Morning Action: Obamacare is Still Unpopular According to New Poll

OBAMACARE.  It’s still unpopular, according to a new poll:

Attitudes toward ObamaCare have only changed slightly despite the administration’s success in enrolling more than eight million people, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

The poll found 43 percent approve of ObamaCare, but a majority disapproves of it.

A Department of Health and Human Services report released in early May confirmed more than eight million people have enrolled.

Nevada has become the third state to announce it will concede Obamacare exchange enrollment responsibilities to the federal government via healthcare.gov.  Heritage explains:

Federal taxpayers already have sent about $4.9 billion total in grants to the states to establish exchanges, with almost $4.2 billion going to just the 16 states and the District of Colombia that had planned to operate their own exchanges in 2014.

Nevada received $91 million in grants and, as of April 19, had enrolled 45,390 people, for a federal taxpayer cost of $2,005 per enrollee. 

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Morning Action: Where Obama, Boehner Stand on Immigration Reform

IMMIGRATION.  President Obama has attempted once again to get House Speaker John Boehner to act on immigration, and his latest gesture allegedly failed to elicit a positive reaction (sub. req’d):

President Barack Obama won’t act to reduce deportations on his own until the end of the summer — giving Speaker John A. Boehner one more chance to vote on an immigration overhaul.

Two administration officials confirmed that the president has directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off on releasing the results of his review of immigration policy in the meantime.

The hope in the White House is that once Republican primary season largely wraps up on June 10, Boehner will have the political space to get something done.

The gesture didn’t elicit a positive reaction from the Ohio Republican.

“Enforcing the law as written isn’t a ‘concession’ – it is the President’s solemn responsibility,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “Now isn’t the time to be playing politics with immigration enforcement or our national security.”

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Morning Action: Obama’s Effect on Wealth, Debt

OBAMA.  President Obama has been touting the fact that under his presidency, household wealth has gone up substantially.  He fails to mention, however, that the debt has also dramatically increased (sub. req’d):

Household wealth has soared by trillions since Obama’s inauguration. And it’s now at an all-time high.

In 2008 alone, the total net worth of households and nonprofit organizations plummeted by more than $10 trillion to $57.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. Since then wealth has soared more than $23 trillion to $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013. (See page 108, Line 42).

That’s $13 trillion above the pre-Obama yearly all-time high of $67.7 trillion at the end of 2007. Net worth now amounts to about $250,000 per U.S. resident.

Nearly $10 trillion of that improvement in net worth came just in 2013.

What Obama doesn’t mention is that federal debt has also soared since he took office. The national debt is now close to $17.5 trillion — up nearly $7 trillion — or $22,000 per U.S. resident — since he took office.

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The Best of the Forge

THE WATER RESOURCES BILL — A RETURN TO EARMARKS?

Proponents of the WRDA legislation have made much about the legislation being “earmark free.” Now while the bill seems to comport with the current earmark moratorium, it does fund or expand previous earmarks. A headline in the Washington Examiner this morning said it all: Earmarks may be dead, but pet projects live on.

For instance, the bill increases the cost share for the Olmsted Lock and Dam in Kentucky from 50 percent to 85 percent. This project was first authorized in 1988 at a cost of $775 million, and it is still not finished and now costs $2.9 billion. Why would the federal government take on more of the burden of the project? The WRDA bill has 34 expansions (authorization for construction) and 8 project modifications (increases in spending) to existing projects in the Army Corps of Engineers’ list of projects, but the real danger is the earmark-like process it sets up to authorize new projects going forward. 

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Morning Action: IRS is Rewriting Proposed Rules Governing Nonprofit Groups

IRS. The IRS has started rewriting proposed rules governing nonprofits once again:

The IRS said Thursday it will go back and rewrite the proposed rules governing nonprofit groups and political activity, bowing to overwhelming opposition from tea party groups and free speech advocates on both ends of the ideological spectrum who feared the tax agency would hurt political debate.

In a statement, the IRS said it still intends to update its rules but will put off a hearing until after it issues a new version — and gave no timetable for moving ahead.

The Heritage Foundation sheds light on what this news actually means:

“The IRS should not attempt to regulate in areas beyond its expertise and authority,” von Spakovsky said in his analysis of the proposed rules, noting that the agency “is ill-equipped to take on the role of political arbiter that it seems so eager to assume.”

But be warned: IRS officials said their rewrite is “certainly is not starting over and certainly not starting from scratch,” reports Politico. The new proposal should come out next year, and Americans will have to be ready to defend their freedoms – again.

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