House Oversight Committee Votes To Hold Lois Lerner In Contempt Of Congress (Videos)

Oversight Committee Votes To Hold Lois Lerner In Contempt Of Congress – Townhall

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After five hours of debate, the House Oversight Committee has voted along party lines 21-12 to hold former IRS Director of Tax Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.The charges come after Lerner failed to answer questions about the IRS targeting of conservative groups and after failure to cooperate with the Committee investigation into the targeting.

Before the vote, Democrats repeatedly defended the rights of Lois Lerner, arguing she did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights even though she made a statement before declaring she would not answer questions last year and again in early 2014. Republicans argued Lerner did in fact waive her Fifth Amendment rights due to making a statement and defended the rights of taxpayers who were targeted by her organization.

The contempt charge will now go to the full House for a vote. A date for when that vote will happen has not been set. If the House votes to hold her in contempt, the charge will then go to the court system. Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee referred Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal charges.

“Today, the Oversight Committee upheld its obligation to pursue the truth about the IRS targeting of Americans because of their political beliefs,” Chairman Darrell Issa said. “Our investigation has found that former IRS Exempt Organizations division Director Lois Lerner played a central role in the targeting scandal and then failed to meet her legal obligations to answer questions after she waived her right not to testify. In demanding answers and holding a powerful government official accountable for her failure to meet her legal obligations, this Committee did its job. If the House takes up and passes the resolution, the matter will be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which statute requires he take to a grand jury.”

The American Center For Law and Justice, representing 41 tea party and conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS under Lerner’s watch, is calling the contempt vote “justified.”

“The decision to hold Lois Lerner in contempt comes 11 months to the day since she revealed this unlawful scheme with a question she planted at an ABA meeting,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “From the very beginning, she has ignored a Congressional subpoena – refused to answer questions on two occasions by pleading the Fifth Amendment. We believe – as many others do – that she waived her constitutional right to remain silent because she invoked it after she publicly proclaimed her innocence. Lerner has misled the American people and Congress from the very start. Contempt is justified and the appropriate sanction in this case.”

Lerner now joins Attorney General Eric Holder, who was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012.

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House Oversight And Government Reform Committee Considers Resolution To Hold Former IRS Director Of Exempt Organizations Lois G. Lerner In Contempt Of Congress.

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*VIDEOS* Excerpts Of House Judiciary Committee Hearing On Obama’s Executive Malfeasance


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PART 2

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House Passes ‘Enforce The Law’ Act To Thwart Obama’s Abuse Of Power (Videos)

House Passes ‘Enforce The Law’ Act – Breitbart

The House of Representatives passed the “Enforce the Law Act” Wednesday, a bill designed to push back against the numerous unilateral moves the Obama administration has used to circumvent the law.

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Five Democrats joined Republicans in passing the bill by a 233 to 181 vote.

H.R. 4138, sponsored by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), would authorize the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for not enforcing laws and provide an expedited process through federal district courts. The bill is one of several the House GOP is pushing to combat the
imperial presidency.”

Republicans say the legislation is necessary in light of the numerous administrative actions taken by President Barack Obama to change and selectively enforce laws, including immigration, marriage, welfare rules, and his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare.

The administration has unilaterally altered Obamacare at least 20 times. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that millions have been exempted from the individual mandate due to a rule change.

The administration also announced last week that individuals would be able to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with Obamacare until October 2017.

Additionally, Obama unilaterally instituted the Dream Act by creating a deferred action program for young illegal immigrants and changed work requirements in welfare.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) said the Obama administration has “ignored” the Constitution.

“From Obamacare to welfare and education reform, to our nation’s drug enforcement and immigration laws, President Obama has been picking and choosing which laws to enforce,” he said. “In place of the checks and balances established by the Constitution, President Obama has proclaimed that ‘I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer’ and that ‘where [Congress] won’t act, I will.’”

“Throughout the Obama presidency we have seen a pattern: President Obama circumvents Congress when he doesn’t get his way,” Goodlatte said.

Democrats called the vote a “sham.”

“It is simply another attempt by the majority to prevent the President of the United States to implement duly enacted legislative initiatives that they [the Republicans] oppose,” Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) said.

The administration’s unilateral changes are simply the “reality of implementing sometimes complex laws,” Conyers said, referring to Obamacare.

Jonathan Turley disagrees. He testified at a House hearing last month that America is at a “constitutional tipping point.”

“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system,” the liberal law professor said. “And our system is changing in a very fundamental way. And it’s changing without a whimper of regret or opposition.”

Arguing that Obama should agree with the legislation, Gowdy gave a “pop quiz” on the House floor prior to the vote.

“That may seem unfair to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, but I’m going to give them a hint,” he said. “The answer to every one of the questions is the same.”

“I’m going to read a quote and then you tell me who said it,” Gowdy said. “‘These last few years we’ve seen an unacceptable abuse of power having a president whose priority is expanding his own power.’ Any guess on who said that? Mr. Speaker, it was Sen. Barack Obama.”

“Here’s another one: ‘No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as a coequal branch the Constitution made it.’”

“‘I taught the Constitution for 10 years, I believe in the Constitution,” Gowdy again quoted then-Sen. Obama.

“So my question Mr. Speaker is what’s changed?” Gowdy asked. “How does going from being a senator to a president rewrite the constitution? What’s different from when he was a senator?”

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CONGRESSMAN TREY GOWDY

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CONGRESSMAN BOB GOODLATTE

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CONGRESSMAN TREY GOWDY

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CONGRESSMAN RON DESANTIS

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CONGRESSMAN MICHAEL FITZPATRICK

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CONGRESSMAN ERIC CANTOR

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CONGRESSWOMAN ANN WAGNER

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT HURT

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HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE ON ENFORCE THE LAW ACT – 03/12/14

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RULES COMMITTEE HEARING ON H.R. 3973 (FAITHFUL EXECUTION OF THE LAW ACT) AND H.R. 4138 (ENFORCE THE LAW ACT) – 03/11/14

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PROFESSOR JONATHAN TURLEY

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PROFESSOR ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY

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CONGRESSMAN RON DESANTIS

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CONGRESSWOMAN DIANE BLACK

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CONGRESSMAN TOM RICE

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CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING

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ENTIRE HEARING ON ENFORCING THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAITHFULLY EXECUTE LAWS – 02/26/14

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Leftist Nightmare Update: Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M

Costs Of ObamaCare Bungles Start To Add Up, With Maryland First At About $30.5M – Fox News

Maryland could end up spending as much as $30.5 million as a result of a glitch in its ObamaCare website, as the Obama administration steps in to help states with problematic exchanges.

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Because of Maryland’s defective exchange, the state cannot determine whether customers remain eligible for Medicaid, according to a report by state budget analysts released Thursday.

As a result, the state has agreed with the federal government to a six-month delay in determining eligibility, meaning that payments will continue to be made to customers who are not eligible until the system is fixed. The delay will cost the state $17.8 million in fiscal 2014 and $12.7 million in fiscal 2015, the analysts estimated.

On Friday, the Obama administration said it would suspend some Affordable Care Act rules to help the 14 states with their own ObamaCare sites, particularly Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Oregon, which have had the most problems.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan, completed a day earlier, states the federal government will help pay for “qualified” health-insurance plans for customers in those states who because of “exceptional circumstances” had to buy plans outside of ObamaCare exchanges, as reported first by The Washington Post.

The administration made the change before the end-of-March deadline for Americans to enroll in ObamaCare this year.

In Maryland, the exchange cannot convert income data from the existing Medicaid enrollment system into a calculation needed to review whether enrollees are qualified “because of a variety of system architectural flaws,” according to budge analysts.

The exchange has been plagued by computer problems that have made it difficult for people to enroll in private health care plans since its debut Oct. 1.

State officials have decided to stick with the exchange through the open enrollment period that ends March 31 but is evaluating alternatives with an eye toward the next enrollment period that begins in November.

Among the possibilities is adopting technology developed by another state, joining a consortium of other states, partnering with the federal exchange or making major fixes to the existing system.

Thirty-six states use the federal HealthCare.gov site, which crashed and had other major problems in the first two months of enrollment.

The Maryland report said the state may need to develop an interim solution while a long-term solution is being developed. However, that process would likely take at least nine to 12 months, pushing up against the next open-enrollment period.

The report also states the development of the exchange was “a high risk undertaking” from the outset, in large part because of contractors woes, tight deadlines, constantly evolving requirement and its need to interface with work-in-progress federal databases.

The administration changes this week are not the first to ObamaCare, to be sure.

In November, Obama helped Americans about to lose policies because they didn’t meet new minimum requirements by allow the substandard plans to be sold through the end of this year.

And administration officials has twice this year given medium- and large-sized employers more time to offer health insurance to most full-time workers.

However, the change this week is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has agreed to help pay for policies bought outside the new exchanges.

The coverage in the outside policies would have to be comparable to those offered on the exchange. And customers would have to start paying premiums, then get the subsidies after the state exchanges could determine their income eligibility.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange official told The Post earlier this week that roughly 7,000 applications are stuck in state’s system, but all of them might not need insurance and that officials were still looking over the administration’s offer.

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45-State Study: Obamacare Offers Less Choice, Higher Prices, Breaking Another Promise – Washington Examiner

A new and comprehensive comparison of health insurance options offered by Obamacare versus private websites finds that President Obama’s program offers less choice and higher prices than promised by the White House and leading Democrats.

Adding to the list of broken health care promises, the study from the National Center for Public Policy Research found that there were more and cheaper options available on websites outside the health insurance exchange in 2013 than on healthcare.gov and state Obamacare exchanges.

The report, “Obamacare Exchanges: Less Choice, Higher Prices,” looked at options available for a 27-year-old single person and a 57-year-old couple in metropolitan areas across 45 states.

The report found that a 27-year-old male had about 10 more policies to choose from on eHealthinsurance.com and finder.healthcare versus the exchange. The older couple had about nine more policy choices.

Ditto for the cost findings, with the 27-year-old male having access to 32 policies that cost less than the cheapest Obamacare offering, and the 57-year-old couple access to 29 cheaper policies.

“In general, consumers had substantially more policies to choose from on private websites such as eHealthinsurance.com and Finder.healthcare.gov than they presently have on the exchanges,” said the study.

“Obamacare supporters, including the president himself and Nancy Pelosi, claimed the exchanges would yield more choice and lower prices,” said the study’s author, David Hogberg. “This study shows those claims do not stand up.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, describes itself f as a “non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank.”

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House Subcommittee Chairman: Obama Administration Policy Would Eliminate Half Of All Existing Medicare Part D Plans – Daily Caller

The Obama administration’s new proposed rule for Medicare Part D would eliminate half of all Medicare Part D plans and raise prescription drug premiums for millions of seniors by up to 20 percent, according to a U.S. House subcommittee chairman.

“Today, the average senior has 35 different [Medicare Part D] plans to choose from this year. This rule would reduce that choice to two plans. 50% of the plans offered today will be gone, and the health care that seniors like may go with it,” House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairman Rep. Joe Pitts said in a statement at a Feb. 26 hearing attended by a top administration health official.

“Limiting seniors’ choices like this will inevitably lead to higher costs. By some estimates, the restriction on the number of plans that can be offered could cause premiums to rise by 10%-20%. Costs to the federal government may increase by $1.2-1.6 billion according to a study by Milliman,” Pitts said. “… I urge Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner to rescind this rule.”

The study Pitts cited also showed that the new rule would increase out-of-pocket drug costs for 6.9 million seniors who do not qualify for low-income subsidies, and would raise federal taxpayer costs for six million seniors who do qualify.

President Bush signed Medicare Part D into law in 2003 to subsidize prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Daily Caller reported that the administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently introduced a new proposed rule on the Federal Register called “Medicare Program: Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs.”

The new rule “would revise the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C) regulations and prescription drug benefit program (Part D) regulations to implement statutory requirements; strengthen beneficiary protections; exclude plans that perform poorly; improve program efficiencies; and clarify program requirements,” according to the Federal Register.

The rule states that it also aims “to implement certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

The new rule’s stated desire to “strengthen our ability to identify strong applicants for Part C and Part D program participation and remove consistently poor performers” would give the Obama administration new authority to limit health insurance and prescription drug providers under the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.

The rule would also violate the Medicare Part D’s law’s “non-interference provision that prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from interfering with the negotiations between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and sponsors of prescription drug plans,” according to testimony by American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, violating “congressional intent.”

Rep. Pitts expressed confusion and anger at CMS’ new rule.

“CMS itself says that 96% of the Part D claims it reviewed showed seniors saved money at preferred pharmacies, and nearly 25,500 seniors in my district have chosen Part D plans with a preferred pharmacy network. Yet CMS would take that away from them,” Pitts said.

“The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit is a government success story. Last year, nearly 39 million beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan,” Pitts said.

“Competition and choice have kept premiums stable. In fact, in 2006, the first year the program was in effect, the base beneficiary premium was $32.20 a month. In 2014, the base beneficiary premium is $32.42 – a 22-cent increase over 9 years – and still roughly half of what was originally predicted,” Pitts added. “More than 90% of seniors are satisfied with their Part D drug coverage because of this. African-American and Hispanic seniors report even higher levels of satisfaction, at 95% and 94%, respectively.”

“The program has worked so well because it forces prescription drug plans and providers to compete for Medicare beneficiaries – putting seniors, not Washington, in the driver’s seat. Part D should be the model for future reforms to the Medicare program,” Pitts said.

House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton joined with Pitts at the hearing in criticizing the new rule.

“The proposed rule, issued on January 6, 2014, appears to be a direct assault on the competitive structure of the program. It inhibits the ability of plans to obtain discounts for beneficiaries, limits the range of market segments in which they may compete, and usurps the responsibility of states to license those able to prescribe. This 700-page proposal makes numerous changes,” Upton said.

CMS principal deputy administrator Jonathan Blum testified that limiting Part D sponsors to providing only two plans per region will “promote needed clarity of plan choices for beneficiaries.”

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Your Daley Gator Neo-Nazi IRS Corruption Update (Videos)

Not Even A Smidgen Of Corruption: Lois Lerner Will Not Testify Without Immunity Or Court Order – Gateway Pundit

Barack Obama told Bill O’Reilly there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS targeting scandal.

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Then explain this…

The attorney for Lois Lerner will not testify next week in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform without immunity or a court order.

FOX News reported:

The attorney for Lois Lerner, a central figure in the IRS scandal, said Wednesday his client will not comply with a request to return to Capitol Hill next week to testify.

Attorney William Taylor said Lerner, who resigned last year as the agency’s tax-exempt organizations chief, will return only if compelled by a federal court or if given immunity for her testimony.

Taylor stated his position in a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He was responding to a letter Tuesday from Issa saying, in part, that Lerner’s testimony remains “critical to the committee’s investigation.”

The committee continues to investigate the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations trying to get tax-exempt status.

Issa and Lerner’s attorneys continue to argue about whether she is protected under the Fifth Amendment from having to testify.

Last year, Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment right during her first-and-only appearance before the committee, but only after she professed her innocence during an opening statement.

“We understand that the committee voted she had waived her rights,” Taylor wrote Issa. “We continue to respectfully disagree.”

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House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy Discusses Bill To Stop IRS Targeting Of Political Groups On Greta Van Susteren’s ‘On the Record’ Program

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Complete House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Hearing On IRS Targeting Of Conservative Groups – 02/26/14

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Reining In The IRS – National Review

A comprehensive tax-reform plan House Republicans will unveil this morning takes dead aim at what Republicans perceive to be the IRS’s persistent abuse of its authority. According to Republican aides familiar with the plan, it will curb the power of the nation’s tax-collecting agency, something Republicans have attempted to do since the agency admitted to improperly singling out conservative non-profit groups last May.

The legislation, authored by Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.), introduces reforms that directly address the circumstances that led to last year’s scandal. The specter of Lois Lerner looms large in the minds of many Republicans, and the plan mandates the termination of any IRS employee found to have taken official action for political purposes. The 1988 bill that restructured and reformed the IRS spells out ten actions for which the IRS commissioner must terminate an agency employee after an “administrative or judicial determination” that the employee has committed the prohibited action – among them, providing a false statement under oath on a matter involving a taxpayer and violating the rights of a taxpayer. Today’s bill would add the commission of politically motivated acts to the list.

The plan would also require the IRS to modify its interpretation of a critical provision of the Internal Revenue Code that has been used to protect the privacy of those accused of leaking confidential taxpayer records and to deny information to the victims of IRS abuse.

Under the proposed reforms, the provision, Internal Revenue Code section 6103, would require the government to disclose to victims both the status of an investigation as well as its result, including the identity of the perpetrator.

As currently interpreted, section 6103 prohibits congressional committees or inspectors general from identifying a government employee who has leaked confidential taxpayer information. It even prohibits inspectors general from confirming or denying whether they have conducted an investigation. Disclosing tax returns to the public is a felony, but the results of investigations conducted by congressional committees or inspectors general are considered the confidential tax information of the perpetrator and so, in an ironic twist, perpetrators are currently protected by the very law they violated.

As Republicans, including Camp, have investigated the IRS targeting scandal, they have run head first into the restrictive nature of the 6103 provisions. “The law, intended to protect taxpayers, is being used as a shield for those who perpetrate this wrongdoing,” Camp told National Review Online in October.

The National Organization for Marriage, a conservative organization that had its donor list leaked by the IRS, has filed suit against the agency after it was unable to get answers from the government. Camp’s Ways and Means Committee, which investigated the leak, was prohibited from releasing the findings of its investigation, which concluded in October. In court, according to NOM’s attorneys, the IRS has admitted to disclosing the document but maintains that the disclosure was “inadvertent.” The case is in discovery phase and a trial is expected in April or May.

Camp and his Republican colleagues are also tackling the IRS’s proposed regulations for social-welfare groups, which have rankled groups on both the left and the right. The plan proposes to delay the rules, which would curb the political activity of 501(c)(4) groups, for one year. Camp has proposed a bill in the House that does just that, and Senate Republicans have done the same, but the bills have yet to come up for a vote.

501(c)(4) groups must promote social welfare and, by law, can’t “primarily” engage in political activity. The rules proposed by the agency in November, which have garnered over 70,000 (mostly critical) public comments, would classify such activities as voter-registration drives and the production of voter guides as political activity that does not count toward an organization’s primary purpose, essentially limiting the amount of political activity groups can engage in. Camp has charged that the rules were “reverse engineered” by the IRS in an attempt to codify the targeting of tea-party groups that it was previously performing behind the scenes.

The proposed rules have ignited a firestorm on the right, and, on the left, groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Service Employees International Union have spoken out against them. even as Democratic senators urge the agency to codify them in advance of the midterm elections.

The forthcoming legislation would also introduce an additional layer of oversight onto the IRS, directing the Government Accountability Office to review each of the agency’s operating divisions in order to determine that they are properly screening cases. The GAO would conduct follow-up reviews every four years.

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IRS Nazi Lois Lerner Ordered Back To House Oversight Committee To Testify

Issa, House GOP Order Lois Lerner Back To Congress To Testify – Gateway Pundit

On May 22, 2013, Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS division that singled out hundreds of conservative organizations blamed her subordinates for the targeting scandal, pleaded the Fifth Amendment, and then left the room.

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Today House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) called Lois Lerner back to Congress to testify.

The Hill reported:

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is hauling Lois Lerner back to Congress.

Issa told Lerner’s attorney in a Tuesday letter that he expected the retired IRS official to appear before his committee on March 5.

Lerner, the official at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a May 2013 hearing, just days after she apologized for the agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups.

But the Oversight Committee later ruled that Lerner waived her rights by making an opening statement, setting the stage for her recall next week.

In his letter to William Taylor, Lerner’s attorney, Issa said that her testimony “remains critical to this committee’s investigation.”

“Because the committee explicitly rejected her Fifth Amendment privilege claim, I expect her to provide answers when the hearing reconvenes on March 5,” Issa wrote.

Taylor told The Hill he would probably respond to Issa on Wednesday.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat at House Oversight, said that “only one thing has changed in the nine months since Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right in response to Republican accusations of criminal activity – it’s an election year.”

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House Republicans Create ‘Benghazi File Repository’ Website

House Republicans Create “Benghazi File Repository” Website – DCX

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House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their new “Investigation of Benghazi” website which appears to be a Benghazi file repository of committee reports and other declassified publications related to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and Diplomat Sean Smith.

In a couple of brief paragraphs the website explains that the mission of the House Republicans is to discover what occurred on that night in Benghazi and to uncover exactly what the Obama administration is attempting to cover up:

Shortly after the attack, House Republicans asked the Obama administration to explain to the American people the Administration’s actions leading up to and during the attack itself, as well as the fact that publicly-available information consistently contradicted Administration accounts describing the cause and nature of the attack. Our fight for answers and justice continues today.

For over a year now, House Committees have engaged in serious, deliberate, and exhaustive oversight investigations of what led up to this tragic event, what happened that night, and why the White House still refuses to tell the whole truth. All of the unclassified information and findings from this ongoing investigation can be found on this website.

This page continues to be updated as more information becomes available. The most recent update was made on January 29, 2014.

One of the most interesting sections of the new repository is titled House Committee on Foreign Affairs and includes the following files:

Hearing Transcripts
* “Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?” September 18, 2013
* “Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of State’s View,” January 23, 2013
* “Benghazi Attack, Part II: The Report of the Accountability Review Board,” December 20, 2012
* “Benghazi and Beyond: What Went Wrong on September 11, 2012 and How to Prevent it from Happening at other Frontline Posts, Part I,” November 15, 2012

1/28/13 Clinton-State
* Outgoing: 04.15.13 – State Dept, Sec. of State, Royce Chaffetz Issa
* Outgoing: 2013-01-28-DEI-Royce-Chaffetz-to-Clinton-State-ARB-due-2-11

1/31/13 ARB Recommendations
* Incoming: 03.29.13 – State Dept, RE Issa Royce Chaffetz to Clinton-State
* Outgoing: 01.31.13 – State Dept, Sec. Clinton – ARB recommendations

4/23/13 Interim Report 5 Cmte Letter
* Outgoing: 04.23.13 – POTUS, Five Committee letter re Benghazi

5/15/13 Talking Points
* Incoming: 05.20.13 – State Dept, Gibbons, RE DEI & Royce Benghazi-related emails
* Outgoing: 05.15.13 – State Dept, Sec. Kerry, DEI & Royce – Benghazi talking points due 5-20

05/27/13 OIG Continued Concerns
* Incoming: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Under review RE Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 05.10.13 – OIG, Dep. IG Harold Geisel, Continued concerns with ARB report
* Outgoing: 09.27.13 – OIG, Dep IG Geisel, Questions on OIG ARB Review

05/29/13 Status of ARB-Cited Employees
* Incoming: 08.23.13 – State Dept, RE. Status of ARB-cited employees
* Outgoing: 05.29.13 – State Dept, Sec. Kerry, Status of ARB-cited employees

10/30/13 Benghazi Annex Response
* Incoming: 10.30.13 – DOD, Hagel, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 11.12.13 – State, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Incoming: 12.11.13 – CIA, RE. Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Brennan-CIA – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Hagel-DOD – Benghazi Annex response
* Outgoing: 2013-10-30 DEI & Royce to Kerry-DOS – Benghazi Annex respons

10/30/13 Rewards for Justice Program
* Incoming: 11.15.13 – State Dept, Kerry, RE. Benghazi Rewards for Justice
* Outgoing: 10.30.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Benghazi Rewards for Justice

11/19/13 Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Incoming: 01.17.14 -State Dept, RE. Benghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 11.19.13 – State Dept, Kerry, Beghazi Four Employment Status Update
* Outgoing: 12.13.13 – State, Follow-up on status ARB-cited employees

The list of other available reports is quite extensive but many of them are heavily redacted. The page should prove to be a valuable resource for anyone investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack.

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House Speaker Boehner Leads RINO Sell-Outs In Debt Ceiling Surrender

Fractured House Approves Debt Ceiling Hike; ‘Clean’ Bill Drops All GOP Demands – Washington Times

The House passed a “clean” debt ceiling increase Tuesday granting President Obama power to borrow as much as the government needs for the next 13 months, after House Republican leaders surrendered on their long-standing demand that debt hikes be matched with spending cuts.

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Unable to muster his own troops, Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republicans, had to turn to Democrats to provide the necessary votes. The bill, which cleared on a 221-201 vote, now goes to the Senate.

SEE ALSO: HURT: Obama reveals his obliviousness at Monticello

The legislation must be approved by the end of the month, when the Treasury Department says it will run out of borrowing room.

Even as he advanced the bill and voted for it, Mr. Boehner washed his hands of the blame.

“It’s the president driving up the debt and the president wanting to do nothing about the debt that’s occurring,” the speaker said. “So let his party give him the debt-ceiling increase that he wants.”

Democrats hailed the vote as a victory and heaped praise on Mr. Boehner, who they said he put the country ahead of the tea party wing of the GOP by holding the vote.

Just 28 Republicans joined 193 Democrats in voting for the increase. Two Democrats and 199 Republicans voted against it.

“Once again, the Republican Party and their caucus has shown they’re not responsible enough to be ruling and governing here,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley, New York Democrat.

SEE ALSO: Conservative group calls for Boehner’s head

Business groups, worried about the effects of bumping up against the limit, urged Congress to act.

But conservative and tea party groups warned of dire political consequences for Republicans who voted for the increase.

For the past century, Congress has imposed a borrowing limit on the federal government. As the government has run up record deficits under President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama, lawmakers have repeatedly raised the limit – though it’s often been a major battle.

As of Monday, the gross debt stood at $17.259 trillion. It was $10.629 trillion when Mr. Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

Under the new debt policy, the government’s borrowing limit would be suspended until March 15, 2015, meaning whatever debts are incurred until then would be tacked onto the legal limit.

It’s impossible to predict how much debt would accumulate, but the government has added more than $800 billion in gross debt in the past 13 months.

For Republicans, the vote was a major retreat. When he became speaker in 2011, Mr. Boehner vowed to use debt increases as leverage to extract spending cuts. He set a goal of matching debt increases “dollar for dollar” with cuts.

In 2011, during the first debt fight of his tenure, he won a deal that has cut overall spending for two consecutive years – the first time that has been achieved since 1950.

Since that peak, though, Republicans have struggled to win concessions on three successive debt votes and has reversed its push against spending. Indeed, December’s budget deal offset some of the cuts Republicans won in the 2011 budget agreement.

On Tuesday, Republicans said they were left with little choice.

With so many Republicans opposed to any debt increase, leaders were unable to come up with the votes to pass a plan that would halt parts of Obamacare or build the Keystone XL pipeline in exchange for a debt increase.

Most of the 28 Republicans who voted in favor of the clean debt increase were leaders, chairmen of committees or members of the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who voted against the debt increase, said Mr. Boehner had no options, but he added that the result of agreeing to a third straight increase with no major cuts attached is that Republicans lose leverage in any future debt negotiations.

“I understood the previous times, but I think we’re slipping into a bad habit,” he said. “I’m not here condemning people for what they did – they’ve done it to try and deal with the immediate situation, but I think long term, we need to rethink how we do it and a lot of Democrats would like to get rid of the whole debt ceiling idea altogether. I think that’s a mistake, personally.”

Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats remained united throughout the battle for a clean debt increase. That left Mr. Boehner with no negotiating partner and no offer of his own.

“We don’t have 218 votes. And when you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing,” the speaker told reporters ahead of the vote, explaining his lack of leverage.

Just a single Republican – Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan — spoke during the floor debate.

Most Republican lawmakers seemed eager to move on and saw the vote as a way to “clear the decks” of a thorny political problem and resume attacks on Obamacare and Mr. Obama’s other policies.

Democratic leaders were eager to debate the bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said it proved that Democrats were the ones interested in upholding the Constitution’s directive that the validity of the debt never be questioned.

“The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not in doubt,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

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Top Democrat On House Oversight Committee Sent Threatening Letters To Conservative Victim Of IRS Targeting

Dem Rep. Sent Three Threatening Letters To Conservative Activist Using Committee Letterhead (Video) – Gateway Pundit

Thursday afternoon True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Elijah Cummings alleging the Congressmen intimidated her and and her group.

Rep. Elijah Cummings on three separate occasions sent letters from the House Oversight and Government Reform, stating that he had concerns and felt it necessary to open an investigation on True the Vote.

The Congressman also smeared True the Vote in several cable news interviews in 2012. In the hearing today, Cummings accused True the Vote of racism saying that they were trying to suppress the vote.

Catherine Engelbrecht was on with Megyn Kelly last night:

“Franky, Megyn, the thought of having to sit before my accuser and be silent in the face of what we did was unconscionable… He filed over a period of months in 2012, he filed three letters that he sent to me asserting that he was opening an investigation. He sent this on House Oversight and Government Reform letterhead.”

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House Speaker Boehner Puts The Brakes On Amnesty

With Anger Building, Boehner Puts The Brakes On Amnesty – Big Government

In an abrupt switch from his months of work to bring immigration reform back from life support, Speaker John Boehner told reporters today that the issue cannot move forward until President Obama proves he can be a trustworthy partner to implement the law as written.

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“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes,” Boehner said.

The change in tack comes after rank-and-file members pushed hard against action on the issue this year when immigration “principles” were unveiled at a retreat last week and top immigration hawks had begun to discuss how they could thwart Boehner in his march to bring the issue to the floor.

In the hours before Boehner made his surprise announcement, lawmakers and aides had told Breitbart News that early discussions had begun about whether to force a special leadership election in the event Boehner moved forward with immigration legislation.

“It’s going to require blood if this happens,” one GOP member said.

At the press conference where he made his surprise announcement, Boehner said Obama has exacerbated the distrust on the issue with his recent vows to act with or without Congress.

“The American people, including many of my members, do not believe that the reform that we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be. The President seems to change the health care law on a whim, whenever he likes. Now he’s running around the country telling everyone that he’s going to keep acting on his own. He keeps talking about his phone and his pen. And he’s feeding more distrust about whether he’s committed to the rule of law,” Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican didn’t fully close the door, saying Obama could work with Republicans to help enact some of their priority bills to rebuild trust and that he would continue to discuss the matter with his conference.

“I’m going to continue to talk to my members about how to move forward, but the president is going to have to do his part as well,” Boehner said.

And anti-amnesty activists were not letting down their guard. “Unfortunately since we know that since the Republican leadership wants to push amnesty… we can’t trust these declarations,” said Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations for NumbersUSA.

Prior to putting the brakes on immigration reform, Boehner had become increasingly isolated in his strong push for action.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that it’s unlikely any legislation could be enacted this year, a major blow, and GOP and conservative pundits had repeatedly questioned whether moving forward made any political sense.

GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, loudly complained that Obama was not a trustworthy partner when Boehner unveiled his immigration “principles” at a retreat in Cambridge, Maryland last week.

In the days after the retreat, Boehner continued to move forward, issuing promotional materials about the principles. Rep. Jeff Denham of California, a top proponent for moving on immigration, told Breitbart News that leadership wanted to bring legislation to the floor as soon as possible.

With Boehner continuing to march forward, top immigration hawks had begun to organize much more dramatic responses to try to head him off.

“There has been talk among House Members about forcing new leadership elections in the House to include a new Speaker if they try to bring an immigration bill to the floor this year,” a senior GOP aide said Wednesday. The GOP member and two other aides said such discussions had occurred among House Republicans.

“I think it should cost him his speakership,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told Roll Call about if Boehner brought immigration to the floor in 2014.

Boehner survived a mutiny in early 2013 after the fiscal cliff showdown. But it is unclear how widespread the discussions about challenging Boehner over immigration were – several lawmakers who were part of the earlier coup attempt said they hadn’t heard anything about any such effort relating to immigration.

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Leftist Congressman Admits Nobody Has Read The $1.1T Spending Bill That Just Passed In The House

Who Read 1,582-Page $1.1T Spending Bill? Congressman: ‘Nobody Did’ – CNS

When asked whether he read the 1,528-page, $1.1 trillion government spending bill before he voted for it yesterday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, “Nobody did!”

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On Capitol Hill on Thursday, CNSNews.com asked Blumenauer: “The omnibus bill yesterday, it was 1,582 pages, did you have a chance to read all the pages before voting on it?”

Blumenauer laughed and said: “Nobody did!”

“Nobody did?” said the CNSNews.com reporter.

“Nope,” said Blumenauer.

In an e-mail to CNSNews.com, Blumenauer’s communications director, Patrick Malone, said: “A reminder that the Republicans complained and complained about not having time to read bills when the Dems were in charge and then keep dropping bombs like this on us.”

The $1.1 trillion bill will fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2014, which ends on Sept. 30, 2014.

Sixty-four Republicans and three Democrats voted against the legislation. The final vote was 359-67. The legislation was opposed by conservative groups and conservative members of Congress.

The bill increases federal spending by $44.8 billion this year over the spending level previously set by Congress.

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House Investigation Finds Obama Wanted To Make Sequestration As ‘Painful As Possible’ For Rural Schools

Probe Finds White House Wanted to Make Sequestration As ‘Painful As Possible’ For Rural Schools – Pajamas Media

A House Natural Resources Committee investigation has found that President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget ordered that sequestration cuts be applied retroactively to funding for rural schools over the opposition of the Agriculture Department.

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The committee’s report released today, “A Less Secure Future for Rural Schools: An Investigation into the Obama Administration’s Questionable Application of the Sequester to the Secure Rural Schools Program,” detailed how last February the USDA had determined 2013 sequestration wouldn’t apply to 2012 funds that had already been distributed in the program. The White House stepped in and overruled the USDA, though both agencies haven’t turned over numerous subpoenaed documents that could reveal more behind the decision.

The Secure Rural Schools program helps provide rural counties with funds for teachers, schools, police officers, emergency services and infrastructure – “necessary because the federal government had failed to uphold its century-old promise to actively manage our national forest to provide a stable revenue stream for rural counties containing national forest land,” Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in reference to the timber industry link.

The program dates back to a 2000 bill, which was extended in July 2012 for that fiscal year. The $323 million in funds were doled out to 41 states by the USDA in January 2013. But two months later, after sequestration went into effect, the Obama administration announced it wanted $17.9 million back – prompting bipartisan backlash from governors and congressional representatives of the affected states.

“The Obama administration appeared intent on making this sequester as painful and visible as possible, and this was another example. Instead of working with Congress to make responsible cuts and reforms, the administration took the political opportunity to go after funds used to pay teachers and police salaries,” Hastings said at a hearing on the report today.

The chairman expressed his “frustration and disappointment in the Obama administration for repeatedly stonewalling Congress and stalling our legitimate oversight efforts” – ignoring requests for documentation and forcing the committee to issue subpoenas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack turned down a request to testify, as did U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, USDA General Counsel Ramona Romero, and OMB Director for Budget Brian Deese.

The only witness sent by the administration was USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Bonnie.

Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said it was a case of “you create a bad law, the administration applies the bad law.”

“It’s nothing really to investigate here. But we can waste a couple hours on it instead of doing something proactive to try and figure out how we are going to better provide for counties, schools and economic activity in rural areas,” DeFazio said.

Bonnie similarly testified that “the negative impacts of sequestration on Secure Rural Schools demonstrate that sequestration is a bad policy.”

He said that 19 states weren’t able to give back the funds as requested under sequestration, with half a dozen in the administrative appeals process. They could get docked for “outstanding debt” in the distribution of fiscal year 2014 funds.

“One option is to withhold dollars from Secure Rural Schools in F.Y. ’14. A second option is to withhold it through the departmental funds that may go to states. A third option is to refer to Treasury,” Bonnie said.

The report by the committee’s Republican majority summarized that “the Obama Administration complied with the law to make a SRS payment authorized in FY 2012, but then acted to retroactively apply the FY 2013 sequester to payments that had already been disbursed with the full knowledge that sequestration was set to take effect. This action demonstrates an obvious attempt of the Administration to make the sequester appear as ‘painful as possible.’”

However, the report notes, none of the responses from OMB or USDA on the incident “included internal emails or other documents that would shed light on the inner workings of the Obama Administration or how the decision to apply the sequester was made or how it was implemented.”

Over the course of the investigation the OMB has provided more than 1,300 pages of documents and the USDA more than 2,200 pages.

“Given the change in USDA’s legal analysis, pressure by the White House’s OMB, and the choice to apply the sequester of SRS funds as broadly as possible, it is clear that Congress, states, and rural communities were right to question whether these decisions were correct and made for any reason other than to make sequestration as visible and painful as possible in rural communities across the country,” the report states.

Hastings said the ultimate solution needs to be Senate passage of H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which already passed the House with bipartisan support and is intended to stop the Band-Aid for timber-reliant communities.

“The Secure Rural Schools program was intended to be a short-term solution and counties are still lacking a stable, dependable source of revenue,” Hastings said.

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At Least 35 House Members Set To Sue Obama For Executive Overreaching

At Least 35 House Members Set To Sue Obama – WorldNetDaily

On Dec. 19, the Obama administration made its 14th change to Obamacare without requesting congressional action to make the amendments. Such a move is precisely why an effort is underway in the House of Representatives to sue President Obama and force him to abide by constitutional restraints.

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The measure is known as the Stop This Overreaching Presidency, or STOP, Act and is sponsored by freshman Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C. He told WND this is about abiding by the Constitution.

“Article II, Section 3, requires the president to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. Everybody’s bound by the law, including the president. He is not exempt,” Rice said. “If a president is allowed to pick and choose which laws he wishes to enforce, it creates tremendous opportunities for wrongdoing.

“What would we say if the next president who came in decided he didn’t like Obamacare and he wasn’t going to enforce any part of it? What would we say if a president decided he wasn’t going to enforce the maximum bracket on the income tax, or wasn’t going to enforce the income tax on his political friends? Of course, those things wouldn’t be tolerated,” Rice said. “We’ve got a similar type of lines going on here with Obamacare. We’ve got the president giving 1,300 exemptions. We’ve got him waiving the employer mandate for businesses but applying the individual mandate for the common conservative. It’s not right. The law has got to be applied uniformly.”

He said he actually started exploring this legislation earlier in the year based on comments made by a Democrat.

“I started working on this last July,” Rice said. “Right after the extension of the employer mandate was in the press, one of the Democratic senators said, ‘How can the president do this?’ That’s what spurred me to look at what we could do to force the president to enforce the law,” Rice said.

While executive branch changes to Obamacare are the most visible examples of Obama altering laws, Rice said there are plenty of other examples, too.

“In the resolution, we list four specific things. One is the waiver of the work requirements under the welfare law. One is the granting of legal work status to illegal immigrants en masse. One is the waiver of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The fourth is the extension for one year of the ability of the insurance companies to sell ‘substandard insurance policies.’ In this case, substandard means any insurance policy that people actually want to buy,” he said.

The congressman pointed out that the resolution only needs to pass the House, since the House can file or defend a lawsuit as a standalone institution. He said that would carry far more weight in a federal court than a lone member filing suit. He said he didn’t “ask permission” from GOP leaders before filing the bill, and a conversation with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gives him reason for optimism.

“I have spoken to Cantor about it, and he seems interested in it. I think the chances of it hitting the floor are pretty good,” said Rice, who revealed he has 34 co-sponsors, including three House Judiciary Committee members. He said the ultimate success of the effort will depend upon how vocal the American people are about making sure the president follows the Constitution.

Democrats are expected to label the effort as another attempt by Republicans to scuttle Obamacare because they can’t accept that was passed and signed into law. Rice said that’s not the goal at all.

“I hear that a lot, but they don’t want to enforce what was passed. That’s the problem. They want to enforce the parts that they want. Let’s enforce exactly what was passed,” he said.

“This is not a tea-party thing,” he added. “This is not a Democrat versus Republican thing. This is not any personal animosity toward the president. What the president is doing undermines our constitutional protections, the separation of powers. Congress makes the laws. The president enforces the laws, and he’s refusing to do that. He’s not carrying out his constitutional duty and I simply want him to do what he’s required to do by the Constitution,” said Rice.

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Rep. Gowdy Discusses House Resolution Authorizing Congressional Lawsuits Against Obama Regime (Video)

Republican Congressman: Obama’s Disregard Of Law ‘Has Reached An Unprecedented Level’ (Video) – Gateway Pundit

On Thursday the Obama administration pushed back the deadline for consumers to make their first payment for coverage under the healthcare law. This was just the latest lawless suspension of one of the Obamacare regulations.

Today Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told FOX News the Obama administration’s flouting of the law had reached an “unprecedented level.”

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The Daily Caller reported:

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy said Sunday that the Obama administration’s deliberate flouting of congressional law “has reached an unprecedented level,” claiming the time is now ripe for Congress to take the White House to court over executive overreach.

Gowdy spoke with Fox News’ Shannon Bream about a House resolution authorizing a congressional lawsuit against the executive branch. Although individual lawmakers do not have standing to challenge the president, the provision would allow the institution of Congress itself to sue the Obama administration for ignoring laws passed by the legislative body.

“The case law that says members don’t have standing also allows for the institution itself – under a theory of vote nullification, that if the executive is just nullifying the votes of a co-equal branch of government – that we may have standing,” Gowdy said. “So an individual member – the case you referenced was Dennis Kucinich challenging the actions in Libya – he does not have standing. But the institution of Congress as a whole, if it relates to recess appointments or the Affordable Care Act or immigration, courts have signaled that they may say the institution itself has standing, and that’s what [South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice] is trying to do with his resolution.”

Read the rest here.

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Senate Republicans To Filibuster House Budget Deal, According To Sessions

Jeff Sessions: Senate GOP To Filibuster Paul Ryan’s Budget Deal – Big Government

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking GOP member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Thursday that Senate Republicans plan to filibuster the budget deal that House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cut with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

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The deal passed the House 332-94, with 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting against it. The bill is expected to come up for votes in the Senate early next week, either Monday or Tuesday.

The type of filibuster Sessions spoke of is not the traditional “talking filibuster” like the one Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) launched earlier this year to protest Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama’s drone policies. It is a procedural filibuster, The Hill reports, that would require Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to at least twice obtain 60 votes to pass the bill.

“They’ll need 60 votes on cloture and 60 votes on the budget point of order,” Sessions said, according to The Hill.

Since there are only 55 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, Reid will twice need at least five Republicans to break from their party and support the budget deal. Reid may need more Republicans if liberals like Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) or Bernie Sanders (I-VT) oppose the deal because it does not extend unemployment benefits. Considering 32 Democrats voted against the deal in the House, it seems plausible Reid may lose at least one, maybe two Democrats in the Senate.

Senate Republicans largely seem unified against the bill. As of late Thursday, not one Senate Republican confirmed suppot of the plan.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote against it, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn and GOP conference chairman John Thune have indicated their opposition to it as well. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has said he opposes it. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sessions each oppose it too.

Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), who usually support similar measures, have each announced their opposition.

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is undecided as of this point, and while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – easily the Senate’s most liberal Republican – has said he is leaning “yes,” he has not yet committed to voting for the deal, citing concerns with military pension cuts in it.

Appropriators like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have not committed either, according to Roll Call.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Majority Whip in the Senate, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the Democrats need GOP votes to make this happen.

“We need Republican votes to pass the budget agreement, period,” Durbin said. “We need at least five, and I’m hoping that there’ll be more than that. There are not five who Republicans have announced they’re for it, I mean to my knowledge, and I hope there are many more than that, and they’re just holding back for any number of reasons.”

While the deal is more likely to pass the Senate than not, the question becomes about which Republicans – if any – Reid will be able to attract to support the Ryan budget deal.

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IRS Chief Counsel Answers “I Don’t Recall” 80 Times At House Committee Hearing On Tea Party Targeting

IRS Chief Counsel Testifies Before House Oversight Committee On Tea Party Targeting Scandal, Answers “I Don’t Recall” A Staggering 80 Times – Weasel Zippers

William Wilkins is one of only two political appointees at the IRS, and he’s obviously hiding something. Issa is offering him a do-over on his testimony.

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Via National Review:

Behind the scenes and nearly six months after the scandal first made headlines, the House Oversight Committee is quietly continuing its investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea-party groups. Since May, congressional investigators have interviewed over 30 witnesses and examined thousands of pages of documents.

The latest official called to testify before committee investigators is an important one: IRS chief counsel William Wilkins. Wilkins is one of just two political appointees at the IRS, a generous donor to Democratic candidates and causes, and once represented Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Evidence of his involvement in the targeting would spell trouble for the White House and bring renewed focus to a scandal that has largely receded from public consciousness.

The Oversight Committee has furnished none, to date, but it is expressing gross dissatisfaction with Wilkins’s testimony and, in a letter sent to him on Wednesday, offering him the opportunity to amend it. “In your testimony, you stated ‘I don’t recall’ a staggering 80 times in full or partial response to the Committee’s questions,” committee chairman Darrell Issa and Ohio representative Jim Jordan wrote. “Your failure to recollect important aspects of the Committee’s investigation suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part.”

Keep reading

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House Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman: Benghazi Personnel Were Told ‘You’re On Your Own’ (Video)

Benghazi Staffers Told: ‘You Are On Your Own’ – WorldNetDaily

A congressman has revealed a new detail about the 2012 Benghazi attack, disclosing that staff members at the besieged U.S. special mission were told in a directive, “You are on your own.”

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In an interview with CNN yesterday, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee, charged the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, was culpable in the attack and ensuing cover-up.

While CNN.com focused on a different aspect of Westmoreland’s interview, running the headline “GOP Rep: Benghazi Not A ‘Complete Cover-Up,’” other statements made in the nine-minute sit-down may be more significant.

Westmoreland’s committee recently questioned CIA agents and contractors who were on the ground during the attack.

The lawmaker told CNN his committee learned a directive was issued Aug. 11 – one month before the attack – telling Benghazi staff they were on their own.

“And so we are looking into that directive to find out exactly who put that out,” he stated.

Asked whether he thought the government did its job to protect the facility, Westmoreland replied, “Absolutely not.”

He pointed specifically to the State Department.

“I think this will come back to the State Department,” he said.

Later in the interview, he again pointed to Clinton’s State Department for making what he said were claims contradicted by the intelligence community.

“You had the State Department trying to tell one story, and you had the security – the intelligence community – that may have been trying to sell another story,” he said.

Westmoreland said the Benghazi compound “itself is not set up for protection.”

He stated that when his committee interviewed the people who were on the ground, “they said they were really surprised that the lack of security at the mission facility.”

“They also testified that the people at the facility had been wanting help, requesting help, requesting additional security,” he said.

Westmoreland said “they just couldn’t believe that those guys were over there as unprepared and unequipped as they were.”

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House Conservatives File Brief For Pacific Legal Foundation’s “Origination Clause” Challenge To Obamacare

House Members File Brief For PLF’s “Origination Clause” Challenge To Obamacare – Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation’s legal challenge to Obamacare received important backing in the form of an amicus brief filed by Congressman Trent Franks, R-Arizona, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, joined by several dozen other members of the House.

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The amicus brief was filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in PLF’s case, Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

“We are grateful for this powerful support from Congressman Franks, a leading authority on the Constitution, and from many other key lawmakers,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II. “This support from members of the House is especially significant because PLF’s lawsuit defends the constitutional authority of the lower chamber, the legislative body that is closest to the people. We argue that Obamacare was enacted in a way that deprived the House of its authority to ‘originate’ new taxation. By extension, taxpayers were deprived of a core constitutional protection against reckless and oppressive use of the federal taxing power.”

In addition to Representative Franks, House members who have joined the brief as amici in support of PLF’s Obamacare challenge include: Michele Bachmann (MN); Joe Barton (TX); Kerry L. Bentivolio (MI); Marsha Blackburn (TN); Jim Bridenstine (OK); Mo Brooks (AL); K. Michael Conaway (TX); Steve Chabot (OH); Jeff Duncan (SC); John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN); John Fleming (LA); Bob Gibbs (OH); Louie Gohmert (TX); Andy Harris (MD); Tim Huelskamp (KS); Walter B. Jones, Jr. (NC); Steve King (IA); Doug Lamborn (CO); Doug LaMalfa (CA); Bob Latta (OH); Thomas Massie (KY); Mark Meadows (NC); Randy Neugebauer (TX); Steve Pearce (NM); Robert Pittenger (NC); Trey Radel (FL); David P. Roe (TN); Todd Rokita (IN); Matt Salmon (AZ); Mark Sanford (SC); David Schweikert (AZ); Marlin A. Stutzman (IN); Lee Terry (NE); Tim Walberg (MI); Randy K. Weber, Sr. (TX), Brad R. Wenstrup (OH); Lynn A. Westmoreland (GA); Rob Wittman (VA); and Ted S. Yoho (FL).

Obamacare: A massive tax bill that started on the wrong side of the Capitol Building

PLF’s challenge focuses on the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to buy a federally prescribed health insurance plan or pay a penalty to the federal government – a charge that the U.S. Supreme Court identified as a “tax” in its 2012 ruling on Obamacare.

Because Obamacare’s individual mandate is a tax – and, indeed, Obamacare includes more than $500 billion in new taxation, in all – the law should have been initiated in the House, where Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution says new taxes must “originate,” in order to keep the taxing power close to the people. However, in defiance of this constitutional requirement, Majority Leader Harry Reid launched the law in the Senate, by taking an entirely unrelated House bill on housing for veterans, stripping it, and inserting the language that became Obamacare.

Obamacare’s fiascos aren’t new: They started with the violation of the Origination Clause

“The current attempts to roll out Obamacare are frankly a fiasco,” said Beard. “These chaotic problems are symbolic of how, from the first, this law was foisted on the American people in a rushed and arbitrary way that ignored the careful and considered process laid down in the Constitution. The Constitution’s requirement that new taxes must start in the House is not a dusty formality. It’s an important safeguard for taxpayers, and for care and deliberation in the enactment of new taxes. Because this mandate was violated so flagrantly with Obamacare, and because the individual mandate is so central to Obamacare’s structure, our suit argues that the entire law must be struck down.”

Plaintiff Matt Sissel: “I am grateful for this support from members of the House”

Matt SisselPLF attorneys represent Matt Sissel, a small business owner who chooses to pay for medical expenses on his own, rather than buy health insurance. He objects on financial, philosophical, and constitutional grounds to being ordered by the federal government to purchase a health care plan he does not need or want, on pain of a penalty tax.

“I’m in this case to defend freedom and the Constitution,” said Sissel. “I am grateful for support from members of the House in this important litigation. I strongly believe that I should be free – and all Americans should be free – to decide how to provide for our medical needs, and not be forced to purchase a federally dictated health care plan. I’m very concerned that Obamacare was enacted in violation of the constitutional roadmap for enacting taxes, because those procedures are there for a purpose – to protect our freedom.”

An artist and self-employed business owner, Matt is also a soldier in the Army National Guard, and has more than eight years of service. He spent two years in Iraq as a combat medic, the second of which he volunteered for, providing medical care to the sick and wounded. On top of those duties, his second year was spent training and advising the Iraqi military. During his second tour, he received the Bronze Star for his service.

The case is Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. PLF’s opening appellate brief, a detailed litigation backgrounder, video, and a podcast may be found at PLF’s website: pacificlegal.org.

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Obamacare Website Crashes During House Hearing On Website Crashing

Good Grief… Obamacare Website Crashes During House Hearing On Website Crashing – Gateway Pundit

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Breitbart reported:

Just minutes before Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was set to testify on Capitol Hill, the Healthcare.gov site crashed. Spot checks verified that the State of North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New Hampshire are all down – which likely means the entire federal site is down.

The site was still down thirty-minutes into Sebelius’ testimony.

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Wondering Which Republicans In Congress Just Sold Out Their Constituents? Here Is The List

List: Republican House, Senate Votes On Debt, Shutdown Deal – Breitbart

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Twenty-seven Republican senators voted for Wednesday’s bill passed by the upper chamber to fund the U.S. government in a continuing resolution and extend the nation’s debt limit. Eighteen voted against the measure, and one was not present.

YEA VOTES
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Kelly Ayotte (NH)
John Barrasso (WY)
Roy Blunt (MO)
John Boozman (AR)
Richard Burr (NC)
Saxby Chambliss (GA)
Jeff Chiesa (NJ)
Dan Coats (IN)
Thad Cochran (MS)
Susan Collins (ME)
Bob Corker (TN)
Deb Fischer (NE)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Lindsey Graham (SC)
Orrin Hatch (UT)
John Hoeven (ND)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Mike Johanns (NE)
Mark Kirk (IL)
John McCain (AZ)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Jerry Moran (KS)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Rob Portman (OH)
John Thune (SD)
Roger Wicker (MS)

NAY VOTES
Tom Coburn (OK)
John Cornyn (TX)
Mike Crapo (ID)
Ted Cruz (TX)
Mike Enzi (WY)
Chuck Grassley (IA)
Dean Heller (NV)
Ron Johnson (WI)
Mike Lee (UT)
Rand Paul (KY)
James Risch (ID)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Tim Scott (SC)
Jeff Sessions (AL)
Richard Shelby (AL)
Pat Toomey (PA)
David Vitter (LA)

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who is recovering in Oklahoma from quadruple bypass heart surgery, did not vote.

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HOUSE ROLL CALL

Eighty-seven Republican Congressmen voted for the bill, and 144 voted against.

YEA VOTES
Bachus
Barletta
Benishek
Bilirakis
Boehner
Boustany
Brooks (IN)
Buchanan
Calvert
Camp
Cantor
Capito
Coble
Coffman
Cole
Cook
Cotton
Cramer
Crawford
Crenshaw
Daines
Davis, Rodney
Dent
Diaz-Balart
Fitzpatrick
Fortenberry
Frelinghuysen
Gardner
Gerlach
Gibson
Griffin (AR)
Grimm
Guthrie
Hanna
Harper
Hastings (WA)
Heck (NV)
Herrera Beutler
Issa
Jenkins
Joyce
Kelly (PA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Kline
Lance
Latham
LoBiondo
McCarthy (CA)
McHenry
McKeon
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
Meehan
Miller, Gary
Murphy (PA)
Nunes
Paulsen
Pittenger
Reichert
Ribble
Rigell
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Runyan
Schock
Shimkus
Shuster
Simpson
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Terry
Thompson (PA)
Tiberi
Tipton
Upton
Valadao
Webster (FL)
Whitfield
Wittman
Wolf
Womack
Young (AK)
Young (IN)

NAY VOTES
Aderholt
Amash
Amodei
Bachmann
Barr
Barton
Bentivolio
Bishop (UT)
Black
Blackburn
Brady (TX)
Bridenstine
Brooks (AL)
Broun (GA)
Bucshon
Burgess
Campbell
Carter
Cassidy
Chabot
Chaffetz
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Conaway
Culberson
Denham
DeSantis
DesJarlais
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Ellmers
Farenthold
Fincher
Fleischmann
Fleming
Flores
Forbes
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Garrett
Gibbs
Gingrey (GA)
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (MO)
Griffith (VA)
Hall
Harris
Hartzler
Hensarling
Holding
Hudson
Huelskamp
Huizenga (MI)
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurt
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Jones
Jordan
King (IA)
Kingston
Labrador
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Lankford
Latta
Long
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lummis
Marchant
Marino
Massie
McCaul
McClintock
Meadows
Messer
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Mullin
Mulvaney
Neugebauer
Noem
Nugent
Nunnelee
Olson
Palazzo
Pearce
Perry
Petri
Pitts
Poe (TX)
Pompeo
Posey
Price (GA)
Radel
Reed
Renacci
Rice (SC)
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney
Ross
Rothfus
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Salmon
Sanford
Scalise
Schweikert
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Smith (MO)
Smith (TX)
Southerland
Stewart
Stockman
Stutzman
Thornberry
Turner
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walorski
Weber (TX)
Wenstrup
Westmoreland
Williams
Wilson (SC)
Woodall
Yoder
Yoho

NOT VOTING
Young (FL)

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Related article:

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Kentucky Kickback: Senate Budget Deal Includes $3 Billion For Dam Project In McConnell’s Home State – Weasel Zippers

He sold us out for a friggen dam.

Via WFPL:

A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.

Language in a draft of the McConnell-Reid deal (see page 13, section 123) provided to WFPL News shows a provision that increases funding for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Ky., from $775 million to nearly $2.9 billion.

The dam is considered an important project for the state and region in regards to water traffic along the Ohio River.

As The Courier-Journal’s James Bruggers reported in 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they needed about $2.1 billion for the locks due to “stop and go funding.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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