Morning Action: Opposition to Obamacare is Rapidly on the Rise and Still Robust
OBAMACARE. The IRS employee union wants no part of Obamacare:
IRS employees have a prominent role in Obamacare, but their union wants no part of the law.
National Taxpayer Employee Union officials are urging members to write their congressional representatives in opposition to receiving coverage through President Obama’s health care law.
The union leaders are providing members with a form letter to send to the congressmen that says “I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.”
Heritage also demonstrates that trying to get young people is going to be a really hard sell:
Young adults are hit with increased costs from health benefits they must purchase but may not use. And they have the added disadvantage of paying artificially higher premiums because Obamacare’s rules make them do so.
And, as has been the case since Obamacare started, the law continues to cause employers to cut workers’ hours:
The employer mandate penalizes employers that do not provide the proper mandated level of insurance to their employees. Employers can avoid the penalty if their employees are not full time and work less than 30 hours a week. So it is not surprising that employers have cut the number of hours for many employees, especially in the restaurant industry.
FARM BILL. Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow predicts a deal on the farm bill by September (sub. req’d):
The House will “eventually” go to conference with the Senate to produce a final farm bill, Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow flatly ruled out another farm bill extension and said she and House Agriculture Committee leaders will work informally during the August recess to resolve differences between their bills.
Cantor, R-Va., reaffirmed that nothing will happen on the farm bill until he and House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas finish efforts on “forging a consensus on a nutrition bill.” Reports are mixed on whether it is possible to revise the nutrition title that Cantor removed from the original House farm bill (HR 1947) to win 218 Republican votes for passage.
Cantor held the second meeting of Republicans on Wednesday to discuss ideas for reducing the growth of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the nutrition title’s largest program for low-income people.
We have explained that both the food stamp program and the farm programs are desperately in need of reform, which Congress has not even attempted. Splitting the food stamps from the farm bill was a procedural victory that could open the door for reform, but moving forward with flawed legislation will harm taxpayers and consumers.
HARRY REID. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is working to bring up a new batch of President Obama’s nominees before August recess (sub. req’d):
After securing a deal to confirm seven of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominees, Majority Leader Harry Reid is working to set up confirmation votes on a second group before senators adjourn for the August recess.
“The leader is working that out,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Thursday.
Republicans, however, are cautioning that the agreement they reached with Democrats on July 16 on the first set of nominees does not bind them to confirming the new ones, particularly if the majority pushes for votes on controversial candidates.
Late Thursday, Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on the nominations of James B. Comey to lead the FBI, and Nancy Schiffer, Kent Hirozawa and Mark Gaston Pearce to serve on the National Labor Relations Board.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said earlier Thursday that he also expects Reid to file cloture on B. Todd Jones to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Earlier this week, Reid mentioned Jones and said he is also hoping to confirm Samantha Power as ambassador to the United Nations and Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We have noted that the Senate’s “deal” to avert the nuclear option paves the way for the nomination of Mel Watt to head up the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the failed mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie, despite the fact that his past actions have created the “appearance of impropriety.”
THUD. The Senate rejected an $8.6 billion cut to the $54 billion Transportation-HUD bill (sub. req’d):
The Senate rebuffed a Republican effort Thursday to reduce funding in a transportation and housing bill to align it with the total spending cap under a 2011 debt limit law.
The chamber agreed, 56-42, to a motion by Patty Murray, D-Wash., to table, or kill, a motion by Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Toomey to recommit the $54 billion Transportation-HUD measure to the Appropriations Committee with instructions to report back with a bill that would provide a maximum amount of $45.5 billion.
Toomey said the bill (S 1243) “puts us on a direct path to bust the caps, to break the law, to spend even more than the statutory limits that we put in place just two years ago.”
Heritage has identified several cuts to programs Congress could make to save $30 billion from the House THUD bill and even more from the Senate bill, which blows through sequestration caps. We are key voting against the Senate THUD bill.