Central American Presidents Tell Congress They Want Their Children Back

Boehner Group Finalizing Border Security Plan; To See Floor Before August – Big Government

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A working group of lawmakers appointed by Speaker John Boehner is poised to recommend deploying the National Guard, amending a 2008 law requiring a lengthy deportation process, bringing in temporary judges to reduce a legal backlog and new border security measures to the GOP version of an emergency spending bill planned for floor consideration before the August recess.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), the leader of the working group, briefed Republicans at a closed-door meeting Tuesday, reporting on their trip to Guatemala and Honduras over the weekend where they met with each country’s president and from which tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are streaming across the southern U.S. border.

“The presidents of both countries, I met with them, our group met with them, they want their children back,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘please, send our children back!’” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a member of the working group and a key conservative lawmaker.

On the trip, the group was briefed by U.S. general John Kellly on the Mexico-Guatamala border. While witnessing individuals openly swim across the river border there, Kelly told lawmakers that drug cartels – some involved in financing terrorism operations – were directing and reaping the profits from sophisticated smuggling operations that had advertised the leniency of U.S. laws.

“There’s no doubt that the message went out, go cross the border now, the United States won’t do anything about it,” Granger told reporters after briefing colleagues. “That came, primarily, from the coyotes who were transporting these kids. These coyotes, it’s really something we weren’t prepared from, they sort of advertised – they actually advertise – as social workers. We’re going to help you take your kids out of the poverty and the danger they have in these countries and put ‘em in the United States where they will receive an education and be taken care of.”

Granger said she was surprised to learn that in Guatemala coyotes are charging between $6,000-$9,000 per person. Salmon said the group was told one coyote was making $50,000 a week smuggling children into the United States.

Since October more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. The vast majority of the illegal minors are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Last week President Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency appropriations to deal with the crisis, but Republicans have rejected the figure and set about crafting their own response.

“In terms of priorities, we’re on different planets,” Salmon said about the president’s border ask.

At a press conference following the meeting, Boehner himself was circumspect about his views on how to address the issue. Asked about his ideas for addressing the crisis, Boehner said “I’ve got lots of them.”

Rep. Hal Rogers, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who is in charge of crafting the actual legislation to be considered on the House floor, declined to say how much the GOP bill would spend, but said it would be less than the $3.7 billion the president has asked for.

“Well, we’re trying to put together a bill, first off, that makes sense and we can afford and does the right thing – humanitarian-wise and regarding the border,” Rogers said. “I am hopeful as we go along that this will become a bipartisan effort – and bicameral.”

He noted that the goal is to pass the bill before the August recess.

In the hours before the working group makes its final policy recommendations, the key issue still under discussion are proposals to help secure the border. One option under discussion is language from a bill sponsored by working group member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The bill has drawn fire from key immigration hawks, including the Heritage Foundation and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

McCaul said the bill was under discussion for inclusion in the proposal.

“Border security is part of this – a big part of this. The McCaul bill is going to be a big factor, that’s all I can tell you,” said Rep. John Carter (R-TX), another member of the working group.

“I think border security issues are going to be part of it,” Salmon said. “Whether it’s going to be that language or some other language remains to be seen.”

On the general approach of the group’s policy recommendations, McCaul said “We want to swiftly and humanely return them to their home. Only until we do that will we stop the flow. So we need a message of deterrence. We need to look at more border security measures. We’re going to need a surge of judges, whether it be retired judges or special masters to process these cases more expeditiously, because it takes four or five years now. We’re looking at all of those components and working with the countries of origin in terms of their capacity to take these kids back, and also with Mexico and Guatemala to help secure their southern border so they can’t make that journey through Mexico.”

He added, that as Boehner and others have pushed, the group will “certainly” be including the deployment of the National Guard in its proposal. Granger said that the National Guard proposal will be an important factor.

“We’ve got border patrol people trying to do a good job but they’re so overwhelmed by the number of people coming across that they’re taking care of children and filling out forms, and so we need National Guard to add more bodies to what’s happening at the border” Grander said, adding that immigration cases need to be adjudicated much more quickly.

“An average case with someone coming across the border illegally, going through the process we have will take between a year and half to as long as five years. Well with 57,000 unaccompanied children, that’s just unacceptable,” she continued. “So we’ve got to change that. Which means, changing not the process so much but adding the people that help with that process – more judges to hear those cases, there’s some – not adding permanent, but often time retired judges. There are different categories that can do that to make sure that that goes faster.”

Salmon reiterated the need to “plug the holes” with the National Guard, where Border Patrol has been moved to deal with children.

“It’s not that you have to have more people to catch them. But the cartels are playing bait and switch,” he said. “Make no mistake, it is the cartels that are basically overseeing these coyotes that are smuggling in the people and they are making a ton of money off of this.”

After the House GOP Conference meeting, members of the working group said they were on their way to meet with Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson.

The working groups’ recommendations will come as Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) works with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) on a separate bill to deal with the crisis by, in part, change a 2008 human trafficking law that has made removing unaccompanied minors from Central America very difficult.

The pair’s legislation would, according to Cornyn, “improve the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008, treating all unaccompanied minors equally and ensuring Due Process under the law in a timely, fair manner.”

According to Brady, the bipartisan bill has been “well-received” and many Republicans have pointed to the 2008 law as ripe for tweaks. Indeed, Salmon, one of the most conservative members on the working group, introduced a bill to alter the law last week.

However, the bill is drawing scrutiny from conservative outside groups who are anxious about the details of legislation drafted and enacted in a crisis environment.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Lois Lerner Warned IRS Employees To Hide Information From Congress

GOP: Lerner Warned IRS Employees To Hide Information From Congress – Washington Times

Just as the IRS tea party targeting scandal was erupting, Lois G. Lerner warned colleagues to “be cautious” about what information they put in emails because it could end up being turned over to Congress, according to an email message released Wednesday.

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The 2013 email exchange between Ms. Lerner and fellow employees at the Internal Revenue Service also says that instant message conversations were probably never stored and weren’t checked during open-records requests – even though they also fell under the law requiring electronic records to be stored.

“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails,” Ms. Lerner wrote in an April 9, 2013, message.

She went on to ask whether the instant message communications were stored automatically. When a tech staffer said no but the records could be stored if employees copied them, she replied, “Perfect.”

“Why did it take us this long to get these emails? We’ve been after this for six months,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who raised the emails with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing Wednesday.

Mr. Jordan said the emails were part of a pattern of Ms. Lerner trying to hide her activities, following on the crash of her computer hard drive two years earlier, which erased thousands of messages.

Mr. Koskinen said he hadn’t seen the email before but questioned the connections Mr. Jordan was drawing.

“I don’t see anything in here where Lois Lerner says, ‘Wow, I got rid of my earlier emails and now I’ve got to check on it,’” the commissioner said.

Ms. Lerner’s email warning to colleagues to be careful about what they said in electronic communications issued less than two weeks after the IRS internal auditor shared a draft report with the agency accusing it of targeting tea party and other conservative groups.

A month after the email, Ms. Lerner would plant a question at a conference to reveal the scandal, just before the inspector general’s report was made public.

Ms. Lerner’s email was turned over to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week, more than a year after lawmakers sought it as part of their investigation into the IRS targeting.

Republicans said the email shows Ms. Lerner was aware that Congress was investigating the agency and that she was preparing to intentionally hide agency discussions from lawmakers.

Ms. Lerner’s email record has become a major scandal in and of itself after the IRS revealed that her computer hard drive crashed in 2011, causing the agency to lose thousands of her messages.

The IRS tried to recover some of the messages by asking others on the email chain to dig through their mailboxes, but the agency acknowledged that some messages may be permanently lost.

Some Republicans have questioned whether the IRS took enough steps to try to recover the emails from the hard drive in 2011.

The head of the National Archives testified to Congress that the IRS likely broke federal records laws by not storing Ms. Lerner’s emails properly.

IRS policy was to print out emails that constituted official records, but it’s unclear whether that ever happened.

Mr. Koskinen testified to Congress that he believed Ms. Lerner had printed out some emails. But Ms. Lerner’s attorney, William W. Taylor III, told the Politico online magazine that she didn’t know she was required print out emails and therefore did not do so.

On Wednesday, Mr. Taylor released a statement saying that “is not entirely accurate” and blamed a “misunderstanding.”

“During her tenure as director of Exempt Organizations, she did print out some emails, although not every one of the thousands she sent and received,” Mr. Taylor said.

“The facts are that Ms. Lerner did not destroy any records subject to the Federal Records Act, she did not cause the computer assigned to her to fail, and she made every effort to recover the files on the computer,” the lawyer said.

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Department Of Homeland Security Stonewalls Congress On ‘Hands Off’ Permitting Those With Terror Ties Into U.S.

DHS Stonewalls Congress On ‘Hands Off’ Permitting Those With Terror Ties Into U.S. – Washington Free Beacon

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is refusing to answer Congress’ questions about the existence of a secret terrorist “hands off” list that is said to have permitted individuals with terrorist ties easy entrance into the United States.

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The existence of the hands-off list was first publicized earlier this month by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who released a cache of internal DHS emails detailing the list’s existence and a discussion about permitting an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood to enter the United States.

The revelation that individuals tied to terrorists were given special treatment drew outrage among lawmakers and led U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), one of the agencies involved with the list, to hold a closed-door briefing with Grassley’s staff last week, according to a senior Senate source with knowledge of the meeting.

The Washington Free Beacon has further reported that the documents are part of a larger campaign by DHS and its former head Janet Napolitano to purge the internal security records of potentially hundreds of terror suspects, allowing them to more easily travel in and out of the United States.

When questioned by Grassley’s staff last week during the closed-door briefing, CBP officials refused to answer multiple questions about the purported “hands off” list, according to Grassley spokeswoman Beth Pellett Levine.

“The briefing on Tuesday yielded next to nothing,” Levine told the Free Beacon.

CBP officials would not address the specific emails detailing the “hands-off” list and maintained that no such record existed.

CBP’s attempts to explain “the discrepancy” between the internal emails released by Grassley – which specifically mentioned the existence of such a list – and the official denials by CBP leaders were “unpersuasive,” according to Levine.

CBP officials further refused to get “into details of the case,” making it virtually impossible for the senator’s staff to get concrete answers about the controversial list.

Grassley’s staff is currently working to organize “a more detailed briefing” during which specific details of the list can be revealed, according to Levine.

When asked about the briefing Wednesday, a CBP spokesman directed the Free Beacon to DHS for comment. DHS did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment on the issue.

The release of the heavily redacted communications – which were sent between CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – have sparked a debate about the Obama administration’s oversight of the nation’s borders.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon and had reviewed unredacted versions of the emails indicated that many files pertaining to foreign terror suspects might have been purged by DHS. Congressional investigators are said to be currently looking into the matter.

The specific emails released by Grassley detail an argument over the admittance to the United States of one alleged Muslim Brotherhood official who has been tied to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror groups.

While the individual in question had his name blacked out in the redacted emails, the Free Beacon reported that the person referenced is Jamal Badawi, a Canadian Islamist leader who has praised suicide bombing and is close to Hamas and Hezbollah.

“I’m puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the U.S. is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted,” one official wrote in the May 2012 emails released by Grassley.

“It doesn’t appear that we’ll be successful with denying him entry tomorrow but maybe we could re-evaluate the matter in the future since the decision to de-watchlist him was made 17 months ago,” the email said.

One of the unnamed officials later said: “Based on a review of the statements of the subject, I think it is clear that he [Badawi] meets the definition of endorsing and inciting.”

Grassley has been seeking to determine “how many people are on the ‘hands off’ list mentioned in the email” and “what qualifies someone to receive the ‘hands off’ designation?” according to a letter he sent to DHS officials.

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Conservative Journalist O’Keefe: Congress Has Contacted Me Over My Anti-Fracking Sting Film (Video)

James O’Keefe: Congress Has Contacted Me Over My Latest Anti-Fracking Sting Video – Gateway Pundit

Citizen journalist James O’Keefe from Project Veritas was on The Kelly File last night to discuss his latest undercover video released Tuesday. James was reporting from the Cannes Film Festival in France where he held a press conference today.

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O’Keefe told Megyn Kelly he was contacted by members of Congress regarding his latest anti-fracking report.

James O’Keefe: I think the nefarious thing about this film we did was they’re trying to stop our energy independence. And those Hollywood figures Ed Begley Jr., Mariel Hemmingway are OK with that and what’s worse is they’re using non-profit groups and (C)(3) groups to cover up from where the funding is coming from. Is that illegal? I know the senate has been investigating that very issue. So there are some serious issues here about the coverup of the funding and about how many movies in Hollywood are funded by these mystery groups.

Megyn Kelly: You tweeted out today that a senate committee has reached out to you over possible non-profit participation and coverup of this video. Is that true have you been reached out to by lawmakers?

James O’Keefe: I have been reached out to by lawmakers. I’m not allowed to give too much information at this point.

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IRS Finally Agrees To Provide Congress With All Of Lois Lerner’s Emails Since Tea Party Targeting Scheme Began

IRS Caves On Lois Lerner Documents, Will Provide Congress With All Of Her Emails Since Tea Party Targeting Scheme Began – Daily Mail

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The powerful House Ways and Means Committee will get everything from disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner’s email account since a few weeks before Barack Obama became president.

And Republican committee members are hoping they’ll find a smoking gun tying the Obama administration to the years-long scheme to play political favorites with nonprofit groups’ tax-exemption applications.

After eight months of back-and-forth stonewalling, the IRS has agreed to turn over the complete contents of Lerner’s email account, along with other documents that two congressional committees have been demanding.

‘If there’s not a Holy Grail email in this round of documents,’ a senior staffer to a Ways and Means committee member told MailOnline, ‘then we’re not going to find it.’

‘Whether that’s because Lerner covered her tracks or because the IRS is shredding documents, we’re probably never going to know.’

The committee’s chairman, Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp, seems eager to put his staff to work sifting through thousands of messages in search of an explanation for the program that has been a major embarrassment to the White House.

‘This is a significant step forward and will help us complete our investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups,’ Camp said Friday.

‘From the few Lerner documents we have received, we know that Washington, DC orchestrated the targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status, surveillance of existing tax-exempt groups and formed the proposed 501(c)(4) rules designed to push conservative groups out of the public forum.’

Camp warned the IRS in a February 24 letter that he would start issuing subpoenas if the agency didn’t turn over the documents he wanted.

The IRS has proposed a rewrite of its regulations governing communications restrictions on ‘public benefit’ organizations that are exempt from paying federal income taxes.

That redesign of the rules began long before Lerner herself exposed the IRS’s pattern of holding up right-wing groups’ applications, often with dozens of intrusive questions over several years.

The effects of the agency’s desired rule change would be substantial: Organizations would be prohibited from emailing information, or publishing anything online, about candidates’ voting records during the last 60 days before an election.

Tea party groups, which began their rise to prominence five years ago, comprised most of the organizations that the IRS targeted beginning in 2010. Their political free-speech concerns have driven more than 146,000 public comments to the IRS, demanding that the regulatory revisions be scrapped.

Cleta Mitchell, a board member of the American Conservative Union Foundation, said Friday during that organization’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference that the new rules would affect the event where she was speaking.

‘It would mean that in even-numbered years, CPAC could have no speakers who are candidates for office,’ she said, dumbfounded.

Mitchell, an attorney, is representing some of the tea party groups in lawsuits related to the IRS targeting scheme.

The House Oversight Committee, chaired by California Rep. Darrell Issa, has cast a larger public shadow than Ways and Means has on the IRS targeting scandal.

Lerner has appeared before Issa-led hearings twice, both times invoking her Fifth Amendment rights and refusing to testify, despite President Obama’s insistence in a February interview that the IRS displayed ‘not a smidgen of corruption’ in the damaging episode.

Becca Glover Watkins, the Oversight Committee’s communications director, told MailOnline that Issa’s and Camp’s committee staffers are working hand-in-hand.

‘The Oversight Committee and the Ways and Means Committee have worked in partnership during the course of this investigation,’ Watkins said.

‘We expect the IRS will also be delivering a copy [of the complete Lerner files] to the Oversight Committee.’

A spokesperson for the Ways and Means Committee told MailOnline that it was the new IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, who broke the inertia after months of requests.

‘We have been asking for the materials for months, and after many discussions the new IRS Commissioner has said the IRS will comply with the request,’ said the committee’s Sarah Swinehart.

Lerner ‘was clearly at the center of the IRS targeting and was running it out of the Washington, D.C. office,’ she added. ‘We expect her documents to provide a fuller picture of this.’

Koskinen took over the tax agency on December 23, ending a 13-month period during which two interim commissioners served as caretakers.

The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Corrupt 12-Term Democrat Finally Retires From Congress

12-Term New Jersey Democrat To Leave The House – USA Today

Democrat Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey plans to resign from Congress later this month to take a job with a Philadelphia law firm, according to multiple media reports.

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Andrews was first elected to Congress in 1990.

Last March, the House Ethics Committee said it would formally investigate allegations that Andrews, 56, improperly used campaign funds for personal use, such as a 2011 trip to Scotland for a wedding with his wife and two daughters. Andrews later repaid $30,000 in costs associated with the trip, according to investigative documents.

Andrews also used campaign funds to host a June 2011 event at his home that has been described as both a graduation party for his daughter and a celebration of his congressional service. He spent additional campaign money to travel to Los Angeles, where is daughter was pursuing an acting career.

The panel, which operates largely in secret, said it voted to create an “investigative subcommittee” to determine whether Andrews broke House rules.

Andrews has denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations “politically motivated.”

Had he remained in Congress, he would have been in line to be the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, since Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., has announced he is not running for re-election.

In 2008, Andrews mounted an unsuccessful primary challenge to then-Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

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Most Corrupt AG In History Bars Lead Investigator From Testifying Before Congress In IRS Probe

Eric Holder Bars Lead Investigator From Testifying Before Congress In IRS Probe – Gateway Pundit

The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:

* At least 292 conservative groups
* At least 5 pro-Israel groups
* Constitutional groups
* Groups that criticized Obama administration
* At least two pro-life groups
* An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
* A 180 year-old Baptist paper
* A Texas voting-rights group
* A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
* Conservative activists and businesses
* At least one conservative Hispanic group
* IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed

Despite the uproar the FBI closed the case on the IRS targeting scandal before interviewing a single one of the 292 conservative groups that were targeted.

And now Eric Holder will not allow the lead investigator in the case from testifying before Congress.

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Eric Holder’s DOJ said Thursday it will not allow the lead attorney in the IRS targeting investigation to testify before Congress.

The Washington Times reported:

The Justice Department said Thursday it is refusing to let a key lawyer testify to the House oversight committee on the criminal investigation into the IRS, saying that to let her brief Congress could potentially skew its probe.

But oversight committee Republicans said blocking lawyer Barbara Bosserman from testifying only makes the Justice’s investigation look more partisan.

After an internal audit last year revealed the IRS was unfairly targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and blocking their applications for tax-exempt status, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for a criminal probe into the tax agency.

Eight months later, the probe has shown few public signs of progress, and many of the tea party victims say they still haven’t heard from the FBI or Justice Department lawyers.

House Republicans said they were concerned about the direction of the probe, and Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and a subcommittee chairman on the House oversight committee, asked Ms. Bosserman to testify at a hearing next week.

The GOP has identified her as the lead lawyer on the investigation, and they have questioned her role, given her history as a significant political donor to President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Mr. Holder has denied Ms. Bosserman is the leader of the investigation and in a new letter to Mr. Jordan on Tuesday Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, Mr. Holder’s deputy, said Ms. Bosserman won’t be testifying, nor will the department let anyone else appear.

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Government Failures Congress Wants You To Fund This Year (Amy Payne)

Government Failures Congress Wants You To Fund This Year – Amy Payne

Wasteful, ineffective, failed.

Those are all ways Heritage experts have described government programs Congress is funding – with your hard-earned money – in its new trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill.

Here are a few big failures that need to be eliminated or seriously reformed – but instead are getting millions (or billions) of dollars.

Head Start. Head Start is an emotional trap. It’s supposed to help children get a jumpstart on success – and who can be against that? Well, the fact is that it just doesn’t work. Head Start has been a colossal failure for those children and their parents. As Heritage’s Lindsey Burke explains, an Obama Administration study confirmed that “Access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.” This omnibus increases funding for the failed Head Start and Early Head Start programs by $612 million.

U.S. Postal Service. The USPS already defaulted on its debt last year – after seven straight years of deficits. It’s saddled with billions owed to retiree benefits, and customers are sending less and less mail with each passing year. If it is to survive, the USPS needs big reforms, but in this omnibus spending bill, Congress blocks two needed money-savers: discontinuing Saturday delivery and closing some rural post offices.

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Amtrak. Despite operating in the red (even its snack cars lose millions of dollars), Amtrak would get $1.39 billion in the omnibus. Heritage expert Emily Goff reminds Congress that, as a step toward full privatization, it should make Amtrak subsidies contingent on reductions in its operating costs. How? Competitive contracting. Goff says, “Competitive contracting would improve Amtrak’s quality of service and lower its operating costs, which is good news for both riders and taxpayers.”

Job Corps. A job training program – sounds like a good thing. Except when it doesn’t boost participants’ wages or help them secure full-time jobs. The omnibus gives Job Corps $1.65 billion, even though Heritage’s David B. Muhlhausen concluded years ago that “Job Corps does not provide the skills and training necessary to substantially raise the wages of participants.”

Firefighter grants. Once again, a program that sounds like it should help people does not. Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis evaluated the effectiveness of fire department grants and found that the grants were ineffective at reducing fire casualties. They failed to reduce firefighter deaths, firefighter injuries, civilian deaths, or civilian injuries. Yet the omnibus sends $680 million to this program.

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The omnibus gives this failed hiring grant program $214 million. Heritage expert Muhlhausen points out Heritage research findings: COPS failed to add 100,000 additional officers to America’s streets and was also ineffective at reducing crime.

Congress will be pushing through all this spending in the next couple of days. Since the bill was just released Monday night, we’re wondering how many Members of Congress will actually know what’s in it before they vote.

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Senator Ron Johnson: I’m Suing Over ObamaCare Exemptions For Congress (Video)

I’m Suing Over ObamaCare Exemptions For Congress – Senator Ron Johnson

On Monday, Jan. 6, I am filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to make Congress live by the letter of the health-care law it imposed on the rest of America. By arranging for me and other members of Congress and their staffs to receive benefits intentionally ruled out by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the administration has exceeded its legal authority.

The president and his congressional supporters have also broken their promise to the American people that ObamaCare was going to be so good that they would participate in it just like everyone else. In truth, many members of Congress feel entitled to an exemption from the harsh realities of the law they helped jam down Americans’ throats in 2010. Unlike millions of their countrymen who have lost coverage and must now purchase insurance through an exchange, members and their staffs will receive an employer contribution to help pay for their new plans.

It is clear that this special treatment, via a ruling by the president’s Office of Personnel Management, was deliberately excluded in the law. During the drafting, debate and passage of ObamaCare, the issue of how the law should affect members of Congress and their staffs was repeatedly addressed. Even a cursory reading of the legislative history clearly shows the intent of Congress was to ensure that members and staff would no longer be eligible for their current coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan.

The law states that as of Jan. 1, 2014, the only health-insurance plans that members of Congress and their staffs can be offered by the federal government are plans “created under” ObamaCare or “offered through an Exchange” established under ObamaCare.

Furthermore, allowing the federal government to make an employer contribution to help pay for insurance coverage was explicitly considered, debated and rejected. In doing so, Congress established that the only subsidy available to them would be the same income-based subsidy available to every other eligible American accessing insurance through an exchange. This was the confidence-building covenant supporters of the law made to reassure skeptics that ObamaCare would live up to its billing. They wanted to appear eager to avail themselves of the law’s benefits and be more than willing to subject themselves to the exact same rules, regulations and requirements as their constituents.

Eager, that is, until they began to understand what they had actually done to themselves. For instance, by agreeing to go through an exchange they cut themselves off from the option of paying for health care with pretax dollars, the way many Americans will continue to do through employer-supplied plans. That’s when they went running to President Obama for relief. The president supplied it via the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which issued a convoluted ruling in October 2013 that ignores the clear intent and language of the law. After groping for a pretext, OPM essentially declared the federal government a small employer – magically qualifying members of Congress for coverage through a Small Business Health Options Program, exchanges where employers can buy insurance for their employees.

Neat trick, huh? Except that in issuing the ruling, OPM exceeded its statutory jurisdiction and legal authority. In directing OPM to do so, President Obama once again chose political expediency instead of faithfully executing the law – even one of his own making. If the president wants to change the law, he needs to come to Congress to have them change it with legislation, not by presidential fiat or decree.

The legal basis for our lawsuit (which I will file with a staff member, Brooke Ericson, as the other plaintiff) includes the fact that the OPM ruling forces me, as a member of Congress, to engage in activity that I believe violates the law. It also potentially alienates members of Congress from their constituents, since those constituents are witnessing members of Congress blatantly giving themselves and their staff special treatment.

Republicans have tried to overturn this special treatment with legislation that was passed by the House on Sept. 29, but blocked in the Senate. Amendments have also been offered to Senate bills, but Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote on any of them.

I believe that I have not only legal standing but an obligation to go to court to overturn this unlawful executive overreach, end the injustice, and provide a long overdue check on an executive that recognizes fewer and fewer constitutional restraints.

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Democrats hold illegal immigrants in higher esteem than our veterans

Despicable, absolutely despicable. And any  Republican who went along with this should be ashamed of themselves. There are dozens and dozens of things we could cut, but we target disabled vets? Every single member who voted for this should be thrown from office.

A note about the clip from Patty Murray promising to fix the problem, after the bill is passed. Why after? Why not fix it now, before passing it? This is just more double talk from our Congress. Don’t worry about this bill, we will fix it later, right, sure you will Congresswoman.

Another note about our politicians in Congress. Only the Tea Party members seem sincere about fixing our fiscal house. The career politicians seem far more concerned with retaining power than serving their country. We can change this culture of Congressional entitlement, or begin to at least, next November. We need to retake the Senate, and keep the House, but we also need to support more Conservative candidates like Milton Wolf in Kansas over incumbent Republicans who have forgotten what their job is.

 

 

Leftist Parasites In Congress Introduce Bill To End Death Penalty For Treason, War Crimes, Assassinations

Liberal Democrats Introduce Bill To End Death Penalty For Treason – Weasel Zippers

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Obama off the hook?

Via The Hill:

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and seven other Democrats have proposed legislation that would eliminate the possibility of imposing the death penalty for a range of federal offenses, including several categories of murder and crimes against the government like treason and espionage.

The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act, H.R. 3741, would end the death penalty for assassination or kidnapping that results in the death of the president or vice president, and also ends it for the murder of a member of Congress.

Under the bill, the death penalty could no longer be used to punish people for using a weapon of mass destruction, or murder done via torture, child abuse, war crimes, aircraft hijackings, sexual abuse, bank robberies or the willful wrecking of a train.

Using chemical or biological materials to kill could also no longer result in the death penalty, nor could deaths related to treason or espionage. The death or injury of an unborn child could not result in the death penalty either.

Death of state or local law enforcement officials, using the mail to kill, kidnapping and killing people to stop them from testifying could no longer lead to the death penalty, nor could the use of firearms or armor piercing ammunition during any crime of violence.

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*VIDEO* Mexican Lawmaker Antonio Garcia Conejo Strips Before Congress In Protest Of Energy Bill


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Ed Scultz- a special kind of stupid

Good Freaking Grief!

Indeed, the same was said by MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Wednesday who revealed that Democratic members of Congress are approaching him for messaging tips. His unqualified recommendation: Democratic members should be shouting from the hilltops, “It works!”

“That’s all you have to say: it works,” Schultz declared. “And it’s only going to get better.”

Ed also thinks the Titanic was a very successful cruise ship, and that the Chicago Cubs are the winningest franchise in sports. 

Obama Regime Misled Congress, Decided To Delay Part Of Website In August

Emails: Obama Administration Misled Congress, Decided To Delay Website In August – Daily Caller

The Obama administration knew in advance that Obamacare’s online small business (SHOP) exchanges would not be ready by deadline and agreed to delay part of the website as early as August, according to emails obtained by House Energy and Commerce Committee investigators.

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The Committee accused Obama administration officials of misleading Congress about the website’s progress.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials and Obamacare website contractor CGI Federal secretly agreed that the SHOP program would have to be delayed more than a month before the administration told the American public that the program would still be ready on time.

CMS and CGI Federal agreed on Aug. 13 that SHOP would not be ready and would have to be delayed until Nov. 15. The administration then waited a month before announcing on Sept. 26 that “The SHOP Marketplace for Federally-facilitated Marketplace states opens Oct. 1, 2013, when small employers can start the application process and get an overview of available plans and premiums in their area. All functions for SHOP will be available in November and if employers and employees enroll by Dec. 15, 2013, coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.”

The administration’s announcement came just one week before employers were set to begin using SHOP. On Nov. 27, President Obama finally delayed the glitch-ridden SHOP exchanges by one year.

The emails paint a picture of an administration desperate to avoid public embarrassment and unwilling to delay launch deadlines, despite glaring flaws with the website.

“I’ve escalated your concerns regarding the SHOP Employee application not being completed until 10/15/13,” CMS official Jo-Ann Webber emailed on July 26, indicating that the administration knew that SHOP would not be completed until more than two weeks after its scheduled launch date.

“I am not recommending delay of the employer application,” fellow CMS official Dean Mohs replied to Webber.

“Guys, this is absolutely urgent and I need an answer on this today. If this is late we have to public[ly] announce we are late with a deliverable which means Marilyn Tavenner and the Secretary will have to announce,” CMS official Monique Outerbridge said on Aug. 6.

Nevertheless, CGI Federal presented its plan to roll out SHOP on deadline, and CMS official Henry Chao asked, “Can we sign this [plan] in blood?”

Congressional investigators see this as evidence that the Obama administration concealed its knowledge about the website’s failures from the American people – until it was too late.

“As the paper trail broadens, we see more and more evidence that the administration was fully aware its signature health care law was not ready for prime time,” said Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“The documents we are now reviewing tell a much, much different story than what officials testified to Congress. While it’s not clear if any ‘blood oath’ was taken, the president’s top lieutenants repeatedly looked us in the eye, insisting that they were ‘on track’ when they knew looming deadlines would be impossible to meet. These are not the characteristics of the ‘most transparent administration in history,'” Upton said.

“Secretary Sebelius must come prepared next week to provide answers about what January 1 and beyond will really look like,” Upton added.

“As President Obama embarks on his latest PR push to try and salvage his signature legislation, we’re finding more evidence that the administration was painfully aware the work would not be complete by October 1,” said Committee member Rep. Tim Murphy, who heads the Health and Energy oversight and investigations subcommittee.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Expert Michael Cannon To Congress: Obama’s Illegal Acts Could Spark Armed Revolt Among Citizenry (Video)

Expert To Congress: Obama’s Illegal Behavior Could Spark Armed Revolt – The Examiner

While testifying before a House panel Tuesday, Michael Cannon, director of the Cato Institute’s Health Policy Studies, said Barack Obama’s behavior – specifically, his failure to adhere to the law – could spark an armed revolt against the government, Mediaite reported.

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………Click on image above to watch full hearing at C-Span.org.

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“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restraints that the constitution places on the government,” he said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”

“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he added. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”

“That is a very dangerous sort of thing for the president to do, to wantonly ignore the laws,” Cannon said, “to try to impose obligations upon people that the legislature did not approve.”

After the 2010 midterm elections, the liberal Center for American Progress advised Obama to use all of his executive power – including his authority as commander-in-chief of the military – to unilaterally push his agenda while bypassing Congress.

The result has been an unchecked executive branch issuing mandates through regulations and executive orders, sometimes ignoring established law.

In his written testimony, Cannon said that since signing the ACA into law, Obama has “failed to execute that law faithfully.”

Obama, he said, “has unilaterally taken taxpayer dollars made available by the PPACA and diverted them from their congressionally authorized purposes toward purposes for which no Congress has ever appropriated funds.”

Cannon added:

He has unilaterally and repeatedly rewritten the statute to dispense taxpayer dollars that no federal law authorizes him to spend and that the PPACA expressly forbids him to spend.

He has unilaterally issued blanket waivers to requirements that the PPACA does not authorize him to waive.

Cannon also said Obama has unilaterally rewritten the law to allow health insurance products that Obamacare expressly forbids.

“He has encouraged consumers, insurers, and state officials to violate a federal law he enacted,” Cannon wrote.

Worse yet, Cannon said Obama took these steps “for the purpose of forestalling democratic action by the people’s elected representatives in Congress.”

“Today,” he added, “with respect to health care, the law of the land is whatever one man says it is – or whatever this divided Congress will let that one man get away with saying.”

That one man is Barack Obama.

Cannon said this disregard for the law is not confined to presidents of just one political party.

He also praised Obama for what he called “the gains in equality and freedom our nation has secured for women, for African-Americans, for gays, and for lesbians.”

But he issued a stern warning that things will only get worse over time.

“It is cause for even greater alarm, because it guarantees that presidents from both parties will replicate and even surpass the abuses of their predecessors as payback for past injustices. The result is that democracy and freedom will suffer no matter who occupies the Oval Office,” he said.

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Congress Changes Rules At Last Second To Exempt Their Staff From Having To Go On Obamacare

Congress Changes Rules At Last Second To Exempt Their Staff From Having To Go On Obamacare – Weasel Zippers

And Congress wonders why herpes is more popular than they are.

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Via Politico:

Obamacare is, once again, turning Capitol Hill upside down.

Congressional offices this week have been forced into a frenzied, late-hour scramble to decide which of their staffers will be pushed onto the District of Columbia’s health insurance exchanges, and which will be able to keep their current health insurance plans.

Under rules created in the wake of Obamacare’s implementation, House and Senate personal office staffers – dubbed “official office” aides by the House’s administrative office – are supposed to get their health insurance through D.C.’s health insurance exchange. Committee and leadership staffers – labeled “official staff” – are allowed to keep their current health insurance plan, which is administered by the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan.

But like many things on Capitol Hill, there’s a wrinkle: members of the House and Senate can quietly allow their aides to stay off the exchange, and keep their current plan.

“It seems too cute,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) of the news. Denham is putting all his staff on the exchanges.

In what members of both parties said was a surprise, guidance on Tuesday from the House’s chief administrative officer said that lawmakers could privately designate personal office aides as not “official,” meaning they do not have to go on the exchange, and could keep their current plan. Similarly, House lawmakers can decide that their committee and leadership staffers need to go on D.C.’s exchanges.

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Speaker Face Lift has finally lost the last of her mind

Via Weasel Zippers

Via Politico:

Nancy Pelosi isn’t going anywhere.

While many thought the California Democrat would step down as House minority leader after this Congress, Pelosi confidants now believe she will remain atop House leadership through 2016 and maybe even longer.

Pelosi herself won’t tip her hand about her plans. But she doesn’t appear to be contemplating retirement.

“I’m not here on a shift. I’m here on a mission — and when my work is done, that’s when I will leave,” Pelosi said in a recent interview with POLITICO.

A mission she says. Hmmm, seems that mission is to pad her riches, and destroy what is left of our Constitution.

 

 

President Asshat To Congress: I Don’t Need Your Authorization For War, But Give It To Me Anyway

Obama To Congress: I Don’t Need Your Authorization For War, But Give It To Me Anyway – CNS

President Barack Obama said today in a speech delivered in the White House Rose Garden that he is asking Congress to vote to authorize him to use military force in Syria – while insisting he does not need congressional authorization to order the U.S. military to commit acts of war in that Middle Eastern country.

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“I have long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Obama said at one point in the speech. “That’s why I have made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress.”

A moment later, Obama insisted that he did not need the authorization of Congress to unilaterally order the military to use force in Syria.

Obama did not explain from what source he believed he derived the authority to order U.S.military action against Syria if not from a resolution constitutionally approved by the U.S. Congress. He simply asserted that he believed he had that unilateral power.

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He did note that the United Nations had not approved such action, and that the British Parliament had specifically voted against the use of British force in Syria despite the fact that British Prime Minister David Cameron had advocated for it.

“I am comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that so far has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable,” said Obama.

“As a consequence many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal – even as the prime minister supported taking action,” Obama said.

“Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective,” he said.

Obama suggested that the reasons the U.S. needed to use military force in Syria – even if alone in doing so – was to protect the credibility of “the international system.”

“What is the purpose of the international system that we have built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the government of 98 percent of the world’s people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United is not enforced?” he said.

Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution says: “Congress shall have the power… To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”

In the notes he took at the Constitutional Convention, James Madison, who was involved in proposing this language, said it was designed to give the Congress power to decide when the nation would initiate the use of military force, “leaving to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks.”

George Washington, who commanded American forces in the revolutionary war and who presided over the Constitutional Convention, abided by the understanding of the war power that Madison had explained in his notes.

“The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress,” President Washington wrote in 1793, “therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.”

Obama did not argue in his speech on Saturday that he believed the Syrian regime was preparing a sudden attack on the United States. In fact, he indicated that he believes the U.S. can bide its time – taking up to even a month–before attacking Syria.

“The chairman of the join chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose,” Obama said. “Moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. It will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from know.”

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Greta Van Susteren: What Congress Just Did “Will Make You Want To Throw Up”

Greta: What Congress Just Did ‘Will Make You Want To Throw Up’ – Bizpac Review

When the actions of the federal government succeed in riling up the normally stoic Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, you can be sure that something sinister is afoot.

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And she is so ticked by the current reign of lawlessness she could just vomit!

As elected officials slipped out of town for a 5-week recess, we learned a deal was struck to exempt Congress from new higher premiums associated with ObamaCare. A move designed to avert the provision in the law which said members of Congress and their aides must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange.”

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, determined that the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides can be subsidized by taxpayers, according to Politico.

As noted by Mediaite, Van Susteran responded in a blog post titled with all capital letters “THIS WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO THROW UP,” in which she railed against the “appalling” exemption, repeatedly expressing her “disgust” with elected officials.

“It is indecent… just WRONG,” she wrote. “So let me get this straight… they push OBAMACARE on EVERY OTHER AMERICAN except themselves. Really? Unbelievable, isn’t it?”

Van Susteran zeroed in on how the exemption was rushed before the August recess, but Congress failed to address the expiring resolution that prevents government shutdown in 60 days, as reported by Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell.

“So…let me get this straight… what matters to YOU and is their job to handle can wait until their 5 week vacation is over, Van Susteran stated. “What matters to them, gets done NOW, before their 5 week vacation.”

“I really don’t know how Members of Congress can sleep at night when they pull these stunts on the rest of America,” she concluded. “I don’t know who voted how, but I want to know who voted FOR this. At the very minimum, this selfish vote should have been put at the back of the line.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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President Asshat Promises Congress ObamaCare Subsidies

Obama Promises Congress Obama-Care Subsidies – Sweetness & Light

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From an unfazed Politico:

President Obama on Hill’s Obamacare mess: I’m on it

By John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman | July 31, 2013

President Barack Obama privately told Democratic senators Wednesday he is now personally involved in resolving a heated dispute over how Obamacare treats Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers, according to senators in the meeting.

The president’s commitment was delivered at the beginning of Obama’s remarks to Senate Democrats during a closed-door session.

You see? The Democrat Senators have their priorities. And the most important thing in the world for Senate Democrats is to get out of Obama-Care. Or, failing that, they want a taxpayer subsidy so they will be able to afford the ‘free’ health insurance you get under Obama-Care’s exchanges.

At issue is whether Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to continue to pay part of the health insurance premiums for members of Congress and thousands of Hill aides when they are nudged onto health exchanges.

But the provision that forces Congress into the Obama-Care exchanges is in the law. And aren’t we being told that ‘the law is the law’? There is no way to change it, let alone defund it.

Currently, the government pays nearly 75 percent of these premiums. The government’s contributions are in jeopardy due to a controversial Republican amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which says that by 2014, lawmakers and their staff must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange.”

By the way, Congress and their staff members have to purchase coverage through an Obama-Care exchange, only thanks to a provision that the Republican Senator Charles Grassley added to the healthcare law. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have to live under the same law that they are forcing on the rest of us.

But you would never know that from the news media reports. In fact, this, like every report on this ‘controversy’ goes out of its way to make it sound bi-partisan. When it is mostly the Democrats who are howling.

The Office of Personnel Management hasn’t said if the Federal Employee Health Benefits program can contribute premium payments toward health plans on the exchange. If the payments stop, it could cost Hill staffers thousands of extra dollars each year.

Those poor people. Congressmen only make $174,000 a year. Their ‘poor’ staff only average around $71,000 a year.

Party leaders in both chambers want OPM to rule that the government can continue to contribute to health insurance premiums for members and staffers. OPM, though, has so far refused to say how it will handle the provision despite months of lobbying by lawmakers.

BS. It is mostly Democrats who are pushing this. In fact, remember, Obama brought this up first in his closed door meeting with Senate Democrats.

The controversy has to be resolved before Oct. 1, which is when members and staffers can begin enrolling in the exchanges.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Obama told the Democratic senators he was working to find a solution and that the administration will soon present its plan to top lawmakers in both parties.

“The president is aware of it,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “His people are working on it.”

Some lawmakers have privately threatened to push through a legislative fix – possibly attached to a must-pass spending bill – that would require the government to continue its contributions for health care premiums for Hill employees.

However, that could open a door for Obamacare opponents to try to unwind other parts of the 2010 legislation, and senior administration officials want to avoid that step or the accusation that lawmakers and Hill aides are getting any kind of special treatment…

Oh, our sides.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have been pressing OPM and the White House to find a solution to this issue through administrative action. Reid and Boehner – under heavy pressure almost daily from their own members and senators – have been leaning hard on administration officials, including White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, for answers.

Again, Politico is trying to stress how bipartisan this is. But, once again, Congress is only under Obama-Care thanks to a Republican amendment.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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