Morning Action: House Republicans Urge Vote on Obamacare Alternative
OBAMACARE. Conservatives in the House are urging a vote on an Obamacare alternative:
The House Republican leadership promised a vote this year on an alternative to the health law popularly known as Obamacare, and now some lawmakers have upped the pressure to see that vote happen.
Writing to colleagues ahead of a meeting today of the conservative Republican Study Committee, the trio — Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) 61%, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) 71%, and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) 77% — requested support and a push for a vote on the RSC’s health reform plan (H.R. 3121). Scalise is RSC’s current chairman.
The bill, with 130 co-sponsors, would repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as well as the current tax breaks for employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Instead, all individuals and families could get tax relief to buy health plans.
EX-IM BANK. A CQ news article this morning has a powerful headline: “Ex-Im Bank Bracing for an Uncertain Future.” They note (sub. req’d):
Amid growing uncertainty over the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank before its charter expires Sept. 30, officials are beginning to consider what’s barely seemed possible during the bank’s 80-year history – that Congress would miss the deadline.
It’s a sign of the unprecedented opposition from hard-line conservatives in Congress and from outside groups opposed to the bank, the official export credit agency of the United States. The conservative Republicans, with House Financial Services Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) 84% at the head, have made shutting down the Ex-Im Bank the unlikely cause in their bid to build a signature victory in the name of principled populism.
The business community has intensified its campaign for a long-term renewal of the bank. But numerous sources on the Hill and in the lobbying world say they now believe Republicans in the House may not want to vote on the bank’s reauthorization before the November elections.
But “crony capitalism” has become a buzzword on conservative radio and social media, and taking on Ex-Im has riled up base GOP voters — even though the bank has long operated in relative obscurity.
One Heritage Action ally in the fight was quoted saying, “People have gotten ginned up in the grassroots, which I’m surprised. I would’ve argued ‘who the hell knows what the Ex-Im bank is?”
SCHOOL LUNCH. First Lady Michelle Obama refuses to acknowledge the problems her school lunch standards have caused for students and parents:
For example, she doesn’t talk about:
The massive food costs incurred by schools. The costs are so bad some schools have reportedly transferred money out of teaching budgets to meet the requirements.
The major declines in student participation.
Plate waste. In a survey conducted by the Government Accountability Office of school nutrition officials in all states and Washington, D.C., officials from an astonishing 48 states indicated that food waste caused by the changes was a challenge for at least some of their local school food authorities.
Food storage problems and the need for new kitchen equipment.
Lack of flexibility. The National School Boards Association explained, “School boards cannot ignore the higher costs and operational issues created by the rigid mandates of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”