Max Baucus

ObamaCare Employer Mandate Penalties Delayed Until 2015

Barack Obama and Jack Lew

In April, the soon-to-be-retired and chief ObamaCare author Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) warned that the looming 2014 full implementation of ObamaCare was on track to be a train wreck.  The Administration finally conceded as much on Tuesday when it announced that it will be delaying enforcement of ObamaCare’s employer mandate until 2015.

The Treasury Department confirmed the delay in a blog post ironically titled “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner.”

Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses - many of which already provide health coverage for their workers - about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.  We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.  We have listened to your feedback.  And we are taking action.
[…]
Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments.  These payments will not apply for 2014.  Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.

Recall of NDAA supporters?

No state is perfect, but Montana seems intent on trying anyways.  Their most recent attempt is a move to recall Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester for their support of the tyrannical National Defense Authorization Act which, for those who’ve been living under a rock, essentially turns the entire United States into a war zone for the purposes of pursuing “terrorists” and permits the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil.

(HELENA) - Moving quickly on Christmas Day after the US Senate voted 86 - 14 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA) which allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial, Montanans have announced the launch of recall campaigns against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, who voted for the bill.

Montana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, pursuant to Montana Code 2-16-603, on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses.

The Salem News goes on to state that the issue of a state’s ability to recall federal officials has never reached the federal courts.  In reality, I suspect that the federal courts would strike down such a law as unconstitutional primarily because it would actually give states the ability to actually do something when the federal government oversteps its power, somthing that the courts seem intent on keeping as the status quo.

“Super Committee” members named

All of the Members of Congress that will serve on the so-called “Super Committee,” the group created as part of the debt deal between the White House and Congress to find $1.5 trillion in “deficit reduction” in the coming months, have been made public:

The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six more lawmakers on Wednesday to the bipartisan committee that is supposed to recommend steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Speaker John A. Boehner chose three senior Republican House members: Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan.

Mr. Hensarling, who is chairman of the House Republican Conference, will be co-chairman of the new panel, along with Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, chose Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania for the 12-member panel.

As noted, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who hasn’t been one to restrain spending, was named by Senate Majority Harry Reid. She will serve with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Max Baucus (D-MT). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named her picks today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has selected Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) for the so-called “supercommittee” on Thursday.

Oh, look, more evidence shows Obamacare subsidies were meant to apply only to state Exchanges

The collective Leftist freakout over the Halbig decision and unearthed comments of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber got a little worse on Friday and over the weekend as more evidenced surfaced that Congress wrote the law in a way that would pressure states to participate in the health insurance Exchanges or be denied subsidies.

Though he denies that Obamacare was written in a way to deny subsidies to states that opted not to participate in the system, calling his January 2012 comments a “speak-o,” a second instance of Gruber making the same argument has been uncovered by Reason’s Peter Suderman.

Here are the two comments, both of which were made in January 2012. First, here’s Gruber at an event hosted by Noblis, a Virginia-based research nonprofit, on January 18, 2012 via Suderman. You can listen for yourself here:

House Republicans demand to talk to Obama Justice Department official who wanted to prosecute conservative groups

Justice Department

The IRS scandal just got a little bigger. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has uncovered evidence suggesting that the Justice Department contacted disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner in 2010 for help prosecuting nonprofits allegedly engaged in political activity:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have requested an interview with Jack Smith, who heads the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit, after a subordinate revealed the department meetings with Lerner in a closed-door interview.

“The Justice Department convened a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner in October 2010 to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits,” Jordan and Issa said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. “This meeting was arranged at the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith.”
[…]
Issa and Jordan said they believe the Justice Department, “contributed to this pressure” on Lerner and other IRS officials to stop right-leaning organizations from achieving tax-exempt status, following a Supreme Court ruling lifting restrictions on their activity.

Democrats were particularly angered by the ruling because they believe it created a surge in social welfare groups who were engaged in blatant political activity, many of them conservative.

Obama’s IRS stalling on release of emails between officials and Democratic senators

The Internal Revenue Service has stalled for nearly a year on a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee seeking all correspondence between agency officials and 13 Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and several vulnerable incuments up for reelection this year:

On May 21, 2013 the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent the IRS a Freedom of Information Act request asking for “any and all documents or records, including but not limited to electronic documents, e-mails, paper documents, photographs (electronic or hard copy), or audio files,” related to correspondence from January 1, 2009 and May 21, 2013 between thirteen different Democrat members of Congress and top IRS officials. Those officials include former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, former Commissioner Steven Miller, senior IRS official Joseph Grant and former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner. Members of Congress named in the request include Sen. Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), DSCC Chair Sen. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Begich (D-AK), Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Franken (D-MN), Sen. Warner (D-VA), Rep. Braley and Rep. Peters (D-MI).

Since that request was received by the IRS nearly one year ago, IRS Tax Law Specialists Robert Thomas and Denise Higley have asked for more time to fulfill the request six times.

MT Senate: Ad hits John Walsh on ethics controversy

American Crossroads hits John Walsh

John Walsh, Montana’s newly minted Democratic senator, is being hit over an ethics controversy dating back to his time as adjutant general of the state’s National Guard in a six-figure ad buy from American Crossroads, a conservative political action committee.

“Max Baucus, a 35-year legacy of service,” says the narrator. “Gov. Bulloch could have chosen anyone. Why John Walsh?”

The ad cuts away to news footage from a late-December KXLH story on the controversy, in which the news anchor reports that “a Department of Defense report says that Walsh improperly used his government position for personal gain.”

The questions about Walsh stem from an August 2010 U.S. Army inspector general report which found that the then-adjutant general of the Montana National Guard had improperly used his office for “private gain.”

Jon Stewart blasts Obama’s corrupt diplomatic appointments

Jon Stewart on Obama's diplomatic appointees

Jon Stewart took aim at President Barack Obama’s diplomatic appointees in a segment on The Daily Show last night, mocking the White House for handing out ambassadorships to high-dollar campaign bundlers.

Stewart recalled his recent interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in which she disputed the notion that money has corrupted Washington, though she said that Republicans are responsible for giving in to special interests.

“It’s good to know that Democrats are impervious to that, because it means that we don’t have to worry about things that Democrats are in charge of,” Stewart said. “For instance, the ambassadors appointed by our Democratic president. Surely he chooses them, then, on their merits.”

Stewart then cut away to footage of a couple of President Obama’s diplomatic nominees who, in Senate confirmation hearings, told senators that they had never visited the countries to which they’ve been appointed to represent American interests.

“Let me ask this, have any of you f**king people been to EPCOT Center? Have you been anywhere?” Stewart said. “Is there rule that ambassadors can’t have set foot in the country they’re going to ambassador? Would it ruin the surprise?”

“I mean, it definitely couldn’t be because the new Norway nominee raised $850,000 for the Obama reelection campaign, or the Argentinean one raised $500,000, or the Icelandic one bundled $1.6 million. Because that would mean not only would Democrats be seen as corrupt, Nancy Pelosi told me personally that only Republicans are,” he added.

MT Senate: Walsh appointed to serve out Baucus’ term

John Walsh

Rather than appointing a placeholder to serve the remainder of Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) term, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) made a move on Friday that Democrats hope will Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-MT) an edge in November.

Baucus had already declared that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, creating an opportunity for Republicans to gain a seat in the Senate. But when the President Obama appointed Baucus to serve as serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to China, it was quickly hinted that Bullock would choose Walsh, who was already running for the Senate seat, to give him a boost against likely Republican opponent, Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT).

Sure enough, on Friday, a day after the Senate confirmed Baucus’ nomination, that’s exactly what Bullock did. Walsh is the next senator from Montana and he wants you to know how independent he is:

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) will be Max Baucus’s replacement in the Senate, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced Friday.
[…]
Bullock said when making his decision, he was looking for many of the same qualities he looked for in picking Walsh as his running mate in 2012.

“Today, My friend and my colleague embarks on a new mission. I introduce to you United States Sen. John Walsh,” said Bullock.

Walsh promised to work across the aisle as senator, emphasizing many of his campaign’s themes in his remarks.

Next U.S. Ambassador to China: “I’m no real expert on China”

Let’s give Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) some credit. At least he didn’t try to completely bullshit his way through the confirmation process like George Tunis, who will serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Norway.

But Baucus, who has been tapped to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to China, said something yesterday that you don’t want to hear from diplomatic nominee. He admitted yesterday during his confirmation hearing that he is “no real expert on China.”


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