rules

Obamacare’s Employer Mandate Delays Head-to-Head

“[The President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” — Article II, Section 3 (The Faithful Execution Clause)

Yesterday’s announcement of additional Obamacare employer mandate delays offers us yet another occasion to turn to actual the law passed by Congress.  When the four statutory Obamacare provisions below are viewed head-to-head against the new Obama Administration/IRS regulatory guidance, it’s clear that one of these things is not like the other.

EXHIBIT I: EFFECTIVE DATE

Statutory Authority - PPACA Section 1513(d):

(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

Obama Administration/IRS - Preamble to the February 10, 2014 Final Regulations (Page 106):

Section 1513(d) of the Affordable Care Act provides that section 4980H applies to months after December 31, 2013; however, Notice 2013-45, issued on July 9, 2013, provides as transition relief that no assessable payments under section 4980H will apply for 2014…Notice 2013-45 provides that the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H (and the information reporting provisions) will become effective for 2015.

Congressional ObamaCare Exemption Also Illegally Tax-Free

Congress's ObamaCare exemption

President Obama intervened earlier this month to ensure that his administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) would, through its rulemaking process, preserve Congress’s and its staff’s 72% average employer contribution on the impending ObamaCare exchanges.  The legality of the OPM proposed regulations that shift the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) contributions to the exchanges has already been the subject of significant controversy, particularly because it appears to contradict the intent of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) amendment to PPACA (Section 1312) to require that Congress/staff live by the same rules as the rest of us.

But there’s another level to OPM’s rulemaking that directly violates PPACA: Congress/staff’s payments for ObamaCare coverage will be illegally offered on a tax-free basis. PPACA has specific provisions designed to ensure that employees are taxed on ObamaCare exchange coverage.  The OPM rulemaking openly disregards those requirements.

Employer Notice of Exchange Highlights Loss of Employer Contribution and Tax-Free Payment

Regulatory State Gone Wild

Ten Thousand Commandments

Americans spend $1.8 trillion each year — nearly $15,000 per family — complying with regulations passed down by the federal government. That’s the estimate given by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in the latest edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.

“The 2012 Federal Register ranks fourth all-time with 78,961 pages, but three of the top four years, including the top two, occurred during the Obama administration,” noted the statement accompanying the report. “The 2010s are on pace to average 80,000 pages per year—up from 170,000 in the 1960s and 450,000 in the ‘70s.”

“There are more federal regulations than ever—the Code of Federal Regulations, which compiles all federal regulations, grew by more than 4,000 pages last year and now stands at 174,545 pages, spread over 238 volumes. Its index alone runs to more than 1,100 pages,” CEI added. “Government has added more than 80,000 regulations in the last 20 years—3,708 in the last year alone. That’s one new rule Americans must live under every 2½ hours. Today, 4,062 sit in the pipeline. Those will add at least $22 billion in compliance costs and probably much more.”

The cost to Americans as result of the regulations is perhaps the troubling aspect of the report. But another startling point is the way in which these rules and regulations are being imposed on Americans. Because the Obama Administration cannot pass many of these regulations through Congress, it is bypassing the legislative branch altogether, meaning that there is little to no oversight by Congress.

The report also notes that there has been a jump in “economically significant rules” — those that bring $100 million or more in compliance costs — on President Obama’s watch.

Thoughts on the Republican National Convention

RNC

Last week, I went to Tampa for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. This was sort of an odd experience for me, being a libertarian and all. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to conventions and conferences before. The oddest experience was BlogCon in Denver last November, when the local Occupiers showed up to protest us. But the RNC was a much, much larger scale event.

Tropical Storm Isaac: While I understand why Republicans saw fit to scale back events for Monday, the storm really didn’t do much to the Tampa area. It rained some, but it wasn’t near what everyone was expecting. Truth is Republicans could have gotten away with more than gaveling the convention to order. By the time the storm actually hit, everyone was more concerned with what could happen to New Orleans and the rest of Gulf Coast than Tampa.

Grassroots v. the Establishment: Over at FreedomWorks, Dean Clancy has put together a great synopsis of the fight over the new rules implemented, which won’t start until the 2016 process. We went over some of this earlier last week, but at this point many grassroots activists are disenfranchised. Many Ron Paul supporters who attended the RNC as delegates may now be looking for an alternative come November because of the rules changes.

Rule 12 would allow the Republican National Committee to change the rules if 3/4 approve. As Clancy explains, “The new Rule 16 requires that a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge to a candidate under state law or state party rules shall be deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention must record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.”

The RNC Power Grab

A lot of the readers of United Liberty probably have a pretty good idea of what transpired at the GOP convention on Tuesday, or at least have heard about it. For those who haven’t, it all started Friday when the Rules Committee, led by one of my least favorite people, John Sununu, decided to radically change the power structure of the party, in essence, neutering the grassroots. Specifically, it would make the RNC  very much a top-heavy organization and give the national party establishment, as well as the party’s nominee, ultimate authority over the delegate process.

So fast-forward to Tuesday when the convention convened to start handling party business. The matter concerning the rule changes was brought before the assembled body and while, according to multiple reports, the nays had it, it was passed. Before we go any further, I’d have to recommend a write-up by Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks. This pretty much gives all the info you need about this power grab. The main points being Rules 12 and 15, respectively, which if changed, would create the aforementioned shift of power.

As Clancy notes, there was a lot of misinformation flying around that helped cause this mess. The main one being that this was just a Ron Paul thing:

There they go again: Power-hungry IRS plans new anti-speech regulations aimed at nonprofits

The Internal Revenue Service will rollout new regulations aimed at curbing political speech at the beginning of 2015, according to a report from Center for Public Integrity, a left-leaning nonprofit funded by billionaire George Soros.

The IRS scrapped proposed guidance earlier this year after receiving more than 150,000 comments. The proposed rules would have required that nonprofit groups disclosure donors and severely limited their ability to educate the public on policy issues, including issue ads and legislative scorecards.

In an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that the powerful tax agency will introduce new draft guidance in early 2015.

“Such rules could curb the influence of ‘dark money’ nonprofits engaging in overt political activity that proliferate dafter the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010,” Julie Patel of the Center for Public Integrity wrote last week. “The new rules would seek to define what constitutes political activity. The new regulations could also further regulate labor unions and trade associations — two kinds of politically active nonprofits that the IRS didn’t address in a highly contentious rulemaking attempt the agency itself short-circuited in May.”

Mary Landrieu is trying desperately to distance herself from Obama’s anti-coal regulations

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) realizes that her only hope for reelection is to pull the wool over the eyes of Louisiana voters to hide her support of President Barack Obama’s agenda. So, naturally, she visited a coal plant, the industry at which the rules are aimed, in her state on Tuesday to try to distance herself from the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade scheme:

“The goal for me is not clean. It’s an important part of the equation, but it is not the goal,” Landrieu told press after touring the coal-fired power plant Monday afternoon.

“The goal is [energy] independence. The goal is security. The goal is reliability. And then also, as clean as possible,” she added.

Last week Landrieu told reporters that the one piece of the new rules she thinks is “wise” is the degree of flexibility the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is affording states when designing their own implementation plan.
[…]
“It’s really important for us in America to begin thinking about America being energy independent and energy secure,” Landrieu said. “No more imported oil from countries we don’t agree with or share their values. No more relying on outsiders to provide some essential components of our economic structure. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not going to be able to support the EPA regulation that just came out.”

It’s politically convenient for Landrieu to oppose the EPA’s anti-coal regulations, which seek to reduce carbon emissions in the United States by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. And while it’s true that she supports Keystone XL and offshore drilling, Landrieu’s record on EPA regulation leaves a lot to be desired.

Today in Liberty: Remembering the Unknown Rebel, Obama administration fails to win over senators on Taliban deal

“As the tanks neared the Beijing Hotel, the lone young man walked toward the middle of the avenue waving his jacket and shopping bag to stop the tanks. I kept shooting in anticipation of what I felt was his certain doom. But to my amazement, the lead tank stopped, then tried to move around him. But the young man cut it off again. Finally, the [Public Security Bureau] grabbed him and ran away with him.” Charlie Cole

— Remember the Unknown Rebel: Twenty-five years ago today, an unidentified man, thought to be a student, walked in front of a line of tanks on their way to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where thousands of students, yearning for freedom, were protesting China’s totalitarian government.

The day before the photo above was taken, the military had stormed Tiananmen Square, killing as many as 1,000 protesters. The famous photo of “tank man” is censored in China, but his stand against an oppressive government is an inspiration to millions. But to show what exactly this brave guy was up against, see below.

Obama’s disastrous EPA rules could mean that he’s already conceded that Democrats will lose the Senate

Politico published a long piece on Sunday that shed some light on President Barack Obama’s state of mind now that he’s realized that his time in the White House is running out. The story is full of interesting insights from people close to or with knowledge of how the White House functions and reacts to the headaches that have arisen over the last year.

One of the more telling parts of the story was a comment President Obama made in November during a meeting with vulnerable Senate Democrats amid the disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange, Healthcare.gov (emphasis added):

According to several participants, [Alaska Sen. Mark] Begich and his colleagues demanded to know how committed Obama was to fighting for the Senate majority. Obama was known as a fierce competitor when his name was on the ballot, not so much when it was not.

“I don’t really care to be president without the Senate,’’ Obama said, according to attendees, signaling that he knew the health care debacle created resentment among Democrats and that he wanted to make amends.

King Obama’s insane backdoor cap and trade scheme could put vulnerable Senate Democrats out of a job

The Obama administration is about to launch another attack in its war on coal. President Barack Obama is set to announce another round of EPA regulations next week that will curb carbon emissions from coal-fired plants. Because, you know, that whole Legislative Branch thing in the Constitution is just a suggestion:

President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, which will spur the creation of a state cap-and-trade program forcing industry to pay for the carbon pollution it creates.
[…]
Cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent — a substantial amount — would be the most important step in the administration’s pledged goal to reduce pollution over the next six years and could eventually shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country. The regulation would have far more impact on the environment than the Keystone pipeline, which many administration officials consider a political sideshow, and is certain to be met with opposition from Republicans who say that Mr. Obama will be using his executive authority as a back door to force through an inflammatory cap-and-trade policy he could not get through Congress.


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