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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, February 10, 2014

House Focused On Debt Limit Plan | Labor Unions Have Buyer’s Remorse On Obamacare | Baucus Now Ambassador to China

Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 10, 2014
The Senate will reconvene at 2 PM today and begin consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 1963, the Military Retirement Pay Restoration bill.  At 5:30 PM, the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. whether to take up) S. 1963.

On Thursday, Democrats failed to get 60 votes for their latest unpaid for unemployment extension plan, by a vote of 58-40. Also on Thursday, the Senate voted 96-0 to confirm the nomination of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to be ambassador to China.  We can expect Max Baucus to enjoy this payoff for services rendered to the Obama administration.  While Max is out of the Senate, he is being replaced  by democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh.  Hopefully, Montanans can correct this appointment error in the 2014 elections and elect  Republicans to the Senate, Governor and Lt. Governors office.  The democrat progressive agenda is no friend of Big Sky Montanans.  All they have to do is look to south and the changes occurring in Colorado.

Today the House will reconvene at Noon today.  The House may consider the following today:
HR 2431 — National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013
H Res 447 — Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine

Before getting lost in the following news reports,  consider our present Economic status:
Current Deficit: $174 billion
Current National Debt: $17.28 trillion
Debt Per Household: $141,118
Debt Per Individual: $54,430
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%

The workforce still has not fully recovered, the economy continues to limp along and American families continue to pay the price as the White House provides hollow assurances that everything is okay. This week’s CBO report that Obamacare will reduce the workforce by 2.5 million is further evidence that Washington is the biggest obstacle to a robust recovery. But, instead of admitting that this takeover of the health care system is tragically flawed, the Obama administration continues to double down on big government policies that aren’t working and with rhetoric that is increasingly disconnected from the reality facing most Americans.

The Washington Post reports that, "House Republicans will meet Monday night at the Capitol in a bid to finalize their debt-limit plan during a “special conference meeting,” per an internal GOP memo sent to lawmakers’ offices. According to three individuals familiar with the meeting’s agenda, House GOP leaders will ask Republicans to come together and pass legislation this week to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority, which is set to expire later this month.. . . "

"The decision to hold a Monday evening meeting — rather than waiting until the already planned Tuesday morning huddle inside their usual Capitol basement suite — highlights the growing sense of urgency for Republicans who face a truncated calendar ahead of the Feb. 27 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The House is set to adjourn Wednesday afternoon, first so Democrats can hold an issues retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and then all of next week for the planned recess week for all of Congress. If no decision is reached by Wednesday, the House is not slated to return for legislative action for nearly two weeks, just days before Lew’s deadline."

Over the weekend, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, “Union workers upset with President Barack Obama’s health care law might stay home this election year, hurting Democratic chances at the ballot box, according to union leaders who say their nonprofit insurance plans are being treated unfairly. D. Taylor, the head of UNITE HERE, which represents 265,000 members in casino, hotel, restaurant and laundry services nationwide, came away last week from Washington meetings angry at the Obama administration for allowing the Affordable Care Act to harm nonprofit health care plans like the union’s. ‘I’m not thinking about November elections, nor are my members,’ Taylor said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. ‘It’s almost impossible to get excited for any election with the loss of our health plans looming over us and no fix in sight.’ Danny Thompson, the executive secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, was just as blunt. ‘Union members have serious concerns with how the ACA will affect their plans,’ he said in a statement. ‘We have to prioritize. Workers will make the decision about elections. I can’t imagine the threat to their health plans won’t be a factor.’ . . . ‘Our members like their plans, period. They want to keep them, period,’ Taylor wrote in a scathing opinion piece Friday on Huffington Post. ‘It is stunning how little they (Obama administration officials) understand, or deliberately choose to obfuscate, the facts concerning their own health legislation.’ . . . [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid told reporters, ‘I’ll talk with D’ after learning Taylor met last week with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. ‘It was a fairly brief meeting, but it’s safe to say this is a good example of some of the president’s union constituents who were very enthusiastically for him who think Obamacare has been a disaster for them,’ McConnell said after the meeting.”

It’s worth recalling that these provisions that hurt union health care plans have been in Obamacare from the beginning, but Democrats set politically timed phase-ins on many of them. In fact, one of the components of the law expected to hit union health care plans the hardest, the tax on so-called “Cadillac” health care plans, isn’t set to hit until 2018. But as other taxes and regulations start to negatively affect the health care millions of Americans had and liked, unions are slowly realizing that they’re not immune.

On the editorial page, the Review-Journal editors opine, “If you thought Republicans hated Obamacare, you obviously haven’t talked to anyone in organized labor. Unions powered the ground game that elected President Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008. With the full-throated support of the rank and file, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act followed. Today, unions are feeling a killer case of buyer’s remorse. The law’s onerous mandates and taxes are increasing costs for union health plans. Some private-sector union members face the possibility of losing coverage altogether and being sent to Obamacare exchanges for high-cost, high-deductible health insurance — without subsidies. And the law has undermined the 40-hour work week, a standard unions take credit for creating. D Taylor, the Las Vegas-based general president of UNITE HERE, parent union of the Culinary Local 226, and Terry O’Sullivan of the Laborers’ International Union of America, sent a letter two weeks ago to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reading in part: ‘It would be a sad irony indeed if the signature legislative accomplishment for an administration committed to reducing income inequality cut living standards for middle income and low-wage workers.’ Mr. Taylor told The Washington Post last month, ‘We want to hold the president to his word: If you like your health care coverage, you can keep it, and that just hasn’t been the case.’ On Tuesday, Mr. Taylor took the step of formally introducing himself to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. If that doesn’t send a powerful message to Sen. Reid, nothing will.”

The editors conclude, “If nothing else, this nasty spat proves that GOP opposition to Obamacare is not rooted in political opportunism. The Affordable Care Act is a terribly conceived, terribly written law that can’t be fixed. It is causing great economic harm to businesses, households, individuals and, yes, unions.”

As Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman, said on Fox News Sunday when asked about Obamacare, “I think any law you pass that discourages people from working can't be a good idea. Why would we want to do that? Why would we think that was a good thing? How does that allow people to prepare for the time when they don't work? . . . I didn’t vote for it. I don’t think that it has the capacity to work. But all the numbers as they come out exceed the bad news that had been anticipated.”

Tags:  U.S Senate, Max Baucus, Ambassador to China, Montana, Us House, Debt Limit, CBO, Obamacare, lost jobs, Unions, buyers remorse, Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:11 AM - Post Link


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