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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, June 28, 2013
Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) - June 2013 Porker of the Month | Immigration Bill Kickback to Nevada
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) its June Porker of the Month for using immigration legislation to solidify federal tourism subsidies in his home state. Sen. Heller appears to have held out for what CAGW has dubbed the “Sin City Sweetener,” an alteration to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act that will extend matching government funds for “Brand USA” indefinitely. The bill’s revision is worth millions in taxpayer-funded tourism promotion for Nevada.
Brand USA is an independent group that receives matching funds of up to $100 million from the federal government for every dollar it raises from the private sector. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Heller has every reason to believe that its continued existence will reap big benefits for his pals running casinos and hotels in Nevada. According to Breitbart.com, when the law establishing the Corporation for Travel Promotion (since renamed Brand USA) was first created under the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, the blog on Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) website proudly explained that the Travel Promotion Act would “greatly benefit Nevada because we have so many wonderful tourist attractions.” Several hotels and casinos expressed their gratitude by thanking Sen. Reid on their marquees along the Las Vegas strip.
Unlike the floor amendments to the immigration bill, which are currently being considered by Congress, Sen. Heller managed to embed his home state’s kickbacks into the language of the committee’s marked-up bill before it reached the floor. In the original draft of the bill, Brand USA was slated to receive funding “for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015.” In the bill’s latest go-round, that language had been altered to read “for each fiscal year after 2012.” Sen. Heller was not a co-sponsor of the original immigration bill, but he is now.
Nor is Sen. Heller’s tourism ploy the only lunge he has made for extra federal cash in the run-up to a vote on the immigration bill. In what is plainly an effort to secure additional federal law enforcement money for his state, Sen. Heller introduced amendment #1227 to include a representative from Nevada on the Southern Border Security Commission, despite the fact that Nevada is not a border state. While Sen. Heller is hardly the first lawmaker to stretch geographic truth – Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) once attempted to get research money for Vermont by declaring Lake Champlain a “Great Lake” – his ambitions are no less parochial.
“There is absolutely no reason that private businesses should have their marketing campaigns subsidized by the federal government,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Worse, there is no transparency in how Brand USA determines which companies are allowed to have their contributions matched under the $100 million cap, although it seems clear that Sen. Heller knows where some of it will go. Las Vegas is the most famous gambling and tourist attraction in the world’s richest nation. The city can pay for its own promotions.”
For attempting to force taxpayers to gamble on Sin City’s advertisements, and for trying to re-draw the border far from Mexico, Sen. Dean Heller is CAGW’s June 2013 Porker of the Month. CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. Tags:Senator, Dean Heller, Republican, Nevada, U.S. Senate, Pork, Immigration Bill, S. 744, kickbacks, to Nevada, Brand USA, CAGW, June 2013, Porker of the MonthTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dani Dayan wants to open up a dialog with Americans, both at the official level and at the grassroots level. He says Israel’s settlers are “here to stay.” Most Americans have not been to Judea and Samaria and are therefore not familiar with its geography, resources, and topography. The Judean hills are crucial for strategic reasons.
If Judea and Samaria should ever be given up to the Arabs by any imposed Mideast peace settlement, Jerusalem the capital and the Coastal Plain would be in jeopardy. This includes the modern Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
Dani Dayan represents communities that number some 160,000 today. They increase daily because families live there and because Israel continues to draw immigrants from around the world. Sadly, some of these immigrants are coming from European cities where anti-Semitism is on the rise again.
It’s interesting, too, to see a representative who actually represents. Israel, surrounded on every side by enemies in the past has never had a day without representative government. It is the Mideast’s only democracy.
Contrast this the election of Mahmoud Abbas. He was voted in only once as the leader of what Westerners agreed to call the Palestinian Authority. Abbas rules the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Dedicated to the destruction of Israel from its founding in 1967, the PLO until 1988 listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. The founder of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. Palestinians carried out the murder of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in Khartoum in 1973. All that was supposed to change in 1988.
But the PLO has never removed the destruction of Israel from its charter and all maps they publish show the region from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with no Israel at all.
When the openly terrorist group, Hamas, won the elections in Gaza, a brief civil war with Abbas’s Fatah broke out. Hamas won. Since then, Abbas does not dare to hold an election in the areas over which he claims to have authority.
He knows he would lose to Hamas. He has repeatedly postponed scheduled elections in the region. And he is embracing Hamas.
How should we as Americans regard this? Lincoln never postponed an election, for Congress or for his own place as president, even though we were in the midst of a civil war. President Roosevelt in World War II never failed to hold full, open, and fair elections. Our British allies in WWII were led by a national coalition of parties. Even so, Prime Minister Winston Churchill faced regular hostile questioning in Parliament. His friend Bob Boothby said of him “Winston feared Parliament. He was a good democrat.”
Mahmoud Abbas is no kind of democrat. His education ministry continues to pump out books that teach young children to become “martyrs” by strapping on explosive suicide belts. American taxpayers paid for those books. Maybe not the belts.
President Obama wants Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders, with much of Judea and Samaria turned over to the PLO. That would put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv within easy range of Hamas rockets. For Hamas would undoubtedly win the very next election after the PLO forms a state.
The late Abba Evan called those pre-1967 border “the Auschwitz borders.” Moderate Israeli leader as he was, this urbane, internationally-minded Foreign Minister knew how to make a point. The borders that President Obama proposed as the basis for negotiation between Israelis and their genocidal enemies would spell extinction for the Jewish people.
Israel’s national anthem is called Ha Tikva (The Hope). And there is hope. While some EU diplomats speak of seeing the settlements in Judea and Samaria “from my helicopter,” more and more Americans— especially young Christians — are visiting Israel and learning first hand what the truth is on the ground. They will learn why there is “No Zionism without Zion.”
--------------------- Ken Blackwell is on the board of advisors to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and is a conservative family values advocate. He is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Israel, envoy, Dani Dayan, land, settlements, No Zionism without Zion, Ken Blackwell, Bob MorrisonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The House convened at 9:00 AM and continued debate on and then passed H.R. 2231(235-186) — "To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States, implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies, and for other purposes." The House then adjourned until 2 PM on Monday, July 8th.
Yesterday the House passed: H.R. 1613 (256-171)— "To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to provide for the proper Federal management and oversight of transboundary hydrocarbon reservoirs, and for other purposes." H.R. 1864 (423-0)— "To amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault."
This morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted the Senate Democrats for adjourning for a week-long recess without having passed any legislation to stop the student loan interest rates, which are set to double July 1st: "Millions of American students and their families are about to pay the price for the stubbornness and partisanship of Senate Democratic leaders. It is stunning that Senate Democrats would leave town having done nothing to prevent interest rates on college loans from doubling. Earlier this year, the president called for a market-based interest rate for student loans. House Republicans responded by passing one. Senate Democrats responded with scorn and inaction. The inability of the president and leaders of his party in Congress to come together will now mean higher borrowing costs for students already coping with skyrocketing tuition bills. This Democratic infighting is exactly why we have to take politics out of student loans and put in place a permanent solution. The president must urge his fellow Democrats to pass a market-based solution as soon as they return so that we can right this wrong and give our kids a better shot at the American dream."
It’s been one year since the Supreme Court unfortunately decided that the individual mandate in Obamacare was constitutional by considering it a tax. But, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time, “We pass plenty of terrible laws around here that the court finds constitutional. Constitutionality was never an argument to keep this law in place, and it’s certainly not one you’ll hear from Republicans in Congress. There’s only one way to truly ‘fix’ Obamacare, and that’s a full repeal that clears the way for common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. And that’s precisely what Republicans are committed to doing. The American people weren’t waiting on the Supreme Court to tell them whether they supported this law. . . . The more the American people have learned about this law, the less they’ve liked it.”
Indeed, just yesterday a new Gallup pollfound a majority disapprove of the president’s health care law. Not only that, “Americans are more negative than positive about the healthcare law's future impact on their family and on the U.S. in general. Forty-two percent say that in the long run, the law will make their family's healthcare situation worse . . . . And almost half believe the law will make the healthcare situation in the U.S. worse . . . .” Earlier this month, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that “Americans' unease with President Barack Obama's health-care law has intensified, just as the administration is gearing up to persuade people to sign up for some of its major provisions . . . .” And “the number calling it a bad idea reached a high of 49%,” just as the administration ramps up implementation of the law.
Make no mistake: implementation of Obamacare is hurting Americans across the country. Yesterday featured stories out of Toledo, Ohioof lost hours and squeezed budgets and Terre Haute, Indiana of lost hours and lost bonuses, all because of the mandates and regulations in Obamacare that drive up costs for employers. Today comes news from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, where The [Allentown] Morning Call reports, “Eleven East Penn School District food service employees will have their hours cut to 29.75 hours a week – just 15 minutes shy of the 30-hours-a-week that triggers the mandate that employers provide health benefits under Obamacare. A representative of the Foodcrafters union said the reduction in hours was to avoid the health care requirement. ‘We didn't like it but everybody's doing it,’ said Karen Haldeman, secretary of the East Penn School District Foodcrafters Association. ‘All the school districts are doing it, private companies are doing it. We knew we had to just accept it and go on.’ . . . Cash-strapped districts across the Lehigh Valley are weighing what to do with their part-timers. Earlier this month, Southern Lehigh School District reduced the hours of 51 part-timers to avoid a bigger health-care bill. . . . ‘The school district said they didn't want to cut our hours but they were stuck because of the law,’ Haldeman said.”
Meanwhile, confusion about the other requirements spelled out by the 2,700 page law and the over 20,000 pages of regulations it’s spawned continues. According to Gallup, “With roughly six months to go before Americans are required to carry health insurance, slightly more than half of the uninsured population is aware of that requirement.” Only 43% of those without insurance are aware of the requirement that they must purchase it or face a fine.
And then there are the people that the Obama administration needs to buy insurance for its health exchanges to avoid collapse. CNBC wrote earlier this week, “Young adults make up a disproportionate share of the nation's 50 million uninsured. Getting them to sign up for insurance coverage will be a major focus of the government this fall during the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, also known as Obamacare. . . . But there's still a big question about whether young adults will enroll, or just opt to pay the penalty, which for the first year could be as little as $95. ‘It's that age bracket that feels like they don't really need coverage, so they can get away with not paying that cost right now,’ said Kristie Arslan, president & CEO of the National Association of Self-Employed (NASE). . . . ‘If they don't get the ratio that they need in the state-based exchanges, it's going to be like high-risk pools,’ she said. ‘They're going to be very unaffordable, because you'll have all sick people and no healthy people.’”
As Leader McConnell said last week, “A few months back, one of our Democrat colleagues warned of a ‘huge train wreck’ on the horizon–the implementation of Obamacare. . . . Most of the law’s key provisions haven’t even been implemented yet. Not a single American has signed up for an exchange. And already, it’s turning into a mess. Well, it wasn’t hard to see this coming. We’re talking about a 2,700-page piece of legislation here. We’re talking about a law that has already generated more than 20,000 pages of regulations—a Red Tape Tower. And we’re talking about an edict that proposes to alter one of the most personal, most private aspects of our lives in a fundamental way. . . . And it can’t be done without the people the government is attempting to regulate – doctors, hospitals, states, small businesses, hundreds of millions of Americans – actually having a clue of how to comply. And many of them don’t, because the law is just so maddeningly complex. So, of course Obamacare is going to be a mess. We said it would be. It already is.”
That, of course, is why it still needs to be repealed and replaced. Tags:Obamacare, implementation, disaster, Train WreckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
McConnell, Cornyn Express Concern Over Administration Pressure On Sports Groups to Promote Obamacare
Update July 1, 2013:Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner received a response concerning the referenced letter from an NFL spokesman: “We have responded to the letters we received from members of Congress to inform them we currently have no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about PPACA’s implementation.”
On Saturday, The New York Times wrote, “The National Football League is not participating in an effort with the Obama administration to help promote enrollment in health insurance plans under the new health care law, a spokesman said.
Senators urge sports commissioners to resist and report any Obama administration efforts to pressure sports leagues on Obamacare promotion ‘Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care [law], it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion.’
ARRA News Service – Today, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican Whip John Cornyn ( R-TX) sent letters to the heads of the six major professional sports organizations expressing concern that they would agree to help the Obama administration promote new health insurance plans under Obamacare.
Copies were made available to the media. A staff member of Senator McConnell related that the letters were prompted by recent news reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in talks with the NFL and other sports organizations in an effort to get them to help encourage people to enroll in new Obamacare health plans that are set to begin Jan. 1.
“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of the health care [law], it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” the senators wrote in letters that were sent to the commissioners of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association and the chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR.
The senators wrote that Obamacare remains “deeply divisive and unpopular” more than three years after the law was enacted and that this was one of the reasons why Congress has resisted providing the administration with funds it has requested to promote Obamacare. It is also one of the reasons, according to the letter, that the administration is approaching major professional sports organizations to help pitch Obamacare enrollment.
The law was enacted on a strictly partisan basis and Republicans unanimously opposed it based on evidence that it would raise health care costs, increase taxes, raid Medicare to pay for a new Obamacare entitlement program and prompt the federal government to intervene in Americans’ personal health care decisions.
McConnell and Cornyn wrote that they have long been concerned by the Obama Administration’s record of using the threat of policy retaliation to solicit support for its policies or to silence its critics. They urged the heads of the major professional sports organizations to resist such pressure and to contact the senators immediately so they can investigate should the administration suggest that there will be any policy consequences for not participating in the Obamacare outreach efforts.
The senators said it was difficult to remember another time when major sports leagues took public sides in such a highly polarized public debate. “Yet given this administration’s public request of your assistance in promoting this unpopular law, we felt it important to provide you with a fuller accounting of the facts before you made such a decision,” they wrote. Tags:Senators, Mitch McConnell, John Cronyn, letters, sports organizations, commissioners, National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Professional Golf Association. chairman,, NASCAR, DHHS, Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Common Core: De Facto Federal Control of America's School
CATO Institute: The Constitution gives the federal government no authority to govern education, and numerous laws prohibit Washington from influencing school curricula. How has the federal government gotten around these barriers? Primarily by attaching demands to federal money, which is exactly what it did to get states to adopt the supposedly “state-led” and “voluntary” Common Core curriculum standards. This unprecedented drive to national uniformity is dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is that it puts Washington in control of what almost all schools teach. But just as the federal government has been the most powerful entity behind forced standardization, it is also the key to halting it.
Featuring Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the Congressional Constitution Caucus; Neal McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute; and Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education, Heritage Foundation; moderated by Laura Odato, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
This presentation is 45 minutes.
If you wish to see just the 4 minute presentation with Neal McCluskey it is below.
Tags:CATO Institute, Common Core, Defacto Federal Control, American SchoolsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: While in the U.S. Army in the early 60s, I worked in the G-2 (intelligence) office of my battalion. I was surely no James Bond, but I did need a security clearance and quickly was granted one to be around documents marked “secret.” There are now thousands waiting for their security clearances and 4.8 million who already have one!
When Edward Snowden, an analyst for a national security contractor, decided to tell the world that the National Security Agency was actually gathering meta-data about all of our communications (and the rest of the world’s), I was among those who were not surprised. Whole books had been written about this practice before and since 9/11. James Bamford had published “The Puzzle Palace” about the NSA way back in 1983!
The Justice Department has charged Snowden with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property. The charges, each of which carries a potential 10-year prison term, were filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va. Well, at least that beats a firing squad.
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media thinks a lot of notable news media personalities have been duped. “Those who claimed NSA traitor Edward Snowden was a patriot or hero have egg all over their faces, as the former NSA contract worker has fled from China to Russia…” I am inclined to agree.
It is a fact of life in this year of our Lord 2013 that information about you is so available that there are few if any of your purchases and preferences that are not known to every company with whom you do business. Your local supermarket knows the brand of cereal or shampoo you prefer. This is called “open source” information and it is not only gathered, but sold to anyone who wants it.
The information you voluntarily or unwittingly give to those with whom you do business as well as the information may post daily on your Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In accounts is all accessible and accessed.
The NSA has long had powers to scoop up scads of information about communications by, to, and from Americans. Its roots go back to the earliest days of the Cold War. Until recently revelations, we thought that the information we provide to the Internal Revenue Service was closely guarded and never to be used for political purposes, but in the Age of Obama, that illusion has been shattered.
In a recent Business Week article, Ashlee Vance reported “Less recognized is that, in this era of open-source software, the NSA gets direct access to the inventions of thousands of the smartest computer science minds on the planet for free.”
“It started,” said Vance,”with the founding of Google in 1998. The search engine giant needed to collect and analyze so much data that it couldn’t afford to buy systems from big-name tech companies. Instead, Google created its own open-source software program that ran across hundreds of thousands of computers. Yahoo!, Facebook, and Twitter have been even more aggressive about open-sourcing their underlying infrastructure.”
NSA and, indeed, the President, could have put a lot of the consternation to rest by coming out early and explaining what it does and the limitations under which it works. While it is most certainly a very secretive agency, there is much that is common knowledge about its mission.
In the post 9/11 era with a massive Homeland Security Agency charged with keeping us safe, it is a good, if not essential, idea to have a public discussion about the role of the Fourth Amendment protection of our privacy. Even though the Founders had no idea of modern communications they still believed that our privacy must be respected. Meanwhile, we live in a world of enormous electronic connectivity that is subject to surveillance.
Moreover, there are those who believe all the surveillance we are learning about is just the tip of the iceberg. There is widespread speculation that the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and other agencies has been working on a massive consolidation of power in the White House, preparing for the deliberate collapse of the U.S. dollar, and the chaos that would follow.
On June 19, the president of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. saying that the DOJ seizure of journalist’s phone records has had “a chilling effect” on newsgathering, not just for the AP but other newsgathering organizations. He described the collection of records affecting more than a hundred journalists was an “overbroad and sloppy fishing expedition” that failed to follow procedures on notification. If the intent was to impact legitimate news gathering, it was successful.
We still trust that law enforcement must secure a warrant to tap our phones, but the information about with whom we speak is routinely gathered, as it must, by telephone companies. It can be a useful tool to determine patterns, especially if they are between Americans and foreigners with bad intentions.
Inherent in all this data-gathering is the potential for its misuse—and worse—but that is true of much of what government does. The need for congressional oversight was never more paramount, but it comes at a time when the Congress is held in low esteem and sharply divided.
The greater present concern must be that we have a White House engaged in a plan to render the Constitution useless with a manufactured crisis to deliberately impose an authoritarian control over all of us.
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment: So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 re-election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants – putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
You heard Obama say "all of the above" a thousand times on the campaign trail. You saw the corrupt liberal media endlessly repeat that the war on coal was a myth. But we knew the truth, and now that Obama is re-elected, he's basically come out and openly declared his War on Coal.
This week a top Obama global warming adviser told the New York Times that the denials were just election-year politics. He said: “Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
It’s right there on page 19 of his Climate Action Plan: “Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production.”
Coal still produces 37 percent of U.S. electricity. A Heritage Foundation analysis found that implementing Obama’s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent. Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants. President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
Today we launched a new ad in Virginia that's posted on our War on Coal site. With your help we'll continue to keep the pressure on and demand Congress stop Obama's War on Coal.
These have been difficult years for you and tens of millions of Patriot sons and daughters of Liberty. We have persevered through relentless assaults on our national heritage and legacy of Liberty by legions of leftists.
Do not be disheartened by battles lost. As a student of history, let me assure you that the Light of Liberty is eternal, and will survive the current effort to extinguish it.
Amid all the competing voices proclaiming one worldview or another, there are a few beacons of Liberty that have steadfastly held to the enduring principles established by our Founders. . . .
I offer you these words of encouragement from George Washington just before the brutal winter at Valley Forge: "We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
I am also reminded of these words from Winston Churchill in 1941, when tyranny was at his doorstep: "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
In those eras when Americans have been blessed with great leadership like that of Ronald Reagan, our economy, our culture and our country have thrived.
Our nation will thrive again. Tags:liberty, never despair, George Washington, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate Passes Amnesty Immigration Bill | Majority Of Americans Disapprove Of Obamacare | Pelosi Say 'It's Fabulous'
What the Senate
Failed to Recognize!
Today In Washington, D.C. - June 27, 2013:
Senate reconvened today and resumed consideration of S. 744, the immigration reform bill. They completed a series of three votes. Senators voted 100-0 to confirm Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation. The Senate then voted 68-32 to adopt the Judiciary Committee-reported substitute amendment to S. 744, as modified by previous amendments. The Senate then voted 68-32 to to pass the 1200 page immigration legislation.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 68-30 to waive all Budget Act points of order against S. 744 and its amendments, 69-29 to adopt the Leahy amendment as modified with the Corker-Hoeven language, and 67-31 to invoke cloture (cut off debate) on the Judiciary Committee-reported substitute amendment to S. 744, as modified by previous amendments.
While Speaker Boehner says the bill is dead on arrival at the House, He has said the House will propose its own immigration bill. If the Houses does develop and pass an immigration reform bill, it also will NOT become law. Instead, by acting the House bill will result in a "closed door" reconciliation process where the bill that come out of the process will not reflect the view of the majority of American citizens.
Besides all the Democrats, the following 14 Republican Senators voted for the bill: John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio ,(FL), Jeff Flake (AZ), Bob Corker (TN), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Jeffery Chiesa (NJ), Susan Collins (ME), Orrin Hatch (UT), Dean Heller (NV), Mark Kirk (IL), John Hoeven (ND), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Lamar Alexander (TN). Thirty-two Republicans voted against the measure including the Senate Republican Leadership. Noted was the split vote from the Arkansas delegation. Senator John Boozman (R) remained consistent and voted no, while Senator Mark Pryor (D) ignored the majority of his constituents and voted yes. Pryor is vulnerable and is up for re-election in 2014 as are Senators Mary Landrieu (LA) and Kay Hagan (NC). This is not the first time Pryor has voted against the majority of his constituents; he previously provided a deciding vote in the passing of Obamacare.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said today on the floor of the Senate: "It is not a bill that reflects a commitment to a lawful system of immigration in the future. We will admit dramatically more people than we ever have in our country’s history at a time when unemployment is high and the Congressional Budget Office have told us that wages, average wages will go down for 12 years, that gross domestic product per capita will decline for 25-plus years."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reiterated that immigration reform must “be grounded in real border security,” and have the support of the Republican majority to pass in the House. Boehner said: "Weeks ago, I – along with the Leader, and the Whip, and Chairman Goodlatte – issued a statement that I thought was pretty clear. But apparently, some haven’t gotten the message. The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We’re going to do our own bill, through regular order, and it’ll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people. For any legislation – including a conference report – to pass the House, it’s going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our members.
"Listen, immigration reform has to be grounded in real border security. That’s what the American people believe, and it’s a principle that our majority believes in as well. Chairman McCaul’s done a good job passing a border security bill. Chairman Goodlatte is doing good work over in the Judiciary Committee. And if immigration reform is going to work, it’s essential that the American people have the confidence that it’s being done correctly. That’s how the House will approach this issue."
The House reconvened and is considering the following bills: H.R. 1613 — "To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to provide for the proper Federal management and oversight of transboundary hydrocarbon reservoirs, and for other purposes." – PASSED 256 – 171 H.R. 1864 (— "To amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault." H.R. 2231 — "To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States, implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies, and for other purposes."
Over the course of a week since last writing about Obamacare implementation, it’s kind of amazing how many stories are generated all across the country of the problems this law is causing. And yet, it’s really not that amazing, especially for all those conservatives and grassroots activists who joined with Republicans in Congress to warn about precisely these negative consequences as Democrats jammed Obamacare through.
But Democrats seem determined to pretend that all is well. According to Politico, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited House Democrats yesterday and “[s]he told lawmakers not to worry when they read media accounts about people losing their health coverage, said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).” And, Politico reported, “Joining Sebelius after the meeting, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised HHS’s work so far. ‘The implementation of this is fabulous,’ Pelosi said.”
This level of denial is stunning given the evidence from every corner of the country that Obamacare implementation is hurting jobs, raising premiums, increasing uncertainty among employers and consumers, and putting financial pressures on states and individuals.
According to a Toledo news station, “Even though the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as it’s also known, is scheduled to take effect January 1, it’s starting to be felt right now, right here in northwest Ohio. ‘My first step was - I’ve got to cut my budget,’ said Jeff Vernon, who already lives in a small apartment in west Toledo. Now, he’s looking to cut back even more. Vernon works at the Scrambler Marie’s restaurant on Secor Road. He said he’s about to have his hours trimmed because of ObamaCare. He told us the people he works for tried to find a different solution. . . . We talked to the owner of the restaurant Shane Beukre. He said any business with 50 or more employees will have to offer insurance to workers with 30 or more hours a week. If he does not do that, he gets fined $2,000 per employee. Beukre told us he’s cutting some people down to under 30 hours to help with costs to his business and the workers.”
And the Terre Haute, Indiana, Tribune-Star reports, “Similar to other businesses across the country, Wolfe’s Auto Auction in Terre Haute says it is cutting work hours of several of its employees because of the insurance mandates of the federal Affordable Care Act. Ten full-time employees will be reduced to part-time status, while part-timers will work no more than 25 to 28 hours per week, said Dan Wolfe, one of the owners of the family-owned business. The reason cited? The Affordable Care Act defines a full-time worker as anyone who works 30 hours or more each week, and businesses will be required to provide health insurance to all of their full-time employees. . . . Wolfe said that at the Terre Haute location, the business will go from about 25 down to 15 full-time employees. The Terre Haute location also has more than 70 part-time workers, he said. . . . The new health care law affects the business in other ways as well. ‘I have to provide my full-time employees an insurance package that does not exceed 9.5 percent of their gross pay,’ he said. That will be an additional cost to the business, and those employees ‘won’t see raises like they would have’ otherwise, he said.”
Even in Hollywood, businesses are seriously troubled by the regulations and requirements in Obamacare. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Three letters have been giving the payroll-services industry fits for several months now: ACA. That’s the semi-acronym for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and it’s up to the payroll industry -- which cuts checks to production workers and offers related financial services to TV and film studios -- to help educate its clients on the rules before a good portion of the law kicks in Jan. 1. ‘It’s a morass of regulations and requirements, and everyone’s trying to figure out what their exposure is,’ says Eric Belcher, president and CEO of Cast & Crew Entertainment Services. Adds Mark Goldstein, CEO of Entertainment Partners, which has held 16 seminars to help studios understand ACA: ‘It’s going to be a very big deal.’ . . . One of the unintended consequences, say some industry insiders, is that it could lead to productions running to foreign countries, given that ACA doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens working abroad. Some also say the number of production days in the U.S. are likely to be cut due to ACA because there’s a 90-day waiting period before productions must either pay a penalty or offer health insurance to full-time workers. . . . ‘Do I expect the cost of doing business to go up? Yes, I do,’ says Mike Rose, CEO of Ease Entertainment Services. Rose, though, doesn’t expect studios to follow the route taken by Regal Entertainment Group, which operates the nation’s largest chain of movie theaters. In order to rein in the costs of supplying health benefits associated with ACA, Regal said in April it would cut the hours of some employees so that they aren’t classified ‘full-time.’ Productions on tight schedules and in need of highly skilled workers and artists, though, don’t usually have the luxury of micromanaging an employee’s hours, says Rose.”
Americans never liked this law to begin with, but as they see more and more of its consequences as the Obama administration implements it, polls consistently show pessimism about Obamacare. A new Gallup poll finds, “Americans are more negative than positive about the healthcare law’s future impact on their family and on the U.S. in general. Forty-two percent say that in the long run, the law will make their family’s healthcare situation worse; 22% say it will make it better. And almost half believe the law will make the healthcare situation in the U.S. worse; 34% say it will make it better.” Further, Gallup notes, “Fifty-two percent of Americans say they disapprove of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, while 44% approve. Last fall, 48% said they approved of the law and 45% disapproved.”
No wonder Democrats behind the scenes are actually desperate to sell this law all over again. They’re apparently so desperate that the administration is reaching out to professional sports leagues and athletes to try to help them resell Obamacare. The Washington Post reports, “The Obama administration is asking professional sports leagues, including the National Football League, for help in promoting new health-care coverage that millions of uninsured Americans can sign up for beginning Oct. 1. . . . Administration officials declined to name other sports organizations they are approaching, but a spokesman for Major League Baseball said that organization also was contacted but hasn’t decided whether to participate. . . . Although the law requires that almost everyone have health insurance beginning Jan. 1, many advocates worry that people who don’t have pressing health needs won’t sign up, opting instead to pay the $95 tax penalty.”
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, “We’re talking about a 2,700-page piece of legislation. . . . We’re talking about a law that has already generated more than 20,000 pages of regulations — a Red Tape Tower. And we’re talking about an edict that proposes to alter one of the most personal, most private aspects of our lives in a fundamental way. Soit doesn’t take an expert to understand what that leads to. Reams of paperwork. A massive new bureaucracy. The coordination of numerous hulking government agencies, including the IRS. And it can’t be done without the people the government is attempting to regulate – doctors, hospitals, states, small businesses, hundreds of millions of Americans – actually having a clue of how to comply. And many of them don’t, because the law is just so maddeningly complex. So, of course Obamacare is going to be a mess. We said it would be. It already is. . . . I mean, the Kentucky Retail Federation recently cited Obamacare as the thing having the most impact on their businesses’ ability to grow.As the leader of that group put it, the companies in his federation ‘are hesitant to take on new staff or to invest in their own business growth until they know how much health care reform is going to cost.’ So, if this is a law that’s ‘working the way it’s supposed to,’ then it’s a bad law. And it’s Congress’ duty to repeal bad laws. I hope it will.” Tags:Senate, Amnesty, Immigration bill, Obamacare problemsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly: Under the media’s radar, Obama has been aggressively promoting one of his fiscally extravagant projects announced in his 2013 State of the Union Address: “preschool available to every single child in America.” The plan for the federal government to take over the care of preschool children, a longtime goal of the feminists that used to be called universal child care, is now (probably to sound academic) called Pre-K.
The Obama Administration downplays the $75 billion initial cost of Pre-K by claiming it can be covered by raising the federal tax on cigarettes from $1.01 to $1.95. But cigarette taxes were hiked just a few years ago, and this massive sales tax falls harder on low-income Americans.
The game plan is to bait the states into accepting this expensive Pre-K plan by offering them bundles of new federal money, such as $308 million in grants dangled in front of Texas for just one year, requiring only a one-tenth match by the state. Of course, big blue-state California would receive the most funding, $334 million in the first year.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan was asked if he could re-direct existing federal education funds to cover the cost of Pre-K. No, Obama wants “a massive influx of resources” instead of using existing funds more efficiently.
Duncan has become a peripatetic salesman for Obama’s “Pre-K for All” initiative, traveling to make his sales talk personally to Republican governors in Georgia, Michigan and Virginia, with Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and Minnesota on his future travel schedule. The game plan is to sell Republican governors on agreeing to take the money and then to lobby Republican Members of Congress to vote for the necessary tax increase.
Four years ago, the Obama plan to take control of education received a windfall, $4.3 billion from the Stimulus fund without strings. That money was used largely to finance another Obama plan, Race to the Top, which in turn was used to coopt the states into signing on to the unpopular national standards called Common Core.
The presumed goal of pre-kindergarten classes is to close or narrow the academic gap between poor and privileged kids when they enter kindergarten. However, the billions of dollars spent for that purpose for many years have done nothing to achieve that goal.
The principal reason for the gap is the difference between kids who live with their own mother and father and those who don’t. There are no plans to reduce the tremendous financial incentives of taxpayers’ money doled out that discourage marriage and incentivize illegitimacy.
In 2010 the Department of Health and Human Services released its long-awaited Head Start Impact Study, which tracked the progress of Head Start kids through kindergarten and first grade. HHS reported little or no positive effect, and even some harmful effects, but Obama wants a massively expanded Head Start program anyway.
Education Liberty Watch reported a study in which “researchers concluded that pre-school has a positive impact on reading and mathematics scores in the short term and a negative effect on behavior. While the positive academic impacts mostly fade away by the spring of the first grade, the negative effects persist into the later grades.”
The longtime political campaign to impose universal taxpayer-paid daycare originated from the feminist notion that the patriarchy oppresses women by expecting them to care for their own babies. Feminists insist that child care is demeaning to educated women and must be taken over by the taxpayers in order to liberate women from patriarchal oppression.
The feminists made a major effort to achieve universal child care with the Mondale Child Development bill in 1971. After a tsunami of public opposition, it was famously vetoed by President Nixon because it would have committed “the vast moral authority of the National Government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over against the family-centered approach.”
The feminists are still whining in 2013 speeches, commentaries and TV interviews about Nixon’s 1971 veto. A feminist article in the New York Times this year claimed that Obama’s Pre-K proposal is a resurrection of Mondale’s bill.
Supporters of expanding government-funded preschool programs argue that “a commitment to pre-kindergarten is a commitment to national security,” because pre-K programs will supposedly increase high school graduation rates, decrease crime, and combat obesity, thus removing many obstacles that keep people out of the military. But Pre-K supporters do not provide any evidence for that theory.
The Obama Administration’s real motives in funding pre-K are based on the leftist plan to take over what has traditionally been the duty of families. Duncan warned about the “challenge” of our culture (horrors!) “where people … prefer … the grandmother, the neighbor” to the government when deciding to whom their young children should be entrusted.
-------------------- Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, PResident Obama, Obama administration, Pre-K, power grab, big governmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
al-Qaida Terrorist Lead 'Energy Companies To Pull a Blackwater"
While the Obama administration may consider al-Qaida of no consequence and the War on Terrorism ended, the rest of the world knows better. The following article relates an example of how European Energy Companies Are Entering War on Terror.
by Daniel J. Graeber: Norwegian energy company Statoil said last week it was forming a special operations division to handle emergency operations in response to a terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria. The company said it would double the amount of employees it had designated for existing security operations after reviewing the measures in place at the In Amenas gas facility. A January attack there left employees with Statoil and BP dead in what al-Qaida said was a response to French intervention in Mali. With the economy just as much a viable target as any, counter-terrorism may becoming more than just the military's game.
A January attack by a division of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb left several energy company employees and foreign fighters dead. The Algerian attack had the logistical support of Islamic fighters who traveled across the western border from Libya, still unsettled nearly two years after the revolution.
Statoil said last week it was forming a special unit in response to the attack as part of a comprehensive response to the tragedy. Operations at In Amenas resumed at a limited capacity after the attack for owners Statoil, BP and Algeria's state energy company Sonatrach. French supermajor said it too was spending more on industry-wide security operations since the January attack. Natural gas production has declined more or less since 2005 for Algeria and lingering instability in the region suggests a turnaround isn't likely in the medium term.
BP said it had its own concerns, noting it was holding back on natural gas projects in the country because of the security situation there. Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi told a Houston energy conference in March the country "remains a stable country" despite the terrorist attack. He said the country wasn't discouraged by the incident and remained committed to developing its natural gas sector. Algeria has enacted policies that would give foreign investors an incentive to take a closer look at unexplored fields in the country. Algeria in 2011 produced around 2.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and has since worked to return to its previous glory.
Recently one of the President's science advisers, Daniel Schrag, said, “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed."
It is easy for a Harvard professor to call for a "war" on something that doesn't affect him. His job is not at risk. His income is not at risk. His way of life is not at risk. His income is high enough that a higher electricity bill won't change his quality of life.
The term “war on coal", however, is highly misleading. A "war on coal" is in fact "a war on Americans."
It means Americans in small towns in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, southern Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Wyoming will lose their jobs and see their communities destroyed as casualties in the Obama "war on coal".
It means Americans working on railroads which transport the coal will lose their jobs as collateral damage in the " war on coal".
It is hard working Americans in manufacturing in Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania and other states who will lose their jobs as the increased cost of energy puts them at a disadvantage in competing with Chinese and other foreign manufacturers.
It means lower income Americans will have their family budgets hit hardest by higher electricity prices and will bear personally the cost of the Obama "war on coal".
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, put it perfectly yesterday:“It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology.
“The fact is clear: our own Energy Department reports that our country will get 37 percent of our energy from coal until 2040. Removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our recovering economy. These policies punish American businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage with our global competitors. And those competitors burn seven-eighths of the world’s coal, and they’re not going to stop using coal any time soon.”But the computer models say it must be done, so the President will do it. The policies he announced yesterday will inflict real pain on hundreds of millions of Americans because of a forecast spit out by climatologists’ abstract mathematical models, which they claim can tell us what the weather will be like several decades from now.
Of course, weather is a phenomenon so complex that no scientist would claim to know with any precision what it will be a month from now (since that would be quickly disprovable). Yet when the time horizon is a few decades out, they are somehow more comfortable with their forecasts.
The models might be correct, or they might not. Even though their past predictions of apocalypse have failed to come true, the extreme environmental left apparently feels no embarrassment in asking Americans to sacrifice once again. They will drive up the cost of energy for all Americans in order to stop the climate from changing.
President Obama may be cleverly appealing to wealthy left wing environmental activists but he is doing so at great expense to working Americans and small town America. In effect our own President is waging war not on coal, but on his fellow citizens.
Fed Forecasts No Better Than Weather
Fed Chariman Ben Bernanke’s comments last week demonstrated a very similar kind of hubris, applied to economics rather than climatology. He took to a podium and declared that the Federal Reserve’s models forecast an improving economy and a drop in the unemployment rate. Stock traders interpreted this as a signal that the Fed would soon end its inflationary stimulus, and by the following Monday the major stock indices were down 5 percent.
The whole event was a reminder of how bizarre it is that our money supply, our interest rates, and stock markets are determined in large part by the Fed’s reading of economic forecasts which have often been as stunningly, wildly wrong as environmentalists’ predictions.
John Mauldin, whose newsletter on economics I read regularly, describes the terrible record of agencies like the Fed at predicting future economic conditions:“If you've suspected all along that economists are useless at the job of forecasting, you would be right. Dozens of studies show that economists are completely incapable of forecasting recessions. But forget forecasting. What's worse is that they fail miserably even at understanding where the economy is today. In one of the broadest studies of whether economists can predict recessions and financial crises, Prakash Loungani of the International Monetary Fund wrote very starkly, "The record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished." He found this to be true not only for official organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, and government agencies but for private forecasters as well. They're all terrible.” Read the rest here.Just today, the government revised the the estimate of first quarter economic growth down from 2.4 to just 1.8 percent -- abysmal. And yet, the historical gap between economists’ predictions and the reality does nothing to temper their confidence in their present forecasts, or their rush to apply them to policy.
President Obama and Chairman Bernanke need to learn the same lesson: they must not inflict pain on Americans based on little more than a computer printout from programs humans wrote to simulate infinitely complex, constantly changing systems. Because unlike the predictions, the bad policies happen in real life, where the rest of us live.
---------------- Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. Newt and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. The above commentary was shared via his daily email via Gingrich Productions. Tags:Newt Gingrich, War on Coal, Fed forecast, Gingrich Productions, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Joe Kovacs, WND: Palm Beach, FL – In the wake of a string of recent advances for Barack Obama’s left-leaning agenda, radio’s Rush Limbaugh, the top-rated voice on the political right, admitted Wednesday there appears on the surface to be little hope in rescuing America.
“It all looks like doom, unavoidable doom,” Limbaugh lamented.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as the union between a man and woman to be unconstitutional.
But Limbaugh pointed out that was just one of a number of leftist initiatives moving ahead at full throttle.
“If amnesty happens,” he explained, “seven years from now this gonna be an entirely different country – politically, culturally, linguistically. It’d be different in six months if that happens. But that’s not isolated. Amnesty happens after Obamacare, and Obama’s efforts on climate change and so forth.”
“It looks like we’re headed to one-party rule!” he exclaimed.
“And there doesn’t seem to be any push back from the Republican Party. Push back is coming from the American people, a portion of them. If amnesty happens, that’s undeniable what that will bring. We’re talking about way too many people. We’re talking about a significant number of people who will be granted to vote sooner than 13 years. You know it and I know it.”
Limbaugh was responding to a caller named John from Indianapolis who had asked him: “What do you predict from the overflowing toilet that we call Washington, D.C.? What do you actually forecast flowing down that sewer from there and where will be in … seven to nine years?”
Limbaugh answered, “For 25 years, I have been asking, ‘When’s all this stuff gonna even out? When are we gonna hit the bottom? When are we gonna reach the point where people say this is enough and we start to rebound?’ And I’m continually surprised that we haven’t, that our decay continues apace.”
Still, Limbaugh stressed he was not predicting the inevitable demise of United States.
“I’m not a fatalist,” he said. “I just have a feeling that something’s gonna happen to straighten this stuff out. I’ve always thought that. I don’t know why. I don’t know what my faith is in. In the past, it’s always been in the people. I’m not trying to be Pollyannish here. …
“I still have this gut feeling or whatever it is – and it might just be silly, blind, beauty-pageant-contestant faith – that this is all gonna work out. But I can’t tell you why or how, so it’s not worth much.”
[Rush] concluded his program by urging Americans, “Keep the faith, hang in there and be tough. And keep calling Washington on immigration.” Tags:Rush Limbaugh, Doom, unavoidable doom, America, big government, immigration bill, hang in there, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two major decisions affecting marriage and the established traditions of American society. Literally they removed the lid from "pandora's box" and thumbed their noses at the beliefs and values of the majority of Americans. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) summed up the SCOTUS decisions as follows: The Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and held that the supporters of Proposition 8 in California did not have standing to defend Prop 8 in federal court.
Essentially, the DOMA ruling means that the federal government must provide the same benefits to same-sex spouses as opposite-sex spouses, if the same-sex marriage has been lawfully performed. In other words, if a gay couple is married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, then the federal government will recognize that marriage on the same basis as a traditional marriage.
The Prop 8 ruling is far more complex, but the bottom line is that it likely clears the way for same-sex marriage in California. It does not, however, have any real implications for marriages outside of California.
Critically, neither ruling establishes a federal, constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Those states that have marriage amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and woman are untouched by these rulings. Those states that recognize same-sex marriage are similarly untouched.
The bottom line? The definition of marriage is reaffirmed as a matter primarily of state law, not federal law. The issue goes back to the states, and for the foreseeable future, states will continue to define the parameters of lawful marriage.The House today took up resolutions to take up and move forward on three bills. However, the House today addressed only H.R. 1864 — "To amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault." At the conclusion of debate,a vote was ordered. However, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed.
Yesterday, the House passed: H.R. 2289 (Voice Vote) — Renamed section 219(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as the "Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA." H.R. 2383 (395 – 2) — Designated the new Interstate Route 70 bridge over the Mississippi River connecting St. Louis, Missouri, and southwestern Illinois as the "Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge." H.R. 1092 (392-3) — "Designated the air route traffic control center located in Nashua, New Hampshire, as the "Patricia Clark Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center."
The Senate today resumed consideration of S. 744, the immigration reform bill. At 11:30 AM, the Senate began a series of three votes: voting 68-30 to waive all Budget Act points of order against the bill and its amendments, voting 69-29 to adopt the Leahy amendment as modified with the Corker-Hoeven language, and finally voting on cloture (to cut off debate) on the Judiciary Committee substitute amendment to the bill, as modified by previous amendments.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filled the amendment tree, which means Reid is blocking any other amendments from being introduced. Reid has also filed for cloture (to cut off debate) on the underlying bill, S. 744.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 97-1 to confirm Penny Prtizker to be Secretary of Commerce. Later this week, a vote is expected on the nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation.
In a must-read editorial today, The Wall Street Journal blasts President Obama’s new regulations announced yesterday that will cost Americans in higher energy prices and will also cost many their jobs. “President Obama's climate speech on Tuesday was grandiose even for him, but its surreal nature was its particular hallmark. Some 12 million Americans still can't find work, real wages have fallen for five years, three-fourths of Americans now live paycheck to check, and the economy continues to plod along four years into a quasi-recovery. But there was the President in tony Georgetown, threatening more energy taxes and mandates that will ensure fewer jobs, still lower incomes and slower growth.”
The WSJ editors explain, “The plan covers everything from new efficiency standards for home appliances to new fuel mileage rules for heavy-duty trucks to new subsidies for wind farms, but the most consequential changes would slam the U.S. electric industry. These plants, coal-fired power in particular, account for about a third of domestic greenhouse gases. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency released ‘new source performance standard’ regulations that are effectively a moratorium on new coal plants. The EPA denied that similar rules would ever apply to the existing fleet, or even that they were working up such rules. Now Mr. Obama will unleash his carbon central planners on current plants. . . . Daniel Shrag of Harvard, an Obama science adviser, told the New York Times Monday that ‘Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed.’ At least he's honest, though in truth Mr. Obama's target is all forms of carbon energy. . . . The higher costs will ripple through the energy chain, which is precisely Mr. Obama's goal. Only by artificially raising the cost of carbon energy can he make even heavily subsidized ‘renewables’ competitive.”
Politico adds, “President Barack Obama’s opponents have accused him for years of waging a war on coal. On Tuesday, he sounded the cannons. The president announced a broad climate change package that lays out his vision for a low-carbon U.S. future — and made it clear that coal will have a diminished place in it. Obama’s plan goes after coal on multiple fronts. It orders EPA to write long-expected regulations setting greenhouse gas limits that would undoubtedly fall heavily on coal-fired power plants. The plan aims to discourage the construction of coal plants overseas, which could hurt exports, and calls on owners of coal-burning operations to switch to natural gas. Altogether, the results could deal a death blow to the American coal industry. . . . ‘This is going to be a legacy issue for the President, a legacy of higher energy costs, lost jobs, and a shattered economy,’ said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.”
And many Democrats agree.National Journal writes, “Some of the loudest opposition to Obama's speech on climate change yesterday at Georgetown University came not from Republicans, but from rural Democrats like [West Virginia Sen. Joe] Manchin. ‘It's clear now that the President has declared a war on coal,’ Manchin said in a press release. ‘The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it's not feasible, it's not reasonable.’ . . . And he's not alone. Rep. Bill Enyart, a freshman Democrat from down-state Illinois, said he would ‘work tirelessly’ against the new mandates. The regulations would ‘decimate our Southern Illinois coal industry,’ Enyart said in a statement that's getting picked up by newspapers in his district. Rep. Nick Rahall, a big coal backer who represents southern West Virginia, called the new policy ‘misguided, misinformed and untenable.’”
In a speech on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vented his frustration with the president’s plan: “I’ve long warned, for example, that the White House was determined to wage a War on Coal. They denied it, of course, but only just long enough to get through the election. So it’s not a coincidence that the President didn’t give his speech before the election—or that he gave it at a university that symbolizes the D.C. elite, rather than somewhere in coal country: at a place like Morehead State University, or the University of Pikeville.
“Now the President’s supporters seem all too happy to admit that there’s a War on Coal. Just yesterday, an advisor to the White House said that ‘a War on Coal is exactly what’s needed.’ He didn’t just admit it. He said it was ‘exactly what’s needed.’ The quote is right here on the chart behind me.
“Look: Republicans are all for developing the fuels and the energies of the future. We just think that it all should come about as part of an all-of-the-above strategy, which is exactly what the White House said it supported too – before the election. But now, with the election over, the truth comes out. And in truth, the Administration seems to adhere to a dogma that could best be described as ‘none of the above, except a couple things that make our base happy.’ I’d note that such an approach is basically nonsensical, since it ignores what’s necessary to keep our country’s growing energy needs met as we move toward a future where renewables look set to play a greater role. Because it simply tries to pretend that it will not take years, if not decades, for these other types of energy to come online in a way that will truly meet our energy needs.
“In a phrase, it’s a strategy that subordinates almost everything to politics. That’s why Republicans believe a true all-of-the-above strategy means developing wind and solar – and natural gas, and oil, and coal – and embracing the American jobs that come along with more American energy. And here’s what we believe it absolutely does not mean: picking out a class of vulnerable people and declaring ‘war’ on them. Sometimes, people in Washington seem to forget that the decisions made here actually affect the lives of others. And I’m often left to wonder: do they just not care? Of course, coal is an important industry to my state, and I’m going to defend Kentucky workers from out-of-touch Washington attacks. But it’s pretty naïve to think this is just about Kentucky, or West Virginia, or Pennsylvania. As I said yesterday, a ‘War on Coal’ is a war on jobs.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)took the president to taskfor his plan to unilaterally implement a national energy tax that will destroy jobs and make energy less affordable for American families, and called on the president and Senate Democrats to take action to stop student loan rates from doubling next week. He said, “You know, millions of Americans remain out of work and the cost of groceries, gas, and health care continues to rise. The president’s announcement yesterday of essentially a national energy tax and a continuation of the war on coal will only make matters worse, putting thousands and thousands of Americans out of work, increasing the cost electricity – especially in a state like mine in Ohio where about 95 percent of our electricity comes from burning coal. And he’s looking for another excuse to not approve the Keystone pipeline.
“Listen, all of this is making matters worse. The president’s policies are not helping the economy, they’re making it worse.
"And if that’s not enough, we’re about to see student loans double. The House has done its work. Senate Democrats and the president continue to stay on the sidelines. What we passed in the House was very close to what the president offered in his budget. It’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to help lead.” Tags:SCOTUS, DOMA, Marriage, same sex marriage, federal, States, Prop 8, President Obama, War on Coal, Democrats, student loan ratesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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#Conservative #Constitution #NRA #GunRights #military 22 yr #veteran #professor #Christian #ProLife #TCOT #SGP #CCOT #schoolchoice #fairtax Married-50+yrs #MAGA
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