Pressing needs test GOP’s smaller government stand

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says a government that works properly can be best-equipped to help and protect the public. Republican believers in a less-is-more government generally disagree.

Yet on a variety of policy fronts, pressing financial and other needs are forcing Republicans to concede more publicly than usual that minimalist government isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution.

Natural disasters batter states. Security threats highlight the need for a robust defense apparatus. Offers of federal dollars for health coverage are tough to reject.

Most conservatives see Obama’s presidency as epitomizing overreaching and bloated government. They point to his health law, various bailouts, stimulus spending, universal pre-kindergarten and tough environmental rules as prime examples.

The perception of an out-of-control government has gained steam in the early months of Obama’s second term, with his foes citing the Justice Department’s snooping on reporters in leak investigations and an admission by the Internal Revenue Service that agents unfairly targeted conservative groups.

“You’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems,” Obama recently told graduates at Ohio State University. “You should reject these voices,” he added.

In recent days, some Republicans have done just that.

This past week saw the president play arcade games and trade jokes on a Jersey Shore tour with GOP Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. Christie is a fiscal conservative who has shown no patience for massive government spending, except when it comes to billions in federal aid for his state after Superstorm Sandy.

While Congress stalled on storm aid, it was Christie and other Northeast Republicans who criticized members of their own party for insisting that Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars be offset by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.

“Republicans, Democrats, independents — we all came together, because New Jersey is more important and our citizens are more important than any kind of politics at all,” Christie said on Tuesday.

Two days earlier, it was Mary Fallin, another Republican governor with a distaste for over-the-top government spending, who welcomed Obama and the post-tornado aid his administration brought.

In Arizona, GOP Gov. Jan Brewer is in a fight to force lawmakers in her conservative-leaning state to embrace a dramatic expansion of Medicaid made possible by an infusion of federal dollars under Obama’s health care law.

Although she joined other Republican governors in suing the Obama administration over the law, she’s now told the Republican-controlled Legislature that she’ll veto every bill sent to her until lawmakers approve the expansion.

Brewer’s administration in recent years installed a Medicaid eligibility freeze to help balance the state budget. But rejecting the Medicaid dollars under the new law, with Washington offering to pay 100 percent of the cost for the first three years, meant telling about 300,000 poor Arizonans they’re out of luck while their counterparts in other states get coverage.

“I never liked the Affordable (Care) Act,” Brewer said this year. “But, we don’t cut off our nose to spite our face.”

So Brewer joined eight other Republican governors, including Christie, in calling for the expansion to go forward. Six of those governors have received legislative approval or appear on track to do so.

“I think governors who take that are being expedient,” said Chris Chocola, the president of the fiscal conservative group Club for Growth. “They’re certainly not limiting the size of government.”

White House officials say it’s consistent with a Republican pattern of railing against the government until something happens in their state or district that merits assistance or rescue.

“It’s reverse NIMBY politics in a way,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser. “Instead of not in my backyard, the GOP philosophy is only in my backyard, not anyone else’s.”

Republicans say that while there are some exceptions among their ranks, the differences are generally small and the overarching philosophy remains intact and widely embraced. On disaster aid, for instance, they say Republicans have consistently supported it as a concept; the key question is how to pay for it.

“The conservative movement and the Republican Party is not arguing for a government the size of zero. It’s arguing for a government that acts responsibly and makes decisions about priorities,” said Dan Hazelwood, a Republican strategist whose clients have included President George W. Bush. “The binding of the coalition is generally, we want the trajectory down.”

He contrasted that to the position of Democrats, who he said “want to just increase everything.”

Other fractures in the opposition to a strong central government have been highlighted by the renewed look at how the U.S. protects itself against security threats abroad.

Obama recently proposed closing the costly Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba and allowing greater oversight and limitations on when and how the U.S. can assert itself militarily overseas.

Those ideas were met with doubts from some prominent Republicans, who suggested the military needs broad latitude to fight terrorism threats. Other conservative Republicans supported making some of those changes.

———

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

———

Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

ad-high_impact_4
News
NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like