The Oklahoman on President Obama’s on sequestration (Oct. 30) — Sen. Joe Lieberman vows to do all he can to make sure, when Congress returns to work in November that $500 billion more isn’t cut from the defense budget as part of a government sequestration set to begin in early January.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week, Lieberman, I-Conn., warned that cutting defense by that amount over the next decade will weaken our military considerably as it tries to deal with current and future challenges. “Contrary to claims that the ‘tide of war is receding,’” he wrote, “our national security threats are becoming more complex and no less demanding or urgent.”
Why should Lieberman be concerned? After all, during his third debate with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said of sequestration: “It will not happen.”
That comment had members of the president’s team scrambling the next day to explain what Obama really meant (a common practice in this administration). Republican Sen. John McCain made the point that it would take legislation to repeal sequestration — about $1 trillion worth of cuts in government spending over the next decade — and that would require some sort of agreement in Congress.
Speaking of Congress, the president also said sequestration “is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed” ...
McCain says he and other GOP senators “have been begging the president” to sit down and work out a deal. Lieberman is clearly on board. They understand that Obama’s debate proclamation means nothing. Instead, only real work from both sides of the aisle can keep sequestration from happening.
Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times on Mitt Romney and FEMA (Oct. 29) — Whenever there is a major natural disaster in the United States, most people affected look to the U.S. government and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide help in its aftermath. That was true here after the devastating 2011 tornadoes. It was true following Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 rampage. It is no doubt true now that Hurricane Sandy and a related superstorm continue to batter a goodly portion of the United States.
FEMA’s response isn’t always up to speed and there often are questions about policy and rules (there were some here after the tornadoes). Usually, though, FEMA does an adequate job providing large-scale disaster aid and assistance in instances where any other agency or the private sector would be hard-pressed to meet staggering need. Not many, then, question the federal agency’s overall mission, much less its existence. Mitt Romney, however, does.
He’s on record — in a 2011 GOP primary debate — as saying that it was “immoral” for the federal government to be spending money on disaster relief, when it should be focused on deficit reduction. He went on to say that states, not the federal government, should deal with natural disasters. ...
Romney knows he can’t take back his original statement about FEMA, so over the weekend he issued an extremely vague press release indicating that he now supports some federal involvement in disaster relief. He offered no explanation of what that might or should involve. ...
FEMA provides services that no other agency can afford or arrange on such a vast scale over multiple state borders ... One might debate about how FEMA does its work, but those like Romney who say its job should be eliminated or truncated have no understanding of the role it does play in times of crisis. This week’s massive storm, unfortunately, is likely to teach that lesson anew.
The Courier, Houma, La., on U.S. oil production (Oct. 25) — The oil production of the United States is on a sharp upward climb, and that should please anyone who is rooting for American energy independence.
That won’t happen in the next year or two, but the experts predict that within the next decade, the nation’s oil imports could decrease by half.
Right now, the U.S. is producing about 10.9 million barrels of crude and other hydrocarbons — representing a 7 percent increase from last year until this year.
That is strong growth that even the experts didn’t foresee.
“Five years ago, if I or anyone had predicted today’s production growth, people would have thought we were crazy,” said Jim Burkhard, head of oil markets research at IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.
The recent growth in America’s oil production has placed the U.S. in the running for worldwide leader, a distinction that would have us pass Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have led the world for a decade.
The current upward trend is likely to continue. ...
America will not be independent of the world energy market anytime soon. But it is good to see an increased domestic production fueling a healthy trend away from foreign oil and toward the oil that’s produced right here in the Gulf of Mexico and across the U.S.
Los Angeles Times on not putting deportees in danger (Oct. 31) — U.S. immigration officials began deporting many Mexican illegal immigrants to their nation’s capital this month as part of a humanitarian effort to avoid deporting them to border areas such as Tamaulipas, which are besieged by violence. The two-month pilot program seems to be a smart and responsible improvement over the current deportation policy, one that could save lives and bolster border security. If it proves effective, it should be quickly extended.
Under the temporary initiative, the United States will pay about $1.1 million to fly deportees from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City. Mexico will then shoulder the cost of bus fare to return them to their hometowns in the interior of the country, and provide food to them during their journey.
No doubt, some critics will argue that the safety of Mexican deportees is Mexico’s problem, and that the United States shouldn’t incur any costs on their behalf. That’s shortsighted. Repatriating migrants closer to their homes and farther from the border would not only protect them, it would also discourage many Mexicans from immediately attempting to recross illegally into the United States.
Dumping migrants in border towns where they have no roots and few prospects for surviving carries a price for both countries. ...
The United States has a responsibility to protect its border and deport those who violate its laws. But it also has a duty to ensure that those who are repatriated aren’t put in danger. The new program seems to offer an effective way to enforce this country’s immigration laws.