How Rand Paul And A Few Other RINO Douchebags Let Congress Keep Its Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies

How Five Republicans Let Congress Keep Its Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies – National Review

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The rumors began trickling in about a week before the scheduled vote on April 23: Republican leadership was quietly pushing senators to pull support for subpoenaing Congress’s fraudulent application to the District of Columbia’s health exchange – the document that facilitated Congress’s “exemption” from Obamacare by allowing lawmakers and staffers to keep their employer subsidies.

The application said Congress employed just 45 people. Names were faked; one employee was listed as “First Last,” another simply as “Congress.” To Small Business Committee chairman David Vitter, who has fought for years against the Obamacare exemption, it was clear that someone in Congress had falsified the document in order to make lawmakers and their staff eligible for taxpayer subsidies provided under the exchange for small-business employees.

But until Vitter got a green light from the Small Business Committee to subpoena the unredacted application from the District of Columbia health exchange, it would be impossible to determine who in Congress gave it a stamp of approval. When Vitter asked Republicans on his committee to approve the subpoena, however, he was unexpectedly stonewalled.

With nine Democrats on the committee lined up against the proposal, the chairman needed the support of all ten Republicans to issue the subpoena. But, though it seems an issue tailor-made for the tea-party star and Republican presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) refused to lend his support. And when the Louisiana senator set a public vote for April 23, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies got involved.

“For whatever reason, leadership decided they wanted that vote to be 5-5, all Republicans, to give Senator Paul cover,” one high-ranking committee staffer tells National Review. “So they worked at a member level to change the votes of otherwise supportive senators.” Four Republicans – senators Mike Enzi, James Risch, Kelly Ayotte, and Deb Fischer – had promised to support Vitter, but that would soon change.

Senate staffers, according to a top committee aide, reported seeing Missouri senator Roy Blunt make calls to at least two Republican committee members, lobbying them, at McConnell’s behest, to vote no on subpoenaing the exchange. By the time the committee was called to quorum, Enzi, Risch, Ayotte, and Fischer voted no.

To many observers, it was curious that any Republican would move to put the brakes on an investigation into Obamacare fraud, and particularly curious that they would pull back in an instance where the federal government was actually defrauding itself, one that so clearly illustrates Obamacare’s flaws by exposing the bureaucratic jujitsu and outright dishonesty required of federal employees themselves to navigate the law.

Conservative health-care experts can’t understand the reasoning behind the GOP senators’ opposition. They see politics and self-interest at play, and they allege that Republican leaders are as invested as their Democratic counterparts in maintaining their subsidies, fraudulently obtained, while avoiding scrutiny from an overwhelmingly disapproving American public.

“We deserve to know who signed that application, because they are robbing taxpayers,” says Michael Cannon, director of health-policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. The staffers who signed the fraudulent application, he says, “know who was directing them to do this. And so we have to follow the trail of breadcrumbs. This is the next breadcrumb, and whoever is farther up the trail wants to stop Vitter right here.”

The story of the ill-fated subpoena can be traced back to the debate over the Affordable Care Act, when Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) insisted that lawmakers and congressional staff join a health-care exchange set up under the bill. For government employees, that meant giving up government-subsidized health-care contributions of between $5,000 and $10,000 per person. The White House scrambled to find a way to allow congressional employees to keep those subsidies. In Washington, D.C., only the small-business exchange allowed them to do so. After secret meetings with House speaker John Boehner in 2013, President Obama instructed the Office of Personnel Management to allow Congress to file for classification as a small business, despite the fact that the law defines a small business as having no more than 50 employees and the House and Senate together employ tens of thousands.

When Vitter’s staffers tracked down the application and discovered obvious signs of fraud, Vitter requested approval to subpoena an unredacted copy of the application. The value of that document, says Cannon, is that it would reveal the name of the person who filed it. “Now you’ve got someone to call to testify,” he says, predicting that testimony would precipitate a congressional vote on whether to end the congressional exemption altogether.

“I think it makes sense to find out what happened,” says Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs, a noted conservative health-care voice and a National Review contributor. “It would be pretty interesting to see whose name is on the forms,” he says. “It has to go beyond mid-level staffers.”

But some congressional Republicans, it seems, are also resistant to getting to the bottom of the mystery – or, at the very least, they are content to let sleeping dogs lie.

Committee rules for a subpoena require either the consent of the ranking member or a majority of the group’s 19 senators. Because Democrats quickly made their opposition clear, Vitter needed the approval of all ten Republicans. Nine of them quickly consented via e-mail; one senator was strangely unresponsive.

Senior committee aides say that Rand Paul’s staff didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail requesting the senator’s consent and, when they did, they refused to provide it. When Vitter attempted to set up a member-to-member meeting, his overtures were ignored or put off. Paul’s policy staff refused to take a meeting. When Vitter tried to confront Paul on the Senate floor, they say, the Kentucky senator skirted the issue.

It wasn’t until after the vote that Paul shared his reasoning. “Senator Paul opposes allowing Congress to exempt themselves from any legislation,” an aide told the Conservative Review. “To that end, yesterday, he reintroduced his proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit Congress from passing any law that exempts themselves. Senator Paul prefers this option over a partisan cross-examination of Congressional staff.”

But a constitutional amendment is a longshot that would take years, and it hardly precluded an investigation of congressional corruption here and now.

“That’s absurd,” says Robert Moffit, the director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “You don’t need a constitutional amendment to get a subpoena… I don’t know where he’s coming from.”

“The answers he has given do not make sense,” Cannon says of Paul. “And when someone with his principles does something that is so obviously against his principles, and does not give an adequate explanation, you begin to think that politics is afoot. It would have to be someone very powerful that made him a powerful pitch – or threat – to keep him from doing this.”

Paul’s press secretary tells National Review that the senator “examines every opportunity to [oppose Obamacare] individually, and does not base his vote on requests made by other senators, including the majority leader.”

Asked whether McConnell pushed Paul or any other senator on the subpoena, a spokesman for McConnell says the majority leader “didn’t make any announcements when that committee voted.”

The flip-flopping Republicans justified their change of heart. Risch said in the April 23 committee meeting that legal wrangling with the D.C. exchange could take time away from the committee’s small-business work. Enzi said he saw little wrong with the application as is.

“Each of us has our own budget, each of us has our own staff,” he said. “I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m way under 50 [employees]. So my staff qualifies as a small business.”

Enzi was one of the original sponsors of Vitter’s 2013 amendment to end the congressional Obamacare exemption, but his press secretary tells National Review he felt the probe “could inadvertently target staff who simply completed paperwork as part of their job.” He insists that Enzi “made up his own mind.” Risch, Ayotte, and Fischer declined to comment.

A spokesman for South Carolina senator Tim Scott, who voted for the subpoena, says that nobody lobbied him one way or the other, while a spokesman for Florida senator Marco Rubio, who also voted in favor of the measure, declined to comment.

Health-care experts dismiss Enzi’s claim that each member’s office is its own small business, and not just because the health exchange application was filed for Congress as a whole. “These congressional offices that think they’re small businesses, are they LLCs?” Cannon asks. “Are they S-Corps? Are they shareholder-owned? Are they privately held? What is the ownership structure of this small business that you’re running, senator? It’s just utterly ridiculous.”

“They’re transparently absurd,” says Moffit of Senate Republicans claiming small-business status. “Who made the determination that Congress is a small business and is therefore eligible for subsidies that do not legally exist? How did that happen?”

No one quite knows what’s behind leadership’s apparent push to kill the subpoena. The move baffled some committee staffers. “The amount of blood that McConnell and Paul spilled to prevent [the subpoena] from happening makes me wonder [if] maybe that isn’t all that there is to it,” the high-ranking staffer says. “Maybe other people signed it… They’re clearly afraid of something bigger than a person’s name getting out there.”

Others, however, think the motives behind GOP leadership’s apparent obfuscation are clear. “If there’s one thing that absolutely drives Americans fundamentally crazy, it’s the idea that Congress can set one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else,” says Moffit. “That’s political poison, and that’s why they have been so desperate to avoid the issue.”

“The most powerful interest group in Washington D.C., is not the Chamber or the unions or anyone else,” Cannon says. “It is members of Congress and their staffs. And when it comes to their benefits, they are all members of the same party.”

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*LIVE STREAMING* New Hampshire Republican Party Leadership Summit – Day 2 – 04/18/15


Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker, Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Governor Bobby Jindal take part in the New Hampshire Republican Party’s “First in the Nation” leadership summit in Nashua, NH. Streaming begins at 9:00am eastern time.

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………………………Click on image above to watch stream.
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Alternate Stream

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Click HERE to watch day 1 of the summit.

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Rand Paul refuses to play the media’s game of “gotcha”

I have some reservations about Rand Paul, and Ed laid out some of his today, but I like how he handled this question about abortion

A Republican presidential candidate did something new and refreshing when challenged on his abortion views by the press: he threw it back in the face of the Democrats. 

When quizzed on his about his views on abortion, Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul avoided the gotcha game and told NH1 reporter Paul Steinhauser to ask DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz if it was okay to “kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus.”

“Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a 7 pound baby in the uterus?” Paul reportedly said. ”You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.”

I think he handled that quite properly. He did not dance around, or get mealy-mouthed. He put the moral onus back on Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Well played!

Rand Paul Just Jumped Into The Race For President – And I’m Here To Bust His Balls (Video)


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The following quotes were taken from the above-embedded speech by Senator Rand Paul in which he declared his candidacy for President of the United States. After each one, I have posted a response in the hopes that every Paulbot in America will take a few moments out of his or her busy day to write me some hate-mail.

Let’s begin.

RP: “We’ve come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank.”

What political interests aren’t “special”? Which ones should we get rid of, and how? If I’m not mistaken, people have a constitutional right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. Should we now amend the ‘Bill of Rights’ with respect to this issue?

RP: “If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat-light, what’s the point?”

There’s no more point in doing that than there is in nominating a Libertarian who calls himself a Republican in order to get GOP backing for an election.

RP: “Washington is horribly broken. I fear it can’t be fixed from within.”

If that’s true, then why are you running for president? After all, if change can only be made from without, why attempt to become the biggest insider there is?

RP: “Congress has an abysmal record with balancing anything. Our only recourse is to force Congress to balance the budget with a constitutional amendment.”

How are you going to convince Congressmen to do something that they could have done at any time in the past, but have consistently refused to do? Are you calling for a ‘Convention of the States’ for such a purpose? And if you could get Congress and/or the states to adopt a balanced budget amendment, would there be exceptions to it, such as during times of war?

RP: “We limit the president to two terms. It’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

How do you propose we convince members of Congress to pass a law that makes them leave office and actually work for a living? Again, are you suggesting we implement a ‘Convention of the States’? If so, I’d support that. If not, then this proposition is as shallow as a mud puddle.

RP: “I want to reform Washington. I want common-sense rules that will break the logjam in Congress. That’s why I’ve introduced a ‘Read The Bills’ act.”

Is there currently something preventing Congressmen from reading the bills they vote on? Even if you could force them to read their bills, where is the guarantee that they’d understand them, or that doing so would cause them to vote differently than they otherwise would?

RP: “Work is not punishment, work is the reward.”

No, work is just another word for effort, and effort is not a reward, it is the means by which one reaps a reward. For instance, the satisfaction derived from accomplishing a goal is a reward for effort, as is the money exchanged for it in a free market. Rewards are the results of work, not the work itself.

RP: “My plan involves economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, west Louisville, eastern Kentucky to prosper by leaving more money in the pockets of the people who live there.”

How? Are you proposing that we create special tax rates for people in failing cities by modifying our already monstrously complex tax code? If not, then what do you suggest? And who gets to determine which areas of the country are worthy of such distinct consideration, and which aren’t?

RP: “Conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution. Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.”

What if we have no choice but to go to war with a country filled with radical Islamists? Do we just leave it in ruins afterward, creating a power vacuum for any lunatic to fill? Contrary to popular belief, America has never lost a war. However, in modern times it has often lost the ensuant peace. (e.g. Vietnam, Iraq)

RP: “We brought Iran to the table through sanctions that I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I’ve co-sponsored legislation that ensures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress. Not only is that good policy, it’s the law.”

If it’s already the law, why are you co-sponsoring a bill of identical effect? Wouldn’t your time in Congress be better spent supporting legislation that isn’t redundant?

RP: “Let’s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money to build some bridges here at home.”

That may be an effective bumper-sticker line for a presidential campaign, but if my memory hasn’t completely failed me, back in 2009, Congress passed an $831B “stimulus” bill called the ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ for just such domestic purposes. And yet, our infrastructure is in worse shape now than it’s ever been. So tell me, how is not spending a few million dollars in Iraq or Afghanistan going to help us build bridges in America, when the billions we’ve supposedly allocated for that purpose aren’t actually being used to build bridges?

RP: “It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting ‘death to America’ in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid. I say, it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America.”

What if the penny you mentioned is one of many being used to stop Muslim extremists from overrunning U.S.-friendly governments – like the one headed by the Shah of Iran in the 1970s? Should we provide “aid” money to a bad government that’s at least willing to play ball with us on the international stage, or would you rather let it be replaced by a worse one that will cost us far more in treasure and blood down the road?

RP: “I say that your phone records are yours.”

Not if the records in question belong to your service provider. Which records are you referring to, exactly?

RP: “The president created this vast dragnet by executive order, and as president, on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”

To which executive order do you refer? For that matter, which president? And how are you going to end said surveillance… by executive order? Tell me, is the NSA’s collection of metadata identical to the general warrants of search and seizure rejected by our founding fathers? I don’t believe so.

As Charles Krauthammer wrote in 2013: Thirty-five years ago in United States v. Choate, the courts ruled that the Postal Service may record “mail cover,” i.e., what’s written on the outside of an envelope – the addresses of sender and receiver. The National Security Agency’s recording of U.S. phone data does basically that with the telephone. It records who is calling whom – the outside of the envelope, as it were. The content of the conversation, however, is like the letter inside the envelope. It may not be opened without a court order. The constitutional basis for this is simple: The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for what’s written on an envelope. It’s dropped in a public mailbox, read by workers at the collection center and read once again by the letter carrier. It’s already openly been shared, much as your phone records are shared with, recorded by, and (e-)mailed back to you by a third party, namely the phone company. Indeed, in 1979 the Supreme Court (Smith v. Maryland) made the point directly regarding the telephone: The expectation of privacy applies to the content of a call, not its record. There is therefore nothing constitutionally offensive about the newly revealed NSA data-mining program that seeks to identify terrorist networks through telephone-log pattern recognition.

RP: “I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally, and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.”

The enforcement of most violent-crime laws leads to a disproportionate incarceration rate among “people of color”. Should we suddenly decriminalize armed robbery and murder because a higher percentage – per capita – of non-whites are convicted of those crimes than whites?

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Dear Rand Paul supporters,

I get why you like the good doctor. He seems like a man of integrity who keeps to his word and champions the cause of liberty in a way that few of his contemporaries do.

Good for him.

The downside to many of his policy viewpoints, however, is that he really hasn’t thought them through. They won’t work – despite his noble intentions – because ideology must be tempered with pragmatism, or else it is counterproductive.

Sincerely,

Edward L. Daley

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*VIDEOS* AFP Freedom Summit: Featuring Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Laura Ingraham And Newt Gingrich


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