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The Hill: The Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act passed 232-183 in a vote that went largely along party lines, hours before the House was to adjourn for its August recess. Under the bill, both chambers of Congress would have to sign off on any federal rules that carry an annual price tag of $100 million.
Weekly Standard: In a press release today, Georgia insurance commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens warns that, because of Obamacare, “Georgia insurance companies are demanding massive rate increases up to 198 percent for some individuals.” Hudgens claims this runs contrary to President Obama’s promise to “Americans that Obamacare would lower rates.”
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: “Republican leaders are growing concerned by the fervor with which some members are demanding that Boehner defund the health care law as part of the government funding talks.”
CNSNews: Federal employees were paid more than $155 million of taxpayer dollars in 2011 for spending more than 3.4 million hours of “official time” on labor union activities that fell outside their assigned government duties, according to a survey by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Rare.us: My biggest surprise has been the defeatism among some Republicans here. There was such a strong sense of confusion about November’s loss, and many believed we had to retrench and there was no way to stop the president and Democrats from running the table. In my view, even in the Senate minority, Republicans can do three things. First, we can stop bad bills.
A total of 44 NEA state affiliates lost members since 2008-09, including 22 with double-digit percentage losses
Education News: But union finances will only take a moderate hit, since NEA leaders decided to raise individual members dues by $3 per year to make up for the loss in revenue.
NCPA Policy Digest: Doctors are skeptical about the Affordable Care Act, and clueless, too. A new survey shows that an overwhelming percentage of physicians don’t believe that their states’ new health insurance exchanges will meet the Oct. 1 deadline to begin enrolling the uninsured, says CNBC.
Washington Post: Mitch McConnell is at least two things: A Kentucky senator running for reelection next year, and the leader of the Senate GOP Conference. It’s a combination that makes for same painful dilemmas.
AP: An official with the Ready For Hillary super PAC confirmed Tuesday that the organization hit the million-dollar threshold since beginning to collect donations in earnest this spring.
Education News: The U.S. government’s books are in the red by more than $86.8trillion, according to an influential University of California San Diego economist.
Byron York at NRO: On the other hand, a lot of thoughtful conservatives are looking beyond Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, the day the law (except for the parts the president has unilaterally postponed) is scheduled to go fully into effect. On that day the government will begin subsidizing health insurance for millions of Americans. (A family of four with income as high as $88,000 will be eligible for subsidies.) When people begin receiving that entitlement, the dynamics of the Obamacare debate will change. At that point, the Republican mantra of total repeal will become obsolete.
Heritage Foundation: But when you apply for coverage in the Obamacare insurance exchange, it’s up to you to report your income accurately. It turns out that the IRS won’t be checking everyone’s Obamacare applications.
The Hill: An anti-pornography group is fuming over the military’s decision to allow sales of adult magazines, including Playboy and Penthouse, on properties under the Defense Department’s jurisdiction.
The Hill: A conservative group is asking the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of a organization crucial in helping to promote ObamaCare. Cause of Action has asked the IRS to investigate Enroll America, a nonprofit that is encouraging people to enroll in new coverage options under the healthcare law.
AP: An East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office task force arrested at least 12 men since 2011 under a sodomy law invalidated a decade ago the U.S. Supreme Court, a newspaper reported Sunday.
AP: Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.
The Hill: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Friday that a plan spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — and endorsed by at least a dozen Republican senators — to shut down the government to block funds for ObamaCare would cost the GOP control of the House and could destroy the party.
USA Today: A portion of the Lincoln Memorial, temporarily closed after green paint was found splattered around the statue early Friday, reopened about 12 hours later.
USA Today: Ariel Castro told a Cleveland judge Friday that he has a “sexual problem” and is “addicted to pornography” after accepting a plea deal on kidnapping, rape and murder charges that will keep him imprisoned for the rest of his life.
AP: The measure given final approval late Thursday night in a party-line vote in the GOP-dominated state House requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls and shortens early voting by a week, from 17 days to 10.
Washington Times: The Democratic Party is battling scandals from New York to San Diego and from city hall to Capitol Hill, as the party finds itself on the defensive over embarrassing lapses ranging from sexual misconduct to multiple scandals ensnaring the Obama administration.
Washington Post: GOP Senator Roy Blunt is not normally thought of as a “maverick” in the mold of John McCain. But this morning, Blunt came out and broke with GOP plans to stage a confrontation over the debt ceiling — which will also include a push to defund Obamacare, if Tea Party lawmakers get their way — putting Blunt at least partly in McCain’s new Compromise Caucus.
WLTX.com (includes video): The second-largest health insurance company in South Carolina is pulling out of the state at the end of the year because of the Affordable Care Act. Medical Mutual of Ohio is the parent company of the Carolina Care plan, which insures about 28,000 people in South Carolina.
The Hill: The Senate’s top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform.
Washington Post: The landmark health-reform law passed in 2010 has never been very popular and always highly partisan, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a group of once loyal Democrats has been steadily turning against Obamacare: Democrats who are ideologically moderate or conservative.
The Hill: Congressional Republicans and business groups on Tuesday demanded information about who made the decision to delay the healthcare law’s employer mandate.
The Hill: Nineteen Republicans voted Tuesday to advance a motion to begin debate on a bill funding the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, even though McConnell says the bill will bust the spending cap set by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA).
Volokh Conspiracy: Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed a lower court decision requiring the Food and Drug Administration to block the importation of sodium thiopental for use in lethal injection because it has not been approved by the FDA.
Washington Post: After months of assailing each other’s integrity from afar and by proxy, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II and businessman Terry McAuliffe traded direct attacks on stage Saturday in the opening debate of their heated race for Virginia governor.
Rasmussen: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that the president or his top aides were aware that the conservative groups were being targeted. Just 32% consider that unlikely. This includes 38% who say it’s Very Likely the president or his top aides knew . . .
Wall Street Journal (via Google): For four decades, the Heritage Foundation was a stately think tank that sought to define conservative thinking for Republicans. Now, in one of the more significant transformations in the capital’s intellectual firmament, it has become an activist political operation trying to alter the course of conservative thinking. It now challenges establishment Republican leaders as much as it informs them, making waves in the process.
Rasmussen: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 24% of Likely U.S. Voters now expect the U.S. health care system to get better over the next couple of years. Sixty-one percent (61%) think that system will get worse.
The Hill: Liz Cheney has opened a new front in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party with her decision to challenge Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). The fight pits conservatives willing to work across the aisle with a newer breed that views compromise as defeat.
NY Times: One conservative blog, Sonoran Alliance, has taken to describing the Republican legislators who voted for the expansion as “Brewercrats” and the expansion itself as “Obrewercare,” a play on the Republican moniker for President Obama’s health care overhaul.
AP: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz privately has addressed the gathering assembled by the conservative American Renewal Project at a downtown hotel Friday morning. Also scheduled to appear around midday is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
The Hill: In the 11 states that have released rates for next year, premiums for a middle-of-the-road plan are an average of 18 percent cheaper than the Congressional Budget Office had expected.
Heritage Foundation: But there’s another helpful chart that shows how Obamacare will work, and it’s taken from an official report released by government auditors. Click on the image below to see how the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration explained the Obamacare enrollment process, in testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday . . .
Public Religion Research Institute: Americans are generally pessimistic about upward economic mobility. Nearly half (47%) of Americans believe that their generation is worse off financially than their parents’ generation, compared to 16% who believe their generation is doing about the same, and 36% who believe they are better off than their parents’ generation.
Susan Collins and Joe Donnelly at WSJ: In Lafayette, Ind., a school district cut the hours of 200 support staff to no more than 29 per week. In Bangor, Maine, the school system is preparing to track and cap the number of hours worked by substitute teachers to ensure that they don’t work more than 29 hours a week. Elsewhere, in Portland, Maine, a small business reduced a part-time employee’s hours from 35 to 29. We are hearing reports like this from across the country. Why is this happening?
Kimberly A. Strassel Wall Street Journal (via Google) Instead, it is Democrats who are waking up—to a horror film. Every morning brings fresh news of terror: missing deadlines, programs running of money, premiums set to soar, flailing technical implementation. And this week Republicans nimbly forced them to choose between abandoning core provisions of the bill or renewing ownership of what may prove to be one of the biggest political liabilities in decades.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: On Thursday, President Barack Obama said of his health care law: “Despite all the evidence that the law is working the way it’s supposed to,” there are critics out there. He says they must be doing it for purely political reasons. That sound you hear is the fire alarm going off in the White House.
CNSNews: Thousands of high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), including those who scored below average on their eighth grade reading and math tests, will soon be encouraged to learn how to sell Obamacare to their families under a $43 million federal grant.
FoxNews: Detroit has become the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr on Thursday asked a federal judge permission to place the city into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.
Bloomberg: Two Detroit pension funds sued the city’s emergency manager and the governor of Michigan, asking that a court find a bankruptcy filing would conflict with the state’s constitutional protection of public retirees’ rights.
The Hill: Norquist, a powerful GOP kingmaker, says he doesn’t know yet where Cheney stands on the issues, but is unhappy with Enzi for his help pushing an Internet sales tax bill through the Senate.
The Hill: Republicans activists are growing nervous about the party’s chances of upsetting North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D), a prime GOP target in a seat that could decide control of the Senate in 2015.
The Hill: He gained kudos and Democratic friends, but some believe he undercut Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and handed Reid a big win.
Spiegel (translation by Google): Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was in the wake of the NSA Spähskandals criticized the American political system. ”America has no functioning democracy,” Carter said Tuesday at a meeting of the “Atlantic Bridge” in Atlanta . . . Carter has repeatedly warned that the United States sharply declined due to excessive restriction of civil rights, their moral authority. Last year he wrote in an article in the “New York Times”, new U.S. laws “never before seen breach our privacy by the government” allowed the.
James Piereson at Wall Street Journal (via Google): Much of the not-for-profit sector has become a junior partner in administering the welfare state . . . The publication Giving USA, which tracks charitable spending, reports that the government now supplies one-third of all funds raised by not-for-profit organizations . . . Planned Parenthood, also an influential advocate for government spending, received more than $25 million in federal grants in 2012 . . . Religious organizations also receive large infusions of federal funds. Catholic Charities USA receives more than half of its funding each year ($554 million in 2010) from federal grants.
FoxNews: Many people dread not being able to use their legs – but for one woman, it’s her dream come true. Chloe Jennings-White suffers from a rare psychological condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder. An able-bodied 58-year-old woman, Jennings-White fantasizes about being a paraplegic and wants to undergo spinal surgery to make her legs stop working, The Sun reported.
Weekly Standard: The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, is forcing millions of Americans living abroad to reconsider their U.S. citizenship, a lawyer, Colleen Graffy, writes in the Wall Street Journal.
MyFoxNY: Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.
Richard Cohen at the Washington Post: For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed. In the meantime, the least we can do is talk honestly about the problem. It does no one any good to merely cite the number of stop-and-frisks involving black males without citing the murder statistics as well.
AP: John Rosemond has been dispensing parenting advice in his newspaper column since 1976, making him one of the longest-running syndicated columnists in the country.
CNSNews: According to the Daily Treasury Statement for July 12, which the U.S. Treasury released this afternoon, the federal debt that is currently subject to a legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60 has stood at exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00 for 56 straight days.
The Hill: During an interview to air Sunday on CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS, Lew said top administration officials are intent on separating the debt ceiling from the broader debate over fiscal policy this year.
Foreign Policy: For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January.
The Guardian: Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
CNN: Activists are organizing the first national gay blood drive Friday in an effort to combat the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
The Hill: The House will vote next week to delay the implementation of both the employer and individual mandate in the healthcare law, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Thursday.
CNSNews: Following an “eye-opening” subcommittee hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s decision to postpone the employer health care mandate, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said lawmakers need to hear directly from the Treasury Department, which surprised most people when it announced the one-year delay in a July 2 blog.
Daniel Heninger at Wall Street Journal: Mark July 3, 2013, as the day Big Government finally imploded. July 3 was the quiet afternoon that a deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy announced in a blog post that the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate would be delayed one year. Something about the “complexity of the requirements.” The Fourth’s fireworks couldn’t hold a candle to the sound of the U.S. government finally hitting the wall.
Forbes: The Obama administration is looking far and wide, leaving no stone unturned in a relentless search for…well…for help. Help with what? Help with getting people to enroll in health insurance plans this fall.
Newsday: A federal appeals court gave the green light Tuesday to a law permitting New York City to charge hundreds of dollars for a gun licensing fee that costs $3 to $10 elsewhere in the state . . . | Kwong v. Bloomberg, No. 13-1578 (2nd Cir. July 9, 2013)
Michael Barone at Human Events: What’s the outlook for the 2014 Senate elections? The Republicans once again have a chance to overturn the Democrats’ majority, as they did in 2010 and 2012.
Common Sense (video embedded):Ted Cruz’s father Rafael was one of the many great speakers at the FreedomWorks “Free the People” Rally in Salt Lake City on July 5th.