Morning Action: No, The Omnibus Doesn’t Protect Your Light Bulbs
LIGHT BULBS. A provision in the omnibus regarding the phase out of incandescent light bulbs will actually do little to bring back popular, incandescent light bulbs:
Tucked into a 1,500-page budget bill now moving through Congress is a Republican provision that would restore the incandescent light bulbs that were phased out in favor of greener lighting technology.
But the legislation is likely to disappoint hopeful light-bulb hoarders and other haters of the new energy-efficient, squiggly tailed compact fluorescent and LED lights that replaced the iconic bulbs.
“The light bulb [provision] is mainly political theater at this point,” said Kit Kennedy, a lawyer for the energy and transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.
“The efficiency standards for lighting are in effect,” Kennedy said. “The majority of U.S. manufacturers are committed to these standards, which they support, and are going to be complying with them, rider or no rider.”
OMNIBUS. Despite serious conservative concerns with the omnibus spending bill, it appears likely it will pass (sub. req’d):
Despite deep opposition from hard-line conservative groups, many congressional Republicans say they are not expecting an intraparty showdown over the $1.1. trillion omnibus filed last night by appropriators.
Conservative groups lined up Monday to denounce the nearly 1,600-page spending package, which includes funding and policy directives for all 12 of the annual appropriations bills and provides many government agencies with their first fresh congressional guidance in years.
The Heritage Action lobby tallied what it described as “pork projects of ineffective government programs and giveaways for corporate cronies,” while the Tea Party Patriots urged Congress to dispose of the measure. “This omnibus is unacceptable and sets the stage for another debt increase in February. … One trillion dollars does not appear magically out of thin air,” Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said Tuesday.
We explained where conservatives could have fought on the omnibus, and lawmakers missed many of these opportunities. We are key voting against the omnibus.
OBAMACARE. The Oregon health exchange has yet to complete one Obamacare enrollment:
Oregon will consider a switch to the federal health care exchange next year amid ongoing problems with its online enrollment program, Politico Pro reports.
The state’s exchange, Cover Oregon, still cannot process an entire enrollment online — a problem that is not expected to be repaired until after the 2014 enrollment period ends in March.
That has state officials weighing several options including scrapping its own enrollment system and moving to HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment portal which is working better now after its own disastrous start. Switching to the federal site could be considered a significant political defeat for the state and Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, who strongly embraced the president’s health care law and is seeking reelection this year.
IDENTITY THEFT. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) 80% and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) 61% explain how Obamacare invites identity theft:
Beyond the well-documented system crashes and breakdowns, HealthCare .gov is exposing people to hackers and online criminals.
At a hearing on Nov. 19, the Committee on Science, Space and Technology received troubling testimony from online security experts regarding the flaws and vulnerabilities of the ObamaCare website. The expert witnesses outlined the significant risk of identity theft to people if hackers were to gain access to their personal information.
One witness, David Kennedy, a so-called “white hat hacker” who works for the good guys, gave a demonstration of the real vulnerabilities with HealthCare .gov. According to his testimony, not only is the website vulnerable, it is under attack. Even more troubling, Kennedy testified that there are “clear indicators that even basic security was not built into the HealthCare.gov website.”
MARRIAGE. The Heritage Foundation’s William E. Simon Fellow, Ryan T. Anderson, testified before the Indiana House Judiciary Committee Monday on their proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The Heritage Foundation notes:
The controversial bill, which would place the amendment on the state ballot and give citizens the right to vote about such an important matter, spurred a three-hour heated debate full of testimonies from both supporters and opponents.
Anderson, co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the acclaimed book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” which Justice Samuel Alito cited twice in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, began his testimony by explaining what marriage is and why marriage matters. According to Anderson, the collapse of marriage over the past 50 years is directly tied to the over-expanded welfare state of the country, and lack of male figureheads in families.
FARM BILL. As lawmakers debate policy within the farm bill, dairy policy has emerged as one of the most controversial portions of the bill:
Dairy provisions are receiving a fair amount of attention this week following reports that they are causing a sizeable rift between farm bill negotiators, but Reps. Bob Goodlatte and David Scott – sponsors of a Dairy Margin Protection Plan – say the decision should already be made.
The amendment eliminates the controversial Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which was included in the Senate-passed farm bill. The DMSP includes what critics have called a “supply management” element, where participating producers would be required to decrease milk production to stave off market imbalances.
Goodlatte and Scott, however, argue that the Senate’s DMSP will increase milk prices and ultimately cost Americans more at the grocery store.
The Heritage Foundation explains the dairy program should be repealed and no new subsides should be added to the farm bill.