Ron Paul may no longer be in Congress, but other conservative members are stepping up to carry issues he pushed in the past. On Facebook yesterday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) announced that he reintroduced legislation to audit the Federal Reserve:
Today I reintroduced H.R. 24, the “Audit the Fed” legislation originally authored and championed by former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). My plan is to pick up right where Congressman Paul left off. Our economy is far from recovering, and the recent fears regarding the potential impacts of the ‘fiscal cliff’ and its aftermath prove that the American people must continue to demand transparency from the entity charged with ensuring stable economic and monetary policy.
You can read the official statement from Rep. Broun’s office here.
The legislation will open up certain information to the Government Accountability Office excluded from audits in subsection (b) of 31 USC 714, including agreements and transactions with foreign central banks and discussions between the Treasury Department.
The House overwhelmingly passed the Audit the Fed bill last year. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to bring it to the floor for a vote, despite his past support of more transparency of the Federal Reserve.
Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
We’ve recently noted that House Republicans have largely been a disappointment when it comes to cutting spending. Since taking control of the chamber in January 2011, the national debt has increased by over $1.59 trillion and reasonable amendments to bills that would cut spending have been shot down with many Republicans opting not to keep the promise they made to voters in the fall campaign. There is also talk of bringing back earmarks, an untransparent process that is often corrupt.
So why are the spending cutters in the House? The Club for Growth has tracked the 25 votes on amendments that would cut spending and found the consistent budget hawks in the lower chamber (I’m only posting those that score 100%, for sake of space):
As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.
Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.
However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who is seeking the GOP nomination for Georgia’s open Senate seat, told a local talk radio host that the current mood of his Republican colleagues about Obamacare, which is to let the law fail, may not be responsible:
Speaking to local conservative radio station Z Politics, Kingston mentioned the “Small Business Fairness in ObamaCare Act” that he introduced, which would exempt some small businesses from the mandate to provide insurance to their employees under ObamaCare.
“And there’s some criticism, ‘Well, are you helping improve this law when you make that change? And should we be doing that?’” Kingston said of pushback to his bill.
“A lot of conservatives say, ‘Nah, let’s just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own.’ But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do,” he added.
“I think we need to be looking for things that improve healthcare overall for all of us. And if there is something in ObamaCare, we need to know about it.”
A Kingston spokesman, Chris Crawford, said in an email to The Hill that Kingston was advocating for a replacement for the law in his interview.
“He essentially said that we don’t just need to wait for Obamacare to die under its own weight, we need to be looking for solutions that would replace it,” he said.
In a 261-257 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which would allow insurers to extend the policies that had been canceled because they didn’t comply with the mandates and provisions of Obamacare.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), would permit insurers to let consumers keep health plans in effect before January 1, 2013 through 2014. It wouldn’t force insurers to offer the plans, but it would give these plans “grandfathered status,” meaning that they wouldn’t have to compliant with Obamacare’s minimum mandates.
“The president broke his word, had a chance to fix the problem, and only did more damage to his credibility,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) after the passage of the measure. “Today, the House made a big, bipartisan statement about the need to make things right.”
“The Keep Your Health Plan Act represents an important step toward providing relief to those who have lost their plans and face much higher premiums, but the real solution is to scrap the president’s fundamentally-flawed health care law and focus on effective, patient-centered reforms that will protect all Americans from this train wreck,” he added.
The measure would also allow insurers to extend coverage under these plans to new customers, which Democrats complained would undercut the Obamacare.
Thirty-nine House Democrats broke with President Obama and party leaders and supported the measure. Four Republicans voted against it, one of whom was Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), who explained his vote on his Facebook page.
Since the disastrous Obamacare at the beginning of October, some administration officials, congressional Democrats, pundits friendly to President Obama have been, unbelievably, trying to place some blame on Republicans for the problems. They’ve also countered the attempts to repeal or delay the Obamacare with the line that Republicans haven’t offered any ideas or alternatives to this administration’s ill-conceived law.
But that’s not true, as George Will explained on Tuesday night during an appearance on Fox News’ Special Report. Republicans have offered alternatives to Obamacare, and they’ve pushed these ideas for several years.
“I think it’s unfair [to say Republicans don’t have healthcare ideas]. Paul Ryan has a premium support plan, John McCain, amazingly, got it right in 2008,” noted Will, a conservative Washington Post columnist. “[H]e said, look, tax all employer-provided health insurance as what it manifestly is, compensation, but compensate for that by giving people a large tax credit to go into the market and shop across state lines, which you’re not allowed to do now, for health insurance.”
“I talk to employer after employer that tells me that they’re just sitting tight trying to figure out what to do about it because they don’t know how to operate their business under this threat of ObamaCare. What is happening is employers who need to hire new people are not doing so because of ObamaCare.” — Rep. Paul Broun
If you’ve been following some of the news out of Washington, you know there is a big push from Republicans in both chambers of Congress to defund ObamaCare. But for some, there is more than can be done to fix the ongoing problems with America’s healthcare system.
Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA), a general practitioner who has represented Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, since, has a unique perspective when it comes to healthcare. He has spent the last several years making house calls to patients who need medical care.
During a discussion last week with United Liberty, Broun explained that that he has re-introduced the Patient Option Act, a consumer-driven healthcare proposal that presents a stark contrast between the top-down approach currently being implemented by Obama Administration.
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is taking some heat from House Republican leadership because of some of his recent votes. Why? It’s not because his behavior is out of the ordinary — it’s because his votes are pushing other Republican House members from Georgia to slant more to the right.
As of now, Broun is the only declared candiate in the Repubican primary for Georgia’s open Senate seat in 2014. However, his colleages, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston, are expected to jump in the race any day now.
Broun, who applies a “4-way test” before he votes on legislation, announced his opposition to the budget in an op-ed at The New York Times earlier this week.
“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called ‘The Path to Prosperity,’ is anything but,” wrote Broun. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation.”
He added, “I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.”
While the House budget repeal’s ObamaCare, Broun notes that it leaves the taxes passed as part of the law in place, which is another sticking point for him. Broun instead only voted for the Republican Study Committee’s budget, which was presented as an amendment on Wednesday by Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA).
The Republican primary for Georgia open Senate seat is sure to be an interesting one to watch. It doesn’t seem like anyone currently announced or expected to announce have really done a lot to drive support. This provides a more Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who has set a mid-May deadline for a decision, has apparently spoken with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) about the race, according to Politico:
Republican Rep. Tom Price met Monday with senior officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to two sources.
The Georgia congressman continues to mull a run for the seat opened up by Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement.
Price, a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, raised more than $300,000 in the two weeks after Chambliss retired and had $1.6 million cash on hand at the end of the year.
There are no details as to what exactly was discussed, but Price would be a formidable candidate if he decided to throw his hat in the ring. But Politico does note something that has been mentioned from people I’ve spoken to in Georgia politics. Price, who was elected to Congress in 2004, currently serves as Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee, behind Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and would presumably be next in line to lead the powerful committee.