McConnell: Waivers Make Obamacare Individual Mandate 'Legal Equivalent of Swiss Cheese'
Posted March 27, 2014
'And there's a broader point here: If Washington Democrats think Obamacare is so bad that they need to exempt that many people from its mandates, then why shouldn't we just remove that hardship for everyone? Doesn't the Middle Class deserve a break too?'
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor calling on Washington Democrats to eliminate job-destroying Obamacare mandates and focus instead on job-creating legislation:
"I'd like to start by acknowledging the Majority Leader's decision to remove extraneous IMF provisions from the Ukraine bill.
"As I noted yesterday, no legislation could've passed with those provisions included. So it's a positive step forward. We're glad he took our advice, and now Congress will be able to pass an effective bill on the matter soon.
"Now, on another matter.
"President Obama and his Washington Democrat allies are well into their sixth year of presiding over our economy.
"And yet, the jobs recovery they keep promising us just never seems to materialize.
"You have to give Washington Democrats at least some credit though.
"They've tried regulating, taxing, spending, and "stimulating" just about everything their ideology will allow.
"The problem is that their ideology doesn't work.
"Many of their policies just end up making things worse.
"They promised the sun and the moon to sell this thing.
"They said it would create jobs.
"They also said it would improve the economy, lower premiums, and insure the uninsured without causing Americans to lose their insurance, their doctors, or their hospitals.
"The kind of claims that would've made Billy Mays blush.
"But now, Americans know better.
"Evidence shows that not only will Obamacare encourage less job creation, but that it's also making the economy worse, that it's driving premiums higher, and that it won't come anywhere near insuring all the uninsured - while causing millions of Americans to lose the insurance and the doctors they were promised they could keep.
"It's also a law that's unravelling before our very eyes. As we read this week, the Administration has now handed out so many waivers, special favors, and exemptions to help Democrats out politically, that the heart of the law - the individual mandate - may no longer even be viable.
"It's basically become the legal equivalent of Swiss cheese.
"And there's a broader point here: If Washington Democrats think Obamacare is so bad that they need to exempt that many people from its mandates, then why shouldn't we just remove that hardship for everyone?
"Doesn't the Middle Class deserve a break too?
"And why shouldn't we repeal the 30-hour workweek created by Obamacare - a provision that reduces take-home pay for the middle class?
"Why shouldn't we do away with Obamacare's job-killing medical device tax - something even many Democrats would vote to abolish if the Majority Leader would allow it?
"What I'm saying is, if Washington Democrats are actually serious about job creation, then show it.
"Then work with us to eliminate the things that hurt jobs, that hold Americans back from a real recovery - like these job-killing Obamacare mandates - and work with us to enact things that can actually help create jobs. Approving the Keystone Pipeline would create thousands of jobs right away. Passing trade legislation - legislation President Obama has already endorsed, by the way - would help create even more.
"But Washington Democrats need to work collaboratively with us to make those things happen.
"And yet, this morning's New York Times highlights their strategy for the rest of the year, and it can be summed up in three words: political show votes. Get this, their plan is not to pass legislation, but to time show votes to, quote, 'coincide with campaign-style trips by President Obama.' Rather than take up House-passed jobs bills that would actually help middle-class Americans, they plan yet another year of turning the Senate floor into a campaign studio.
"So I'm asking Washington Democrats to put the ideology and political show votes aside for once and finally join us, join us to give the American people what they've been asking for along: more jobs, more opportunity, and an economy that works for the Middle Class again."Read more here.
Lois Lerner's Role in IRS Targeting
Posted March 13, 2014
From the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
WASHINGTON - House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) today released a new staff report, "Lois Lerner's Involvement in the IRS Targeting of Tax-Exempt Organizations." The report details Ms. Lerner's role in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)'s targeting of conservative groups in her position as the IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, the division that led the targeting effort. As Ms. Lerner is the only IRS official who has refused to testify to Congress, this report relies on e-mails, documents, and other testimony about her cracking down on tax exempt organizations that exercise their rights to free political speech. The Oversight Committee continues to conduct a broad investigation of IRS targeting abuses beyond Ms. Lerner's personal role.
"In the wake of Ms. Lerner's refusal to testify and answer questions, this report offers detailed evidence about steps she took to crack down on organizations that exercised their Constitutional rights to free political speech," said Chairman Issa. "She involved herself in efforts to apply unprecedented scrutiny to new applicants, existing organizations, and to write new rules after President Obama and other prominent Democrats expressed outrage at the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Finally, the report presents evidence that Ms. Lerner misled Congress about targeting and her own conduct."
Read the report here, please note an appendix with documents is at the end of the report.
Key Document Based Highlights (documents and testimony in appendix):
- Tea Party "itching for a Constitutional challenge:" Lerner and her colleagues, after being under public pressure from President Obama and other Democrats, engaged in an e-mail exchange about how they could showcase their scrutiny of a Tea Party applicant for public disclosure, despite rules protecting the secrecy of unapproved applications. The conversation turned to the possibility of a court case - if a Tea Party applicant would challenge the IRS ruling. On this, Ms. Lerner opined, Tea Party groups would litigate because they are "itching for a Constitutional challenge." - p. 41
- Lerner discusses political scrutiny that isn't "per se political:" In one e-mail exchange that began with a discussion of an article noting, "organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential Koch brothers," Lerner told colleagues, "we do need a c4 project next year." While she initially says, "my object is not to look for political activity," later in the exchange she acknowledges that it will examine political activity. "We need to be cautious so it isn't a per se political project. More a c4 project that will look at levels of lobbying and pol. Activity along with exempt activity." - p. 17
- Lerner broke IRS rules by mishandling taxpayer information: While Lerner told Congress under oath, "I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations," e-mails show Lerner handled protected 6103 taxpayer information in her nonofficial e-mail account. In a November 2013 letter from Daniel Werfel, Werfel notes, "We do not permit IRS officials to send taxpayer information to their personal email addresses. An IRS employee should not send taxpayer information to his or her personal email address in any form, including redacted." - p. 33
- Lerner planned to retire in October all along: While House Democrats have pushed that Lerner was forced out by the IRS as a result of the TIGTA report; new e-mails indicate that Lerner had planned an October retirement long before TIGTA released its report. Her paid leave amounted to a paid vacation preceding her retirement - it does not appear that the IRS penalized her in any way for her conduct. - p. 40-41
- Despite knowing about improper scrutiny, Lerner had IRS blame victims: An IRS document bearing Lerner's signature shows that in March 2012, despite knowing about improper scrutiny at that time, Lerner reviewed and signed off on a response to Congress that blamed applicants for heightened scrutiny. "[T]he IRS contacts the organization and solicits additional information when the organization does not provide sufficient information in response to the questions on the Form 1024 or if issues are raised by the application &. The revenue agent uses sound reasoning based on tax law training and his or her experience to review the application and identify the additional information needed to make a proper determination of the organization's exempt status." - p. 36
- Concern Citizens United hurting Democrats: Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races. The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate. Lerner replied: "Perhaps the FEC will save the day." - p. 21
- Citizens United created pressure for IRS to "fix the problem": According to Lerner: "The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year old precedent that basically corporations couldn't give directly to political campaigns. And everyone is up in arms because they don't like it. The Federal Election Commission can't do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem." - p. 20
- "Multi-Tier Review": Lerner personally directed that Tea Party cases go through a "multi-tier review." An IRS employee testified that Lerner "sent [him an] e-mail saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tier review and they will eventually have to go to [Judy Kindell, Lerner's senior technical advisor] and the Chief Counsel's office." A D.C. IRS employee said this level of scrutiny had no precedent. - p. 24-25
- Head of the IRS Cincinnati office's testimony refutes Lois Lerner and President Obama's O'Reilly interview assertion that this was all about a "local office": "[Y]es, there were mistakes made by folks in Cincinnati as well [as] D.C. but the D.C. office is the one who delayed the processing of the cases." - p. 44
Read the entire report here.
Obama Wish List - American Nightmare, His 2015 Budget
Posted March 04, 2014
Obama's wish list contains more government spending and less accountability. Obama's new budget is a staggering $3.9 trillion, almost $1 trillion more than when he first took office. This budget is $60 billion more than what both the Republicans and Democrats had agreed to. Money that he says he'll invest in America's future. It is always easy to "invest" someone else's money if you're a liberal. In no way is his budget a governing document, rather it is only meant to pick an election year fight with Republicans. He claims that this budget is about his values, fallaciously continuing the very false argument that Republicans only care about wealthy special interests while his Party fights for the poor.
While all signs point to the contrary, this White House is optimistic that the economy has finally turned the corner. If it has, then it is in spite of Obama's efforts. President Obama says that he wants to fight poverty. If this President truly cared about fighting poverty, then he would get the government out of their way. Numerous studies have shown that in many cases, generation after generation of families live on the government dole and never climb their way out of poverty. New policies are needed, not the old failed leftist ones. If helping people get out of poverty is what liberals truly cared about, then they would promote more freedom¬ less.
With this budget, Obama wants the voter to ignore the failure of his signature "achievement," Obamacare, and believe that more government spending paid for by the "evil" rich will actually help them. As President Ronald Reagan would say, "Government is not a solution to our problem government is the problem."
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