By Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director
Most of us have budgets. Whether at home or in the workplace, we have to keep our spending in line with our income. If you just paid your federal taxes, you might be revising your budget right now.
Of course when your tax dollars get to Washington, this simple exercise is turned on its head. The president submits a budget every year, but our Constitution grants spending authority to the Congress, through the appropriations process. And unlike the rest of us, the government is free to spend more than it takes in. So the spending levels proposed in the president’s budget are largely irrelevant.
In previous columns I’ve talked about how NRA-ILA uses the appropriations process to pass “riders” that secure policy victories for America’s gun owners. The flip side is that the president’s budget outlines which riders he wants to keep, and which he would like to delete. In many ways, this makes the president’s budget more of a policy document than a spending outline.
President Obama’s latest budget is no exception. It outlines his policy toward virtually all of the pro-gun reforms we have recently won in spending bills. The fine print of the president’s budget is a forecast of the attacks on our rights that would come in a second Obama term.
The president signaled his anti-gun intentions when he signed last year’s spending bills. First, he issued a so-called “signing statement” in which he announced his intentions to defy some of our pro-gun riders, even though his signature had just made them binding federal law. Now, his new budget proposes eliminating many of our key victories outright.
Some of the proposed cuts are shocking. He would delete a provision—adopted by a 99-0 vote in the Senate—that prohibits any future “Fast and Furious”-style operations, by banning the use of funds to allow the unmonitored transfer of firearms to drug cartels. In essence, Obama’s budget says, “No, we want to be able to keep doing that.” Or as the official summary from the Department of Justice claims, the restriction is “not necessary.”
“Not necessary?” First the administration denied outright that it allowed thousands of guns to be transferred to the cartels. Then the Justice Department said it wouldn’t allow any more “gun walking” operations, even while high-level staffers were planning more. Now the department is stonewalling Congress by refusing to provide tens of thousands of documents to investigators. And yet the department insists it’s “not necessary” to ensure that this type of operation never happens again.
Other critical limitations on federal agencies are also on Obama’s chopping block. One is a ban on the use of tax dollars to lobby for new gun restrictions. This was one of the riders that Obama vowed to defy. In his budget, Obama would get rid of the restriction entirely, clearing the way for our tax dollars to be squandered on pushing restrictions on our constitutional rights.
Another provision that would be deleted under Obama’s budget is a prohibition on the use of funds for anti-gun research at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Under Obama’s budget, the door would once again be thrown open for the waste of tax dollars on propaganda “studies” claiming that guns are bad for your health.
Finally, Obama wants to lift the restriction that stops the military from destroying surplus M1 Garands and M1 carbines—a provision that has been in place for more than 30 years. He also wants to drop a provision that stops the destruction of spent military brass. Without these protections, thousands of valuable, historical rifles could be destroyed, and millions of recyclable brass cases will be melted into scrap rather than being made available to reloaders.
Even when money should be spent rather than restricted, the budget is deeply disturbing. It would slash funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program that trains and arms volunteer airline crew members as a last-ditch defense against terrorism. (Maybe all of the pilots’ guns were sent to the Mexican drug cartels.)
All of that is Obama’s vision for the tax dollars you just paid in your annual return. But it’s just a hint of the radical anti-gun agenda a second Obama term would bring.