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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reactions to Obama’s Speech | CBS: ‘More Americans Than Ever Want Obamacare Repealed’

Today in Washington, D.C. - July 25, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM. Following two hours of morning business, the Senate began consideration of Derek West to be Associate Attorney General. and at 12:30 PM, voted 98-1 to confirm West.

The Senate then resumed consideration of S. 1243, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

Yesterday, over the objections of the most liberal Democrats, the Senate finally passed a bipartisan student loan bill (H.R. 1911), put together by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill passed by a vote of 81-18. Prior to the vote, the Senate rejected two alternative proposals offered by liberal Senators Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Boehner Praised the Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Student Loan Reforms which paralleled the principles of the previously passed House bill. Boehner said, “I’m pleased that Senate Democrats finally joined Republicans to pass a bill to provide a permanent, market-based solution on student loans. This bipartisan agreement is a victory for students, for parents, and for our economy, and it is consistent with the House Republican bill passed in May. I’d like to thank Chairman Kline and, especially, Representative Virginia Foxx for their work on this issue, as well as the bipartisan Members of the Senate that completed worked on this measure. The House will act expeditiously.”

The House convened at 9 AM and took up and passed at 11:41 AM by a vote of 265-155 H.R. 2218 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. No other floor business was planned for today.

Yesterday, the House passed (315-109) H.R. 2397 — "Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes" after today passing the following additional amendments (see prior list of passed amendments):
LaMalfa (R-CA)(235-188) - Amendment No. 51 - Provides that none of the funds made available in this act may be used to pay any fine assessed against a military installation by the California Air Resources Board.
Mulvaney (R-SC), Van Hollen (D-MD), Coffman (R-CO), Murphy, Patrick (R-FL) (215-206) – Amendment No. 55 - Reduces funds made available in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget by $3,546,000,000 to better correspond with the President’s request. Protects all amounts made available for the National Guard and Reserve Component Equipment modernization shortfalls for homeland defense and emergency response.
Walorski (R-IN) (238-185) – Amendment No. 62 - Prohibits any funds made available by this Act from being used to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Yemen.
Bonamici (D-OR) (264-154) – Amendment No. 65 - Prevents the retirement, divestment, transfer, or preparation to do so of C-23 aircraft used by the National Guard and to designate $34 million for the sustainment and operation of the C-23 aircraft in a viable state.
Brooks (R-AL) (Voce Vote) – Amendment No. 72 - Prohibits funds from this Act to be used to implement or execute any agreement with the Russian Federation concerning the missile defenses of the United States.
Speier (D-CA), Wilson (D-FL), Chu (D-CA), Eshoo (D-CA), Keating (D-MA), Brownley (D-CA), Esty (D-CT), Rush (D-IL), Schakowsky (D-IL), Walz (D-MN), Meng (D-NY), Maloney, Carolyn (D-NY), Braley (D-IA) (voice Vote) – Amendment No. 74 - Provides funds to identify individuals who were separated from the military on the grounds of a disorder subsequent to reporting a sexual assault and, if appropriate, correcting their record.
Speier (D-CA), Schrader (D-OR), Wilson (D-FL), Chu (D-CA), Eshoo (D-CA), Keating (D-MA), Brownley (D-CA), Esty (D-CT), Rush (D-IL), Schakowsky (D-IL), Walz (D-MN), Meng (D-NY),Maloney, Carolyn (D-NY), Braley (D-IA) (Voice Vote) - Amendment No. 75 - Provides $10 million in additional funds to increase training for investigators to properly investigate sexual assault related offenses.
Radel (R-FL) (Voice Vote) – Amendment No. 97 - Prohibits the use of any funds with respect to military action in Syria to the extent such action would be inconsistent with the War Powers Resolution.
Massie (R-KY), Amash (R-MI), Yoho (R-FL) – Amendment No. 98 (Voice Vote) - Provides that no funds made available by this Act may be used to fund military or paramilitary operations in Egypt.
Kilmer (D-WA) (277-142) – Amendment No. 67 - Protects DoD civilians' security clearances.
Pompeo (R-KS) (409-12)– Amendment No. 99 - Ensures none of the funds may be used by the NSA to target a US person or acquire and store the content of a US person’s communications, including phone calls and e-mails.

After passage of after passage of the Department of Defense appropriations bill, Speaker John Beohner (R-OH) said, “This measure is critical in our efforts to provide our men and women in uniform the resources they need to help protect our country, and I’m pleased it passed in bipartisan fashion. I am particularly pleased that members on both sides of the aisle worked together to preserve critical intelligence tools that have proven successful in preventing terrorist attacks and keeping America safe. This measure responsibly provides the necessary resources for our deployed troops in Afghanistan as well as the resources and authorities our military and intelligence professionals need to respond to the security challenges in Syria, Iran, North Korea and other dangerous places around the world. I commend Chairmen Rogers and Young for their work on this bill and call on Senator Reid to bring it to a vote on the Senate floor so we can do right by our troops, our intelligence professionals, and their families.”

Reactions to President Obama's Speech 
The Heritage Foundation addressed "three major whoppers Obama tried to sell yesterday": 1. Obamacare is going great, 2. "I cut the deficit in half", and 3. Middle-class income is stuck in the '70s.

Reacting to President Obama’s more of the same speech yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “[T]he President himself said his speech probably wouldn’t change any minds. Even the advisors who endlessly hyped this thing more or less conceded there wouldn’t be any ‘there’ there – no groundbreaking proposals, no tack to the center, no promise to finally start working collaboratively with Congress. Well, they were right. So, really, what was the point?

“Look: this President’s a good campaigner. . . . But, at some point, campaign season has to end – and the working-with-others season has to begin. At some point, you have to stop promising an ‘ocean of tomorrows’ and start actually working with the representatives of the people. Because let’s be clear: Americans aren’t worried about how many tomorrows there are to come, they’re worried about what those tomorrows will bring. The bills in tomorrow’s mail. The cuts in tomorrow’s paycheck. The affordability of tomorrow’s health costs. These are things that can’t be addressed with reheated speeches or clever quotes. They require actually working with people – including those you might not always agree with.

“For instance, going around telling people Obamacare’s ‘working the way it’s supposed to,’ or that it’s ‘fabulous’ or ‘wonderful,’ as several of our Democrat friends have done – well, that doesn’t change reality. It’s just words.”

And President Obama really needs to spend more time considering the reality of his signature, unpopular law.

The reality is Americans still don’t approve of Obamacare and don’t think it will help their families. CBS reports, “A new CBS News poll finds more Americans than ever want the Affordable Care Act repealed. According to the poll, 36 percent of Americans want Congress to expand or keep the health care law while 39 percent want Congress to repeal it - the highest percentage seen in CBS News polls. The poll also found a majority of Americans - 54 percent - disapprove of the health care law, 36 percent of Americans approve of it and 10 percent said they don't know about it. . . . The poll also found just 13 percent of Americans say the health care law will personally ‘help me’ while 38 percent said they believe the law will personally ‘hurt me.’” A National Journal poll sheds more light on that aspect: “The share of Americans who believe that President Obama’s health care plan will ‘make things better’ for the middle class, their own families, and the country overall has tumbled sharply since last September, underscoring the administration’s formidable public-relations challenge as it prepares to roll out the sweeping legislation’s key remaining elements. . . . [J]ust 35 percent of those surveyed in the new poll said they believed the law will benefit ‘people like you or your family,’ while 46 percent expected it would make things worse for them. That’s a decline from last September, when 43 percent expected improvement and 40 percent anticipated harm. Two other measures found even greater slippage. Just 36 percent of those surveyed say the law will ‘make things better’ for the middle class, while 49 percent say they expect it will ‘make things worse.’ That’s another steep decline from September, when 45 percent said it would help, and 40 percent said it would hurt, the middle-class. Likewise, the share of adults who say the law will benefit the country overall fell by a comparable amount. . . . Just 41 percent expect benefits for the country, while a 48 percent plurality believe the law will make things worse.”

It’s not hard to see why, as almost every day Americans the reality of Obamacare in stories about the law hurting workers. The Washington Post reports, “For Kevin Pace, the president’s health-care law could have meant better health insurance. Instead, it produced a pay cut. Like many of his colleagues, the adjunct music professor at Northern Virginia Community College had managed to assemble a hefty course load despite his official status as a part-time employee. But his employer, the state, slashed his hours this spring to avoid a Jan. 1 requirement that all full-time workers for large employers be offered health insurance. The law defines ‘full time’ as 30 hours a week or more. . . . The impact on Pace and thousands of other workers in Virginia is an unintended consequence of the health law, which, as the most sweeping new social program in decades, is beginning to reshape aspects of American life. . . . The state has more than 37,000 part-time, hourly wage employees, with as many as 10,000 working more than 30 hours a week. Offering coverage to those workers, who include nurses, park rangers and adjunct professors, would have been prohibitively expensive, state officials said, costing as much as $110 million annually. ‘It was all about the money,’ said Sara Redding Wilson, director of Virginia’s Department of Human Resource Management. . . . At a Capitol Hill hearing on the employer mandate Tuesday, Jamie T. Richardson, vice president of White Castle System, the Columbus, Ohio-based burger chain, said complying with the 30-hour rule would mean a 35 percent increase in the company's health-care costs. He said White Castle would probably adopt a policy ensuring that new hires work no more than 25 hours a week if the mandate goes forward as expected in 2015. . . . Officials in Utah’s Granite School District, which includes about 70,000 students in the Salt Lake City area, said their new policy limiting part-timers to 29 hours a week affected about 1,200 workers. Extending benefits to all of them would have cost the district $14 million annually, officials estimated.”

In northern Wisconsin, WJFW-TV reports, “ObamaCare will dig into the pocketbooks of part-time workers at one of the Northwoods' biggest employers. If Trig's Supermarkets hadn't cut part-time work hours, it would have been out of business within a year. That's what a consultant told the company. About two-thirds of the 1,100 Trig's employees are part-time workers. But if they work more than 30 hours a week, the president's health care legislation technically considers them full time. That means Trig's would be forced to provide health insurance to those workers. The report said keeping the work schedules as they were AND providing that health coverage would have been disastrous to the company's bottom line. ‘Doing nothing was not an option. It would have put us out of business. Within a year, it would have put us out of business. There's no doubt about that. So obviously we've had to make some changes,’ says Angie Dreifuerst, Trig's' Vice President of HR, Benefits, and MIS.”

Discussing these stories, Leader McConnell said, “So, if the President is ready to ‘pivot’ from campaign mode to governing mode, he can start by dropping the misleading claims and admitting what pretty much everyone knows: that a lot of Americans are going to feel pain once this ocean-full of tomorrows finally crashes ashore. Americans are worried. I don’t blame them. Just last week, as I often do, I met with employers from around Kentucky who expressed continued concerns about the impact this law will have on their operations. They want the Democrats who run the Senate to follow the House’s lead in delaying Obamacare for everyone – both businesses and individuals. They know it just makes sense to do so. And I know they want the President to sign the bill when it passes. I agree – he should. It would be a great first step toward implementing the permanent delay our country needs – a delay that would give Republicans and Democrats the chance to start over and work together this time on bipartisan, step-by-step health reforms that could actually lower costs.”

Tags: House, Defense Appropriations, Senate Student Loan bill, Reactions, President Obama's speech, Washington. D.C. 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 1:32 PM - Post Link


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