Friday, January 29, 2010

Camp Statement on President Obama's Jobs Plan Outlined at Meeting with House Republicans

Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) today issued the following statement reacting to the President’s jobs plan as outlined in his remarks to House Republicans:

“The waste and focus on government spending in the Democrats' $1 trillion stimulus did nothing to prevent a record 12 million Americans from receiving unemployment checks instead of paychecks as the U.S. unemployment rate soared to 10 percent and to nearly 15 percent in Michigan, my home state.

“Given the reality millions of Americans have long been facing, I welcome the President's decision to now focus on the economy. However, a sprinkling here and there of a few poll-tested proposals won’t provide enough help or get small businesses hiring again – especially if the President also continues his job-killing push for a $1 trillion government takeover of health care and a new national energy tax called cap-and-trade.

“If this is a real starting point for a new debate, then hopefully the President will start considering Republican ideas to get America working. But if the President again decides on a take-it-or-leave-it approach, calls for higher taxes elsewhere on employers or lards it up with pork-barrel spending, the jobs Americans desperately need won’t be created. “
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White House Backs Down on Terrorist Trials in New York

Prison at Guantanamo Bay is Proper Location

Move America Forward, the nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization, applauds the White House for backing down on holding the trial of 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City.

The White House has instructed Eric Holder’s Justice Department to start looking for another place to hold the terror trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

“We have been rallying Americans in opposition to holding civilian trials in New York City, where the people are still traumatized by the horrific acts of war against our country on 9/11. It was outrageous the Obama Administration tried to force this trial down the throats of the people of New York.” said Danny Gonzalez, Director of Communications for the organization.

“Guantanamo Bay was designed for just this purpose – to hold and try terrorists who are bent on destroying our country and our very way of life. Now that Obama has seen the light in not holding the trial in New York City, now he must wake up to the fact that these terrorists should be tried in military tribunals , not in civilian criminal courts with the same rights as American citizens.

The Administration has now even admitted that there are at least 50 prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay that they can neither be released nor tried in a civilian court because they are just too dangerous. This is precisely the reason the Guantanamo Bay prison was established in the first place.

“When Nazi saboteurs were caught in the United States during World War II, they were correctly tried, convicted and executed through the military court system. That is the appropriate way to deal with terrorists, and American security will be better served when President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder begin to understand that we are fighting a global war against Islamic terrorism,” Gonzales concluded.

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The State of The Obama Presidency

/EIN News/ -- A year ago the nation's economic system was far more desperate than it is today. But the people were more hopeful. Turn that thought around. Today the economic situation is vastly improved, but the people are more despairing.

What happened to hope and trust? Can it be recovered?

Mixed signals tonight from the House and Senate members gathered to hear the President. Inside the House chamber, not evident to the TV audience, clucks and catcalls bubble up from the Republican side of the aisle with some frequency during the speech. Not "you lie," but audible and churlish. These folks don't appear to be buying the bi-partisanship the President is trying to sell.

More evidence. Republicans largely sit on their hands and cans during most of the President's applause lines. Even when he celebrates tax cuts. Even when he urges an increase in taxes on big banks to pay for the bailouts---which you'd think would be popular given the public's pitchfork level anger at the big banks. Even when the President proposes to eliminate capital gains taxes on small business---a long cherished GOP goal.

But..the Republicans are on their feet when the President exhorts Congress not to give up on health reform. Since congressional Republicans so far have been locked in a death grip to derail health reform, how do you explain that? A promising omen?

Other thoughts:

The President's words were direct and powerful, his delivery masterful. But you don't talk a stuck truck out of the muck and mire, and a good speech is not likely to move his agenda. It's frustrating and embarrassing that Democrats haven't been able to enact the big stuff with their big Senate and House majorities. What will change this year? More direct presidential involvement in negotiations? Harry Reid stepping down as Senate leader to focus on his reelection campaign and yielding the post to Dick Durbin, a much tougher cookie?

In 2009 the President and the Democrats managed to get stem cell research back on track, strike a blow for equal pay for women, place a strong new advocate on the Supreme Court, kick start some major initiatives in education and green energy, restore America's leadership role in the world, vastly improve openness and transparency of government operations and government records, all while staving off a second great economic depression.

Not a bad year's work, but hardly any of it has generated thank you notes from the public. Instead, public trust and confidence continued to ooze from what should have been a winning team. And this team wasn't playing the Yankees. The Republican answer to most everything was "no." When it wasn't "no" the Republican alternative was an evil twin to the Bush policies of tax cuts and rampant deregulation that resulted in huge deficits and economic collapse.

As the President correctly pointed out, he inherited a $10 trillion deficit before he walked through the door of the White House, the legacy of two wars, two tax cuts, a big new Medicare drug program and an economic meltdown.

It shouldn't have been all that hard for the Democrats to get things done and to get some serious credit for it. But last year's strategies didn't connect with the public. Beyond making speeches, what does the President do now? Fire a few of his political coaches and bring in new management? Will we see a new strategy from the old team----or a whole new team?

The media's been focusing on those "is the nation on the right track" numbers which are hovering around the mid 30% range. Not great, to be sure. But during Bush's second term those numbers bounced between the teens and the twenties. In October 2008, only 7% thought the country was on the right track.

It's way too early for anyone to be relegating this President and this Congress to the political scrapheap. What we are seeing is deep disappointment. Many saw a modern political savior when they voted for Obama. That's a view he didn't do a lot to discourage. Tonight, having failed to deliver instant salvation, the President essentially abdicated the savior role and admitted that to accomplish great goals it takes a village: a lot of other public officials, a lot of engaged citizens and a media that doesn't spend most of its time diddling with the trivial.

While the halo may be gone, the President tonight reminded those who elected him that he remains Obama the Good Guy. Obama the Articulate. Obama the Embodiment of America's Highest Shared Values And Instincts. He certainly didn't look, sound or feel like a danger to the republic.

Most Americans still like Barack Obama. The question for 2010 is whether, despite the setbacks of 2009, he has it in him to still be the nation's positive change agent.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President's Focus on Putting Americans Back to Work Missing Key Element, Says FAIR

/PRNewswire/ -- In last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out his plans for putting millions of unemployed Americans back to work. With some 25 million Americans either out of work or involuntarily working part-time, President Obama made creating new jobs his most important domestic priority in 2010.

However, while the president talked at length about his plans to create new jobs, he pointedly omitted mention of some 8 million existing U.S. jobs that are currently unavailable to American workers. Those jobs are held by illegal aliens. Moreover, during his first year in office, President Obama has dramatically scaled back efforts to enforce laws against illegal aliens working in the U.S. by curtailing immigration enforcement in the workplace.

"As President Obama said in his address to the nation, millions of American families are hurting and cannot wait for relief," noted Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "Under the best case scenario, the programs the president proposed would take months to result in the creation of new jobs and even then, the number of jobs would fall far short of those needed by out of work Americans. The jobs currently held by illegal aliens already exist. These jobs could be immediately transferred to American workers if the administration were to vigorously enforce laws against employers who hire illegal aliens and remove those workers from the country. Before the administration abandoned worksite enforcement, we saw countless examples of American workers eager to fill jobs vacated by illegal aliens."

Enforcing laws against illegal aliens in the workplace will not entirely solve the unemployment crisis in America, but freeing up millions of jobs would help many Americans find jobs and increase wages, contends FAIR. If even half the jobs now held by illegal aliens were filled by American workers, it would exceed the number of jobs created or saved by the $787 billion American Relief and Recovery Act, at a fraction of the cost.

"Over the next few months, President Obama and the congressional leadership will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the American people what their priorities really are. Will they take on the special interests that place illegal aliens ahead of all other concerns, or will they act decisively to make millions of jobs available to the 'men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from?'" Stein asked.

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GA Rep Party: President Obama’s State of the Union: Too Little, Too Late

Georgia Republican Chairman Sue Everhart released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s First State of the Union Address:

“After his agenda took a stunning defeat in Massachusetts, President Barack Obama claims he finally gets the message and has opted to join the American people in their anger. What he fails to understand is that the frustration stems directly from the leftward agenda he has tried to push through Congress despite the overwhelming protests of voters. They’re furious because the Obama Administration promised that his so-called $787 billion economic stimulus experiment would keep employment under eight percent, but today the national unemployment rate is ten percent and Georgia has lost over 189,000 jobs since Obama took office. They’re irate because rather than focusing on getting America back to work, his Administration has consistently tried to use the economic crisis as a means to pass his expensive liberal agenda of cap-and-trade, government-run health care, and unsustainable budgets.

“It is clear that the President and his Democratic allies are playing politics, hoping that voters will have forgotten the billions of dollars that have been spent over the past year without any form of accountability. But personality is not enough to convince voters when the policies coming from this White House are so obviously flawed. But we have already seen that President Obama has no coattails in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts; three states that the President won in the fall of 2008. If Democrats like Sanford Bishop continue to embrace his big-government agenda then they will soon find themselves into a forced retirement.”
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Republican Ways & Means: Camp Reaction to President’s State of the Union

Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement in reaction to the President’s State of the Union:

“Americans aren’t looking for another good speech; they are looking for a good job. Unfortunately, tonight we got another speech instead of a concrete plan that will create jobs. When you add the tax increases that are expected to be in the President’s budget on Monday to pay for the poll-tested proposals we heard tonight, it is tough to see how small businesses will actually get back on their feet and be in a position to start hiring again anytime soon.

“I’m equally concerned that the President is not listening to the concerns the American people have about his health care bill and the way he went about writing it with Democrats in Congress. There were far too many backroom deals that favored special interest group after special interest group, producing a bill that would cause most Americans to see their health care premiums go up and seniors' Medicare benefits slashed. I hope the President will step back, start over, and work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to find a bipartisan path forward to actually lower health care costs and the price of coverage.

“As for trade, actions speak louder than words. Over the past year, this Administration and Democrats in Congress have done little to promote U.S. exports even though we all agree that exporting more American made goods and services will create jobs here at home. The President's inaction has put American companies and workers at a crippling disadvantage internationally as other countries race ahead to take these markets from us. I welcome the President's new sentiment and hope he follows through -- I am committed to helping open new markets to create good-paying U.S. jobs."

Ways and Means Republican Press Office
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Isakson Statement on State of the Union

‘There Is One Major Issue on People’s Minds: Jobs and the Economy. It’s Essential that the President Start to Handle It in a Meaningful Way’

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., tonight issued the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“I know from traveling Georgia there is one major issue on people’s minds: jobs and the economy. It’s essential that the President start to handle it in a meaningful way. It’s obvious the stimulus didn’t help with the unemployment situation. We have a very uncertain marketplace right now. We need to bring clarity and opportunity for the private sector to make those investments that are necessary to bring back our economy.

“I’m glad the president has finally realized that spending is a problem. The only problem with freezing it at current levels is it includes all the money that’s been spent for the stimulus. It includes all of the budget increases from last year, in some cases 20 percent increases in one year. It’s also inconsistent to come to us tonight and ask us to cap spending while on the Senate floor he’s asking us to raise the debt by almost $2 trillion.

“The American people expect us to spend their money like they spend their money. Sitting around the kitchen table, establishing priorities, not going into debt, spending money only where it should be spent. That’s what the federal government needs to be doing. Caps are fine. Limitations are fine. But they need to be meaningful and they need to be consistent with debt borrowing, and they’re not right now.

“On national security, while I was pleased with the president’s decision to send 37,000 troops to Afghanistan, I’ve been deeply disappointed that the president has decided to grant constitutional rights to foreign enemy combatants. To send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City where he was the mastermind of the slaughter of almost 3,000 Americans and hold a trial in that city in my opinion is just plain wrong. We were right to establish the facility at Guantanamo Bay. We were right to establish military tribunals. It is wrong to grant American constitutional rights to a terrorist from another country.

“On health care, the American people think we need to get back to the basics and start over. I think we ought to do a step-by-step approach. For example, we know by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and forming risk pools across state lines that we can open accessibility to affordable health care for almost a third of the uninsured. We know that a third of the uninsured are really eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP but they’re not enrolled. The government ought to have an enrolment system so when they show up at health care facilities the coverage is there. There are other things we need to do including tort reform. The tremendous amount of money that goes out in runaway verdicts or from negotiated settlements out fear of going to trial is just not right. I would rather us start with a step-by-step approach that deals with the things we know we can do rather than a comprehensive and pervasive overhaul of a system that ends up destroying what 86 percent of Americans have all for the 14 percent who don’t.”
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Westmoreland: Union in a state of anger

With the Union in a state of anger, President Obama’s efforts to focus on jobs and fiscal responsibility in tonight’s address come too little, too late, said U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.

“Tonight, the president talked a good game about fiscal responsibility, creating jobs for Americans and building a better future together,” Westmoreland said. “I know he realizes that Americans are hurting and are worried about their future. With the popular tide turning away from the Democrats toward the Republicans, the president has a great opportunity – his fellow liberal Democrats won’t see it as an ‘opportunity’ I’m afraid – to finally fulfill his campaign promise to work across the aisle to achieve practical solutions. We have been offering cost-effective solutions on health care, jobs and energy, but we’ve been shut out because the Democrats own a super majority held hostage by the left.

“I admit, though, that I find the president’s message contradictory. He’s talking about fiscal responsibility and more jobs, yet his proposals all call for bigger government, more regulation and higher taxes. It’s a ‘we’re going to spend our way out of debt’ mentality.

“In election after election, even in deep blue states, Americans have sent the message that Washington isn’t pursuing the right priorities,” Westmoreland said. “The focus in Washington should be jobs, jobs, jobs. Instead, we’ve spent a year on job-killing health care legislation, job-killing energy legislation, job-killing bank regulation that will choke off small business lending, and spending borrowed money on a stimulus that didn’t stimulate.

“It’d be best for the nation if tonight marked a turning point – a point where we put aside the Liberal Legislative Wish Book that consumed 2009 and where the president moves back toward the center to get some of this important work done. I don’t expect him to agree with Republicans on every issue; he wasn’t elected to institute my agenda. But he was elected to pursue common ground, and 2010 would be a good time to start.”
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Americans More Favorable of President's Plans for Health Care, Economy and Foreign Policy after Viewing State of the Union Address

/PRNewswire/ -- Results of a national study among 1,050 self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents revealed that favorability for the President's plans for health care, the economy, and foreign policy increased among all political parties after viewing President Obama's State of the Union Address.

HCD Research conducted the study using its website earlier last evening to obtain Americans' "level of favorability" regarding the president's plans for critical issues including the U.S. economy, health care and foreign policy. To view detailed results go to

After the speech, President Obama's likeability ratings increased among all parties, with Democrats giving him an average likeability score of 6.2; Republicans giving him an average likeability score of 4.0; and Independents giving him an average likeability score of 5.1. In addition, the percentage of respondents who indicated that they would vote for Barack Obama if he ran for a second term increased among all parties.

Among the findings:

Are you in favor of President Barack Obama's plans for the future on
the following issues?

BEFORE ADDRESS Democrats Republicans Independents
Yes No Yes No Yes No
Health Care 75% 25% 10% 90% 41% 59%
U.S. Economy 80% 20% 13% 87% 45% 55%
Foreign Policy 75% 25% 24% 76% 47% 53%

AFTER ADDRESS Democrats Republicans Independents
Yes No Yes No Yes No
Health Care 83% 17% 18% 82% 47% 53%
U.S. Economy 90% 10% 27% 73% 58% 42%
Foreign Policy 87% 13% 29% 71% 57% 43%

Would you vote for Barack Obama if he ran for a second term as President?

Democrats Republicans Independents
Before After Before After Before After
Yes 77% 86% 9% 14% 43% 52%
No 23% 14% 91% 86% 57% 48%

Please rate President Barack Obama on the following attributes where 1
represents "Not at all strong in this attribute" and 7 represents
"Extremely strong in this attribute."

LIKEABILITY Mean Before Mean After
Democrats 5.9 6.2
Republicans 3.9 4.0
Independents 5.0 5.1


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poll: Americans - and Millennials - Lack Confidence in Government and Wall Street on Economy

/PRNewswire/ -- A new national poll finds a crisis of confidence on economic issues among Americans -- and younger Americans (those 18-29) -- alike.

Among the key findings, Americans and Millennials:

-- Are not confident in the government's ability to handle the economic
crisis. (59% of Americans; 55% of Millennials)
-- Want a free market approach and oppose greater government regulation
of business. (55% of Americans; 53% of Millennials)
-- Believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. (67% of
Americans; 60% of Millennials)
-- Want the same set of moral standards in business life as in personal
life. (75% of Americans; 66% of Millennials)
-- See business decisions based on greed as morally wrong. (74% of
Americans; 77% of Millennials)
-- Think their careers will be negatively impacted for the long-term by
the current economic situation (55% of Americans under 65 years old;
55% of Millennials).

"A year into the Obama administration, we find that Americans -- and younger Americans -- are having a crisis of confidence," says Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, the group that commissioned the poll. "People are increasingly pessimistic about the government's ability to handle the economic crisis and a majority believes that increased government regulation will hurt the economy."

Mr. Anderson adds, "At the same time, most Americans are unhappy with the ethical environment in business. They want less greed, and the same core values that govern an executive's personal life to also govern business decisions. In other words, Americans neither want sleight of hand on Wall Street or a heavy hand from Washington, and these attitudes are shared by America's young adults."

The poll was conducted by the Marist Institute for the Knights of Columbus as part of the Moral Compass Project, a series of surveys on the ethical attitudes of Americans.

Survey results are available online at

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Campaign for Liberty Urges McConnell to Support Hold on Bernanke

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Campaign for Liberty is calling on Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to oppose the confirmation of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The vote is expected this week.

“The American people are speaking up loud and clear: No Fed transparency should mean no Bernanke reconfirmation”

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Sen. McConnell would not answer a direct question on how he intends to vote on Bernanke’s confirmation.

A bi-partisan group of Senators led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has placed a hold on Bernanke’s reconfirmation unless the Senate agrees to a floor vote on S. 604, a bill to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve. Due to the hold, Bernanke’s confirmation will require a filibuster-proof 60 votes and faces mounting uncertainty as a growing list of lawmakers express concern about the lack of transparency at our nation’s central bank.

“The American people are speaking up loud and clear: No Fed transparency should mean no Bernanke reconfirmation,” said Campaign for Liberty President John Tate. “Mitch McConnell has an opportunity to show real leadership and stand with his fellow Senators. Campaign for Liberty hopes he will stand up to the Big Bank special interests and support this important stand for transparency.”

S. 604 currently enjoys 31 cosponsors. H.R. 1207, the House companion bill authored by Texas Congressman Ron Paul, has 317 Cosponsors. Audit language from the Paul bill has passed the House as part of Banking Reform legislation. A recent Gallup poll shows that 75 percent of the American people support an audit of the Fed.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sign up for Blogs for Life Gathering (it's tomorrow night!)

Tomorrow Family Research Council will join tens of thousands of Americans on the National Mall here in Washington D.C. to march in remembrance of the tens of millions of unborn children whose lives were ended as a result of Roe v. Wade. Before the March for Life begins, FRC will once again host Blogs for Life, the fifth annual gathering of pro-life bloggers and new media activists. The event will also be webcast live from 8:30-11:30 a.m. ET, so no matter where you live, you can join us online to hear from speakers like:

Congressman Todd Akin, (R-Mo.)
Congressman Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio)
Jill Stanek, Blogger and Speaker,
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D., President and CEO of Americans United for Life
Dr. David Prentice, Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
Joseph Farah, Founder and CEO, WorldNetDaily
Kristen Day, Executive Director, Democrats for Life
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List

If you are unable to travel to our nation's capital for the March for Life, you can join FRC on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by participating in the Virtual March for Life - a creation of our friends at Americans United for Life. To do this, visit the website join the Virtual March, and choose the avatars with the "FRC" T-shirts. You'll be marching with us (virtually) on the National Mall (we promise there won't be any blue creatures or flying things). It's a great way to speak up for life if you can't be in Washington on Friday.

Register now for the Blogs for Life Live Webcast from 8:30-11:30 a.m. ET

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council:
801 G Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001
P: 202/393-2100 or 800/225-4008
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Dems plan bill to limit impact of campaign finance decision

Democratic leaders will push legislation to limit the impact of Thursday's Supreme Court decision that lifted restrictions on corporate spending in politics.
Read more:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coweta County Tea Party Group (Georgia)

The Southern Crescent Tea Party Patriots congratulates the Tea Party Patriots of Coweta for making the decision to strike out on their own! Please contact Wendy Bloedt at for information if you are in Coweta County and would like to get involved!

In the future we will continue to encourage and assist other local groups with any questions they may have in regard to getting started. We will also try to communicate important news and events these other organization may have. If you live in Henry, Clayton or any other surrounding counties and would like help starting your own tea party, please contact us at We must all fight together to promote our mutual beliefs of fiscal responsibility, free markets and constitutionally limited government, regardless of what specific organization we afilliate with, and we look forward to working with the Coweta Tea Party Patriots.

(rec'd via email)

Westmoreland: In one year, Obama packs on the freshman trillion

On Jan. 20, 2009, President Obama took the oath of office as our 44th president amid unparalleled excitement about his promises for change. On Jan. 20, 2010, Americans are saying, “Keep the change.” What a difference a year makes, said U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland today.

“In a marriage, one year is the ‘paper anniversary’ where you exchange paper-based gifts,” Westmoreland said. “The paper the American people have received is more than $1 trillion in IOUs through deficit spending, and thousands and thousands of pages in big government legislation on energy, health care and the financial system.

“Americans, in fact, are saying loud and clear that they’re tired of these paper gifts after one year. That’s why Massachusetts voters cast their paper ballots yesterday to end the Democrats’ supermajority in the Senate.

“President Obama told us once that we’d remember his presidency as the moment ‘when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.’ Instead, our nation will remember this time as when our flood of debt became a tsunami of debt, when $800 billion in stimulus spending failed to stimulate, when Americans in search of work wondered how they were going to pay their families’ bills, and when even the most liberal state in the nation rejected a massive agenda of big government programs that our nation simply cannot afford.”

Senators Encourage State Attorneys General to Expand Investigation of Senate Health Care Bill

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today wrote to the state Attorneys’ General currently investigating the ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ encouraging them to expand the scope of their investigation to include the Florida provision protecting some seniors in that state from reductions in Medicare Advantage coverage.

Under the Senate health care bill, seniors in specific counties in the State of Florida currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage will have their current benefits “grandfathered” into the program. The approximately 10 million other Medicare Advantage enrollees across the United States will not be as fortunate and will be subjected to significant cuts in their benefits.

Medicare Advantage is the privately-managed option that one fifth of seniors have already chosen instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare. The program offers seniors a choice in how their Medicare benefits are delivered. Medicare Advantage more closely resembles the insurance plans that many of these beneficiaries had as workers. Some of these plans also cover benefits that fee-for-service Medicare does not; for example, dental and vision benefits, hearing aids, chronic care management, and reduced beneficiary cost sharing.

Medicare Advantage plans cover approximately 329,000 senior enrollees in Arizona, 176,000 in Georgia, and 111,000 in South Carolina.

The text of the letter is below.

Dear Attorney General,

We appreciate the time and hard work you have put into analyzing the unusual, if not unprecedented, provision in the Senate health care bill in regards to Nebraska’s future Medicaid expenses. Your legal analysis regarding the unequal treatment of the states by the federal government has helped us better understand and hopefully address some of the negative consequences of the legislation.

We would also like to request that you investigate, and if the facts again warrant, expand the scope of your investigation to include another serious issue -- the unusual and disparate treatment of individuals currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program.

Medicare Advantage, as you may know, is the privately-managed option that one fifth of seniors have already chosen instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare. The program offers seniors a choice in how their Medicare benefits are delivered. Medicare Advantage more closely resembles the insurance plans that many of these beneficiaries had as workers. Some of these plans also cover benefits that fee-for-service Medicare does not; for example, dental and vision benefits, hearing aids, chronic care management, and reduced beneficiary cost sharing. Medicare Advantage enrollment represents about 329,000 seniors in Arizona, 176,000 in Georgia, and 111,000 in South Carolina.

As currently written, Section 3201(g) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act appears to have been drafted in such a manner that it would effectively “grandfather” Medicare Advantage enrollees living in specific counties in the State of Florida into the program, while subjecting approximately 10 million Medicare Advantage enrollees across the US to significant cuts in their benefits.

Medicare Advantage enrollees in other states are likely to see their Medicare Advantage program benefits drastically slashed, if not virtually eliminated. In many cases, they may have no choice but to switch back to fee-for-service Medicare, which brings with it additional financial burdens such as unlimited out-of-pocket expenses and gaps in coverage that often require the purchase of supplemental insurance.

We have serious concerns about the effects of this provision on all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries who do not reside in these specific Florida counties. We would like your opinion on this situation and would be interested to learn of any legal issues that you believe could be posed to the unequal Medicare Advantage policy that will be enacted under this legislation.

We also want to be clear that our problem is not with Medicare Advantage enrollees in the State of Florida, it is with the disparate treatment that enrollees in other states will receive in relation to enrollees in Florida.

We thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to receiving your analysis of this specific provision and its impact on the residents of our states and seniors nationwide.
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Richard Viguerie: Massachusetts Senate Vote is a Victory for New Conservative Leaders

/PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of, regarding the results of the special election for U.S. Senator in Massachusetts:

"Scott Brown's election to the Senate is another example of the energy and passion that has been brought to the Republican Party in the past year by new conservative leaders.

"Brown's victory would not have happened without the leadership of Tea Party activists, talk show hosts, bloggers, and others using the Internet. These new conservative leaders are forcing backbone and spine into the old and tired Republican Party leaders, who in early 2009 were afraid to publicly disagree with or challenge President Obama and his agenda.

"This conservative Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts would not have been possible 25 years ago before the new and alternative media--talk radio, cable TV, Internet, bloggers, etc.

"The next battleground for these new conservative leaders against the establishment big-government politicians will be in Republican and Democratic primaries. These new conservative leaders are gearing up to challenge the political establishment regardless of party."

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conyers: Election Night Victory Party- Scott Brown for US Senate

Mellow Mushroom
1880 Highway 20 SE
Conyers, GA 30013
Please join us in celebrating this historic victory!

Most Americans Support Holding Wall Street and Corporate Wrongdoers More Accountable to Investors by Bolstering Investors' Legal Rights

Most Americans Support Holding Wall Street and Corporate Wrongdoers More Accountable to Investors by Bolstering Investors' Legal Rights, an Opinion Research Corporation Survey Finds

/PRNewswire/ -- Sixty-two percent of Americans believe Wall Street executives were not honest with the public during the recent financial meltdown and 59 percent of Americans do not believe corporate CEOs and financial officers provide accurate information in financial statements. And, most Americans favor additional legal rights for investors that would allow them to seek compensation for loss from any deceptive conduct by Wall Street or corporate officers -- even if it did not involve a public misstatement.

These are among the findings of a national Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) survey of public attitudes toward financial fraud and investor protection. The telephone survey, conducted December 10-13, and sponsored by the National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT), also found that nearly all Americans feel that those who commit fraud should be held accountable to investors who lose money as a result of the fraudulent behavior. Similarly, nearly all Americans think that those who engage in fraud but do not admit it publicly should still be held accountable to investors.

"The survey findings reveal that the public is very aware that financial and corporate officers have been engaged in conduct that is not just reckless, but that has been deceptive and dishonest before and during the financial meltdown," explained Ira Schochet, Esq., NASCAT's president. "Americans understand that Congress and the Administration must substantially increase accountability in our financial markets in order to protect investors and reduce the likelihood of another systemic crisis."

As reported by Opinion Research Corporation, some of the key findings are explained below:

-- ORC explained to survey respondents that the law allows investors to seek compensation from executives who knowingly make misrepresentations to the public. They were then asked if there was a need for additional legal rights that allow investors to sue for compensation from executives who knowingly engage in any form of deceptive conduct, even if it does not involve a public misstatement. Three-fourths (74%) agree that investors should have these additional rights. One-in-five (21%) do not.

-- Practically every respondent (94%) feels that those who commit fraud should be held accountable to investors who lose money as a result of those fraudulent actions. Only 5% do not think they should be held accountable.

-- Support is also strong for keeping executives accountable to investors when they perpetrate financial fraud even if they do not publicly admit their wrongdoing. Nine-in-ten (90%) support this idea with only 7% saying no.

-- Ninety percent of Americans believe people who participate in financial fraud - such as knowingly engaging in a sham transaction or telling others how to prepare fake financial statements or otherwise deceive investors - should be held accountable to investors. Only 7 percent oppose, while 2 percent had no opinion.

-- And, respondents were asked about the current ability of corporate managers to avoid accountability to shareholders by limiting disclosure of a wrongdoing. When asked, only a quarter (25%) agree that this should happen while 73% disagree.

Findings Support Congressional Action on Anti-Investor Court Decisions

"These findings show overwhelming public support for Congress to restore liability to investors for those who aid and abet fraud and those who can currently escape liability by manipulating public disclosures," NASCAT's Ira Schochet continued. "Congress can accomplish these goals by rolling back two radical Supreme Court decisions (Central Bank in 1994 and Stoneridge in 2008), which eliminated private liability for aiding and abetting securities fraud; and, clarifying another Court decision (Dura in 2005), which inadvertently empowered some conservative lower courts to throw out valid investor fraud claims whenever sophisticated executives and their professional advisers disguise the impact of wrongdoing by manipulating the timing and content of news releases."

Investor Demographics and Survey Methodology

About half of American adults own stock and half do not. A typical owner is older, wealthier and better educated than someone who does not own stock. Stock owners are just as likely to have the investment as a result of an employer plan as to own it on their own without any employer involvement.

These findings are from a telephone survey conducted of 1,017 adults comprising 509 men and 508 women. Interviewing for this survey was completed during the period December 10-13, 2009. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points among the total sample. Opinion Research Corporation, based in Princeton, NJ, conducted the fieldwork.

The National Association of Shareholder and Consumer Law Attorneys is a nonprofit organization comprised of about 100 law firms representing consumers and investors - including pension funds and individuals - in cases of securities fraud and other forms of "white collar" wrongdoing and criminal activity.

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Uncle Sam Down and Out as Congress Prepares to Raise Debt Ceiling

/PRNewswire/ -- Today the Employment Policies Institute's (EPI) "Defeat the Debt" campaign will station eleven destitute Uncle Sams in New York City's Times Square to beg for $12 trillion from taxpayers. The appearance comes one day before Congress is scheduled to begin debate on raising the debt ceiling, as the nation's $12.3 trillion debt is coming dangerously close to the current $12.4 trillion limit.

The "Defeat the Debt" campaign aims to highlight the threat posed by unsustainable borrowing and spending by the federal government. Additionally, EPI has placed two adjoining billboards on the corner of 45th and Broadway that also feature a bedraggled Uncle Sam.

The campaign includes a national television commercial, which has aired on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC. Throughout September and November, EPI also placed 17 homeless Uncle Sams on the streets of Washington, New York City, and Chicago to beg for $12 trillion from taxpayers. In addition, EPI's website was developed in order to educate the public about the enormous federal debt.

Through its ads and website, the "Defeat the Debt" campaign strives to put into perspective the size of a multi-trillion dollar debt. For example, using the passage of time as a reference, a million seconds will elapse in 12 days, while a trillion seconds is equivalent to more than 30,000 years.

"This campaign is all about getting people to understand the frightening reality of the massive federal debt," said EPI Executive Director Richard Berman. "People do not realize what it will take for our country to get out from under a $12 trillion debt when the government is expected to be adding over $1 trillion in new budget deficits each year. Last year, all of the government's tax revenue was used to cover Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a few other entitlement programs. Funding for everything else, from the Department of Defense to the National Park Service, went onto the nation's credit card. We're even borrowing to pay the $500 million in daily interest payments we owe on the debt. How insane is that?"

Berman continued, "America's current level of spending is unsustainable. The country has never before been in such a precarious financial position where we are so indebted to foreign governments. The government must defeat the debt now, or we will live to regret it."

The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues that affect the American economy.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

With 3 Million Jobs Eliminated and 10 Percent Unemployment, Ways and Means Republicans Question Latest Administration Plan for Counting "Stimulus" Job

Ways and Means Republicans today sent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag a letter voicing their concern about the Administration’s collection and interpretation of data on jobs they attribute to stimulus. Of particular concern to the Republican Members was the Administration’s decision to quietly change how it counted “stimulus jobs” and the growing disparity between the Administrations predictions of the stimulus bill’s impact on the economy and the reality of continued job losses.

In the letter, Ways and Means Republicans asked Director Orszag to respond to the following questions about the new methodology OMB has adopted for counting “stimulus jobs”:
  1. Using this methodology, how many jobs does the Administration believe have already been saved or created? Please provide a breakdown of whether these jobs are in the public (including public education) sector or private sector, and whether they are permanent or temporary jobs.
  2. Using the new methodology, does the Administration now project it will be able to achieve its repeated pledges that stimulus will "save or create 3.5 million jobs" by the end of 2010?
  3. If that is the case, what does the Administration project the level of payroll employment will be in December 2010, and how does that compare with the projection in the Romer/Bernstein report of 137.55 million jobs by the end of this year? Similarly, what does the Administration project the unemployment rate will be in December 2010, and how does that compare with the Administration’s pre-stimulus projection of 6.9% in that month if the stimulus law was enacted?
  4. In terms of counting individual jobs using the new methodology, if the same person worked in several jobs funded by the stimulus law in the same year (for example, in the summer youth jobs program, a child care center in which bonuses were paid using stimulus funds, and finally as a temporary worker in a Federal agency responsible for dispensing stimulus funds) would that person be counted as having one, two or three “stimulus jobs” in that year?
  5. When he signed the stimulus law, President Obama said he expected “the American people to hold us accountable for results” including “where those jobs are being created.” In light of your direction to agency heads to measure the effect of the stimulus law based on whether “the wages or salaries are either paid for or will be reimbursed with Recovery Act funding” regardless of whether the job was created as a result of the funds or would be eliminated in their absence, how do you plan to provide an accountable measurement of jobs “saved or created” as the President repeatedly promised in promoting this law?
The letter to OMB Director Orszag can be read here.

Democrats 'plan to steal the vote'

A political correspondent is making waves with his stern warning that Democrats are scheming to manipulate the electoral process this election year by implementing a federal mandate to involuntarily register millions of people to vote – making the system ripe for unprecedented fraud and abuse.

"Democrats were very rattled by the Nov. 3 election results," Wall Street Journal reporter and political commentator John Fund told a crowd in November 2009, at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum. "What do liberals do when they lose elections? They change the rules."

Thousands of Citizens Protest Move to Regulate Internet

10,000 IFL Supporters File Comments with FCC

Regulations Not Necessary to Offer Americans the Open Internet They Already Have.

"Americans are increasingly concerned about government intrusion into nearly every aspect of the economy and their lives," according to Andrew Langer, President of the Institute for Liberty, "and the thousands of citizens who have told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to keep its hands off the Internet is proof that the technology sector is no exception."

"Over ten thousand Institute for Liberty supporters have filed comments with the FCC in the past week, opposing FCC regulations claiming to enforce some form of 'network neutrality,' even though we already have a free and open Internet, and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that freedom and openness is threatened," according to Langer.

Langer concluded that "the FCC should acknowledge that network neutrality regulations are a solution in search of a problem. The American people are awakening to the fact that these so-called 'network neutrality' regulations are part of the radical leftist agenda of organizations such as Free Press, and the more the American people learn about such vast expansions of Federal power, the greater their opposition."

The Institute for Liberty supports keeping the government focused on the primary mission of making sure our nation is safe, while keeping it from unnecessarily interfering in the daily lives of America's entrepreneurs.

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Nonprofit Warns Candidates Against Accepting Support From The Chamber of Commerce for Midterm Elections

/PRNewswire/ -- The campaign ( today issued the following warning to any 2010 candidate who accepts any direct or indirect money, advertising support, or lip service from the United States Chamber of Commerce or any of its astroturf front operations: The Chamber and its CEO Tom Donohue are toxic assets plagued by scandal, criminal investigations, shareholder lawsuits, NGO criminal complaints, the National Scrooge Award, control by big business insiders, defections by responsible companies, and the antipathy of the general public. Any Chamber-supported candidate will be tied to these scandals during the midterm elections.

Tom Donohue, president and chief executive of the Chamber, promised the "largest, most aggressive voter education and issue advocacy effort in our nearly hundred-year history." In fact, Chamber is poised to spend upwards of $50 million to manipulate the 2010 mid-term elections. That money will go toward electing candidates who support polluters, robber barons, deniers of health care, warmongers, and those who ravage the environment. This money is, in addition to the billion or more dollars the Chamber has spent during the last decade, gutting the economy by helping companies ship American jobs overseas and raising CEO pay at the expense of workers. America is much worse off because of the Chamber's anti-American policies. Job losses are staggering, while businesses supporting the Chamber, its CEO, and an army of lobbyists pocket obscene profits and bonuses with no regard whatsoever for the American worker.

"The Chamber wants to buy Congress at a time when people are hurting, dying, losing their homes and jobs, and seeing their children unable to attend college," said spokesperson and lawyer Kevin Zeese. "However, Americans have had enough of robber barons, and they are not going to take it anymore. If a candidate gets support from the Chamber, we are going to call him or her out for accepting tainted money -- money from big business that is not going into creating jobs, providing health care, and cleaning up Wall Street. We will demand that candidates renounce the Chamber's support, return any funding, and condemn the Chamber's advertisements and policies. If they do not, we will expose them as a friend of Tom Donohue, the man who repeatedly met with the leaders of Communist China to outsource good American jobs, the man who is under investigation by the SEC for insider trading and false reporting, the man who has lied to Congress about the Chamber's membership and small business support, the man who has created patriotic sounding front groups to mislead trusting Americans, the man who schemed with the likes of Jack Abramoff and Ken Lay to betray the public trust, and the man who has justified crime after crime committed by dues-paying members of the Chamber."

StopTheChamber urges all 2010 candidates to run clean election campaigns, untainted by money, laundered through the Chamber of Commerce. Neither the Chamber membership nor its board votes on how the Chamber spends money on elections. Instead, the decisions are made by a tightly knit group of big business insider tycoons led by Tom Donohue. But those businesses -- multinational corporate banks, Wall Street, insurance companies, big energy, and big pharma -- top the list of the most hated companies in America. They pay billions upon billions in bonuses to multi-millionaire executives who squeeze the lifeblood out of hardworking Americans. Candidates who ignore this reality and sell their vote for greed over the common good will find that the antipathy of American voters presently directed toward Wall Street and the Chamber will be directed at them.

StopTheChamber will be launching an ad campaign next week to spread this message to all candidates running in the 2010 midterm elections.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FTC Chairman, Members of Congress Call for Legislation to End Sweetheart 'Pay-for-Delay' Deals That Keep Generic Drugs Off the Market

/PRNewswire/ -- Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and key members of Congress, including Representative Chris Van Hollen, Chairman Bobby Rush, and Representative Mary Jo Kilroy, today renewed their call for legislation that would put an end to anticompetitive patent settlements, which drug manufacturers have been using to keep less-expensive medicines off the market and charge consumers billions of dollars a year in higher drug prices.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Leibowitz said consumers are forced to pay inflated prices or forgo their medication because of these "pay-for-delay" deals, in which brand-name drug makers pay their generic competitors to keep cheaper alternatives off the market. He urged Congress to adopt a provision as part of the health care reform bill to stop pay-for-delay agreements.

"Pay-for-delay deals are a bad prescription for America: when drug companies agree not to compete, consumers lose," Leibowitz said. "Ending this practice as part of health care reform is one simple, effective, and straightforward way for Congress to help control drug costs."

In a written statement, FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch said, "As I testified last year before Chairman Rush's subcommittee, almost all, if not all, reverse payment agreements ... delay generic competition longer than it might otherwise occur."

At today's event, Leibowitz also announced that the FTC staff has issued a new study, entitled "Pay-for-Delay: How Drug Company Pay-Offs Cost Consumers Billions," that summarizes the savings lost to U.S. consumers during the past six years through such pay-for-delay deals in the drug industry, and found that the number of agreements with payment and delay has increased from zero in 2004 to a record 19 agreements in Fiscal Year 2009.

According to the study, which can be found on the FTC's Web site at, the cost to consumers from pay-for-delay deals is an estimated $3.5 billion per year - or $35 billion over 10 years. The study also found that settlement deals featuring payments by branded drug firms to a generic competitor kept generics off the market for an average of 17 months longer than agreements that do not include a payment. Most of the agreements reached since 2005 are still in effect, according to the study, and they currently protect at least $20 billion in sales of brand-name drugs from generic competition.

All recent staff reports on pharmaceutical patent settlements, as well as other important information resources, can be found on the FTC's Web site at

Finally, today the FTC posted a new pill-shaped "hot topics" button on its Web site,, called "Pay-for-Delay" that consumers and others can use to get more information about the agency's work in the area of branded and generic drug competition, including recent cases alleging anticompetitive pay-for-delay drug settlements, speeches on this issue, and related congressional testimony.

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Brown's Daughters Defend Him in Radio Ad

Taking a line out of Virginia Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell's (R) playbook, state Sen. Scott Brown (R) went up with a radio ad Wednesday featuring his two daughters to defend himself against charges that he supports policies that hurt women.

Ayla and Arianna Brown go after their father's opponent, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, in the minute-long radio ad, complaining that her campaign's "attacks are out of line."

"Martha Coakley and her political machine goes against everything we were taught growing up," says Ayla, a Boston College student and former "American Idol" contestant. "Martha Coakley and her supporters are saying hurtful and dishonest things about our dad."

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Dorgan gets invite from Obama

President Barack Obama has invited Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) to the White House for a meeting in the coming weeks, stoking speculation that a Cabinet post may be next for the retiring senator.

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Confronting AIDS Pandemic Obama's Newest Dilemma as White House Strategy Imminent Say Ed Koch, Robert Weiner, Jordan Osserman

/PRNewswire/ -- Confronting the ongoing AIDS pandemic for his upcoming first national HIV/AIDS Strategy is President Obama's newest dilemma, say former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, former White House Drug Policy spokesman Robert Weiner, and Dartmouth College Coalition for Progress president Jordan Osserman.

In a guest column in today's New York Observer entitled "The Epidemic Continues", Koch, Weiner, and Osserman assert that Americans' "sense of urgency" about AIDS has "fallen considerably" even though 33 million people are now living with HIV worldwide, over one million in the U.S.

The authors point out that in New York City, more than 100,000 people live with HIV. The City's Health Department calls New York the "epicenter" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The writers assert, "This year, one million people around the world won't receive treatment for AIDS and 2.9 million HIV-positive women won't receive services to prevent mother-child transmission."

They contend, "We've cut polio by 99% throughout the world, and we can do the same for AIDS."

They say it's an "understatement for the City's Health Department to say on its website, 'More must be done.' "

They commend Bill Clinton for creating the country's first "AIDS Czar" and now, in his post-presidential foundation, expanding medications and reducing AIDS drug costs around the world.

They assert, "The Administration must keep Barack Obama's repeated promise to fully fund the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. The Administration did not request the $2.7 billion for the Global Fund from Congress as the U.S. share of the support agreed to by the G-8."

On the "home front," massive education is needed: "It's an honest if indelicate statement to point out that most AIDS would be prevented if new and multiple partners used a condom; up to a third of HIV comes from intravenous drug abuse." Though "it's a tough sell when the entire federal health bill's budget is being criticized by the right," in New York City alone, "hundreds of millions of dollars" could be used for treatment, prevention, and education.

They conclude, "In a weak economy, healthy markets depend on a healthy populace...As he develops his HIV/AIDS strategy, making the case for additional funding is Obama's latest dilemma."

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coalition Calls on Congress to Address Potential Cuts in Dental and Vision Plans

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA), American Benefits Council, and Communications Workers of America, along with the Academy of General Dentistry, American College of Prosthodontists, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Orthodontists, Guardian Life Insurance of America, Hispanic Dental Association, Service Employees International Union, National Association of Vision Care Plans, and VSP Vision Care sent a letter yesterday asking Leaders of the House and Senate to eliminate or substantially modify the excise tax on health benefits, including flexible spending accounts (FSAs), to ensure the final health care reform legislation does not adversely impact key and important goals of health reform, like primary and prevention-oriented care.

American Dental Association President Ron Tankersley, DDS, says the provision as written, "[I]s the opposite of health care reform. It would compel many employers to drop critical dental and other coverage to avoid the tax. It dismantles exactly the type of preventive, primary care that everyone agrees this country needs more of."

The letter states, "Many employer-sponsored plans exceed or will exceed the PPACA excise tax threshold simply because the plans include many older workers or retirees with higher cost health care needs, or are concentrated in locations with high health costs. For example, the standard option BCBS Federal Employees Health Benefit plan, a basic plan that covers 3.8 million Americans today, will exceed the PPACA excise threshold in the first year of the tax (2013) for single coverage and in the third year of the tax (2016) for family coverage (CWA Report, 12/8/2009)."

The letter continues, "As a result, the excise tax could lead many employers to reduce benefits (Mercer Survey, 12/2/2009) by eliminating limited service supplemental benefits and FSAs that fund much needed and prevention-oriented dental and vision care in order to avoid the tax. Cuts in these crucial benefits will lead to a decline in access to necessary care. Patients rely on the preventive services covered by the dental, vision and limited service supplemental plans to prevent infections, slow the progress of chronic disease and facilitate early treatment of preventable conditions."

"The health care reform debate has never centered on dental, vision and other supplemental benefits," said James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council. "Those valuable benefits have only been included in the calculation of the excise tax to raise revenue. Several modifications are needed to improve the excise tax provision, including not applying the tax to these important supplemental benefits."

According to Louise Novotny, Research Director at Communications Workers of America, "For millions of patients and consumers, most of whom are middle and low income working Americans, the excise tax is unfair and punitive, leading to reduced health care services."

Without Congressional consensus to replace the excise tax on health benefits with another fair and broad funding source, there are solutions that can mitigate the severe harm the excise tax poses to patient care. These include:

1) Excluding FSAs, as well as managed and limited service dental, vision and stand-alone plans from the calculation of health plan costs;

2) Raising the threshold AND indexing the threshold to medical inflation;

3) Replacing the single and family coverage thresholds with a per-covered-person threshold, a fairer approach to plan cost allocation. [1]

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit the Association's Web site at

The American Benefits Council represents major employers and other organizations that either sponsor directly or provide services to health and retirement plans covering more than 100 million Americans. More information is available at

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), America's largest communications and media union, represents over 700,000 men and women in both private and public sectors, including over half a million workers who are building the Information Highway. The union includes some 1,200 chartered local unions across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Members live in approximately 10,000 communities, making CWA one of the most geographically diverse unions. CWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the worldwide Union Network International.

[1] The number of dependents enrolled in a plan's family coverage varies; plans with larger numbers of dependents are unfairly taxed even when the per enrolled person cost reflect efficient benefits.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Isakson Requests Analysis of Senate Health Care Bill

Wants Objective Review of Potential Impact on Medicare, Medicaid, Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today joined 27 of his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Rick Foster, Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requesting an analysis of the Senate Democrats’ $2.5 trillion health care bill.

Throughout debate on the Senate health care reform legislation, Isakson has repeatedly criticized the $470 billion in Medicare cuts for seniors and argued that any funds generated from new policies to address waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare should be used to strengthen the Medicare Trust Fund rather than create new programs.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Foster:

We have greatly appreciated your previous actuarial analyses of versions of the House and Senate health care overhaul legislation. Your objective review of a number of pertinent factors has added greatly to the policy debate.

Now that the Senate debate has concluded and Majority Leader Reid’s manager’s amendment has substantially changed the legislation, we respectfully request that the CMS Office of the Actuary complete an analysis of the Senate-passed version of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as expeditiously as possible.

In keeping with the stated goals of health care reform, we would specifically appreciate a determination by the Office of the Actuary as to whether this legislation:
· Will bend the cost curve downward resulting in decreased national health care expenditures in the future
· Will decrease individual health insurance premiums
· Will impact Medicare and Medicaid patient access to health care providers
· Will impact individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance
· Will affect the Medicare Advantage benefits for current and future enrollees.

Additionally, please feel free to provide any other actuarial data regarding the likely impacts of this legislation that is relevant to policy-makers. In particular, we would request that you provide additional information about the accounting rules that allow Medicare reductions to be used to simultaneously finance other federal outlays and extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund. As you may know, the Congressional Budget Office recently called the validity of such double counting into question. Any additional perspectives you could provide regarding the impact of such policies on the federal budget and future deficits would be greatly appreciated.

We look forward to your response and the assurance that this secondary analysis will be completed in order to provide Congress and the American people with the information necessary to fully assess this proposed legislation.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2009

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.

2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.

3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also "under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use." Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a "federal regulator," and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank's intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: "I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury." Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn't until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: "Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG's impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned 'full details' of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG." Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed "household help" ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the "Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington" list.

5. Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won't be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro's Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton's scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder's former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder's controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder's politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.

6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama's then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama's seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. According to Reuters: "Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…In the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich -- later charged with trying to sell Obama's Senate seat -- at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor's aides about his desire to be appointed." Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.

7. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration "lowlights" from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell the President's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President's bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control -- through fiat and threats -- large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: "The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama's "ethics" record -- and we haven't even gotten through the first year of his presidency.

8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2008 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker's 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA's use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)

9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman's largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks -- tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA's offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, "Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, "cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file." The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha's nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: "Newly obtained documents…show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military."

10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow "forgot" about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making "campaign contributions" to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: "The reigning member of Congress' top tax committee is apparently 'wrangling' other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles...Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him." Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That's why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.