The House of Representatives has hired a new lawyer to handle the lawsuit against Barack Obama’s use of executive action as related to Obamacare. The first lawyer bowed out due to political pressure:
William A. Burck has been retained as the lead outside attorney in a House Republican initiated lawsuit challenging as unconstitutional Obama’s 2013 decision to unilaterally delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.
Burck previously served as outside counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in a lawsuit brought against Attorney General Eric Holder.
A House Republican source familiar with the Obamacare lawsuit said that the attorney originally retained to represent the House, David Rivkin, backed out because his firm, BakerHostetler, was under political pressure from other clients to drop the case.
Burck previously represented Maureen McDonnell in the corruption trial against her and her husband, former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell.
The news comes just two days after Speaker John Boehner — who brought forth the lawsuit — teamed with Nancy Pelosi to pass a continuing resolution that fully funds Obamacare. Hmm.
MNsure, Minnesota’s state Obamacare exchange, has lost it’s biggest — and cheapest — insurer. PreferredOne Health Insurance announced Tuesday that it’s leaving MNsure because the exchange is unsustainable:
PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015. It’s “purely a business decision,” spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV. The company is losing money on administrative costs for plans offered on the bureaucratic and glitchy government exchange.
Part of the problem, according to PreferredOne, is that MNsure hasn’t even been able to verify its customers’ information. PreferredOne said that some of its customers have turned out not to even live in Minnesota.
“Our MNsure individual product membership is only a small percentage of the entire PreferredOne enrollment but is taking a significant amount of our resources to support administratively,” the company said in a statement. “We feel continuing on MNsure was not sustainable and believe this is an important step to best serve all PreferredOne members.”
PreferredOne insured a whopping 59% of Minnesota’s Obamacare enrollees. Now that they’ve left the building, premiums with the other insurers are likely to skyrocket. Minnesota plans to announce its 2015 Obamacare premium rates in October.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) attempted to put an end to Obama’s planned executive amnesty on Thursday when he introduced an amendment that would oppose the orders:
“I am going to make a motion that would allow this Senate to block the President’s planned executive amnesty,” Sessions said Thursday afternoon. “This is a common Senate action. If you believe we are sovereign nation, with the right to control our own borders, then you must vote ‘yes.’ If you believe America is an oligarchy, run by a group of special interests meeting in the White House to rewrite our immigration laws, then vote ‘no.’”
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats were able to block the amendment — by the skin of their teeth:
Fifty senators voted for Sessions’ motion and fifty voted against, so the proposal failed.
Four embattled Democratic lawmakers — North Carolina senator Kay Hagan, Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Arkansas senator Mark Pryor — voted with Sessions after opposing the same motion earlier this year. Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) voted with Sessions both times.
“Begich saved the day for Ds,” Politico’s Manu Raju tweeted, referring to Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska), a vulnerable Democrat who voted with Democratic leadership.
Clearly executive amnesty remains unpopular, which is precisely why Obama has delayed taking any action until after the midterms.
Thursday the Senate passed a continuing resolution, which included an amendment to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS, by a vote of 78-22, with 12 Republicans, 9 Democrats, and 1 independent voting “no.”
One of the Republicans who voted “no” was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Before the vote, he took to the Senate floor to argue his opinion:
Before the Thursday vote, Paul asked to separate the authorization to aid Syrian rebels from the CR, but Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) objected.
“The inescapable irony is that someday the arms we supply would be used against us, or Israel,” Paul said on the floor Thursday. “It is also ludicrous to believe that we know where all of the money, arms and ammunition will end up, or who will end up benefitting from these shipments.”
Watch the video of Sen. Paul’s full address below:
A survey conducted by the Physicians Foundation found that, of more than 20,000 doctors surveyed, a whopping 46% grade Obamacare a “D” or “F.” By contrast, just 25% of respondents gave the health law an “A” or a “B”:
The findings come from a survey that was emailed to “virtually every physician in the United States with an email address on record with the American Medical Association” this March through June as the law’s major provisions were taking effect, and received more than 20,000 responses from doctors.
In their comments that were included (but kept anonymous) in the report, a number of doctors complained about the vast amount of bureaucracy that has been added to the medical profession.
“Get government OUT of healthcare,” one doctor wrote.
Another wrote, “Repeal Obamacare.”
Another comment read, “I’m a Canadian physician practicing in the United States. The politicians and policy makers need to understand that government involvement in healthcare never works.”
One argued that “health reform would be better served by removing many thousands of pages of laws and bureaucrats rather than adding many thousands of pages of laws and bureaucrats.”
Several doctors said they were planning to leave the profession, though it wasn’t clear that it was necessarily due to the law.
“The system is broken and I am out of here as soon as I can. I am tired of being used, abused and lied to. Has anyone here woken up to the fact that we are always the last ones to be considered in the equation of change?” one asked.
How is Obamacare supposed to fix America’s health care law if doctors are some of its most vocal opponents?
News media has overwhelmingly chosen to focus on the fact that the continuing resolution passed by the House Wednesday evening, which will fund the federal government through Dec. 11, included an amendment granting Barack Obama the authority to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels. However, there are a few other funding measures present in the CR that conservatives will be none too happy to about, including funding for Obamacare in its entirety as well as for Planned Parenthood:
Before the inclusion of the amendment to train and arm revolutionaries in Syria, the House Appropriations Committee had described the continuing resolution as a “clean” bill that did not include riders affecting current spending programs and policies. The committee affirmed to CNSNews.com last week that the bill does not prohibit funding for Planned Parenthood or for any element of Obamacare.
Planned Parenthood–whose federal funding is permitted under the continuing resolution–said in its most recent annual report that it did 327,166 abortions in fiscal 2012. The same Planned Parenthood annual report said the group received $540.6 million in funding from local, state and federal governments in the year that ended on June 30, 2013. (Federal funding through Title X family planning grants cannot go to directly pay for abortions, but can pay for other Planned Parenthood activities.)
The CR also put no restriction on funding any provision of Obamacare or any regulation issued under Obamacare. That includes the preventive services regulation that requires individuals and families to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs even if doing so violates their religious faith.
“It is a critical piece of legislation, and my committee has crafted the bill in a responsible, restrained way that should draw wide support in the House and Senate,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R.-Ky.) said last week when his committee released the bill–before the amendment was added to arm and train Syrian revolutionaries.
“This bill is free of controversial riders, maintains current levels, and does not seek to change existing federal policies,” Rogers said.
For what it’s worth, 53 Republicans joined with 55 Democrats to vote against the CR, which passed 319 to 108 with four members not voting. Republicans who voted “no” include Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, and Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas.
Speaker John Boehner currently has an open lawsuit against Obama for his use of executive action specifically related to Obamacare, and yet he just passed a bill that funds Obamacare in its entirety. Washington hypocrisy at its finest.
On the surface, all signs point to Hillary Clinton being the second coming of the leftist messiah for 2016. However, if you dig a little deeper, the outlook isn’t so rosy. Emails sent by liberal activists in a progressive members-only Google group called the “Gamechanger Salon” reveal that many liberals are none too happy with Mrs. Clinton. Why? She’s not liberal enough:
The Hill reviewed hundreds of emails from a progressive members only Google group called the “Gamechanger Salon,” a forum where nearly 1,500 activists, strategists and journalists debate issues and craft messaging campaigns.
The group includes prominent Democrats, Sierra Club officials, journalists who work for The Huffington Post and The Nation magazine, senior union representatives, leaders at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the president of NARAL.
In the emails spanning over a year — starting in June 2013 through July of this year — frustration with Clinton is evident.
Clinton’s too much of a hawk, too cozy with Wall Street, hasn’t spoken out enough on climate change, and will be subject to personal questions and criticisms, members of the group stated in the emails.
Indeed, for many of these progressives, Clinton is more of a harbinger of doom than she is a saint:
“[A] Clinton presidency undos [sic] all our progress and returns the financial interests to even more prominence than they currently have,” Melissa Byrne, an activist with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said in a November 2013 email.
They slam her for supporting the Iraq War…
Charles Lenchner, a progressive operative and executive director of Organizing 2.0, said Clinton — and anyone else who voted for the Iraq War — is “tainted.”
“And personally, I would like to see a Democratic Party where folks who enabled George Bush to drag the country into a permanent war are punished at the ballot box,” he said in an interview.
Ryan Clayton, a left-leaning commentator and strategist, wrote in a July 2013 email, “The more Progressives I talk to, the more people tell me that they’ll never forgive her for voting for the Iraq War… and won’t even vote for her in the general.”
For her relationship with Wall Street…
“I also came to know how close she was to the pro-Wall Street forces inside the administration and out, and the downsides on foreign policy are all very real. So I will hesitate for a long time before jumping into her campaign,” [strategist Mike Lux] wrote in a group email.
They even slammed her relationship with husband Bill, writing that speculation over the state of their marriage would be anything but “helpful to her candidacy.”
So who do these uber lefties want to see run for president in Clinton’s stead? Uber liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, of course:
Billy Wimsatt, the founder of the group, stated in a September 2013 email, “I’m ready for something better and Warren is the only person on the radar who might be significantly better. Warren doesn’t need to appreciate it. Leadership isn’t fun. She doesn’t get to tell people that we can’t want something better.”
Gibson, of Occupy.com, in an email from December of last year, lauded Warren’s “ovaries of steel.”
And Lenchner, of Organizing 2.0, told The Hill this week that the other potential candidates in the race don’t have the “symbolism of Warren.”
So what have we learned? When it comes to selecting a candidate to run for president, liberals want 1) an environmental activist who 2) hates Wall Street and 3) has ovaries of steel.
Good luck pushing that on the public in 2016!
In a vote Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved controversial legislation allowing Barack Obama to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the ISIS terror group on the ground:
Lawmakers approved the amendment by a 273-156 vote after six hours of debate. The amendment, which includes no new money to pay for the operation, was then incorporated into a larger spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through Dec. 11 and avoid a partial government shutdown.
The relatively slim majority by which the amendment passed speaks to the continued skepticism among lawmakers about Obama’s plan:
While leaders of both parties back Obama’s goal of destroying ISIS, some lawmakers have expressed concerns that weapons given to the rebels could end up in the hands of terrorists. Others say Obama’s plans do not go far enough while some are concerned about the U.S. getting embroiled in yet another war.
“The amendment provides few limits on the type of assistance that our government may commit, and the exit out of the civil war is undefined,” said Republican Rep. Justin Amash in explaining his “no” vote on Facebook.
Obama, for one, is satisfied with the vote:
“As we continue to take targeted military action against ISIL terrorist targets, today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces in Syria, while creating the conditions for the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all,” Obama said in a statement Wednesday evening. ISIL is an another acronym for the terror group.
The Senate will vote on the legislation Thursday. Majority Leader Harry Reid expects it to pass in the upper chamber, as well.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General concluded in its final report on patient deaths at a VA hospital in Phoenix that the deaths could not be “conclusively” tied to delays in care. However, this language was not included in the first draft of the report, sparking debate and controversy as to how it wound up in the final report.
In a heated hearing Wednesday, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, stated that the IG’s conclusion is based on medical records that can’t be trusted:
In some cases, no medical records were available for review because the patient died before receiving care, said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.
Even so, Acting VA Inspector General Richard Griffin still reported that he could not “conclusively assert” any patient died because of delays in care.
“I have no faith that what may have been written is in fact true,” Miller said of the medical records used by the IG to assess the care of patients who died after long waits for appointments at the VA facility in Phoenix.
Republicans believe that VA officials interfered in the final report and had the controversial text inserted:
Miller pressed Griffin on how the sentence containing the language got there. Griffin insisted that the sentence was inserted in late July after a senior executive in his office questioned whether investigators found evidence of preventable patient deaths.
If not, the report should say so, the unnamed IG official said, according to Griffin.
No one at VA had anything to do with the inclusion of that language, Griffin said.
There were multiple drafts of the report, including the first version which was sent to the veteran’s committee after repeated requests from Miller and other members, Griffin said.
Only minor changes sought by VA administrators were inserted in the final report. Some changes sought by the agency were rejected, according to Griffin.
That assertion triggered a heated exchange with Miller, who said committee members sought the draft copy that was sent to VA officials for review and comment.
Griffin insisted the committee asked for the first version, not necessarily the one sent to agency officials.
“You knew what the request was,” Miller told Griffin. “What we were trying to get is how did that get inserted from the draft to the final. This committee is going to get to the truth.”
Does everyone in Washington have something to cover up?
Numerous Democrats have slammed the House select committee probe into the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi terror attacks as completely unnecessary, nothing more than petty politics. However, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the committee, opened the first hearing Wednesday with a statement on exactly why it is still important to uncover the truth about the events of that day:
“To those who believe it is time to move on, that there is nothing left to discover, that all questions have been asked and answered, that we have learned the lessons to be learned — we have heard that before,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in his opening statement. “And yet the attacks and the tragedies keep coming.”
“Some question the need for this committee. I respect your right to disagree, but the mark of a professional, indeed the mark of character, is to do a good job even if you do not think the task should have been assigned in the first place,” he added.
Gowdy noted that the 2012 attack was not the first time a diplomatic outpost had come under siege, citing instances in Beirut, Kenya and Tanzania.
Gowdy said it was “stunning to see the similarities” between the security recommendations made in the wake of those attacks and the ones made after the Benghazi attack.
“We do not suffer from a lack of recommendations. We do not suffer from a lack of boards, commissions and blue ribbon panels. We suffer from a lack of implementing and enacting those recommendations. That must end,” he said.
Monday, news broke that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aides allegedly separated out documents that made Clinton look bad before handing them over to the State Department’s Accountability Review Board. Clearly, Gowdy’s assessment that all answers have not been given is absolutely correct.