House Democrats

Obama’s hometown paper trashes Obamacare

The federal health insurance website isn’t the only problem with Obamacare, even though its received the brunt of attention since its miserable, humiliating launch at the beginning of the month. The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, President Barack Obama’s hometown paper, reflected on some of other problems with the law and called for a year delay in the individual mandate.

“Not long after she uttered that infamous phrase [“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…”], Pelosi got her way. She stampeded House Democrats to vote for a massive, complex Obamacare plan that few lawmakers in either party had time to understand. She and Democratic Senate leaders ramrodded Obamacare without a single Republican vote,” noted the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board on Friday.

“Democratic lawmakers voted for a bill without a clear idea of how well it would work,” they explained. “Now they know.”

The Tribune contended that Obamacare is “faltering under its own bureaucratic weight,” pointing to the trouble with the websites. These troubles, they note, has caused many Democrats to break with the administration and call for accountability, which could put HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ job in jeopardy.

House Democrat: Delay the individual mandate for a year

John Barrow

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) joined the chorus of Democrats urging relief for Americans who could be hit with ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax because of the ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website.

“Since October 1st, millions of Americans have attempted to access to try to learn about the health insurance coverage they’re required to buy. And every day, we’re learning more and more about the problems they’re facing,” said Barrow on Wednesday. “Folks are frustrated, and rightfully so.”

Barrow introduced legislation at the beginning of the year that would repeal a few of the most controversial provisions in the law, including the individual mandate and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB, also referred to as “death panels”). He has also co-sponsored a measure introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to repeal the employer mandate.

House Democrat compares Tea Party to the KKK

Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is as classless as ever.

The controversial Florida Democrat sent out an email on Monday features an image of a burning cross — using it to spell “Tea Party” — and the body of the email features comments he made during a recent interview with Al Sharpton on MSNBC.

Alan Grayson fundraising email

“I think that ordinary Americans are with the President. They’re appalled by the Tea Party’s tactics,” Grayson told Sharpton. “At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”

“They simply want to bring about the End of Days, as quickly as possible,” said Grayson of the Tea Party. “That’s the ultimate Tea Party Republican desire, to bring about the End of Days. The Republican Party has become the largest suicide pact in history. And I hope they don’t take us with them.”

Grayson, who is unapologetic about the email, isn’t new to controversy, though this may be his most distasteful example to date. In 2009, he threatened to imprison an activist who created a website that was critical of him. He also accused Republicans who opposed ObamaCare of wanting the sick to “die quickly.”

House GOP leaders unable to gain support for funding, debt ceiling measure

House Republican leadership was dealt an embarrassing blow yesterday when they had to pull their own spending plan and debt ceiling package off the floor because they didn’t have enough votes to pass it.

The day began with House leaders talking about their own bill, despite progress between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The House package would have funded the federal government until January 15 and extended the debt ceiling until February 7, roughly the same dates as the Reid-McConnell deal.

But there were a couple of aspects to the package drew opposition from the White House and Senate Democrats, including the two-year delay of the medical device tax and the ending the special subsidies for members of Congress. The House plan would have also required President Barack Obama to purchase coverage through the ObamaCare exchange.

The House proposal caused Reid and McConnell to postpone their talks, prompting some senators to question House leaders for getting involved when a deal in the Senate was close. Reid blasted Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) from the Senate floor, accusing him and other House leaders of trying to “torpedo bipartisan progress with a bill that can’t pass the Senate and won’t pass.”

“I’m disappointed with John Boehner, who’d, once again, try to preserve his role at the expense of the country,” added Reid.

No, control of the House of Representatives isn’t in play next year

The political stalemate in Washington that has led to a government shutdown has Democrats salivating at the prospect of winning back the House of Representatives in the 2014 mid-term election., a leftist organization, released a set of polls earlier this week showing that 24 Republicans could be vulnerable next year, alleging that the government shutdown “has significant electoral implications” in the district they represent. The polls, which were conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), were immediately seized upon by Democrats, who need a net-17 seats to win control of the chamber.

While it’s true that many polls show Republicans taking the brunt of the blame of the government shutdown — though a recent CNN poll shows that blame is pretty close to evenly spread — Stu Rothenberg, a political analyst and namesake of the Rothenberg Political Report, disputes the notion that control of the House is up for grabs.

“Is the House in play now? Of course not. My newsletter’s most recent race-by-race assessment, completed just days before the shutdown began, found that the most likely overall outcome next year is a small gain for one of the parties,” wrote Rothenberg, who spent a fair amount of the column picking apart the Public Policy Polling surveys.

ICYMI: Threat made against Darrell Issa during Libya trip due to Democrats’ complaints

Darrell Issa

While this story has flown largely under the radar due to the political battles raging in Congress over the Continuing Resolution, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, recently took what was supposed to be unannounced trip to Libya to further investigate last year’s Benghazi terrorist attack.

But the trip became public when Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the Committee, slammed Issa for taking the trip without inviting any House Democrats to tag along. Cummings and his colleagues have been dismissive of congressional inquiries into the attack.

Cummings’ public complaint, however, had the unintended consequence of potentially putting Issa’s life in danger. CBS News reported last week that a “general threat” was made against the California Republican while he was on the trip:

[Last] Monday, a State Department email showed the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reported that a Libyan national known as Eyad “shared his concern and his opinion that Representative Issa should not come to Libya for his own safety.”

Eyad told the embassy “The Sen. Mr. Darrell Issa if he would like to keep his luxury life with a half billion $$$ Do not come to Libya. Who is gonna [guard] the guy? And whom you gonna put a blame if the worst happened…Cuz all he gonna gained a several bullets in his smart skull.”

House Republicans may alter CR after Senate sends it back

Eric Cantor and John Boehner

It doesn’t sound like the legislative wrangling over the Continuing Resolution (CR) will be over once the Senate acts. The Hill notes that some House Republicans have indicated that they may amend the measure, sending it back to the Senate, further increasing the prospects over a government shutdown:

Senate Democrats have vowed to remove a provision in the House-passed continuing resolution (CR) that withholds money from President Obama’s healthcare law. If they send back a “clean” version, House leaders would have to decide whether to accept it, or amend it and send it back across the Capitol.

“I don’t think we’re going to accept a clean CR,” Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) said.
“I don’t think that’s the end of the negotiations,” Boustany said. “We may have a shut down temporarily.”

Two members of the leadership team, Reps. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), said it was more likely the House would try to amend the spending bill rather than accept the Senate’s version.

“I think it’s more likely that we would edit that rebound and send something back over that was more in line with our values, and I don’t think a clean CR necessarily is that,” Southerland said.

Nancy Pelosi on spending: “There’s no more cuts to make”

Nancy Pelosi on CNN's State of the Union

Despite $6.1 trillion being added to the national debt since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that there are no spending cuts left to make in the $3.8 trillion federal budget.

The comments came in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, in which host Candy Crowley pressed Pelosi, who currently serves as House Minority Leader, on a different issues currently dominating politics in Washington, including the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling. But Crowley pressed Pelosi on limited government and spending.

“None of us of comes here to have more government than we need. So, we should subject everything we do to real scrutiny to say is this needed because most of it is an expenditure,” Pelosi told Crowley, later knocking what she called the “anti-government ideology” of Republicans in Congress.

Pelosi accused Republicans of purposefully trying to shutdown the federal government over ObamaCare, calling concerns about the law “an excuse.” The conversation shifted to spending and the debt ceiling. Crowley noted that past presidents — including Reagan, Clinton and Bush — had negotiated on the debt ceiling and spending cuts. But Pelosi astonishingly disputed that there is any place to make further cuts.

“[T]he cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make,” declared Pelosi. “It’s really important that people understand that. We all want to reduce the deficit.”

“We’re all committed to that. Put everything on the table. Review it,” she added. “But you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts. Right now, you’re taking trophies.”

Pelosi is unsure that House Democrats will back Syria intervention

In an interview with Time, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she doesn’t know if a majority of House Democrats will support President Barack Obama’s rush to war with Syria.

“I don’t know. I think it would be important to get a majority in the Congress,” said Pelosi in response to a question about support in the Democratic caucus for military strikes against Syria. “But I don’t know if it’s important how you would break it down. These issues are not really partisan.”

Typical Pelosi — always trying to play down an issue that could hurt public perception of President Obama. She also told Time that she doesn’t believe that the White House had to come to Congress for authorization of force in Syria, though she said, “I think that it is great that he asked for it.”

Pelosi knocked criticism that Syria could be President Obama’s Iraq. She said that the intelligence the Bush Administration presented to Congress didn’t prove that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a threat and repeated the administration’s claim that the strikes in Syria would be limited.

“I was a senior Democrat on the Intelligence committee, and was one who received all of the documents—by law, they must show us what the documentation is. The evidence did not support the threat,” she said. “The intelligence this time does support the facts: that the Bashar Assad regime is responsible for the chemical weapons attack on [his] own people.”

“What the Bush administration was asking the country to do on the basis of a false premise was to go to war. This isn’t about going to war,” she added. “This is about a limited, tailored strike, of short duration, for a purpose, which is the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

John Boehner, Eric Cantor back military intervention Syria

The White House scored a victory yesterday by convincing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to support military intervention in Syria, hoping that the two will be able to gather support from skeptical Republicans.

President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders yesterday a the White House to make his case for intervention in the Syrian civil war after the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“These weapons have to be responded to. Only the United States has the capacity and the capability to stop Assad or warn others around the world that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” said Boehner after the meeting. “I appreciate the president reaching out to me and my colleagues in Congress over the past few weeks.”

Cantor followed suit. I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria,” he said in a statement.

“Bashar Assad’s Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism, is the epitome of a rogue state, and it has long posed a direct threat to American interests and to our partners,” he added. “The ongoing civil war in Syria has enlarged this threat.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also attended the meeting with President Obama, is still skeptical about intervention.


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