Archive for July, 2011

Lee

By John Rossomando
© 2011 WND

Barack Obama’s refusal to compromise with congressional Republicans on taxes and spending reductions in the debt ceiling fight could cost him re-election next year, according to those who oppose him.

Congressional Republicans say the debt ceiling fight shows that Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, failed to learn the lessons of the midterm elections, and that could come back to bite him.

“What the president does here is going to speak volumes for him for 2012,” said Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, a key leader in the balanced budget and debt ceiling fights.

According to Lee, Obama’s handling of the debt ceiling fight will harm his re-election chances.

“He has yet to come to the table and take proposals that we’ve offered and say, ‘I can’t necessarily go this far, but I can do this, this, and this,'” Lee said. “He campaigned as one who wanted to solve problems rather than just shift blame, and yet the blame shifting seems to be his preference at this point.

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Inhofe

By John Rossomando Published: 10:16 AM 07/23/2011
The Daily Caller

Environmental regulations drain hundreds of billions of dollars from the U.S. economy each year, and it mostly goes unnoticed by the public.

But proposed legislation from Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe could make the cost of such government interference more transparent.

“Everybody here is focusing on spending and taxes,” Inhofe said, “but what most people don’t realize is the cost of regulation is just as much as the cost of all of the taxes … it’s just less detectable.”

The legislation, known as the CARE Act, would require the U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency to publicize — in terms of jobs and money — the direct economic costs of the regulations they publish under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

Inhofe’s bill currently has more than 20 Republican senators onboard, and he hopes to attract support from centrist Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Inhofe contends that the EPA issues regulations without considering how they will affect the economy, and that it imposes regulations without taking into account whether or not they will kill jobs. (Rep. David Rivera reportedly under investigation by FBI, IRS)

EPA Deputy Administrator Mathy Stanislaus underscored the senator’s point when he testified before a House subcommittee that his agency had not taken jobs into account when it issued regulations this year pertaining to coal ash and other fossil-fuel byproducts.

The CARE Act would require the EPA and the Department of Transportation to consider the impact on employment of all new air pollution regulations.

“The costs of the regulations on greenhouse gases are about $300 to $400 billion a year,” Inhofe said. “The ozone regulation that he [President Obama] is about to announce next week is huge, and we are talking about some $90 billion.”

Inhofe’s bill would also establish a Cumulative Regulatory Assessment Committee comprised of the secretaries of agriculture, commerce, defense, energy, and labor, the chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers, the EPA administrator, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and the chief counsel of the Advocacy Office of the Small Business Administration.

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Walsh

By John Rossomando
The Daily Caller 1:08 PM 07/16/2011

The House GOP leadership might have scheduled a vote on his version of the balanced-budget amendment next week, but Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh has a problem with the timing.

According to Walsh, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is making a mistake scheduling a vote in the coming week because he has doubts it will garner enough Democratic support to pass.

Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday that they plan to hold a vote next week on a House version of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act.

The Cut, Cap and Balance Act, co-sponsored by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, along with freshman Reps. Mick Mulvaney of S.C. and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, would allow the president to increase the debt limit to $16.7 trillion and make the hike contingent on passage of a balanced-budget amendment and its being sent to the states for ratification.

This increase would be in exchange for reducing non-defense discretionary spending to $78 billion and cutting mandatory spending $38 billion below the president’s budget request. The bill would also cap federal spending at 19.9 percent of GDP by 2021 — down from close to 26 percent of GDP today.

Walsh believes Republicans would have a better chance getting Democratic votes were the majority leader to push the vote back closer to the administration’s August 2 debt-ceiling deadline because the balanced-budget amendment could be an even more powerful bargaining chip.

“The balanced-budget amendment could be a game changer,” Walsh said. (House to act on Cut, Cap and Balance)

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer had terse words for his GOP on the House floor Friday.

“I don’t think cut, cap and balance is going to get us there,” Hoyer said . “I hope he has some other plan.”

Hoyer was a firm supporter of the balanced-budget amendment in 1995 when it came up for a vote as part of the Contract With America.

At the time, he had a far different attitude.

The number two ranking Democrat sounded like a Republican in a news conference following the 1995 passage of the Balanced-budget Amendment.

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Ted Kennedy's CLASS Act could be a significant factor haunting Obamacare for years to come because benefits will quickly outpace revenues.

By John Rossomando
Posted 07/12/2011 ET
Human Events

ObamaCare’s long-term care component is only a couple of months old and analysts on both sides of the aisle are in agreement that it is on life support and needs long-term assistance or outright elimination.

Democrats included the provision, known as the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Support) Act, in ObamaCare as an accounting gimmick to make it seem as though the law would shave billions off of the federal deficit over the next decade because its revenues are front-loaded from now until 2017, when the first benefits are paid out.

The program establishes a new entitlement under ObamaCare that aims to provide a “voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living services.” It will be paid through employer payroll tax deductions, and participating individuals will pay into the program for five years before they can reach the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility will be limited to adults who have functional limitations or cognitive impairments that will be defined by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Benefits will be based on the degree of disability or impairment and will average around $75 a day or $27,000 a year, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipates premiums will average around $123 a month for life without any underwriting.

Proponents say this will have the net effect of reducing the demand for Medicaid by caregivers.

“Ted Kennedy set it up so that it would require a bailout,” said Ryan Ellis, tax policy director with Americans for Tax Reform. “It was the first bite of the apple like some of these welfare programs in that they are underfunded, so that the only way to be responsible is to need to raise taxes later in order to bail it out.”

President Obama’s own debt commission, led by former Wyoming GOP Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, found the CLASS Act would be “unsustainable” and was “fiscally unsound,” and that it needed to either be significantly reformed or repealed.

Sebelius provided a similar assessment last February when she told a Senate panel the long-term care provision was “totally unsustainable.”

The Obama administration promised Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, but increasingly they are finding out this is not the case. Ultimately, Americans could end up finding themselves dumped into a system of rationed care..

By John Rossomando
07/08/2011
Human Events

Health care rationing could be the end result of ObamaCare, as smaller insurers are forced out of the market and as employers race for the exits amid rising costs stemming from the law.

“A lot of people are saying it’s cheaper to pay the penalty for not offering health insurance and to force their employees to go find their health insurance in the marketplace,” said Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander. “The insurance in the marketplace is going to be more expensive than the insurance they have from their employer now because of the requirements of the ObamaCare law.

“It will lead to higher costs and to employees losing the insurance that they now have.”

ObamaCare’s features, such as the minimum-loss ratio, the ban on lifetime health coverage limits, eliminating annual caps on payments and preventing insurers from refusing to cover preexisting conditions, will require insurance companies to pay more money out, resulting in dramatically higher premiums.

Insurance industry executives have told Congress they anticipate that ObamaCare’s medical-loss ratio requirement of 80% in individual and group markets or 85% in large markets will have a dramatic impact on health care consumers, employers and health insurance plans.

The medical-loss ratio dictates how much private insurers need to spend on medical claims and how much can be spent on overhead costs such as payroll and advertising, and on the profit they can earn.

Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are asking EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, pictured above, for answers as to why the EPA is sending millions overseas to fund global warming programs.

By John Rossomando 1:38 AM 07/07/2011
The Daily Caller

China and other foreign interests have been significant beneficiaries of stimulus money through the Environmental Protection Agency, to the tune of some $27 million, since the law passed in February 2009.

Congressional investigators with the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that the EPA engaged in practices such as giving a $718,000 grant to the China State Environment Protection Administration to help it comply with the Stockholm and Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants Convention among others.

The EPA also gave a $150,000 grant to Interpol, the international police organization made famous in countless old movies, in “support of a climate-change project which will ensure that markets operate properly, and that fraud is detected promptly with regard to carbon trading.”

But a 5-year, $1.5 million project known as “Breath Easy Jakarta”, which intends to help implement the city of Jakarta, Indonesia implement air-pollution prevention has raised the ire of House Republicans led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.

The EPA announced the “Breathe Jakarta” program in February 2010 at a meeting between EPA Assistant Administrator Michelle DePass and the governor of Jakarta, and the administration has already pledged an initial investment of $250,000, according to an EPA request for proposal from earlier this year.

“What kind of message are we sending to out of work families when the Obama administration’s response to soaring unemployment and the looming debt ceiling is ‘Breathe Easy, Jakarta,’” Upton told The Daily Caller in an emailed statement. “The days of the EPA acting as a global ATM for the United Nations and foreign governments must come to an end. Our top priority should be helping put folks back to work here in America rather than sending millions overseas to subsidize international companies.”

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Health care costs were on the rise even before ObamaCare was passed in 2010, but evidence shows it has only added insult to injury by further exacerbating the cost problem.

By John Rossomando
Human Events
Posted 06/30/2011 ET

The White House claims ObamaCare will make health care more affordable for all Americans, but a closer look at the costs of the mandates shows just the opposite to be the case.
The law’s numerous mandates, ranging from the employer and individual mandates to the minimum coverage mandate. are driving up health insurance costs.

And health insurance industry leaders say the law has done next to nothing to stem the cost increases.

“We have a health care cost crisis facing this country,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national trade association representing the health insurance industry. “The health care reform virtually ignored the health care cost crisis facing this country and instead imposes billions of dollars in new mandates and taxes that will increase the costs of coverage for individuals and for employers.”

ObamaCare instead increased the health insurance costs to the states and employers alike.

States are being forced to confront burgeoning costs associated with the health care law’s mandate that their Medicaid plans cover all those earning 133% above the federal poverty level starting in 2014. This increased Medicaid caseload will be 100% subsidized by the federal government until 2016.

They also will be responsible for covering those who are currently eligible for, but not currently served by, Medicaid during the same time period. “Given the fiscal damage of the recession on state budgets, these additional costs may be difficult to absorb even a few years from now when implementation of the reform measures begin,” top credit-rating company Moody’s (http://tinyurl.com/6xan4mw) wrote in an April 2010 brief on ObamaCare’s impact on the states.

Employers report they are thinking twice about hiring additional workers as they ponder the implications of the avalanche of regulations pouring out of the Obama administration on health care.

By John Rossomando
Human Events
Posted 06/29/2011 ET

ObamaCare’s implementation is causing many employers across the country to think twice about hiring as they consider the impact of its rules and regulations.

More than 3,500 pages of regulations have been penned since the law passed last March, and their impact is already being felt.

“I know for a fact that the mandates in ObamaCare are discouraging the creation of new jobs,” said Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, the third-highest-ranking member of the Senate Republican leadership. “And I will be specific. I met with the chief executives of the chain restaurants in America, who are the largest employer in America after the federal government—especially of those who are low-income.”

One of the companies Alexander spoke with told him that the regulatory changes that followed ObamaCare’s passage ate all of its profits from last year, while another company said it slashed its workforce from 90 employees down to 70 per store.

“There’s no doubt that ObamaCare is causing our country to lose jobs, and millions of Americans have higher costs and will lose the policies they now have,” Alexander said.

Businesses are uncertain about the costs and the regulations they face, and many are finding it is cheaper to hire part-time workers to get around having to offer health insurance to their employees.

“The overall regulatory burden falls hard on small businesses that have seen their health care premiums increase by more than 10% under ObamaCare,” said Rep. Joseph Pitts (R.-Pa.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health. That trend is unlikely to end anytime soon, because costs are expected to increase further in 2014 once the employer mandate takes effect in 2014. It will require all employers with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance for their employees that matches up to a federally mandated list of coverages, which will drive up costs.

According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, employers will likely face nearly $52 billion in tax penalties between 2014 and 2019, which Brian Blasé of The Heritage Foundation says will “reduce business growth and hiring.”

The same CBO report found that approximately 650,000 mainly lower-paid and lower-skilled workers could find themselves out of a job as a result of the health care law’s implementation during the second half of the decade.