White House

CBS News reporter resigns, cites network’s liberal bias

Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist known for her reporting on Fast and Furious as well as Benghazi, has resigned her position at CBS News, citing, among other things, the network’s liberal bias (emphasis added):

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO on Monday.

Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.

At the same time, Attkisson’s own reporting on the Obama administration, which some staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting. She is currently at work on a book — tentatively titled “Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington” — which addresses the challenges of reporting critically on the Obama administration.
[…]
Others have suggested that CBS News itself was politically biased: “It’s no secret that Sharyl has been unhappy about CBS’s lack of interest in investigative reporting, especially when it comes to stories about the Obama administration,” a source close to Attkisson said.

Obama’s Keystone XL decision could play a role in Senate races

Energy issues will play a role in four key states that could decide control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, according to a new poll. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will weigh on voters’ minds.

The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”

More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.

Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline:

CBO: Individual mandate delay to save taxpayers $9 billion

A proposal passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives this week would save taxpayers $9 billion over the next decade, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

H.R. 4118 — Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness (SIMPLE Fairness) Act — would suspend the controversial individual mandate tax for one-year. The measure is House Republicans’ response to the Obama administration’s most recent delay of the employer mandate.

“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 4118 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $10 billion over the 2014-2019 period and by roughly $9 billion over the 2014-2024 period,” the nonpartisan fiscal agency reported. “Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.”

Those who fail to purchase health insurance by March 31, 2014 will face a tax of $95 or 1% of their gross taxable income, whichever is greater. The individual mandate tax will increase to $695 or 2.5% of gross income by 2016. The SIMPLE Fairness Act would set the tax for 2014 to $0.

The White House pledged to veto the SIMPLE Fairness Act in a statement of administration policy addressed to the House Rules Committee. The measure passed the House of Representatives in a 250 to 160 vote. Twenty-seven Democrats backed the legislation.

Obama to announce extension of health plan fix to save Dems in 2014

Barack Obama and Harry Reid

President Barack Obama is about to extend a lifeline to Democrats who may face backlash from voters in the 2014 mid-term election. The Hill reported this morning that the White House will announce an extension of “administrative fix” that allows insurers to continue offering health plans that would be canceled by insurers later this year:

The Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.

As early as this week, according to two sources, the White House will announce a new directive allowing insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements.

Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected this fall.

The cancellations would have created a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day.

Obama tacitly approves of proposed IRS regulations with veto threat

The White House has threatened to veto a measure that would temporarily delay proposed regulations under consideration by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that would ostensibly legitimatize and institutionalize its targeting of conservative groups.

The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (H.R. 3865), proposed last month by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), would halt the IRS from implementing the guidance for one year. The measure has the support of more than 55 conservative groups — including Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Heritage Action, and the National Taxpayers Union.

Through a policy statement released on Monday, the White House relied its threat to veto the measure, laying the path for the IRS to do as it pleases.

“The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3865, which would prohibit the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from clarifying the standards that organizations must satisfy to qualify for tax-exempt status,” the White House wrote in the statement. “Under current law, organizations qualify as tax-exempt organizations ‘operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare’ if they are primarily engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the people.”

CBO director defends minimum wage report against White House attacks

Doug Elmendorf

The White House didn’t take too kindly to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s report showing that the $10.10 minimum wage being pushed by President Barack Obama would lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs.

In response to the report, two White House economists wrote a lengthy rebuttal to the report, touting the findings that they felt bolstered the case for a minimum wage hike while, at the same time, dismissing its findings on the negative impact to the labor market. Call it a case study in “having their cake and eating it too.”

Betsey Stevenson, one of the White House economists who wrote the rebuttal, even insulted the CBO, comparing its report to what’s taught in introductory economics.

“[A] new burgeoning literature has really pointed out that how much you pay people actually affects how they perform, what they do, and how much they produce,” Stevenson told reporters on Tuesday. “You don’t get the loss of employment that that, you know, supply-demand that you saw on the chalk board if you took introductory economics would have demonstrated.”

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf defended his agency’s report on the labor market effects of the minimum wage at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday:

Yes, Secretary Sebelius, Obamacare will reduce employment

While most Democrats seem to be hailing the news that Obamacare will reduce the incentive to work, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seems to be in complete denial.

At a stop in Orlando on Monday, Sebelius told reports that there is no evidence that Obamacare will reduce employment.

“There is absolutely no evidence, and every economist will tell you this, that there is any job-loss related to the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius said. “Part-time physicians are actually down since 2010, not up. The number of full-time workers continues to increase. I know that’s a popular myth that continues to be repeated, but it just is not accurate.”

Well, there is evidence.

The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that Obamacare would reduce employment by 2 million full-time workers by 2017, up from an earlier projection of 800,000, rising to 2.5 million by 2024. The reason for the decline in workers is because the subsidies, which are tied to income, would encourage people to work less.

Obamacare, minimum wage hike could reduce employment by up to 3 million workers by 2017

The net-effect of Obamacare and President Barack Obama’s proposed minimum wage hike could mean 3.5 million fewer workers by 2017, according to recent reports from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Earlier this month the CBO released its annual snapshot of the economy, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024. The nonpartisan fiscal research arm of Congress determined that Obamacare would reduce employment by 2 million workers by 2017.

“ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise,” noted the CBO (p. 123). “The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

The reason for the for the reduction is the subsidies available to help pay for health insurance coverage create a disincentive to work. The subsidies are, of course, tied to Americans’ income, the less someone earns, the greater the subsidy.

The reduction of workers wouldn’t end with Obamacare, at least if President Obama has his way. The CBO released a report yesterday, The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income, in which it projected that the $10.10 minimum wage proposal currently being pushed by the White House and congressional Democrats could reduce employment from anywhere between 500,000 to 1 million workers.

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.

FL-26: Democratic PAC runs another ad criticizing Obamacare

Joe Garcia

The Democrat-affiliated House Majority PAC is running an ad in a competitive Florida congressional district that both criticizes Obamacare and distances Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) from both President Obama and the botched rollout of the law.

“Joe Garcia is working to fix Obamacare. He voted to let you keep your existing health plan and took the White House to task for the disastrous healthcare website,” says the narrator. “And Joe Garcia fought to hold the insurance companies accountable so they can’t deny coverage for preexisting conditions or drop coverage when you get sick.”


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