This week in the House has been dubbed “Stop Government Abuse Week,” and House Republicans are focusing on 12 bills designed to do just that. But by promoting these bills, are House Republicans merely feigning unity, conveniently right before upcoming midterm elections?
The Washington Post suggests that’s “absolutely” what’s going on — these bills will “generate support among GOP base voters, helping Republican lawmakers score political points back home.”
This week the House is expected to vote on the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865). This bill would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from modifying the regulations of 501(c)(4) organizations.
The new proposed regulations were created to restrict certain non-profit organizations in their ability to perform grassroots activity by expanding the definition and scope of “candidate-related political activity” (CRPA). The regulation, and the large amount of required paperwork that goes with it, will have devastating consequences to the Tea Party movement, while showing preference for lobbyists and big business interests.
Use POPVOX to message you Representative to support the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865). The new IRS regulations would have harmful effects on the American grassroots movement and limit the voice of the American people.
OBAMACARE. President Obama’s healthcare law has long been strongly opposed by the right, but as we approach 2014, it is proving to be a huge problem for the left, especially Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius:
Over the next several months, Sebelius and her team must finalize controversial regulations, educate the public and deal with a restive Congress watching her every move. By all accounts, it’s an enormous challenge — especially with the hurdles confronting the administration.
Red states continue to balk at the new law. Regulators are pleading for more implementation funds. Unions are in an uproar. And polls show the public remains largely ignorant of the law’s benefits.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who helped write ObamaCare, recently told Sebelius he worries its implementation will be a “train wreck.”
Sebelius has adopted a measured approach with Congress, preferring not to engage in verbal combat with her opponents. She has expressed frustration with the never-ending politics surrounding ObamaCare, even after the Supreme Court ruling upholding the law and Obama’s reelection.
Earlier this month, Sebelius was put on the defensive when news broke that she solicited money for Enroll America, a non-profit that will educate consumers about healthcare reform, from powerful healthcare interests.
STUDENT LOANS. For Congress, the best solution on student loans would be to work toward getting the government out of the student loan industry all together. This would prevent taxpayers from being on the hook for student loans that are never repaid. Nonetheless, they are considering options that would keep the federal government involved to varying degrees to determine student loan interest rates (sub. req’d):
Another partisan fight over federal student loan interest rates looms on the House floor today as Republicans try to shift the program to a market-based approach. The GOP bill was based on a proposal in Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request to peg interest rates to 10-year Treasuries. The key distinction is the bill would allow rates to fluctuate with the market and be reset each year. Democrats want to eliminate some uncertainty by setting rates on the Treasury’s actual cost of borrowing and then fixing them for the life of the loan. In its veto threat, the White House said the bill would burden students from lower-income families with potentially onerous rate increases. Critics have also noted the legislation lacks Obama’s proposal to extend repayment options to borrowers who have already left school. Even if the bill makes it out of the House, its prospects are grim in the Democratic Senate, which could adopt a plan (S 953) to simply extend the current 3.4-percent rate or to address rates as part of a reauthorization the Higher Education Act.
Each successive day, the stories of the intimidation of conservative grassroots groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) grow more bizarre.
Yahoo reports the IRS swiftly approved one conservative group’s non-profit application after the group applied with a “liberal-sounding name.” Breitbart revealed the IRS also targeted a “conservative Hispanic outreach group that educates Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Hispanic communities on the US Constitution.” ABC News quotes an Ohio woman who said the IRS “wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”
On his Facebook page, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) called it a “serious abuse of government.” The only way to limit the abusive nature of government is to limit the size and scope of government.
Unfortunately, the opposite is happening under President Obama’s watch. As Heritage’s Christopher Jacobs points out, “At a time when doubts are growing about the IRS’s politically biased behavior, Obamacare grants the agency massive new authority to implement its complex and bureaucratic regime.”
Obamacare is not the only power grab for tax bureaucrats, though. Missed amongst the headlines is the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, more commonly known as the Internet sales tax, would grant sweeping authority to tax bureaucrats in all 50 states.