Morning Action: Obama Administration’s Sequester Lies Keep Coming
AMNESTY. The Heritage Foundation’s Jessica Zuckerman explains that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have tried to use the Boston bombings to push for their legislative goals on immigration. This is the wrong approach:
It’s unfortunate that people are trying to spin the tragic events in Boston to advance their legislative agendas, but it’s also falling into an emotional trap—the Boston attackers should not be the focus of this immigration debate.
Ultimately, getting trapped in a debate about whether comprehensive immigration reform will help or hurt us in thwarting terrorism will get us nowhere. After more than a decade of living in the post-9/11 world, we don’t need a terrorist attack to tell us the right approach to countering terrorism. Nor do we need one to remind us of the flaws of comprehensive immigration reform. Both of these speak for themselves.
OBAMACARE. Some lawmakers in the GOP are foolishly attempting to bail out a failed Obamacare program with the Helping Sick Americans Now Act, for which the House Rules Committee adopted a rule:
The bill, as drafted, would transfer $4 billion from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund (a slush fund that should be zeroed out immediately) to reopen the failed federal high-risk pool created by Obamacare.
Obamacare’s federal high-risk pools were projected to cover 375,000 people; however, only 110,000 enrolled before the funding ran out. The cost of enrolling individuals into the federal high-risk pool was 2.5 times higher than anticipated.
Though some healthcare pundits are optimistic, this is not the right move:
To be clear, simply boosting Obamacare funding will not get health care reform back on track. Specifically, when it comes to high-risk pools, Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko explains we must “encourage the states to set up mechanisms such as high-risk pools and risk transfer models that help lessen the problems of individuals who are difficult to insure.”
The White House disapproves of this GOP bill, but for different reasons, and has threatened to veto the bill. Their logic is flawed:
The White House argues the preventive healthcare funds keep people from getting sick, and in doing so reduce the nation’s healthcare costs. By stripping funds for those programs, it argues the GOP bill would as a result weaken the nation’s healthcare system.
SEQUESTER. Why should a 4 percent cut to the Federal Aviation Administration cause delays to 40 percent of flights? The Obama administration wanted to make cuts that are painful for people instead of cutting wasteful spending (sub. req’d):
The White House claims the sequester applies to the budget category known as “projects, programs and activities” and thus it lacks flexibility. Not so: This is a political pose to make the sequester more disruptive. Legally speaking, the sequester applies at a more general level known as “accounts.” The air traffic account includes 15,000 controllers out of 31,000 employees. The White House could keep the controllers on duty simply by allocating more furlough days to these other non-essential workers.
Instead, the FAA is even imposing the controller furlough on every airport equally, not prioritizing among the largest and busiest airports. San Francisco’s Napa Valley airport with no commercial service will absorb the same proportion of the cuts as the central New York radar terminal, which covers La Guardia, JFK and Newark International, as well as MacArthur, Teterboro, New Haven, Republic and other regional fields.
Anyone who has flown in or out of those terminals knows that they are hardly models of efficiency, and one reason is the pre-modern U.S. traffic control system. The FAA still uses ground radar and voice-based communications that were the best technology the 1950s had to offer.
OBAMACARE EXCHANGES. State governments may begin to push workers into the health exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act:
Washington state appears to be the first major government to seriously explore the possibility of pushing workers into the exchange — but it probably won’t be the last.
A spokeswoman with the Department of Health and Human Services declined comment, and it’s unclear whether the federal government accounted for this possible outcome.
While Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about the Washington state plan this year, it is drawing growing interest among a bipartisan group of political leaders in the state. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who supported the Obama health care law while in Congress, has reservations about the plan.