Archive for March 19th, 2010

Memo Purportedly Urges Dems to Keep Quiet on Critical Health Care Topics

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Don’t know if it’s true or not, but a leaked memo seems to be urging Democrats not to talk about the “details of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the health care reform bill. It also acknowledges that Congress and the administration will push for “doc fix” next spring — which would increase Medicare payments to doctors above those currently planned at the cost of $371 billion over 10 years.”

As the leadership in the House tries to persuade fence-straddling Democrats to push health care reform over the finish line, a “talking points” memo is being widely circulated in Washington that purports to show that those same leaders and the Obama administration are secretly planning to push for an increase in Medicare payments — an increase that would alter the cost of the bill.

The “From” line of the memo is scratched out, and Democrats emphatically deny sending it. A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer described it as “suspicious.”

“It appears to be a fake. … All I can say is it did not come from us. And yes, I do think it is suspicious that the ‘From’ line is redacted,” spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg told FoxNews.com.

Click here to see the memo.

Another Democratic congressional staffer told FoxNews.com that he could not tell whether the memo came from a Democratic office.

But the congressional staffer who leaked the document to FoxNews.com said that it illustrates that the Democrats are worried about aspects of the health care debate and are trying to conceal them.

If the memo is authentic, it shows Democratic leadership instructing staffers not to allow the congressmen they represent to talk publicly about the details of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the health care reform bill. It also acknowledges that Congress and the administration will push for “doc fix” next spring — which would increase Medicare payments to doctors above those currently planned at the cost of $371 billion over 10 years.

It further notes that if the fix were part of the current health care reform bill, it would “undermine reform’s budget neutrality.” It adds that “we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time.”

Asked whether the memo was a hoax, House Republicans dismissed the question Friday. Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said the real “hoax” is the claim that the bill will bring down deficits.

“Who cares about a memo?” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said, arguing that the “doctor fix” renders Democrats’ cost estimates inaccurate. “All this claim of deficit reduction is false.”

The staffer who leaked the memo said it is evidence that the health bill’s supporters are “vulnerable on Medicaid expansion, no SGR (the “doc fix”), and all of CBO’s caveats about deficit neutrality. This memo makes it look like they may be scared those arguments have resonance with House ‘Blue Dogs.'”

The memo reads: “Do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative.”

The staffer added that “it highlights how much they don’t want to talk about the uncertainty of the CBO scores. … And they’re putting all their faith in that. It just points out the budget gimmicks (they’re using.)”

The staffer said that one gimmick was the “doc fix.” According to the memo:

“Most health staff are already aware that our legislation does not contain a ‘doc fix’ … The inclusion of a full SGR repeal (doc fix) would undermine reform’s budget neutrality. So, again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered.

“As most health staff knows, Leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians support for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest it complicate the last critical push to pass health reform.”

Another part of the memo warns that “anti-reform extremists are making a last-ditch effort to derail reform. Do not give them ground by debating details. … Again, instead focus only on the deficit reduction and number of Americans covered. In the critical remaining hours of the debate we must drive the narrative of ‘health reform is deficit reduction.'”

Hoyer’s spokeswoman said that she was checking with the majority leader for his take on the content of memo. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and the Senate Finance Committee did not respond to requests for comment.

Original Link.

Obama to Dems: Pass Health Care or Else

Friday, March 19th, 2010

True to form, the threatener and chief, emperor want-to-be Obama, uses his usual tactics; threat, bluster and berate, to give Democrat lawmakers a message: Pass Health Care or Else.

WASHINGTON – In seeking enough votes to overhaul the nation’s health care system, President Barack Obama is telling nervous Democratic lawmakers that their political fates are linked to the bill’s passage, discouraging the notion that they can save themselves by opposing it, House members say.

They also say the president’s not asking lawmakers to save his skin either, while the White House insists that no special favors in exchange for votes are being offered or accepted.

The president has pushed aside almost all other matters, including a long-planned Asia trip, now rescheduled for June, to try to embolden House Democrats who have wavered on the health care legislation, which he has championed for a year.

Pathetic.

Our message to Dems: Pass Health Care and Get Fired in November.

Take you choice…

Original Link.

Obama Backs Plan to Legalize Illegals

Friday, March 19th, 2010

No surprise here at all. When he’s done shoving health care down our throats, Emperor Obama will turn his attention to Cap and Trade and legalizing illegal aliens. I’m sure he and his cronies (Pelosi and Reid) will use the same underhanded methods pushing these agenda items through that they used on health care “reform”.

President Obama gave a thumbs up Thursday to the outline of a plan to legalize illegal immigrants and create a flow of low-skilled foreign workers for the future, saying the immigration bill being worked on by a Republican and a Democrat is “promising.”

In their broad blueprint, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, call for illegal immigrants to be put on a path to citizenship, offer green cards to keep high-skilled foreign university graduates and would create a temporary program for low-skilled workers, with some also getting the chance to become citizens.

The senators also proposed to turn all Social Security cards into tamper-proof IDs to be checked by employers when they are about to hire a worker. The cards would include biometric information designed to prevent counterfeiting — but the senators said the information would not be stored in a government database.

“I congratulate Senators Schumer and Graham for their leadership, and pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year on this important issue so we can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform,” Mr. Obama said in a statement soon after the two senators published their blueprint in a column submitted to The Washington Post.

The carefully orchestrated rollout came just three days before immigrant-rights advocates expect at least 50,000 supporters to rally and march in Washington, D.C., calling for Congress to act. The organizers of the rally had met with Mr. Obama last week and told him he needed to embrace a bill or else the thousands of marchers would be told that he had failed to live up to his promises on this issue.

But the outline is just a first step in what’s still a very rocky legislative path.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said flatly that it can’t pass.

“The bill doesn’t have a prayer, because the American people oppose rewarding lawbreakers, which then encourages illegal immigration,” he said. “Allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay and take jobs away from citizens is like giving a burglar a key to the house. Illegal immigrants should return home and play by the rules like millions of legal immigrants.”

And adding to the bill’s troubles, Mr. Graham has warned Democrats and Mr. Obama that if they use the budget process to push health care through Congress — known as reconciliation — that could poison any chance for bipartisan cooperation on immigration.

Also, the blueprint is broad, and doesn’t delve into many key details that could still split the coalition of labor, business, religious and ethnic groups that have joined together to try to pass a bill.

Original Link.

Health Care Bill Gives Sweeping New Powers to the IRS

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The health care bill, as written, would allow the IRS to confiscate refunds if a person has penalties for not buying health care.
Are y’all tried of the liberal, socialist Democrats running our country yet? I know I am.

House Ways and Means Republicans on Thursday assailed a provision in the proposed health care reform bill under consideration this week.

Subcommittee on Oversight ranking member Charles Boustany (R-La.) said the IRS provision in the bill “dangerously expands, in an ominous way the tentacles of the IRS and it’s reach into every American family,” he said today during a press conference.

“This is a vast expanse of power,” he said.

Boustany said the bill would allow the IRS to confiscate refunds if there are penalties for not buying health care.

Lawmakers have questioned whether the IRS can handle the increased workload to oversee, administer and collect penalties for people who don’t buy health insurance.

“This is increasing tax liability and tax scrutiny,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.).

Ranking member Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said many Americans have already rejected the call for health care reform for other reasons and an expansion of the IRS should only add to call to “kill the bill.”

Taxpayers could be required to buy insurance under President Barack Obama’s reform proposal by 2014 or face penalties of roughly $325 per individual that the IRS would collect.

Assuming it becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office expects the IRS will need roughly $10 billion over the next 10 years and nearly 17,000 new employees to meet its new responsibilities under health reform.

“We’re going to fight to the end to see that this does not pass,” Boustany said.

Original Link.

Obama Surrenders Gulf Oil to Moscow

Friday, March 19th, 2010

What did we expect? If we aren’t going to drill for the oil in our own backyard, why would we expect others not to go after it?

The Obama administration is poised to ban offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf until 2012 or beyond. Meanwhile, Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the purported evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.

Offshore oil production makes economic sense. It creates jobs and helps fulfill America’s vast energy needs. It contributes to the gross domestic product and does not increase the trade deficit. Higher oil supply helps keep a lid on rising prices, and greater American production gives the United States more influence over the global market.

Drilling is also wildly popular with the public. A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 63 percent support for offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Americans understand the fundamental points: The oil is there, and we need it. If we don’t drill it out, we have to buy it from other countries. Last year, the U.S. government even helped Brazil underwrite offshore drilling in the Tupi oil field near Rio de Janeiro. The current price of oil makes drilling economically feasible, so why not let the private sector go ahead and get our oil?

The Obama administration, however, views energy policy through green eyeshades. Every aspect of its approach to energy is subordinated to radical environmental concerns. This unprecedented lack of balance is placing offshore oil resources off-limits. The O Force would prefer the country shift its energy production to alternative sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind power. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that, in the long run, assuming technology can catch up to demand. But we have not yet reached the green utopia, we won’t get there anytime soon, and America needs more oil now.

Russia more sensibly views energy primarily as a strategic resource. Energy is critical to Russia’s economy, as fuel and as a source of profit through export. Russia also has used energy as a coercive diplomatic tool, shutting off natural gas piped to Eastern Europe in the middle of winter to make a point about how dependent the countries are that do business with the Russians.

Now Russia is using oil exploration to establish a new presence in the Western Hemisphere. It recently concluded four contracts securing oil-exploration rights in Cuba’s economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. A Russian-Cuban joint partnership will exploit oil found in the deep waters of the Gulf.

Cuba has rights to the area in which drilling will be conducted under an agreement the Carter administration recognized. From Russia’s perspective, this is another way to gain leverage inside what traditionally has been America’s sphere of influence. It may not be as dramatic as the Soviet Union attempting to use Cuba as a missile platform, but in the energy wars, the message is the same. Russia is projecting power into the Western Hemisphere while the United States retreats. The world will not tolerate a superpower that acts like a sidekick much longer.

Original Link.