Michael Reagan has weighed in on the spat between Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom are claiming that their foreign policy views are in the mold of his adoptive father, Ronald Reagan.
In a short tweet yesterday, Michael Reagan, an author and former conservative talk show host, expressed support for Paul and linked to the Breitbart op-ed in which the Kentucky senator defended his foreign policy views:
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) March 11, 2014
Paul thanked Reagan in a tweet of his own.
In an interview with ABC News’ This Week, Cruz said that he disagreed with Paul on foreign policy, invoking the name of Ronald Reagan.
It’s no secret that many labor unions aren’t pleased with Obamacare, and have unsuccessfully lobbied the White House for an exemption. But a recently released report from one major labor union, UNITE HERE, took a different angle on law, claiming that it will actually make income inequality worse.
In its report, The Irony of ObamaCare: Making Inequality Worse, UNITE HERE argues that subsidies provided through the law are “one of the largest transfers of public wealth to private hands ever.” The report also noted that the law has lead employers to cut workers’ hours to avoid costly mandates.
“Ironically, the Administration’s own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality,” the report said. “Yes, the Affordable Care Act will help many more Americans gain some health insurance coverage, a significant step forward for equality.”
“At the same time, without smart fixes,” the report continues, “the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.”
UNITE HERE represents some 265,000 in various industries, including hotel, food service, and gaming. Its report on the effects of Obamacare was first reported last week by Nevada-based journalist Jon Ralston.
While we should be cautious to read too much into a special election, there’s no denying that the Republican victory last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District (FL-13) is bad news for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, regardless of how they try to deflect it.
The spin from Democrats is that FL-13 had long-been held by Republicans and the district has a Republican tilt, albeit very slight, at R+2. This is true. But talking points miss some very important points.
First, this is a district twice won by President Barack Obama, so it’s more friendly to Democrats than they want to admit. Secondly, Democrats had the money advantage. Alex Sink, who lost last night, overwhelmingly outraised and outspent her Republican opponent, former lobbyist David Jolly, and outside groups backing the Democrat slightly outspent those backing the Republican candidate.
Third, Jolly was a lobbyist, and that point was frequently brought up by Sink and outside groups backing her campaign. Despite being pegged in populist rhetoric as a Washington insider, Jolly managed to win.
According to a report released yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, former director of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Lois Lerner may have downplayed her involvement in the agency’s targeting of tax-exempt organizations during her testimonials.
Amongst the many discoveries reported by the committee, documents confirm that during her time as an official, Lerner broke IRS rules by handling 6103 taxpayer information, which is protected data, while making use of a non-official email account.
The dangerous practice exposes taxpayers’ sensitive information, putting the identities of several citizens at risk. Lerner’s actions deserve scrutiny precisely because she stood before Congress to say that she had never violated IRS rules or regulations.
She lied, and skeptics around the country are now only waiting for the next time she manages to lie again while under oath.
The report also shows that Lerner also lied in a previous occasion. During a February 24th, 2012 briefing, the former IRS official claimed that the criteria used by IRS staff to evaluate tax-exempt applications hadn’t changed at all, when it fact, they did change in late June 2011, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Emails between Lerner and one of her senior advisors show that when she received an article noting that unknown conservative donors were stirring U.S. Senate races, she replied by saying that “perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
In a post on Friday, we posed the question, “Could the administration delay the individual mandate?” The administration has delayed and/or declined to enforce a number of Obamacare provisions and regulations, the most recent of which was allowing insurers to extend health plans that were to be outlawed this year.
Obamacare, for the most part, has been gutted. But the individual mandate, its central provision, has remained untouched, at least until now. The Wall Street Journal notes that the Department of Health and Human Services has ostensibly delayed enforcement of the individual mandate for Americans who claim a “hardship” in trying to find a insurance (emphasis added):
ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.
[A]mid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you “believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy” or “you consider other available policies unaffordable.”
The Republican primary race for the rights to take on Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) took a turn yesterday, with a new poll showing that state House Speaker Thom Tillis is now tied with a conservative challenger with strong grassroots support.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that Tillis’ support has dropped from 20% in February to 14% this month. What’s more, Tillis now trails Hagan, 45/43, in a preview of a potential November match up.
Tillis has had a rough time on the campaign trail in recent days. A radio interview recently surfaced in which the establishment favorite said, ”Obamacare is a great idea that can’t be paid for.”
“Only 15% of primary agree with Tillis’ sentiment that ‘Obamacare is a great idea,’” wrote Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, ”compared to 78% who say they disagree with it.”
Greg Brannon is now tied with Tillis, taking 14% of North Carolina Republican voters, according to the poll. The two are followed by Heather Grant (11%) Ted Alexander (7%), Mark Harris (7%), Alex Bradshaw (6%), Jim Snyder (4%), and Edward Kryn (1%). More than a third of GOP voters (36%) are undecided.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) spoke out yesterday morning about the accusations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had accessed committee staffers’ computers. In a 40-plus minute speech, Feinstein accused the agency of removing documents related to its investigation into the agency’s Bush-era detention and interrogation programs and intimidation:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that the situation amounted to an attempted intimidation of congressional investigators, adding: “I am not taking it lightly.”
She confirmed that an internal agency investigation of the action has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. And she accused the CIA of violating the Fourth Amendment, various federal laws and a presidential executive order that bars the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance.
She has sought an apology and recognition that the CIA search of the committee’s computers was inappropriate, but said: “I have received neither.”
The Department of Health and Human Services says that 4.2 million Americans signed up for health insurance coverage through the end of February, though there is still no indication of how many of these people have actually made a premium payment. What we do know is that enrollment numbers for last month are “weaker than expected”:
Roughly 4.2 million people had signed up for coverage under Obamacare at the end of a weaker-than-expected February, the Obama administration said Tuesday.
The administration’s enrollment campaign is now in its intense final push ahead of the March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage. The White House and its allies are unleashing a flood of paid advertising, promotional partnerships, and grassroots outreach designed to coax consumers—and especially young people—into new insurance markets created by the health care law.
February’s progress was slower than expected. About 943,000 people signed up for coverage last month, compared with the nearly 1.3 million the Health and Human Services Department had anticipated for February.
The full report is available here.
Insurers have said that around 20% of those who have selected plans on the Obamacare exchanges have failed to make a premium payment, meaning that they’re not counted as an enrollment.
“There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.” — Edward Snowden
— Republicans hold on to FL-13: Though most political analysts had given Democrats a slight edge in the special election, David Jolly (R-FL) defeated Alex Sink (D-FL) last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District. This was the race Roll Call said that “Democrats can’t afford to lose.” Sink outraised and outspent Jolly. Even when outside groups are accounted for, Sink had an advantage. While it’s true that the GOP had control of the district for many years, it had been trending Democratic. President Obama, for example, won FL-13 in 2008 and 2012. Most Republicans are saying that this race was a referendum on Obamacare, and they’re right. That’s where Jolly staked his claim, while Sink wanted to “fix” the law. Though a close race, as every suspected it would be, voters in FL-13 rejected Obamacare. We’ll have more on the 2014 implications a little later today.
Last week, the Democrats held their Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, where Emperor Obama, Slayer of Insurance Companies, Defender of the Poor (and making more every day), the Duke of Deficits, addressed his faithful assembled minions, dispensing tidbits of propaganda like an imperial Pez dispenser, reeling them in with promises of endless supplies of government candy, assuring them it is oh so good for them.
Obama declared that “[a]s Democrats, we’ve let the other side define the word ‘freedom’ for too long…freedom for ordinary Americans to honestly pursue their dreams, that’s what we believe.” He went on to define freedom as the power of government to protect you from any adverse circumstance that may arise in your life, and as the ability for government to provide for your health care, your retirement, food, housing, and so on and so forth.
To quote the inimitable Inigo Montoya, the glorious Spaniard from one of my all time favorite movies, The Princess Bride…Mr. Obama, “You keep using that word [freedom]…I do not think it means what you think it means!’” What Obama is describing is not freedom; it is lifelong dependency on the gargantuan Nanny State, with promises of cradle-to-grave nurturing no matter how irresponsible the decisions you make in your life. Of course, the only way for government to protect you from your own mistakes is by forcing others to pay the price for you. Every action has a consequence, and just because you don’t suffer does not mean that someone does not suffer. Someone has to pay the piper. There is no free lunch.