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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Friday, July 24, 2015
Obama to Abortionists: “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”
by Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: Planned Parenthood pays no taxes. Under President Obama, they’ve made more than $500 million in profits, but they claim to be a “non-profit” organization. They kill more 800 children every day. And they have from the earliest days targeted minority women. They once had a “Negro Ministers” project designed to recruit black pastors to push first birth control and then abortion in minority neighborhoods.
Now, in two startling videos, we have seen Planned Parenthood leaders engaged in a ghoulish traffic in the organs of unborn children whom they have killed. My colleague at Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, discussed this horror on his recent radio show in an interview with former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. “Hearts, lungs, livers” are the sought-after treasures of these scavengers.
Deborah Nucatola is Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research. Nucatola is seen on this video casually discussing the mechanics of death and dismemberment of children in the womb. Nucatola sips her glass of red wine as she offers this, from John McCormick’s Weekly Standard article:
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,” says Nucatola, who adds that the most difficult thing to get out intact is “the calvarium—the head is basically the biggest part.”
Calvarium. That’s an interesting word. It is the skull minus the lower jaw. For those of us who see that word for the first time outside a medical dictionary, the word might conjure up images of Calvary. It might remind us of what the Bible calls “the place of the skull.”
These Merchants of Death know their business. They are careful to use only those techniques that give them intact organs and body parts. Odd, isn’t it? When they are trying to advance an abortion agenda in the public debate, they only refer to the unborn child as a fetus, only describe what is in the womb as “a mass of tissue” or “the products of conception.” But they can get amazingly specific and entirely clear when there’s cash on the barrel head. Lungs. Livers. Hearts.
How tragic it is for President Obama to owe any part of his place in history to this outfit. When speaking at Planned Parenthood’s annual conference in April 2013, Mr. Obama concluded his remarks with, “God bless you.” Invoking God’s blessing on these blind peddlers of death: May He, instead, have mercy on them – and on us for allowing them to flourish in our society.
------------------ Ken Blackwell is a former ambassador to the U.N., Ohio Secretary of State, and mayor of Cincinnati. He is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. and contributing author to the ARRA News Service. Tags:by Ken Blackwell, Planned Parenthood, Merchants of Death To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Clinton Facing Criminal Probe - The media's conventional wisdom on Hillary Clinton's email scandal (her use of a private server while secretary of state) is that it is a non-issue that will blow over and do no damage to her presidential prospects. After all, how many scandals have the Clintons weathered?
But recent polls indicate that Mrs. Clinton has suffered incredible damage. Voters do not trust her and she is losing key swing states. Today's news will only compound her troubles.
The New York Times reports that two government inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into the former secretary of state's handling of classified material.
Clinton insists she did nothing wrong and never handled classified information on her personal server. Yet the Times reports that as State Department officials began reviewing the first 3,000 emails they received from Mrs. Clinton, they found 24 that had to be redacted and "retroactively classified."
According to a June 29th memo from the inspectors general, Clinton's personal email server likely held "hundreds of potentially classified emails."
I am under no illusions that Obama's Justice Department will actually prosecute Hillary Clinton. But it may not have to.
The simple fact that Hillary is facing a criminal probe by the Justice Department could be enough to spur Joe Biden to run or cause Hillary's support to erode.
Here's something else to consider. There's a debate raging right now over Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. Everyone who is pro-Israel is against the deal. Hillary has been telling Jewish audiences that she will be better for Israel than Obama. But where is Hillary Clinton now?
She quickly endorsed the deal the day it was announced, but since we have started to learn more about the deal's deficiencies, Clinton has been unusually quiet.
No doubt she knows what happened to the last Democratic senator to seriously challenge this administration. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a fierce critic of Obama's Iran policy and this terrible deal, is also facing a criminal probe by the Justice Department. Coincidence?
IRS Scandal - President Obama was asked about the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal this week on one of his favorite "news" outlets -- the "Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Here's what he said:
"The truth of the matter is that there was not some big conspiracy there. . . . The real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded. . ."The truth is often the exact opposite of whatever Obama says, like being able to keep your doctor, Obamacare not being a tax and that he believes marriage is a "sacred union" between a man and a woman.
Yes, there was a conspiracy to target the Tea Party. Lois Lerner apologized for it but has since refused to testify about her role in it.
More evidence emerged this week that conservative donors were targeted for individual tax audits by the IRS based on the contributor lists that the agency inappropriately demanded from the very groups it was targeting.
And Obama thinks the IRS just needs more of your money.
------------- Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families Tags:Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Hillary Clinton, emails, Facing criminal probe, IRS ScandalTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Some proposals are so shocking and not common that, no matter how rational or sensible, we cannot legitimately call them “common sense.”
Could this be one?
You tell me.
Congress is right now struggling to pass a highway funding bill. Authorized funding by the federal government on roads ends with the passing of this month, July. So, blogs Scott Shackford at Reason, “the legislature has to pass something. Because the legislature has to pass something, people are trying to squeeze everything into it.”
And our illustrious president wants to revive the recently dead, the Export-Import Bank. “When he was a senator, Barack Obama knew the program was nothing but corporate welfare,” writes Shackford. “But now as president, he has flip-flopped and is trying to keep the institution alive.”
I don’t know if the prez will ultimately succeed, cajoling Congress to revive the monster by stuffing it into the roads bill, but at least “Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced an amendment to the highway bill that would kill the bank and unload its assets to the treasury.”
Go, Rubio! Getting rid of the Ex-Im Bank is just anti-crony common sense.
So what’s the “uncommon” sense? This out-of-the-mainstream notion: We don’t need a federal transportation bill at all. It’s not as if states cannot secure funding for roads. (They already do.) Devolve the whole Interstate system back onto the states!
Radical? Maybe. But the federal government just spends and spends without much sense. Distribute the responsibility for roads to the states; let Congress figure out how to manage its remaining tasks.
For a change.
I think this is . . . Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------ Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service. Tags:Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Forget Frankenstein, Congress, highway funding bill, not neededTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Obamas and Joe Biden Taxpayer-funded Trips Exceed $57 Million
by Tom Fitton: Barack Obama’s taxpayer-funded trips are costing taxpayers a pretty penny. Other presidents have certainly pushed the line on this. However, here, one has to ask if the Obamas are really doing the people’s business on these extravagant, spare-no-expense trips across the country and to luxury destinations overseas.
Judicial Watch just obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Michelle Obama’s 2014 trip to China cost American taxpayers $362,523.53 in air travel expenses alone. The first lady, her daughters, and her mother spent March 19-26 in China, in a trip highlighted by extended visits to some of the country’s most popular tourist sites.
Judicial Watch received Air Force records on June 25, 2015, in response to a June 19, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking any and all records concerning mission taskings of first lady Michelle Obama’s March 2014 tip to China, and any and all records concerning associated costs.
According to the newly released records, the transportation costs for the seven-day trip to China were based on a flight cost of $11,092 per hour for the Obama family, and support personnel in a C-32A presidential aircraft. The $362,523.53 air travel expense tab for the Obama entourage was more than 225 times what the average American family spends on an entire week-long vacation.
The U.S. Secret Service has not yet responded to the request for attendant costs for personnel, accommodations, meals, rental cars, and related expenses.
The Daily Mail reported: “Michelle Obama and three of her family members are staying in a $8,350-per-night Beijing presidential suite.” The 3,400-square-foot suite included a private steam room and in-room dining for six.
Though the White House billed the China trip as an effort by Michelle Obama to push her education agenda, much of the Obama family’s time was spent at popular tourist sightseeing venues. According to Diplomat.com, “The first lady, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother Marian Robinson visited Beijing’s Forbidden City and Summer Palace as well as the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, and the Chengdu Panda Base.”
Like all political trips, reality intruded. According to The Washington Post, even Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote her education agenda were not without problems.
“The trip was by no means perfect. Obama encouraged students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study abroad, but on her first full day in Beijing she visited a Chinese high school where American students said their parents pay $50,000 a year for their tuition and boarding,” the Post reported.
The first lady also called for transparency, which is too rich for words — given the illegal secrecy alone over her family’s travel on taxpayers’ dime!
Once again, the Obamas abused the public trust and raided the taxpayers’ coffers for unnecessarily luxurious travel. The fact that it took Judicial Watch a full year to obtain this information about the first lady’s China junket reveals that the “most transparent administration in history” knows that its taxpayer-financed jaunts are so excessively extravagant that it ignores open records law to keep Americans in the dark.
Judicial Watch previously uncovered an expensive combination of trips by the Obamas to Africa and Honolulu, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone.
The single largest prior-known expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1,500-square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66.
To date, the known beyond-first-class travel expenses of the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden exceed $57 million.
----------------- Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption! Tags:Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, family, trips, vacations, overseas, Joe Bidden, government records,To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, John Kerry, Iran, Israel, knockout dealTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Republicans Fight Back Against HUD Rule To Redraw Your Neighborhood
by Robert Romano: Republicans fight back against HUD rule to redraw your neighborhood
In July 2015, the Obama administration via the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) finalized a rule that will force local communities to build evenly distributed neighborhoods based on income and race.
According to the rule, “This final rule, and Assessment Tools and guidance to be issued, will assist recipients of Federal funding to use that funding and, if necessary, adjust their land use and zoning laws in accordance with their existing legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing [emphasis added].”
But what about local jurisdiction over zoning matters? HUD is saying forget about that, they know better, and that your community’s zoning plan might be discriminatory because if it has too many nice homes to live in that poor minorities cannot afford.
Yet, this has nothing to do with housing discrimination, which has been illegal since the 1960s. Local rules only determine what can be built where, not who can live in a community.
Not everyone can afford to live in every community due to high demand for housing in certain areas. Home values are determined by market forces, not racism.
That is why House Republicans are fighting back. In June, it passed an amendment by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill that would bar the department from using any funds to carry out the rules.
But defunds only last for the duration of the fiscal year. Meaning, a more permanent solution will be needed.
Now reports from Capitol Hill state that Gosar will be requesting committee hearings be held as soon as possible on the legislation and the rule.
In the meantime, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), is expected to be offering similar legislation on the Senate side.
Everyone knows President Barack Obama will veto stand-alone legislation against the bill. But the Republican majorities in the House and Senate should put it on his desk anyway, and force Democrats to sustain his veto. Hold as many votes as possible on the issue, and then make it a campaign issue in 2016.
But the issue is not merely for political fodder.
There is another real fight that can occur in the continuing resolution and/or omnibus fights at the end of the fiscal year. While Obama would certainly veto a stand-alone bill that stops the rule, it is much less likely he would veto the entire budget if it included the Gosar defund to stop it.
And with the fiscal year’s end on Sept. 30 fast approaching, there is little time for members to lose in making certain that defunding the HUD rule is in the discussion that occurs between House and Senate negotiators.
Otherwise, members might have to explain why they provided the funds for the neighborhood rezoning rule to be implemented. Like funding executive amnesty or Obamacare, this will not be an issue members want to get on the wrong side of their constituents on.
---------------- Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government. His article was first shared on the ALG's NetRight Daily blog. Tags:Robert Romano, Americans For Limited Government, HUD, rule, redraw Neighborhoods, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Lisa Rein, The Washington Post: After he reported a fly and pest infestation in the kitchen of a veterans hospital in Philadelphia, Troy Thompson was assigned to janitorial work and investigated for stealing stale sandwiches. Joseph Colon Christensen was told he was being fired after he notified Washington that the director of a dozen medical centers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was arrested.
And in Tomah, Wis., Ryan Honl was stripped of his duties and locked out of his office after he disclosed that veterans were prescribed excessive prescription opiates.
These whistleblowers have now been exonerated by the office that investigates claims of retaliation against federal employees. The Office of Special Counsel announced this week that it has smoothed the way for the Department of Veterans Affairs to make amends to Thompson, Christensen and Honl with monetary settlements, reinstatements to their jobs and by purging their records of negative claims.
“Rather than silencing the messenger, supervisors can use disclosures as opportunities to address problems,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement. “It’s an important sign of progress that the VA settled these cases and provided relief to the employees who suffered retaliation.”
The employees, who shared harrowing experiences with investigators of being ostracized, harassed and punished for reporting their concerns about mismanagement, have plenty of company. The special counsel’s office says it has helped more than 45 whistleblowers with claims of retaliation by VA in the last two years, by getting their jobs back and, in some cases, securing compensatory damages.
Many employees have came forward in the aftermath of last year’s scandal over delays in patient care and fraudulent waiting lists disclosed by a whistleblower at VA’s hospital in Phoenix. Across the country, other employees have said they faced reprisals for reporting a range of concerns, including accounting irregularities, nursing shortages and mishandling of health-care funds, according to the special counsel.
Yet despite promises from VA’s new leaders in Washington to end the agency’s pervasive culture of punishing whistleblowers, retribution continues: The counsel’s office said this spring that it had received 111 VA reprisal cases involving health and safety issues across 36 states plus the District and Puerto Rico since Robert McDonald became VA secretary in July.
Here are some details about three employees whose resolutions were announced this week, according to the special counsel’s office:
• Troy Thompson, a food services manager with the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, reported to his supervisor in 2012 that the hospital was not taking action on disciplinary issues and several violations of VA sanitation and safety policies, including a fly and pest infestation in facility kitchens. That day, his boss put him on a detail to the pathology lab and began investigating him for eating and giving away four sandwiches that were going to be thrown out because they were stale. (The sandwiches were worth a total of $5).
His new job mostly consisted of janitorial work, including sanitizing the morgue and handling human body parts. After the investigation concluded he had stolen government property (the sandwiches), he was issued a proposed removal and fined $75.
Thompson spent two years in the pathology lab. VA eventually returned him to his job and rescinded the proposed firing. The agency also agreed to compensatory damages.
• Joseph Colon Christensen, an administrator at VA’s Caribbean Health System in San Juan, reported concerns about patient care there. He also reported the arrest of the system’s director on drug possession and drunk driving charges. Last September, after a newspaper called the official to ask for comment on a story about his conduct, Colon was issue a notice of proposed firing. By December, VA had downgraded the notice to a three-day suspension, and he was reassigned.
Before his disclosures, Colon had an “unblemished disciplinary history” at VA and had received “outstanding” performance reviews, the special counsel said. VA agreed to several several corrective actions, including a repeal of his suspension, a return to his position and compensatory damages.
• Ryan Honl was a secretary in the mental health unit at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wis. In addition to other concerns, he disclosed alleged excessive prescription of opiates to patients to the inspector general’s office. That day, he was stripped of his job duties, locked out of his office and isolated from his co-workers. Within a short time, he resigned. The agency settled his complaint with several corrective actions that included removing negative information from his personnel file and monetary damages. Honl, who testified before Congress about the retaliation he suffered, met with President Obama in Wisconsin earlier this month and asked him to go outside the agency to appoint a chief watchdog. Honl has started a blog about his experiences.
---------------- Lisa Rein covers the federal workforce and issues that concern the management of government. The Washington Post article was shared under the Fair Use Doctrine in educating and support of prior reports on the problems and issues in the Veterans Administration. This agency has not only often failed in its establish directive of aiding veterans but as evidenced in this article have punished those calling attention to its failures. Tags:veterans Administration, problems, punished whistleblowers, exonerated, Lisa Rein, The Washington PostTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Yesterday the House passed the following bills: H.R. 1599 (275-150) — "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bio-engineered organism, the labeling of natural foods, and for other purposes." H.R. 3009 (241-179) — Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act: "To amend section 241(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny assistance under such section to a State or political subdivision of a State that prohibits its officials from taking certain actions with respect to immigration."
The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009), legislation was introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). The bill would deny funding for states or local governments that fail to enforce immigration laws that protect Americans. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) discussed the bill and called on the Obama administration to follow the House’s lead and crack down on so-called ‘sanctuary cities’: "The recent shooting of a young woman in California highlights a serious problem in our immigration enforcement system. Because while terrible people do terrible things, this tragedy was preventable.
"And the fact is, some cities decide to ignore our laws, and not only is that wrong, but it’s clearly dangerous as well. The House is acting today to put state and local officials on notice that we’ll no longer allow them to decide how and when to enforce our nation’s laws. And I call upon the Obama administration to follow suit, to stop covering up for these ‘sanctuary cities,’ and enforce the laws that are there to protect the American people."
Today, Speaker Boehner addressed reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails on her private unsecured server contained classified information, despite her past claims to the contrary. Boehner said, "Two inspector generals appointed by President Obama have now called on the Justice Department to investigate Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified email. If Secretary Clinton truly has nothing to hide, she can prove it by immediately turning over her server to the proper authorities and allowing them to examine the complete record.
"What these reports demonstrate is the inherent risk of conducting our nation’s diplomacy and foreign policy on your home email and personal server. Secretary Clinton has repeatedly claimed that the work-related emails on her private home server did not include classified information, but we know that is not true. She has claimed she is well-aware of what matters are classified and what are not, and yet she set up a personal email server to discuss matters of national security despite guidance to the contrary from both her State Department and the White House. Her poor judgement has undermined our national security and it is time for her to finally do the right thing."
Former Secretary Clinton has repeatedly claimed that her email did not include classified information. For example, on March 10, 2015, she said: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
Boehner response: "If Secretary Hillary Clinton truly has nothing to hide, she can prove it by immediately turning over her personal e-mail server to the proper authorities and allowing them to examine the complete record. It's time for her to finally do the right thing!"
The Senate reconvened at 9 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill. Senators then voted 51-26 to agree to the motion to proceed to the bill.
[Where were the other 23 votes? The editor's opinion on the bill a little later. . .]
On Sunday, the Senate will begin voting on amendments to the highway bill. First will be a vote on an amendment offered by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, followed by a vote on an amendment offered by Leader McConnell to repeal Obamacare.
On July 31, the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization will expire. The fund has long been unsustainable, containing large diversions for mass transportation and other wasteful projects. The Senate is currently seeking to pass a $40 billion bailout, 3-year extension of the fund. Then we have the added burden of ome Senators are seeking to attach an amendment to the bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
Most grassroots conservatives, except for maybe those influenced by the Chamber of Commerce and Big Business, had hoped the Export-Import Bank would finally be dead. Now they have a Republican Senator willing to support its re-authorization. If the conservative Republican Senators who are running for The GOP nomination are absent from the Senate on Sunday, we could see the rebirth of this program which uses American money to fund overseas competitors. The Ex-IM Bank needs to remain unfunded and dead.
As for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), some are rightfully asking, "What happens if the HTF runs out of money? Won’t the U.S. face a transportation crisis?"
No, this situation is not like National Defense. Gas tax revenues will still flow into the HTF and be paid out for transportation projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation would simply have to slow down payments to the states.
Lawmakers are fond of sounding the alarm bells about what will happen to the national transportation infrastructure if states have to face a reduction in federal funding. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has said states will see on average a 28 percent cut in funding from the HTF. This figure is shockingly misleading, however, as the overwhelming majority of highway funding comes from state and local governments, not the federal government. The 28 percent figure has missing context and indicates a 28% cut in the federal proportion of highway funding.
The “crisis” reduction Obama and many Congressmen are threatening about amounts to a 7 percent cut in overall transportation spending. This will not devastate the country’s surface transportation, and states will reserve autonomy to prioritize which projects are essential and which have been forced on them by the federal government.
If Congress does not act, will the federal interstate shut down? No. The federal interstate will be open for travel, and construction will largely continue although plans for some additional projects may be scaled back.
Is there any opportunity for real reform?
Yes. If the Senate stops doing business as usual in authorizing Federal Government overreach. It is time to take away the need for periodic highway bills completely. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) will likely introduce again in the 114th Congress a new way forward in the Transportation Empowerment Act. This bill would return the highway program to local control, empower local and state governments to carry out projects that best serve their interests, and
enhance the efficiency of how money is spent on the nation’s transportation.
The federal fuel tax would be reduced from 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline to 3.7 cents, and from 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel to 5 cents, over a five-year period—limiting the user fee to fund only appropriate federal activities and forcing an end to governmental waste and ineptitude.
States and localities would be free to set whatever transportation policies they deem necessary and pay for projects in a way that works best for them without the costly and cumbersome hurdles imposed by the federal government.
Recommend you encourage their members of Congress to resist the business-as-usual bailout of the Highway Trust Fund. This system has been broken for far too long and the nation’s motorists have suffered as a result. Conservatives should insist that the HTF live within its means in the near-term and that Congress pass the Transportation Empowerment Act to introduce real reforms to future transportation policy.
Warning, what may happen this Sunday (a day they these Senators would be better off fasting and praying) way be the re-advent of two major rip-off programs: The Federal Highway Program and the Export-Import bank.
Obamacare continues trending in the news: The Wall Street Journal reports, “Anthem Inc. agreed to buy Cigna Corp. for $48.4 billion in a transaction that, along with a previously proposed combination of rivals, could reshape the U.S. health-insurance industry.
“The deal, . . ., combines the second- and fifth-largest health insurers by revenue and merges two companies with a huge footprint in commercial insurance, the type of coverage provided to employers and consumers. . . .
“The tie-up of Anthem and Cigna follows by about three weeks Aetna Inc’s agreement to buy Humana Inc. for $34 billion and further accelerates the rapid-fire reconfiguration at the top of the U.S. managed-care industry. The biggest companies are seeking more cost efficiency and scale as the health-care landscape changes because of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] and other factors.”
Last week, in an op-ed for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Senate Majority Leader McConnell wrote, “[T]he announced sale of Kentucky-based Humana, a health insurance company, reveals yet another pitfall of the law. The sale is the inevitable result of Obamacare's push toward consolidation as doctors, hospitals, and insurers merge in response to an ever-growing government. And the resulting consolidation means less competition among insurers, which could leave consumers with even fewer choices and lower-quality care.
“For insurers, Obamacare has made it much more expensive to do business in the health care market. The many layers of regulation spawned by the law mandate less choice and reward bigger scale over more competition. It's also unleashed an avalanche of new requirements for insurers to deal with. Merging into bigger firms, which are better able to absorb the costs of Obamacare and comply with the maze of regulations, has become the answer.
“Such mergers may satisfy an overzealous government bureaucrat, but they don't necessarily help consumers . . . . What's worse, when there are fewer players in the health insurance market, there is less drive to innovate.”
Speaking of bureaucrats, they seem to be the Obama administration’s answer to whatever problems the law hasn’t tried to fix with mandates or regulations. Now that it’s become clear that insurers in states all across the country are asking for large rate increases for 2016, the administration is leaning on state regulators to try to stop companies from increasing rates they say they need because of the expenses caused by Obamacare’s mandates.
CNBC notes, “HealthCare.gov's leader wants to put his ‘stamp’ on Obamacare health insurance prices next year—and that's raising suspicion he's worried they'll be too high otherwise.
“Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal health exchange, this week wrote a letter to state insurance commissioners who are reviewing proposed rate changes for Obamacare plans, suggesting they keep in mind several factors which, not surprisingly, could support arguments for approving only moderate overall price increases. . . .
“Counihan's unusual missive comes amid concerns that some — if not most —Obamacare customers will be hit with double-digit percentage price increases being sought by a number of insurers nationwide for 2016. Insurance commissioners will soon approve the final rates that will be charged customers both on government-run Obamacare marketplaces, and those who buy individual plans off those exchanges through brokers or the insurers directly. . . .
“Despite HHS' arguments to the contrary, several insurance experts said Counihan's letter reflects legitimate worry that many 2016 rates will be significantly higher than now.
“Kev Coleman, head of research and data for insurance comparison site HealthPocket.com, said the letter suggests, ‘The government is very concerned about the proposed rate increases, and the government is trying to aggressively arm state insurance commissioners with data to help them defend pushbacks on these proposed increases.’
“Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said, . . . “‘There is a problem . . . ‘Not every carrier in every state but there is a clear pattern of the largest carriers with the most data having unacceptable financial results under the Affordable Care Act and responding with very large increases.’
“‘By sending this letter the administration is clearly saying they have a problem,’ he said. ‘But jawboning in the face of hard data showing unacceptable results is going to have very little impact.’ . . . ‘These numbers are simply not sustainable.’”
CNBC adds, “Counihan's letter comes on the heels of a number of news stories highlighting some of the larger proposed rate hikes. CNBC reported last month that one insurer, Texas Blue Shield, was seeking a nearly 20 percent price increase for Obamacare plans after losing $400 million last year insuring customers in those plans. . . .
“One recent HealthPocket.com analysis detailed by CNBC.com found that premiums for individual plans in major U.S. cities would rise by an average of 12 percent in 2016 if the newly proposed prices are approved.”
With Obamacare’s failures mounting, senators are going to have the opportunity over the weekend to vote on repealing this unpopular law. This vote should demonstrate that there are majorities in both houses of Congress that believe Obamacare should be repealed and replaced. Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrats in Congress are determined to defend the law at all costs, so the missing component is still a president who would sign legislation repealing and replacing Obamacare into law. Tags:Obamacare, Export-Import Bank, Federal Highway Bill, Big Government, Failures, Hillary's EmailsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Confirmed: IRS Used 501(c)(4-6) Tax-Exempt Org's Donor Lists For Audits
Judicial Watch has obtained proof the confirmed some of our fears about the IRS.
Lois Learner Plead the 5th in Congressional Hearings
But the Truth Continues Come Out
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that confirm that the IRS used donor lists to tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits. The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS. The IRS produced the records in a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking documents about selection of individuals for audit-based application information on donor lists submitted by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).
A letter dated September 28, 2010, then-Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) informs then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman: “ I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations …” In reply, in a letter dated February 17, 2011, Shulman writes: “In the work plan of the Exempt Organizations Division, we announced that beginning in FY2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.”
In 2010, after receiving Baucus’s letter, the IRS considered the issue of auditing donors to 501(c)(4) organizations, alleging that a 35 percent gift tax would be due on donations in excess of $13,000. The documents show that the IRS wanted to cross-check donor lists from 501(c)(4) organizations against gift tax filings and commence audits against taxpayers based on this information.
A gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)’s was considered by most to be a dead letter since the IRS had never enforced the rule after the Supreme Court ruled that such taxes violated the First Amendment. The documents show that the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982.
But then, in February 2011, at least five donors of an unnamed organization were audited.
The documents show that Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, was specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of applying the gift tax. Seemingly in response to the Crossroads focus, on April 20, IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emails a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information is apparently shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl while Gardner seeks “information about any of the donors.”
Emails to and from Lorraine Gardner also suggested bias against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. An IRS official (whose name is redacted) emails Gardner on May 13, 2011, a blog post responding to the IRS targeting of political and other activities of 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations:The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) organization and may find itself under high scrutiny. One can only hope.The subject line of the email highlights this anti-Chamber of Commerce comment: “we are making headlines notice the end regarding 501(c)(6) applicability enjoy.” This critical comment is forwarded to other IRS officials and shows up attached to another Gardner IRS email chain with the subject line “re: 501(c)(4)” that discusses a pending decision about a tax-exempt entity.
In early May, once the media began reporting on the IRS audits of donors, IRS officials reacted quickly. One official acknowledges the issue “is a biggy” when a reporter from The New York Times contacts the IRS on May 9.
On May 13, 2011, former IRS Director of Legislative Affairs Floyd Williams discusses compliance with “interest” from Capitol Hill: “Not surprisingly, interest on the hill is picking up on this issue … with Majority Leader Reid’s office, has suggested the possibility of a briefing for the Senate Finance Committee staff on general issues related to section 501(c)(4) organizations I think we should do it as interest is likely to grow as we get closer to elections.”
Later that day, then-Director of the Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner weighs in with an email that confirms that she supported the gift tax audits. Lerner acknowledges that “the courts have said specifically that contributions to 527 political organizations are not subject to the gift tax–nothing that I’m aware of that about contributions to organizations that are not political organizations.” Section 501(c)(4) organizations are not “political organizations.” [Emphasis in original]
Lerner’s involvement and support for the new gift tax contradicts the IRS statement to the media at the time that audits were not part of a “broader effort looking at donations 501(c)(4)’s.” In July 2011, the IRS retreated and soon-to-be Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller directed that “examination resources should not be expended on this issue” and that all audits of taxpayers “relating to the application of gift taxes” to 501(c)(4) organizations “should be closed.”
“These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration. President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal. These documents tell the truth – his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.”
Judicial Watch had filed a separate lawsuit for records about targeting of individuals for audit in November 2013. In that litigation, the IRS had refused to search any email systems, including Lerner’s records. A federal court ruled the IRS’ search was sufficient and dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month.
In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”
The House Ways and Means Committee announced at a May 7, 2014, hearing that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.” In 2011, as many as five donors to the conservative 501(c)(4) organization Freedom’s Watch were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bradley Blakeman, Freedom’s Watch’s former president, also alleges he was “personally targeted” by the IRS.
In February 2014, then-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) detailed improper IRS targeting of existing conservative groups:Additionally, we now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s. At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.Tags:Judicial Watch, conformed, IRS, Internal Revenue Service,donor lists, audits, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
NRA News Cam & Co | Chris W. Cox: Obama's Social Security Gun Grab
NRA NewsCam & Co: Chris W. Cox is Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. He discusses reports that President Obama has issued a memo to federal agencies, resulting in a Social Security Administration plan that will deprive more than four million recipients of their gun rights, without due process of law.
He describes it as the biggest gun grab in history, unprecedented in his over twenty years with the NRA.
Any person who has had a “representative payee” appointed to handle their finances is vulnerable.
Cox vows that the NRA will fight every day until it is stopped. Further, he calls for the immediate repeal of the ban on firearms at military facilities, forbidding service men and women their right of self-defense.
Tags:President Obama, unilateral, gun grab, 4.2 million, American seniors, Social Security, representative payeeTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Tags:Editorial Cartoon, AF, Branco, Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton criminal minds, abortions, babies, body parts for sale To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Anthony Esolen: I have sometimes wished that the thought police would get around to issuing a handy list of things to which we are supposed to give our vocal assent. It is hard to smother your common sense, to ignore history and the evidence of your eyes, and to turn reason into intellectual pretzels. All that requires a good deal of self-suppression. The task would be made a little easier if we could be informed beforehand what to think. We are plebeians, after all, and can’t be expected to perform the mental gymnastics of our patrician masters. But since they have not come up with such a list, and since, if the truth be known, they themselves are often reduced to catching up with the latest rectitudes, I have decided to provide one here below.
Thou shalt not call an unmarried woman “Miss.” Thou shalt not feed thy children cupcakes. Thou shalt not think that women should not be soldiers. Thou shalt recycle thy bottles.
Thou shalt not speak about God in a public school. Thou shalt not say that the Ten Commandments are commandments. Thou shalt not speak ill of any of culture, with the following exceptions: American, British, medieval, Christian, and Catholic. Thou shalt not speak well of those. Thou shalt not laugh at certain jokes. Thou shalt not vote for a conservative, if thou canst find one.
Thou shalt not say that a man is biologically incapable of marrying another man. Thou shalt not decline to march in the following parades. Thou shalt not agree to march in the following parades. Thou shalt not have anything good to say about popes and priests. Thou shalt not say what you believe unless it is approved by pundits on television.
Thou shalt not say that contemporary music is ugly and banal. Thou shalt not shop in the following places. Thou shalt purchase the following product, on pain of targeting by the Internal Revenue Service. Thou shalt attend these sex education classes. Thou shalt not utter a word of complaint about them.
Thou shalt not exhibit any fondness for the American South. Thou shalt adore Abraham Lincoln and abhor Robert E. Lee. Thou shalt not say that women have not been persecuted from of old. Thou shalt not say that men are for women and women are for men.
Thou shalt not give thy son a toy pistol. Thou shalt not shoot a rubber band at the back of thy schoolmate’s head. Thou shalt not say “bang.” Thou shalt not complain when a boy claims to be a girl and uses thy shower. Thou shalt celebrate what we like, whether it liketh thee or no.
Thou shalt not dress thy older daughter in a dress. Thou shalt not say, “My nation are heathen fools.” Thou shalt not wear a cross around thy neck in a hospital. Thou shalt not pray too close to someone going to slay her child. Thou shalt not spank thy smart-mouth. Thou shalt not sleep thy children more than one to a room. Thou shalt not look askance at the fornicator. Thou shalt lend other people’s money to people whose prospects for repayment are not good. Thou shalt allocate other people’s money to thy clients.
Thou shalt not disagree with a social worker. Thou shalt not speak up at an open meeting, unless thou art called upon, and unless thou sayest what those who hold the meeting want to hear. Thou shalt not disagree with a policeman. Thou shalt not bring toothpaste on an airplane.
Thou shalt not say disparaging things about global warming. Thou shalt not collect rainwater in thy cistern. Thou shalt not kill the weasel that is eating thine eggs. Thou shalt read the poetry of Maya Angelou, and thou shalt pretend to be impressed by it. Thou shalt admire soccer. Thou shalt sneer at everything more than three minutes old. Thou shalt pursue orgasms. Thou shalt not deny the harlot her due. Thou shalt be feminist in thought, word, and deed.
Thou shalt, O child, learn in school what opinions thou must have. It needs not that thou should learn grammar, history, poetry, geography, the natural sciences, or mathematics. It needs not that thou read the great authors of the Western heritage. School is not for those. It is for the building up of the New and Improved Pharisee, to torment his parents withal in the evening, if they should yet retain something of the liberty of common sense and ordinary virtue.
Thou shalt, thou shalt not, on and on, with no end in sight. None of it really unites us as a people; none of it has the power to make us good. He who sins is a slave to sin.We have become the slaves of slaves..
--------------- Anthony M. Esolen is a professor of English at Providence College and translator of classic works, as well as writer for magazines including the Claremont Review of Books and Touchstone Magazine, of which he is a senior editor. H/T Intercollegiate Review (IR) who shared this article with the editor. IR is published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and is dedicated to advancing the principles that make America free, virtuous, and prosperous. Tags:Anthony Esolen, New and Improved Law, Intercollegiate Review, Intercollegiate, Studies Institute, Life Under CompulsionTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Ted Cruz: Because of Iran Deal, Jihadists 'Will Use Our Money to Murder Americans'
Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) is a GOP
Candidate for President 2016
by David Brody: GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz says if the nuclear weapons deal with Iran goes through, the White House will become directly responsible for supporting terrorism around the globe.
“The Obama administration will become the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said. “Billions of dollars will flow to Iran. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. That means billions of dollars will go to Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis.”
The deal between Iran and the Obama administration has come under a barrage of criticism on various fronts. Lawmakers are especially critical when it comes to the provision of lifting the economic sanctions against Iran. “We will be allowing American dollars to go to jihadists who will use our money to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans,” Cruz says.
Congress is set to weigh in on the deal in the next two months, but already the Obama administration has taken the deal’s framework to the United Nations for approval, infuriating lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Cruz believes that the deal has the word “catastrophe” written all over it, and America could very well pay the price.
“This deal, if it goes through, will accelerate Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. It allows them to keep all 19,000 centrifuges, keep many of them spinning, keep much of the enriched uranium, keep developing ICBMs, and the ICBMs, the sole purpose of them is to carry a nuclear warhead to the United States of America. You don’t need a warhead to get to Israel. The only purpose of an ICBM is to cross the Atlantic and get to America.”
------------------- David Brody, the chief political correspondent at CBN News, contributes to The Daily Signal. Tags:Ted Cruz, Iran Deal, Jihadists. Our Money, Murder Americans, ICBM, David BrodyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
by Newt Gingrich: Secretary of State John Kerry entered politics 45 years ago on a platform of opportunistic anti-Americanism and false peace with totalitarianism. Then as now mistaking dishonor for political heroism, Mr. Kerry lied to the American people to justify his preferred policy of weakness and surrender. And as he proved this week, he’s still at it, with Mr. Kerry the “peacemaker” in the leading role.
Mr. Kerry himself drew the Vietnam connection at the close of the negotiations in Vienna, when each of the officials had the chance to speak about “what this meant to them.” According to Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Mr. Kerry told the room he saw the Iran deal as a part of the anti-war activism he has been engaged in since he was 22 — “that’s what this was all about.”
Is it any wonder, then, that a 1960s activist who told Congress, without evidence, that he had witnessed U.S. soldiers committing atrocities in Vietnam (and later conceded he hadn’t) now appears on Sunday shows as secretary of state to make utterly untrue claims about the administration’s surrender to Iran?
Indeed, almost every key point Secretary Kerry made in defense of the Iran deal on political talk shows this week was untrue.
Mr. Kerry claimed that Iran’s breakout time (the period required to have a full nuclear weapon) will “never go to zero.” But as Fox News Sunday pointed out, President Obama himself said in April that by the later years of the agreement, Iran’s breakout times “would have shrunk almost down to zero.” Mr. Kerry, apparently, is relying on some technicality to evade a fact even the president openly admits.
Mr. Kerry repeatedly claimed that “there is no country anywhere on this planet that has anywhere, anytime [inspections]. There is no such standard within arms control inspections,” as he put it on Fox News. “This is a term that, honestly, I never heard in the four years that we were negotiating,” he said on CBS. “It was not on the table.”
This is a shameless lie. “Anytime, anywhere” access has been a widely discussed component of the Iran negotiations. It is simply impossible to believe that Mr. Kerry has never heard the term. And in April of this year, a senior aide to the president on national security matters told Jake Tapper on CNN that “under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has.” The secretary of energy (with whom Mr. Kerry made several appearances on Sunday) told Bloomberg in April that “we expect to have anywhere, anytime access.”
This is just the beginning of an outrageous parade of untruths and dishonesty from Mr. Kerry about what the Iran deal actually says, what the U.S. initially sought, what concessions the administration made, and what officials have said in the past about their negotiations.
But what of Mr. Kerry’s closing statement in Vienna that the Iran deal is a triumph for peace — that it was about making sure a war like Vietnam never happens again? Well, his negotiating partners obviously do not see the deal the same way.
As the Middle East Media Research Institute reported, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reaffirmed in a television address last week that when Iran says “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” it really does mean it.
“The slogans of the Iranian nation on Al-Qods Day show what its position is,” he said. “The slogans ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ have resounded throughout the country, and are not limited to Tehran and the other large cities. The entire country is under the umbrella of this great movement [of ‘Death to America’].”
It is beyond alarming that Mr. Kerry — or anyone else in the Obama administration — can fail to take at their word fanatics who openly seek nuclear weapons while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” on national television. The deal is no victory for peace. It’s a surrender to a violent and dangerous regime.
---------------------- 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 Gingrich Productions. Tags:Newt Gingrich, John Kerry, lies, Iran, Nuke DealTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 23, 2015: The House reconvened at 10 AM today.
Potential bills for consideration today: H.R. 3009 - "To amend section 241(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to deny assistance under such section to a State or political subdivision of a State that prohibits its officials from taking certain actions with respect to immigration." H.R. 1599 — "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism, the labeling of natural foods, and for other purposes."
Yesterday, the House passed (H.R. 1734 — "To amend subtitle D of the Solid Waste Disposal Act to encourage recovery and beneficial use of coal combustion residuals and establish requirements for the proper management and disposal of coal combustion residuals that are protective of human health and the environment."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today again spoke out on the Iran Nuke agtreement. Boehner said, "“On Iran, we’ve come to learn about two secret side deals regarding the regime’s nuclear program. These side deals pertain to key issues such as Iran’s past nuclear activities and access to the Parchin military facility. Congress and the American people have a right and an obligation to review these side deals, and we sent a letter to the president asking his administration to make sure that those documents are available for Congress and the American people to review.
“But one way we know that this is a bad deal is because the more we learn, the more questions we have. You know, is America safer with a deal that provides the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror with more than $100 billion in cash? Is America safer with a deal that allows Iran to evade inspectors for at least 24 days, and possibly longer? Is America safer with a deal that lifts the embargo on ballistic missiles? And is America safer with a deal where, after 10 years, Iran will have an industrialized nuclear program?
“Will America be safer? If it’s even a question, I think it’s a bad deal.”
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill.
The Senate is in recess between 12:30 and 2:15 PM.
Last night, the Senate voted 62-36 upon reconsideration to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 22.
At 10 AM, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began a hearing on the Iran deal with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew testifying.
In the News: The Hill reports, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) want the administration to hand over two ‘side’ deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The two leaders joined Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) in a letter to Obama on Wednesday asking for the administration to hand over the agreements ‘immediately.’
‘The purpose of the Iran Nuclear Agreement review Act is to ensure Congress has a fully informed understanding of the JCPOA,’ the letter states, referring to the Iran deal. ‘Failure to produce these two side agreements leaves Congress blind on critical information regarding Iran’s potential path to being a nuclear power and will have detrimental consequences for the ability of members to assess the JCPOA.’
“The letter comes after National Security Adviser Susan Rice acknowledged the so-called ‘side’ agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
The Washington Examiner adds, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a floor speech that Congress has the legal right to review every part of the nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran.
‘The law gives Congress the right to review all of the elements of an agreement struck between the White House and Iran, and then take a vote on it,’ McConnell said. ‘The law is clear.’ He continued, "But the administration has not submitted the side agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran to the Senate, withholding the text from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress." . . .
“McConnell called on the Obama administration to immediately provide the details of the deal. ‘Congress cannot properly carry out its obligation to the American people until the administration fulfills its legal obligation to the American people, and to Congress,’ McConnell said.”
Beyond the side agreements, though, news reports today suggest the Obama administration is having trouble getting Democrats in Congress to quickly support its deal with Iran.
Politico writes, “President Barack Obama’s flood-the-zone strategy to sell his nuclear deal with Iran isn’t producing many immediate converts among a bloc of swing Democrats that will be critical to preserving the agreement. Though some liberal members in the House, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have already come out enthusiastically for the nuclear accord, the Democrats that will ultimately decide whether Obama’s deal survives a congressional review process have not tipped their hands yet. . . .
“[S]everal senators, including Cardin, said it would be at least several weeks before they take a final position.
“Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a Democratic leader, said it ‘would take us all a while’ before they settle on a position. And the fiercest Democratic critic of the Iran deal in the Senate, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, refused to even discuss Iran after the briefing. . . .
“In interviews, several Democrats said they at least need those two hearings and a couple of subsequent public events on Iran before they will come down for-or-against an Iran deal.”
The Hill adds, “The administration appeared to change few minds during a pair of closed-door briefings Wednesday on the deal that were led by Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
“‘We’re all in the process of understanding a very complicated agreement, and hearing from both sides — lots of sides — on this,’ Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said upon exiting Wednesday’s briefing.
“‘It’s fair to say there is bipartisan skepticism about whether Iran will meet its commitments under this deal, about whether the administration will hold them to it, and about what happens with all of Iran’s other activities which concern us so much,’ said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the head of the Armed Services Committee. . . .
“Depending on whether they are presented with a bill to kill the deal or endorse it, as much as half of all Democrats may break with the president, [Rep. Brad] Sherman [D-CA] speculated.”
And according to Bloomberg News, “New York Senator Chuck Schumer is in a rare predicament over President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran: He’s got nothing to say.
“Schumer, the characteristically outspoken Democrat in line to become his party’s next leader, is more consequential than just about any of the 14 or so Senate Democrats who may still be undecided over whether to back the deal. His clout in the chamber gives him the power to bring other lawmakers along.
“Yet he’s caught between a large Jewish-American constituency in New York skeptical of the accord and the Obama administration, which has begun a full-court press trying to safeguard Obama’s foreign policy achievement. . . .
“In the past few days, Schumer has brushed off reporters seeking his opinion on the agreement, repeating the same statement he made when the deal was reached July 14 that he’s going through it with a ‘fine-toothed’ comb.
“At home, Schumer has been pressured in particular by the New York Post, which in a July 20 editorial called for the three-term senator to make clear where he stands on the Iran deal. . . . During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, Schumer said he hasn’t decided yet either way, while warning he’s willing to buck the president when necessary.” Tags:Iran, Nuke Deal, secret, Side Deals, Congress, News Reports To 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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