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News Blog 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. 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 "Blog" - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use Doctrine is posted & used.
Blogger/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)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

ObamaCare and the Danger of 'Let It Fail'

Norvell Rose, Liberty News TV: With all the budget-battling, back-stabbing and general brouhaha on Capitol Hill about funding/defunding ObamaCare, there are those who say, "Let it fail." Commentator Norvel Rose responds, "That's a very risky strategy...and could be a trap for O-Care opponents."

Tags: Obamacare, Dangers of Let It Fail, Norvell Rose, Liberty News TV, video To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

#FairnessForAll: One Year Delay Protects All Americans from ObamaCare

Speaker John Boehner's Office: In advance of today’s votes on keeping the government open, paying our troops, and stopping as much of ObamaCare as possible, our latest video – “Fairness For All” – underscores why Senate Democrats should follow our lead and delay the president’s health care law for all Americans – not just big businesses. For example:

It’s driving up costs.
The president said his law would save the typical family $2,500 – in reality, millions of Americans face rate shock as premiums soar. In fact, according to Forbes, analysis shows “Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent.” [SEE MORE]

It’s hurting our economy.
Democrats said the law would be a boon for our economy, but “small- and medium-sized businesses are not hiring because of” the president’s health care law, reports CNBC. Some companies have “threatened to cut payrolls to below the 50-employee threshold, or switch some full-time workers to part time,” says the Star-Ledger. And the law’s medical device tax – which the House will vote today to permanently repeal – could ship an estimated 43,000 American jobs overseas. [SEE MORE]

It’s jeopardizing access to care.
The president said if you like your plan you can keep it, but “a growing number of workers won’t get to keep their employer-provided coverage,” says POLITICO. Many firms are simply dropping coverage. “Consumers could see long wait times, a scarcity of specialists and loss of a longtime doctor,” says the LA Times. [SEE MORE]

The American people don’t want it.
Americans’ views of the president’s health care law “are as negative as ever,” according to a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center survey. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds that the majority of Americans (52 percent) believe the president’s health care law “will result in their health-care costs increasing.” Even Democrats who supported the law are turning against it.

Even the president admits it isn’t ready for prime time.
Not only has the president signed seven bills repealing or defunding parts of his law – he’s delayed several provisions, including mandates on big businesses. As Speaker Boehner has said, “How are we going to give big businesses in America a break, without giving individuals and families the same break?”

Tags: ObamaCare, Jobs, Economy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

House Will Vote on Plan to Keep Government Open, Stop ObamaCare

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following joint statement:

“The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare. That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible.

“The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas.

“Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th. We will also vote on a measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what.

“We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”

Tags: Speaker John Boehner, U.S. house, stop Obamacare, keep Government open To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tying Debt Limit to Cuts & Reforms Has Public Support, Bipartisan History

In the Weekly Republican Address, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) detailed the bipartisan history of coupling an increase in the debt limit with spending cuts and economic reforms – a common-sense policy with broad public support.
Transcript of Rep. Rodgers Comments:Right now, we have a golden opportunity to fix the problems coming out of Washington.

By an overwhelming margin, Americans believe any debt ceiling increase should be coupled with solutions that help solve our debt and grow our economy.

Republicans have put forward a plan that does just that. It contains cuts and real reforms to build a 21st century economy – from approving the Keystone pipeline and fixing our outdated tax code to delaying the president’s health care law.

Our bill also increases the debt limit. The best way to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States is by strengthening it – which is what our plan does.

Coupling an increase in the debt limit with efforts to rein in spending is common sense – so much so that it’s been used by presidents from both parties.

President Reagan did it in 1985 when he signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction bill.

Five years later, President Bush reached a budget deal with a Democratic Congress that included a debt limit increase.

President Clinton reached a similar agreement with a Democratic majority in 1993, and with a Republican majority on the balanced budget agreement of 1997

Finally, President Obama himself worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction deal tied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011. It has its flaws – including the ‘sequester’ the president devised and insisted on – but it has cut spending.

Unfortunately, the president is now demanding that we increase the debt limit without engaging in any kind of bipartisan discussions about addressing our spending problem.

He wants to take the easy way out – exactly the kind of foolishness that got us here in the first place. As we know, it’s hardworking people like you who would ultimately pay the price for business as usual through higher taxes, higher prices, and fewer jobs.

To reiterate, every major deficit reduction effort of the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit. This time should be no different. If anything, it’s more important than ever if we’re serious about getting people working again and protecting our children’s future.

Thank you for listening.

Tags: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Representative, Washington, Weekly Republican Address, debt Limit, Spending Cuts To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Is America Partisanship Good Of The People? If So, What Happened?

by Drs. David Corbin and Matthew Parks, Contributing Authors: After watching Wednesday’s Obamacare debate, we aren’t surprised to learn that 60 percent of Americans, according to the latest Gallup survey, believe the federal government is too powerful. In fact, it has now been more than eight years since fewer than half of Americans wanted to reduce the power of government.

And yet, since 2005, federal spending has grown 58 percent, the federal bureaucracy has added more than 100,000 to its ranks, and the cost of complying with its regulations has increased 59 percent – and all this before the full implementation of Obamacare.

That means in a period when more than half of Americans thought the government was too powerful, it has grown much more powerful still.

How does this happen in a republic? A momentary poll result can perhaps be safely ignored, but a sentiment sustained over eight years, through four congressional elections and two presidential contests? Plainly, something is wrong when the direction of the government and the sentiments of the people diverge to such an extreme degree.

In fact, several things are wrong. As we argued in an earlier essay in this series, the American governing class has become a “super-faction,” pursuing its good at the expense of the American people, as Congress’s special Obamacare deal illustrates. At the head of that group is President Obama, implementing a Progressive program that is purposefully and inherently divisive, the work of a faction-builder-in-chief.

But there is a less comfortable reality we can’t afford to ignore: the role that we, the people, have played in normalizing the politics of faction.

The authors of the The Federalist Papers hoped and believed that a republican people would welcome an honest assessment of its vices insofar as the exercise produced a healthy re-examination of its political choices and, ultimately, promised greater security for its rights and liberties. Since, in James Madison’s words, faction is “sown in the nature of man,” we cannot wisely consider ourselves free from its temptations.

Near the end of Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville argued that “a democratic government . . . increases its prerogatives by the sole fact that it endures.” Time brings about increased centralization of power – even in a society where most people want a small and limited government.

Again: how could this be? With his usual keen insight into democratic peoples, de Tocqueville identifies the problem [emphasis from the author]:

“Democratic centuries are times of attempts, innovations, and adventures. There is always a multitude of men engaged in a difficult or new undertaking that they pursue separately, without bothering themselves about those like them. They do indeed accept for a general principle that the public power ought not to intervene in private affairs, but each of them desires that it aid him as an exception in the special affair that preoccupies him, and he seeks to attract the action of the government to his side, all the while wanting to shrink it for everyone else.”

What de Tocqueville suggests is that there is something missing from the Gallup poll’s results. Most people think that government is too powerful – but not in the areas where they benefit from special programs, favorable regulations, or tax law carve-outs. Most people want a smaller government – except where a little more power might shift resources in their direction.

Meanwhile, the government always wants more power. So it gladly obliges as many individuals and groups as it can – and is always ready to oblige more when resources allow. Over time, therefore, the government always wins – and we pay a big price for our small hypocrisy.

The American people might be forgiven for some of this failure. For too long, the establishment leaders of both major parties have ignored, excused, and sometimes encouraged factious behavior for their short-term political benefit. Instead of making an appeal to the American people as a whole, they carve us up into various groups (economic, ethnic, religious, etc.), peddling focus-group-tested proposals and slogans that scratch where each group itches. When the smooth operators behind the candidates calculate that the next president will be determined by three counties in Ohio, there is no end to the particular appeals calculated to please the winners of this political lottery.

Once upon a time in America, our political leaders took a different approach. Their campaigns were still rough, their differences still sharp, but in the spirit of Federalist 10 they sought, at least on their best days, to “refine and enlarge the public view” by pointing the American people to a common good above all particular interests.

Consider that after co-authoring the Federalist, a work that condemns factious behavior, Alexander Hamilton and Madison founded the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties, respectively. These parties were at odds with one another.

Had they forgotten their earlier admonitions against faction?

No. Both Hamilton and Madison pursued policies (tending to the young nation’s fiscal health and political stability on the one hand, and working to preserve the republican character of its politics on the other hand) that they thought would best secure the American people’s God-given liberty. And neither man swerved from his belief that this required an “impartial and exact execution of the laws.”

In other words, Hamilton and Madison were partisan in the best sense of the word: advancing a particular program aiming – not in pretense, but in fact – to achieve the good of all.

American politicians in our day pursue policies with a very different aim. Too often we are tempted by the prospect of personal gain to go along with it. We may go along with today’s pseudo-Hamiltonian state builders because we think the government’s strength is our security. We may go along with today’s pseudo-Jeffersonian equalizers because we think that others’ good luck or hidden corruption too often limit our success.

But instead of the best of these two American traditions, we get the worst: the unholy marriage of Hamiltonian means with Jeffersonian ends called for by Progressive giant Herbert Croly, an “alliance between two principles” that Croly rightly understood and hoped would “not leave either of them intact.”

Through a coordinated effort by elites from both political parties, the media and the academy, the Progressives succeeded in their effort to reinterpret, and thereby remake, the first principles of American politics. But there have been exceptions to their rule that give us hope.

Calvin Coolidge, at the height of the Progressive ascendancy, reminded Americans that self-evident truths don’t expire. He led a dramatic reduction in government spending from its Woodrow Wilson-era high. He called upon the American people to work and save – and they responded, producing an extended period of growth and prosperity. A powerful people, rather than a powerful government.

Coolidge’s example reminds us that a trans-factious politics is possible to the degree both sets of political actors – statesmen and citizens – are willing to consider every policy, law, regulation, or governmental activity on the basis of whether it furthers the common good or benefits individuals seeking their own advantage.

We will not thrive as a healthy and prosperous political community unless modern-day Coolidges take on the entrenched interests of Washington culture and the enormous state that feeds them. But just as surely, these statesmen will not be successful in this effort unless they can draw upon the reserves of an American people no longer willing to buy in to a faction-driven politics that has left us divided and broke with a government more powerful than ever.
Dr. David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Dr. Matthew Parks is Asst Professor of Politics at The Kings College (NYC). The both earned their Ph.D.s in Political Science at Boston University. In addition to numerous publications they are the co-authors of The Federalists Today  (Facebook - Twitter and a contributed this article to the ARRA News Service. The article first appeared in The Blaze.

Tags: Founders, Our Republic, warnings, federal spending, federal bureaucracy, Calvin Coolidge, Federalist 10, America Partisanship, Obamacare, David Corbin, Matthew Parks To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Understanding The Federal Budget And Appropriations Process

What if Congress passes and the President signs 5 of the 12 bills? Are they included in a shut down or a CR? The answer to that is "no". ~ Randy Neugebauer

U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer
by Randy Neugebauer: As a continuation of our ongoing series about Congress, I would like to discuss the federal budget and appropriations process. In recent years, this process has been somewhat disjointed and unreliable. In other years, it has worked quite smoothly. In this email, I will try to explain how the process was designed to work and why, in recent years, we have had so many problems.

The federal budgeting process starts each year when the President outlines his vision for federal expenditures in a budget document submitted to Congress. There is no requirement for Congress to use this document or its priorities, but it gives the President an opportunity to make his spending preferences known.

As you know, however, it is Congress that has the power to control how America's tax money is spent. In the spring of each year, the House drafts a budget resolution. This is a document which outlines the Congressional priorities for spending. It focuses less on specifics of individual programs and more on overall spending levels. To compare to a family's budget, it might provide for $12,000 per year for housing, $10,000 a year for food, $2,500 a year for clothing and $1,500 for an annual vacation. The federal budget resolution might allocate $100 billion for defense programs, $50 billion for transportation projects and $10 billion for education. Of course, this is a simplified example as the actual budget resolution has thousands of priorities and provides an overall blueprint for how the money would be spent for each of them.

After the budget resolution priorities are set, the appropriations process begins. There are 12 appropriations bills broken into various categories. There are Defense Appropriations, Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations and Military Construction Appropriations bills, just to name a few. Each of these bills are considered within the Appropriations Committee and they actually fund the individual priority programs within each bill. For example, while the Budget Resolution says that we will spend $100 billion on defense programs overall, the Defense Appropriations bill actually breaks down the individual programs and priorities and decides how much money each will get. The B-1 Bomber might get $100 million for its operations, while the F-16 gets $150 million. The numbers I am referencing are only examples for the purpose of this discussion.

Congress and the Appropriations Committee set spending priorities for each of the 12 bills and for all of the programs that fall within each category. Once a bill has been voted on by Appropriations Committee Members, it is passed from the Committee and sent to the House Floor for all members to vote on. Members have an opportunity in committee or on the House Floor to offer amendments to each bill if they have a priority or program they would like to see funded differently. Once each bill passes the House, it is sent to the Senate where they make changes. If there are differences, the bill could either be sent back to the House for a new vote with the Senate's changes or it could be sent to a House-Senate Conference Committee which would be formed to work out the differences.

As you may know, Congress must complete its work on the 12 appropriations bills by the September 30th deadline. When this work is complete, the federal government is fully-funded and all of the priorities are set at funding levels that make most everyone happy. More likely, however, is the case that only some, or even none, of the bills are finalized by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. This is most likely to occur when the House and Senate are led by different party leadership and there is no agreement on spending priorities. We have seen a lot of this in recent years, particularly since the House has been regularly completing its business on Appropriations bills while the Senate has been failing to consider them at all.

When the appropriations bills are not completed in time for the September 30th deadline, there are a couple of options. First, Congress can pass what is known as a Continuing Resolution or a "CR". Generally, a CR continues the same funding levels from the previous year for a period of time into the next fiscal year, this is commonly known as a "clean" CR. However, different funding levels can be chosen in a CR if all of the parties ultimately agree. The most recent CR that was signed into law in March 2013 which is set to expire in a couple of days, locked in reduced federal spending levels. Alternatively, spending levels can be increased. These changes are unusual in a CR, but can and do occur. Ultimately, if Congress cannot agree upon a CR or finalize the 12 annual appropriations bills, then the government will shut down and there will not be funding for these programs until a CR or the 12 bills are passed and signed into law.

You might wonder, what if Congress passes and the President signs 5 of the 12 bills? Are they included in a shut down or a CR? The answer to that is "no". If Congress passes and the President signs into law the Defense Appropriations bill, then even if the rest of the bills are not finalized, defense programs will be funded at the levels outlined in the law. During government shutdowns in the 1990s, this occurred. Several of the appropriations bills were finalized as a part of the regular appropriations process before September 30th. Those programs went on unaffected during the shutdowns. However the programs in the remaining bills that were not completed were impacted and government services were closed in those categories until a new agreement in a CR or a finalized appropriations bill were reached.

In recent years, it has been less and less common for the House, Senate and the President to finalize appropriations bills because the spending priorities are so far apart. As you know, the President and many Democrats are unconcerned about skyrocketing federal deficits. In general, they want more spending for programs like ObamaCare. Republicans want to bring federal spending levels down dramatically to improve our country's finances for current and future generations. In most past years, Congress and the President have been able to eventually come together to find common ground and find spending levels that are acceptable enough to be signed into law. In recent years, as you know, this has been increasingly difficult. This weekend, as the September 30th deadline nears for 2013, we are approaching one of those times when common ground has yet to be reached.

One additional term that has been used frequently in recent years is the debt limit. The debt limit is not formally a part of the federal budget process, but it has received so much attention recently that I thought I would explain it here. The debt limit is similar to a family's credit card limit. Like some families, America is spending more money than it earns. When a family reaches its credit card spending limit and wants to spend more, it has to call the credit company and ask for permission. Our national debt limit is no different. When the Treasury Department/Administration are nearing the national limit on what they are allowed to spend, they must reach out to Congress and notify Members that we are nearing our credit limit. Congress may then act to allow Treasury to borrow more or it may say "no". When you hear of Congress and the President negotiating over the "debt limit", we are essentially negotiating over whether or not and/or by how much to increase America's credit card limit.

You might wonder why has this has become such an issue recently; if you are like most Americans, up until the past few years, you had probably never even heard of the debt limit. The reason for this is because in most of the recent decades our spending hasn't been out-of-control. During the early 1990s, there were even some years the federal government ran a surplus. So, there was no need to raise the debt limit. And when there was, it took years and years to spend enough to need an increase. However, in recent years, our government has been running huge $1 trillion deficits annually. Because of these spending levels, we are exceeding our credit limit much, much faster than we have ever done so before.

Like you, I am deeply concerned about how we spend money in America right now. I believe that we need to run our country like families and businesses and live within our means. We should not use CR's to fund the government, but instead we should get our budget and appropriations bills done on time so we can set spending priorities that make sense for the long term. We should keep our borrowing and spending under control so we do not need to increase our credit card limit every few months. My pledge to you is that my colleagues and I will continue to fight this President and Democrats in Congress to get our federal spending back under control. Our nation deserves nothing less and neither do our children and grandchildren.
Randy Neugebauer is the U.S. Representative for Texas's 19th congressional district, having served since a special election in 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes a large swath of West Texas, including Lubbock and Abilene. According to a 2011 survey by the National Journal, Neugebauer is "the most conservative" member of the House.

Tags: Randy Neugebauer, Federal Budget, Appropriation Process, appropriation process, continuing resolutions, debt limit  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Rafael Cruz At The NFRA 2013 Convention Prayer Breakfast

NFRA - Rafael Cruz, father to Ted Cruz, spoke at the 9-15-13 prayer breakfast at the NFRA (National Federation Of Republican Assemblies) Convention. This is a must see, must share video addressing the failure of the Church to stand on issues.  He address the Constitution and the decline in America.

At several points he addresses Dr. Jerry Johnson, president of Criswell College, sitting in front of him.

Tags: NFRA, NFRA 2013 Convention, Dallas, Texas, National Federation of Republican Assemblies, Prayer Breakfast, Rafael Cruz To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Five Ways Obamacare Could Impact You in Five Days

Tags: Obamacare, impact, 5 days To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Government - Spending - The Final Episode

Bankrupting America:

Tags: government spending, spending, the government, spend it or loose it, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Dems Add Funding For Obamacare to Continuing Resolution And Returns It To The House

Today in Washinton, D.C. - Sept. 27, 2012
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed consideration of H.J. Res. 59, the House-passed continuing resolution (CR).

At 12:30 PM, the Senate will begin a series of four votes on H.J. Res. 59: a vote on cloture on the bill, a vote on waiving budget points of order against the bill, a vote on the Reid substitute amendment (which would remove Obamacare defunding and debt prioritization language) and then a vote on final passage of the bill. If the bill is amended before passage, wit will be sent back to the House for consideration.

The Senate voted 79-19 to end debate on a short-term spending measure and moved ahead towards final passage. The Senate passed a short-term spending bill Friday after voting 54-44 to restore funding for President Obama’s health-care law, sending the measure back to a fractured House just four days before a threatened federal government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Democrats would reject any conservative add-ons that Boehner might attach to the funding bill.

The House reconvened at 9 AM today. They took up and passed the following bills:
H.R. 1412 (402-0) - Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2013
H.R. 3096 (403-2) — "To designate the building occupied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation located at 801 Follin Lane, Vienna, Virginia, as the "Michael D. Resnick Terrorist Screening Center"."

The House will adjourn early today and return tomorrow, Saturday, at 10 AM to address the Senate anticipated amended version of the House passed Continuing Resolution which funded the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Yesterday the House passed:
H.R. 3095 (405-0) — "To ensure that any new or revised requirement providing for the screening, testing, or treatment of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders is adopted pursuant to a rulemaking proceeding, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2600 (410-0) — "To amend the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act to clarify how the Act applies to condominiums."

During President Obama’s latest campaign-style rally yesterday to attack Republicans and promote Obamacare, the president said, “All right, let me just wrap up by saying this:  Like any law, like any big product launch, there are going to be some glitches as this thing unfolds.” And sure enough, as the administration scrambles to implement this unpopular law, there have been many prominent “glitches” this week.

In fact, just minutes after Obama wrapped up his rally, news came that the administration was announcing another delay due to problems with implementing the law. Reuters wrote, “The U.S. government on Thursday announced new delays in rolling out President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, saying small business and Spanish-language health insurance enrollment services would not begin on October 1 as planned.” BuzzFeed noted, “Small businesses that wish to enroll in the exchanges to purchase health insurance for employees will be forced to fax, call, or make purchases for their employees in person.” The AP adds, “In a potentially more significant delay affecting the law's larger insurance market for individuals, the administration quietly told Hispanic groups on Wednesday that the Spanish-language version of the website will not be ready to handle online enrollments for a few weeks. . . . ‘Every step in the implementation process has seen delays and setbacks,’ Kevin Kuhlman, a top official of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement. ‘This is starting to seem like a parody; unfortunately, it is extremely serious.’”

BuzzFeed noticed the absurdity of the whole situation and headlined its piece, “White House Delays Obamacare While Attacking Republicans For Trying To Delay Obamacare”

Of course, these newest delays aren’t the only problems that have popped up for Obamacare just days before the administration wants the exchanges to open. Reuters writes, “Earlier this month, health insurers complained of problems displaying basic information about the plans they will sell on federally run exchanges in 36 states. Among states that will run their own exchanges, Colorado, Oregon and the District of Columbia pared back their launches to address technical problems.” The “basic information” the exchanges can’t display? The costs to consumers of these new plans. As The Washington Post wrote about the District of Columbia exchange, “While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to the their premium prices until mid-November. The delay comes after the District marketplace discovered ‘a high error rate’ in calculating the tax credits that low- and middle-income people will use to purchase insurance on the marketplace.” The reporter, writing at Ezra Klein’s liberal blog for The Post, admitted, “This certainly is not good news for Obamacare, especially in the wake of the other reports on similar glitches at the federal level. The Obama administration has repeatedly promised that, starting on October 1, all Americans will be able to purchase insurance coverage on the new marketplaces. In the District of Columbia, that won't be true.”

Last week, a report in The Wall Street Journal suggested these problems could be widespread. The Journal wrote, “Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the government's software can't reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program. . . . If not resolved by the Oct. 1 launch date, the problems could affect consumers in 36 states where the federal government is running all or part of the exchanges. . . . ‘There's a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,’ said one senior health-insurance executive who asked not to be named. ‘Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they're seeing and the potential of them to stick around.’”

As Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said today, “I’m not sure if you’ve got a fax machine at home. Not many Americans do anymore. Neither do a lot of small businesses. So it seems a bit odd to tell small businesses they need to fax in – fax in – enrollment forms for Obamacare. But that’s just what the Obama Administration is now doing. Well, if I might paraphrase the President: The '80s called, and they want their health policy back.”

He continued, “Ironically, the same day the President was painting more rosy scenarios in Maryland, the Administration announced yet another delay in this law’s implementation. That’s about the time we found out about the fax machines. And all that follows the revelation of yet more exchange problems – this time with an exchange here in D.C. You might be able to take any one of the many Obamacare problems in isolation and explain it away, say it doesn't matter, call it just an ‘anecdote.’ But what we’re getting here is a constant drip-drip, paired with the effects we’re seeing on jobs and health care and the economy. And it all adds up to one thing: a law in trouble. A law that needs to be repealed. That’s the goal of every member on this side. We’re united on the need to repeal Obamacare. We want to replace it with sensible, bipartisan reforms that will actually work. And in a few minutes, each and every one of us will vote against funding Obamacare.

Leader McConnell concluded, “The problem here is that we can’t get that done unless some of our friends on the other side are prepared to step up and work with us on this issue. That doesn't mean we’ll give up the fight if they don’t. We won’t. There are a lot of other things we can do in the meantime. For instance, we can follow the Administration’s lead in offering an Obamacare delay for the American people. After all, the Administration seems to think businesses deserve a break from Obamacare. Doesn't the middle class deserve the same treatment? Republicans think so. And I think we might be able to convince enough Democrats to join us on that – to help us provide fairness to the middle class. Yesterday, one Democrat Senator already signaled his willingness to delay some of the worst aspects of the law as well. He called a delay for the American people ‘very reasonable and sensible.’ And he posed a question: ‘Don’t you think it’d be fair?’ . . . That’s a question for my Democrat colleagues – many of whom know how badly this law is hurting their constituents. Isn’t that just the fair thing to do? Of course it is. So I’m calling for Democrat Senators to put the middle class ahead of the President’s pride. I’m calling for them to help us pass a delay for everyone. We’ve already filed legislation that would do just that. A bipartisan majority of the House supports it. Let’s work together to do it. Then, once we get that done, let’s keep working to get rid of this law and replace it with real reforms.”

Tags: US Senate, continuing resolution, Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

$43,000 Per Household In National Debt In Last 4 Years . . .

. . . Debt Ceiling Raised Seven Times Under President Obama
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Did you know that since President Obama came into office, the debt limit has been raised seven times?

With those increases, Congress has added $43,000 in debt for every American household in just the last four years.

And now the debt limit deadline is looming again. Treasury will run out of tricks to keep paying the bills on October 17, Secretary Jack Lew announced yesterday.

Instead of pursuing significant spending cuts and entitlement reforms that are desperately needed to get spending under control, House Republicans reportedly are proposing to suspend the debt ceiling for more than a year, which would add $1.1 trillion to the debt.

So, take that $43,000 per household that was added in the last four years and tack on another $8,800 per household.

What happened the last time Congress raised the debt ceiling? Did they accomplish any meaningful spending cuts before increasing the debt limit? In a word, no:

Congress and the President last suspended the debt ceiling from February 4, 2013, through May 18, 2013, adding $300 billion to the national debt in less than four months. Their only request was that the Senate produce a budget for the first time in four years, which it did. No savings were accomplished.No savings. This is unacceptable. 

As Heritage’s Romina Boccia, the Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, wrote yesterday:Congress should implement spending cuts and entitlement reforms before—or as part of—an increase in the debt ceiling. Lawmakers still have time to put forth a plan that puts the budget on a path to balance and avoids a debt crisis today and in the future. The clock is ticking.LEARN MORE: Debt Limit: Options and the Way Forward.

Tags: congress, debt, Debt Ceiling, debt limit, entitlement reform, federal budget, Jack Lew, national debt, path to balance, President Obama, Republicans, spending, spending cuts, Video, Heritage Foundation, Amy Payne To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

2-to-1: Americans Want Spending Cuts & Reforms on Debt Limit Bill

by Don Seymour:  Despite the more than $6 trillion that’s been added to the debt on his watch, President Obama has been out demanding a so-called “clean” debt limit increase, insisting he “will not negotiate” in a bipartisan way over needed spending cuts and reforms that will strengthen our economy.

Turns out the American people don’t like that so much.

By a 2-to-1 margin, a broad majority of Americans “disagree with President Barack Obama’s contention that Congress should raise the U.S. debt limit without conditions,” says Bloomberg News. “Instead, 61 percent say that it’s ‘right to require spending cuts when the debt ceiling is raised…’”

The sentiment is bipartisan, “shared by almost three-quarters of Republicans, two-thirds of independents, and a plurality of Democrats,” says Bloomberg.

Our economy under President Obama is weak, and the debt has increased more during his administration than during the eight years before and more than all the debt that had been accumulated through all of American history prior.

So, attaching spending cuts and pro-growth measures to a debt limit bill is not only popular, it’s necessary – and has been done by presidents of both parties for decades.

In fact, “every major deficit reduction plan over the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit,” says Speaker Boehner. “This time should be no different. In fact, I think it’s more important than ever.”

By a 2-to-1 margin, the American people agree.

Tags: Americans, spending cuts, reforms, debt limit bill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Government's Endless Orgy of Spending

Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: I frequently marvel that a loon like Nancy Pelosi could have become Speaker of the House and is currently the House minority leader. Recently she said, “The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that. We cannot have cuts just for the sake of cuts.”

This is dishonesty on a galactic scale. It also provides an insight into why, short of the mandatory sequestration that went into effect last year when Congress could not come to any agreement on any cuts, the government continues to spend money in ways that are just short of criminal.

In July, a Rasmussen poll determined that 62% of likely voters thought the government should cut spending in response to the nation’s economic problems. That percentage was actually down from the previous month’s 65% and was the lowest support for reduced spending since August 2012.

That same month, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll revealed that 83% of Americans disapproved of the job performance of Congress. Approval of President Obama’s job performance was closely divided between 45% approval and 50% disapproval.

There are any number of think tanks and citizen’s organizations that keep tabs on government spending, but their periodic reports and news release seem to have no impact whatever. That’s something that members of Congress and others inside the Beltway know.

At a time when Republicans and Democrats will lock horns over raising the debt ceiling and the President thinks that any effort to defund the Affordable Care Act is the result of the Republicans “messing with me” and not a reflection of how widely disliked Obamacare is, it is instructive to look at just a few of the ways public funding is being regularly and routinely squandered in ways that are obscene.

As just one small example, one good way to save taxpayer dollars would be to shut down the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is spending $5.7 million on a project to develop card games, videos and other “educational” programs “to engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.” The Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) was established by Congress in 2009 and, to date, it has already spent $46 million on the “threat” of something that doesn’t even exist, global warming.

One of the NSF’s grants went to a study of what motivates workers, love or money? It cost $179,784. Another NSF grant, $2.25 on Tasmanian Devil facial tumors. This is an animal native to an island off the coast of Australia nowhere else. Part of another a half-million dollar grant was used to develop a video game the stimulated a high school prom. The NSF funded $350,000 to Purdue University to study how golfers could improve their game.

The NSF may take top honors for insanely wasteful programs and projects, but there is hardly a single department of the government that does not do the same thing. All that whining and wailing about sequestration was really about having fewer dollars to waste and fewer people with which to waste it.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration lets 5,700 pieces of unused security equipment sit in storage in a Dallas, Texas warehouse. Worth $184 million, it costs the TSA $3.5 million annually to lease the space.

As Obamacare expands the role of the Internal Revenue Service and we learn how some of its administrators targeted, denying or delaying, a common tax-exempt status to conservative groups routinely granted to all manner of other kinds of organizations, let us not forget the $4.1 million the IRS spent in 2010 on a lavish conference for employees.

The Department of Agriculture awarded a $149,000 grant to researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey to study how to eliminate the “freshman 15” extra weight that these students pack on when they can eat anything and as much as they want.

Morocco must have one heck of a good lobbyist because the Labor Department spent $1 million there to improve “gender equality” in the workforce there. The State Department spent $450,000 to develop “green jobs.”

Dave Ramsey, who advises people on radio, TV and in print on how to manage their personal finances, has said, “The fact is that government can get out of debt the same way you get out of debt. You quit borrowing money. You quit spending. You balance the budget. But to do all of that, you’ll need to make some sacrifices.”

The only reason sequestration went into effect was because a blue-ribbon panel of members of Congress could not agree to any reductions in spending.

Now we must endure a few weeks of meaningless political haggling to increase the debt ceiling while the government continues its orgy of senseless spending on projects and programs like those noted above.
© 2013 Alan Caruba. Alan is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, "Warning Signs" disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Government, less Orgy Spending, endless spending, spending, Nancy Pelosi, warning signs, Alan Caruba To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

For the Children

by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: Obama, comments, For the Children, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Train Wreck: Obamacare 'Premiums Test Limits of Affordability’ -- Excessive 'Copayments And Deductibles

Train Wreck Continues
Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 26, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed consideration of H.J. Res. 59, the House-passed continuing resolution. Last night, the motion to proceed to H.J. Res. 59 was agreed to by unanimous consent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the bill and filled the amendment tree (closing off amendments).

Unless an agreement is reached by unanimous consent to hold it earlier, the Senate will vote on cloture (to cut off debate) on the CR on Friday. Yesterday, the Senate voted 100-0 in invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.J. Res. 59.

The House convened at 10 AM. The House will take up as unfinished business bills which have been addressed but not voted on.

Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1961 (280-89) — "To amend title 46, United States Code, to extend the exemption from the fire-retardant materials construction requirement for vessels operating within the Boundary Line." They also approved H.R.527 with a Senate Amendment (367-0) - "A bill to amend the Helium Act to complete the privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a competitive market fashion that ensures stability in the helium markets while protecting the interests of American taxpayers, and for other purposes." The amended version of the bill passed (97-2).

At a press conference with Republican leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) previewed upcoming House legislation – the Spending Control & Economic Growth Act – that will tie an increase in the debt limit to spending cuts and pro-growth reforms, a policy backed by the majority of Americans. At the briefing, Boehner also urged the Senate to approve House-passed legislation protecting all Americans from the president’s health care law. Following are Boehner’s remarks:
“Listen, the American people don’t want the president’s health care bill and they don’t want the government to shut down. Republicans are listening, we passed a bill last week that would do just what the American people have asked. It’s time for the Senate to listen and pass the bill that we sent over there.

“On the debt limit, we’re going to introduce a plan that ties important spending cuts and pro-growth reforms to a debt limit increase.

“Now the president says, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.’ Well, I’m sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. We’re not going to ignore Washington’s spending problem and we’re not going to accept this ‘new normal’ of a weak economy, no new jobs, and shrinking wages.

“So, we need to strengthen our economy for all Americans - and we need to deal with Washington’s spending problem.”
Speaker Boehner (R-OH) also responded to today’s report from the Joint Economic Committee analyzing the economic and deficit reduction effects of various reforms included in the House’s plan to increase the debt limit – the Spending Control & Economic Growth Act, expected to be formally introduced in the House this week. The report concludes that, taken together, these policy changes will result in considerable economic growth and, therefore, deficit reduction.“To tackle our debt and put us on a path to a balanced budget, we need to both cut spending and strengthen our economy. We've long said that economic reforms must part of the solution to our imminent debt crisis, and this report confirms that our pro-growth policies will not only create jobs, but also produce significant deficit reduction. While most of Washington’s flawed and outdated budget models don’t recognize it, good policy leads to economic growth, which means more revenue and less borrowing. There should be little doubt that the reforms included in a House debt limit package, paired with real spending cuts, will ensure the deficit is reduced by an amount greater than the debt limit increase.”NOTE: The report from the Joint Economic Committee concludes, “The Spending Control and Economic Growth Act includes a host of pro-growth policy reforms that will address some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the American economy. The scoring conventions used by JCT and CBO do not consider the fiscal effects of changes in economic growth due to the enactment of legislation. The fact is, however, that passage of this legislation will lead to increased economic output, higher revenue for the federal government, and less federal borrowing. Using CBO’s own growth-to-deficit reduction estimation, the Spending Control and Economic Growth Act will produce a significant increase in federal revenues and contribute to the Speaker’s goal of reducing federal budget deficits by more than the federal debt ceiling is increased.”

Tomorrow, the Senate will be voting to end debate on the continuing resolution. Technically, this is the Senate's last chance to temporarily stop Obamacare before it goes into effect. The last chance to defund in full the Medicaid expansion and the insurance subsidies under the state exchanges.  The last chance to stop the screw-up of the best health care system in the world, and to keep you on your insurance policy of choice. Today, Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens urged every senator to vote "no" on ending debate on the continuing resolution that will continue funding for Obamacare. In reality this unlikely to happen. Mehrens said:
"Some Senate Republicans have come forward arguing that it is unfair to characterize those who oppose Ted Cruz's battle to defund Obamacare as supporting Obamacare. Yet, how else should one characterize a vote to close debate on a continuing resolution that ultimately allows Obamacare to be funded?

"Cloture is the only vote that matters in the Senate. Any senator who votes 'yes' on cloture, is casting a vote that will allow Obamacare to be implemented — it is undeniable. That is the only vote the American people are going to care about. If you vote 'yes' for cloture, you support Obamacare.

"It is puzzling that Senate Republicans would then point to the difficulties of passing legislation as the excuse why the Cruz effort is doomed and should have never been attempted, when their alternative is most certainly doomed to failure. Sen. John Cornyn argued on the Sean Hannity program that Republicans just need to get a Senate majority in 2014, and then they could send legislation to Obama that deals with Obamacare, ignoring the fact they will still most likely lack the votes to even get to cloture on such a bill and most certainly will lack the votes to overcome a presidential veto.

"Then, the argument will be that Republicans just need the presidency to undo Obamacare, ignoring the fact that in 2016, the GOP will be even less likely to get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — something they have never accomplished — than they are in 2014. So, even if they win the White House, when Democrats filibuster any attempt to undo Obamacare, then the argument will again be they just need more senators to be elected in 2018 to get the job done.

"To follow the Cornyn so-called strategy to its conclusion, the earliest the American people might be able to deal with Obamacare would be in 2019, when it will have been the law of the land for almost a decade. In effect, the Senate Republican strategy to get rid of Obamacare is to allow it to be implemented. It accepts failure as its premise, and to call it plan is the most cynical, condescending trick of all, when it is simply surrender."
Today, President Obama held another of his campaign-style rallies about his unpopular health care law where, in between mocking Republicans and declaring he won’t negotiate on the debt ceiling, he tried to downplay the problems the law has had as “glitches” and claimed it would allow Americans to purchase health insurance “for the cost of your cellphone bill or less.”

Apparently the president didn’t check the news before he went out for his speech. In a story headlined, “Obama’s $3,000 Health-Law Premiums Test Limits of Affordability,” Bloomberg News writes today, “Health insurance under Obamacare will cost individuals at least $2,988 a year on average, a price that Republican opponents may target as out-of-reach for many Americans who don’t qualify for U.S. subsidies. While the $249 monthly payment is intended to be discounted through tax credits, less than half of people now buying insurance on their own may get that help.”

Politico reports, “Consumers may have to dig a little deeper into their wallets to pay for health care in the Obamacare insurance exchanges, according to a new analysis by Avalere Health. The study of six states suggests that consumers could face steep cost-sharing requirements — like co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles — layered on top of their monthly premiums.” The AP adds that “the added expense of copayments and deductibles could burn a hole in your wallet,” noting, “Americans looking for a health plan in new state insurance markets that open next week will face a trade-off familiar to purchasers of automobile coverage: to keep your premiums manageable, you agree to pay a bigger chunk of the repair bill if you get in a crash. Except that unlike an auto accident, serious illness is often not a self-contained event. Avalere also found that the new plans will require patients to pay a hefty share of the cost — 40 percent on average — for certain pricey drugs, like the newer specialty medications used to treat intractable chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.” Politico points out that “deductibles for typical exchange plans can run twice as high as the average employer-sponsored plan” and “The study also suggests exchange enrollees could see higher drug co-pays and co-insurance than those in employer-sponsored plans.”

Kaiser Health News summarized the problem well in an interview with a woman in upstate New York: “Michelle La Voie wants health insurance, but as a single mom making $38,000 a year and supporting two teenagers, she's not sure she can afford it -- even with a subsidy through the federal health law known as Obamacare. When enrollment in new online insurance markets begins next month, La Voie will likely qualify for a subsidy to buy private insurance, but would still have to pay $191 a month, or about 6 percent of her income toward the premium. She could also face as much as $2,000 in potential out-of-pocket costs for hospital care and prescription drugs, if she needs those things. ‘What’s the point of having [a policy] if I can’t afford to use it?’ asks the 47-year-old librarian in upstate Franklinville, N.Y., referring to the co-pays and deductibles she might incur.”

Meanwhile, the “glitches” the president is constantly dismissing keep piling up. The Washington Post reported last night, “Just days away from launch, the District of Columbia's health marketplace is announcing a pretty significant delay. While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to their premium prices until mid-November. The delay comes after the District marketplace discovered ‘a high error rate’ in calculating the tax credits that low- and middle-income people will use to purchase insurance on the marketplace.” Reuters elaborated, “The District of Columbia's online health insurance exchange - one of 51 set up under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law - will be unable to perform two key functions when it opens on October 1, exchange officials announced on Wednesday. The District joins Colorado and Oregon on the list of ‘Obamacare’ exchanges hobbled by problems with information technology (IT), contributing to expectations that Obama's signature domestic achievement will get off to a slow start when the exchanges go live next Tuesday. The ‘DC Health Link’ web-based marketplace, where residents of the nation's capital who do not have other coverage will be able to purchase policies, will lack the ability to calculate whether someone is eligible for Medicaid. It will also be unable to calculate the size of federal subsidies, if any, that a customer qualifies for. . . . Not being able to learn how much of a subsidy one qualifies for could therefore be a significant deterrent to applying for coverage.”

Embarrassingly, right after Obama finished promoting his health care law, Politico reported, “The Obama administration is delaying another piece of Obamacare – this time postponing online enrollment in some of the small-business exchanges scheduled to open Oct. 1,. . . Small businesses looking to enroll in coverage on so-called SHOP exchanges run by the federal government will be able to submit a paper application on Oct. 1 – they just won’t be able to enroll online.”

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell surveyed the health care landscape that Obamacare has left. “[I]t must be frustrating for the President that folks seem to keep tuning out all the happy talk anyway. Well, it’s not hard to see, frankly, why Americans aren't buying the spin. Over the past couple of years, I've participated in more than 50 health care town halls in my home state. I've met with health care professionals, doctors, and nurses. I’ve met with patients. And I've met with everyday Kentuckians– folks who are just concerned about providing health care for their families. . . . And let’s be clear – a person doesn't need a Ph.D. to understand that a law that drives costs up, rather than down, is a bad deal. Kentuckians understand that new government bureaucracies are less likely to lower costs and improve care than they are to just simply get in the way. And so it is for these and so many other reasons that Kentuckians – and people right across this country – are rightly concerned about Obamacare.”

He continued, “We’re going to keep seeing articles like the one that appeared earlier this week in Politico. It’s titled ‘Obamacare: One Blow after Another.’ And I want to read the opening paragraph: ‘The Obamacare that consumers will finally be able to sign up for next week,’ it says, ‘is a long way from the health plan President Barack Obama first pitched to the nation.’ Among other things, the story notes that ‘millions of low-income Americans won’t receive coverage’ and ‘and a growing number of workers won’t get to keep their employer-provided coverage.’ And just yesterday, we heard that the District of Columbia’s exchange hit a huge bump in the road, just days before launch. I wouldn't be surprised if we see more stories of these types of problems popping up all across our country.”

Leader McConnell concluded with another call for Democrats to join with Republicans and vote to undo the damage they've done with Obamacare. “[T]his law is a mess. It needs to go. It’s way past time to start over. And, as I've been saying all week, we need just five brave Democrats to join with us to make that happen. So I hope some of my Democrat friends who voted for this law will look themselves in the mirror and think – truly think – about whether protecting the President’s pride is really more important than helping the American people.”

Tags: Obama care, funding, Continuing Resolution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

McConnell: No Congressional Subsidies for Obamacare

by Todd Beamon, NewsMax: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that members of Congress should not receive any taxpayer-financed subsidies to pay for Obamacare.

"I don't think members of Congress ought to be treated any differently in any way from anybody else in America," the Kentucky Republican told former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett on his morning radio program. "We should not get any carve-outs from Obamacare." . . .

McConnell said he supported legislation proposed by Republican Sen. David Vitter that would require all members of Congress, the president, vice president, and Obama administration appointees to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchange without the subsidies.

Vitter, of Louisiana, has also charged other Capitol Hill lawmakers with "lying" to their constituents when claiming that no Obamacare exemption exists for themselves or their staffs.
Sen. David Vitter attacked fellow Capitol Hill legislators on Thursday for "lying" by telling constituents that no Obamacare exemption exists for them and their staffs.

"Some are lying, trying to mislead the public about the Obamacare exemption for Congress," the Louisiana Republican said in a statement published by The Daily Caller. "President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress and congressional staff to get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels.

"That’s an exemption, plain and simple," he said.

Vitter has long opposed federal Obamacare subsidies for lawmakers and their staffs. He has proposed an amendment that would require all members of Congress, the president, vice president, and Obama administration appointees to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchange without taxpayer-funded subsidies, the Daily Caller reports.

To illustrate his point, Vitter's office released a letter that fellow Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, wrote to a constituent. The idea that legislators are getting special treatment on Obamacare "could not be further from the truth," Landrieu said.

"Once again, let me assure you that there is no exemption for Members of Congress and their staff in the [Affordable Care Act], nor will I ever support an ‘exemption’ for myself or my staff," Landrieu wrote, according to the Daily Caller.

But in a letter Vitter wrote to the same constituent, he said: "Senator Landrieu is trying to mislead you, to put it kindly. Others might say she is lying."

"As you have no doubt read, President Obama recently issued a special rule for Congress only," he added. "Under it, Congress and congressional staff get a special subsidy to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange unavailable to every other American at similar income levels.

"That special subsidy is worth approximately $11,000 per family," Vitter claimed.
b"I'm totally opposed to any preferential or special treatment for members of Congress when it comes to Obamacare,” McConnell said. . . . [Full Story]

Tags: Obamacare, Congressional subsidies To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obamacare Coming After Your Wallet

Obamacare’s High Premiums, Copayments And Deductibles Poised To ‘Burn A Hole In Your Wallet’

Obamacare ‘Premiums Test Limits of Affordability’
“Health insurance under Obamacare will cost individuals at least $2,988 a year on average, a price … out-of-reach for many Americans who don’t qualify for U.S. subsidies. … less than half of people now buying insurance on their own may get that help.” (“Obama’s $3,000 Health-Law Premiums Test Limits of Affordability,” Bloomberg, 9/25/13)
Obamacare ‘Copayments And Deductibles Could Burn A Hole In Your Wallet’
“Consumers may have to dig a little deeper into their wallets to pay for health care in the Obamacare insurance exchanges, according to a new analysis by Avalere Health.” (“Exchanges May Have High Out-Of-Pocket Costs,” Politico, 9/26/13)
“‘What’s the point of having [a policy] if I can’t afford to use it?’ asks the 47-year-old librarian in upstate Franklinville, N.Y., referring to the co-pays and deductibles she might incur.” (“Some Say Obamacare's 'Affordable' Coverage Isn't Affordable For Them,” NBC News, 9/24/13)

“An independent analysis released Wednesday, on the heels of an administration report emphasizing affordable premiums, is helping to fill out the bottom line for consumers.” (“Health Law Policies That Offer Low Premiums Come With High Deductibles And Copayments,” AP, 9/24/13)
“…deductibles for typical exchange plans can run twice as high as the average employer-sponsored plan.” (“Exchanges May Have High Out-Of-Pocket Costs,” Politico, 9/26/13)

DC Exchange Announces ‘Significant Delay,’ Citing ‘A High Error Rate’
“Just days away from launch, the District of Columbia's health marketplace is announcing a pretty significant delay. While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to the their premium prices until mid-November.” (“D.C.’s Obamacare Fail: Prices Won’t Work Until November,” Washington Post, 9/25/13)

Tags: Obamacare, your Wallet, your money, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schlafly: Obama’s War On Coal

Obama Declares a War on Coal
by Phyllis Schlafly: Campaigning for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President in Oregon (a must-win state in the Democratic primaries), Barack Obama toadied to environmentally conscious voters. He said on May 17, 2008, “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times — and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

In one of those “other countries,” Australia, a political earthquake has just ended the six-year reign of the leftist Labor party, which had imposed a steep “carbon tax” on electricity bills. In September, Australians elected a new government pledged to ax that tax.

U.S. voters should learn a political lesson from the stunning Australian victory of Tony Abbott, a Christian conservative, whom the media predicted was unelectable because he is “a right-wing throwback to a bygone era.” His first act as prime minister was to abolish the tax-funded Climate Commission, and the Climate Change Authority will soon be disbanded.

On this side of the Pacific, Obama has not gotten the message and has escalated his war on coal. His new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Gina McCarthy, announced Obama’s plan to use executive power to bypass Congress and limit new coal plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide (an unattainable reduction from current emissions of about 1,800 pounds) per megawatt-hour.

Ms. McCarthy also announced a schedule to establish emissions limits on existing power plants to become effective within three years. She based the new rules on her assertion that “climate change — caused by carbon pollution — is one of the most significant public health threats of our time.”

That 2008 primary campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was very revealing about Obama’s plans to “fundamentally transform the United States.” On January 17, 2008, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would put an aggressive cap and trade system in place, “more aggressive than anybody else’s out there,” and that he is willing to let the coal industry go bankrupt.

Here are Obama’s words: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.” If he were serious about generating power without carbon emissions, he would promote nuclear energy instead of killing it.

Obama made clear his animosity against America’s high standard of living based on low-cost electricity. Continuing his revealing interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he said, “under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket … because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas…. Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. That will cost money.”

We did, indeed, pay more. USA Today reported in December 2011 that “Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity.” And electricity rates have continued to rise steadily since then.

Ms. McCarthy admitted to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that her agency is not able to determine whether or not its policies have affected the 26 indicators of global warning that the agency lists on its website. She claimed the new rules will “provide certainty” to the coal industry, but others are saying that the only “certainty” of Obama’s war on coal is that thousands of jobs will be lost.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) summed up the cost of Ms. McCarthy’s announcement: “If these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar and economic uncertainty will grow.”

All sides agree that lawsuits are coming and that Obama’s emissions rules will be decided in court. If we are a self-governing republic, how come judges can choose the victor in Obama’s war on coal instead of our elected representatives?

Obama’s standards are not achievable, emerging technology is too costly to capture all the carbon emissions, and the technology isn’t adequate to meet the Clean Air Act rules. Obama’s war on coal is only the start of his radical plan to reduce the U.S. standard of living by raising electricity costs, and a war on oil will probably be next.

And I can’t resist mentioning that Tony Abbott was not intimidated by any phony war-on-women rhetoric and said he personally would handle women’s issues. His enemies dug up Abbott’s comments from earlier years about virginity, abortion, and men and women having different abilities, but they didn’t bother the voters who like Abbott’s common-sense policies about global warming, immigration, and big government.
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, President Obama, War on Coal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

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