Cynthia Lummis talks national politics: Banking, budgets, blue waves | TSLN.com

Cynthia Lummis talks national politics: Banking, budgets, blue waves

Heather Hamilton
for Tri-State Livestock News

Cynthia Lummis spoke to attendees of the Wyoming Farm Bureau (WyFB) Annual Legislative Meeting in Cheyenne, WY, on Feb. 19, regarding issues Congress is presently facing in Washington D.C.

In regard to the budget, and spending in general, she noted that continued arguments against false and unnecessary spending are heard by herself and other conservatives, "like a broken record."

"If only you could see how many programs, whose authorizations have expired, that we continue to fund. One of the biggest is the Endangered Species Act (ESA), whose authorization lapsed clear back 17 years ago, and we continue to fund it. What we have tried to tell appropriations and other congressional members is that if we continue to fund these programs, the authorizations for which have lapsed, there is no incentive for their stakeholders to come to the table and reform those programs," explained Lummis.

She encouraged everyone to remind their senators and representatives of the importance of not continuing funding for programs with expired authorizations, noting that if that isn't done, the overall reform that is necessary in D.C. will never take place.

“They have stricken down three EPA rules in the D.C. courts as being outside the legal authority of EPA. Finally there is pulling on the reins by the court system on some of these run amuck federal agencies.”
Cynthia Lummis

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"We need to cut off funding, and cut it off now, to bring those people to the table. I think it's an ultra vires act – I can't figure out why that isn't completely and totally illegal. All of the discretionary programs at the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) have expired. There is $6 billion in unauthorized programs in that budget alone, which includes the Interior, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and Forest Service," explained Lummis of the overwhelming scope of the issue.

On the issue of regulations, Lummis explained the relatively new concept being brought to light by the Department of the Interior, called Blue Waves.

"The Interior Department wants to oversee in some loosy-goosy way, non-navigable waters from the very cradle of a watershed to the mouth of that watershed. They have invented this program, which is completely agency driven and has had no public input. They say, 'we're not going to take over state's water law, we're going to work with local jurisdiction to make sure that we protect the values of watersheds.' What does that mean?" asked Lummis of the suspicious language and attempt being made to garner control of all water sources across the country.

The Blue Waves Committee is made up entirely of interagency bureaucrats that are not elected according to Lummis. The current river they have self-appointedly put up for consideration is the Yellowstone, the headwaters of which are entirely located with Wyoming.

"This is something to watch. Look at what happened with the Wildland thing – it was issued by secretarial order also. They said they wouldn't spend any money on it after we said no funds shall be expended from their budget to implement it. But, the designations they envisioned and invented through secretarial order is now showing up in BLM manuals. That's the way they incipiently integrate these non-publically vetted ideas about how to get their mitts into state law issues," stated Lummis, adding that she expects a similar line of attack through the Blue Wave initiative.

Bazzle Three was another topic she brought up, and encouraged meeting attendees to visit with their local banks about.

"Bazzle Three is an international standard for the capitalization of banks. The U.S. banking system is very different than a lot banking systems. Most countries have a national bank or very few banks, whereas in the U.S. we have a lot of community banks, or main street banks. That is unusual around the world. What Bazzle Three does is apply standards that were meant to apply to those great big, too big to fail, banks. The little community banks on main street can't capitalize to the same extent that JP Morgan can, and literally, if Bazzle Three is implemented, it will put main street banks out of business," explained Lummis.

The result will be about five banks too big to fail, and all other banks in the U.S. too small to succeed. She encouraged folks to speak to their community bankers and lenders, and ask what effect Bazzle Three will have on their bank. If they don't know, she suggested sharing with them what implications it will have if implemented.

With regard to the Farm Bill being extended and added into the fiscal cliff bill, Lummis said she was struggling to understand what the hang-up was in getting it passed.

"The Senate bill cut some, all out of farm programs. The House cut more, all out of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) programs, like the categorical eligibility, so if you're eligible for one federal program you're eligible for them all. We tried to cut back on that so people don't take undue advantage of the federal social safety net, and then we never could get it to the Federal Conference Committee.

"I found out later that one reason it never made it to Conference Committee is that House Speaker John Boehner doesn't like what happened to the dairy program in the Farm Bill. John Boehner was on the Ag Committee for at least 16 years and had been trying to change the dairy program – was getting some of what he felt was a statist system out of the dairy program, then it crept back in . I think that was part of the hang-up, and I know Boehner is working with the Ag Committee to work out these problems," stated Lummis.

She added that while it continues to be a highly frustrating time in Washington D.C., one bright spot is that the D.C. court system is starting to yank in the federal government a bit in the areas they continue to overstep their bounds in.

"They have stricken down three EPA rules in the D.C. courts as being outside the legal authority of EPA. Finally there is pulling on the reins by the court system on some of these run amuck federal agencies," concluded Lummis on a more positive note.