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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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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 (429-347 BC)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - Nov 15, 2010 - Warning: Congress Back in Session - Democrats Still In Control

Warning: Congress is Back in Session and the Democrats are still in control for the Lame Duck sessions. The Senate will reconvene at 2 PM today. No votes are scheduled for today or Tuesday. At 4 PM, Senator-elect Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator-elect Chris Coons (D-DE) will be sworn in to fill out the remaining terms of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE), respectively.

On Wednesday, a cloture vote is scheduled for S. 3815, a bill concerning natural gas and electric vehicles. Next week House and Senate Republicans plan to hold their leadership elections.

The halls of Congress and various events around Washington are flooded with newly elected members of Congress - mostly Republicans - who are in town to attend their party's orientations and to participate in next week's party caucus leadership votes for the next session of Congress beginning in January, 2011.

As Democrats plan their final spending binge, Republicans this week will demonstrate that they are listening to the American people by voting on a proposal that would extend the current House Republican moratorium on earmarks. Last week, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) reaffirmed Republicans’ commitment to implementing an earmark moratorium in the new majority, and urged President Obama to press Congressional Democrats to hold a similar vote.

Responding to the grassroots voters and the actions by House leaders, today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joined them in supporting a ban on earmarks:
"Unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government. That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress. . . .

"Republican Leaders in the House and Senate are now united on this issue, united in hearing what the voters have been telling us for two years — and acting on it.

"This is no small thing. Old habits aren’t easy to break, but sometimes they must be. And now is such a time. With a $14 trillion debt and an administration that talks about cost-cutting, but then sends over a budget that triples the national debt in 10 years and creates a massive new entitlement program, it’s time for some of us in Washington to show in every way possible that we mean what we say about spending.

"With Republican leaders in Congress united, the attention now turns to the President. We have said we are willing to give up discretion; now we’ll see how he handles spending decisions. And if the president ends up with total discretion over spending, we will see even more clearly where his priorities lie. We already saw the administration’s priorities in a Stimulus bill that’s become synonymous with wasteful spending, that borrowed nearly $1 trillion for administration earmarks like turtle tunnels, a sidewalk that lead to a ditch, and research on voter perceptions of the bill.

"Congressional Republicans uncovered much of this waste. Through congressional oversight, we will continue to monitor how the money taxpayers send to the administration is actually spent. It’s now up to the President and his party leaders in Congress to show their own seriousness on this issue, to say whether they will join Republican leaders in this effort and then, after that, in significantly reducing the size and cost and reach of government. The people have spoken. They have said as clearly as they can that this is what they want us to do. They will be watching."
Last week, The New York Times reported, “As Obama administration officials put into place some of the new rules that go into effect under the federal health care law, they are issuing more waivers to try to prevent some insurers and employers from dropping coverage and also promising to modify other rules because many of the existing policies would not meet new standards. . . . Concerned about the potential disruption that would be created by enforcing the new rules, the administration has granted dozens of additional waivers and also made clear that it would modify other rules affecting these policies.”

So once again, the Obama administration is issuing waivers for its ill-conceived health care legislation. Regulations in the bill could force numerous employers to drop their health care coverage. The NYT noted, “Last month, federal officials granted dozens of one-year waivers that were aimed at sparing certain employers, including McDonald’s, insurers and unions who offer plans that sharply limit the coverage they provide. These limited-benefit plans, also known as ‘minimeds,’ fail to comply with new rules phasing out limits on how much policies will provide in medical care each year.”

This time, according to The Times, “Among the waivers recently granted were for employers like Darden Restaurants, which operates the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants, for 34,000 of its workers. Federal officials have granted 111 waivers to employers, insurers and union plans, who are responsible for covering about 1.2 million people. Darden said the waiver would allow it to offer employees access to affordable coverage as the health care law is started.” It was back in July that restaurants first started to realize that Democrats’ unpopular health care law might force them to drop their coverage.

It appears the administration was again faced with the choice of leaving these poorly-designed rules in place or yet again violating President Obama’s (repeatedly violated) pledge that “If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it.”

If the only way to allow millions of workers to keep their health coverage is to waive the rules set forth in Democrats’ health care bill for many companies, why even keep the rules at this point? This story is just the latest reason why that health care law should be repealed and replaced. As the Associated Press recently put it, ‘this is a promise that’s beyond the President’s power to keep.’” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated to CBS’ Bob Scheiffer recently, “This was a terrible bill.  We've got an obligation to those who gave us more authority in the Congress than we had last Congress . . . to try to repeal and replace this.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, Lame Duck, earmark reform, earmarks, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:16 PM - Post Link

1 Comments:

Blogger SummerRain said...

Well, how many of these 111 waivers were given to those who contributed to Obama or the democratic party? Good article.

11/15/2010  

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