In mid-October, healthcare CEOs frustrated with the Obama administration’s glitchy exchange website were invited to the White House to air their grievances — to Valerie Jarrett.
This afternoon, President Obama joined the follow-up meeting with healthcare execs behind closed doors in the Roosevelt Room.
Obama was flanked by Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
“I want to welcome the executives who are here from a lot of the insurance companies that are participating in the marketplace,” Obama said before the meeting. “We all share a similar value, which is we want to make sure that Americans have good, solid coverage that gives them the security they need for themselves and their family members if and when they get sick.”
The names of the insurance executives present weren’t released by the White House — though they were released at the Jarrett meeting — and the press pool was shooed out of the room after Obama’s remarks.
“We had, despite all the problems with the website, over a million people apply. Many multiples of that wanted to see what options were available. Obviously because of the problems with the website some folks have been blocked from seeing the well-priced benefits that are available in the marketplace, and so we’re working 24/7 to get it fixed. The website is working a lot better now than it was a couple of weeks ago,” Obama continued.
The president said the meeting would consist of “brainstorming on how do we make sure that everybody understands what their options are.”
“Because of choice and competition, a whole lot of Americans who’ve always seen health insurance out of reach are going to be in a position to purchase it. And because of the law, we’re also going to be able to provide them help even if they are still having trouble purchasing that insurance. But they’ve got to know what those options are in order to be successful,” he said.
“So I appreciate all these folks coming in. We’re going to be soliciting ideas from them. There’s going to be a collaborative process. We want to make sure that we get this done so that in the years to come every American is going to have the kind of affordable health care that they all deserve.”
There was no indication that Obama intended to talk to the healthcare companies about letting people keep their old plans. In announcing the administrative fix to defer enforcement on plans that don’t meet new minimum coverage standards, White House officials made clear that companies would be under no obligation to give back canceled plans to customers.
In Obama’s weekly address Saturday morning, he’ll try to steer the conversation away from healthcare.
Obama Either Knew that Healthcare.gov Wouldn’t Work or He Is Keeping Incompetent Liars On His Payroll
This exchange took place during today’s White House press briefing:
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Can I just ask you, the president said yesterday, ‘I was not informed directly that the web site would not be working the way it was supposed to.’ I mean, we’ve heard the latest is the project manager on healthcare.gov warned, was worried this thing could crash at takeoff. I’m just wondering, did the president at any point ask the question has this thing been tested? Are we ready to go? What was the answer to that.
JAY CARNEY: The president was regularly briefed on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the run-up to the launch. What he and others have said is that we — at no time did we anticipate that the problems that we ended up seeing on October 1st would occur. And if we had –
KARL: People working on this knew there were problems, were worried this could happen and I’m just asking did the president ask the question?
CARNEY: Absolutely. The president constantly asked where we were and what the progress on –
KARL: So who misled him? If they knew these problems and didn’t disclose it to him –
CARNEY: Again, there’s a jump in your logic there. The fact is, as we acknowledged and have said since October 1st and even before that, we anticipated glitches, we were told there might be some problems, and as is the case when any site –
Video and more over at RealClearPolitics.
Remember, yesterday Obama said that he was not told “directly” that there were problems with the website before it launched. The government officials in charge of developing Healthcare.gov were so worried about the site’s viability that, on July 16, project manager Henry Chao emailed that he feared it would “crash on takeoff.”
In a July 16 email sent ahead of a meeting with the site’s chief contractor CGI Federal, HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao, who was a key witness during the House Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing earlier this week, wrote, “I just need to feel more confident they are not going to crash the plane at take-off, regardless of price.”
The next day, July 17, Chao testified at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that Healthcare.gov would be ready to launch on-time. He then distributed a video link to his testimony to several people he described as “leaders in this endeavor,” urging developers to ensure his pledge under oath did not come back to haunt him.
“I wanted to share this with you so you can see and hear that both [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner] and I under oath stated we are going to make October 1,” Chao wrote in a July 20 email where he distributed the link to his testimony. “I would like you [to] put yourself in my shoes standing before Congress, which in essence is standing before the American public, and know that you speak the tongue of not necessarily just past truths but the truth that you will make happen.”
So Chao, the project manager, was worried about Obamacare crashing on October 1. He had been worried about that for months. Obama said he had not been told “directly” of these fears. Carney said today that Obama was “briefed regularly” on the site’s progress and issues.
How do we resolve this? What was in those briefings? Did Obama pay any attention to them?
It may be that Obama was not actually being briefed regularly at all. We know that he skips other duties such as attending his Daily Intelligence Briefing. You can lead a horse to water, and all that. Or maybe David Axelrod was right when he said earlier today that Obama has surrounded himself with yes-men who just tell him what he wants to hear. They knew there were problems but they lied to Obama because they knew he couldn’t handle or didn’t want the truth.
The Washington Post published a list of 16 American cities that foreign governments have warned travelers as being too dangerous to venture about in. Here are a few highlights.
Los Angeles California: France warns tourists to stay away from Hollywood. This makes total sense: Their movies are enough to make anyone terminally ill. Regarding California in general, if you stay too long, you’ll be robbed by state and local governments.
Detroit and New Orleans: Anybody who’s surprised about these two cities being included needs therapy, or perhaps different medication.
New York: France warns against visiting Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, which was built by a Frenchman. France also recommends not to visit Harlem, the Bronx, or Central Park at night. The last two locations were added because the French want to avoid being accused by our president of being racist. Also, if you see any soon-to-be unemployed politicians, run and hide. And avoid any sugary drinks over 12 ounces in size, lest you be terrorized by the Carbohydrate Police.
Miami, Florida: Canada’s foreign ministry warns that “Canadians have been the victims of crime such as break-ins, assaults and pickpocketing in the Miami area, sometimes during daylight hours.” Florida’s criminals know Canadians don’t carry concealed handguns, so they know Canucks are high-priority/low-risk targets. If you’re in Miami, don’t talk about the weather or hockey, and you’ll be fine.
Washington: France warns tourists against going to the Northeast or Southeast sectors; don’t go to Anacostia day or night; Union Station is dangerous at night. And don’t go near Congress or the White House. You’ll get mugged and robbed, and then they’ll steal your health insurance.
Brits warn El Paso, Texas visitors about violence at Mexican border, particularly at the crossing to Ciudad Juarez. But Mexico has draconian gun control just like Britain, which enacted their gun ban to address violence! (Failed.) I’m sure this is a Foreign Office typo. Just keep a stiff upper lip, and if that fails, act peeved.
France warns Houston, Texas tourists: “Be vigilant if traveling through Downtown, south and east Houston at night.” A smarter idea is to avoid trouble spots; second best is concealed carry. Predators hate prey that can fight back. (See above reference to Britain and Mexico.)
Meanwhile, the Germans have warned their travelers to avoid running afoul of indecent exposure laws and not go nude in public, though these laws are “rarely asserted and punished” as proven by Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.
The voters who vaulted both Barack Obama and Harry Reid to power and national office are seeing what must be shocking headlines today. On Thursday, the president offered an apology and an unworkable and possibly illegal “fix” to his troubled healthcare law. Today, the Chicago Tribune has had enough and wants the president’s signature law repealed.
In an editorial titled “Stop Digging. Demolish Obamacare” or “Stop Digging. Start Over,” the Chicago Tribune rips into Obama’s signature law.
For perhaps 5 million of those Americans thus far — estimates vary — the Washington-ordered cancellation of their policies is especially maddening. In the past these people took responsibility for their coverage and bought policies that balanced their needs, finances and personal choices. Congress and President Barack Obama, by enacting the Affordable Care Act, in effect ordered insurers to dismantle many of those individual plans — and cancel those policies.
The Americans manhandled by this exercise in government arrogance now find themselves divided into warring tribes: Those with chronic ailments who have found new plans on Obamacare exchanges and are pleased. Those who don’t want or can’t afford the replacement policies Obamacare offers them. Those whose new policies block them from using the health providers who have treated them for many years. The estimated 23 million to 41 million people whose employer-sponsored plans are the next to be imperiled. And on and on.
Most of these tribespeople only wish their big problem was a slipshod Obamacare website. On Thursday, their plight grew more frightful. With even Democratic members of Congress storming the White House over the cancellations, Obama declared — by what legal authority is unclear — that he would overrule the law he signed in 2010 and allow insurers to extend those canceled policies for a year.
The Tribune concludes that Congress should repeal Obamacare: “Many of the Americans who heard their president say Thursday that ‘we fumbled the rollout of this health care law’ would have been pleased to hear him add: So we’re admitting it. This law is a bust. We’re starting over.”
The Tribune is joined by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Published in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s home state, the LVRV also calls for Obamacare, which Reid shepherded through the Senate on its way to passage, to be dismantled in an incisive editorial titled “Obamacare woes beg for repeal.”
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” In the case of the Affordable Care Act, it’s going to get worse before it gets worse still. Millions of people are learning they can’t keep their current individual plans, tens of millions more could be in the same boat at this time next year when the law’s employer mandate kicks in, and hardly anyone is buying expensive Obamacare-compliant policies.
Now President Barack Obama is trying to put the genie back in the bottle. He held a tedious Thursday news conference to announce that he’s directing insurance companies to allow those millions who have lost coverage the option to renew their old policies for one more year. This is yet another executive mandate that overrides the oft-repeated talking point from Obamacare supporters that the Affordable Care Act is “settled law” and “the law of the land.” It sure is, except when it’s expedient to delay the parts that are politically problematic — and there are many such parts.
The law is so deeply flawed, with so many components in direct conflict with one another, that tweaking just one part will accelerate its collapse.
The Obamacare debacle is just getting started — and it only gets worse from here. Repeal and replace.
On October 1, 2013, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) published a press release on his website extolling Obamacare. Healthcare.gov debuted that same day. In the penultimate paragraph, Doggett seeks to reassure constituents who already have health insurance that Obamacare would not hurt them.
What if you already have health insurance? If you already have coverage through your employer, Medicare, TRICARE, or some other source, you can keep that insurance and you are not required to buy additional coverage.
Six weeks later, that promise has been exposed as hollow and Healthcare.gov still does not work. It’s not expected to be fully functional by the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline at the end of November. So far just 3,000 Texans have enrolled in Obamacare, a law that the majority of Texans oppose. About 5 million Americans have been notified that Obamacare will cost them their health insurance, and many of those will find that the plan they are now forced to buy will cost more and cover less.
Doggett strongly supported Obamacare when Congress passed it in 2010.
Today, Doggett was among the 153 Democrats who voted against a fix that would have force President Obama and Rep. Doggett to keep their word.
Now, state GOPs and RNC — you have a cookie-cutter post/press release you can use to go after every single Democrat who voted against the Upton bill.
Congress wrote Obamacare and passed it, with then Speaker Nancy Pelosi leading the charge as she said that Congress had to pass it just to find out what’s in it. That makes her latest remarks all the more remarkable.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who shepherded Obamacare through the House as speaker, said Obama was “very gracious” in making that apology but that the president’s words – in the context of the law – were “absolutely” precise.
“There’s nothing in the Affordable Care Act that says that your insurance company should cancel you,” she told reporters. “That’s not what the Affordable Care Act is about. It simply didn’t happen.”
That cancellation letter that you got from your insurance company because your policy does not comply with Obamacare’s restrictions? Not real. Didn’t happen. Not her fault.
She continued that she did not make a similar statement to her constituents, noting that she “would have if I ever met anybody that liked his or her plan, but that was not my experience.”
Hm. Maybe Democrats meant the “If you like your healthcare” phrase in a different way than anyone realized. They didn’t believe anyone liked their plan, so the fact that the law jeopardizes so many millions of plans was never a problem and their promise wouldn’t be broken.
Now that the House has passed Upton’s Obamacare “Keep It” plan with 39 Democratic votes, it won’t move on to the Senate. It would have taken about half the Democrat caucus voting on it for that to happen, and Upton’s bill picked up about 20% of them. Sen. Harry Reid will table it, scuttle it, trashcan it as soon as he can, just as he has done to the more than 40 previous bills that the GOP House has passed to repeal Obamacare itself.
The Senate may or may not consider Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bill, which would also force Obama to keep his word, albeit by weaker means. Avoiding a vote on that bill may prove tougher for Reid, as it is a Democrat bill with numerous D co-sponsors including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein is not vulnerable to defeat next year. Politics and fear can’t be blamed entirely for her support, as they can for Landrieu’s sponsorship. The fact that women prominently support it boxes out any effective “war on women” nonsense from the White House.
Suppose the Democrat-led Senate scuttles that bill, too. Republicans will have a massive weapon to turn next year’s mid-term election into a national election. They can take on every vulnerable Democrat with ads tying them to Obamacare and the Democrat leadership’s refusal to even consider holding Obama to his word. The ads can be cranked out cookie-cutter style — show Obama’s promise, show vulnerable Democrat backing that promise, show Reid and describe him blocking the vote to hold them to that promise, promise that a vote for the local Republican is a vote to end the gridlock and hold the president accountable for his own promise. Vote Republican to restore accountability in Washington.
Suppose the Democrat-led Senate votes on that bill. With Democrats backing it and Republicans eager to position themselves better for 2014, it’s likely to pass. The House can easily pass a similar bill. It gets to the president’s desk, where he does…what?
A veto puts him on the spot vetoing a bipartisan bill that holds him to his word. Signing it acknowledges that he has lost his leadership, and for Democrats, it acknowledges that the law they all originally supported — against the majority of Americans’ wishes — was a flawed mess from the beginning.
The Republicans can still screw this up, but the Democrats have put themselves into a tails-we-lose, heads-Republicans-win situation. They have no one to blame or thank but themselves and the president they have supported.
If Republicans hold the House and re-take the Senate next year and Obamacare is seen as the cause, the president’s awful law is doomed.
President Barack Obama rode to the White House promising to reach out and find bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. He then signed a pair of controversial partisan laws, including Obamacare, which failed to receive a single Republican vote.
Today he is threatening to veto a bill that passed the House with 261 votes, including 39 Democrats and nearly all Republicans. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is one proposed fix to force the president to keep his word, when he repeatedly promised Americans “If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare. Period.”
It’s now the word on Twitter that it takes an act of Congress to force Barack Obama to keep his word. But even that may not be true, as Obama says he will veto this bipartisan act of Congress.
Back in October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a spate of new gun control laws into effect. When he signed those laws, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco proudly said of his bill, which requires gun owners to keep their guns in safes if they share a home with someone banned from owning a firearm, ”This bill just helps ensure that only law-abiding gun owners have access to weapons.”
Let’s see how that’s working out.
In Oakland, a lot of people who shouldn’t have guns have them, and a lot of people who might defend themselves from those people now have a much harder time obtaining a gun. Armed robbery is up 24% over last year.
It has gotten so bad that citizens have taken it upon themselves to hire their own private police force.
[O]ne morning in September, two armed men robbed a group of carpooling commuters, relieving everyone of their money, smartphones and laptops.
Ferris says such a brazen crime was a game changer.
“To finally have that catalyzing event, where people said, ‘I am ready to take action,’ for me that was awesome,” he says. “I’m sorry that this happened. This finally gets people the motivation to say, ‘Hey, we need to take care of our personal security. The city of Oakland is not going to do it.’ ”
So after the carpool robbery, residents in two different sections of the neighborhood used a crowdfunding website to raise tens of thousands of dollars. They’re using the funds to hire private security patrols on a four-month trial period.
More than 600 households pay $20 a month for unarmed patrols in clearly marked cars to run 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.
Lower Rockridge is just one of several Oakland neighborhoods where residents have either hired private security patrols or are actively debating taking that step. In some neighborhoods, the patrols are armed.
The usual objections have been raised: racial profiling might happen, who keeps these private cops accountable? And another: How can unarmed private patrols stop armed criminals? Once the criminals learn that the patrols are unarmed, the patrols may just become a new class of victim.
The obvious objections to the laws that were signed have not been raised enough: Requiring owners to store guns in home safes requires a police state for enforcement, or will breed contempt for the law if it isn’t enforced. That police state will be aimed at people who obey the law, not criminals who evade the law. Gun control laws tend to make it more difficult for those who abide by laws to obtain firearms (duh), which helps criminals (duh) and creates more victims (duh). The fact that California was poised to pass and then did pass new gun restrictions probably encouraged the criminals to go forth and rob. They knew that their victims were less likely to be armed, and they committed their crimes in a state that coddles violent criminals and hates private firearm ownership.
It could be even worse: Gov. Brown vetoed a bill that would have made Oakland’s gun control laws even more restrictive on the law-abiding.
Lawmakers are urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and the White House to put the brakes on rulemaking that would drastically expand the agency’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
The redefinition of “waters of the United States” would include all ponds, lakes, wetlands and natural or manmade streams that have any effect on downstream navigable waters — whether on public lands or private property.
“Based on EPA’s draft scientific report, ‘Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters,’ and the agency’s commitment to rely on this report during the rulemaking process, we are concerned that EPA’s final rule may in effect expand federal jurisdiction over all wet areas of a state. This is despite Congress’s limiting of the EPA’s and the Army Corps of Engineers’ authority under the CWA, as the Supreme Court has consistently recognized,” said a letter led by Senate Western Caucus Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Congressional Western Caucus co-chairs Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
In a fast-tracking move, the EPA sent its draft rulemaking proposal to the White House for approval before the scientific study on which the changes are based was peer reviewed.
“If EPA believes that the law should be changed based on new scientific research, we would welcome you sending any proposals to Congress for our consideration. Issuing reports and using them to potentially change a law duly passed by Congress would invite legitimate legal challenges and further erode the public’s confidence in our Constitutional system of checks and balances,” the lawmakers warned.
The senators reminded McCarthy that recently during consideration of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a bipartisan group voted 52 to 44 to reject the EPA’s Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Guidance “which would have also resulted in effectively unlimited jurisdiction over intrastate water bodies.”
“Strong opposition to EPA’s approach is based on the devastating economic impacts that a federal takeover of state waters would have,” they wrote. “Additional regulatory costs associated with changes in jurisdiction and increases in permits will erect bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, negatively impacting farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production, to name a few. In addition, expanding federal control over intrastate waters will substantially interfere with the ability of individual landowners to use their property.”
“We urge you to change course and to commit to operating under the limits established by Congress, even if those limits are impermissibly overlooked in the so-called Connectivity Report.”
Today, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) wrote the Office of Management and Budget to ask that they put the brakes on the rule.
“The consequences of a rushed ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking are too important to ignore. The property rights of millions of Americans are at stake, as many fear their ability to make productive use of their land will become subject to EPA’s regulatory whims. EPA has already sent a dangerous signal by committing to the Connectivity Report well before the Report’s merits have been decided. Further, given that the text draft rule would provide EPA with authority over ponds, tributaries, and ditches never before subject to federal regulation, the significance of the Report and its relationship to the rule make EPA’s premature commitment to the Report even more suspect,” they wrote.
To comply with the EPA’s approach, the lawmakers added, would “make a mockery of OMB’s responsibility.”
“We request that OMB and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs immediately return the draft rule to EPA so that the Connectivity Report can be properly and fully evaluated and the rulemaking may eventually proceed in a credible manner,” they wrote.
Vitter said moving forward with the rule means “the property rights of millions of Americans would be at stake.”
“In an instant, EPA’s expanded jurisdiction would become a federal takeover of all waters in the U.S. That includes your and your neighbor’s pond in the backyard,” he said. “It is troubling to see EPA avoiding the scientific review process on their Connectivity report while redefining this major issue, especially after all the promises we’ve heard from the Agency about increasing transparency and aspiring to use the best available science.”
Right on cue. Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest women in America, but as President Obama finds himself drowning in his own disasters and dishonesty, Winfrey betrays America to a foreign media source.
“There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs,” Winfrey tells the BBC, “and occurs because in some cases, and maybe even many cases, because he’s African-American. There’s no question about that, and it’s the kind of thing that nobody ever says, but everybody’s thinking it.”
In the same interview, Winfrey also declared her desire for “old racists” to die.
“There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die,” she said.
I long for an America that stops making people who hate it fabulously wealthy.
President Obama isn’t the only embarrassed* public figure offering apologies this week, according to the Telegraph.
In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo. They triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shia militia fighting for President Bashar al-Assad.
But the head was recognised from the video as originally belonging to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS though it does not share its al-Qaeda ideology.
After inquiries, an ISIS spokesman admitted he was Mohammed Fares, an Ahrar commander reported missing some days ago.
In explaining the error Mr al-Qahtani made reference to a story in which Mohammed said Allah would forgive a man who killed a believer in error.
Killing the wrong Mohammed is so common that it goes all the way back to the original Mohammed? Who knew?
*Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has also spent the week apologizing, but he doesn’t appear to be embarrassed over his behavior.
On Thursday, President Obama finally apologized for the debacle that is Obamacare. He also offered a “fix” that may be illegal and quickly drew criticism from the insurance industry, rejection from several states, and fear from vulnerable Democrats. Now even Obama loyalist Nancy Pelosi has reversed herself and favors a legislative, rather than administrative, fix.
Outside the real action on the law, are the people who helped Obama sell it. For five years, the likes of Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Josh Marshall, the whiz kids of wonkery, defended and promoted Obama and his law as just the best things ever. They said things like this.
Laying down the marker—Obamacare implementation’s going to be great and people will love it: http://t.co/itm6J3BixD
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 17, 2013
They attacked and critiqued conservative pundits who critiqued Obamacare. They defended Obamacare against any and all criticisms and challenges for years.
They even admitted to lying in order to get Obamacare or something like it passed.
Not one single progressive pundit, wonk or apologist ever predicted that Obamacare would be a disaster. No one in the old guard, no one in the new guard. Not Paul Krugman. Not Think Progress. No one.
Here’s the thing. Obamacare was a predictable disaster. Many of us in the center and on the right predicted it would be a disaster. Repeatedly. We also called out Obama’s lies, only for the progs to smear us for years.
We have been vindicated. The Tea Party that rose up to stop Obamacare, only to be smeared as racists, has also been vindicated. The progs have been proven wrong. Every Obamacare critic has been proved right. Every Obama apologist has much to answer for.
Which prog pundit will be the first to come out and admit that they they got it wrong for five years? Which will admit that they assisted Obama’s lies and dishonestly foisted a terrible law on the nation? Anyone?
D.C.’s delegate to Congress introduced a bill to give back pay to the retail, food and custodial workers affected by the government shutdown.
The Low-Wage Federal Contractor Back Pay Act of 2013 would amend the continuing resolution and apply to all three branches of the federal government.
“The idea for the bill was brought to my attention by these federally contracted service workers, some of whom work here on the Capitol grounds providing Members of Congress and congressional staff with daily services,” Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said in introducing the bill.
“Many federally contracted workers in federal agencies earn little more than the minimum wage with few, if any benefits, and while others are unionized with little better wages, all are the lowest paid workers in the federal government and should not be punished because Congress failed to do its job and keep the government functioning for 16 days. Congress did the right thing when it gave back pay to federal employees, who work in the same buildings as these low-wage service workers,” Norton said. “However, both groups of workers were victims who deserve to be made whole.”
Norton said she recognizes “that contract workers are employees of contractors, but the distinction between federal workers and at least the lowest-paid service workers who serve the federal government and its employees and keep, for example, their premises clean, fails when it comes to a deliberate government shutdown.”
“Unlike many other contractors, those who employ low-wage service workers have little latitude to help make up for lost wages,” she said. “Low-wage federally contracted service workers could least afford the loss of pay during the shutdown, and should not now have to go to work every day with everyone else in their federal buildings having received back pay except for them.”
“The nation’s capital is the high-profile home of the federal government’s collusion with those that pay low wages through leases and contracts with federal agencies. At least this legislation would provide some parity to these low-wage federal contractor workers.”
Original cosponsors are Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
DNC Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is doubling down on Thursday’s claim that Obamacare will be a Democrat advantage in 2014. Moments ago, she tweeted this.
The GOP made 2012 about #Obamacare. Dems won. They tried again in VA in 2013. Dems won. They want to do it again in 2014? Bring it on.
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) November 15, 2013
Please, no one tell her that in Virginia, Cuccinelli closed up a double digit gap by hammering Obamacare in the final two weeks of the race. And please, no one remind her that Obama’s 2012 victory can be chalked up to him repeatedly lying about what Obamacare would do (among other lies), after he repeatedly lied about it to get it passed. For Heaven’s sake, don’tell her that now 55% of Americans want Obamacare repealed.
Let’s let her find all that out in November 2014.
Conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said President Obama is violating the Constitution by ordering that the healthcare law minimum coverage mandates not be enforced for a year to allow people to temporarily keep their plans.
Senior administration officials yesterday compared the “administrative fix” for millions of plan cancellation notices to the Department of Homeland Security’s deferred action against young illegal immigrants.
“In the President’s remarks this afternoon he once again stepped outside the bounds of his Constitutional authority, this time regarding the failures of his prized legislative accomplishment -ObamaCare,” King said on Thursday evening.
“It is unconstitutional for the President to attempt to rule by executive edict. The President has lied numerous times to the American people by promising them if they like their healthcare plan, they can keep it. He continues to pass the blame and execute modifications and delays that change nothing, and this ‘administrative fix’ is once again not the answer,” King continued.
“ObamaCare cannot be fixed – it is fundamentally flawed. The American people should not have to take the brunt of the President’s political posturing. He must abide by the Constitution and come to Congress, and this time I suggest he should come on bended knee.”
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also zeroed in on the selective enforcement.
“By trying to ignore a problem with existing law instead of addressing it, the president’s proposal is sure to create confusion and prolong uncertainty for millions of Americans,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said. “Americans need a real, legislative solution, not an administrative ploy to create ambiguity by selectively enforcing its own regulations.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said “a decree brought down on high from President Obama is not how the legislative process works.”
“It is unconstitutional for the president to repeatedly bypass Congress and unilaterally change the law to fit his daily political objectives,” she added.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said Obama “should send his proposal to Congress to consider and give Americans the certainty of law over rhetoric.”
The Obama administration promised late last night to veto the bill coming up for a vote in the House today that would let people keep their insurance plans.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013 comes to the floor with 164 co-sponsors, including a couple of Blue Dog Democrats. It could either gain traction with disaffected Dems in the Senate or be merged with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) similar bill in negotiations.
The White House wants neither, convinced that everyone’s just trying to undermine their signature legislative effort.
“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3350 because it threatens the health care security of hard working, middle class families. The Nation is experiencing the slowest growth in health spending in the last 50 years. Since 2008, growth in private health insurance spending stayed between three and four percent – significantly lower than earlier this decade when growth reached almost 12 percent. With health care costs rising at such low rates, this bill would be a major step back,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a veto threat issued last night.
“H.R. 3350 rolls back the progress made by allowing insurers to continue to sell new plans that deploy practices such as not offering coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men, and continuing yearly caps on the amount of care that enrollees receive. The Administration supports policies that allow people to keep the health plans that they have. But, policies that reverse the progress made to extend quality, affordable coverage to millions of uninsured, hardworking, middle class families are not the solution. Rather than refighting old political battles to sabotage the health care law, the Congress should work with the Administration to improve the law and move forward,” the notice continued.
“If the President were presented with H.R. 3350, he would veto it.”
The Upton bill, according to the Congressional Research Service, “permits a health insurance issuer that has in effect health insurance coverage in the individual market as of January 1, 2013, to continue offering such coverage for sale during 2014 outside of a health care exchange established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Treats such coverage as a grandfathered health plan for purposes of an individual meeting the requirement to maintain minimum essential health coverage.”
David Axelrod, Morning Joe, telling the truth.
“I think that there is an issue with what people told the president, and I think that there is an instinct to tell the president what he wants to hear,” the president’s former senior adviser said.
One of the panel says to Axelrod, “You didn’t do that.”
“Right, and now I’m out of [Obama's] government,” Axelrod tellingly shoots back. “No. No, I didn’t do that. But in part I didn’t do that because I have a long history with him. I started with him when he was just back from law school in 1992. So we had a long relationship there. I think that — And I’m not talking about the close-in aides, but I’m talking about the people who were entrusted with the technical aspects of this particular piece.”