Obama administration

Half of states suing the federal government over ObamaCare

The Heritage Foundation notes that with Ohio, Oklahoma, Maine, and Wisconsin now suing the Obama Administration of the health care law passed last March, that half of the states are engaging in litigation against ObamaCare:

If it is allowed to be implemented, Obamacare will eventually do deep and irreparable harm to our nation’s budget deficit. But while Obamacare is more of a long-term threat to fiscal health at the federal level, it is a  clear and present danger to the states. Of the 34 million Americans who gain health insurance through Obamacare, over half (18 million) will receive it through Medicaid.

While Obamacare will pay for all of the benefit expansion for the first three years of the law, and 90% of it after that, Obamacare never pays for any of the state administrative costs for adding those 18 million Americans to their welfare rolls. That amounts to billions in unfunded federal mandates for states to absorb. That is why 33 Republican governors signed a letter to the White House and Congress making an emphatic appeal that Obamacare’s Medicaid provisions be repealed.

Timothy Geithner: A tale of two quotes

While appear on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, July 25th, Timothy Geithner told Jake Tapper that the Bush tax cuts needed to expire:

“It’s responsible to let the tax cuts expire that just go to 2 percent to 3 percent of Americans, the highest earning Americans.”

Just six months later, Geithner is singing a different tune:

“If you look at the average of what private forecasters are saying — business economists, et cetera — what they’re saying now is that the economy is likely to grow between three and four percent this year, which is substantially stronger than what people thought this summer…that’s partly as a result of the tax package and it’s partly because the economy was gaining some momentum over the course of the fall.”

Despite the fact that members of the Obama Administration spent two plus years engaging in class warfare on the Bush tax cuts, which part of the tax package passed last month, now they are taking credit for them.

Gotta love it.

Quote of the Day: R. Lee Ermey on Barack Obama

R. Lee Ermey, a retired Marine and actor, recently let loose on President Barack Obama during at an appearance for charity:

The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably had a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And I’m sick and damn tired of it, and I know you are too. But I know that the Marine Corps will be here forever; this administration won’t. Semper Fi.

Here is the video:

Holtz-Eakin sets the record straight on the debt ceiling

The Obama Administration and Democrats are presenting Republicans with their first challenge on reducing the size and scope of government with a vote expected to occur in the first half of the year to raise the debt ceiling to almost $14.3 trillion. Democrats and some Republicans are warning of dire economic consequences if the increase isn’t passed.

Over at the Daily Caller, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office, takes issue with the view presented by the Obama Administration:

To me, at least, leadership means you don’t “talk down” the economy and don’t demagogue important economic issues. As director of economic policy for the McCain 2008 campaign, I took great pains to ensure that the senator was not perceived as predicting (or worse, advocating) doom for the U.S. economy. When running for president one should act and speak like someone who would be president.

I’ve never been sure that the Obama team understood or agreed with this view. As a candidate and even as president, Barack Obama has been uneven in his handling of economic distress. At times he has appeared presidential, but at others seemed willing to predict the worst “unless” his policies were adopted (think back to the debate over the stimulus bill). This has the same feel. Goolsbee’s quote — “The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.” — has no business being uttered by a prominent administration official.

Obama Administration Delays Gulf Drilling

As gasoline prices head north of $3.00 per gallon, up nearly $0.41 cents from a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reports that new wells may not be drilled in the Gulf of Mexico until as late as 2012.  The effects are multifaceted, impacting fuel costs, jobs, and ultimately the economy.

The impact of the delays goes beyond the oil industry. The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity, especially because the oil spill also hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries. The Obama administration in September estimated that 8,000 to 12,000 workers could lose their jobs temporarily as a result of the moratorium; some independent estimates have been much higher.

The slowdown also has long-term implications for U.S. oil production. The Energy Information Administration, the research arm of the Department of Energy, last month predicted that domestic offshore oil production will fall 13% this year from 2010 due to the moratorium and the slow return to drilling; a year ago, the agency predicted offshore production would rise 6% in 2011. The difference: a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day.

In the wake of the BP disaster, I think it is safe to say that safety should play a prominent role in future.  That said, Rahm Emanuel’s philosophy of “never letting a serious crisis go to waste” seems to be guiding the Obama Administration’s actions in this case.

It is important to remember that there were laws and regulations before the Deep Water Horizon exploded last April.  In fact, the administration has filed suit charging BP and other companies with several violations.

House Republican plans investigations of Obama Administration

As he promised in August, Rep. Darrell Issa, incoming-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is setting the course for expansive oversight of the Obama Administration:

The Republican congressman who is taking over responsibility for congressional oversight called President Obama’s administration “one of the most corrupt administrations” on Sunday and predicted that the investigations he is planning over the next two years could result in about $200 billion in savings for U.S. taxpayers.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was bullish in laying out his agenda for the new Congress with Republicans in control of the House.

Issa, who as chairman will have subpoena power, said he will seek to ferret out waste across the federal bureaucracy. While he used fiery rhetoric in describing the Obama administration in a series of television interviews Sunday, he said he will focus on wasteful spending, not the prosecution of White House officials.

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” about reports that the White House is staffing up on lawyers to prepare for his oversight hearings, Issa said: “They’re going to need more accountants.

“It’s more of an accounting function than legal function,” Issa said. “It’s more about the inspector generals than it is about lawyers in the White House. And the sooner the administration figures out that the enemy is the bureaucracy and the wasteful spending, not the other party, the better off we’ll be.”

Obama Administration defends individual mandate

Attorney General Eric Holder and DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are vigorously defending ObamaCare in the wake of Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling finding the individual mandate to be unconstitutional:

One day after a Virginia federal judge ruled a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law was unconstitutional, two members of Obama’s administration spoke out publicly defending the law.

In an op-ed piece that appeared on The Washington Post’s website Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius say that insured Americans carry an unfair burden in paying for those who don’t have health insurance.

“The majority of Americans who have health insurance pay a higher price because of our broken system,” they wrote. “Every insured family pays an average of $1,000 more a year in premiums to cover the care of those who have no insurance.”

To stop imposing extra costs on people who carry insurance, Holder and Sebelius wrote, “everyone who can afford coverage needs to carry minimum health coverage starting in 2014.”

In the op-ed, Holder and Seblius also trout out the argument of mandating car insurance - a requirement set by states, not the federal government. Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey takes this argument down:

Number of companies seeking ObamaCare waivers doubles

Over at his Washington Insider blog, Jamie Dupree reports that the number of businesses seeking waivers to avoid complying with provisions of ObamaCare has doubled in the last month:

The Obama Administration has quietly granted even more waivers to one provision of the new federal health reform law, doubling the number in just the last three weeks to a new total of 222.

One of the more recognizable business names included on the newly-expanded list of waivers issued by the feds is that of Waffle House, which received a waiver on November 23 for health coverage that covers 3,947 enrollees.

Another familiar name was that of Universal Orlando, which runs a variety of very popular resorts in the Orlando, Florida area. Universal was given a waiver for plans that cover 668 workers.

These waivers deal with limited health benefit plans, sometimes referred to as “mini-med” policies, which companies as large as McDonald’s use for some its employees.

The plan have limits on how much can be paid out in coverage, limits which would be phased out under the new health reform law.

The feds though have granted waivers from that law, amid concern that certain groups would drop their health insurance programs entirely. Those waivers are good for one year, and can be considered for renewal.
“The new legislation would have left our part-time workers without their medical coverage,” said Tom Schroder of Universal Orlando Public Relations.

“We sought the waiver so that we could continue to provide them with the coverage they need and deserve,” Schroder added.

DADT repeal on the table in lame duck session

The only thing I’d like to see happen during this lame duck session of Congress outside of making the Bush tax cuts permanent is repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And according to the Washington Post, the votes may be there to push it through:

Thirteen Democratic senators signaled strong support Thursday for ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and said they are willing to work well into December to ensure passage of a defense bill that would end the ban on gays openly serving in uniform.

The show of support came as Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said this week that he plans to bring the bill up for a vote again after the Thanksgiving recess despite the objections of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who opposes an end to the policy.

Other Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), have said they will vote to move ahead with the bill if Reid allows for a fair debate and others could also support it, senators said Thursday.
Asked Thursday whether the Pentagon supports adding the repeal to the defense bill, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell reiterated the Obama administration’s position.

“That’s what we as an administration are pushing for, and we certainly see the merit in using that as the legislative vehicle to ultimately get to repeal,” Morrell said, acknowledging that the Defense Department rarely comments on congressional affairs.

Debunking the Obama Administration’s claims about taxes

Dan Mitchell, a tax policy expert with the Cato Institute, debunks claims made by the Obama Administration on the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts, which will be the focal point of the upcoming lame duck session of Congress. Mitchell explains that claims that the extension of the tax cuts will cause deficits is absurd, it’s runaway spending that causes deficits.

Here is the video:

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