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Top 10 Problems with House Border Bill

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration

The bill proposed by House Republicans (H.R. 5230), not only fails to address the root causes of the border surge or hold President Obama accountable, it actually weakens current law.  While distracting from Obama’s DACA and promises of amnesty with statutory minutia over the 2008 anti-trafficking law, the House bill actually makes matters worse and voids out the entire purpose of modifying that law:

1)      No Mention of DACA Amnesty: This is not only the cause of the border surge, it is an ongoing threat as Obama openly promises to grant amnesty for 5-6 million more people.  The glaring omission and the fear to even mention it will not go unnoticed by Obama.

2)      Only Addresses UACs: Republicans have completely bought into the messaging from the White House that this crisis is all about unaccompanied children.  Yet, UACs only account for 20% of the recent surge in border crossings.  This bill does nothing to address the catch and release policies of the other 80%.

3)      Does Not End Catch and Release: Although the bill repeals Section 235(a) of the William Wilberforce Trafficking law and places UACs from non-contiguous countries into judicial proceedings, nowhere does it prevent HHS from releasing them into custody of relatives (often illegal immigrants) during the myriad of delays in proceedings subject to the discretion of the judge.  So even though they are selling this bill as a means of expedited removal, as it requires adjudication within 7 days and a decision within 72 hours thereafter, that is only relevant to those who bother to attend or show up to subsequent hearings.   Without ending catch and release, almost none of the UACs will ever appear before a court.

4)      Does Not Close Asylum Loophole: Even those few who appear before the court and are ruled inadmissible to the U.S. can have a chance to apply for asylum with a claim of “credible fear.” [page 21]  As we already know, there is an unlimited supply of pro bono immigration attorneys who will coach them to claim persecution.  A whopping 92% of credible fear applicants have been approved in recent years.  Once their claim is accepted, they will be sent back to HHS and likely released into custody of relatives.  This bill actually insults our intelligence and addresses the asylum loophole in Section 106….only for drug smugglers!  Everyone else is explicitly granted the opportunity to seek asylum.

5)      Makes UAC Crisis Worse with De Facto Amnesty: Section 103 [page 27] of this bill mimics the provision in Senator Cornyn’s bill, which actually makes it easier for recent arrivals to thwart deportation than under current law.  It allows all those who received a Notice to Appear since January 2013 to get a second bite at the apple.  Their notice will be expunged and they will have another chance to apply for admission, even if they ignored previous orders to appear.  The immigration judge will then have sole discretion to grant amnesty as long as “the granting of such motion would not be manifestly unjust.” [Section 103(c)(3)]

6)      Actually liberalizes law on Mexican UACs: Changing the 2008 Wilberforce law and equalizing treatment of UACs from Mexico with those from Central America is a double-edged sword.  While making the laws governing those from Central America stricter (although other provisions will void that out, as noted above), this bill will liberalize the laws governing Mexican UACs.  Under current law, they can be returned to Mexico immediately [8 U.S.C. §1232(a)(2)(A)].  The House bill will place them into the same judicial process as other UACs, granting them the opportunity to be released and/or to apply for asylum.

7)      Keeps HHS Throughout Entire Process: One of the purposes of repealing the Wilberforce law governing UACs from Central America was so that we can prevent HHS from helping integrate them into the country.  This bill keeps them in the custody of HHS throughout the entire judicial process and never mandates “detention” in a legal sense.

8)      No Mission for National Guard: While the bill appropriates funds for any usage of the National Guard at or near the border, it never explicitly calls for activating the military, nor does it mandate how Obama uses the soldiers.  Barring specific directions, Obama can and will use them for his purposes.

9)      Transferring UACs to Military Bases: Instead of barring the use of military bases to house the UACs, Section 302 of the bill merely expresses “ the sense of Congress” that the administration notify them before doing so. Ironically, with regards to DACA, the House was too scared to even express their sense that the president should no longer grant administrative amnesties.

10)  No Fence: Any discussion of dealing with the border crisis without mandating completion of the Secure Fence Act – the only proven method – is worthless.

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New Highway Stop-Gap Bill a Consummate Washington Budget Gimmick

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy

After years of controlling most of our transportation policy from Washington, there is no longer enough money in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), to cover the cost of construction projects for the remainder of the year.  Naturally, instead of looking for policy changes to solve the problem, such as returning transportation authority to the states, repealing Davis-Bacon wage mandates, and cutting mass transit funding, the politicians in both parties are reverting to their comfort zone.  They are doubling down on our failed federal transportation system by either proposing new taxes or increasing spending to cover the projected $16 billion annual shortfall in the trust fund.

With the August 1st deadline looming, when the DOT is expected to cut back on federal funding for projects, the House and Senate are now working on two short-term patches.  Short-term fixes would be palpable if they were used to make structural policy changes in the long-run.  However, as is the case with most reauthorizations, both parties are looking for immediate notional spending offsets so they can plan a long-term package that either increases taxes or spending on a failed system.

The House proposal, HR 5021, sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), would plug the shortfall in the HTF through May 2015 by using a combination of notional and superfluous offsets that have been trotted out as an accounting gimmick for many reauthorization bills in recent years.  The projected $10.9 billion cost would be “offset” by extending custom fees for another year in 2024 – 10 years from now.  Additionally, the bill would “save money” by extending a “pension smoothing” provision for taxpayer-backed pension insurance for another few years.

The pension smoothing provision is one of the most laughable budget gimmicks, yet it has been trotted out as a savior every time Congress wants to increase spending.  This plan allows corporations to cut the level of payments into the retirement funds backed by the taxpayer-funded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  By allowing companies to contribute less to pensions, they are entitled to less tax deductions, and in turn, incur a higher tax liability.  That tortured labyrinth of projected new revenue, estimated at $6.4 billion over 10 years, is what will be used to offset the new highway spending.

Not only is this intangible 10-year offset for a 10-month expenditure reflective of the most absurd budget tricks in Washington – it is also bad policy.

Typically, when interest rates decline to the levels we have seen in recent years, companies must contribute more to their pension funds to ensure that the principle compounds enough for them to meet their overall obligation to retirees.  If we lower the threshold for minimum contributions, taxpayers will likely be on the hook to bail out underfunded pensions in the coming years.

Alternatively, if companies are able to fill in the pension gaps in the coming years to compensate for the short-term underpayments, it will create a rubber-band effect on federal revenue.  They will be entitled to increases in tax deduction commensurate with their added pension contributions, thereby voiding out the potential revenue increase being used as an offset in this bill.  Garbage in, garbage out.

If Congress is committed to kicking the can down the road with a short-term extension, they should just be honest with the taxpayers and drop the phony offsets from the bill.

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Scorecard of Amendment Votes on CJS Appropriations Bill

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 and is filed under Blog

Last week, the House conducted a marathon session voting on amendments to the annual Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill.  As always, there were a number of votes on spending cut amendments.  In addition, there was a rare gun control amendment snuck into the bill.  An amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) dumped another $20 million into state grants for beefing up background checks on gun purchases.  This will essentially give a green light to blue states to continue their overzealous regulation of firearms.  Sadly, it passed with a majority Democrat support.

As always, we have put together a color-coded scorecard to track the way Republican members voted on key amendments.  You can view the spreadsheet here.

Below the fold is a brief summary of the amendments scored in the spreadsheet from the Republican Study Committee:

1)      Pompeo (R-KS):  Eliminates funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The underlying bill funds EDA at $248 million.  According to the amendment sponsor, “the Administration uses the EDA as a vehicle to spend taxpayer money on its own personal pork-barrel projects.”  The GAO has said that EDA grants “did not have a significant effect” on project success, and the EDA IG has found that up to 29 percent of grant money has been wasted.

The EDA has not been authorized since 2008.  The RSC budget proposed to eliminate this program.  Conservative Support:  American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, and Club for Growth (Key Vote).  Many outside groups have supported eliminating the EDA, including: Cato, Citizens Against Government Waste, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, and National Taxpayers Union.

2)      Thompson (D-CA):  Increases funding for National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Initiative grants by $19.5 million.  These funds are meant to provide federal grants to states to upgrade criminal and mental health records for NICS, as authorized by the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.  NICS is already funded at $58.5 million, a level that is already $3.5 million above the President’s budget request.

This increase is offset by reducing Commerce Departmental Administration by $1 million, Justice Information Sharing Technology by $3 million, Federal Prison System Buildings and facilities by $5.5 million, and National Science Foundation Agency Operation and Awards Management by $10 million.

3)      Cicilline (D-RI):  Increases funding by $8.5 million for DOJ State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and reduces NASA Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration by $8.5 million.  This funding is meant to support Project Safe Neighborhoods, a grant program that is meant to reduce gun and gang crime.

4)      Smith (R-TX):  Would reduce National Science Foundation (NSF) Social-Behavioral-Economic (SBE) Directorate by $15.35 million and refocus those funds on science and technology NSF research directorates.  This would freeze the SBE Directorate at the current FY14 level.

This amendment is consistent with the goal of prioritizing NSF research that is in H.R. 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act, which was approved by the Science, Space, and Technology Committee yesterday.

The underlying legislation funds the NSF at $7.404 billion, $149 million above the President’s request, $232 million above the FY14 enacted level, and $409 million above the level proposed by the House Appropriations Committee for FY14.  The NSF has not been authorized since 2013.  The RSC budget called for reducing funding for the NSF due to the number of wasteful grants funded by the NSF.

5)      Scott (R-GA):  Would eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).  In the underlying legislation, the LSC is appropriated $350 million, $80 million below the President’s request, $15 million below the FY14 enacted level, and $50 million above the level proposed by the House Appropriations Committee for FY14.

The LSC has not been authorized since 1980.  The RSC Budget calls for the elimination of the LSC, explaining “the LSC has evolved into an organization that also takes part in the advocacy of political causes and lobbying.  Coupling the misuse of taxpayer funds with the redundancy of free legal services provided by states and other organizations eliminates the need for this federally funded entity.”  Several outside groups have advocated eliminating the LSC, including Heritage, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Cato.

6)      Blackburn (R-TN):  Would reduce the bill across the board (other than the FBI) by one percent ($400 million).

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Abolish the Economic Development Administration

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy

As the season of appropriations begins in earnest, Congress will take up the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill.  This bill (HR 4660), which funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as NASA and other related agencies, provides $51.202 billion in discretionary budget authority.

Obviously, from a conservative perspective, the entire Department of Commerce is a waste of money and should not exist.  But at the very least, we should cut back on failed programs.  Instead, this bill actually provides $3.8 billion in extra spending relative to last year’s House bill.  The Heritage Foundation has already detailed $2.6 billion in additional spending cuts that should be included in the bill.

A number of conservative members will be offering amendments to cut spending.  One of the most important amendments that has been proposed so far is Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-KS) amendment to abolish the Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The EDA is a failed Great Society program that serves as a stimulus/pork slush fund for special interest communities under the guise of assistance to economically distressed areas of the country.  It’s nothing more than a fund for corporate welfare and a way of picking winners and losers in the market.  It has been as successful in creating jobs as Obama’s stimulus.  Senator DeMint wrote a great piece on the EDA two years ago analyzing its history of failed promises.

Anyone who claims to oppose earmarks and stimulus must oppose the EDA.  This bill appropriates $248 million for the EDA, a slight increase from last year’s enacted level.  Call your members and ask them to support the Pompeo amendment to end the EDA.  If we can’t close down this failed agency, we will certainly never eliminate any major agency or full department.

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House Republicans Ready to Use Military as Dumping Ground for Open Borders

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Immigration

Republicans are planning to retaliate against Obama for his high crimes and misdemeanors of letting out violent illegal aliens onto the streets.  They plan to bring the ENLIST Act (H.R. 2377) to the floor next week, using the military as the first stomping grounds through which to pass amnesty and get the ball rolling for comprehensive open borders.

Take that, Obama.

Instead of asking what degree of enforcement they will demand from Obama, Republicans are debating over how much amnesty they will concede.  And what better place than to start with the military – the most respected institution in the country?

Next week, the House will take up the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Conservatives already fought to keep Rino Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-CA) military amnesty bill out of the underlying legislation in committee.  But he plans to bring it up as an amendment to the bill on the floor.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • The military is just the beginning.  Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) strategy has always been predicated on getting his foot in the GOP door in order to kick it wide open.  Once they pass an amnesty inviting illegals into the military, they can go to conference and pass comprehensive amnesty.
  • Even worse than the Dream Act, this bill would grant illegals immediate legal status with an open-ended promise for expedited citizenship.  Their families will also obtain legal status.  This is a recipe for unsuitable low-skilled chain migration.
  • As the Obama administration dramatically cuts back the military of those who have served honorably, they are now filling those positions with illegals?
  • While the left would like to conjure up an image of an illegal Navy SEAL killing al-Qaida members, the reality is that most of these individuals would be used simply for the purpose of creating a visa mill.  There is no age limit for eligibility, so this has nothing to do with service in combat.  Also, in addition to now diverting focus from killing the enemy to social engineering, the military will now have to focus on amnesty.
  • This law ostensibly creates a guaranteed issue of citizenship for enlistees.  Even if for some reason the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would reject an application, you can bet there would be endless lawsuits overturning the decisions.  What message does this send to terrorist cells who want to infiltrate our military?  Inviting in thousands of people with murky backgrounds and notional legal recourse to utilize in rejecting them will only invite in dangerous elements.

So what should conservatives do?

First, we must make it clear to Members of Congress that if amnesty is slipped into the NDAA, especially at a time when Obama is nullifying the rule of law, they must oppose the procedural rule to consider the bill.  That is the only way to defeat this travesty.  Democrats typically oppose the procedural motion to call up a bill, even if they intend to vote for final passage.  In this case, most of them will support the bill along with many Republicans.  Voting against the procedural rule will ensure that the bill does not make it to the floor.

Second, we must continue to do everything in our limited power to take down the Chambercrats in primaries.  If they no longer fear competitive primaries there is nothing to stop them from supporting the Obama agenda.

Finally, we must continue bringing Members out of the shadows and documenting their position on next year’s leadership elections.  In light of the current leadership supporting Obama’s violation of our sovereignty, we have a right to know whether they will join the effort to elect a new leadership slate.

Ultimately, this is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party – one that will determine whether we have a viable alternative to an agenda that disrespects our borders, sovereignty, rule of law, and the American taxpayer.

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Why are Republicans Promoting a Left-Wing Feminist Museum?

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Family Values

As we’ve noted a number of times, Republicans have used their majority to pass these ridiculous “suspension” bills that are often bad policy instead of exclusively bringing conservative legislation to the floor.  The latest misfire is an attempt by a number of Republicans to pass a bill granting The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) a physical location on the National Mall.

One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture.  Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success.  The least we can do as conservatives is not  use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.

Undoubtedly, building a museum dedicated to studying the contributions of prominent American woman is an interesting endeavor, especially when funded by private contributions.  But one glance at the website of the NWHM makes it clear that this particular outfit will be used as a conduit to promote general liberal causes like most other feminist “women’s” organizations.  They’ve already paid homage to Sandra Fluke, which is not surprising because they are allied with a whole array of left-wing women’s groups.

Here is a sampling of political information on the members of the board:

  • Joan Bradley Wages, the President of NWHM, made political contributions to ActBlue, an anti-life Democratic PAC, Eleanor Holmes Norton,  and Barbara Boxer.
  • Susan Scanlan, member of the board of directors, contributed money to those who opposed Proposition 8 defending marriage in California.
  • Carey Shuart, the Interim Chair of the Board of Director’s gave all of her campaign contribution money to Emily’s List, a PAC whose only purpose is to support Democratic Pro Choice female candidates for office.
  • Ann E.W. Stone, the Secretary of the Board of Directors, is the founder of the organization Republican’s for Choice, an organization that attempts to infiltrate the Republican Party with the anti-life agenda.

With such leadership and associations, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which this museum does not become an organ for the homosexual and anti-life movements.

The House Natural Resources Committee passed HR 863, The National Women’s History Museum Commission Act, by unanimous consent on Wednesday, April 9.  The bill is sponsored by uber-leftist Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and co-sponsored by 81 Democrats.  But shockingly, 15 Republicans have also co-sponsored this ridiculous endeavor to grant radical feminists a foothold in a national park.  Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was an original co-sponsor and is joined by Reps. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Ellmers (R-NC), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rigell (R-VA), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Lummis (R-WY), Peter King (R-NY), Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Hanna (R-NY), Capito (R-WV), Latta (R-OH), Dent (R-PA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Webster (R-FL).

This bill was already introduced during the Pelosi Congress in 2009 and passed by voice vote!  It was only stopped in the Senate because Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) placed a hold on the bill.

Leadership plans to bring the bill to the floor next week under suspension.  The bill was rushed to the floor by Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).   Once this museum is constructed and granted access to the national mall, there is no way it will not grow into a left-wing bastion and it is unlikely that it will not become a recipient of federal funds when Democrats are in control of Congress.  If this is how Eric Cantor uses the majority in the House, why should we promote him to the position of Speaker?

Ask yourself the following question: would a Democrat-controlled House grant people associated with the Susan B. Anthony List authority to set up a women’s museum in a national park?

Who needs a GOP majority when Republicans are willing to do the bidding of the far left?

Cross-posted at RedState

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GA-11: Loudermilk Leading Despite Fundraising Gap

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections

While there is a lot of focus on races with candidates challenging incumbents, we must not forget about some of the open seats.  In addition to knocking off incumbents, electing dedicated conservatives from open seats who are committed to changing leadership will help up us win back the party for the grassroots.  One of those candidates is Barry Loudermilk, running in the open House seat in Georgia’s 11th District to replace Rep. Phil Gingrey.  With less than four weeks less to the primaries in Georgia, we have some good news to report: Loudermilk is leading in the latest poll.

Here are the topline results:

Loudermilk 25%

Barr 23 %

Pridemore 11%

Lindsey 8%

It is important to point out that Barr was a high-profile member of Congress for many years and enjoys a much higher level of name ID than Loudermilk.  Barr has also spent twice as much as Loudermilk on campaign expenditures.  Yet, Loudermilk’s bold stance for both fiscal and social conservatism is resonating. His commitment to oppose leadership is ringing clear throughout the district.  Barr, on the other hand, is very close with John Boehner and will be a rubber stamp for the status quo.

Let’s help Barry finish strong in the final weeks so he can be well positioned to win the runoff later this summer.

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House Republicans Push Another Corporate Bailout Disguised as Partial-Repeal of Obamacare

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

When observing the actions of political class Republicans it’s important to remember what makes them tick.  It’s not that they are liberal or moderate; it’s that their ideology is power.  When conservative policies will benefit them politically and assuage their donors and lobbyists, they will jump on board the constitutional bandwagon.  But as soon as there is a schism between their puppet-masters on K Street on conservative policy, they are completely off the reservation.  Nowhere is this more evident than with Obamacare.

While other issues such as corporate welfare, amnesty, and Common Core are blatantly embraced by the corporate interests, Obamacare is more complicated.  On paper, big business opposes many parts of Obamacare.  But that is the point.  They oppose the parts of the bill that directly affect their bottom line (at least with the shortsighted focus on the near term), but have no problem with the rest of the bill that distorts the market and raises costs on individuals. Indeed, much of the insurance industry was in on Obamacare from day one.

Hence, that is why none of us are surprised that GOP leadership has quietly given up on Obamacare.  This is not just about strategy, it’s about core beliefs.  Look no further than the Chamber of Commerce’s official position that they desire to fix Obamacare.

Accordingly, this is why Republicans and even some Democrats have enthusiastically embraced repeal of the medical device tax.  Undoubtedly, it is a pernicious job-killing tax, but it is unanimously opposed by the business community.  Juxtapose that to repeal of the risk corridors (the insurance company bailout for those who participate in Obamacare but inevitably incur losses from the mandates), championed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and you won’t find too many followers.

Today, we will witness the latest example of leadership’s tendentious treatment of big business in the Obamacare debate.  The House will quietly vote on a bill sponsored by Democrat Rep. John Carney (D-DE) and Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) (H.R. 4414), which would exempt all expatriate health insurance plans from Obamacare.  Expatriate plans are robust high-end forms of insurance for executives, primarily in big corporations, working overseas and in need of global access to healthcare.  The bill is co-sponsored by a random mix of moderate Republicans and Democrats.

Carney and Nunes sent a letter to their colleagues noting that these plans are offered by Cigna, Metlife, Aetna, and United Health.  This is not surprising because Cigna provides health insurance to large companies with many top executives working overseas.  Perforce, all of the special interests groups who oppose full repeal or defunding of Obamacare have swooped in on this bill.  The American Benefits Council and the Chamber of Commerce quickly circled the wagons around this bill, which had not undergone any committee hearings or markups and was randomly passed under suspension.

While there is some debate among conservatives about partial repeal bills, even those conservatives who support a partial repeal strategy should only support game-changing bills that both bring relief to the consumer and help disrupt the viability of the entire law.  For example, in the case of the 1099 tax-reporting provision, it benefited all businesses and alleviated them from an onerous burden.  The 1099 provision required companies to report all vendors from which they purchased $600 worth of goods or services within a year on their annual tax report.  Moreover, instead of bailing out Democrats from the political wrath of a deleterious provision, we extracted concessions from them by limiting the individual subsidies for purchasing insurance.

The expatriate reform, on the other hand, is a parsimonious tweak (yet full repeal for one special interest) that serves no purpose but ameliorating the law, making some Democrats look good, and playing into the insidious and selfish strategy of big business and the insurance companies.  Moreover, Republicans have not attached any other concession to this bill like they did with the 1099 repeal.

In the case of Cigna, they spent million promoting Obamacare; now they are looking for a bailout specifically for their corporate clients.  There’s no reason we should help them out.  It’s no surprise that Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), a conservative House member and lifelong physician, allegedly accused leadership of being in the pockets of big insurance companies.

The Wall Street Journal continues to lambast conservatives for opposing partial-repeal measures, but they are too shortsighted to see how these bills are geared towards bringing relief to Obamacare lobbyists, not consumers and taxpayers at large.

Those who think that the intra-party battle of 2014 is merely about strategy are not paying attention.  Establishment Republicans have never stood for limited constitutional government and free markets except for when it overlaps with corporate interests.  Don’t be fooled by the ubiquitous public opposition to Obamacare within the party.  If conservatives fail to win this year’s primaries, a GOP majority will not be committed to repealing Obamacare.

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House Leadership Makes Another End-Run Around Conservatives

Friday, March 28th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy

Once again, House GOP leaders have shown why it is important for us to elect enough stalwarts to replace the entire leadership team.

Every Republican complains about spending.  One establishment Republican is even running an ad promising to “castrate” D.C. spending.   Yet few of them are committed to blocking a new spending increase, much less roll back existing programs.  Today, House leaders brought a bill to the floor that will increase spending.  They didn’t have enough votes to pass it, so they decided to ram it through by voice vote.

Every year, due to the lack of free-market healthcare for seniors, Congress must supplement payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.  Government intervention into the healthcare market has precipitated such inflationary pressure in the healthcare sector that the government reimbursement rate, known as the SGR formula, is insufficient to cover the costs of Medicare payments.  In order to rectify the situation, instead of passing free-market Medicare reform, Congress passes a temporary fix (doc fix) every year to reimburse doctors for the underpayments, which are roughly 24 percent of their payments.

After failing to adopt the annual temporary “doc fix” last December, the House passed a bill two weeks ago that will permanently boost payments and pay for the increased spending by tying it to a long-term delay of the individual mandate in Obamacare.  H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, passed the House with 12 Democrats joining every Republican in the chamber.  This bill actually used a legitimate offset to end this charade of temporary fixes until we can finally impose free market structural reforms on the single-payer Medicare system.

After Senate Democrats balked at the proposal, Republicans decided to give in and pass a temporary extension.  They used a hodgepodge of tenuous offsets spread out mainly over the next 5-10 years to compensate for an immediate expense that will undoubtedly reoccur every year under the 10-year budget frame.  When they sensed that they lacked the votes to pass the bill, House leaders made an end-run around Congress:

The bipartisan power move to hold a voice vote allowed members to avoid a tough roll call, which would have forced them either to vote for a bill they do not support or allow doctors who treat Medicare patients to take a pay cut, incensing powerful outside interests.

The tactic flies in the face of Speaker John A. Boehner’s pledge to be a transparent and rule-abiding Congress, members and aides said. […]

The move incensed members of both parties, who said that democracy was in effect subverted to avoid putting members in a politically tough situation.

“It erodes our confidence in our own system, and there will be discussion about this, I’m quite sure about that,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

“I don’t like it, I don’t like the idea that they’re going to do surprise votes for voice vote which turns out to be the equivalent of unanimous consent, because if anybody had called a vote on this thing, I think they knew it wasn’t going to pass,” King continued. “A lot of members, for a long time, are going to have to post somebody here to sit on edge waiting to call for a recorded vote because of this maneuver, this tactic here today.” [Roll Call]

This is part of a disturbing pattern of leadership using over-hyped deadlines as leverage to pass bad legislation.  In this case, the doc fix deadline was set at April 1.

Remember, this pattern will not change with Republicans in charge of the Senate, unless we change leadership in both chambers.  They have shown that when they are up against a Washington deadline – be it a debt ceiling, budget bill, or any number of program reauthorizations – they will press the panic button and give into Democrat demands.

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RELEASE: Madison Project PAC Endorses Dr. Bob Johnson for Congress in Georgia’s First District

Monday, March 10th, 2014 and is filed under Uncategorized

March 10, 2014

Contact: Mary Vought

mary@madisonproject.com

 

Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative PAC to endorse Ted Cruz (R-TX), announced today that it is endorsing Dr. Bob Johnson for Congress in Georgia’s First District:

“For those who are looking for the prototype of a Tea Party candidate, Dr. Bob Johnson is the superlative example,” said Drew Ryun, Political Director of the Madison Project. “As a former Army Ranger, full-time cancer surgeon, small business owner, and articulate conservative, Dr. Johnson is the perfect candidate to send to Congress at this critical time. His intuitive common sense and impressive background has imbued him with a strong set of conservative principles and policy ideas, the likes of which we’ve seen in few candidates this cycle.  As a doctor and a veteran, he will serve as an effective voice for free market healthcare reform and restructuring our military to meet 21st century challenges.  As a strong Christian, he will not shy away from defending religious liberty and the institution of marriage, even if the GOP establishment is scared to fight back on those critical issues.

“Dr. Johnson will move beyond the platitudes and talking points to push for conservative solutions, even if that means confronting party leadership.  There is nobody on par with Dr. Johnson in this race; he will fight for us every day of his self-term-limited tenure in Washington and we are proud to make him our choice for Congress in Georgia’s First District.”

The official endorsement can be viewed here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found athttp://madisonproject.com/

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