H/T Right Scoop
Rather than work to fix Obama’s healthcare bill like other Democrats, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) pressured a state agency to change the way its estimated healthcare cancellations because of Obamacare. Udall wanted the state Department of Insurance to downgrade its estimate of Obamacare-related insurance cancellations from 250,000 to just 73,000, because while the plans they liked were cancelled some Colorado residents were offered replacement plans.
Udall is broad brushing and assuming that because Anthem and Kaiser offered early renewals, the people who received that option after receiving a cancellation notice should not be counted. Commissioner Salazar would like to tell Sen. Udall that 250,000 people were in fact affected by cancellation notices,” insurance department director of external affairs Jo Donlin wrote in November, according the emails.
Emails originally obtained by CompleteColorado.com in January created controversy for the Senator and his vote for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In one of those emails, Donlin said Udall’s office was trying to “trash” the cancellation numbers as tallied by the DOI. In another email, Donlin complained that she received a “very hostile” call from Udall’s deputy chief of staff after she had informed the Senator’s office that the DOI was unlikely to change or modify their calculation of 250,000 policy cancellations in 2013.
Udall’s office did eventually issue their own press release, which netted them a significant story in the Denver Post. In another email, Donlin sent a link of the online Denver Post story to her colleagues, pointing out that the story quoted “Sen. Udall staff,” which seems to highlight that the story did not name an individual directly. Furthermore, Donlin said the online comments were “interesting.” Many of those online comments were critical of both Udall and the Post‘s story. For example, commenter dwschulze said, “So a Democrat who supported Obamacare says that most of the cancelled policies aren’t really cancelled. And you support that with a statement from another Obamacare supporter. You need to provide some independent verification of Udall’s statement for it to be anything but another dubious statement about Obamacare.
Can’t really blame Senator Udall, like other Democrats who worked to pass Obamacare, he is desperately trying to to put lipstick on the failed pig of the President’s signature program.
California State Senator Ron Calderon and his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, have been indicted on political corruption charges resulting from an FBI investigation, the Los Angeles Daily News/Whittier Daily News reported Friday, citing what officials call “the largest insurance fraud case to date in California.
“Sen. Ron Calderon was charged… with fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns,” the report explains. “His brother, Tom Calderon, a former Assemblyman, was also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.
“The charges seemed certain to tarnish the Calderon clan, a political dynasty that’s long held power in southeast Los Angeles County,” the report predicted.
That power within the Calderon’s “political web” is further elaborated by The Los Angeles Times in a report yesterday detailing “The Calderon family’s connections,” and featuring not just Tom and Ron, but also brother Charles, a former assemblyman and state senator, and his son Ian, 27, “who became the assemblyman representing Whittier in 2012.”
In a development tangentially related to the corruption charges, a $25,000 contribution last year by “Yes We Can,” a political committee tied to the California Latino Legislative Caucus, a group Thomas Calderon was vice chair of, to Californians for Diversity, a nonprofit group that in 2011 listed him as president, was “raising eyebrows around the Capitol,” The Los Angeles Times reported in October. Not only had Calderon’s group not filed tax returns for 2012 at the time of that report, but concerns were raised over the inordinate amount of expenditures for “travel and food and beverages [and] entertainment for public officials.” That prompted Kathy Feng, executive director of the “progressive” advocacy group California Common Cause, to assess “that Californians for Diversity is a nonprofit that does not have a clear charity or social benefit purpose. I am also concerned that this nonprofit may have been created just to serve as a pass-through for money.”
One connection “Authorized Journalists” writing for “mainstream” outlets have not, and will not explore, is the affinity the Calderon clan has for using their political power to impose citizen disarmament edicts.
Among his many anti-gun votes, Ron Calderon supported prohibiting semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, expanding the list of crimes to disqualify individuals from firearms ownership, prohibiting lead ammunition for hunting, and expanding loaded firearm restrictions.
When he was in power, indicted brother Thomas earned an “F” rating from NRA, a “0%” score from Gun Owners of America, and a “100%” approval from the Jack Berman Advocacy Center, a group “created… to work on violence reduction and gun control.” Likewise, brother Charles was given an “F” by NRA in 2010, and young Ian also appears to be insatiable on the gun issue, supporting magazine capacity limits and all the other restrictions Uncle Ron demands.
While the charges have yet to be proven in a court of law, and while the Calderons deserve a presumption of innocence, there’s a pattern emerging here that is familiar to gun owners, especially those who have noticed an unmistakable connection between the politically powerful, the connected, the special interest panderers and the corrupt, and how many of those types always seem to take the lead in demanding “ordinary citizens” be disarmed.
That such types always appear to have a lock on power in their districts, no matter how they conduct themselves and in spite of all the red flags they raise, points to factors other than strictly politics in play. It more than hints at cynical, self-interested exploitation of human issues to advance the larger agenda for what Barack Obama calls “a fundamental transformation,” currently blocked in part by a major obstacle “progressives” need to overcome: an armed citizenry that will not be ruled by men such as these.
Down in the dumps because you’ve lost your job due to workforce cutbacks caused by Obamacare? Don’t be! According to progressive New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, you should be thrilled because you’ve just experienced what the left now calls a ‘family value.’ Lipstick, meet pig.
In response to the recent CBO report that Obamacare will cause millions of job losses, Schumer told David Gregory of Meet the Press on Sunday:
“What CBO said is many American workers would have freedom. Now that’s a good word. Freedom to do things that they couldn’t do. The single mom who’s raising three kids has to keep the job because of healthcare, can now spend some time raising those kids. That’s a family value.”
That tiny stack on top are the laws passed by Congress during the same time period.
Via Senator Mike Lee:
Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president.
H/T The Daily Sheeple
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.
A growing group of state lawmakers from across the country are exploring ways to limit the power of the federal government by using a seldom-referenced clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Last week, the President Pro Tempore of the Indiana State Senate David Long (R-Fort Wayne) joined an effort to explore convening a Constitutional convention pursuant to Article V of the Constitution.
Long joins legislators from Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin who have all signed a letter calling for every state to send a three-person bipartisan delegation to George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia on December 7th.
The purpose of the Mount Vernon Assembly is to plan an Article V Constitutional Convention. The exact nature of proposed amendments is presently unclear.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides a way from state legislatures to amend the country’s most authoritative founding document. Under Article V, two-thirds of state legislatures may call on Congress to convene a convention, and three-fourths of states can vote to ratify any amendments – without or without Congress’ approval.
There has never been an Article V convention.
“The authors of the Constitution included a state-led amendment option as a check on a runaway federal government,” Long said, according to a story in the Northwest Indiana Times. “The dysfunction we see in Washington, D.C., provides an almost daily reminder of why this option is needed now more than ever.”
Maine has previously joined Article V convention efforts, with 20th century proposals for the direct election of U.S. Senators, the repeal of the 16th Amendment (Income Tax), and the establishment of revenue sharing agreements between the states and federal government.
Article V of the Constitution states: “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”
The assembly, inspired by conservative commentator Mark Levin’s latest book, The Liberty Amendments, will likely feature constitutional amendments designed to rein in what many see as a federal government that is out of control.
In his book, Levin proposes the following amendments to the Constitution:
1.) Term limits: Levin proposes limiting the tenure of Senators and Representatives to no more than 12 years.
2.) Repealing the 17th Amendment: Levin argues in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment, thus returning the election of U.S. Senators to state legislatures. The 17th Amendment was ratified during the American progressive movement as a way of giving power to the people, but Levin argues its repeal would ensure that state sovereignty is protected.
3.) Judiciary Power Check: Levin proposes 12-year term limits for justices of the Supreme Court. Additionally, he proposes creating a procedure for Congress and the state legislatures to overturn court decisions with a three-fifths vote.
4.) Limitation of Taxation and Spending: Levin’s balanced budget amendment would cap federal spending at 17.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and require a super majority, or three-fifths vote, of Congress to raise the debt ceiling. In addition, he proposes limiting the federal government’s ability to tax individuals at 15 percent. On the cheekier side, he proposes moving tax day to the day before federal elections.
5.) Reining in Regulations and Bureacracy: Levin proposes an amendment to require all federal agencies to be subjected to stand-alone reauthorization every three years. He also proposes an automatic sunset provision for all federal regulations.
6.) Cabining the Commerce Clause: Levin’s proposed amendment would clarify that the Commerce Clause does not delegate supreme regulatory authority to the federal government.
7.) Limiting the federal government’s power to confiscate private property.
8.) Make it easier for states to amend the Constitution: Under this amendment, only two-thirds, rather than three-fourths, of states would need to vote in favor of proposing an amendment.
9.) Giving states the ability to override Congress: Levin’s proposal would allow states to overdie federal law by a majority vote in two-thirds of state legislatures.
10.) Election Integrity: The last of Levin’s amendments would enact a nationwide photo ID requirement for federal elections and establish limits on early voting.
It is unclear whether any Maine lawmakers have agreed to participate in the Mount Vernon meeting.
Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier seems to think that gun-control laws don’t apply to the liberal elite. The police chief helped Sen. Dianne Feinstein acquire “assault weapons,” which are illegal to possess in the District, for a news conference early this year to promote a ban on these firearms, then tried to cover up the police involvement.
Now, a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals Chief Lanier’s shocking willingness to bend the rules for partisan and ideological purposes.
Feinstein wants guns
Lobbyist Chuck DeWitt emailed Chief Lanier on Christmas Eve last year. “Sen. Feinstein has asked us to bring examples of assault weapons used in the worst incidents over the past few years.” The CEO of the Lafayette Group told the chief that the guns would be put on display at a media event and asked, “Could you put me in touch with your person who would have any of these weapons?”
Chief Lanier’s response was not turned over.
However, a week after Mr. DeWitt’s request, Mrs. Feinstein’s press secretary, Tom Mentzer, asked the commander of the police department’s Crime Scene Investigation Division, Keith Williams, for 10 specific firearm models used in high-profile mass shootings, including a Bushmaster XM-15, Tec-9 handgun, Smith & Wesson M&P15 and a Glock 19 with a “high-capacity magazine.”
Since Cmdr. Williams did not have all the firearms the senator sought, Mr. DeWitt asked Philadelphia police to provide the missing ones, which meant bringing “the P15 and the Glock extended magazine” to Washington.
All of these firearms are illegal in the city – even on federal property – owing to the District’s law banning rifles with a detachable magazine and such features as a pistol grip or folding stock and all firearms with a magazines capacity of more than 10 rounds.
Chief Lanier wanted to help Mrs. Feinstein, but didn’t want the media to know.
Cmdr. Williams emailed Mr. Mentzer to put a “bug” in his ear that the police would “prefer that no mention of the fact that the weapons came from D.C. or were recovered by MPDC in the official language or speeches.” Mr. Mentzer replied, “By not mentioning where the weapons came from, we open ourselves up to the same charge against David Gregory.”
He was referring to the anchor of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” who knowingly procured an illegal 30-round magazine in the District as a stunt for his TV show, but was not charged.
The office of Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer coordinated bringing the illegal weapons onto Capitol Hill for Mrs. Feinstein’s dramatic Jan. 24 news conference introducing her new “assault weapons” ban.
Kathryn Stillman, the campus-access coordinator for Mr. Gainer, emailed Cmdr. Williams and Mrs. Feinstein’s staff to recommend the firearms be mounted on a board with zip ties so that Mrs. Feinstein could “point or even touch, but no need for any particular handling.” This was to ensure that it could be argued later that the senator never had “possession” of the illegal guns.
After seeing the weapons on display at the press event, I asked Mr. Gainer’s office about the legality and was told that the firearms were the property of the D.C. and Philadelphia police departments. A spokesman for Mrs. Feinstein, Brian Weiss, told me that his office ”coordinated” with the police and that “the weapons were under Washington MPD possession the entire time.”
But when I asked Chief Lanier’s spokesman, Gwendolyn Crump, about the guns, she refused to confirm they belonged to MPD. I followed up the next day with several more questions to Ms. Crump.
From the FOIA documents, I now know that she sent my second email to Chief Lanier, who then forwarded it to three people with notes.
Chief Lanier wrote to Philadelphia Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, “I am really disappointed in Terry [Gainer]. This is exactly why I didn’t want to participate.” She said to Mr. Gainer, “This is completely contrary to our agreement to participate in this event. We will not participate again.”
The chief wrote to lobbyist Mr. DeWitt, “So much for our agreement.” Mr. DeWitt replied: “Well, Ramsey and Feinstein followed our script, but who would have guessed that [Gainer] would burn us.” He drafted a response for the police to send to me and added in a note, “I don’t know how you put up with people like Emily…” Chief
Lanier replied, “Thanks, Chuck, unfortunately this will be the next tail wagging our dog for weeks.”
No special favors for Republicans
A week after Mrs. Feinstein’s publicity stunt, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were refused permission to bring a hunting rifle and an AR-style rifle to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Mrs. Feinstein’s “assault weapon” ban.
The Republican senators sent a letter of complaint to committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, but were still forced to use just a photo of a standard wooden hunting rifle with a plastic pistol grip at the hearing in order to demonstrate that simply adding the ergonomic feature transformed the gun into one that would be illegal under her ban.
Mrs. Feinstein’s staff gloated: “I was gratified to hear Sens. Cruz and Graham complaining that getting weapons into their hearing today was ‘unworkable,’” Mr. Mentzer emailed Cmdr. Williams and another officer with a news story about the Republicans not being able bring in even a legal rifle. “I find you guys ENTIRELY practical, for the record.”
The police have yet to turn over a majority of the documents I requested. The FOIA officer wrote that she was “still searching” and “will release them, if any are located.”
The police stonewalling and cover-up are so that the public doesn’t find out that Chief Lanier enforces laws differently in the District, depending on whether you are a powerful liberal who opposes Second Amendment rights, like Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Feinstein, or an average American.
…H/T The Right Scoop
HELP MAKE THIS A VIRAL POST BY SHARING IT WITH EVERY PATRIOT YOU KNOW!
Republican Senators who have not yet committed to defunding ObamaCare.
AK – Murkowski, Lisa – 202-224-3004
AL – Sessions, Jeff – 202-224-4124
AL – Shelby, Richard – 202-224-5744
AR – Boozman, John – 202-224-4843
AZ – Flake, Jeff – 202-224-4521
AZ – McCain, John – 202-224-2235
GA – Chambliss, Saxby – 202-224-3521
GA – Isakson, Johnny – 202-224-3643
ID – Crapo, Mike – 202-224-6142
IL – Kirk, Mark – 202-224-2854
IN – Coats, Dan – 202-224-5623
KS – Moran, Jerry – 202-224-6521
KS – Roberts, Pat – 202-224-4774
KY – McConnell, Mitch – 202-224-2541
ME – Collins, Susan – 202-224-2523
MO – Blunt, Roy – 202-224-5721
MS – Cochran, Thad – 202-224-5054
MS – Wicker, Roger – 202-224-6253
NC – Burr, Richard – 202-224-3154
ND – Hoeven, John – 202-224-2551
NE – Johanns, Mike – 202-224-4224
NH – Ayotte, Kelly – 202-224-3324
NV – Heller, Dean – 202-224-6244
OH – Portman, Rob – 202-224-3353
PA – Toomey, Pat – 202-224-4254
SC – Graham, Lindsey – 202-224-5972
SC – Scott, Tim – 202-224-6121
TN – Alexander, Lamar – 202-224-4944
TN – Corker, Bob – 202-224-3344
TX – Cornyn, John – 202-224-2934
UT – Hatch, Orrin – 202-224-5251
WI – Johnson, Ron – 202-224-5323
WY – Barrasso, John – 202-224-6441
Send a message to the House as well.
H. R. 2682
To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 11, 2013
Mr. GRAVES of Georgia (for himself, Mr. BRIDENSTINE, Mr. MASSIE, Mr. STOCKMAN, Mr. JONES, Mr. COLLINS of Georgia, Mr. COTTON, Mr. PALAZZO, Mr. BROUN of Georgia, Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina, Mr. PITTENGER, Mr. HENSARLING, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. MEADOWS, Mr. CASSIDY, Mr. ROE of Tennessee, Mr. LAMALFA, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. WENSTRUP, Mr. HUDSON, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mr. GINGREY of Georgia, Mr. FARENTHOLD, Mr. MULVANEY, Mr. WITTMAN, Mr. BARTON, Mr. OLSON, Mr. HALL, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. CULBERSON, Mr. FLEMING, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. DESANTIS, Mr. HUELSKAMP, Mr. POSEY, Mr. BILIRAKIS, Mr. SCALISE, and Mr. YOHO) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, Natural Resources, the Judiciary, and House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Defund Obamacare Act of 2013′.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON FUNDING.
(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds shall be made available to carry out any provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) or title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), or of the amendments made by either such Act.
(b) Limitation- No entitlement to benefits under any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) or title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), or the amendments made by either such Act, shall remain in effect on and after the date of the enactment of this Act, nor shall any payment be awarded, owed, or made to any State, District, or territory under any such provision.
(c) Unobligated Balances- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all unobligated balances available under the provisions of law referred to in subsection (a) are hereby rescinded.
COSPONSORS (98), ALPHABETICAL:
Rep Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2] – 7/22/2013
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] – 7/11/2013
Rep Barr, Andy [KY-6] – 7/16/2013
Rep Barton, Joe [TX-6] – 7/11/2013
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 7/24/2013
Rep Bentivolio, Kerry L. [MI-11] – 7/17/2013
Rep Bilirakis, Gus M. [FL-12] – 7/11/2013
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] – 7/17/2013
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-3] – 7/15/2013
Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5] – 7/17/2013
Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10] – 7/11/2013
Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] – 7/22/2013
Rep Cassidy, Bill [LA-6] – 7/11/2013
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Chaffetz, Jason [UT-3] – 7/23/2013
Rep Collins, Doug [GA-9] – 7/11/2013
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] – 7/17/2013
Rep Cotton, Tom [AR-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] – 7/19/2013
Rep Culberson, John Abney [TX-7] – 7/11/2013
Rep Daines, Steve [MT] – 7/17/2013
Rep DeSantis, Ron [FL-6] – 7/11/2013
Rep DesJarlais, Scott [TN-4] – 7/25/2013
Rep Duncan, Jeff [SC-3] – 7/11/2013
Rep Farenthold, Blake [TX-27] – 7/11/2013
Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3] – 7/15/2013
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep Flores, Bill [TX-17] – 7/17/2013
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-8] – 7/17/2013
Rep Gardner, Cory [CO-4] – 7/23/2013
Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11] – 7/11/2013
Rep Gosar, Paul A. [AZ-4] – 7/19/2013
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 7/17/2013
Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] – 7/16/2013
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep Harper, Gregg [MS-3] – 7/24/2013
Rep Harris, Andy [MD-1] – 7/26/2013
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4] – 7/24/2013
Rep Hastings, Doc [WA-4] – 7/22/2013
Rep Hensarling, Jeb [TX-5] – 7/11/2013
Rep Hudson, Richard [NC-8] – 7/11/2013
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2] – 7/17/2013
Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] – 7/17/2013
Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6] – 7/24/2013
Rep Johnson, Sam [TX-3] – 7/23/2013
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] – 7/11/2013
Rep King, Steve [IA-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] – 7/15/2013
Rep Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1] – 7/15/2013
Rep LaMalfa, Doug [CA-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5] – 7/11/2013
Rep Lankford, James [OK-5] – 7/23/2013
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] – 7/24/2013
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 7/18/2013
Rep Massie, Thomas [KY-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] – 7/26/2013
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 7/22/2013
Rep Meadows, Mark [NC-11] – 7/11/2013
Rep Messer, Luke [IN-6] – 7/24/2013
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Mullin, Markwayne [OK-2] – 7/22/2013
Rep Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5] – 7/11/2013
Rep Neugebauer, Randy [TX-19] – 7/17/2013
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 7/22/2013
Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22] – 7/11/2013
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4] – 7/11/2013
Rep Perry, Scott [PA-4] – 7/22/2013
Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9] – 7/11/2013
Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] – 7/17/2013
Rep Posey, Bill [FL-8] – 7/11/2013
Rep Price, Tom [GA-6] – 7/24/2013
Rep Radel, Trey [FL-19] – 7/26/2013
Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] – 7/17/2013
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-17] – 7/24/2013
Rep Salmon, Matt [AZ-5] – 7/17/2013
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Scott, Austin [GA-8] – 7/17/2013
Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] – 7/26/2013
Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] – 7/26/2013
Rep Smith, Jason T. [MO-8] – 7/19/2013
Rep Southerland, Steve II [FL-2] – 7/24/2013
Rep Stockman, Steve [TX-36] – 7/11/2013
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [IN-3] – 7/17/2013
Rep Thornberry, Mac [TX-13] – 7/26/2013
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 7/23/2013
Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7] – 7/19/2013
Rep Weber, Randy K. Sr. [TX-14] – 7/17/2013
Rep Wenstrup, Brad R. [OH-2] – 7/11/2013
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3] – 7/11/2013
Rep Williams, Roger [TX-25] – 7/17/2013
Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] – 7/17/2013
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] – 7/11/2013
Rep Womack, Steve [AR-3] – 7/26/2013
Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3] – 7/24/2013
Rep Yoho, Ted S. [FL-3] – 7/11/2013
POLICY AND TECHNICAL
“What do you mean by defunding Obamacare?”
Defunding Obamacare means attaching a legislative rider to a “must pass” bill (debt limit, annual spending bill, etc.) that 1) prohibits any funds from being spent on any activities to implement or enforce Obamacare; 2) rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation; and 3) turns off the exchange subsidy and new Medicaid spending that are on auto-pilot.
“There is no such thing as defunding Obamacare.”
That is a false statement. Congressmen who assert this are either asserting that funding is not being spent to implement Obamacare (false) or that a defund amendment cannot technically be executed (again, false). Defunding Obamacare can be done, and it has been attempted by the House of Representatives recently. For instance, in 2011, after gaining the majority, the Republican House included such a defunding provision on the continuing spending resolution (HR 1) when the bill first passed the House. The provision was later discarded in negotiations with the President and the Senate, but the effort began with promise.
“What is the urgency to defund Obamacare now?”
On January 1, 2014, Obamacare’s new main entitlements – the Medicaid expansion and the exchange subsidies – are scheduled to take effect. Open enrollment for both programs begins on October 1, 2013, at the start of the new fiscal year. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government will spend $48 billion in 2014 – and nearly $1.8 trillion through 2023 – on these new entitlement programs. Also on January 1, Americans will be forced by their government to buy a product – health insurance – for the first time ever. Individuals and families who don’t comply will be penalized by tax penalties administered through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Obama Administration has requested over $400 million in funding and nearly 2,000 bureaucrats for the IRS to implement the individual mandate and 46 other statutory provisions in the law. Within the Administration, the blizzard of Obamacare rules and regulations continues apace. Regulators have now written over 20,000 pages of Obamacare-related rules and notices in the Federal Register. Many of these regulations will increase the cost of insurance; CBO concluded Obamacare would raise individual health insurance premiums by $2,100 per year.
“Isn’t defunding Obamacare impossible because most of the funding is ‘mandatory’ (or on ‘auto-pilot’) and cannot be amended via the annual appropriations process?”
No. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the IRS, “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.” And while Obamacare provided $1 billion in mandatory implementation funding when it was enacted, HHS projects that this is largely spent. According to CRS, Obamacare “administrative costs will have to be funded through the annual discretionary appropriations.” Furthermore, annual appropriations bills routinely carry funding limitations to block all sorts of activities (for example, the Hyde Amendment), as well make changes to mandatory spending. These latter provisions are called “changes in mandatory program spending” (CHIMPS). Even if these riders were not so common-place, the stakes of so many provisions of Obamacare scheduled to take effect would present grounds for an exception.
“Isn’t defunding impossible because there is not a specific funding stream for Obamacare? Funding is embedded throughout the federal government and not specifically designated.”
No. Congress is aware of all of the programs that fund Obamacare because CRS has provided such a list and the Appropriations Committees are well-versed in the funding intricacies of the law. However, a blanket prohibition against funding all activities associated with implementing the law is all that is needed to halt implementation. Each program does not have to be specifically defunded.
POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC
“My Congressman supports repealing Obamacare but not defund….”
It is wonderful that Congressmen support repealing Obamacare, but it’s not enough. The House has had numerous votes to repeal Obamacare, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term. Conservatives cannot wait another three-and-a-half years to begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund Obamacare on “must-pass” spending bills.
“Since Obamacare is the President’s ‘signature achievement’ won’t he veto any effort to defund the program? Why should conservatives make this the focus of their anti-Obamacare efforts?”
There is a critical window of opportunity to stop the flow of funding for Obamacare from now until October 1, 2013, when the new fiscal year begins. It is during the same window that the President and Congress must pass bills to fund the government for the coming year. It is entirely appropriate for conservative members of Congress to use this opportunity to say, “No more funding for Obamacare!” and wage a serious and determined fight. If the Republican House girds for this fight – and wins the national argument with the urgency coming from a number of scheduled implementation dates and the law’s rising unpopularity – President Obama will be forced to compromise.
“If you don’t have the votes for a statutory repeal, why would you think you can get the votes to defund Obamacare?”
The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the ultimate “power of the purse.” If Congress chooses not to fund Obamacare activities for the upcoming fiscal year, the Obama Administration cannot act to implement the law. The President’s party does not control the House of Representatives, which must originate debt limit and spending bills to fund the government. And the House Republican Majority was elected in 2010, on the basis of its platform against Obamacare.
“Won’t adding a provision to defund Obamacare to a ‘must-pass’ appropriations bill lead to a government shutdown?”
Obviously, this will set up a major political confrontation with President Obama, but it is the sort of conflict that will allow conservatives in the House of Representatives to remind the American people that the worst aspects of Obamacare are about to take hold and a defunding rider is the only thing standing in the way.
If House Republicans insist on defunding Obamacare, it is possible that the Obama Administration will shut the government down. This would not be the end of the world, and it needs to be an option. President Clinton shut the government down in 1995, by refusing to sign legislation to fund the government. While most pundits in Washington DC believe that this was a catastrophic political failure for Republicans, it is a fact that the House Republicans maintained their majority in 1996, even with a popular president of another party on the ticket. And their willingness to not accept all of Clinton’s demands was crucial towards eventually balancing the budget and reforming welfare. The nation can no longer afford for conservatives to leave political leverage on the table.
“Shouldn’t Obamacare opponents focus instead on repealing pieces of the law where there is bipartisan support – for example, the medical device tax or the IPAB – in order to reinforce the fact that Obamacare is not set in stone and make its supporters take hard votes?”
Washington is filled with special interest groups lobbying everyday to secure a “fix” for the part of Obamacare that affects their industry. There is no “fix” for this law and every time Congress caves to a special interest and makes the law “better” for that group, a little less momentum exists for full and final defunding or repeal. “Fix” votes also give Obamacare supporters every opportunity to appear reasonable and willing to fix the worst excesses of the law. The grim reality is that if the opponents of Obamacare are not willing to use every bit of political leverage at their disposal – a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, mostly made up of Congressmen from safe seats with constituents who strongly object to Obamacare – to halt implementation of the law, then it will be set in stone. There is simply no more time, particularly as the massive exchange subsidies are made available and the Medicaid expansion takes effect.
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Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels doesn’t mince words. He’s angry that local law enforcement and the citizens who call the Southwest border home have been left out of the decision making process when it comes to security and immigration reform.
Dannels has lived along the border since 1984. He remembers when the dangers from smugglers circumventing the rocky, mountainous terrain were few and far between. Now, he says, a different breed of narcotics traffickers has amassed weapons, technology and small armies of death; threatening not only the stability of Mexico but U.S. national security as well. He works closely with DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement but the system is not perfect.
Sitting at a local eatery under the shadow of the Huachuca Mountains, he questioned how much time, if any, the law makers who drafted SB 774 – known as the ”Gang of Eight” bill – had actually spent on the border. Dannels, along with residents living on the Southwest border and local senior law enforcement officials told TheBlaze on a recent trip to Arizona that they were left out of the decision making process on border security. They say the Gang of Eight bill just isn’t good enough when it comes to addressing the complex security issues they deal with every day.
“Look at (Sen. Marco) Rubio out of Florida – have you been down here, Rubio?” he said, noting that drug cartels had just replaced a radio relay station on the mountain that the sheriff’s team had taken down less than three weeks earlier.
The Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug organizations, uses the ”receiver/transmitter to extend their communication footprint between Mexico and the Huachuca mountains,” a U.S. Intelligence official, familiar with the terrain, told TheBlaze. It’s how they stay ahead of law enforcement and keep track of their contraband, the official added.
Home invasions, burglary, theft, destruction of private property – and a constant fear that it’s only going to get worse – is something Cochise County border residents live with daily.
“I say to myself, ‘Rubio, you’re making decisions for me, for my state, for my county, my city when you haven’t even been here – what an insult, what do you know about our border? You know nothing about our border. Yet you’re making those decisions without even speaking to us.’”
Rubio’s office did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The Senate’s Gang of Eight bill, drafted this year by a bipartisan group of well-known lawmakers, was supposed to be the answer to the nation’s 11 million plus illegal immigrants. Or at least that’s what these senators hoped. Instead, it has left many lawmakers, local law enforcement officers and American residents living along the nearly 2,000 mile Southwest border scratching their heads.
A majority of House Republicans say it is nothing more than amnesty for illegal residents, worsens entitlement spending, overrides the more than 4 million people trying to enter the U.S. legally. Critics say the border measures in the bill do not provide any guarantees for the billions of dollars allocated for security and give enormous power to the Department of Homeland Security.
Ranchers and law enforcement agents in Arizona told TheBlaze they don’t trust that anyone in Washington understands how serious the security issues are, especially with the growing power of Mexican drug cartels operating on the border.
‘It’s very frustrating… we can’t stop the cartels’
In 1984, Cochise County had 50 U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents working along it’s 83 mile border. Today, it’s increased to 1,300 agents and 200 Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement officers.
The Gang of Eight bill will add 20,000 more Border Patrol agents and an additional 700 miles of border fence.
“The men and women working for the federal government have a very dangerous job out there which I respect,” Dannels said. “They do the best with what they’ve been given…It’s very frustrating. Even with 1500 federal agents and I have only 83 miles of Southwest border – we can ‘t stop the (cartels) the drugs and human trafficking.”
During the 1990s, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol implemented Operation Gatekeeper, whereby agents built a strong three-tier line of defense to stop the flow of contraband and people, in urban Southwest border cities. Dannels said that policy helped the big cities but “sent the bad guys ballooning to use crossings in rural communities like Cochise County.”
He said the Gang of Eight bill doesn’t deal with the real problem. Along with Rubio, the other seven members who drafted the new immigration bill are Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Chuck Schemer (D-N.Y.); Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.); Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
The bill passed 68 to 32 in the Senate with 14 Republicans onboard. It has been rejected by some House Republicans openly and others have avoided it all-together. Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, promised that he would not bring the bill to a vote on the floor because much of his party opposes it.
“You can understand why the citizens of Cochise county are upset, they detoured the drug cartels right into their backyards,” Dannels said. ”I say it everyday… on the federal side- you created it, you solve it. You need to redefine your plan of the 90s, and don’t put a maintenance key on border security until that’s done and I stand strongly on that.”
Dannels isn’t giving up on the federal government. He and nearly a dozen other border sheriff’s held several conference calls over the past month with Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) regarding different border security legislation he’s drafted.
‘Border Security is not one size fits all’
Late night “cat and mouse” car chases between Dannel’s officers and drug runners have become more common and more dangerous.
His officers don’t need to be left in the dark in Washington as well, he said.
Not all hope is lost.
The border sheriffs say some of their concerns are being addressed in the House bill. It gives local law enforcement a stake in what happens in their communities.
“Border security is not one-size-fits-all and the border sheriffs know perhaps better than anyone the unique challenges in their jurisdictions and what resources are needed to meet those challenges,” McCaul told TheBlaze. “When I met with several border sheriffs this week, the one thing I kept hearing is ‘finally, someone is listening to us.’”
The bipartisan bill, called the Border Security Results Act of 2013, authored by McCaul, and co-authored by Texas Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee, Henry Cuellar, and Republicans Ted Poe, Pete Olson, Blake Farenthold and and Kevin Brady makes more sense than the Gang of Eight bill, Dannels said.
It would require state governors to work closely with Homeland Security officials, assessing the individual needs of the states in regards to security and immigration. It would also require the Government Accountability Office to issue reports on the progress of those measures.
‘No Faith in the federal government’
John Ladd, a rancher who has a close relationship with Sheriff Dannel’s office, says he doesn’t have time for Washington politics and he has very little faith the federal government.
He’s not alone.
Other ranchers that spoke with TheBlaze on condition of anonymity, out of fear of retaliation from the cartels, said lawmakers use the border issue for their own political purposes but rarely follow through with their promises.
Like many of the residents in the area, Ladd, a third generation Cochise rancher, lamented the days when drug cartels didn’t threaten his way of life. His ranch runs 10 miles along the south border and to the north it sits on state route 92. Ladd estimates that 32 trucks have illegally crossed from Mexico through his property since January.
He counts the tire tracks. Ladd’s also come face to face with the trucks on his ranch and watched as they made their way to route 92. He says the calls to federal law enforcement fall on deaf ears and they rarely if ever show up to check out his claims.
“We don’t even know what or who was in those semis that crossed my property,” said Ladd. “Homeland Security is the most inept federal bureaucracy. They lie when they tell the American people the border is more secure today than it ever has been.”
A DHS Official, who works along the Southwest border, said “it’s difficult to do the job you need to do when administration officials tie your hands.”
“It’s a shell game – you think something is happening but it’s all theater,” the official said. “Ladd is speaking for a lot of us.”
“Gang of Ocho” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was confronted by radio host Doc Washburn on his amnesty plan tonight at a Republican Party meeting in Panama City, Florida.
It’s hard to listen to.
Doc Washburn reported:
I used to be a big cheerleader for Senator Rubio. I was grieved when he joined with Democrats in the Senate to push amnesty. Imho, they are trying to complete the “fundamental transformation” of our country and now he is aligned with them. Marco used to say the problem with our immigration system is that our government refuses to enforce existing law. Now he seems to think that Congress can pass a bill to make this President enforce immigration law.
I tried to call him on it politely. Unfortunately, instead of addressing this paradox, he just doubled down. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
Enough is Enough
Republican leaders in Greenville County introduced a resolution this week to replace RINO Lindsey Graham as U.S. Senator.
Greenville County (S.C.) Republicans have introduced a resolution condemning liberal U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for acting in a manner ”fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of the South Carolina Republican Party.”
The resolution – introduced to a cheering crowd earlier this week at a GOP executive committee meeting – blasts Graham on a number of fronts, including his votes to confirm liberal, pro-Obamacare Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, his support of amnesty for illegal aliens and his backing of U.S. President Barack Obama’s “cap and trade” energy tax hike.
In fact the document lists nearly thirty examples of Graham’s treachery, concluding he “should be replaced as Senator for the State of South Carolina at the earliest possible electoral opportunity.”