The U.S. House of Representatives voted 229 to 195, with 9 not voting, for HR 45, by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) (pictured) and 128 cosponsors, to completely repeal Obamacare.
All of the Republicans who were present voted for HR 45, and all of the Democrats who were present--except for Rep. Jim Matheson (UT) and Mike McIntyre (NC)--voted against HR 45.
The 9 legislators who didn't vote at all were Republicans John Campbell (CA), Sean Duffy (WI), Sam Johnson (TX), Raul Labrador (ID), and Ann Wagner (MO) and Democrats James Clyburn (SC), John Lewis (GA), Edward Markey (MA), and Mike Quigley (IL).
It is disappointing that only two Democrats voted for repeal of Obamacare, since the many severe problems with the so-called Affordable Care Act are already being manifested and even more serious ones are expected soon.
Previous issues of this newsletter HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE documented how Obamacare is causing unemployment, hurting the economy, increasing the cost of health insurance, causing employees to lose their existing health insurance, and destroying small medical practices.
And that doesn't include trampling on the religious rights of those non-profit organizations and privately owned companies which have moral objections to being required to provide health insurance with abortifacients. Nor does it include the rationing of medical care through the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which hasn't become operational yet in Obamacare.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (pictured) is appearing in a 60 second TV ad in support of the Gang of Eight immigration bill, but Jon Feere at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) said, "Every claim made in the ad is deceptive."
The ad was paid for by a group that calls itself Americans for a Conservative Direction, which Politico reported is a front group for FWD.us, an organization supporting "comprehensive immigration reform" that was founded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and headed up by Joe Green, a veteran of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.
The Organizing Director for FWD.us is Daniel Shih, "an experienced community organizer," in the 2008 Obama campaign and later "served in the White House as Domestic Policy Analyst for Vice President Biden." Lisa Conn, a "regional field director with the 2012 Obama campaign" is listed as the Organizer.
Feere's CIS analysis listed exactly what the TV ad claimed and provided a detailed response, partial excerpts of which follow:
RUBIO: Anyone who thinks what we have now in immigration is not a problem is fooling themselves. What we have in place today is de facto amnesty.
CIS: The problem is that Rubio wants to turn this "de facto" amnesty into a formal amnesty, and grant millions of law-breakers work permits, driver's licenses, Social Security accounts, travel documents, and an unknown number of additional state-level benefits…
The (Gang of Eight) amnesty bill would make permanent the inability to enforce the law by giving Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano "virtually unlimited discretion" to waive all enforcement of immigration law.
ANNOUNCER: Conservative leaders have a plan, the toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States.
CIS: The so-called Gang of Eight senators who wrote the bill aren't all "conservative leaders", unless you consider Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to fit that description. True, the gang also includes Republican senators, but it is up for debate whether one considers Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to be conservative on immigration.
Their immigration report card grades, from the pro-enforcement group NumbersUSA, are troubling: Graham has a "C", McCain a "D", and a Flake "C"…
On closer inspection, many of these measures (noted below) are not as tough as they seem to be.
A new Gallup Poll of small business owners documented the devastating effects Obamacare is having on employment and on both the cost and quality of health care.
49% of the owners say Obamacare is going to be bad for their small businesses, compared with only 9% who say it is going to be good. Another 39% said it would have no impact.
As a direct result of Obamacare, business owners say they've taken the following actions:
41% Held off on plans to hire new employees
38% Pulled back on plans to grow their business
24% Considered dropping health insurance coverage for employees
19% Reduced the number of their employees
18% Reduced the hours of employees to part time status
55% of the small business owners believe the costs of providing health care to their employees will increase, while only a miniscule 5% thought the costs would decrease. 37% thought the costs would remain the same.
Similarly, 52% of the owners say Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of health care for their employees, while 37% thought it would increase the quality. 30% said it would make no difference.
Furthermore, the Washington Post reported that a new Obamacare tax on health insurance "scares the daylights" out of some small business owners.
1. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (pictured) has lost support with Republicans because of his prominent advocacy of the Senate Gang of Eight Immigration Bill.
"Three months ago, 44% of GOP voters viewed him very favorably. Today, just 31% offer such strong praise," the Rasmussen analysis said.
The 844-page Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S 744, would provide amnesty for illegal aliens and an eventual pathway to citizenship--including the right to vote in elections--while allegedly strengthening the security of the U.S border with Mexico to prevent a future influx of "unauthorized immigrants."
However, another Rasmussen poll found that just 30% of voters think it's likely the federal government would actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if the reform plan became law. That's down from 38% in March and 45% in January.
Furthermore, a new Gallup Poll found that voters are not very interested in immigration reform.
Dr. Frank Newport, Gallup's Editor-in-Chief, stated:
Americans put reforming immigration and reducing gun violence--the focus of much of the attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks--at the bottom of a list of 12 priorities for Congress and the president to address.
Americans instead say leaders in Washington should give highest priority to jobs and the economy, followed by making government work more efficiently and improving the quality of education.
This result was similar to a previous Gallup Poll on this subject, on which this newsletter reported last month.
The Heritage Foundation issued a new report indicating that the amnesty in the Gang of Eight's bill would cost the U.S. taxpayers $6.3 Trillion.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives will soon vote on legislation to repeal Obamacare.
In a memo to House Republicans, Cantor said, "While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of Obamacare in the near future."
Polls continue to show declining support for Obamacare. The latest Rasmussen Reports found:
Just 39% of likely voters now view the law at least somewhat favorably, while 55% share an unfavorable opinion of it. This includes 14% with a very favorable view and 40% with a very unfavorable one.
As has been the case since its passage, senior citizens view the law more negatively than younger voters…
Voters have long cited cost as their number one health care concern, but 58% expect health care costs to go up as a result of the new law. Just 16% think costs will go down, while 17% say they will stay about the same…
20% believe the quality of health care will get better under the new law. More than twice as many, 46%, however, predict that the quality of care will get worse. 24% expect it to stay about the same.
A recent issue of this newsletter reported that even grassroots Democrats are beginning to oppose Obamacare.
If the American people could pass and repeal federal laws through initiative and referendum, as the citizens of 24 states can do, there is little doubt Obamacare would be uprooted by a vote of the people. But with the Senate controlled by Democrats and President Obama able to veto legislation, the upcoming House vote is probably only symbolic.
But there is a chance that more modest revisions of Obamacare might actually be enacted into law.
The U.S. Senate Gang of Eight's Immigration Bill would provide a "path to citizenship" for the 11 million illegal aliens now in the U.S., who would vote overwhelmingly Democratic in elections and move the nation sharply and permanently to the Left.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) urged its members to contact senators with the simple request: Read the 844-page bill, which is S 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
The sponsor is Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), but Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been a prominent advocate for it.
The previous issue of this newsletter cited an article by A. J. Delgado in Mediaite, which found many differences in the statements about this bill in Rubio's news releases and what the legislation actually provided.
FAIR also found that claims about S 744 didn't match its provisions. According to FAIR, the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill:
1. Grants amnesty to illegal aliens simply after the Secretary of Homeland Security submits plans to secure the border;
2. Grants amnesty to criminals and gang members;
3. Does not require amnestied illegal aliens to pay back-taxes;
4. Does not require amnestied illegal aliens to learn English;
5. Allows illegal aliens to sue the government for amnesty;
6. Allows the open borders and pro-amnesty lobbies to sue to prevent enforcement measures from taking place before illegal aliens can receive green cards;
7. Requires taxpayers foot the bill for illegal aliens to fight deportations at the Attorney General's sole and un-reviewable discretion;
8. Requires only 3 of 9 southern border sectors to have a 90% apprehension rate, leaving the rest in the porous status quo;
9. Grants green cards and citizenship after 5 years to illegal aliens claiming to have come to the U.S. before the age of 16 who meet certain criteria; and
10. Effectively halts all deportations for years by requiring Homeland Security to allow every illegal alien its agents intercept to apply for amnesty and prohibiting agents from deporting them until the illegal alien's application is adjudicated.
With the full implementation of Obamacare just 246 days away, senior members of Congress tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to exempt themselves and their staffs from the law.
John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman reported in Politico that congressional leaders in both parties were "engaged in high-level confidential talks" about how to get out of Obamacare.
The talks, which continued for months, involved Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and officials from the Obama Administration. The plan was for Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to "give Democrats cover by backing it."
According to Politico, "If the two sides can agree on a fix, leadership is discussing attaching it to a must-pass bill, like the government-funding resolution or legislation to hike the nation's debt limit."
A source close to the talks said, "Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump or nothing is going to get done."
In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal said the Politico article "succeeded in blowing up the talks," but "there's a bigger story here about congressional intentions":
Reid's office says he merely wants to ensure that the generous subsidies in the current federal-employee health plan can continue to flow to congressional staff once they are required to obtain coverage via Obamacare's new insurance exchanges.
Since insurance companies are referring to the Obamacare policies that will be offered on exchanges as "Medicaid plus," you can see why Congress wants to protect its own.
The larger truth here is that this story goes back to 2009, when Democrats who passed Obamacare tried repeatedly to exempt themselves or their key aides. Their problem was Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who for years has maintained the heretical belief that politicians ought to obey the laws they write for everyone else.
In 1995, he sponsored the Congressional Accountability Act, which for the first time applied to Congress various civil rights, employment, and labor laws that the politicians had imposed on the rest of the country.
Grassley again succeeded in getting an amendment passed requiring members of Congress and their immediate staff to be covered by Obamacare, although committee staffs are exempt from that requirement.
1. The "Gang of Eight" Immigration Reform Bill, S 744, appears to be filled with errors and provisions that have alarmed many conservatives.
A summary provided by the authors of the bill, officially titled the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is online at http://tinyurl.com/cy4z77u
However, in an article in the Mediaite website, A. J. Delgado, compared the bill, as it was introduced, to the summary and to multiple news releases and a video about it from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and found many discrepancies. He lists the top 10 problems with the legislation:
1. There are no actual triggers of border enforcement or border security.
2. It could extend to undocumented immigrants who arrived after the news of a potential amnesty.
3. No, they don't have to go to the back of the line and there is special treatment.
4. Family members can piggyback on one's application.
5. "Rigorous background check"? Doesn't look like it!
6. Did we deport you? Come on back!
7. Are you currently undergoing deportation proceedings or have a deportation order? No worries!
8. Sure, the bill specifies applicants may not qualify for federal benefits but…
9. The bill does little, if anything, to track down those who overstay their visits.
10. A one-time fix?
Former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), the new president of the Heritage Foundation, cites the problems which this legislation will cause taxpayers. He wrote in part:
Now that the "Gang of Eight" has introduced a comprehensive immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, the cost to taxpayers of implementing amnesty for an estimated 11 million unlawful immigrants has come into focus.
The core problem with amnesty is clear: It encourages more unlawful immigration in hopes of future amnesties, and it treats unlawful immigrants more favorably than more than 4 million law-abiding people who wait outside our borders, following the rules, for their chance to come to contribute to the economic and social well-being of America…
Taxpayers are right to be cautious of another large, incomprehensible bill…In fact, Section 2524 of the bill sheds light on the rising taxpayer costs likely to flow from the bill, as it creates a new federal commission specifically designed to promote the use of federal benefits to newly legalized immigrants.
And the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan reported that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a libertarian-leaning supporter of immigration reform, said debate on the bill should be halted until Congress grasps what went wrong in Boston.
"We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system," Paul said.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that drafted most of Obamacare, warns that unless there is more government propaganda to promote the law, there will be a "huge train wreck coming down."
Jennifer Hakerkorn in Politico reported that Baucus (pictured) explained the train wreck is "that consumers and businesses will just not have enough information. That it will be too confusing."
In a hearing before his committee, Baucus lashed out at Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for not creating effective propaganda campaigns to convince the people of the benefits of Obamacare.
Emily Ethridge of CQ Roll Call reported that Baucus expressed frustration that voters did not appreciate Obamacare's benefits. He complained about "misconceptions and misinformation" regarding the law. "And people generally dislike what they don't understand."
"The administration's public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, I think, deserve a failing grade. You need to fix it," Baucus told Sebelius, as reported by David Morgan of Reuters.
Morgan said Obamacare was "threatening the 2014 congressional re-election prospects of Democrats who voted for the law." Baucus just announced that he will not run for re-election.
Numerous issues of this newsletter HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE have reported on the unrelenting efforts of HHS to use taxpayers' money for extensive propaganda campaigns to promote Obamacare.
Sebelius told Baucus, "We certainly take outreach and education very, very seriously."
1. A new Gallup Poll found that very few Americans regard either gun control or immigration reform as a top problem facing the nation.
While President Obama and the news media have been consumed with these issues, voters are clearly much more concerned about the economy, unemployment, and the national debt. Other issues that ranked far above immigration and guns include dissatisfaction with government, health care, and the decline in ethical and moral values.
When asked the open-ended question, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?," here is what people replied:
24% Economy in general
16% Dissatisfaction with government
11% Federal budget deficit/Federal debt
6% Health care
5% Ethical/Moral/Family decline
4% Immigration/Illegal aliens
4% Guns/Gun control
4% Situation with North Korea
3% Lack of money
2% Lack of respect for each other
2% Foreign aid/Focus overseas
A total of 62% mentioned some aspect of economic problems, while gun control and immigration were mentioned by a scant 4% each.
Dr. Frank Newport (pictured), Gallup's Editor-in-Chief, commented:
"This is not an unusual state of affairs; the economy or economically related issues have nearly always in recent years ranked at the top of the 'most important problem' list.
"The low frequency of mentions of guns is also not unusual--guns have never been highly prevalent on this measure. The low ranking of immigration is a bit more unusual, because Americans have been significantly more likely to mention it at previous points than they are now."
This complete lack of saliency for these two issues could explain that, while a Washington Post--ABC News Poll found that 90% of Democrats, 84% of Republicans, and 84% of independents support new background checks for gun purchases, the Senate defeated an amendment to do that. Needing 60 votes to pass, the vote was 54 to 46.
Another amendment to ban so-called assault weapons garnered only 40 votes in the Senate to 60 against.