October 1.

Both amendments passed by a voice vote, meaning there is no record of who did and did not support the amendments.

Both the budget-cutting and bonus-blocking amendments were made to House Resolution 5016, the fiscal year 2015 financial services appropriations bill, which “provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies.”

These amendments have the White House rattled, with its budget office saying Monday that, “If the President were presented with H.R. 5016, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

“Reverting the agency’s funding level to FY 2008 levels would hinder IRS efforts to provide robust service to taxpayers, improve enforcement operations, and implement new statutory responsibilities,” the statement read. “The Administration also objects to provisions that unnecessarily encumber IRS operations with reporting requirements and unduly restrict the IRS’s ability to finalize regulations.”

H.R. 5016 passed Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 228-195.

“The bill totals $21.3 billion in funding for these agencies, which is $566 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the President’s request for these programs,” said an Appropriations Committee press release. “The legislation prioritizes programs critical to enforcing laws, maintaining an effective judiciary system, and helping small businesses, while targeting lower-priority or poor-performing programs – such as the Internal Revenue Service – for reductions.”

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Obama Def. Sec.’s Budget Proposal Would Shrink Army To Pre-WWII Levels, Eliminate Entire Class Of USAF Jets

Proposed Budget Will Reportedly Shrink Army To Pre-WWII Numbers – Fox News

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will reportedly propose a Pentagon budget that will shrink the U.S. Army to its smallest number since 1940 and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets.

The New York Times reported late Sunday that Hagel’s proposal, which will be released to lawmakers and the public on Monday, will call for a reduction in size of the military that will leave it capable of waging war, but unable to carry out protracted occupations of foreign territory, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Under Hagel’s plan, the number of troops in the Army will drop to between 440,000 and 450,000, a reduction of at least 120,000 soldiers from its post-Sept.11 peak.

Officials told the Times that Hagel’s plan has been endorsed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and protects funding for Special Operations forces and cyberwarfare. It also calls for the Navy to maintain all eleven of its aircraft carriers currently in operation. However, the budget proposal mandates the elimination of the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, as well as the retiring of the U-2 spy plane, a stalwart of Cold War operations.

The budget plan does keep money for the F-35 warplane, a project which has been beset by delays and criticism over design flaws.

Other characteristics of the budget will likely draw further ire from veterans groups and members of Congress. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Hagel would recommend a limit on military pay raises, higher fees for health-care benefits, less generous housing allowances, and a one-year freeze on raises for top military brass.

“Personnel costs reflect some 50% of the Pentagon budget and cannot be exempted in the context of the significant cuts the department is facing,” Defense Department spokesman Adm. John Kirby told the Journal. “Secretary Hagel has been clear that, while we do not want to, we ultimately must slow the growth of military pay and compensation.”

“This is a real uphill battle with Congress,” Mieke Eoyang, director of the National Security Program at Third Way, a centrist think tank in Washington, told the Journal

“God bless [Hagel] for trying to get a handle on these costs,” she said. “But in this political environment, in an election year, it’s going to be hard for members of Congress to accept anything that’s viewed as taking benefits away from troops.”

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Fed-Up Veteran Writes Letter Telling Rep. Ryan What He Thinks Of ‘Bipartisan’ Budget Deal

Fed-Up Veteran Tells Paul Ryan What He Thinks Of ‘Bipartisan’ Budget Deal In Viral Open Letter – The Blaze

Chuck Wooten, a military veteran, was already ticked off about Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) pushing through the “bipartisan” budget deal, which includes cuts to veterans’ retirement benefits. So when he got a fundraising email from Ryan’s office asking for money, he decided to really let the Wisconsin congressman know how he feels.

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The scathing open letter, posted on Facebook last week, is going viral – and you only have to read the first few sentences to know why. It should be noted that because Wooten’s Facebook page is set to private, we weren’t able to review the original post on his wall and had to rely on re-posts.

“Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed,” Wooten writes in the open letter to Ryan. “You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your ‘bipartisan’ budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate) that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me.”

He continued: “You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.”

Wooten went on to remind Ryan of the bravery his “brothers-in-arms” display every single day as they boldly answer the call of duty, “without fail, without complaint.”

“And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation,” the veteran writes. “Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening.”

Wooten concludes by assuring Ryan and his Republican “colleagues” who supported the budget deal that they will “NEVER” receive another cent of financial support from him.

“Remove me from your contact lists,” he added.

In an exclusive interview with TheBlaze on Thursday, Wooten explained that he was stunned by the “grand irony” of Ryan’s team asking for money after putting together the “backroom deal” that cuts military benefits.

“You’re picking my pocket and then you’re asking me for a handout,” he said.

Still, Wooten told TheBlaze he never anticipated all the attention his open letter has generated so far.

He also made it clear that he does not speak for the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. military, but shares the same views of many other veterans who feel betrayed by politicians in Washington.

Read the entire viral letter below and share the post:

FB Friends,

I’m still mulling this Paul Ryan budget deal that stole money from every military retiree (past, present and future). This morning, upon opening my email, I noticed I had a letter from Congressman Paul Ryan… and it was begging me for an “emergency end of the year donation.” It only proves what we already know. The folks in Washington are indeed clueless. Instead of hitting the delete button, I decided to call Congressman Ryan out on his audacity and lack of self-awareness. I sent the following to him. I’m also posting it on the FB USAF Chiefs page as an open letter to the Congressman. If you’re a retiree, I will tell you we may have lost the battle, but not the war. If you’re inclined and find it worthy, let’s flood social media with this letter and see if we can get some traction. Thanks.

To Congressman Paul Ryan
Today at 8:19 AM
Congressman Ryan,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence… in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.

Chuck Wooten,
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)

President Barack Obama signed the budget deal on Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii, according to the Associated Press.

“The deal reduces across-the-board cuts already scheduled to take effect, restoring about $63 billion over two years. It includes a projected $85 billion in other savings,” the AP reports.

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Senate Republicans To Filibuster House Budget Deal, According To Sessions

Jeff Sessions: Senate GOP To Filibuster Paul Ryan’s Budget Deal – Big Government

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking GOP member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Thursday that Senate Republicans plan to filibuster the budget deal that House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cut with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

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The deal passed the House 332-94, with 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting against it. The bill is expected to come up for votes in the Senate early next week, either Monday or Tuesday.

The type of filibuster Sessions spoke of is not the traditional “talking filibuster” like the one Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched earlier this year to protest Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama’s drone policies. It is a procedural filibuster, The Hill reports, that would require Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to at least twice obtain 60 votes to pass the bill.

“They’ll need 60 votes on cloture and 60 votes on the budget point of order,” Sessions said, according to The Hill.

Since there are only 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Reid will twice need at least five Republicans to break from their party and support the budget deal. Reid may need more Republicans if liberals like Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) or Bernie Sanders (I-VT) oppose the deal because it does not extend unemployment benefits. Considering 32 Democrats voted against the deal in the House, it seems plausible Reid may lose at least one, maybe two Democrats in the Senate.

Senate Republicans largely seem unified against the bill. As of late Thursday, not one Senate Republican confirmed suppot of the plan.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against it, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn and GOP conference chairman John Thune have indicated their opposition to it as well. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has said he opposes it. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sessions each oppose it too.

Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who usually support similar measures, have each announced their opposition.

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is undecided as of this point, and while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – easily the Senate’s most liberal Republican – has said he is leaning “yes,” he has not yet committed to voting for the deal, citing concerns with military pension cuts in it.

Appropriators like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have not committed either, according to Roll Call.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Majority Whip in the Senate, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the Democrats need GOP votes to make this happen.

“We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,” Durbin said. “We need at least five, and I’m hoping that there’ll be more than that. There are not five who Republicans have announced they’re for it, I mean to my knowledge, and I hope there are many more than that, and they’re just holding back for any number of reasons.”

While the deal is more likely to pass the Senate than not, the question becomes about which Republicans – if any – Reid will be able to attract to support the Ryan budget deal.

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CBO: Obama Budget Adds $5.2 Trillion To Deficit, $1 Trillion In New Taxes

CBO: Obama Budget Adds $5.2 Trillion To Deficit, $1 Trillion In New Taxes – Big Government

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget would add $5.2 trillion in deficits over the next ten years and contains nearly $1 trillion in new taxes.

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The Obama budget, which was delivered two months after the legally-required deadline, is larded with accounting gimmicks that count as savings war and disaster contingency funds that were never going to be spent. Obama’s budget also assumes sequester-related cuts will all be restored.

But Obama claims his budget is devoid of budgeting tricks.

“The numbers work,” says Obama. “There’s not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.”

Congressional Republicans are not buying it.

“This new [CBO] report shows that the President’s budget doesn’t come close to solving the problem,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). “The federal government will take in a record haul over the next ten years. And the President wants yet another massive tax hike. But under his plan, we’ll keep adding to the debt – at an alarming rate.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) defending the Obama budget and said the plan offers taxpayers a “big and balanced approach.”

“This is an important validation of the President’s and Democrats’ efforts to restore fiscal discipline through a big and balanced approach while maintaining our ability to invest in a competitive economy and a growing middle class,” said Hoyer.

Obama’s past budgets have resulted in politically embarrassing defeats. In 2011 and 2012, the Senate Democrats and Republicans unanimously rejected Obama’s proposed budgets.

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What Crime Has Harry Reid Committed?

What Crime Has Harry Reid Committed? – American Spectator

I have one question about the way Majority Leader Harry Reid has been conducting the Senate. Has he committed a felony or a mere misdemeanor?

The wags will say that a politician from Nevada does not commit misdemeanors, but I am in earnest. The difference between whether Dingy Harry – as he is known by the eminent political scientist Dr. Rush Limbaugh – shuffles off to a federal prison or merely pays a hefty fine is significant. I suppose we can leave it to the federal prosecutors to decide, but if he gets off on a misdemeanor I urge it also entail mandatory budget counseling. No one would be surprised to hear of Harry being sentenced to a stint at anger management counseling. Why not mandatory budget counseling too?

Majority Leader Harry’s transgression is that for over 1300 days he has failed to pass a budget. In fact, there is no evidence he has even tried. This is against the law. Federal law clearly requires the Congress to pass a budget every year. I presume the reasoning behind this is that the American people deserve to know what their taxes are paying for, or another way of putting it is, why are the American people being mulcted every year by the Internal Revenue Service to pay for Harry and his gang’s criminal activities? What are their activities? Are they buying votes with public moneys? Are they favoring friends with subsidies and other extensions of the people’s treasure? What about lucre they have extended for “renewable energy,” for automobiles no one wants, for every idiot enthusiasm of the so-called welfare state.

For over 1300 days Harry has been operating his scam without a budget. The House of Representatives has passed budgets in accordance with the law. They have been designed by the law-abiding chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan. He has braved obloquy from Democrats and other ideologues for putting down on paper what he would spend federal money on and where the citizenry’s taxes are going. Harry has not, and according to the law he ought to go to jail or be otherwise punished. Surely we do not make laws without punishments, do we?

Not all senators are complicit in Harry’s intrigues. For instance, the affable Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama is blameless and actually indignant with his colleagues and with Harry in particular. Recently he told my colleague at the Washington Examiner Byron York, “I think it should be a firm principle that we should not raise the debt ceiling until we have a plan on how the new borrowed money will be spent. If the government wants to borrow money so it can spend more, then the government ought to tell the Congress and the American people how they will spend it.” York concludes, “One problem, of course, is that the law already requires Congress to pass a budget, and Reid has violated that.” I say prosecute him. This is malfeasance on a vast scale.

Whether Harry goes to the can or accepts a lesser sentence, as I have suggested, a mandatory course in budget management, we are going to have to face up to these trillion dollar deficits that the government has been piling up since our smug President took over, Barack Obama. He envisages them for years to come, though obviously if those trillion-dollar deficits do come life in the great Republic will be very different from what it has been. We have already raised taxes on his hellish two percent, now Republicans have got to insist that President Obama make good on the other half of his deal and cut spending. The way to cut the trillion-dollar deficit is now through budget cuts. The federal government spends too much. It spends money it does not have. In the coming debt-ceiling fight Republicans and the handful of sober Democrats out there should offer suggestions on where the cuts should be.

I have just read a study by the increasingly mainstream Heritage Foundation outlining $150 billion dollars of cuts in the budget. Patrick Louis Knudsen, the author of the study, points out that many of the cuts are perfectly doable, for they envision the federal government’s desisting from undertaking what it should never have undertaken in the first place. Other cuts involve privatization, policy consolidation, ending ineffective programs, and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. For instance, Knudsen’s plan calls for cutting $13.5 billion from the Department of Agriculture, $3.5 billion from Community Development, $15.1 billion from Health Care, and $15.8 billion from the Department of Transportation. So it goes through every nook and cranny of the federal government, save the Department of Defense. Knudsen does not cut from the Pentagon because he feels that the military is an essential area of government involvement. Presumably he leaves it to the generals and admirals to decide what is essential for the security of the country.

The coming battle over the debt ceiling is the right time to demand our government get its fiscal house in order. If not now, when? As for Dingy Harry, possibly under the threat of prosecution he will smarten up. No one wants to see him go off to the calaboose.

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