News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. All content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads accepted - no payments for articles.Fair Use doctrine is posted & used. Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year] Follow @arra Contact: email@example.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)Home Page
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, July 12, 2013
Defending Those Who Defend Us
Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: If you go to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, you will see a moving tableau, a series of statues of the brave young Americans who stormed ashore on June 6, 1944 to liberate a continent from the grip of Adolf Hitler. One of these statues is called “Death on the Shore.”
It shows a soldier who was cut down as he left his landing craft. His Bible is seen falling out of his rucksack. That Bible included an endorsement from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The body of this young man, one of the many from the little Southwest Virginia town of Bedford, was never found but his Bible was returned to his loving family. Bedford was chosen for the D-Day Memorial because it sacrificed more sons, proportionately, than any other American town on that Longest Day.
The rights for which that young soldier laid down his life include first religious freedom. Religious freedom is the first right protected in the Bill of Rights. Americans have cherished religious freedom since before we were an independent nation. That is why many of the original colonists came to America in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Those religious freedoms are very much at risk today. Under the Obama administration, there is an ongoing effort to suppress free speech and free exercise. The view of this administration is becoming clearer each day: Freedom of worship will be grudgingly tolerated, but try to live out your faith, try to share your faith in the public square and you face trouble.
My organization, Family Research Council (FRC), has combined with a broad spectrum of religious, social, and educational groups to alert Americans to a rising tide of hostility and discrimination faced by Christians and others in our all-volunteer military. FRC has issued a report titled “Clear and Present Danger.” You can click on the link and download the entire report. You can also gain critical intelligence on this important topic on our new website, militaryfreedom.org.
The FRC report documents many actions that have occurred under this administration and before that endanger the very religious freedoms that are guaranteed by our Constitution. It is these freedoms that members of our armed services take an oath to defend—So help me God. As you read the timelines of the threats, you will see they are increasing in frequency and scope.
FRC is urging Congress to enact religious freedom legislation for our service members. In the U.S. House of Representatives, this measure is sponsored by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) Mr. Fleming says: “Those who fought for religious liberties the most are the ones having their religious liberties taken from them.” The legislation got a strong boost from Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Ok). Mr. Bridenstine is a former Navy pilot who put his life on the line every time he stepped into a cockpit. He knows the importance service members attach to their faith. Congressman Bridenstine says religious freedom is “under attack” in our military.
One egregious example documented in the Clear and Present Danger report was the order at Walter Reed National Medical Center in December, 2011, that banned visitors from bringing Bibles to wounded warriors. This order would be unconstitutional and offensive anywhere in the military, but Army Dr. Walter Reed, for whom the facility was named, was a devout Christian. A century ago, this most famous military physician publicly thanked God for enabling him to eradicate the deadly scourge of Yellow Fever.
While suppressing Christians in the military, the Obama administration goes out of its way to avoid the obvious when it comes to Islamist jihad. When Nidal Hasan, then serving in the Army, went on a murderous shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, he killed thirteen soldiers, including a pregnant young mother, Francheska Velez. She cried out: “My baby! My baby?” Hasan showed no mercy. That was November, 2009.
Hasan carried a business card. This army psychiatrist did not identify himself as a U.S. soldier, even though the American people had paid for his education. Instead, he self-identified as “Soldier of Allah.” As he murdered his fellow soldiers, he cried out: “Allahu Akbar,” the Arabic words for “God is Great.”
Pretty obviously, this was an act of religious hatred. Did the Obama administration view treat this as an act of terrorism, as a jihadist attack? No. They referred to this worst of all attacks on a U.S. military base merely as a case of “workplace violence.”
No wonder even such a measured and sober analyst of public affairs as veteran columnist Michael Barone can describe Obama administration policy bluntly. This Harvard-educated senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute says Mr. Obama’s military policy is: “Christianity bad; Islam good.”
The cover of FRC’s Clear and Present Danger report shows a white cross from the U.S. Cemetery at Normandy. It might as well have shown the Stars of David that are nestled among those beautiful crosses. For Jewish service members have their religious freedom threatened by Obama policies, as well. Now is the time for Congress to act to protect the religious liberties of all those who protect us.
---------------------- Ken Blackwell is a conservative family values advocate. Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Family Research Council, FRC, Clear and Present Danger, protect, religious liberties, military religious freedom,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Fulfilled, Candidate Obama, Campaign Promise, To Listen, American People, spying on citizens, editorial cartoon, William WarrenTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Napolitano Departure Could Mean Senate Minority Gets No Say On Next DHS Head If Dems Go Nuclear
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 12, 2013
The rumors that Janet Napolitano would be stepping down were confirmed today with her formal announcement that she is resigning as Department of Homeland Security secretary to take a new position as become president of the University of California system. While she did not say, White house official indicated she will leaver her position in early September. Having worked in higher education, it is hard to believe that California, especially those in higher education, were able keep quiet about considering Janet Napolitano future nomination from the public. Napolitano's 27% Approval Rating by voters in August 2012 hasn't improved. And people still want answers on what she knew about Fast and Furious. It is not surprising that people on both sides of the political spectrum are glad to see her leave.
The House was not in session today and will reconvene on Monday at 10 AM. Yesterday the House passed their version of the Farm bill after removing the controversial Food Stamp provision from the federal agricultural policy portion. Supposedly this upset both the White House and House Democrats who wanted to delay the final vote. Final Passage of H.R. 2642 was 216-208 — "Provides for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2018, and for other purposes." With two different version of the Farm Bill passed by the Senate and the House, the bills are headed to conference between the two bodies - behind closed doors. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the House version of the Farm Bill: “Our farm and food stamp programs need reform. The status quo is unacceptable, which is why I voted against most of the farm bills of the past two decades, and supported this one. I’m pleased the House took a positive first step forward in providing some much-need reforms to our farm programs today. Reforming our food stamp programs is also essential."
The Senate also was not in session today and will reconvene at at 2 PM. At 6 PM, there will be a bipartisan senators-only meeting where Republicans will remind Democrats of the folly of their push for the nuclear option.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who once said “There is no way that I would employ or use the nuclear option,” set up a series of cloture votes that Democrats are planning to use to lead up to the nuclear option, where 51 Democrats would break Senate rules (by ignoring the 67 vote requirement for a rules change) to change the filibuster rule.
Reid filed for cloture on three illegally appointed nominees: Richard Cordray to be director of the Dodd-Frank-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to be members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). On the same day in January 2012, President Obama took it upon himself to unilaterally appoint Griffen, Block, and Cordray as “recess” appointments even though the Senate was not in recess at the time. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has since ruled that Obama’s appointments of Griffen and Block were unconstitutional, but Democrats are demanding these nominees be confirmed anyway.
Reid also filed cloture on the controversial nominations of Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor and Gina McCarthy to be the head of the EPA.
In addition, Reid filed for cloture on Mark Pearce to be an NLRB member and Fred Hochberg to be president of the Export-Import Bank.
Reid is expected to force these cloture votes on Tuesday and is threatening to use the nuclear option to strip minority rights to the filibuster if the nominees are not confirmed.
Leader McConnell countered with an offer for votes on Obama nominees, including Perez, McCarthy, Hochberg, and 3 NLRB nominees who had not been illegally appointed: Pearce, Harry Johnson, and Philip Miscimarra. Reid objected, in essence demanding the illegal appointments be approved now.
Politico points out today, “Homeland Security Security Janet Napolitano’s resignation announcement Friday adds a new dynamic to the Senate fight over filibusters of President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid carries through with his threat to change filibuster rules, Obama in theory would have major leeway to install a new homeland security secretary and circumvent GOP opposition on the Senate floor, giving the president the ability to make his choice knowing full well that he doesn’t need to attract any Republican support to confirm the nomination. . . . The rules change would immediately impact a pair of nominees currently winding their way through the committee process: Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Todd Jones to lead the ATF, who top Judiciary Committee Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has signaled he would like to stall. And there are open questions over whether those nominees can get the support of enough Republicans to defeat a filibuster. If Reid pursues a rules change for executive nominees, they wouldn’t need to. Neither would Obama’s next pick to head the Department of Homeland Security — or conceivably any other cabinet position.”
Indeed, if Reid pulls the trigger on the nuclear option, thereby violating Senate rules to changes those rules, the new Homeland Security Secretary would be the first cabinet position that could be confirmed without needing to get 60 votes in the Senate and thus any support whatsoever from the minority party.
Senate Democrats seem determined to push this manufactured crisis and do fundamental damage to the Senate and our system to checks and balances. It’s hard to say what the worst part of this whole outrageous power grab is, but it might just be that Democrats appear to be doing all this not for the immediate confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee, or any judge for that matter, nor for a cabinet nominee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained what Democrats are doing this over in a scathing speech yesterday: “What this whole so-called crisis boils down to — what it all comes down to — are three nominees that the President unlawfully appointed, as confirmed by the courts. And one of those nominees had been held up by inaction over at the White House related to structural reforms that the Administration – and even the nominee himself – now say they are willing to work with us on.”
Even The New York Times can see what’s going on: “Mr. Reid and Democratic leaders rejected [a GOP-offered] compromise as unsatisfactory. And a compromise seems unlikely unless the nominees for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board, which is of considerable importance to the labor unions that are so crucial to the Democratic Party, are approved as well.”
As Leader McConnell said, “[T]he real reason, as I said, that the Far-Left and Big Labor are leaning hard on Democrats to ‘go nuclear’, and that the Majority Leader is about to sacrifice his reputation and this institution to go along with it, is because what they really want is for the Senate to ratify the President’s unconstitutional decision to illegally appoint nominees to the NLRB and the CFPB without the input of the Senate. They know they can’t get that done under the current rules, and they know time isn’t on their side. The second highest court in the land ruled unanimously that President Obama had no power to do what he did. Another court has since concurred, and now the Supreme Court is set to hear the case in just a few months. So this isn’t really a fight over nominees at all. It’s a fight over these illegal, unconstitutional nominees. It’s just laughable to think that Democrats would ever agree to such a thing if we were talking about a Republican President’s unlawful nominees. And it’s equally irrational to think we’d go along with this. In fact, no Senator, regardless of party, should ever consider ceding our Constitutional duties in such a way.”
When he was still a senator back in 2005, Joe Biden explained well just what he may help majority Senate Democrats do next week: “The Senate stands at the precipice of a truly historic mistake … history will judge this Majority harshly if it succeeds in changing the way the Founders intended the Senate to behave, emasculating it into a parliament governed by a single party's ideology... . This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party… It is nothing more or nothing less.” Tags:Washington, D.C., Janet Napolitano, resigns, House, farm bill, Senate, confirmations, Dems, nuclear option,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
If We Suffer Tamely A Lawless Attack Upon Our Liberty . . .
"Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom," it is a very serious consideration ... that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event." Tags:Samuel Adams, liberty, loss of liberty quoteTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: The law of socialist economy is this: from each according to his exploitability, to the nomenklatura (the elite governing group) according to its greed. Not only does the socialist economy not produce wealth at a rate a free economy does; the socialist economy consumes wealth it accumulated in the past.”
This quote is drawn from the nearly 400 pages of David Horowitz’s new book, “The Black Book of the American Left”, a vast collection of his commentaries and speeches, written since this son of communists, raised to be a communist, experienced an epiphany about communism when a friend of his was murdered by the Black Panthers, a 1970s group he thought was among the vanguard of social justice in America.
I would remind you that Barack Obama is the son of two dedicated socialists (I will use the milder term). His father, a Kenyan and Muslim, divorced his mother after he was born and returned home to his other wives. His mother married an Indonesian man who adopted Barack, but she would divorce him and leave her son with her parents in Hawaii. While growing up there, he was mentored by a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA, Frank Marshall Davis, formerly of Chicago.
Horowitz has authored many books and articles. His output is extraordinary and his conversion from communism to conservatism became his mission in life as he sought to explain first to himself and then to all others who would listen why he so deeply believed in a system dedicated to defeating capitalism, imposing Soviet-style dictatorships, and bringing down the United States, the champion of liberty in the world.
“The truths revealed that we were just what our enemies had always said we were. There were spies among us, and we were agents for a tainted cause. All of us had treason in our hearts in the name of a future that would never come.”
“In 1956 power shifted in the Kremlin and my parents along with the rest of the progressive left discovered that the socialist future they all served was a monstrous lie. They thought they were fighting for social justice, for the powerless and the poor. But in reality they had served a gang of cynical despots who had slaughtered more peasants, caused more hunger and human misery, and killed more leftists like themselves than all the capitalist governments since the beginning of time.”
Horowitz’s life and my own parallel each other’s as we are about the same age and experienced the same events, but while my own parents were liberal, they were also the son and daughter of immigrants and understood the blessing of being born and raised in America. My father never shed his liberal outlook, but my Mother, during the Clinton years, changed her party affiliation to Republican.
I was not politically engaged for much of my younger years, but growing from childhood to maturity during the course of the Cold War was sufficient for me to develop a healthy distrust of communism.
I regarded the 1960s as some kind of bizarre circus with its hippies, free love, and drug culture. I voted for Democrats without giving it any serious thought, but the Vietnam War awakened my interest as it did for many in the 1970s. I did not see it as one more effort to expand communism, but as a war that even U.S. generals had warned against. It was pursued by Lyndon B. Johnson while he also fruitlessly spent billions on his “war on poverty.” Like most liberal fantasies, it did more harm than good. After Johnson’s first full term, he declined to run again as the nation turned against the Asian war. It was left to Nixon to bring it to a conclusion. When the North Vietnamese took over, there was a massive bloodbath there and in neighboring Cambodia.
Consider now that the communist movement in America, misleadingly called “progressive”, has patiently spent decades since the 1960s transforming the nation. It has infiltrated and taken control of the nation’s educational system from kindergarten to its universities. It controls the Democratic Party. Much of the nation’s mainstream media is the handmaiden of liberalism. And it has elected the most leftist president the nation has ever had. Twice!
My friend who goes under the nom-de-plume of J.D. Longstreet at his blog, Insight on Freedom, recently wrote, “I think one of the most difficult obstacles those of us old freedom loving Americans have to confront is the near total ignorance of younger Americans about what they have already lost -- and -- have yet to lose. It is a hurdle that must be removed, surmounted, or circumvented ... somehow. See, younger Americans have never experienced, nor enjoyed, the freedom we older Americans have. They have never had it, therefore, they do not miss it -- nor feel the yearning for it that we do.”
Ad Praises Mitch McConnell for Staunch Defense of Free Speech
Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: American Commitment is launching an online ad campaign today in Kentucky aimed at supporting Senator Mitch McConnell and his steadfast defense of free speech both before and after revelations surfaced that the IRS targeted conservative Americans and tea party organizations.
The 60-second ad, titled “First Freedom,” praises the Senate Minority Leader for his leadership in defending the First Amendment from the Obama Administration’s attacks and all other threats to free speech.
“The systematic targeting of Americans exercising their right to free speech by the IRS under the Obama Administration is shameful—and Senator McConnell deserves enthusiastic applause for his staunch defense of the First Amendment,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment. “Senator McConnell has proven himself completely committed to defending the Constitution and free speech rights of all Americans.
The ad begins with Mitch McConnell delivering a recent speech, “Last June I stood here and warned of a grave and growing threat to the First Amendment. That threat has not let up at all.”
The ad transitions to a newsreel with a series of television segments covering the IRS scandal and government admissions that the IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups. The ad then cuts back to Senator McConnell’s remarks.
McConnell: “This Administration has institutionalized the practice of pitting bureaucrats against the very people they’re supposed to be serving. And it needs to stop.”
McConnell: “What matters here was the atmosphere. The culture of intimidation that this President and his allies created around any person or group that spoke up for conservatism. And whether you’re a pro-Israel group or a tea party group, they could force you off the political playing field. They could make your life miserable.”
McConnell: “Never give an inch when it comes to free speech.”
Tags:Pilot Error, Wrecked Economy, the economy, President Obama, AF Branco, editorial cartoon, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Fairfax, VA — Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today urged passage of legislation by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the "Defund Obamacare Act," and urged the House of Representatives to adopt similar language and attach it to a must-pass continuing resolution:"The Cruz bill can be distinguished from other proposed 'defunding' efforts that merely target agency budgets but leave untouched insurance subsidies under the state exchanges, Medicaid expansion and other 'mandatory' entitlement spending required under the law. It acknowledges that changes to the law are necessary outside the appropriations process in order to actually defund it. Senator Cruz is to be applauded for this effort.
"The House of Representatives should adopt similar language and attach it to the must-pass continuing resolution this September to force a showdown on the issue. If the Obama Administration believes it can arbitrarily delay the employer mandate for a year, then the House should force an immediate debate on whether the rest of the bill should be funded as well. If Republicans are committed to stopping Obamacare before it takes effect in 2014, this may be their last chance."Editor's Note: U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on July 11th introduced companion bills "to defund Obamacare" in a new push to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to implement the law. Tags:ALG, Americans for Limited Government, Rep. Ted Cruz, Rep. Tom Graves, Defund Obamacare ActTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
U.S. Treasury Dept June, 2013 - $117 Billion Surplus
ARRA News Service - This afternoon The Treasury Department released the Monthly Treasury Statement for last month showing the U.S. ran a surplus of $117 billion in June. The surplus was driven by higher tax revenues, sequester-related spending cuts, timing quirks in government payments, and large receipts from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
While a one-month surplus is positive, the larger budget reality remains negative. The federal government is still on pace to run a deficit this year, the long term structural challenges to our budget remain with Medicare and Social Security on the path to insolvency and billions of taxpayer dollars continue to be wasted by inefficient and unaccountable federal agencies. The high level of spending over the past five years has failed to deliver on the promise of economic recovery. Washington continues to ignore these realities and as a result our long-term budget outlook remains troubling.
We have an overspending problem, not an under-taxing problem. The federal government has run trillion dollar deficits over the past four years and is still on pace to run a multi-billion dollar deficit this year, meanwhile tax revenue has reached a record high. As long as we are running deficits, our nearly $17 trillion debt is continuing to rise.
This is the largest budget surplus since April 2008, which underscores just how much the federal government has been overspending.
Recent reports from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) make clear that the answer to our economic problems isn’t higher taxes, it is making our government more efficient, effective, and accountable. Tax revenue has outpaced spending cuts and economic growth was revised down.
On our current course, raising taxes again would not fix the long-term structural problems with our budget nor will it result in the growth needed to put our country back on a firm fiscal foundation. Worse, it ignores the biggest drivers of our debt, Medicare and Social Security spending.
For years, the government has spent far more than it has taken in and it remains on that course this year despite this month’s surplus. Big spending programs like the stimulus have failed to deliver on promises, while cuts like the sequester haven’t had the devastating impact many said it would.
As we enter the last quarter of the fiscal year and deadlines for the CR and debt ceiling near, Washington has the opportunity to take the next step and finally have a productive discussion on what’s holding our economy back: overspending.
June's Surplus Was Driven By Taxes, Sequester Cuts, GSEs, And Timing Quirks - Related articles:
Higher Tax Revenues Contributed To June's Surplus. "Rising tax revenues, public spending cuts and big payments to the Treasury from state-backed mortgage firms helped the government take in $117 billion more last month than it paid out, the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday." ("U.S. Posts $117 Billion Budget Surplus In June, "Reuters, 7/11/13)
Sequester Cuts Also Contributed To June's Surplus. "Across-the-board budget cuts began March, which also contributed to the surplus." ("U.S. Posts $117 Billion Budget Surplus In June, "Ibid, 7/11/13)
Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Provided $66.3 Billion In Payments In June." The surplus was due in part to $66.3 billion in dividend payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage giants were taken over by the government at the height of the 2008 financial crisis and are now repaying taxpayers for the support they received." (Martin Crutsinger, "U.S. Government Reports $116.5 Billion Surplus In June, "AP, 7/11/13)
Timing Quirks Reduced Outlays In June By $34 Billion. "Because June 1, 2013, fell on a Saturday, certain payments that ordinarily would have been made in June this year were instead made earlier, reducing outlays in June by about $34 billion." ("Monthly Budget Review For June 2013," CBO, 7/9/13)
Analysis developed for the ARRA News Service by PublicNotice. Tags: Treasury Department, report, June, 2013, surplus, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Dems Called Nuclear Option ‘A Historic Mistake’ - What is Their Agenda Now?
The Democrat Leader Promised He ‘Would Never, Ever Consider’ It. President Obama Predicted Disastrous Consequences If Triggered
REID ON NUCLEAR OPTION: ‘Un-American,’ ‘Illegal,’ ‘Complete Abuse Of Power’
“There is no way that I would employ or use the nuclear option… I want every Republican to hear that … The nuclear option was only one of the things that Republicans in power at that time did or tried to do to ruin our country… The nuclear option was the most important issue I’d ever worked on in my entire career because if that had gone forward, it would have destroyed the Senate as we know it.” (“Reid Rules Out ‘Nuclear Option’ Against Nominee Filibusters,” CQ Today, 3/27/09)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules. I never suggested that at all. I say to my friend, I want to work something out. I repeat that for probably the fifth time here today, but in the process we cannot give up the basic rights this country and this Senate have had for more than 200 years.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4242, 4/26/05)
REID: “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abuse of power..." (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
REID: “For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
REID: “You have to break the rules to change them in this instance because if you follow the rules, you cannot do it with a simple majority… We cannot go down that slippery slope.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4464, 4/28/05)
REID: “To change the rules in the Senate can't be done by a simple majority. It can only be done if there is extended debate by 67 votes.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5455, 5/19/05)
REID: “The only way you can change the rule in this body… requires 67 votes. You can't do it with 60. You certainly cannot do it with 51.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4043, 4/21/05)
REID: “They are talking about doing something illegal. They are talking about breaking the rules to change the rules, and that is not appropriate. That is not fair, and it is not right.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4238, 4/26/05)
SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “The Senate stands at the precipice of a truly historic mistake … history will judge this Majority harshly if it succeeds in changing the way the Founders intended the Senate to behave, emasculating it into a parliament governed by a single party's ideology...” (Sen. Biden, Congressional Record, S.5738, 5/23/05)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): “…everyone in this Chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.” (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.3512, 4/13/05)
SO! Why do they want to Pursue the Nuclear Option Now? Labor Union Payback - Getting their allies on the NLRB after the courts have already ruled these individuals were unconstitutionally appointed and sworn in by Barack Obama. Tags:Nuclear option, US Senate, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Obama appointees, Unions, NLRBTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
'Alinsky' Democrats Prepare Senate Nuclear Option Reid Once Called 'Un-American'
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 11, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. The day began with over an hour of debate between the two leaders as Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to manufacture a crisis on nominations to attempt to justify a power grab by using the nuclear option. The Alinsky Method is alive and well in the White House and in the Senate Democrat Leadership.
At 12:30 PM, the Senate recessed so each party could attend policy lunches to discuss the nuclear option Democrats are pushing. The Senate will reconvene at 2:15 PM.
Yesterday, Democrat leaders failed to get 60 votes to take up their partisan student loan rate proposal (S. 1238), after refusing to allow a vote on a bipartisan proposal closer to what the House and the president have proposed.
This the second time that Senate Democrats failed to pass a student loan reform bill. (A big part of the problem was the bill really had no reform; it would've just extended the status quo another year.) What apparently was Democrats’ attempt to demonstrate unity and resolve only ended up exposing more chaos and confusion. Most importantly, no progress was made for students and their families. Yes, “Republicans … have relentlessly exploited Democratic splits on the issue,” but at this point, even Democrats and advocates are pointing out the divisions and conceding the debate to Republicans.
Here’s another important question: where’s President Obama in all of this? Consider this from Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “House Republicans agreed with the president’s compromise plan on the expiration of the student loan discount. But Senate Dems are at each other’s throats, a clear sign the president didn’t get support for his compromise before releasing it.…the White House doesn’t explain itself, implement its policies (if it has any) or work with Congress. The result is disarray and inaction. … There is a well-grounded fear that the White House really isn't capable of doing the simple things, let alone something as unwieldy and ill-conceived as Obamacare.”
Speaker John Boehner notedm "Americans have good reason to distrust Washington right now. The Democrats’ inability to resolve an issue where our differences are minimal is exactly the kind of fodder that feeds the people’s discontent."
The House reconvened at 9 AM today and took up H.R. 2642 — "To provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2014." It is being said that the Food Stamp provision of the Farm Bill may be removed so the Agriculture portion may move forward.
Yesterday the House passed H.R. 2609 (227-198) — "Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes." Before final passage, amendments were offered and voted. The following amendments were approved yesterday by voice vote: Burgess (R-TX) - Amendment No. 17 - Prohibits funds from being used to implement or enforce energy efficiency standards regarding incandescent light bulbs and other incandescent light sources. Meadows (R-NC) - Prohibits funds from being used for the salaries of Presidential Recess Appointees until they are confirmed by the Senate. Scalise (R-LA) - Prohibits funds from being used by the Army Corps of Engineers within the borders of the State of Louisiana to implement or enforce the mitigation methodology referred to as the "Modified Charleston Method".– Lynch (D-MA) - Increases Corps of Engineers Civil Construction by $20 million and reduces Fossil Energy Research and Development by the same amount. Blackburn (R-TN) - Prohibits funds from being used by DOE to enforce the proposed rule entitled "Energy Conservation Standards Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits." Higgins (D-NY) - Amendment No. 31 - Prohibits funds from being used to relocate or consolidate the personnel or resources of the Buffalo and Chicago Districts Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. Walberg (R-MI) - Amendment No. 32 - Prohibits funds from being used for a national media campaign on green technologies. Grayson (D-FL) - Amendment No. 14 - Prohibits funds from being used to award a contract to a company that has been convicted of, or is currently indicted/civilly charged for a range of crimes (listed in text of amendment), or has delinquent taxes of more than $3,000 within a three year period of the offered contract. Scalise (R-LA) - Increases Corps of Engineers - Construction by $2 million and decreases DOE Departmental Administration by the same amount. Gosar (R-AZ) - Prohibits funds from being used to implement any new programs under the memorandum issues by Steven Chu regarding Power Marketing Administrations. Turner (R-OH) - Prohibits funds from being used to reduce the U.S. Nuclear weapons stockpile below the levels in the new START treaty. Nugent (R-FL) - Intended to prohibit private entities that receive federal funds from bringing legal action against the U.S. government. Engel (D-NY) - Prohibits funds from being used to lease or purchase light duty vehicles not in compliance with the Presidential memorandum on alternative fuel vehicles. Garcia (D-FL) - Increases Corps of Engineers - Civil - Construction by $1 million and reduces Corp of Engineers - Civil - Expenses by the same amount. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) - Prohibits funds from being used for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study authorized by the Energy and Water Appropriations Act 2009. Luetkemeyer (R-MO) - Prohibits funds from being used for an environmental study under the Missouri River Ecosystem Recovery Plan. Kelly (R-PA) - Amendment No. 20 - Prohibits funds from being used to expand the authorized uses of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. LaMalfa (R-CA) - Prohibits funds from being used to regulate private property used for agriculture as waters of the U.S. King (R-IA) - Prohibits funds from being used by the Corps of Engineers from dumping sediment or soil into the Missouri River. Flores (R-TX) - Prohibits the use of funds to be used to impose the Obama Administration’s continued attempts to establish the National Ocean Policy and ocean zoning under Executive Order 13547 without explicit Congressional authorization. Flores (R-TX) - Prohibits any funds from being used to enforce the selective fuel bans set forth in Sec. 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007; thus, the amendment expands options for the federal government to purchase fuels by from unconventional sources like California heavy oil resources or Canadian oil sands. Fleming (R-LA) - Prohibits funds from being used for officer and employee salaries to implement the green energy loan program from the 2009 Stimulus Bill.
Senate Democrats are again pushing to harm the Senate and the rights of the minority by manufacturing a crisis as a flimsy justification for using the nuclear option—breaking the Senate rules in order to change the rules so they can steamroll the minority and get their way.
The New York Times notes, “A confrontation in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats over the confirmation of President Obama’s cabinet nominees edged closer on Thursday toward a showdown over changing the rules on filibusters. After a tense exchange on the floor with his Republican counterpart, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, planned to recommend to his fellow Democrats at a private lunch meeting that they should vote to take the exceptional step of barring the minority party from filibustering presidential appointees.”
The Washington Post reports, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) engaged in a somewhat-heated hour-long exchange on the Senate floor Thursday, with McConnell suggesting Reid’s move to remove the filibuster from certain confirmation votes would negatively impact his legacy. McConnell quoted Reid’s previous opposition to filibuster rule changes from when Reid was in the minority in 2005, and suggested making them now would be on his political tombstone. ‘“Breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American” – his words, not mine,’ McConnell said. ‘I just hope the majority leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party and, most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.’”
Leader McConnell blasted Reid and Democrats for attempting this move.The Daily Caller writes, “Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell warned Harry Reid on Thursday that the Democratic majority leader’s ‘tombstone’ will say he ‘presided over the end of the Senate’ if he ‘caves to the fringes’ and changes Senate rules to make it easier to confirm administration appointees. ‘No Majority Leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,’ McConnell warned from the Senate floor on Thursday, blasting Reid for suggesting that he will invoke the ‘nuclear option.’ ‘Well, if this Majority Leader caves to the fringes and let’s this happen, I’m afraid that’s exactly what they’ll write,’ McConnell argued.”
In a scathing speech, Leader McConnell said, “It’s an open secret at this point that Big Labor and others on the Left are putting a lot of pressure on Senate Democrats to change the rules of the Senate – and to do so by breaking the rules. That would violate every protection of minority rights that have defined the United States Senate for as long as anyone can remember. Let me assure you: this Pandora’s Box, once opened, will be utilized again and again by future majorities – and it will make the meaningful consensus-building that has served our nation so well a relic of the past. The short-term issue that’s triggered this dangerous and far-reaching proposal is simple enough: the Hard-Left is so convinced that every one of the President’s nominees should just sail through the confirmation process, that they’re willing to do permanent, irreversible damage to this institution in order to get their way. And they've apparently convinced the Majority Leader to do their bidding as they hijack the Senate. They’re not interested in checks and balances. They’re not interested in advice and consent. They’re not even interested in what this would mean down the road when Republicans are the ones making the nominations. They want the power. They want it now. And they don’t care about the consequences. This ends-justifies-the-means ethos has been resisted by basically every Senate Leader in the past, and it's a clear and unequivocal violation of the public assurances that the current Majority Leader made to the entire Senate, his constituents, and to the American people just a few months ago.”
As he pointed out, Democrats once recognized the danger of what they’re now threatening. “[L]et’s be honest about what’s actually going on here. The only crisis here is the crisis that Democrats are creating with their threats to fundamentally change the Senate — something the Majority Leader said just a few years ago he would ‘never, ever consider.’ And here’s why he said that — because, to quote him again, going down this road is ultimately about ‘removing the last check in Washington against a complete abuse of power’.”
At Red State, Ben Howe has compiled an impressive list of quotes from Reid where he decried the nuclear option, saying things like, “For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American” and “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abuse of power, the right to extended debate.”
Reid wasn’t the only one. Before becoming Vice President, then-Sen. Joe Biden warned, “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party… It is nothing more or nothing less.” Will he now be the one to preside over such a “fundamental power grab” by his party?
Leader McConnell summed up the situation: “So here are the battle lines. On one side are people who think that Presidents should have the power to unconstitutionally ignore Congress and their constituents – people who believe in it so firmly, they’re willing to irreparably damage the Senate to ensure they get their way. They’re willing to do something the Majority Leader himself said would contribute to the ruination of our country. And on the other side are the folks in my conference — and even some Democrats with the courage to speak up against this power grab. We’re the folks who believe deeply that a President of any party should work within the bounds of the Constitution, and that Senators of both parties should fulfill their own constitutional obligations to thoroughly vet nominees.”
As Harry Reid once said, “Breaking the rules to change the rules. … They don’t want consensus or compromise. They don’t want advice and consent. They want absolute power.” Tags:Us Senate Alinsky methods, democrats, Harry Reid, nuclear option, abuse of power, student loan interest rates, House, energy, water, development, farm bill, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Obamacare has been showing signs of being so unenforceable, so expensive, and so utterly stupid that Obama’s administration has had to engage in all manner of patently illegal waivers and delays to maintain theirs lies about it.
In the words of the late Chinese Communist dictator, Mao Zedong, Obamacare has been “a great leap forward” to reform healthcare in America. In China, the Great Leap killed an estimated forty million people between 1958 and 1961. There is no way of knowing how many Obamacare would kill when (and if) it is fully implemented.
Presidents are not allowed to decide what part of what laws—or any laws—they do not want to enforce. Michael W. McConnell, a professor of law and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a senior fellow at the Hoover Foundation, recently noted that “Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution states that the president ‘shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so.”
In Clinton v. City of New York, 1998, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that “There is no provision in the Constitution that authorizes the president to enact, to amend, or to repeal statutes.” MConnell cites this, saying “The employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act contains no provision allowing the president to suspend, delay or repeal it.”
Bearing in mind that Obamacare essentially authorizes the government to seize control of one sixth of the nation’s economy, not to mention intrusively getting between a physician and his patient, it is such a legislative monstrosity, so poorly conceived and written, that it has been subject to a series of desperate efforts by the Obama administration to “fix” what is essentially unfixable.
Obamacare’s effect on the economy has already been felt, slowing hiring, moving fulltime employees to part-time status, causing the cost of premiums to skyrocket, and contributing to 54 months of economic stagnation. It has become a political liability to Democrats who will run for office in the 2014 midterm elections.
Just slightly more than half the States refused to set up the “exchanges” in which individuals would select their insurance plans. This has forced the federal government to set up their own and that is not going well. In April the administration announced that workers will not be able to choose plans from different health insurers in the small business exchanges next year.
The IRS announced it would implement the law’s tax credits, subsidies, and taxes in states with federal exchanges even though the Act “clearly, repeatedly, consistently, and intentionally prohibits the IRS from doing so,” according to Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. “The IRS has literally asserted the authority to tax, borrow, and spend more than $1 trillion contrary to the express will of Congress” citing Section 4980H of the Act that requires it begin after December 31, 2013.
Congress found the Act’s long-term entitlement to be little more than a Ponzi scheme and repealed it. The anti-conscience mandate, objected to by Catholic hospitals and some employers has been granted a partial delay by Health and Human Services (HHS). Poorly written, an error in Obamacare has led to less access to care for children with pre-existing conditions and a 2011 report found that in 17 States insurers are no longer selling child-only insurance plans.
After Obamacare was enacted in 2009, HHS discovered that some of its mandates would raise costs so much that employers would drop coverage rather than face the costs, so HHS began to issue “temporary waivers” and it turned out that more than half of the recipients were members of union health insurance plans.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the expansion of Medicaid was optional for the States that objected because they can barely sustain the costs of the existing program.
Little wonder that the administration has announced that it has postponed the start date of Obamacare’s “employer mandate” from 2014 to 2015. Only it cannot by law postpone it, nor can it issue waivers or any other changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
A July 7 Wall Street Journal opinion said “The White House seems to regard laws as mere suggestions, including the laws it help to write. We did not elect a king.
Beware what you wish for and, for decades, the Democratic Party has tried to impose socialized medicine on America. Having blessed it as a tax, my guess is that the Supreme Court will revisit Obamacare to find a reason to declare it unconstitutional.
Tags:black on black, murder rate, Chicago, Florida, mainstream media, media, AF Branco, editorial cartoon, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Exchanges ‘will be full of issues, bugs and technological challenges’ “‘Something will be up and running on Oct. 1,’ when open enrollment starts, said Dan Schuyler, a director at the consulting firm Leavitt Partners and a former director of technology for Utah's health-insurance exchange. ‘It will be full of issues, bugs and technological challenges,’ he added.” (“Planners Expect Glitches In Health-Exchange Sites,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/7/13)
Software Developer: ‘Everyone is waiting for something to go wrong’ “…Dan Maynard, president of Connecture, a software developer that is providing the shopping and enrollment functions for several states' insurance exchanges. ‘From an IT perspective, 1.0's come out with a lot of defects. Everyone is waiting for something to go wrong.’” (“Web Barrage Likely When Obamacare Goes Live,” Reuters, 7/1/13)
‘The computer system… won't be able to process that’NPR: “The law allows insurance companies in these new marketplaces, the exchanges, to charge higher premiums for people who smoke… But it turns out the computer system being developed for the exchanges won't be able to process that, at least not for the first year…” Audie Cornish, NPR: “Wow. OK, all of that just because of what is - what - a computer glitch, it sounds like. … does all this sort of combine to create a sense that the rollout of the law is kind of coming of the rails?”(“Affordable Care Act Hits More Road Bumps,” NPR, 7/9/13)
‘There will no doubt be consumer horror stories’ “It will be a tough task implementing the online health insurance marketplaces that are required of each state under the federal health care overhaul, and there will no doubt be consumer horror stories about trying to navigate them, insurance company executives warned Tuesday.” (“Insurance Leaders Detail Uncertainty Of Overhaul,” AP, 6/18/13)
‘Millions of curious souls’ could ‘log on, causing Cover Oregon to crash in a blur of spinning hourglasses and color wheels and an epidemic of frozen screens.’ “…enrollment under President Barack Obama's health care reform begins on Oct. 1. What Karjala, the chief information officer at Cover Oregon, does worry about, however, is what will happen if the entire population of Oregon — 3.9 million — logs on that day ‘just to check it out,’ he said. Or if millions of curious souls elsewhere, wondering if Oregon's insurance offerings are better than their states', log on, causing Cover Oregon to crash in a blur of spinning hourglasses and color wheels and an epidemic of frozen screens.” (“Web Barrage Likely When Obamacare Goes Live,” Reuters, 7/1/13)
President Obama: ‘This is working the way it's supposed to.’ “Now, a lot of the opponents of the Affordable Care Act, they had all kinds of sky-is-falling, doom-and-gloom predictions… I think it's important for us to recognize and acknowledge this is working the way it's supposed to.” (President Obama, Statement, 6/7/13)
Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.
The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.
The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders — claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all — have now been cheapened by today’s generation of black “leaders,” who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.
Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes — the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students — many black “leaders” and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white.
Among whites, according to the same Rasmussen poll, 38 percent consider most blacks racist and 10 percent consider most whites racist.
Broken down by politics, the same poll showed that 49 percent of Republicans consider most blacks racist, as do 36 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, just 29 percent of Americans as a whole think race relations are getting better, while 32 percent think race relations are getting worse. The difference is too close to call, but the fact that it is so close is itself painful — and perhaps a warning sign for where we are heading.
Is this what so many Americans, both black and white, struggled for, over the decades and generations, to try to put the curse of racism behind us — only to reach a point where retrogression in race relations now seems at least equally likely as progress?
What went wrong? Perhaps no single factor can be blamed for all the things that went wrong. Insurgent movements of all sorts, in countries around the world, have for centuries soured in the aftermath of their own success. “The revolution betrayed” is a theme that goes back at least as far as 18th century France.
The civil-rights movement in 20th century America attracted many people who put everything on the line for the sake of fighting against racial oppression. But the eventual success of that movement attracted opportunists, and even turned some idealists into opportunists.
Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans. After the success of the civil-rights insurgency, the latter have come into their own, gaining money, power and fame by promoting racial attitudes and actions that are counterproductive to the interests of those they lead.
None of this is unique to blacks or to the United States. In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people — and to hate those other people.
This was the history of anti-Semitic movements in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars, anti-Ibo movements in Nigeria in the 1960s and anti-Tamil movements that turned Sri Lanka from a peaceful nation into a scene of lethal mob violence and then decades-long civil war, both marked by unspeakable atrocities.
Groups that rose from poverty to prosperity seldom did so by having racial or ethnic leaders. While most Americans can easily name a number of black leaders, current or past, how many can name Asian-American ethnic leaders or Jewish ethnic leaders?
The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country.
-------------- Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He is a retired professor of Economic and presently is a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Visit his website with list of other articles. Tags:Thomas Sowell, commentary, New Face, American RacismTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
GOPUSA: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she is thinking about running for the U.S. Senate in 2014.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee told a radio audience that supporters are asking her to consider challenging Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, for Alaska's open Senate seat, The Hill reported.
Palin said she has a "heart for service" and would consider returning to politics if she could "help the cause."
Alaska's Republican Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 GOP nominee Joe Miller have both announced they will challenge Begich.
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial committee told Politico that the panel will meet "with any Alaskan interested in challenging Mark Begich."
Palin stressed the importance of getting "new blood" into politics when she was a guest on Sean Hannity's radio show Tuesday.
"Ted Cruz needs reinforcements," she said referring to the conservative freshman senator from Texas.
Palin said she won't stop until we have a government that works for the average American and not against them. Tags:Governor, Sarah Palin, Alaska, US Senate, 2014, GOPUSA, The Sean Hannity Radio ShowTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Senate Dems Stumble Over Tuition Assistance Interests Rates | WH Knew For Months Obamacare Implementation Wouldn't Work
Today in Washington, July 10, 2012
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today. Following two hours of debate, the Senate voted on cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. whether to cut off debate and begin considering) S. 1238, Democrats’ latest student loan rate proposal that is even at odds with President Obama’s and that of other Democrats. The motion failed to get the needed sixty votes by a vote of 51-49. Note, there is already a House passed bill waiting for vote by the U.S. Senate that agreed with the President, or at least what he has verbalized with regard to the cost of student loans.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 54-41 to confirm Jennifer A. Dorsey to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Nevada.
The House reconvened at 10 AM today and continued debating amendments to H.R. 2609 — "Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes."
Yesterday, the House began debating amendments on H.R. 2609 and a polithera of amendments were voted down. The following were adopted by Voice Vote: Noem (R-SD) - Page 15, Line 4 - Increases Water and Related Resources by $25 million (intended for rural water supply programs) and reduces Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability, and Efficiency and Departmental Administration by $15 million each. Hastings (R-WA) - Page 22, Line 5 - Decreases Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability, and Efficiency by $9.5 million and Departmental Administration by $20 million and increases Defense Environmental Cleanup by $22.5 million. Reed (R-NY) - Page 25, Line 14 - Increases Non-Defense Environmental Cleanup by $18.9 million and decreases Departmental Administration and Office of the Administrator collectively by the same amount. Schiff (D-CA) - Page 26, Line 18 - Increases Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy by $20 million and reduces Departmental Administration by the same amount. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) - Page 46, Line 16 - Amends Sec. 301 to require the report required under the section be submitted to both the Appropriations and authorizing committees.
Senate Democrates Failed Tuition Assistance Legislation:
Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg responded to the latest Senate failed proposal to artificially set interest rates on student loans, "The White House and Congress seem to be competing with each other over who can screw over students worse and Senate Democrats are clearly winning. Not only did Harry Reid's proposal do nothing to address government's monopoly over the student loan market, which is the root cause of skyrocketing tuition, but it also would have added an additional level of uncertainty for prospective borrowers.
"We can't keep running our government on lazy one-year fixes just because our elected representatives don't have the political courage to do what's best for students - especially in areas where government involvement is to blame for the problem we're trying to solve in the first place. Young people are already suffering from the highest sustained unemployment rates since World War II and the average student debt load is roughly $30,000.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after Senate Democrats again failed to approve legislation to address student loan interest rates – which have doubled because of their inaction – and prodded the White House and Senate Democratic leaders to act on behalf of students and their families: “Republicans acted to protect students from higher interest rates and make college more affordable, yet Senate Democratic leaders let student loan interest rates double without passing any legislation to address the issue. While the House-passed bill mirrors what the president has proposed, Senate Democratic leaders seem content to leave students and their families with higher borrowing costs and more student debt, which is shameful and unacceptable. It’s long past time for President Obama to lead, address the divisions within his own party, and bring everyone together to enact a permanent solution for students and their families.”
Interest rates on student loans doubled 10 days ago. So what are Senate Democrats doing about it? Fighting with each other and wasting time on a “dead-end policy” that doesn’t solve the problem.
In “Democrats Duel on Student Loans,” Roll Call tells the story of “dueling Democratic media stakeouts” yesterday – “just a few feet apart” from one another. The scene “was indicative of the split between Democrats,” with Senate leaders pushing for little more than another short-term political fix.
And in “Democrat on Democrat,” The Hill says the “dispute over student loan rates escalated divisions within the party.” They quote one Senate Democrat calling the Obama administration’s bipartisan plan for a market-based student loan rate “a nonstarter.”
The people hurt most in all of this are students, sidelined in a fight between Democrats more interested in politics and what the Washington Post calls a “pathetic non-solution.”
It isn’t every day that President Obama and House Republicans agree on a policy solution. That’s why it’s sad to see Senate Democrats fighting with eachother and rejecting a bipartisan student loan plan -- and even sadder to see the president let them get away with it.
Moving on to Delays in Obamacare:
The Obama administration wants you to know it is getting tough on waste, fraud, and abuse …. in its government cell phone program. But ObamaCare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies? Not so much. The Obama administration is “urging companies to thoroughly check a person's eligibility” in order to limit “waste and abuse” in its government cell phone program, says The Hill. Which is great, and all. But for those signing up for taxpayer-funded ObamaCare subsidies? Reuters says the president will “depend on consumers observing the honor system.”
“HHS now says it will no longer attempt to verify individual eligibility for insurance subsidies and instead will rely on self-reporting,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “[T]he result starting in October may be millions of people getting subsidies who don't legally qualify” – and “[t]his would mean huge increases in ObamaCare spending. … as much as $250 billion in improper payments in its first decade.”
Reuters says relying on the honor system could lead to “a ‘boatload’ of illegitimate tax credits.” On National Review, Yuval Levin agrees, saying the Obama administration is “opening the door wide open to fraud” that will “needless to say, increase the cost of the exchange subsidies.”
So for those keeping track: not only is the president’s health care law driving up costs, threatening workers’ hours and wages, and making it harder for small businesses to hire. As Speaker Boehner points out, “The president’s decision to use the ‘honor system’ to hand out subsidies” “exposes taxpayers to massive fraud and abuse.” The American people deserve better than this.
In an op-ed for Politico today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell writes, “[W]hile the administration hasn’t publicly admitted it yet, last week’s announcement is further proof that some of the law’s biggest backers are starting to realize how unworkable Obamacare truly is. A few months after one of the law’s chief architects in the Senate predicted an implementation ‘train wreck,’ administration officials are now tacitly admitting as much by giving businesses — and Washington bureaucrats — another year to figure it all out. But the obvious problem with the band-aid approach is that without full repeal, there will never be an end to the number of problems that need to be fixed. That’s the nature of a law that runs 2,700 pages in length, has spawned more than 20,000 pages of regulations (so far) and has authorized the creation of, at last count, 159 bureaucratic agencies, boards and programs. If Obamacare’s cheerleaders were being honest, they’d admit that the cracks in its facade started to show early and will only continue to spread.”
And in the past couple of weeks, Americans have seen those cracks spread far and wide.The AP reported yesterday, “A glitch involving President Barack Obama's health care law means smokers may get at least some relief next year from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable. In yet another health care overhaul delay, the administration has quietly notified insurers that a computer system problem will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year. Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, experts say. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it's also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have. . . . The underlying reason for the glitch is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two.
Time wrote, “[T]he Obama Administration’s recent announcement that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate will kick in a year late could ripple beyond the brief extension, increasing costs and complicating implementation of other vital parts of the law. . . . Whatever political benefit the Administration accrues in the delay will come at taxpayer expense, as the move will increase the cost of Obamacare. The provision was expected to generate some $10 billion in revenue in the form of penalties that employers not offering coverage would have incurred in 2014. Adding to that cost is the fact that many workers whose employers decide not to offer coverage in 2014 will now be eligible to receive federal subsidies to buy individual insurance policies through state or federal exchanges. The delay does not change the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to have insurance coverage beginning in 2014.”
Today, The Wall Street Journal reports, “When Obama administration officials delayed a central plank of the new health law—requiring that big employers offer health insurance to workers—they said it was to help businesses pleading for more time. Left unsaid was the federal government hadn't written key rules guiding employers, according to current and former administration officials, and computer systems that were supposed to run the program weren't operational. . . . An administration official said Tuesday the Treasury Department delayed the employer mandate after it became clear the agency couldn't address concerns raised by employers in time. He said the agency was having a tough time finding solutions that weren't a burden. . . . In February, the administration told officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business lobby group, that draft rules detailing the reporting requirements for employers were coming out ‘any day.’ They have yet to see them, said Katie Mahoney, the executive director for health policy at the chamber. The delay made it difficult for business to develop the computer programs needed to comply, said Catherine Livingston, a former health care counsel at the IRS, who is now in private practice. ‘They were so late putting out regulations, and even as of today they have not produced proposed regulations, they knew it was not realistic to expect employers and insurers to implement their system changes,’ she said.”
To top it all off, according to National Journal, “If you've been reading all the Obamacare stories lately, you might get the impression that the administration has just realized it will not be able to implement the massive health reform as designed. It has known for months. As far back as March, a top IT official at the Department of Health and Human Services said the department's current ambition for the law's new online insurance marketplaces was that they not be ‘a Third-World experience.’ Several provisions had already been abandoned in an effort to simplify the administration's task and maximize the chances that the new systems would be ready to go live in October, when customers are supposed to start signing up for insurance. In April, several consultants focusing on the new online marketplaces, known as exchanges, told National Journal that the idealized, seamless user experience initially envisioned under the Affordable Care Act was no longer possible, as the administration axed non-essential provisions that were too complex to implement in time. That focus has intensified lately, as officials announced that they would not be requiring employers to cover their workers next year or states to verify residents' incomes before signing them up for insurance. . . . ‘It's the joyous, simultaneous, nonlinear equation from hell,’ said Kip Piper, a former top official at HHS and OMB who is now a consultant in close contact with IT vendors. Piper said it's no surprise that the administration has given up on certain functions given the technological complexity needed and the short time-frame. . . . The struggles with technology and administrative complexity have not come as a recent surprise to administration officials; they've been negotiating them for months already. By eliminating non-essential tasks, they may be violating the letter of the health reform law, with its rigorous timetables and multiple requirements . . . .”
Even NPR, in the course of trying to explain away all these problems, had a host say, “[A]t some point, does all this sort of combine to create a sense that the rollout of the law is kind of coming of the rails?” A reporter replied that “all these glitches and delays” “do create a perception, first, that things aren't going as well as the administration keeps saying. And second, that there may be other shoes yet to drop.”
As Leader McConnell writes, “In the face of escalating complaints, the Obama administration has clearly embraced a policy of quick fixes aimed at placating the loudest voices in the bunch. But this will never work as a long-term strategy. The answer isn’t to help some and ignore others. It’s to liberate all Americans from the burdens of this terrible law. What’s needed is a permanent delay — for everyone.”
He explains, “Addressing the concerns of some while ignoring those of others won’t solve the problems ordinary Americans will face as a result of this law. It will magnify them. That’s why, ultimately, the only solution to the burdens of Obamacare is a permanent delay in the form of a full repeal, which would clear the path for reforms that actually lower costs and improve the quality of care.” Tags:Student Interest Rates, Obamacare implementation, problems, train wreckTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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