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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)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Attempts To Bailout Imperiled Democrats

Today in Washington, D.C. - March 27, 2014:
Today, President Obama was in Italy visiting with Pope Francis while First Lady is in China.  Vice President Biden on oversight watch in Washington.

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate began consideration of H.R. 4152, the House-passed Ukraine aid bill.

At noon, the Senate voted 98-2 to adopt the Menendez-Corker substitute amendment containing the agreed-on provisions providing aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia but eliminating controversial IMF changes. The Senate then passed H.R. 4152, as amended, by voice vote.

The Senate then began consideration of the nomination of John Owens, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. At 1:45 PM, senators will begin a series of votes: on cloture on the Owens nomination, followed by cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 3979, a vehicle for considering an extension of unemployment insurance again, and finally on confirmation of the nomination of Matthew H. Tueller, to be U.S. Ambassador to Yemen.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 100-0 to confirm Christopher Cooper to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, 93-5 to confirm Douglas Harpool to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Missouri, 59-41 to confirm Gerald A. McHugh, Jr. to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and 69-31 to confirm Edward G. Smith to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The House reconvened at 9:00 AM.  Bills being considered today:
H.R. 4278 — "To support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4302 — "To amend the Social Security Act to extend Medicare payments to physicians and other provisions of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4278 — "To support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1459 (222-201) — "To ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applies to the declaration of national monuments, and for other purposes." It was passed principally along party lines. The bill addressed the abusive taking of land by the President and the agencies under the disguise of the National Monuments act, and more.

This morning, the Washington Post reported that "Attorneys for the House of Representatives concluded this week that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has legal standing to pursue contempt charges against former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner. The determination, outlined in a 22-page memo from the House’s general counsel’s office to committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), contradicts claims from the panel’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings (Md.), who has said Republicans effectively killed any chance of contempt proceedings by failing to take the constitutionally required steps required for such efforts."

While The Washington Times reports that, "John Koskinen, the man President Obama tapped to clean up the embattled agency, also said it will take years to respond to all of the document requests from Congress. He told Congress that even complying with a subpoena for emails from just a handful of key employees couldn’t be done before the end of this year because it takes time to have attorneys delete protected taxpayer information."

The American Center for Law and Justice — representing 41 plaintiffs who say IRS violated their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly — has identified that 13 of the 41 still not received tax-exempt status, with the oldest application being submitted in 2009.

Speaking on the floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell discussed Democrats’ transparently political agenda designed to distract form the failures of Obamacare.

“I want to start by acknowledging the Majority Leader’s candor yesterday in outlining his party’s agenda for the rest of the year — in admitting that he asked his party’s ‘political arm,’ the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, to come up with it. Maybe he didn’t intend to admit his party’s so-called agenda is actually a political gambit, or that it basically has one intent: to bail out imperiled Democrats – Democrats desperate to distract from how Obamacare is devastating the Middle Class. And yet, it slipped out anyway. But that wasn’t the only Freudian slip we heard at yesterday’s press conference. ‘When we play the political games that we're playing here,’ one of the Majority Leader’s top lieutenants said, Middle Class families ‘feel that we are detached from their priorities.’ I couldn’t agree more. Maybe this is why even the press isn’t taking this ‘agenda’ seriously. The New York Times reported that helping struggling Americans is ‘not really the point’ of Democrats’ agenda, and that a main goal is actually just ‘to energize the Democratic base’ and drive turnout in places they need to win in November. The Times also noted that the show votes associated with the Democrat agenda ‘will be timed to coincide with campaign-style trips by [the President].’ And according to The Washington Post, ‘Democrats hope to use the votes…as fodder…in hopes of staving off potential losses in several states.’ Look: It doesn’t get much more cynical than that – to demonstrate such a total lack of seriousness in such troubling times for the Middle Class. . . . So when they release a poll-tested, campaign-crafted Obamacare distraction ‘agenda’ packed to the brim with Lefty show votes – I think Middle Class families can tell whose side Washington Democrats are really on. And it’s not theirs.”

Indeed, as USA Today points out, “For Senate Democrats, the motivation to expand the debate is to quell GOP momentum in the midterms where Democrats are playing defense to retain their majority. ‘This agenda is what the American people want to hear. You folks all want to ask about Obamacare, but the American people, most of them, are not directly affected by Obamacare,’ [Sen. Chuck] Schumer [D-NY] told reporters. ‘They want to hear what we're going to do for them.’” Democrat leaders simply have shown no interest in lifting the burdens of Obamacare from American families and employers, as evidenced by Sen. Schumer’s completely out-of-touch assertion that most people aren’t affected by Obamacare.

However, other Democrats have finally suggested that maybe Obamacare isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They are, of course, only the group of Democrats facing voters in the fall. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Several centrist Senate Democrats, including some up for re-election this fall, are planning to push for changes to the Affordable Care Act—a move that has stirred debate within the party about whether making these fixes would keep the spotlight trained on the health law's flaws. Democrats in Congress have vowed to keep—and improve—President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, but their recent efforts have been overshadowed by controversial White House tweaks and delays. The last significant change to the law was the 2011 repeal of a tax-reporting requirement affecting small-business owners.”

Of course, the WSJ points out, “It is unclear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) would bring any of the bills to the floor. One worry is that devoting Senate debate to the health-care changes would return attention to the law's glitches, rather than refocusing attention on Democrats' core issues, Democratic aides said. So far the Senate hasn't voted on any of the three bills the House passed with bipartisan support earlier this month to make modest changes to the health law.” So it’s hard to take this as a serious effort to deal with the failures of Obamacare.

As Leader McConnell said, “Kentuckians, and the countless Americans suffering under Obamacare, need real solutions. Not gimmicks. Not base-pleasing ideology. Solutions.

“Look: Washington Democrats forced America’s Middle Class into this impossible situation. They basically blocked every reasonable attempt to reform this law – or to change it in any meaningful way. Yet now that Obamacare’s become politically difficult for them, they’re deflecting blame. Just this morning, we saw several imperiled Obamacare Democrats pen an op-ed that underscores the point. But Americans won’t be fooled.

“Americans agree that it’s time for Washington Democrats to work with us to remedy the mess they created — and that means repealing this law and replacing it with real reforms. It’s time for them to work with us on a real jobs agenda too – to take up the numerous jobs bills the House has already sent over and get them onto the President’s desk. Americans are fed up with the games and the tricks. They want serious solutions. You don’t need a campaign pollster to figure that one out.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., Obamacare, 2014 election, imperiled democrats,  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 1:25 PM - Post Link


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