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
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Obama's Priorities vs. the Economy
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Now that the government is whirring again, President Obama has identified three priorities for the country. Here’s a quick look at how they stack up against your priorities.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks,” Obama said. “And we can begin to do that by addressing the real issues that they care about.”
How would Obama’s new priorities affect the economy?
The kind of immigration changes the President and his allies are pushing for would be a huge drain on hard-working taxpayers. As Heritage Vice President Derrick Morgan says, “The American taxpayer can’t afford amnesty’s multi-trillion-dollar price tag.” Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants would add millions of people to the entitlement programs that are already unsustainable for the people they’re supposed to serve. (And it wouldn’t deter more illegal immigration, either.)
The President says he wants “a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair.” But how can a budget be sensible and responsible if it only drives the spending and debt crisis? As Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow Romina Boccia wrote in response to the latest budget deal:To truly avoid a spending and debt crisis, today and in the future, Congress should cut spending and enact entitlement reforms that put the budget on a path to balance.Again, it’s the entitlement programs that are driving our budget woes—and Obamacare is only adding new ones. Entitlement reform would be a far better priority.
Heritage expert Daren Bakst says:President Obama is absolutely right…when he also said policymakers should focus on the American people when it comes to the farm bill. However, the interests of the American people are not the focus.Americans care about the economy. They care about finding work and making ends meet. None of the President’s policies helps them. This is not how Washington can earn back trust. Tags:President Obama, priorities, the Economy, Christmas tree taxTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
“Insurers stumble into latest Obamacare glitch” (POLITICO)
“The online portal where millions are meant to sign up for health insurance remains only semi-functional three weeks after its debut.” (The Hill)
“The public’s impression of HealthCare.gov, the Obama administration’s online health insurance marketplace, remains deeply negative two weeks after its troubled launch…” (NextGov)
“… the glitch-prone website for Obamacare has ballooned to three times its original cost…” (NBC News)
“…perhaps [Secretary Sebelius] can also explain why the people who can't build a working website also deserve the power to reorganize one-sixth of the U.S. economy.” (Wall Street Journal)
UPCOMING CONGRESSIONAL HEARING: Thursday, 10/24 – House Energy and Commerce Committee – PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose? Tags:Train Wreck, Obamacare Roolout, HHS Dept, Health Human Services, Secretary Sebelius, refuses to testify, Congress, House Energy and Commerce Committee, congressional hearing, PPACA, Implementation Failures, videoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Michelle Malkin & Dr. Bill Smith
& AR State Rep. Randy Alexander
Bill Smith, Ph.D., Editor: The ARRA News Service has presented numerous articles about Common Core. Nationally, past surveys have revealed that public education received less than favorable ratings as to the quality of graduates. However, when parents were asked specifically about the schools that their children attended, they gave their local schools high marks even when the data showed otherwise.
The 45th Annual 2013 PDK/Gallup Poll showed "A Nation Confused." The summary of the poll results identified several interesting points (not all identified).
Fifty-three percent of Americans gave the schools in their communities an A or B, the highest percentage ever
recorded. However, grades assigned to the nation’s schools are much lower, with most Americans saying other schools are just average.
Despite the wide adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), nearly two-thirds of those polled, or 62%, said they had never heard of the new standards. Of the 38% who said they had heard of them, many thought that the federal government was forcing states to adopt them and that the CCSS covered every academic subject.
More than 70% of Americans have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach in public schools, and 65% have trust in public school principals. These percentages are even higher for Americans under the age of 40.
Sixty percent of Americans support allowing parents to homeschool their children, with even higher levels of support among public school parents.
Overwhelmingly, Americans recognize that not only is a high school dropout not ready for a career, neither is a high school graduate. Many Americans also said high school graduates are not ready for college.
The following article by blogger, writer and conservative activist Michelle Malkin addresses critical points when presenting information about your concerns and the the dangers of Common Core. It does no good to "argue" with parents. What is needed is calm professional fact based presentations and sharing. If you are concerned about Common Core, continue your involvement but also consider Michele Malkin's points on . . .
How NOT to Argue With Parents About Common Core
by Michelle Malkin, Townhall OpEd: As an outspoken critic of the federal academic standards scheme known as Common Core, I'd like to offer some friendly advice to opponents. Stop insulting. Stop digging. Stop projecting. Start listening.
Central planners in Washington have been caught off-guard by the grassroots revolt against the national standards/testing/curriculum juggernaut. Real input from the hoi polloi was never a part of the grand implementation process. So when parents and educators in dozens of states started challenging the privacy intrusions posed by and the constitutionality, cost, quality and validity of Common Core, its architects went on the attack.
And now, the education control freaks are freaking out.
Former GOP Florida Gov. Jeb Bush accused moms and dads who've vigilantly fought dumbed-down curricula firsthand of foisting "mediocrity" on their own kids.
Bush, Mike Huckabee, Chamber of Commerce types and Gates Foundation promoters routinely have insulted Glenn Beck and his listeners as conspiracy-mongers for raising red flags about Common Core's data-mining agenda.
A Fordham Institute "expert" arrogantly suggested that actively involved parents like me were somehow confused about which materials have been "aligned" to Common Core, even though we're the ones sitting down with our kids to help with incomprehensible homework and error-riddled texts every night in our own homes.
Heavy-handed school-board members and state educrats are taking cues from these elitist leaders. When they're not mocking dissenters, they're stifling them. Maryland parent Robert Small was threatened with arrest and falsely accused of assaulting a police officer because he dared to challenge a Common Core Kabuki forum.
In North Carolina, a parent writes that her principal refused to meet with a group of moms and dads concerned with dumbed-down Common Core math lessons. Moreover, the parent told the Truth About Education blog, the principal issued an effective gag order when she "outright told me to stop communicating with other parents about the Common Core because I was generating 'unrest.'"
In Colorado, parent Natalie Adams was slapped with a no-trespass order by Jefferson County officials last week after challenging her district's new boondoggle expenditures on Common Core-tied technology marketed by inBloom (a nonprofit school data-sharing conglomerate funded by the Gates and Carnegie Foundations, with architecture built by Wireless/Amplify, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation).
In a classic case of psychological projection, New York Education Commissioner John King sneered at parents and teachers who attended his Common Core dog-and-pony show as "special interests." After droning on uninterrupted for an hour and a half, King finally allowed two-minute statements from the audience. Parents balked at their kids being used as "guinea pigs" for untested teaching methods; educators challenged Common Core's assessment-obsessed, one-size-fits-all approach. King petulantly cut off testimony only 20 minutes into the feedback session to filibuster and grandstand -- and then proceeded to cancel future forums.
King dug his hole further by accusing parents of being "manipulated." But Leonie Haimson, a New York City public school parent, pointed out: "So far six out of nine states have pulled out of inBloom or put their plans on hold because of protests from privacy experts and parents in Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Delaware and Massachusetts."
"Commissioner King's claim is not only insulting to parents; it reveals how out of touch he is," Haimson wrote this week in an assessment that sums up the problem with countless Common Core mouthpieces. "He seems unable to comprehend how parents' desire to protect their children's privacy is rational and to have the right to decide with whom their children's most sensitive information, including their names, addresses, test scores, disabilities and disciplinary records, is being shared is completely justified."
In my home state of Colorado, dissent from both conservative and liberal parents forced Jefferson County to allow individual "opt-outs" from the inBloom data-mining machine. The Gates Foundation responded by pouring $5 million into the district for "innovative professional development systems to create personalized learning systems for teachers." How do you spell special interest payoff?
Not only do these education emperors have no clothes. They have tissue-paper thin skin. Their arrogant, contemptuous and vengeful treatment of dissenting parents and teachers gets a world-class "F." Listen up:
We parents of school-age children are all Robert Smalls and Natalie Adamses and Leonie Haimsons. We, not the Obamas or the Bushes or the Gateses or educrats in Washington, are our children's primary educational providers. Control over our children begins and ends with us.
It is not easy to stand up and challenge sovereignty-undermining, curriculum-usurping, privacy-sabotaging education orthodoxy, especially when it is plied with a toxic alliance of both big-government and big-business interests.
But if we don't do it, who will? Tags:Common Core, PDK/Gallup poll, public schools, parents, presenting facts, Michelle Malkin, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Delivers Weekly Republican Address
‘During the debate over this law, citizens in the Commonwealth were told they could easily access information about their health care choices and join the system, well that proved to be untrue. They were told their premiums wouldn’t increase, that proved to be false. And they were told they could keep access to their insurance and their doctors, and that proved to be downright dishonest.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the Weekly Republican Address, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks about the failure of the Obamacare rollout earlier this month, but notes that the President’s health care law “was fundamentally broken even before it started.” Cuccinelli, the first attorney general in America to challenge the law in federal court, says, “President Obama’s ideas are deeply flawed and the implementation of this law has been a national embarrassment. Let me be plain, the law that carries the President’s name is the hallmark of a reckless federal bureaucracy that has lost its way.”
Transcript of the address follows:“Hello, I’m Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
“Today, our nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia face tremendous challenges. Citizens are seeking leaders who are willing to speak out and stand up for our first principles and take on a federal government that is out of control, eating away our liberty and crushing opportunity.
“This gross government overreach is best exemplified in the so-called Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare represents one of the largest and most reckless expansions of government in the more than 200-year history of our nation.
“I believe that ObamaCare is unconstitutional. I believe it’s an affront to the freedoms and liberties our founding fathers fought to establish on our behalf. I’m proud to say many of those heroes were Virginians, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.
“Because I believed ObamaCare was an affront to our liberty, I stood up. I was the first attorney general in America to challenge the law in federal court. And today, I continue to search for avenues to minimize ObamaCare’s hurtful impact on Virginians.
“During the debate over this law, citizens in the Commonwealth were told they could easily access information about their health care choices and join the system, well that proved to be untrue. They were told their premiums wouldn’t increase, that proved to be false. And they were told they could keep access to their insurance and their doctors, and that proved to be downright dishonest.
“Today, our citizens are deeply concerned about what the future holds. What kind of country will we hand to our children? As a husband and proud father of seven, my wife and I share these concerns.
“It's why I stood up and said ObamaCare is not right for Virginia. It’s why I fought alongside 27 other state attorneys general and said ObamaCare is not right for America. It’s why I am sharing this message with you today. I know we can do better.
“My alma mater – the University of Virginia – just announced that it will no longer be able to provide health care coverage to many spouses of their thousands of employees. And just two weeks ago, the Fairfax County Water Authority, a significant government employer in Northern Virginia, announced that it’s going to have to drop coverage for its employees because of ObamaCare’s taxes.
“Everywhere you look, there’s more evidence that ObamaCare was fundamentally broken even before it started. And while our citizens bear the brunt of the law, it seems like big corporations and special interests have gotten exempted. Even Members of Congress are getting preferential treatment, yet everyday Virginians, of whom I am privileged to count myself, are paying the costs and experiencing diminished freedoms.
“President Obama’s ideas are deeply flawed and the implementation of this law has been a national embarrassment. Let me be plain, the law that carries the President’s name is the hallmark of a reckless federal government that has lost its way.
“As Attorney General of a Commonwealth which was one of our nation’s first 13 colonies, and the birthplace of American democracy, I’ll never stand by and watch as our hard fought freedoms are taken away.
“We can do better. We need to provide flexibility and choice within our health care system. Our citizens shouldn’t be forced to choose insurance providers and doctors who’ve been preselected by government bureaucrats. We need to open up the insurance market and allow cross state purchase of insurance to drive competition and lower premiums.
“Physicians are fleeing Medicaid because they're paid so little and have to spend more time completing regulatory paperwork, time they would rather spend treating their patients. Our citizens should be able to choose the health care providers who they believe will provide the best care for their needs, and we shouldn't have to make our healthcare decisions with 16,000 IRS agents looming as the ObamaCare enforcers.
“Most importantly, we need to reverse the perverse incentives that have raised the cost of insurance premiums and have forced employers to drop health care benefits and full-time jobs in order to stay in business.
“Our health care system should be transparent at all levels and provide pricing to inform and empower American families.
“We should support market based solutions for health care reform and empower patients free of government control. More and more government in health care has proven to make it worse, not better! America needs to go the other way, trusting our people and our doctors to work out a system that's best for healthcare, not marching to the senseless beat of some far off government drum.
“If the politicians who gave us this train wreck expect us to live by this law, then the same law without special exemptions should apply to Congress. Is that really too much to ask?
“ObamaCare serves as a grave threat to the future prosperity of the citizens of Virginia, and I’ll continue to resist expanding it. Not just in Washington, but in every state in America. I promise that I'll do my part in Virginia, and I know you'll do yours! Together we can make America better tomorrow than it is today.
“Thank you for listening.
“God bless each one of you.
“And God bless our beloved country.”Tags:Virginia Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, Weekly Republican AddressTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Andrew Malcolm, IBD Editorial: Corruption: The crash-prone government health-care site asks applicants if they want to register to vote as they try to sign up for ObamaCare. By sheer coincidence, a plurality of the uninsured are likely Democratic voters.
Call it Motor Voter on steroids — the piggybacking of voter registration to an otherwise unrelated government function.
Those trying to navigate Healthcare.gov, a website that looks and functions as if designed by the department of motor vehicles, are being asked if they want to register to vote just in time for crucial 2014 midterm elections that are likely to be a referendum on ObamaCare.
Indeed, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Brian Cook cites the Motor Voter law, also known as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, as justification.
The law, he said, "requires states to offer voter registration (at) all offices that provide 'public assistance' (including Medicaid applications). Because people applying on Healthcare.gov could be eligible for either Medicaid or Marketplace coverage, we will be providing info on voter registration to people who request it."
It perhaps has not escaped the attention of an administration that used another government agency, the IRS, to harass and intimidate potential political opponents in the Tea Party and other conservative groups that the uninsured are a potential treasure trove of Democratic voters, according to an August 2012 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
It found that uninsured Americans supported Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney more than 2-to-1 (62% to 27%).
"The (website) launch has not gone well," observed Nick Novak, a spokesman for the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, who noticed the voter-registration question on the Wisconsin site. "Why are they cluttering up the site?"
And why, he further wondered, weren't applicants asked to register to vote only after they successfully signed up for ObamaCare?
We'd suggest it makes perfect sense to register people to vote at the same time they are being forced to become permanently dependent on government for their health care. We've already seen how those most dependent on government services, such as food stamps, tend to vote for bigger, and more Democratic, government.
Thirty-six states are using the federal site and at least five others — California, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin — also are asking or intend to ask customers if they want to register to vote.
Deep-blue California was the first to decide to enforce voter registration requirements through the Affordable Care Act.
"Nearly 5.8 million Californians who are otherwise eligible to vote are not currently registered," said Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla, who authored the bill enforcing voter registration.
Interestingly, many of the ObamaCare "navigators," who are supposed to guide you through the enrollment process, are affiliated with partisan Democratic-affiliated voter registration groups, at least one with a record of outright vote fraud.
In March, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee worried about how Obama-friendly "associations like the now-defunct Acorn" — such as FamiliesUSA and AARP that the administration will fund to help sign up the uninsured — would use applicants' voting information.
We recently noted that United Labor Unions (ULU) Local 100 in New Orleans, which is run by Acorn founder Wade Rathke, announced on its Facebook page that it's gearing up "to do mass enrollment and help navigate people into the marketplaces in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas under the Affordable Care Act!"
While the health care law requires that government agencies collect vast information about Americans' personal lives, it does not give your Department an interest in whether individual Americans choose to vote," Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Or, we would add, in how they might vote. Tags:Investment Business Daily, editorial, Andrew Malcolm, Healthcare.gov, registering Democrat voters, Michael Ramirez, Barack Obama, Budget, Tax Policy, Business, Regulation, Economy, Media, Culture, PoliticsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"Five independent technology experts interviewed by Reuters believe the system’s architecture is flawed, highlighted by the reality that many of the automatic functions emulate what occurs when computer hackers initiate a distributed denial of service (DDOS) that causes malfunctions or an outright crash of a system. HHS twice took the system offline to make repairs, but it still remains buggy. The most serious bug may not be fixable for years." (Front Page Magazine: On to the ObamaCare Meltdown)
Tags:Washington, D.C., Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Computer failures, Train Wreck, security violations, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Congress has ignored the shocked outcry from Americans opening letters from their insurance companies.
And those letters are landing in the mailboxes of both liberals and conservatives. One woman who voted for President Obama found out she will pay $1,800 more for her insurance next year. She told the San Jose Mercury News, “Of course, I want people to have health care. I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”
This is the new reality under Obamacare. Instead of giving people relief from these crushing blows to their finances, Congress made a deal to borrow more and keep Washington’s spending spree going.
As Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow Romina Boccia wrote yesterday, the deal “locks in Obamacare’s implementation with no relief in sight for those Americans who are seeing their premiums increase, their working hours cut, and their job opportunities diminished.”
Congress didn’t listen to the people who are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet in just a few months. It didn’t listen to you.
And we’ll be here when government funding runs out again in January — and we hit the debt ceiling again in February. Because Congress doesn’t seem to learn. Tags: congress, exchanges, Government Shutdown, Harry Reid, Health Care, health insurance, national nightmare, Obamacare, Mitch McConnell, premiums, President Obama, spendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: Oh, what a relief! Now we know that the government will be funded through January 15 and that we can wait until February 7 to fight the debt ceiling battle all over again. Three months to the next potential shutdown and four until the Democrats and Republicans go to the mattresses again like a scene from The Godfather.
Only idiots would run a government with a $17 trillion debt this way.
Politico.com reported that “President Barack Obama welcomed the end of the government shutdown and the raising of the debt limit Thursday with a call for the end of crisis-to-crisis governing and a new era of bipartisan cooperation.”
Does anyone still believe anything Obama says?
The deal struck between Sens. Reid (R-NV) and McConnell (D-KY) allowed the latter to secure $2 billion for a project in Kentucky and no doubt there is plenty of pork in the bill to keep everyone happy, except for those senators who weren’t able to get a piece of the bribe money.
“There is no distinctly criminal class,” said Mark Twain, “except Congress.”
What have we learned from the last three weeks? We learned that President Obama has no intention to negotiate with the Republicans and regards the Democrats in Congress as little more than rubber stamps for whatever he wants. And they seem to agree. While the Democrats showed considerable solidarity, the Republicans were tearing themselves to tatters.
We learned that President Obama, with an eye on the November 2014 midterm elections, is already in full battle mode as he and his huge propaganda machine—the media and the former campaign committee-turned-social-media-megaphone—ramp up the message that the Tea Party is composed of rightwing fanatics and the Republicans are not much better.
Given the great “success” of Obamacare, can you imagine spending the last two years of Obama’s time in office if he is able to so demonize the Republicans that they lose control of the House and cannot gain control or at least a larger margin of members in the Senate?
I jest, of course. Obamacare is the greatest gift ever handed to the Republicans.
As millions of Americans discover that their health insurance premiums have increased 100% to 300%, they will be howling for its repeal by November 2014. The younger, healthier members of society will elect to pay the fine for not signing up. Some people will discover they cannot be admitted to the hospital of their choice or that their personal physician has retired or closed their practice. Others will find their fulltime jobs reduced to part-time, if they haven’t already.
There are going to be a lot of very unhappy voters by the time the midterms roll around and that, ladies and gents, is why the Republicans “caved” this time and will likely do so again because I have a feeling that their strategy will be to fight a lot of small, but losing battles around the various deadlines required to fund the government and lift the debt ceiling. Each time they do the latter, they will remind everyone that Obama keeps demanding more money.
As for Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, he was greeted with a round of applause by the Republican caucus when he announced the deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. It wasn’t that they hadn't lost, but that they understood he had fought their battle with dignity and as far as he could, given the lack of unity among GOP House members.
The memory of World War Two and Vietnam veterans, as well as others from more recent conflicts being denied access to their memorials on the National Mall or of the first closure of the Lincoln Memorial ever is going to linger. Barricades have now been renamed “Barrycades.”
The President has managed to offend veterans, the elderly (who vote in larger numbers), the unions who hate Obamacare, Catholics, and a younger generation already saddled with debt from college who are being told they must dig deeper to pay for health insurance they don’t want and probably don’t need.
Obamacare is profoundly unconstitutional. Forget about the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision to call a penalty a “tax” and ignore the other elements of the Constitution that forbid the government from requiring people to pay for health insurance or pay a fine if they do not. The Court has made similar bad decisions in the past and, as some current scholars believe, has become so politicized that it has been eviscerating the clear intent of the Constitution for decades.
Only significant Republican victories in the midterm elections will end the misery being inflicted on Americans. That is likely to occur in spite of the GOP’s poor messaging and the hostility of the nation’s mainstream media.
Taxpayers and voters are in for months of gridlock on Capitol Hill. Get used to it.
------------------ Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service. Tags:Get Used To It, the Obama Record, All the Republican's Fault, big government, misery, gridlock Obamacare, profoundly unconstitutional.To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
"And now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus." ~ President Barack Obama, Oct 17, 2013
"Butt blaming the blogging field for the way the Internet and the entire journalism industry works seems like a bit a a reach -- especially lumping them in with professional activists and lobbyists who are literally paid to advocate one side or another, as well as partisan talking heads. Is the president trolling us?" ~ Andrea Peterson works for the The Washington Post and covers technology policy with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.Tags:President Obama, attacks, bloggers, talking heads, The Washington Post, transcript of speech, comment, Andrea Peterson, video, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
The Senate is not in session today and if the House adopts the adjournment resolution (S. Con. Res. 24), the Senate will be in recess until Monday, October 28.
Yesterday, the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to take up H.R. 2775 and to amend the bill with the text of the agreement extending government funding at lower levels required by sequestration to January 15th and suspending the debt limit through February.
The Senate then voted 83-16 to invoke cloture (cut off debate) on the bill. Post-cloture debate time was yielded back by unanimous consent and the Senate then voted 81-18 to pass the bill.
The House is also in recess but will convene on 2 PM on Oct 22, 2013 to keep the President from making recess appointments. Yesterday the House voted 285-144 to agree to the Senate amendment and the bill was sent to the president. The president signed the bill into law last night.
In an editorial today, Rick Manning, vice president of public policy for Americans for Limited Government, noted that "Tucked into the “deal” to end the government shutdown, raise the debt ceiling and keep Obamacare intact is an additional $2 billion plus of spending for a dam in Republican Leader and lead negotiator Mitch McConnell’s home state. McConnell incredibly claims no knowledge of how this earmark got into the bill and his staff pointed to equally politically beleaguered Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander as the person who put it into the law. . . ." Also a "$174,000 gift in the legislation that was bestowed to the wife of the deceased former New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. The destitute widow was only left with a $100 million plus fortune, and when you are spending other people’s money, Harry Reid and friends couldn’t resist giving her a little going away gift. After all it is other people’s money."
The AP summarized, that the bill allowed "more spending for upgrading a lock in the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky; money to help Colorado rebuild roads washed away by last month's catastrophic floods; extra money to help the Veterans Affairs Department whittle down a backlog of disabilities claims; and permission for the Pentagon to keep helping African nations hunt a notorious warlord."
The AP also noted a "lump of coal for lawmakers: For the sixth consecutive year it would deny them the annual cost-of-living pay raise that by law they automatically receive unless they vote to block it. Members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, and some leaders receive more."
As for the previously mentioned additional $2.9 billion plus of spending for a dam, the AP addressed the situation in more detail. This provision has "gained attention because the two states it straddles are represented by two of the Senate's most powerful members: the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and No. 2 Democratic leader, Richard Durbin of Illinois. Both men said they had nothing to do with the provision, and others backed that up. Aides to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, the leaders of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees water projects, said they had requested the provision.
They said President Barack Obama had requested the project in his budget this year and said it has been included in the House and Senate water bills this year too. 'This is not an earmark,' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. . . ."
The bill also lifted the usual $100 million limit on Federal Highway Administration emergency highway aid to $450 million for the state of Colorado which last month had 200 miles of roads and 50 bridges destroyed by flooding.
The legislation, provided an extra $294 million until Jan 15, 2014 to the Veterans Affairs Department to reduce backlogged claims and an additional $100 million to prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, and extra money for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to continue work on two weather satellites. In addition, the bill:
Lets the Defense Department continue assisting African forces pursue Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group accused of atrocities.
Provides extra money for contracts with private companies whose ships move American troops and their equipment overseas.
Supplies $600 million for Forest Service firefighting and $36 million for Interior Department firefighting.
Politico writes today, “With the shutdown over and a default averted, Washington has another train wreck to sift through: the Obamacare rollout. Republican critics have plenty to investigate, starting with the $400 million website that doesn't work and the federal contractor that built it, while asking a more fundamental question: Will it be fixed in time for people to get health coverage early next year. The Obama administration hasn't answered many questions but Democrats are anxious, worried that it may take weeks, if not months to fix the bugs — while opponents say ‘I told you so.’”
Every day this week has featured a new story about the serious flaws of the Obamacare exchange sites, so there’s plenty of this train wreck to sift through. Yesterday, Politico wrote, “The Obamacare enrollment website remains badly broken despite two weeks of intensive round-the-clock efforts at repairs. HHS isn't making any predictions about how long it will take to fix it — or rebuild it. But advocates, lobbyists and industry officials are talking about it as a months-long repair effort. . . . In the meantime, few people can get through the enrollment process online. According to some analysts like Millward Brown Digital, thousands of consumers have stopped trying, at least for now. At a summit of health care advocacy groups at the Newseum on Tuesday, the audience was asked how many had successfully made it through HealthCare.gov even far enough to browse the selection of health plans. Only two out of about 70 people raised their hands. The administration hasn’t said much about the nature of the technical problems. Officials initially described them as the kind of ‘glitches’ that inevitably occur in a tech launch, and attributed them to the high interest in new health coverage options . . . They aren’t blaming ‘glitches’ and ‘traffic’ anymore. In fact, they haven’t said much at all in the past few days, while a string of leaked emails, memos and reports describe deeper hardware and software malfunctions. Today, again, featured a ‘No comment’ from the administration.”
Examining the history of the administration’s work on the exchange, Reuters reports, “As U.S. officials warned that the technology behind Obamacare might not be ready to launch on October 1, the administration was pouring tens of millions of dollars more than it had planned into the federal website meant to enroll Americans in the biggest new social program since the 1960s. A Reuters review of government documents shows that the contract to build the federal Healthcare.gov online insurance website . . . tripled in potential total value to nearly $292 million as new money was assigned to the work beginning in April this year. The increase coincided with warnings from federal and state officials that the information technology underlying the online marketplaces, or exchanges, where people could buy Obamacare health insurance was in trouble. The contract to build Healthcare.gov, issued to the CGI Federal unit of Montreal-based CGI Group, has come under scrutiny after the site, offering new subsidized health insurance in 36 states, stalled within minutes of its October 1 launch, leaving millions of Americans unable to create accounts or shop for plans."
"In its third week of operations, the website continues to experience problems, which government officials say they are working day and night to repair. Even allies of the Obama administration have been highly critical, with former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs calling it ‘excruciatingly embarrassing’ and calling for ‘some people’ to be fired. How and why the system failed, and how long it will take to fix, remains unclear. But evidence of a last-minute surge in spending suggests the needs of the project were growing well beyond the initial expectations of the contractor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ‘Why this went from a ceiling of $93.7 million to $292 million is hard to fathom,’ said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C. . . . ‘Something changed. It suggests they ran into problems and knew last spring that they couldn't do it for $93.7 million. They just blew through the original ceiling. Where was the contract oversight?’ HHS did not respond to Reuters' requests for information about CGI's contract.”
And the state exchanges, which Obamacare proponents have been touting, are having serious problems, too. According to The New York Times, “As he was trying to sign up for health insurance through Kentucky’s new online exchange this month, Kenny Wheeler hit a wall. Mr. Wheeler, an independent sales representative with a neuromuscular disorder, had succeeded where many in other states had failed, getting through a thicket of log-in pages. But when he tried to find out whether two health plans he liked would pay for his medications or let him keep his current doctors, he could not. He called one doctor on the spot, but the receptionist could not tell him whether the practice was in the new plan networks. Nor could Mr. Wheeler, 61, get quick answers from the insurers themselves. Exasperated, he put off completing his application.Since the new health insurance exchanges opened for business on Oct. 1, millions of people who have visited the online sites have been unable to enroll because of technical problems and software glitches." "But many people who are getting through the log-in process are encountering a different set of problems when they try to determine whether policies sold through the exchanges will provide the doctors, hospitals or drugs they need. Most of the 15 exchanges run by states and the District of Columbia do not have provider directories or search tools on their Web sites — at least not yet — so customers cannot easily check which doctors and hospitals are included in a particular plan’s network. . . . Ellen Boyd, 62, of Torrington, Conn., said she had tried to check whether her doctors were in a plan offered on her state’s exchange by clicking a link that took her to the insurer’s Web site. But it appeared that she had to go ahead and buy a plan before being able to check which providers were in its network, she said. ‘I thought I would be able to go to the Web site and pop in a name and get a yes or no answer,’ said Ms. Boyd, who has osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis and wants to stick with her current doctors. ‘It makes your hair hurt, I’ll tell you.’”
The Los Angeles Times adds, “Checking up on a doctor is becoming a major snag for Obamacare shoppers in California. Three weeks into open enrollment, the state's insurance exchange, Covered California, has pulled its online directory of medical providers after acknowledging there are serious problems with the information. The California Medical Assn. says it found mistakes such as obstetricians labeled as ophthalmologists and the wrong doctors described as fluent in Russian and Farsi. . . . And consumers say calling other insurers and doctor's offices around the state often yields confusing or conflicting answers, leaving them largely in the dark. ‘Nobody can give me a straight answer,’ said Larry Greenfield, a 47-year-old musician in Fountain Valley. He said he has checked online and called insurers to no avail as he tries to choose between different exchange policies. ‘I don't want to be forced to buy something if I don't know what I'm getting.’”
The Wall Street Journal editors summed up the situation well: “The White House set low expectations for the Affordable Care Act's October 1 debut, so anything remotely competent should have seemed like a success. But three weeks on, the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov and the 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government is an insult to the ‘glitches’ President Obama said were inevitable. . . . Before the rollout, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Sebelius likened the exchanges to a new Apple product and asked for forbearance as problems were fixed. But Apple doesn't ship products that don't work and then force everyone to buy them, and a private business executive who supervised a fiasco like this would already have been fired.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday about Obamacare, “This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums, and driving people off the health care plans they have and like, in droves. Its disastrous rollout is sign of even worse things to come. And the Democrat refusal to delay it reflects a stubborn ideological obsession that will do untold damage to our country. And Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law.” Tags:Washington, D.C., shutdown over, Obamacare Website Broken< Congress in recessTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Pro-Abortion Extremist & Failed Green Car CEO
To Push Liberal Agenda On VA If Elected Gov.
Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: Career crony turned perennial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s staked his entire bid for the Virginia Governor’s Mansion on demagoguing Ken Cuccinelli’s stances on social issues.
A recent Washington Times editorial summed up the central strategy of the Democrat’s all-too predictable campaign: retread Obama’s scorched earth tactics to cast Cuccinelli as anti-woman, all to cover up his glaring lack of substance.
Independent fact checkers have repeatedly debunked mudslinging by the McAuliffe camp, including a recent ad accusing Cuccinelli of trying to ban forms of contraception. The ad opens with an image of a package of birth control pills, as a voiceover says, "These are birth control pills. More than half of American women use them at some point in their lives. But Ken Cuccinelli sponsored a bill that could have made common forms of birth control illegal, including the pill."
This claim was countered by the Washington Post’s fact checker, which read “Republican Ken Cuccinelli did not back a bill or bills that would have explicitly banned some forms of contraceptive.”
Conservative columnist Mona Charen further exposed McAuliffe’s misleading rhetoric, writing, “This is preposterous. The purpose of personhood laws was to protect unborn babies from abortion and to ensure that babies "accidentally" born alive following an unsuccessful abortion would be treated as human beings with full rights. They are not remotely aimed at contraception.”
Another ad attacking Cuccinelli features a Norfolk gynecologist claiming the Republican nominee “wants to make all abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest, even to protect a woman’s health.”
While Terry McAuliffe playing fast and loose with the truth is hardly breaking news, it is truly remarkable that he fibs even in instances like this one where the facts probably would have sufficed for his purposes.
For a man seriously asking Commonwealth voters to elect him their next chief executive, this is hardly the mark of a serious candidate. One of the Commonwealth’s major papers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, agrees, writing in a September editorial, “[McAuliffe’s] troubling lack of mastery and odd flippancy combine to paint a portrait of a deeply unserious candidate.”
What’s worse is McAuliffe’s aversion to taking a position himself on the very issues on which he attacks Cuccinelli. A reporter from The Weekly Standard asked McAuliffe on camera about his support for taxpayer-funded late-term abortions.
“It’s a beautiful day out, huh?” was Terry’s response.
How extreme, exactly? According to Susan B. Anthony President Marjorie Dannenfelser, “Terry McAuliffe supports a platform of abortion on-demand at any time, for any reason, paid for by Virginia taxpayers. That means he supports a platform of sex-selective abortion, late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, and abortions on teenage girls without parental consent – all paid for by Virginia taxpayers. In sync with the extreme abortion lobby, he is utterly out of step with Virginia taxpayers.”
Rather than disavow his former extremism, a McAuliffe campaign spokesperson declined to affirm or deny the candidates’ position on late-term abortion.
To give credit where it is due, McAuliffe has made one policy proposal relating to recently passed state legislation requiring stricter regulation of abortion clinics. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: McAuliffe recently said he would “issue what's called a guidance opinion by mid-March. I can give a guidance opinion to the Board of Health to grandfather in those remaining clinics to keep them open. That's why this election is so important, and I will do that.”
Actually, he can’t. For one thing, the board already voted to apply the new rules to existing clinics. It did so to carry out a new state law, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor. Even if the governor could issue a “guidance opinion,” it’s not clear by what procedural mechanism the board could effect a unilateral reversal to carry it out.
Keeping that outside cash flowing is obviously more important than openness about your positions or getting the facts right if you’re Terry McAuliffe, who’s spent a career putting political gamesmanship ahead of leadership.
As a candidate named Barack Obama said in 2008, “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”
---------------------- Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. He is a contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, editorial, Terry McAuliffe, extreme agenda, pro-death, pro-abortion, former Democrat National Chairman, Virginia, candidate for Governor, election, 2014To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly: Americans were shocked by headlines like, “Priests Face Arrest for Holding Mass During Shutdown.” News accounts reported that Catholic priests were warned that they are not permitted to minister on base during the shutdown and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.
Since they are unpaid volunteers, this was not caused by a shutdown of military funds. Priests were warned that they risked arrest and military discipline if, without pay, they simply walked onto the base property to perform a chaplain’s regular duties.
Congress quickly responded with a nonbinding resolution to reinstate furloughed chaplains on a volunteer basis. The House voted 400 to 1 and the Senate passed a similar resolution.
Barack Obama didn’t have his fingerprints on that order, but since his views about banning any public reference to Christianity are well known, the military (and others) want to be in sync with the Chief. Likewise, the ACLU and atheist organizations know they won’t suffer any legal opposition from the Obama Administration when they file their anti-religion lawsuits.
For example, the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued a little school district in Jackson City, Ohio, to force the school to take a picture of Jesus off a school wall. The picture was one of 23 famous historical figures displayed in small frames on a school wall ever since 1947.
The school agreed to take down the picture of Jesus, but that’s not the end of it. The school now is required to pay the ACLU $80,000 for its attorneys’ fees plus $15,000 to reward five anonymous plaintiffs The school settled and agreed to pay these amounts because it couldn’t afford any more legal expenses to defend itself.
In another example of the anti-religious push going on in our military, a U.S. Air Force chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Reyes, posted a column in the Chaplain’s Corner section of his base’s website entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” An outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent an irate letter to the base commander, claiming that some airmen, who remained anonymous, had complained.
Col. Reyes was ordered to remove the column, but that didn’t satisfy the anti-religion group. It demanded that he be punished.
This so-called Religious Freedom group took particular offense at the title, “No Atheists in Foxholes,” calling it a “bigoted, religious supremacist phrase.” They called the rest of the column “faith-based hate” and an “anti-secular diatribe.”
Col. Reyes’s column was actually an innocuous message. He summarized the World War II origins of the “no atheists in foxholes” phrase and then commented that faith could be religious or secular.
There was no mention of atheists outside of the historical phrase or of any particular religious group. The column was really very inclusive with no implication that faith has to be in any particular God, implying that everyone has faith in something.
If such a broad-minded, all-inclusive message is a problem, we have to wonder what has happened to our First Amendment right of “free exercise” of religion? Is Obama trying to eliminate military chaplains?
Incidents like these are building a climate of intimidation and discrimination against Christians in the military. It looks like those who are attacking Col. Reyes are the ones who are spreading a climate of so-called “faith-based” hate.
The harassment of religion in the military may be part of Obama’s attempt to make the government shutdown as painful to the public as possible. Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland is partially closed because of the shutdown (causing our troops to do their grocery shopping at more expensive off-base stores), but (surprise, surprise) Andrews Air Force golf course (one of Obama’s favorites) remains open, ready for him to play his 36th round of golf this year.
The government shutdown closed the National Mall in Washington, D.C. but, in another example of Obama’s politics, it was allowed to be open for an amnesty rally on October 8. George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon is not government property, but the feds closed the parking lot anyway so no one could conveniently visit the house.
The Obama Administration closed Yellowstone National Park. When a group of foreign tourists disembarked from their tour bus in the park to photograph a herd of bison, they were locked inside the Old Faithful Inn and made to feel like criminals under arrest.
It’s rather clear that the Obama Administration is trying to select popular landmarks for closure in order to blame people’s annoyance on Republicans. One of the silliest closures was a piece of South Dakota highway where it is possible to pull over and see the faces of the great Americans on Mount Rushmore.
-------------------- 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, education and family issues. Tags:Obama Politics, Government Shutdown, harassment of religion, military, closing monuments, parks, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle ForumTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I've read about this in history books. It’s what happened to the Weimar Republic in Germany when its currency collapsed and anarchy followed. The result was Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
In the wake of the Great Depression, the wheels began to come off the Weimar Republic, a liberal democracy that had been in place since the end of World War One. In 1930 President Hindenburg assumed emergency powers. By 1933 three Chancellors had preceded Hitler and when the Nazi government took over it simply ignored Germany’s constitution.
A lot of scholars who know much more about the U.S. Constitution than I are increasingly speaking out about the same scenario occurring here. Radio personality Mark Levin considers President Obama a despot in light of his refusal to negotiate with the Republicans and the resulting shutdown of the government. Suffice to say, his refusal, carried out by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, worked.
For the ordinary citizen, Obama’s actions during the shutdown have been instructive if they were paying attention. He threatened not to pay Social Security retirees, Military retirees, disability recipients, and federal retirees. The elderly and the military were the prime targets for his threats and, despite the fact that more than eighty percent of the government was still functioning, he directed that national parks be closed; most dramatically in Washington, D.C. where veterans of World War II and the Vietnam War were denied access to the memorials to their service.
The President and the Democratic Party want all the restrictions on their capacity to spend tax dollars lifted. They want an end to the sequestration that curbs the natural inclination of government departments and agencies to spend taxpayer dollars as fast as the Federal Reserve can print them. The Reserve in turn has been purchasing $85 billion in the nation’s debt every month to maintain the fiction that the nation can pay its bills despite the fact that it has more debt than the entire national economy—the Gross Domestic Product—generates every year.
And who tripled that debt in just his first term? Obama.
A new book by Clark M. Neilly III, “Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government” ($23.99, Encounter Books) says bluntly that “We are drowning in a sea of unconstitutional regulations that compel obedience, stifle innovation, and punish morally blameless conduct.”
“Heedless of the constitutional limits on its own power,” says Neilly, “and indulged by a quiescent judiciary, the federal government now spends 24 percent of our gross domestic product, the highest proportion since World War II.”
Neilly is a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice where he litigates constitutional cases involving economic liberty, property rights, free speech, and school choice. He is the modern version of the biblical Jeremiah raising his voice to warn of what is to come if Congress and the courts do not begin to obey the limits the Constitution sets forth so clearly that anyone can understand them.
“In 2013, a series of scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies reminded Americans about the hazards of free-wheeling government”, says Neilly.
“And in light of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ‘Obamacare’, Congress can even tell people how to spend their money by penalizing those who refuse to buy things it thinks they should have, like government approved health insurance. Congress has no legitimate power to do that, which is why the Supreme Court had to pretend the penalty was actually a tax.”
Suffice to say that Neilly is extremely critical of the failure of the judicial system to uphold the Constitution and the current state of government in America today. “As far as the government is concerned, it is your boss, setting policies and issuing edicts that you will obey. Between that awesome power and you stands the Constitution.”
Obamacare is despotism in action. As Neilly says, if the government can order you to buy health insurance you may not need or want and fine you if you refuse, you are no longer living in a republic with a functioning Constitution.
And this is the reason the Tea Party movement began and why a handful of Senators and Representatives, elected with Tea Party support, have been holding out, seeking to defund, delay or repeal Obamacare. If Obamacare succeeds, America will fail. It is already playing havoc with the economy.
The government shutdown was a political battle in a larger political war between the socialist Democratic Party and a badly frayed conservative Republican one. Supported by votes that have been purchased from the public treasury—the largess of welfare and a matrix of other programs that redistribute wealth—and a measure of election fraud, the Democratic Party has become a criminal enterprise.
As Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address, “We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.”
He said that in 1981.
------------------ Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service. Tags:criminal enterprise, Democratic Party, Warning Signs, Alan CarubaTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Update Oct 16 (10:20 PM EDT): U.S. House passed (285-144) the Senate continuing resolution to reopen the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and to raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014. The bill will be carried to the President for signature and temporarily furloughed workers will return to work with full pay. Breakdown of House Vote: Yea: 87 Republicans and 143 Democrats; Nay: 143 Republicans and 0 Democrats. Not Voting: 1 Republican - 2 Democrats. Update Oct. 16, 2013 (9:10 PM EDT): U.S. Senate passed (81-18) a continuing resolution to reopen the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and to raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014. The measure now heads to the House, which is expected to vote on the deal later tonight.
------------ Today in Washington, D.C. - Oct 16, 2013 - Day 16 of partial government shutdown.
The Senate reconvened at noon today and resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1569. Later today, the Senate could take up the agreement extending government funding and the debt limit to January and February, respectively.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the bipartisan deal Wednesday afternoon. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he will not hold up the Senate deal but don't expect him to vote for the deal. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this evening. If passed it will go to the House where House Speaker Boehner has said he will not block a vote on the agreement.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded to the bipartisan Senate agreement to reopen the federal government and avoid a national default: “The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country's debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts. With our nation's economy still struggling under years of the president's policies, raising taxes is not a viable option. Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president's health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law's massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people.”The House was convened at 10 AM and recessed at 12:30 PM. The next meeting is subject to the call of the Chair.
Speaking on the Senate floor today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “This has been a long challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country. It’s my hope that today we can put some of the most urgent issues behind us. . . . Crucially, I’m also confident that we’ll be able to announce that we’re protecting the government spending reductions that both parties agreed to under the Budget Control Act, and that the President signed into law. That’s been a top priority for me and my Republican colleagues throughout this debate. And it’s been worth the effort. Some have suggested that we break that promise as part of this agreement. They’ve said Washington needs to spend more, that we need to raise taxes — that we can just tax our way to prosperity and balance. But what the BCA showed is that Washington can cut spending. And because of this law, that’s just what we’ve done. For the first time since the Korean War, government spending has declined for two years in a row. That’s the first time in 50 years. And we’re not going back on this agreement. There is a lot more we need to do to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. Hopefully, once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment we can get to work on it. But for now, let’s not understate the importance of the BCA, or the importance of the fight to preserve it. This legislation is the largest spending reduction bill of the last quarter century and the largest deficit reduction bill since 1981 that didn’t include a tax hike. Preserving this law is critically important.”
Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans fought hard to preserve these spending cuts after Democrats started demanding increased spending earlier this week. As The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, “Democrats made plain that one of their top priorities was to diminish the next round of across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, due to take effect early next year.” But Republicans protected the spending caps. Politico notes, “[House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi] agreed to accept the Republican budget number of $986 billion annually, a far cry from the $1.058 trillion that Democrats wanted — getting 195 Democrats to put it in writing. . . . In the lead-up to the shutdown, House Democrats insisted they wouldn’t accept sequester-level budget numbers.”
Even the liberal news site TalkingPointsMemo acknowledged Republicans were poised to win on spending levels: “[Conservatives] appear to have already won the real policy fight over a government shutdown, which was about spending. President Barack Obama and Democrats [are] poised to cave when it comes to continuing spending at austerity levels ordered by sequestration -- across-the-board cuts put in place under the 2011 debt limit agreement. . . . [C]onservatives were so successful at putting Democrats on defense over Obamacare that Democrats barely even waged a fight on spending. . . . The Budget Control Act calls for a fiscal 2014 spending level of $1.058 trillion, before the sequester cuts that to $967 billion. The sequester would bring down the spending level to $967 billion either way. Senior Democratic aides insist this is temporary and the low spending levels won't be locked in. But voting to establish a lower top-line spending level in the short term cedes their leverage to ultimately scrap sequestration cuts.”
As Leader McConnell said today, “Throughout this debate, the public has been rightly focused on Obamacare — for good reason. This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums, and driving people off the health care plans they have and like, in droves. Its disastrous rollout is sign of even worse things to come. And the Democrat refusal to delay it reflects a stubborn ideological obsession that will do untold damage to our country. And Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law. But for today, the relief we hope for is to reopen the government, avoid default, and protect the historic cuts we achieved under the BCA. This is far less than many of us had hoped for. But it’s far better than what some had sought. Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind our other crucial goals.”
Note all are happy with the Senate compromises. Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging the House of Representatives to defeat a Senate-proposed continuing resolution that will fail to defund Obamacare: "One week ago, Speaker John Boehner characterized a vote on a continuing resolution that did not deal with Obamacare as an 'unconditional surrender'. Today, House Republicans will be voting on just such a bill.
"No Republican who votes for the Harry Reid surrender bill will ever be able to credibly claim that they truly oppose Obamacare, because when push came to shove, they chose to fund and implement it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the law is indeed a train wreck.
"Americans for Limited Government urges the House of Representatives to put down the white flag and reject Harry Reid's surrender terms. Failure to reject this bill destroys any leverage that House Republicans might hope to wield in the proposed future joint committee, as it will have been proven that the Democrats have no need to negotiate so long as they are willing to shut down the government and potentially breach the debt ceiling."Gretchen Hamel, Executive Director, Public Notice responded to the proposed Senate deal to lift the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown:The recent debate over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling represents a collective failure by our leaders in Washington and a national embarrassment on the world stage.
While many members of Congress and the president were busy scoring political points and making outlandish promises, they put our economy at immediate risk and diminished America’s standing in the world.
Washington has cobbled together another short-term Band-Aid coupled with the promise of possible spending cuts and reforms down the road. Though this strategy might alleviate short-term pressure, it is building toward the next crisis. Despite a stated desire from both parties to halt governing from crisis-to-crisis, these debates and this legislation only fuels that approach.
I hope this brush with disaster is enough to spur real action to implement needed reforms and smarter cuts, but I'll remain skeptical until Washington takes concrete steps in that direction. Politics, inflammatory rhetoric and partisan pressure must take a backseat to responsible governing and budgeting. Tags:Senate compromise, Government Shutdown, spending limitsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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