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, February 08, 2014
BLS: January Unemployment Rate at 6.6%
The Dept of Labor BLS report for January, 2014 identified that the U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, The nation's unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.
"We learned this week that the Obama Administration views a shrinking workforce participation as a good thing based upon their response to Congressional Budget Office analysis of Obamacare which asserts that more than 2 million people are likely to leave the full-time workforce due to Obamacare.
"The ups and downs of any monthly unemployment report pale in comparison to this startling analysis. While the labor participation rate shifted upward slightly, it still remains that 3.5 million fewer people who are 16-54 are participating in the workforce compared to January 2009 levels. If they were included in today's jobs report, the unemployment rate would be 8.6 percent, instead of the reported 6.6 percent.
"The impact of this long term shift in workforce participation remains a real source of concern for the future health of the U.S. economy."Evan Feinberg, President of Generation Opportunity, noted, “Young Americans can thank Obamacare for such a bleak jobs picture. The Congressional Budget Office wasn’t lying when it reported Obamacare will reduce the American workforce by an additional 2 million jobs over the next three years. 15.8% of us are still out of work and we have almost nothing to show for it – fewer people have health insurance now than in 2009.”
Generation Opportunity data address millenials ages 18-29 year olds. With regard to the January BLS report, Generation Opportunity detailed that
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 15.8 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 11.3 percent (NSA).
The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.922 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 23.9 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 20.1 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics is 16.7 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 12.2 percent (NSA).
The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women is 13.5 percent (NSA); the (U-3) unemployment rate is 9.9 percent (NSA).
CAGW Names Rep. Earl Blumenauer 2013 Porker of the Year
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer a Close Second
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
2013 Porker of the Year
(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the results of its online poll for the 2013 Porker of the Year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) won with 25 percent of the vote while House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) placed a close second with 23 percent. The neck-and-neck race epitomizes the widespread dissatisfaction with Congress that has been shown in poll after poll. Taxpayers are appalled by the isolation and detachment of most members of Congress and their misreading of the gnawing economic problems facing the country, as well as individual members’ obsession with spending taxpayer money on parochial, self-interested side-show projects.
Rep. Blumenauer’s transgression is emblematic of Washington’s culture at a microcosmic level. He careened into a fiscal ditch during a December 3, 2013 appearance on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” when pitching his bill, H.R. 3636, the UPDATE Act of 2013, that would increase the federal gas tax from the current 18.4 cents per gallon to 33.4 cents per gallon. [over a 83% tax increase] Rep. Blumenauer stated, “Because we have just sort of run the gas tax trust fund down to where it is approaching zero, if we don’t do something in the next ten months, we’re going to face an inability to fund any transit funding next year, and the federal highway funding will drop 92 percent. It’s time to face up.”
The congressman’s prognosis was correct but his solution was misguided. In addition, Rep. Blumenauer has been a prominent proponent of siphoning transportation money away from vital infrastructure in order to fund pet projects like bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways. Taxpayers have coughed up $9.6 billion for these low-priority boondoggles through fiscal year (FY) 2013. Congress also has had to transfer $41 billion since FY 2008 from the general fund to shore up the failing Highway Trust Fund, with an additional transfer of $12.6 billion scheduled for FY 2014, yet members of Congress like Rep. Blumenauer have just as quickly been throwing it away.
While Blumenauer’s penchant for pork pedaled him to the finish line for Porker of the Year, Rep. Steny Hoyer amply demonstrated the overall obtuseness and incoherence of the big spenders in the nation’s capital. On February 12, 2013 when asked by CNBC “Squawk Box” anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera if the government has a spending problem, Rep. Hoyer insisted, “The country has a paying for problem. We haven’t paid for what we bought, we haven’t paid for our tax cuts, and we haven’t paid for war.” Nine days later, Rep. Hoyer appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to admit, “There is a spending problem. What I meant by that was that you don’t have a problem if you pay for what you buy.” Huh?
“All of us at CAGW appreciate the participation of the online community of taxpayers in our Porker of the Year poll. They clearly understand both the thumbnail examples of individual members and their ongoing impulse to pinch a million here, a billion there to underwrite their own vanity projects, as well as the big picture failures of Washington’s overall culture of waste,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “With the nation’s debt at $17.2 trillion and climbing, the taxpayers know that smart spending cuts are the only appropriate course of action to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth.”
Dubious third-place honors were awarded to Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) with 17 percent of the vote for their infinitely absurd idea to establish a national park on the moon. Honorable mentions went to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
----------------- Citizens Against Government Waste CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers. Tags:Citizens Against Government Waste, CAGW, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrat, Oregon, 2013, Porker of the Year, increase federal gas tax, House Democratic Whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrat, Maryland, close secondTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
U.S. Senator Richard Burr Delivers Weekly Republican Address
The now infamous backlog of claims reached a point of national embarrassment last year when a series of biting monologues from comedian Jon Stewart finally elevated the problem to the President’s desk and spurred his VA Secretary into action. … When it takes a comedian to garner a response from our government, we are in bad shape. While the backlog has begun to decline, we still have nearly 700,000 veterans and their families waiting for answers.’ ~ Sen. Richard Burr WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate will turn to legislation on Monday that would repeal a cut to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for some military retirees. While the Democrat COLA proposal would add to the federal deficit, Republicans have introduced legislation that would repeal the COLA cut without adding to the debt. In the Weekly Republican Address, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, highlights a number of other veterans issues, including a dysfunctional VA disability claims system that is plagued by errors and delays and is failing veterans of all ages. “As the nation’s military stands down from its war footing, veterans should not have to wage another battle here at home, this time against government bureaucracy,” says Burr. and transcript below:
Full transcript of the address follows:“I’m Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and I’m honored to speak to you.
“Today, all across this great nation of ours, military veterans are going about their lives with the expectation that their sacrifices will be honored and their services will be reciprocated by the government and the people they ably served.
“A young Marine sergeant, just back from his third tour in Afghanistan is mulling his future career options after a VA transition seminar; a medically retired Army major, wounded in Iraq, is out on a jog with her husband, getting used to her new prosthetic leg; a Navy SEAL, old beyond his years, is having coffee with a homeless Vietnam vet he met outside the local VA clinic, and a discharged Air Force colonel, with thousands of combat flying hours, is checking his email for some word on his VA disability claim.
“Thankfully, over the past five years, Congress has authorized over $600 billion to VA in robust and sustained increases of government funding for veterans’ programs designed to be part of a more responsive federal support for veterans outreach and care.
“This unprecedented level of support has been especially evident in the area of veterans’ benefits, specifically disability payments. The surge in financial support has not been matched with an equivalent surge in responsiveness from the Veterans’ Administration.
“The now infamous backlog of claims reached a point of national embarrassment last year when a series of biting monologues from comedian Jon Stewart finally elevated the problem to the President’s desk and spurred his VA Secretary into action. It was only then we began seeing some signs of incremental progress.
“When it takes a comedian to garner a response from our government, we are in bad shape. While the backlog has begun to decline, we still have nearly 700,000 veterans and their families waiting for answers.
“Today, claims are often riddled with errors, putting the burden back on veterans to file an appeal. More than a quarter million appeals are waiting to be resolved and the time it takes VA to act on appeals is worsening. As the nation’s military stands down from its war footing, veterans should not have to wage another battle here at home, this time against government bureaucracy.
“We regularly hear from veterans who are experiencing unacceptable delays and waiting times for mental health counseling and other health services. These delays have real life implications for veterans, especially for those at risk of lapsing back into isolation or a downward spiral that can be difficult to stop.
“After Congress heard frustrating accounts from VA whistleblowers, VA is finally taking steps to improve its staffing and responsiveness for mental health concerns and its overall delivery of health care, but more remains to be done.
“Our younger veterans are entering civilian life during one of the slowest economic recoveries in our nation’s history. Some states have passed laws that issue licenses to veterans, or certifications, for the skillsets they gained while in the military, provided their training met the state’s standard. Without reforms such as these that address the problem at its root, many veterans will end up retaking classes or tests they’ve already passed while in service.
“Government has a vital role to play in improving the employment prospects for veterans, but short-term, make-work programs run by government agencies are not the answer to our veterans’ long-term needs.
“Lastly, I want to take a moment to speak about the problem of homelessness among veterans. In North Carolina, we’re trying something new. We’re taking private capital and motivated individuals – veterans themselves – and connecting them with government resources at HUD, in the state, and at the local level, to rehabilitate state facilities and provide homeless veterans with not only a place to stay, but a place where they can learn -- particularly the skills that allow them to enter the workforce, or get them the help they really need.
“Rather than a top-down, government-centered approach, it’s citizen-centered and it’s veteran focused. I’ve introduced legislation to continue to force Washington to change, and to provide real solutions for the needs of our veterans population.
“Our veterans understand these are challenging times and that the government is limited in its capacity, but they also have high expectations after the promises that have been made. The American ideals of liberty and opportunity are worth fighting for and preserving for our children. We need to harness some of that same spirit and work together on their behalf.
“The answer to these problems will not be found in new offices and new employees in Washington, D.C.
“The answer lies with Congress’ responsibility to ensure that VA programs are operating in the way they were intended – and meeting the needs of the veterans, not the DC bureaucrats -- and inside the communities that our veterans live in. It’s found in the American people, among the faces that greet our returning heroes.
“Working together, I know we can ensure that history will say we kept our promise.
“Thanks for listening. God bless all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our great country and God bless this great nation.”Tags:U.S. Senator, Richard Burr, Weekly Republican Address, Supporting Our Veterans, veterans, COLA cut, repeal the COLA cut,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity: In case you missed it, the Congressional Budget Office released a new report this week stating that the Affordable Care Act will cost the country the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs and increase the deficit by $1 trillion over the next ten years.
Believe it or not, the Obama administration is spinning this as a good thing. In reality, stripping millions of hours of productivity and rewarding people for working less will be detrimental to our economic growth. Check out my USA Today column to find out why the CBO's findings on ObamaCare are bad news for all Americans.
We're working harder than ever to make sure Americans know the truth about ObamaCare. Thank you for joining us in the fight for health care freedom. Tags:Americans for Prosperity, new ad, Taapped by ObamacareTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Newt Gingrich: The Sochi Winter Olympic Games [opened] amid some of the starkest terror threats surrounding any major event in recent years.
The warnings began several weeks ago when authorities worried publicly that a suicide bomber might have already penetrated the security perimeter which is supposed to isolate Sochi from the Caucasus region.
A radical Islamist group released a video last month promising to attack the Sochi games. The same video claimed responsibility for the train station bombing in the Russian city of Volgograd last month. That attack killed 34 people.
There is some evidence that the threats are at least somewhat credible: French police yesterday arrested two Chechen women in the country. There were other arrests reported in Austria in connection with terror threats (although those suspects have apparently been released).
The United States Department of Homeland Security warned of specific information indicating terrorists might attempt to carry toothpaste or cosmetics tubes full of explosives on airplanes bound for Russia, either to carry out an attack on the planes themselves or to smuggle explosives into Sochi.
And just this afternoon, a plane made an emergency landing in Turkey after a passenger attempted to hijack it, claiming to have a bomb in the cargo area and demanding that the plane divert to Sochi.
Thirteen years and seven Olympic games into the war on terror, it’s a sign of how significant the threat remains that the headlines for weeks preceding Sochi have been about the threats of suicide bombings there.
We have a dangerous tendency to convince ourselves that an easy solution to the intractable problem of Islamic terrorism is always just around the corner. We saw it in the “Mission Accomplished” banners on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003. We saw it in the triumphalism after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
But Islamic terrorism is not “on the run.” If anything the threat appears greater now than it was in May 2011. We shouldn’t kid ourselves about the very real dangers to our security.
Those dangers extend far beyond Sochi.
Foreign trained Chechen terrorists succeeded in attacking an American city last year.
A few hours later, someone conducted a professional, military-style attack on a California power station, as I discussed earlier this week, and apparently the FBI has no idea who did it.
Afghanistan is falling apart.
Iraq is descending into violence.
War continues in Syria, which is serving as a training ground for Islamic terrorists.
Certainly we all hope for a successful and safe Olympics in Sochi and wish the American athletes the best of luck. But the larger context in which it occurs is ominous indeed.
---------------- Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via his Gingrich Productions. Tags:Sochi, Olympicsm security threats, national security, Newt Gingrich, Gingrich Productions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: I had the privilege of attending the 62nd annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. There were several inspirational speakers, scripture readings and stirring performances.
Of course, remarks by the president of the United States are always a big moment at any event. But sitting there with thousands of people listening as Obama talked, I was stunned by the hypocrisy. Here are a few examples.
Mr. Obama talked about how "we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator," an obvious reference to the Declaration of Independence. The rest of the line says that we are endowed "with certain unalienable Rights," first among them being the right to life. But Obama left that out.
He quoted from Psalm 139, saying we were "wonderfully made in the image of God." But he avoided the previous verse, "You wove me in my mother's womb." The president talked about the "inherent dignity of every human being -- dignity that no earthly power can take away." Seriously, Mr. Obama? The unborn are in more danger under your administration than they have ever been in the history of our republic.
The president said a lot about religious freedom, yet he is forcing religious business owners and institutions to subsidize abortion, sterilization and other procedures they find morally objectionable.
On Religious Persecution
The main thrust of Obama's speech was religious persecution around the globe. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Christianity is the most persecuted faith. Sadly, Obama's record on fighting Christian persecution is abysmal.
Obama told the audience that he looked forward to appointing a new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. But the position was vacant for more than two years during Obama's first term, and has been vacant for the past three months. Clearly it is not a high priority.
He has minimized the importance of religious freedom in his foreign policy and focused instead on promoting homosexuality. Obama has aggressively criticized Russia's treatment of homosexuals, while saying relatively little about churches bombed and torched throughout the Middle East and Africa.
Even his critics concede that one advantage this president has is his oratory. Yet Obama has seldom emphasized the subject of Christian persecution in his speeches. He is too busy fomenting class warfare. When he raises the subject of religious freedom, it is often in defense of Islam, such as supporting a mosque at Ground Zero or telling a Cairo audience that one of his responsibilities as president is "to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam."
Some in the audience were happy that Obama specifically named Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was unjustly imprisoned in Iran. But unlike Presidents Reagan and Bush, who would bring up religious persecution during important negotiations with foreign leaders, Obama signed a horrible deal with Iran, while the fate of Pastor Abedini didn't even seem to be an afterthought.
Obama tickled the ears of those in the room yesterday, but would not dare offend the ears of the Iranian mullahs.
Even while addressing the National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama could not resist the opportunity to promote same-sex marriage. He did it subtly, lamenting how faith, in his view, is twisted to "justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, or how they pray or who they love."
I know such rhetoric appeals to many young people. But all healthy societies reject such sentimentality and try through law and custom to discourage certain types of "love." An adult who is sexually attracted to a child and acts on that attraction is and should be discriminated against and jailed.
Every civilization prohibits legal recognition of incest because that particular form of "love" is fraught with obvious dangers. Likewise, until the last 15 years or so, virtually every society and every major faith discouraged same-sex relationships and never considered extending it to marriage.
I suppose it is possible that throughout all of recorded history every society was wrong and that we have experienced true enlightenment only in the last decade. I don't buy it.
I do not believe we are becoming more enlightened. Instead, America is being ripped away from its Judeo-Christian worldview. Same-sex marriage is already being followed by demands for legal polygamy. The legitimization of incest won't be far behind.
Speak Up For Faith
The anti-Christian bias of Hollywood elites has been exposed for all to see. On January 16th, the song "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the movie of the same title, was nominated for an Academy Award. It is a beautiful song, sung by a truly inspirational lady, Joni Eareckson Tada.
The film is based on a true story of two young girls captured by Indians in 1775. They were reunited with their mother eight years later when they recognized a hymn she sang to them as children.
Unbelievably, the Academy withdrew the nomination of "Alone Yet Not Alone" less than two weeks after it was awarded. The official explanation for withdrawing the nomination was that composer Bruce Broughton had violated rules against lobbying when he emailed members of the Academy's Music Branch about the song.
But considering the lengths that other studios and producers go in order to promote their work, many Hollywood insiders aren't buying that excuse. In fact, one entertainment writer labeled the move "extremely rare and cringe-worthy."
Many suspect anti-Christian bias is to blame. As a Los Angeles Times writer suggested, "…the academy has never rescinded a nomination due to improper campaigning until a faith-based movie with a quadriplegic pastor came along."
Responding to the Academy's decision to rescind the nomination of her song, Joni Eareckson Tada told Breitbart News, "I can't say the reason the nomination was rescinded, but it has to be more than a few emails. But if they pulled the Oscar from all the movie people who campaigned for an Oscar, they would probably all have to give them back."
TAKE ACTION: Artists for Life has a launched a petition drive calling on the Academy Awards to reverse itself and reinstate the nomination for "Alone Yet Not Alone." Speak up for faith. Click here to sign AFL's petition.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:PResident Obama, National Prayer Breakfast, hypocricy, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:What's New, disincentive for work, Lyndon Johnson, LBR, Big Government Welfare, Big Government Healthcare, Barack Obama, William Warren, editorial cartoonTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Whom Do Democrat Progressives Hate The Most? Ask An IG
J Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
by Bill Smith: While there could be numerous possibilities for "whom progressive democrats hate," it appears that the answer in regard to the "whom do they hate the most" is reserved for former democrats who became conservative, constitutional liberty minded Republicans.
It also seems that the roots of the KKK, founded by democrats, still runs deep in the bowels of the democratic party. A few names of black conservatives who have experienced vitriol by democrats in their past are Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former UN Ambassador, former HUD Undersecretary and conservative writer J. Ken Blackwell, former welfare mom and conservative spokesperson Star Parker, retired Lt. Col and former U.S. Representative Allen West (R-FL), former OU Quarterback and former U.S. Representative J.C. Watts (R-OK), conservative speaker, radio show host and former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Herman Cain, and current U.S Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).
While the these individuals are not discussed below, They were mentioned because their experiences shed light on the democrat reactions to the recent report on the IRS by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Today, the Washington Post reported that "Two House Democrats on Thursday called for an investigation of a federal auditor who accused the Internal Revenue Service of gross mismanagement and targeting advocacy groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PN.) on Wednesday filed a complaint with a special watchdog council questioning the independence of Treasury Department inspector general J. Russell George.
"The congressmen, both of whom serve as top Democrats on House oversight committees, said George produced a “fundamentally flawed performance audit” that was “incomplete” and “outright misleading.” They also alleged that he held briefings with Republican members of the House Oversight Committee without the knowledge of Democrats on the panel. . . .
"The inspector general’s report, released in May, said the IRS “used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status.” Earlier that month, then-IRS official Lois Lerner alluded to the findings when she acknowledged in response to a planted question that the agency had targeted groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names."
Obviously, the two House Democrats on the Oversight Committee are not happy with the report of the Inspector Generals office and are determined to tarnish the inspector general by using words like "outright misleading." This tempest in the teapot is also stirred by House Oversight Committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
It is indeed interesting that the Obama administration has "moved on" and directed the "Treasury Department to draft a new guideline to distinguish what types of political activities disqualify groups from tax-exempt status." This means that they are proposing IRS Rules that codify the actions and procedures which have already been found to be offensive to freedom of speech, and potentially unconstitutional.
Also, note that President Obama has failed to nominate individuals for l various other government agencies Inspector General positions. The people would have been providing audit reports to their agency and to Congress.
Who is Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George? of importance to this article, he was a Democrat who became a Republican. Also, Mr. George is a conservative black Republican serving in the Obama administration and he is protected by his appointment as an inspector general.
In a July, 2013 the Washington Post reported, that "Treasury inspector general J. Russell George . . . [was] a Democrat before becoming a Republican.
"The IRS watchdog, a former staffer for Sen. Bob Dole who was appointed to his current position by President George W. Bush, told the House Oversight committee that he was a page for the 1980 Democratic National Convention and that he was a founder of the Howard University College Democrats during his time at the school. 'I saw the light and joined Bob Dole’s staff during college,' George said.
"David Hayes, one of George’s classmates at Howard University who now clerks for a federal judge in Buffalo, confirmed in an interview with the Washington Post that George helped found the Democratic club."
It is quite obvious that the Obama administration is not happy about the facts uncovered at the Internal Revenue Service and reported by the IG. Instead of acknowledging the problem and committing to correcting the situation, they opt to attack both the report and the messenger. And, based on the history of the democratic party, their vitriol and contempt is increased by the fact that J. Russell George is a black conservative who left the Democrat Party to become a Republican.
I salute Mr. J. Russell George for doing right by his position and authority to report on what happened at the IRS regarding denial of tax exemption status to conservative organizations and other issues.. Also, it is long overdue for Democrats to stop their extreme prejudice against blacks who leave the Democrat Party.
---------------------- Bill Smith is editor of the ARRA News Service - Historical note: It was the Republican Party that opposed slavery and wrote both civil rights bills which were opposed by democrats. Tags:democrats, progressives, hate, former democrats, black Republicans, IRS scandal, IG Report. J. Russell GeorgeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Daniel Horowitz, Madison Project: In a sane world, President Obama and the Democrats would be on the hook for requesting yet another debt ceiling increase after already racking up record high amounts of debt. Obama is extremely unpopular, saddled with the failures of Obamacare, and accruing more debt than every other president combined. Yet, thanks to self-immolation on the part of the stupid party, it is Republicans who find themselves getting trapped by their own leverage point.
President Bush was a big spender and conducted two major wars during his eight years in office. When Bush was sworn in on January 20, 2001, the gross federal debt stood at $5.728 trillion. On January 20, 2009, the day he left office, the debt had increased to $10.629 trillion, a jump of $4.9 trillion. Just five years later, the gross federal debt stands at a whopping $17.263 trillion. Obama has amassed $6.63 trillion in debt. It took from our nation’s founding until July 2003 for us to achieve that milestone!
Roughly $6 trillion of the Obama debt increase is comprised of the public share (not intra-governmental holdings), which now stands at $12.305 trillion. It took from our nation’s founding until October 2008 to amass that much in public debt.
Now take a step back and cogitate the past statements from the President – prior to his unprecedented expansion of the national debt.
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Let that seep in for a moment. Now add another $6.63 trillion over five years into the mix.
The debt ceiling, even more than a budget CR, can be messaged in plain language to the average voter. Any responsible person understands that we should not reflexively raise the debt ceiling, eschewing the only tool to force a balanced budget, until we formulate a plan to end the cycle of debt.
And what will happen during the transition phase while we are debating a balanced budget? Will we default?
Once again, let’s review the math of the federal budget.
According to the updated budget projection from the CBO, the Treasury is slated to take in $3.029 trillion in revenue this year. Interest on the debt will cost $233 billion, a mere 7.7% of the massive tax revenue stolen from the private economy. Once that is paid off, there is no default. Period. Anyone who claims we will default is knowingly misleading the public.
What do you do with the remaining funds? You start funding core functions of government and those programs that people are already dependent on.
Social Security (retirement and disability) – $846 billion
Medicare – $505 billion
Medicaid – $298 billion
Defense – $582 billion
Veterans – $85 billion
Those expenditures account for roughly $2.3 trillion. The remaining half trillion can be prioritized as needed for other functions related to homeland security, national parks, or any other limited function. And remember, these numbers are extrapolated over a 12-month time frame. The Treasury would have more flexibility to shift payments for vital services on a week-by-week basis as we work to responsibly downsize the rest of the federal government. Hence, the debt ceiling is a built-in balanced budget mechanism.
Democrats can’t have it both ways. They imposed massive taxation, which has engendered enough revenue to cover the vital functions of government plus all of the entitlements. They can’t tax and borrow. Much like they claimed Obamacare is the law of the land, the debt ceiling is also the law of the land. We already tax; we already borrow. It’s time to force a long-term balanced budget.
Sadly, Democrats can and will have it both ways. Instead of calling out Obama for his debt ceiling mendacity and publicly debunking his irresponsible lie about default, they obsequiously parrot his talking points.
The GOP mantra from Boehner and McConnell over the past few months has gone something like this:
“We are so scared of our own leverage point. We so badly want to avoid default. We absolutely cannot fight on this one, but please, Democrats, can you give us something in return? We don’t know what that ‘something’ should be, but please let us off the hook from using our own leverage point.”
Well, after telegraphing that message to the Democrats for so long, there is not much we can do. At this point, all we can do is defeat these undocumented Democrats in primaries and elect a new cadre of conservative fighters in the primaries – fighters who will telegraph a very different message to our opponents.
-------- Daniel Horowitz is the policy director for the Madison Project. An expert on conservative policy and the legislative process. His concise and timely blogs are read all over the web and in the halls of Congress. Daniel is a frequent guest on talk radio shows throughout the country. Tags:GOP, Debt Ceiling Strategy, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Nobody has been held accountable for these outrageous abuses. Indeed, the apparent ringleader of the suppression scheme, Lois Lerner, was granted six months of paid administrative leave and then allowed to retire with her full pension!
The IRS now proposes not to rectify its own misbehavior, but to blame the victims and codify its own misdeeds by adopting draconian limitations on the free speech rights of 501(c)4 social welfare groups.
The proposed regulations would restrict groups from engaging in voter registration drives, candidate debates, voter guides, voting records and key votes. They would restrict any criticism of an incumbent federal, state, or local politician within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election and effectively require groups to remove any reference to politicians from their websites during these windows. They even distort the definition of "candidate" to include appointees, so groups weighing in on executive or judicial nominations would be restricted.
We must fight back!
The IRS is required by law to consider public comments before they can go final with their new rules designed to hamstring 501(c)4 groups and undermine our rights of free speech and free association. If they fail to address your comments, the rules can be overturned in court!
Tags:editorial cartoon, AF Branco, IRS, abuse of Conservativess, limiting free speechTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
VIDEO — Is There Another, Even Larger Government Internet Power Grab in the Works?
Big Government Internet?
Seton Motley, Contributing Author: Why does the federal government appear so adamant to again blatantly ignore the law, extend its power over the Internet, and re-impose Network Neutrality?
After all, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already tried it — twice. And been unanimously rebuked by the D.C. Circuit Court — twice.
Each time, the attempted power grab has grown in size and scope.
Now we hear they may go for Internet Reclassification – which is terrible, and a terribly huge-er new government power grab.
Where do we stand? Where are we headed? Please – push Play.
------------- Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. The PJ Tatler also published this article. Please feel free to follow him on TwitterFacebook. Tags:Net Neutrality, Government Internet, Internet power grab, video, Seton Motley, Less GovernmentTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Top Republicans Call On IRS Commissioner To Withdraw Proposed Rule Regulating Free Speech & Muzzling Obama Admin Critics
Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 6, 2014
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of S. 1845, the unemployment insurance extension bill. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the unemployment insurance bill back to the floor earlier this week, he immediately filled the amendment tree, to block Republicans from offering or voting on any amendments. He then filed cloture to cut off debate on the legislation.
At 2 PM, the Senate will vote on cloture (to cut off debate and move to a final vote) on the Reed amendment to S. 1845, which contains Democrats’ latest unemployment insurance extension plan. If cloture is not invoked (fails to get 60 votes) on the Reed amendment, the Senate will vote on cloture on the underlying bill. If neither cloture vote succeeds, the Senate is expected to vote on confirmation of the nomination of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to be ambassador to China.
The House reconvened at 9 AM and adjourned at 12:59 PM. The House considered and passed H.R. 2954 (220-194) — "To authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance."
Yesterday the House passed H.R. 3964 (229-191) - to address certain water-related concerns in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, and for other purposes." Speaker Boehner commented on passage of this California water measure, "The situation for many in the Central Valley is dire, as a lack of rain is intensified by a federally-mandated drought reinforced by endless environmental lawsuits." H.R. 3590 (268-154) - to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes." Boehner noted, "Today a bipartisan majority of the House affirmed that fishing, hunting, and shooting are important, traditional activities that should continue on America’s public lands."
Potential end to the "doc fix" may be at hand. Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would replace the broken Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with an improved payment system that rewards quality, efficiency and innovation. The bill merges the proposals passed overwhelmingly by each committee of jurisdiction last year.
Chairman Camp said. “We have a real opportunity to repeal the SGR once and for all to provide seniors, and the doctors who care for them, some much-needed certainty. This legislation today provides stability for physicians so they will no longer face the uncertainty of massive cuts, but also begins the process of improving how we pay for medical care to focus on positive results for seniors. The time to act is now and provide a permanent solution for the Medicare program millions of seniors rely on.”
“Congress has spent a decade lurching from one ‘doc fix’ to the next, creating a new, unnecessary threat to seniors’ care each time. Enough is enough. This proposal would bring that cycle to an end and fix the broken system. Our bill makes Medicare’s physician payments more modern and efficient, and it will protect seniors’ access to their doctors,” Senator Baucus said. “This bill is the product of years of hard work, and I hope Congress comes together to pass it.”
"For far too long, the doc fix has been annual ritual for Congress. It's time to put that ritual to an end so the millions of seniors who rely on Medicare have greater security and greater access to their doctors,” Senator Hatch said. "This is a significant step forward in our long-standing effort to replace the flawed physician update formula with a 21st century system focused on quality and value rather than the quantity of services,” said Rep. Levin. “
"This agreement marks another important milestone in the effort to repeal and replace the flawed SGR formula and provide peace of mind to our seniors that they will continue to have access to the highest quality of care," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.
The proposal would:
Repeal the SGR and end the annual threat to seniors’ care, while instituting a 0.5 percent payment update for five years.
Improve the fee-for-service system by streamlining Medicare’s existing web of quality programs into one value-based performance program. It increases payment accuracy and encourages physicians to adopt proven practices.
Incentivize movement to alternative payment models to encourage doctors and providers to focus more on coordination and prevention to improve quality and reduce costs.
Make Medicare more transparent by giving patients more access to information and supplying doctors with data they can use to improve care.
The Republican House and Senate leadership notified the media that Members of the Congressional Republican leadership, along with Republican leaders of the Appropriations, Finance and Ways and Means Committees, today called on the new Commissioner of the IRS to abandon a proposed rule designed to muzzle the free speech rights of groups critical of the Obama administration. “It is our view that finalizing this proposed rule would make intimidation and harassment of the administration’s political opponents the official policy of the IRS and would allow the Obama Administration to use your agency as a partisan tool. This would be a serious error, especially in light of the recent track record of intimidation at the IRS. It would also cement your reputation as someone who is unable or unwilling to restore the public’s faith in this important agency,” according to the letter addressed to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The letter was signed by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Senate Finance Committee ranking Republican Orrin Hatch and Senate Appropriations Committee ranking Republican Richard Shelby.
Referring to the IRS targeting of conservative groups in the run-up to the 2010 and 2012 elections, the lawmakers wrote that the proposed new rule continues the agency’s targeting of First Amendment rights by these same grass-root conservative groups.
“This rule would redefine political activity so broadly that grass-roots groups all across the country will likely be forced to shut down simply for engaging in the kind of non-partisan educational activities” their tax designation was designed to support, the letter said. “In many cases, these are the same groups that were already victimized by the IRS’s inappropriate targeting.”
The top Republican lawmakers wrote that the proposed rule appears calculated to take effect just in time for the mid-term elections, giving a “strong appearance” of political motivation.
“This proposed rule is an affront to free speech itself,” the letter said. “It poses a serious and undeniable threat to the ability of ordinary Americans to freely participate in the democratic process. That’s why groups all along the political spectrum, from the ACLU to the Chamber of Commerce, and the citizens who support them, are increasingly concerned about its effect.”
Noting that the recently confirmed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen inherited the proposed rule from his predecessor, the letter said that Koskinen now faces a choice of either withdrawing the proposed rule or allowing the Obama Administration “to use the agency as a means to infringe on the constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
“One of the reasons you have been appointed to a five-year term is so that you will be protected from undue political pressure. So, we urge you to take a stand against this kind of intimidation, abandon this proposed rule, and make it clear to a nervous public that your agency will no longer engage in government-sanctioned crackdowns on speech,” the lawmakers wrote.
This morning on the Senate Floor, Leader McConnell addressed this abusive new rule which the Obama administration wants the IRS to impose. “Just last year, IRS officials and an inspector general report confirmed what we’d been hearing from constituents for a long time: that the IRS was being used to target Americans for daring to exercise their First Amendment rights…for daring to think differently…for daring to hold opinions contrary to high-ranking government officials. They confirmed that civic groups the Administration opposed – including at least one in my home state of Kentucky – were harassed and bullied. They confirmed that individuals who supported those groups were intimidated and attacked. And they confirmed something else too: that this happened in the run-up to a national election. So Americans were rightly outraged when the worst fears of citizen organizations came to light. . . . The Obama Administration now seems to be trying to legitimize the harassment after the fact – to enact regulations that would essentially allow the IRS to bully and intimidate Americans who express their right to free speech. It’s something they were originally planning to slip by while the harassment was still going on. And here’s the thing: the Administration knows it could never get anything like this through Congress the democratic way, so it’s trying to quietly impose the new regulations through the back door – by executive fiat.”
He continued, “We know that the Administration had been working on this proposed rule for at least two years before the inspector general report came out. And from the looks of things, there is nothing ‘good government’ about this at all – like so much of what we've seen with the Obama Administration, it appears to be almost purely political. Under the Administration’s proposed regulations, many citizen groups could be prohibited from participating in some of the most basic civic engagement activities: things like voter registration, and issue advocacy, and educating citizens about candidates before an election. It’s just wrong. Grassroots groups shouldn’t be persecuted for doing the very things Americans expect them to do – they shouldn't be forced to shut down for engaging in the very kind of educational activities the 501(c)4 designation was designed to support. The idea is to shut up and shut down the voices that oppose the Administration’s priorities – and it comes on the heels of a long-running pet project of this Administration to expose conservative donors to harassment in order in order to dry up their funding. Americans who care about the First Amendment need to stand up to this regulation before the Administration has a chance to finalize it. And they are. More than 20,000 citizens have already submitted comments on this proposed rule at Regulations.gov. Nearly all of the ones I saw were opposed.”
Representative Dave Camp has introduced legislation that would prevent the IRS from implementing any such regulation. Sens. McConnell, Flake, Roberts, and others will introduce companion legislation that would do the same thing in the Senate. McConnell noted, "There’s a much easier fix here. The new Commissioner of the IRS, John Koskinen, can put a stop to the rule now if he chooses. And if he means what he said when the Senate confirmed him – the comments we heard about restoring integrity to the IRS – then he’ll do just that."
Unfortunately, if the IRS Commissioner's testimony yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee was an indication, it doesn’t look like he’s moving in that direction yet. The Wall Street Journal editors write today, “Mr. Koskinen promised in December to restore public trust in the IRS, but he didn't do much of that on Wednesday. He toed the Administration line on the new 501(c)(4) rules, promising to address concerns only ‘to the extent I have any control’ over the process. He refused to say if he'd comply with Mr. Camp's request for IRS and Treasury documents pertaining to the rule-making, fretting instead about low IRS ‘morale’ and lack of funding. The quickest way Mr. Koskinen could restore public trust in the IRS would be to halt the new politically toxic 501(c)(4) rules until investigations into the original targeting are complete.”
Leader McConnell concluded, “The bottom line is this: Americans need to be able to trust the IRS again. And that means getting our nation’s tax agency back to the mission it was designed to perform: things like processing tax returns. Not regulating free speech. The Obama Administration’s proposed rule has almost nothing to do with actual tax policy. It’s more about making harassment of its political opponents the official policy of the IRS. And that’s completely unacceptable. Remember: This is an agency that has access to some of Americans’ most sensitive personal information – with the power to audit, penalize, and harass, power that is pretty wide-ranging. That’s why groups all across the political spectrum, from the ACLU to the Chamber of Commerce, have expressed their concerns about this rule. So let’s be clear. Commissioner Koskinen: You know that the IRS has no business regulating free speech. The eyes of Americans are on you. They’re counting on you to do the right thing.” Tags:IRS Commissioner, IRS, proposed rule, gag rule, limiting conservative free speech, free speech, Republican leaders, letter, Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, SGR, formula doc fix, bipartisan proposalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
This week CNN released the results of a poll conducted after Obama's State of the Union address. The public split in its overall reaction to the speech -- just 44% were "somewhat positive," while 38% were "somewhat negative."
By a 3-to-1 margin, the public felt Obama's policies were "too liberal" (41%) versus "not liberal enough" (14%). And 56% said they thought Obama's policies would fail, while just 37% thought they would succeed.
Of course, it seems every day brings more news about how his policies are failing, whether it's the jobless recovery, Obamacare or another foreign policy disaster.
Speaking Of Foreign Policy Disasters - When Obama first won the presidency, many on the left and in the media assumed that having a president named "Hussein" who had lived part of his life in Indonesia would help cure our problems around the world. Think again.
Yesterday James Clapper, Obama's director of National Intelligence, told members of Congress, "Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we've been beset by more crises and threats around the globe."
During his State of the Union address, Obama suggested that the power of his diplomacy was "why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated." There's just one problem: They are being "eliminated" like Iran's nuclear program is being "eliminated" -- they're not.
The deal Obama negotiated in October required Syria to surrender its chemical weapons by today. So far it has given up only 4% of its stockpiles. Syria is weeks behind schedule and few expect the Assad regime to meet its obligations.
Many conservatives did not want to get involved in Syria under this president. As we have watched him fritter away gains in Afghanistan and Iraq, there was no reason to believe he would conduct a campaign in Syria with any more skill or wisdom. So, many cheered when Obama backed away from his own "red line" after Syria used chemical weapons.
That said, we warned then that to invite Russia into the Middle East cauldron thinking Putin would save the day was naive. The chemical weapons deal was a farce.
Meanwhile, top intelligence officials are warning that Syria is turning into a haven for radical Islamists. CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, "We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaeda organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad."
It gets worse. U.S. intelligence officials believe at least 50 American jihadists are fighting in Syria. The FBI is reportedly "trying to track U.S. veterans of the Syrian war who have returned home."
Who are these people? Where did they come from? How were they radicalized? How did they get back in?
These are urgent questions I hope someone is raising in every discussion of so-called "comprehensive immigration reform." Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has raised them in the past and was roundly condemned by the political left, including many congressional Democrats.
Terrorist Targeting Our Energy Grid - The Wall Street Journal reports today about a terrorist attack last year on a California power substation. Last April, snipers cut the telephone wires to the substation and took out 17 transformers that help power Silicon Valley.
I remember being struck by the initial reports of the incident when it happened because it took place a day after the Boston Marathon bombing. But it was largely dismissed as the work of local yokels out for target practice, and it got lost in the coverage from Boston.
But as I was reading the Journal report, it brought to mind comments by an Iranian general we mentioned in Monday's report. He said, "We have … identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock. We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within."
Was taking down the electrical grid in Silicon Valley the "shock" he was referring to? Was this the work of a Hezbollah unit? A Hamas unit? We don't know for sure, but there is every reason to believe these Islamic jihadists are operating in the U.S. given the unwillingness of political elites to control our borders, not to mention the fact that dozens of Americans are willing to go fight with Al Qaeda in Syria.
What is most disturbing about the incident is that the only reason we are even hearing about it is because Jon Wellingford, a Bush appointee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who stepped down in November, is going public with the facts.
No arrests have been made and Obama's FBI doesn't seem that concerned. But in Wellingford's view, what took place at the California substation last year was "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred."
AT&T's "Proud" Announcement - With the Sochi Winter Olympics set to begin this week, AT&T issued a statement yesterday about a "subject that's important to all Americans: equality." Now when most Americans think about equality, I suspect the first thing that comes to mind is racial equality. But that's not what was on AT&T's mind.
AT&T felt compelled to condemn Russia's law against homosexual propaganda. It also wanted to make sure that everyone knew about AT&T's "long and proud history of support for the [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender] community." I'm sure the executives at AT&T feel good about themselves today. When it comes to promoting gay rights, they have found their voice.
But when I worked in the Reagan White House, I don't recall AT&T or other major corporations condemning the Soviet Union while Jews and political dissenters rotted in Siberian gulags. Sadly, while Ronald Reagan worked to rebuild pride in America and America's standing in the world, many corporate elites were eager to trade and "coexist" with the Soviets. And today most big corporations don't feel a need to condemn Christian persecution and human rights violations. Why does concern for homosexual rights trump all other issues? I smell a double standard.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:President Obama, no confidence, polls, Foreign Policy Disasters, Energy Grid, AT&T, Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working FamiliesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
AFP Launches Ads Holding Sen. Mark Pryor Accountable on Obamacare
Little Rock, AR – Americans for Prosperity-Arkansas held a press conference today highlighting a $606,000 statewide television ad buy that will educate Arkansans on the repercussions of Senator Mark Pryor’s vote for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“Real people are hurting,” said AFP-Arkansas Director Jason Cline. “A family of four here in Arkansas could see their health insurance premiums increase as much as $2,250 more per year. We want Senator Pryor to think about how many grocery store buggies that could fill up or how many trips to Grandma’s house that is.”
Cline continued, “Over the coming weeks and months we plan an aggressive outreach plan that will work to focus on people, not politics. Because at the end of the day this bad vote made by Senator Pryor is about just that – the people and families right here in Arkansas.”
The timing of this ad comes on the heels of yesterday’s non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report that 2.3 million Americans are projected to lose full time employment due to the Affordable Care Act.
Tags:AFP-Arkansas, Americans for Prosperity, Jason Cline, executive director, Arkansas, ad buy, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Americans Loosing Jobs, Senator Mark Pryor To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Obamacare: ‘New Roadblocks At The Doctor's Office’ | Customers: A Phantom Network - It’s Not Working
Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 5, 2014
The Senate is NOT in session today so that each party may hold their party retreats/conferences. Senate Republicans are meeting at the Library of Congress while Senate Democrats have decided to meet at the National Parks building.
Tomorrow, the Senate will reconvene at 9:30 AM and resume consideration of S. 1845, the unemployment insurance extension bill. A cloture vote on the Reed amendment to the bill is scheduled for tomorrow at 11 AM. Also possible is a vote on the nomination of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to be ambassador to China.
Yesterday, the Senate voted 68-32 to adopt the conference report forH.R. 2642, Farm Bill and it was sent to the president for his signature.
Later in the day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the unemployment insurance bill back to the floor and immediately filled the amendment tree, to block Republicans from offering or voting on any amendments. He then filed cloture to cut off debate on the legislation.
The House reconvened at 10 AM today and will consider the following bills today: H.R. 2954 - To authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance. H.R. 3964 - To address certain water-related concerns in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley, and for other purposes.
Rassmussen Reports notes that 60% Think Obamacare Fixes Unlikely Within the Next Year. "Voters continue to be pessimistic when asked if the new national health care law is likely to be fixed anytime soon, but they also remain evenly divided over the impact of the law on their vote in the upcoming elections."
As Democrats and the White House try desperately to spin yesterday’s numbers from the CBO confirming what Republicans said all along about Obamacare, that it kills jobs, the Los Angeles Times has a report on the harm Obamacare is doing to ordinary Americans that is even harder for proponents to spin.
The LA Times writes, “After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business. Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount. Aliso Viejo resident Danielle Nelson said Anthem Blue Cross promised half a dozen times that her oncologists would be covered under her new policy. She was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and discovered a suspicious lump near her jaw in early January. But when she went to her oncologist's office, she promptly encountered a bright orange sign saying that Covered California plans are not accepted. ‘I'm a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can't sleep at night,’ Nelson said. ‘I can't imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen.’ To hold down premiums under the healthcare law, major insurers have sharply cut the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state's new health insurance market. Now those limited options are becoming clearer, and California officials say they are receiving more consumer complaints about access to medical providers.”
The Times continues, “Maria Berumen, a tax preparer in Downey, was uninsured for years because of preexisting conditions. … She jumped at the chance in early January to visit a primary-care doctor for long-running numbness in her arm and shoulder as a result of bone spurs on her spine. The doctor referred her to a specialist, and problems ensued. At least four doctors wouldn't accept her health plan — even though the state exchange website and her insurer, Health Net Inc., list them as part of her HMO network. ‘It's a phantom network,’ Berumen said. It was no surprise to her family doctor, Ragaa Iskarous. She has run into this problem repeatedly with other patients in the last month, the doctor said. ‘This is really driving us crazy.’”
And of course it’s not just California. Last week, on a Google Hangout with President Obama, Rebecca Stewart of Covington, Kentucky voiced her frustrations directly to the president. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “The Covington mother of two in an online chat on Jan. 31 asked President Barack Obama how he would fix the conflicting information she’s received about her health care. She told the president she won’t be able to keep her health care plan but wants to keep the specialist at Cincinnati Children’s hospital that treats her 10-year-old son. ‘I’m probably not the only one who has had really a panicked experience lately trying to figure out how my 10-year-old son can continue with his specialists,’ Stewart said. ‘I know I can’t keep my plan, which I liked, but as I’m trying to decide what to do going forward, I’ve spent weeks, with days on the phone getting confidently delivered wrong answers, conflicting information, it’s becoming quite obvious to me a lot of agencies, almost everyone I talk to, is having a lot of trouble figuring out the new rules.’”
Nashville’s WSMV-TV reported recently on a family in Franklin, Tennessee. “It's been less a month since the Affordable Care Act started providing health coverage for people who bought insurance through the exchange, and now some people who are going to the doctor for the first time are finding some complications. ‘We have health insurance that is worthless,’ said customer Shawnna Simpson. Simpson found out last week the new insurance for which she is paying $600 a month was a bad choice for her family. Her 15-year-old daughter was hurt in a cheerleading accident, so Simpson called her family doctor only to learn they don't take her new health plan: Blue Cross Network E. Ever since, she's been on the phone with the healthcare exchange, looking for a family doctor in Williamson County that accepts her plan, but finding none. ‘We can't use it in the county where we live,’ she said. . . . Simpson's problem is not isolated, as many people who are just now using their insurance are finding out. Last year, Channel 4 News interviewed David Pearce, who was excited about enrolling in the healthcare exchange. Then, he showed up for his doctor's appointment last week. ‘Handed them my card, and the girl had this deer in the headlights look and said, “I'll be right back,”’ Pierce said. It turns out his doctor in Murfreesboro doesn't accept Blue Cross Network E either. Simpson says the new healthcare law is not working for her family and she says other families may be in the same situation. ‘Obamacare is not working. A lot of people that have the same issues we have and don't know it yet, until they try to use it,’ she said.”
A report from KING-TV in Seattle noted, “Administrators at Seattle Children's today said they predicted this would happen and it's even worse than they expected. Kids being denied specialty treatment at the hospital by insurance providers on the Washington Health Benefits exchange. Children's filed requests on behalf of 125 of their patients. Of those they said they got only 20 responses, eight of which were denials.”
Meanwhile, the reality of the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare as hurting jobs is ever more apparent. The Wall Street Journal editors write today, “There are 7.8 million Americans working part-time who want full-time work, including a fry cook whose restaurant cut his hours to avoid Affordable Care Act mandates and confronted President Obama in an online Google Q&A last week: ‘We can't survive. It's not a living.’ Mr. Obama changed the subject to raising the minimum wage. But he can't dodge reality forever as the evidence piles up that ObamaCare is harming the labor market. On Tuesday no less than the Congressional Budget Office reported that the health law is causing Americans to work less or not at all, in a remarkable intellectual turnabout for the budget shop that Democrats cited repeatedly when selling ObamaCare. . . . CBO's job-loss prediction is all the more remarkable because it doesn't include the impact of ObamaCare's employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer insurance or pay a $2,000 penalty for each worker beyond 30 employees. CBO more or less punts on the issue because the White House delayed the mandate for a year and the changes would be hard to model. But this means CBO is probably still underestimating job losses because common sense says that labor mandates raise hiring costs and induce businesses to hire less, or pay lower wages, or slash hours, or all three.”
Jamie Dupree of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds, “At a hearing of the House Budget Committee, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf stood by the report's findings on the health law, telling lawmakers that the law will reduce the size of the labor force over the next ten years. ‘We think that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the total number of hours worked in the economy by between 1.5 and 2 percent,’ Elmendorf said, adding that's equal to over two million full time workers leaving the labor force. ‘Who are these workers?’ asked Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Elmendorf explained these are mainly low income workers, who find that as they make more money, they get less in subsidies to buy that health insurance from the federal government - and that makes it less appealing to keep making more money. ‘By providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income, and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the Act creates a disincentive for people to work,’ said Elmendorf. . . . ‘As a result, that lower workforce participation rate - that lower labor supply - lowers economic growth,’ said Rep. Ryan. ‘Yes. That's right, Mr. Chairman,’ Elmendorf replied.”
The WSJ editors summed up this week’s news well: “All of this is one more contradiction of the arguments that were used to sell ObamaCare. The law would reduce health-care costs and shrink the deficit, you could keep your health plan and your doctor, and businesses could hire more workers and be more competitive. All of this is turning out to be false, and now we learn that the law is a job destroyer that is removing rungs from the ladder of upward economic mobility.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters yesterday, “The CBO report is certainly not pretty, if you're interested in creating jobs in America. As we all know, they estimate up to two million fewer jobs will be created as a result of ObamaCare. Honestly, it's not a surprising report. All of the anecdotes you hear all across the country are that premiums are going up and jobs are being lost. And the tragedy of it all, in addition to the loss of jobs, is you've got once again an estimate from CBO that when all is said and done, if it all kicks in, you've still got 30-million uninsured. I wonder what the cost/benefit ratio is of all of this disruption, both to the providers of health care and the consumers of health care, when at the end of the day, the best you'd be able to estimate is we've reduced the number of unemployed from 45 million down to 30 million, at what cost?” Tags:CBO, Obamacare, lost jobs, healthcare roadblocks, phantom network, Not workingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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#Conservative #Constitution #NRA #GunRights #military 22 yr #veteran #professor #Christian #ProLife #TCOT #SGP #CCOT #schoolchoice #fairtax Married-50+yrs #MAGA
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