8:07 AM, Aug 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden's trip to Brazil in mid-June for the USA versus Ghana World Cup game and meetings the following day with the president and vice president of Brazil required rental of vehicles for Biden and his entourage costing over $900,000. Added to the $2.2 million cost of hotels we reported a few weeks ago, the total costs of local lodging and transportation for the trip topped $3.1 million.
The documents indicate two companies were used for vehicles and drivers:
The $908,147 estimate far outstrips the $321,665 spent in February 2013 for a vice presidential trip to Paris. The documents for the World Cup trip do not contain enough details to explain why the cost for this trip is comparatively high, but asserts that the "anticipated cost to the Government will be fair and reasonable" and that the rates are comparable to "the rates charged for similar services during this season." The documents that accompanied the Brazil hotel contract posting noted that due to the World Cup, hotel rates were up anywhere from 75 to 365 percent, but a similar statement is not included in the vehicle documents.
The State Department, the agency that handles arrangements for VIP trips, explained the reasons for the short notice and lack of full competition in awarding the contracts:
Security and logistics are the Department of State’s primary considerations when procuring vehicles rental. The Department of State must be able to provide a safe and secure vendor for VIP visitors. Frequently VIP visits are not announced or confirmed in sufficient time to conduct a competition, creating an urgent and compelling need.
The two companies chosen were able to handle communications requirements and were accommodating to the security needs of the vice president's entourage.
8:06 AM, Jul 29, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Publicly, President Obama loves to demonize insurance companies. But behind the scenes, Big Government and Big Insurance maintain a cozy alliance that the Obama administration actively nourishes, often at taxpayer expense. Indeed, as emails recently obtained by the House Oversight Committee show, Big Government and Big Insurance have worked together to promote Obamacare. They’ve also worked together to make sure taxpayers will help bail out insurance companies who lose money selling insurance under Obamacare — that is, unless Republicans stop this from happening. Moreover, Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is among the prominent White House officials who’ve been in the middle of this collaboration between insurers and the administration — between those driven by the profit motive and those driven by the power motive.
1:18 PM, Oct 7, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Northern New England is in its glory; now and for the next week or so. The leaves are nearing peak color and until yesterday, there has been a big high pressure zone parked over the area so the weather has been what would once have been described as "heavenly." It has been raining now but in a few days, the sun will shine again and the leaves will still be there, in full. And for that, Washington can take no credit.
8:11 AM, Oct 7, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Only "essential" employees of the federal government are still working during the shutdown. And at the Federal Election Commission that means practically no one is coming one.
According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, only 4 of the employees on the FEC's staff of 339 are working through the shutdown. That's because only those 4 are considered "essential."
9:03 AM, Sep 12, 2013 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
Are you feeling impulsive? Well, if you are in the District of Columbia there is nothing to fear—the government is doing all it can to protect you from yourself. D.C.’s health department has issued draft regulations that would require anyone seeking a tattoo to wait 24 hours to be inked. A spokesperson for the agency, explained: “We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning... saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’”
8:24 PM, Jul 2, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In a blatant exercise of arbitrary rule, the Obama administration announced this evening that it has unilaterally decided not to implement a key provision of Obamacare on schedule. By law, Obamacare’s employer mandate — its requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide federally sanctioned health insurance — should go into effect next year. By executive fiat, it won’t go into effect until 2015.
7:46 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the sequester bore down on Washington, the dire warnings from the Obama administration gave the impression that wild horses couldn't drag another dime out of the treasury for a whole host of vital government services. Aircraft carrier refueling, the Head Start program, and White House tours were among the high profile victims.
Could it change public opinion on big government?4:04 PM, Apr 1, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on President Obama's bad sequester calculus. Hosted by Michael Graham.
8:36 AM, Mar 7, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
When it comes to deficit reduction, President Obama and the mainstream press seem to have a fascination with the figure of $4 trillion. During last year’s first presidential debate, Obama falsely claimed, “I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan,” even though he’d done nothing of the sort.
"It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."6:04 PM, Feb 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House has released limited excerpts of President Obama's State of the Union Address:
“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
Nearly double the cost of the first three years of Bush and Clinton combined.2:29 PM, Jan 30, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
As Adam White discusses in detail, there’s nothing moderate or incremental about the increase in federal regulations — and hence in centralized executive power — under President Obama. To the contrary (as White notes), according to figures published by the Obama White House (see table 2-1), the costs of regulations issued by this administration have dwarfed the costs of regulations issued by prior administrations.
1:40 PM, Jan 4, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It has been a long climb for NASCAR. The sport's beginnings were in bootlegging. One of its finest drivers, fiercest competitors, and most successful owners learned his craft hauling moonshine on the back roads of North Carolina.
2:25 PM, Dec 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Spending will increase 55 percent over the next decade, if President Barack Obama's budget plan goes into effect. The finding comes from the Republican-side of the Senate Budget Committee, which notes that Obama's "Proposal Would Spend $880 Billion Over Already Projected Increases."
4:15 PM, Dec 17, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Since Washington and the mainstream press corps are pretending that our deficit woes are the result of a roughly equal blend of excessive federal spending and insufficient federal taxation, let’s review the evidence. According to official government figures published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in fiscal year 2008, the federal government took in $2.524 trillion and spent $2.983 trillion. So the
3:37 PM, Dec 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat from Alaska, is "pleased" to include more than $200 million in pork spending in the Sandy legislation, a bill meant to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The senator's office explains the request in a press release: