House And Senate Claimed Only 45 Employees Each, Then Signed Up 12,359 On Obamacare ‘Small Business’ Exchange

U.S. House And Senate Each Said They Had Only 45 Employees, Then Signed Up 12,359 For Insurance On Obamacare ‘Small-Business’ Exchange – CNS

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Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives certified that they had only 45 employees each in order to sign up for the District of Columbia’s Small Business Exchange. But 12,359 – or 86 percent of the exchange’s enrollees – are members of Congress, congressional staff members, and their spouses and dependents, according to an appeal filed with the D.C. Court of Appeals by Judicial Watch.

The public interest law firm announced Monday that it is appealing the February dismissal of its lawsuit challenging congressional participation in the Obamacare exchange even though the D.C. Exchange Act limits enrollment to small companies with 50 or fewer employees.

“Congress obviously has far more than 50 employees,” Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha pointed out in his opening brief. “It has thousands of employees.”

Congress enrolled in the small business exchange when its previous coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan was terminated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and congressional employees stood to lose thousands of dollars in “employer contributions” if they enrolled in the District’s individual exchange.

According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives both certified that they “employ 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees.”

In October 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule that provides an “employer contribution” covering about three-quarters of the premiums of congressional employees enrolled in the small business exchange starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The OPM rule “allowed at least 12,359 congressional employees and their spouses and dependents to obtain health insurance through the Small Business Exchange… These 12,359 participants represent an astonishing 86% of the Small Business Exchange’s total enrollment,” the appeal states.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit last October on behalf of Kirby Vining, a D.C. resident since 1986, who objected to the expenditure of municipal funds to insure congressional employees in an exchange that was established specifically for small employers in the District.

“Congress authored the law [ACA], and is going to rather questionable lengths to avoid compliance with the law it drafted,” Vining said.

Although the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority conceded that D.C. law limits participation in the exchange to small employers, it argued in court that “the local statute must yield to the extent the federal statute or regulation applies.”

In its motion to dismiss the case, the authority also stated that the exchange “has been funded exclusively by federal grants awarded to the District to establish its Exchange, and more recently, an assessment imposed on health carriers doing business in the District.”

In dismissing the lawsuit, D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon ruled that Vining had no standing to challenge the OPM rule because he “has not demonstrated a reasonable inference that municipal taxpayer funds have been appropriated to defendant exchange authority to establish a cognizable injury to maintain standing to bring his underlying complaint.”

However, in a budget report submitted to Congress, the Exchange Authority’s actual budget for Fiscal Year 2013 ($10.9 million) and FY 2014 ($66.1 million) was identified as ” ‘municipal monies’ as originating from the District’s General Fund. No monies are identified as Federal Funds, Private Revenue, or Intra-District Funds,” according to the appeal.

“In Fiscal Year 2015, the Exchange Authority’s budget was reclassified from the General Fund to a newly created fund, separate and distinct from ‘Federal Funds’,” it continued.

Dixon also ruled that the OPM rule preempts the D.C. Exchange Act, noting that “allowing members of Congress and their staff to participate in the District’s small business health options program is authorized by federal regulations.”

But Judicial Watch argues in its appeal that the D.C. law cannot be preempted because it is “completely consistent and entirely compatible” with the federal law and in fact its “sole purpose is to implement various provisions of ACA.”

“In reality, the court ruled that a determination by a federal bureaucrat – in this instance, the director of OPM – trumps the 50-employee limit of the Exchange Act, at least with respect to Congress,” the group’s appeal brief stated. “No lawful regulation – much less a regulation that purports to delegate such authority to an agency head – can do that, and the Court cites no legal authority whatsoever for their astonishing conclusion that it can.”

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that allowing Congress to enroll in an exchange meant for small businesses is both “unlawful and unethical.”

“It is an abuse of District taxpayers to use D.C. funds to subsidize illegal health insurance for Congress,” Fitton said in a statement. “It is unlawful and unethical for District officials to use local dollars to participate in Congress’s Obamacare fraud.

“The highest court in the District of Columbia must affirm the right of District taxpayers to protect their monies from being misappropriated by corrupt District officials.”

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*VIDEO* Pajamas Media: Trifecta – Fraud On A Grand Scale! Is Congress A Small Business?


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This guy is the kind of person we should put in Congress!

Via Moonbattery

Kudos are due to a countermoonbat landlord in Colorado Springs:

John Obringer sent out a letter to his tenants at the Casa Adobe Apartments on Wednesday. The letter was addressing cutbacks on staff and maintenance issues.

“Due to the stupidity of the U.S. electorate, the Obama-administration’s continued assault on small business is resulting in increased taxes, regulations and mandates that are forcing the management company (B&J Enterprises, Inc.) for Casa Adobe Apartments to modify its operation to survive. This has resulted in layoffs, work-time reductions and decreased pay for workers. Consequently, the business hours are now Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Please plan accordingly … We are working hard to maintain the field, cleaning and maintenance personnel in place without raising rents, but that too is inevitable due to the upcoming inflation and market forces,” writes Obringer.

“If you have any questions, comments or criticisms, please call me. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and Happy Holidays to you and yours,” continues Obringer.

Then he added, “BTW: If you voted “Democrat” on Nov. 6, please notify me ASAP so I can raise your rent first to help pay for what you asked for.”

This is what we need, people who speak the unvarnished truth. Not politicians who will say whatever it takes to get elected.

 

Arizona gun store owner bans Obama voters

Good for him! Of course, not too many Obama voters would be buying guns anyway, but still, I like this! Via Gateway Pundit

Todd Starnes reported, via FOX Nation:

The owner of an Arizona gun store said he will not sell weapons to customers who voted for President Obama because “you have proven that you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”

Cope Reynolds, owner of the Southwest Shooting Authority in Pinetop, Ariz., posted the new store policy in a newspaper advertisement — as well as on a sign posted on the front door.

“If you voted for Barack Obama your business is not welcome at Southwest Shooting Authority,” the ad reads. “You have proven that you are not responsible enough to own a firearm.”

The Southwest Shooting Authority is a family-owned, family-run business that Reynolds opened in 2004. He told Fox News that he’s absolutely serious about the new policy.

“I’m a small business owner,” he said. “If you are dumb enough to vote for Obama again – after four years of this — I don’t think you are responsible enough to own a firearm. I don’t care who it makes mad.”

 

Our government, BOTH parties, and their dishonesty needs to go

H/T  Conservative Hideout for this story of how our government, and big business collaborate to screw small businesses and hide new laws, and their consequences from the people

Buried deep in the transportation bill was an amendment which was added to the legislation which will change the definition of cigarette manufacturers to include those who own and operate roll your own cigarette machines, effectively shutting down these small businesses all across the country.

    For those who do not know: Loose tobacco is taxed at a much lower rate than cigars and cigarettes and because of this many people have opted to save money by rolling their own cigarettes and this led to a boom in the roll your own cigarettes business. Entrepreneurs went into business for themselves by purchasing rolling machines which afforded smokers with the opportunity to roll many cigarettes in minutes while paying half the price for name brand cigarettes.

  Needless to say, “big tobacco” wasn’t happy about small businesses moving in on their territory and they lobbied the government to crack down on these small businesses, and let’s face it, the government doesn’t really want people to quite smoking because quite frankly the government would lose too much money. The government simply wants the people to pay more to the government for theprivilege to keep smoking and because many people found a way to legally avoid paying taxes on cigarettes the government had to step in and do something about this.

  So naturally the federal government was more than willing to partner with “big tobacco” to take down the little guy. The federal government and “big tobacco” are the winners here and the losers are the small business owners for they can no longer compete. And it mustn’t be forgotten that this bill was passed with bipartisan support, the Republicans are just as guilty as are the Democrats for putting tax revenues and special interests ahead of the people.

Absolutely despicable. there is no place in our republic  for this. Of course this is what happens when bills become so massive no one can fairly be expected to know what is in them. We need some reform that disallows amendments, which have nothing at all to do with a bill, from being attached. We also need to end this practice of government using taxes to pick winners and losers, or to favor large businesses over small. Our Congress is out of control. They are no longer representatives, they are slave masters. This is nothing more than hiding legislation from the people. I will let Matt have the last word

So, this story has it all, intrusive government that causes people to lose their jobs, and closes businesses, with a heaping helping of crony capitalism.

This story reminds us just how deep in the pit of big government we are.

A classic example of how regulations can kill businesses

Duane Lester has a story about how tough it is to start a business in San Francisco.

The New York Times (yes, that one) has an article about an ice cream parlor in San Francisco that almost wasn’t. The journey from idea to reality was one filled with red tape and over $30,000 in fees.

But small business is a priority in San Francisco:

The Ice Cream Bar opened Jan. 21 in the Cole Valley neighborhood — an homage to the classic parlors of the 1930s, complete with vintage soda fountain and lunch counter seating. It has become an immediate sensation, packed with both families and the foodie crowd, savoring upscale house-made ice creams and exotic sodas (flavorings include pink peppercorn and tobacco). The shop also employs 14 full- and part-time workers.

But getting it opened wasn’t easy.

“Many times it almost didn’t happen,” said Juliet Pries, the owner, with a cheerful laugh.

Ms. Pries said it took two years to open the restaurant, due largely to the city’s morass of permits, procedures and approvals required to start a small business. While waiting for permission to operate, she still had to pay rent and other costs, going deeper into debt each passing month without knowing for sure if she would ever be allowed to open.

“It’s just a huge risk,” she said, noting that the financing came from family and friends, not a bank. “At several points you wonder if you should just walk away and take the loss.”

Ms. Pries said she had to endure months of runaround and pay a lawyer to determine whether her location (a former grocery, vacant for years) was eligible to become a restaurant. There were permit fees of $20,000; a demand that she create a detailed map of all existing area businesses (the city didn’t have one); and an $11,000 charge just to turn on the water.

Simply unbelievable isn’t it? Cities need businesses to grow and prosper, they need the sales tax revenues, yet, some cities seem intent on making it nearly impossible to start, or expand a business. It ought to be common sense for city councils, and mayors to realize that making it easier, and less expensive to start a business will be far more beneficial for that city, and yes, the city’s revenues.

Yet, the desire to micro-manage is inherent in the Liberal mind, and make no mistake, that desire plays a big part in this process. Another contributing factor is incompetence that infests every layer of government. The third factor is greed. Make no mistake, the Left is greedy, greedy for your money, no matter where it comes from. The fees, in this story topped $30,000. Why? Certainly some licenses might be perfectly reasonable, but how many people might not start a new business because of all those fees. They might also pack up their dreams, and open a business in a neighboring town if that town is more business friendly.

Rule #1 for government, be it city, county, state or federal, is this. If you want economic growth, do not kick businesses in the groin with regs and taxes. Will the Left ever learn this rule? Of course not. They are addicted to their failed ideals, which is why they are Leftists.

Your Good Grief, how stupid can they get moment!

From Oregon comes an unbelievably inane story about just how incompetent big government can be. Via Hot Air

The Institute for Justice will fight another interesting case on business licensing, this time in Oregon, where an 80-year-old barber with 50 years experience has been told he needs to go back to school to qualify for his license.  Just as in the case of Louisiana casket makers and tour guides in Philadelphia and Washington DC, licensing laws that threaten to kill a 50-year small business demonstrates the unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government at the state level:

Simply astounding isn’t it? Incompetence exemplified!