John Boehner

House finally sues over Obamacare

Boehner sues Obama

Late last week, the House of Representatives filed suit against Obamacare, naming Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and their departments as defendants. The House passed H. Res. 676 in July, giving Spoeker Boehner the authority to begin the litigation process. Noticeably absent from the suit is President Obama, who was not named as a defendant.

POLITICO’s account of the suit lays out the claims made by the House:

The new lawsuit claims that two specific aspects of implementation of the Obamacare law violated the terms of the legislation.

First, the suit complains about repeated delays of the employer mandate, which was supposed to kick in in January of this year. The administration delayed the requirement until next year for some employers and until 2016 for others.

Second, the litigation challenges payments to insurance companies under a cost-sharing provision that the suit argues was never authorized by law. Such “offset” payments amounted to $3 billion in 2014 and could total $175 billion over 10 years, the House claims.

“The administration is instead unlawfully and unconstitutionally using funds from a separate Treasury Department account — authorized for other purposes — to pay insurance companies and thereby unilaterally altering the structure of the health care law,” Boehner’s office said.

What? The new Republican majority wants to keep the Democrat-appointed CBO Director

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf

Since I’ve accused the Congressional Budget Office of “witch doctor economics and gypsy forecasting,” it’s obvious I’m not a big fan of the organization’s approach to fiscal analysis.

I’ve even argued that Republicans shouldn’t cite CBO when the bureaucrats reach correct conclusions on policy (at least when such findings are based on bad Keynesian methodology).

So nobody should be surprised that I think the incoming Republican majority should install new leadership at CBO (and the Joint Committee on Taxation as well).

So why, then, are some advocates of smaller government – such as Greg Mankiw,Keith HennesseyAlan Viard, and Michael Strain – arguing that Republicans should keep the current Director, Doug Elmendorf, who was appointed by the Democrats back in 2009?

House Republican Leadership may have “twisted arms” to defeat conservative Mulvaney for Republican Study Committee Chair

House Republican Leadership

A top conservative Republican in the House alleges House Republican Leadership “twisted arms” to edge out conservative favorite Mick Mulvaney for the Chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee. Two-term Texas Congressman Bill Flores will lead the RSC, which serves as the conservative conscience of the House Republican Caucus.

As he left the closed-door meeting where Flores was elected, Idaho Republican Raul Labrador signaled “someone” in House Republican Leadership mounted a whipping operation for Flores, who beat Mulvaney 84 votes to 57 votes.

From The Hill’s account:

Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said GOP leaders mounted a whipping operation that included phone calls to help Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) upset Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), a Tea Party favorite, on the second ballot in the race for RSC chairman.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, another Texas Republican, was eliminated on the first ballot.

Asked what put Flores over the top, Labrador told reporters as he exited the closed-door elections: “It’s always leadership. When leadership gets involved in elections. [They] twisted arms.”

Labrador conceded he wasn’t exactly sure whether it was Boehner or someone else carrying water for Flores. “I don’t know who was leading it,” Labrador said.

Why the new Republican Congress has a mandate — in one chart

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On January 23, 2009, in a meeting with Congressional leaders about his stimulus proposal, newly-inaugurated President Obama responded to Republican critiques of his plan with, “I won.” In another meeting on February 25, 2010, this time about the soon-to-be-passed healthcare law, Obama responded to a question from John McCain about kickbacks in the bill with, “The election’s over.” And in a November 5, 2014 press conference after the recent midterm elections, President Obama still maintained the same stubborn arrogance about his political position by arguing that the 2/3 of the country who didn’t vote still support him. The facts, however, paint an entirely different picture.

On Election Day 2014 as each state’s results rolled in, and more Senate seats and even deep blue state governorships fell to the GOP, it was clear a wave election was taking place. Usually when a wave happens, the new majority party has mandate to pursue their policy. The Republican Revolution of 1994 caused President Clinton to retreat and compromise with the new majority on many planks of their Contract with America.

Conservatives must push the new Republican-controlled Congress to Audit the Fed

Audit the Fed

Will an “Audit the Fed” bill pass the Senate next year when Republicans are in the majority?

in 2010 and 2012, this legislation, which would open the books of the U.S. private central bank, passed the House of Representatives handily, but died in the Senate.

Americans deserve to know what the Federal Reserve is doing to the money supply, as it directly affects how much each dollar in our pockets are worth. Perhaps last week’s actions by the Fed will result in Americans feeling a small pinch of what is to come as a result of repeated quantitative easing (QE), a smart-sounding but barely understandable term.

The Fed decided to discontinue its program to buy $85 billion in U.S. Treasury and mortgage bonds per month from other big banks in order to increase the U.S. money supply. This is based on the theory that buying bonds will spur economic growth, increase lending, and encourage riskier investments. But where does the Federal Reserve get the money to buy these bonds? They print the money (digitally).

While it is news that the Fed is going to stop purchasing bonds for now, as with QEs in the past, the real story is in the unbelievably huge amount of holdings the Fed have built up. $85 billion here, $85 billion there, and soon we’re talking about real money. Nearly $4.5 TRILLION, in fact.

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

Republicans are about to cave on the crony Ex-Im Bank, surrendering more ground to the Obama White House

After months of a very public debate over the future of the Export-Import Bank, House Republicans are poised to temporarily extend the life of the controversial New Deal-era agency to avoid any drama before the mid-term election.

The Ex-Im Bank has, rightly, been criticized by conservatives both inside and outside of Congress because it has become symbolic of cronyism, the marriage of big government and big business. The Bank has doled out billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed loans to some United States’ biggest corporations, including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric.

Despite the efforts of some members willing to take on cronyism, House Republicans are poised to reauthorize Ex-Im, albeit temporarily, instead of risking a big fight before the chamber, because, apparently, there’s never a good moment to get into a debate over bad policy:

Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday signaled the House will extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter, saying that one of the institution’s biggest critics is on board.

The Ohio Republican said he is working with Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Financial Services chairman, who “thinks a temporary extension of the Export-Import Bank is in order.”

Republicans who whine about unconstitutional power grabs are going to let Obama go to war without congressional authorization

Back in July, before members adjourned for its summer recess, the House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed resolution authorizing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama over his abuses of executive power.

The lawsuit is largely viewed as an alternative to impeachment and could be used to inform Americans on what the administration is going to get around Congress as well as its failure to enforce laws as they’re written. In an op-ed at CNN, Boehner defended the coming lawsuit amid criticism from White House and Democrats and expressed disappointment at President Obama’s “flippant dismissal of the Constitution.”

Unfortunately, it looks like Republican leaders aren’t going to take a similar stand for the Constitution, which puts the question of war solely in the hands of Congress. The Daily Beast reports that the legislative branch may cede its power to the White House by allowing President Obama to use military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without congressional authorization:

How convenient: House Democrat forgets that she actually wanted impeach George W. Bush while railing against House Republicans

House Democrats are really playing up the lawsuit that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) plans to file against President Barack Obama. Before and immediately after Wednesday’s vote to authorize the lawsuit, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted out nearly two-dozen fundraising emails to its list, most of which play up the phony prospect of impeachment.

Let’s not kid ourselves here, the impeachment talk is being driven by Democrats. Sure, they’ll point to a handful of mostly backbench Republican lawmakers who’ve said they’re either open to impeachment or would vote for it. But there aren’t many on the GOP’s side of the aisle who are seriously considering such a step.

Don’t tell that to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, though. She ran to first reporters she could find to tell them how the vote on the lawsuit “is about the road to impeachment.” Boehner, of course, has already said House Republicans have no plans to impeach President Obama. It’s the political tit-for-tat that drives pretty much everybody crazy.

With all of that said, however, most Democrats are conveniently forgetting that, unlike this current situation, there was actually a push in the House in 2007 to impeach then-President George W. Bush.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), for example, claimed last night that, even though President Bush took the United States into a war based on false premises, Democrats never sought to impeach him.

Today in Liberty: House authorizes lawsuit against Barack Obama, Rand Paul slams MSNBC host’s distortion of his record

“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” — Milton Friedman

— Happy birthday, Milton Friedman: You may have noticed that we’ve featured quotes from Milton Friedman, the famous free market economist and Nobel Prize laureate. He was born on this day in 1912. Words cannot express how much of an impact Friedman had on public policy. He advanced free market capitalism in various areas, especially in school choice. He played a key role in ending the military draft and made some of the compelling arguments against the war on drugs. Celebrate Milton Friedman’s legacy by checking out Capitalism and Freedom and Freedom to Choose: A Personal Statement.


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