Jason Pye

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Harry Reid has apparently forgotten that Clarence Thomas is an African-American

During a press conference yesterday in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) criticized the “five white men” who voted to extend religious freedom protections to owners of held businesses in the Hobby Lobby case.

“The one thing we are going to do during this work period — sooner rather than later — is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” said Reid. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November for the elections.”

Reid and Democrats are trying to play up the Hobby Lobby decision as a wedge issue in the election to get their base out to the polls this fall. Whatever. That’s one of the few cards they have to play while everything else is burning down around them.

HealthCare.gov is so difficult to use even “highly educated” millennials can’t figure it out

The epically disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, ongoing backend problems and 2.6 million data inconsistencies are just a few parts of the story about the federal Obamacare exchange. Another problem, one that hasn’t received enough attention, is that the website is so damn difficult to maneuver that even millennials, young people who’ve grown up in the digital age, can’t figure it out:

A team of doctors, lawyers, health economists and health policy experts from the University of Pennsylvania recruited 33 volunteers and observed them as they struggled to sign up for health insurance on the highly touted website. These volunteers should have been in pretty good shape: With ages ranging from 19 to 30, they were all members of a Web-savvy generation. In addition, the study described the young adults as “highly educated.”

But when they got to HealthCare.gov, they ran into problems. Some of them had anticipated that they could type in their preferences – what services they wanted to have covered, how much they wanted to spend on premiums, how much flexibility they want in picking their doctors – and get a list of options that met their criteria. (It could have been the health insurance equivalent of using Yelp to find a sushi bar near Santa Monica that has outdoor seating and takes reservations.)

Here’s how big government Republicans and Democrats are colluding to save the crony Export-Import Bank

Congress may avoid a straight up or down vote on reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, according to Politico. The Bank’s supporters in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, are talking about attaching reauthorization to the upcoming Continuing Resolution, which would keep the federal government funded through the election:

High-level discussions between the two chambers are in their infancy, and senior aides caution there is no deal in the immediate offing. But there are forces in both chambers pushing to renew the Export-Import Bank and pass an extension of the Highway Trust Fund before the election.

The House will go first, and plans to extend the Highway Trust Fund sometime in the next two weeks, keeping the program funded until early 2015, Republican sources said. That would give Congress more time to debate a more permanent solution for federal highway funding.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is considering attaching a short-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded past Sept. 30. It would be meant as a dare to House Republicans to shut down the government over the bank in the weeks before Election Day. House Republican leadership has discussed this possibility, but has not decided how they would react if Reid goes in that direction, according to senior House Republican sources. Reid and House Speaker John Boehner met Tuesday.

House Republicans have also discussed passing a so-called CR to keep the government open before August as a way to increase their leverage with the Senate.

Sarah Palin says that it’s time to impeach Barack Obama

The influx of immigrant children at the Southwest border is the final straw for Sarah Palin, apparently. In an op-ed published yesterday at Breitbart, the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee opined that the time has come to impeach President Barack Obama:

Enough is enough of the years of abuse from this president. His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, “no mas.”
[…]
President Obama’s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here. It’s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution’s role in protecting our rights.

It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.

The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.

The lawlessness displayed by President Obama is certainly deserving of a response by Republicans, who, by the way, have done enough talking on executive power to the point at which they’d damn well better hold the next GOP president to the same standard.

Today in Liberty: Obama still avoiding border visit during fundraising trip, Ted Cruz is really not happy with the NRSC

“There is something fundamentally unfair about a government that takes away so much of people’s money, power, and personal control while telling them that life will be better as a result.” — Steve Forbes

— Obama will discuss border crisis in Texas, but won’t visit the border: Facing increasing political pressure over the “humanitarian crisis” (his words) at the United States’ Southwest border, President Barack Obama will meet with local officials and church leaders to discuss the issue today in Dallas. But he still won’t visit the border during the two-day swing in which he’s set to raise money for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). “The roundtable discussion in Dallas is seen by the White House as a way to address the immigration issue while avoiding awkward optics at the border,” the Associated Press explains. “Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have arrived there in recent months, many fleeing violence in Central America, but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S. White House officials say most are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief and will be sent back to their home countries.” The meeting is going to provide more fodder for congressional Republicans as well as Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who has asked President Obama to visit the border during his trip to the Lone Star State. Pundits on MSNBC’s Morning Joe suggested on Wednesday that President Obama could offend the Democratic Party’s base if he visited the border.

2014 primary turnout shows GOP voters are far more motivated than they were in 2010, and that’s terrible news for Democrats

Primary data reveals that Republicans are more motivated than they were in the historic 2010 mid-term election, in which the GOP won 63 seats in the House of Representatives as well as control of the lower chamber.

While one shouldn’t read too much into primary turnout, it’s hard to ignore that Democrats are facing an uphill battle to get their voters out to the polls this fall, and that could have consequences for the fight for the Senate.

JMC Analytics and Polling, a Louisiana-based firm, took a look at states that have concluded their 2014 primaries and compared it to 2010 election cycle. The number crunchers found that though turnout is down, Republicans hold an even bigger advantage than they did four years ago.

To date, 9 million voters have cast ballots in primaries compared to 10.6 million in 2010. The composition of primary voters, however, have increased to 63 percent Republican this year from 55 percent in the last mid-term election. Democrats have seen their share of the primary electorate fall from 45 percent to 37 percent.

“[W]e are seeing more Republican than Democratic enthusiasm,” the firm explains, “and we believe that in a lower turnout midterm election year, that ‘enthusiasm gap’ will make a difference in several critical House, Senate, and gubernatorial races.”

Here’s a state-by-state look at the data, provided by JMC Analytics and Polling. As you can see, Republicans increased their share of the turnout virtually across the board. Most notably in Arkansas and North Carolina, two states in which vulnerable Democratic senators are running for reelection:

Obama’s HHS is making it incredibly difficult for reporters to cover the influx of immigrant children

Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made news last week when it denied Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) access to a facility in his district in which immigrant children are being held. The agency bureaucrat in charge of the Ft. Still-based facility told him to schedule an appointment for July 21, three weeks later.

HHS has, apparently, felt the heat. Officials at the facility invited Bridenstine to visit on July 12, which the Oklahoma Republican accepted. However, he indicated that he’ll make unannounced visits as well.

HHS officials also extended a tour invitation to the media for July 10. But there are a number of rules with which reporters have to comply to be given access. Here’s the part of the email reporters received on Monday from an administration official, according to Bridenstine’s office:

The purpose of this 40-minute tour is to show members of the press the interior of the shelter and explain the care we provide while these children remain in our custody. The tour guide will detail what goes on from room to room and the services youth are provided on a daily basis.

In order to protect the safety and privacy of the children, the following rules for participation will be required:

Here’s how the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals could gut Obamacare and cause a huge headache for the Obama administration

Though last week’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case is still the center of discussion in the media, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a ruling in another Obamacare case, one with much larger implications to the framework of the law.

At issue in Halbig v. Sebelius (now known as Halbig v. Burwell) is whether the Internal Revenue Service can legally dole out tax credit subsidies to Obamacare enrollees in states that opted out of creating their own health insurance exchange. The National Journal offers a primer on the case, which could be decided any day now:

The Halbig challenge argues that the Obama administration—specifically the IRS—is breaking the law by offering those tax subsidies in all 50 states. It relies mainly on the text of the statute, which authorizes subsidies in “an exchange established by the State.”

That phrasing clearly restricts subsidies to state-run exchanges and does not authorize them to flow through the federally run fallback exchange, the lawsuit claims.

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid doesn’t care about religious liberty, Ted Cruz wants a voter fraud investigation in Mississippi

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — Benjamin Franklin

— Harry Reid plans to address Hobby Lobby: Though Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says the Senate will tackle legislation to address the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case in the coming weeks. He didn’t offer specifics, but The Hill notes this morning that Democrats on Capitol Hill are planning to introduce legislation before that August recess to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and reverse the decision. “At least three pieces of legislation being prepared by Democrats would help maintain access to free birth control for women affected by the court’s ruling,” The Hill explains, “though staffers provided few details on Monday.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is reportedly “leading the push in the upper chamber.” Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) plans to introduce legislation to require employers to disclose whether prescription birth control is covered by in their plans. That legislation is odd given that Hobby Lobby, for example, objected to two forms of over-the-counter birth control. Two House Democrats are also working on legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The measures being crafted by congressional Democrats have no chance of passage, but this is a wedge issue, so they’re going to play it up to motivate their base. Because politics and elections.

Harry Reid may prevent Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul from offering meaningful, pro-gun amendments to do-nothing bill

The Senate is expected to, perhaps as early as today, take up the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 2363), a measure that would expand recreational hunting on federal lands. While the bill is being touted by supporters as pro-Second Amendment, it’s basically an election year gimmick to help vulnerable Red State Democrats.

While the Sportsmen’s Act has strong Republican support, the measure was introduced in May by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and its cosponsored by several Democrats up for reelection this year, including Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Udall (D-CO), and John Walsh (D-MT).

“In North Carolina, hunting, fishing and shooting are a way of life,” Hagan said, according to The Hill. “Many of these traditions have been handed down through my own family, and I’m proud that our bill protects these activities for future generations while ensuring that outdoor recreation can continue to support jobs and local economies across the country.”

But Gun Owners of America says the “is, largely a ‘nothing-burger.’” It is, however, “about reelecting its anti-gun sponsors — virtually all of them red-state Democrats who face tough reelection battles in pro-gun states.”

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