White House

Vote to repeal ObamaCare expected today

With the vote to repeal ObamaCare supposed to take place today in the House, the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats are playing it down:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the Republican effort to repeal the healthcare reform law is not serious and has no chance of passing.

House Republicans are expected to vote on a bill that would undo the law Wednesday, but Gibbs said that even they know that the legislation is not a winning bet.

“I would share the belief of many, including, I think, enunciated by those who are going to vote for repeal tomorrow, that this isn’t a serious legislative effort,” he said at his daily press briefing. “I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”

Democrats have sought to downplay the importance of the vote as merely a symbolic effort by the GOP to appeal to their base.

I know that not many want to hear this, but it’s true that this is largely symbolic. As has been noted here several times, Republicans simply don’t have the numbers in the Senate since Democrats hold the majority and aren’t even going to bring repeal of ObamaCare to the floor; dares from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) not withstanding. Nevertheless, the administration is telling Republicans that they are open to changes to the law. Of course, they’ve said that before.

With the likelihood that repeal will won’t pass, Republicans are - as a I wrote on Monday - looking at other avenues to get rid of ObamaCare:

Voters aren’t buying the “blame Bush” strategy

Democrats have spent the last couple of months trying to beat Republicans by reminding voters of George W. Bush, despite fact that Democrats have held control of Congress since 2007 and President Barack Obama has effectively taken ownership of the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan. They’re even having trouble lining up college voters.

A new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC shows that voters aren’t buying that message. According to the numbers, 58% of voters believe that Republicans “will have different ideas for how to deal with the economy, while 35% believe that they’ll return to the policies of George W. Bush.

On the other side, 62% believe that Democrats, should they remain in control of Congress, will continue to fall in line with Barack Obama, while only 32% believe otherwise.

Those aren’t numbers you can win on and the White House knows it, which is why they are “panicking” about the mid-term election. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) knows he has to stay away from Obama, but Rep. Joe Sestak is embracing him in a state where 58% of voters disapprove of the president, including 70% of independents.

Romer to leave Obama Administration

Speculation broke that last night that Christina Romer, the White House chief economic advisor, plans to leave the Obama Administration:

Romer, an economics professor at the University of California (Berkeley) before taking the key admin post, did not respond to repeated calls to her office.

“She has been frustrated,” a source with insight into the WH economics team said. “She doesn’t feel that she has a direct line to the president. She would be giving different advice than Larry Summers [director of the National Economic Council], who does have a direct line to the president.”

“She is ostensibly the chief economic adviser, but she doesn’t seem to be playing that role,” the source said. The WH has been pounded for its faulty forecast that unemployment would not top 8% after its economic stimulus proposal passed.

Instead, the jobless rate is 9.5%, after exceeding 10% last year. It was “a horribly inaccurate forecast,” said Bert Ely, a banking consultant. “You have to wonder why Summers isn’t the one that should be taking the fall. But Larry is a pretty good bureaucratic infighter.”

Romer was one of the architects of President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, which was the first step in Democrats effectively taking ownership of the economy.

President Barack Obama and his economic advisors claimed that this spending would keep unemployment under 8% (pg. 5), claiming that it would rise to 9% without such action. As of today, the unemployment rate sits at 9.5%.

DC police force media to stop covering DADT protest

During an event outside the White House where members of the military were protesting “don’t ask, don’t tell,” DC police forced reporters to leave the area and closed LaFayette Park, which is directly across the street.

As you can see in the video below, the media wasn’t happy:

So much for transparency, hope and change.

How ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Can Hurt the Poor

As thousands of car owners trade in their old vehicles under the “Cash for Clunkers” program, charities fear they will see a decrease in the amount of old cars that are donated for people who cannot afford them.

USA Today reports:

Charities across the country are concerned that the popular “cash-for-clunkers” program will entice people to junk old cars for credit toward new ones rather than donate them.
“We know there’s going to be a significant impact,” says Chad Iseman, director of the Kidney Cars program for the National Kidney Foundation. Iseman says the foundation gets about 19% of its annual revenue from selling donated cars. The charity said it estimates a 10% to 15% decline because of the federal rebates.

Of course, media outlets were shouting everywhere what a success the program was, but few took the time to check (bless you USA Today) for a little thing called unintended consequences.

White House wants tips on health care “disinformation”

Why is the White House asking for this and what to they plan to do with the information?:

Townhall Questioners Were Obama Backers

I am shocked, just shocked, that the Obama Administration would place supporters in the crowd to ask questions during his digital townhall:

President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft — though far from planted — questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.

Obama Extorts GM and Chrysler

More details are emerging on what the Obama Administration intends to do with GM and Chrysler:

In surprising findings to be outlined at the White House on Monday, President Obama has concluded that neither GM nor Chrysler as they now exist deserve more bailouts. But the White House is sparing them for a month or two, and is promising American consumers that the government will stand behind warranties if the automakers fail.

Obama Uses First Day to Issue Ethics Orders

These are some pretty smart moves on his part:

President Barack Obama today issued executive orders and memorandums designed to improve government ethics and make the government more open.

Obama signed an executive order designed to change presidential record-keeping along with another order that sets new ethics restrictions for political appointees and lobbyists.

“I will also hold myself as President to a new standard of openness,” Obama said during a meeting with senior administration staff. “Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Obama’s First Act: A Good First Step

As widely expected, soon after reciting the Presidential Oath (again…), President Barack Obama made good on his commitment to begin the promised transition away from the nation’s current policy of rejecting due process to those the executive administration believe may be involved with terrorist operations against the United States or its allies. The New York Times reports—

In the first hours of his presidency, President Obama directed an immediate halt to the Bush administration’s military commissions system for prosecuting detainees at the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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