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News Briefing for Monday, April 20

HEALTHCARE: Group Takes On Insurance Companies Over Obamacare “Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, challenged the president of Humana Thursday for his support of Obamacare during a shareholder’s meeting. Danhof took aim at Bruce D. Broussard, president of the insurance giant Humana, over his support of Obamacare, particularly in light of ongoing legal challenges. Broussard defended his position arguing healthcare is a right and therefore must be respected, an answer Danhof disputed. “I think at Humana, we have one fundamental belief and that is that individuals have the right to receive health ...

News Briefing for Friday, April 17

HEALTHCARE: 27.49% of Everyone's Tax Bill Is Spent on Health Care Share of Each Taxpayer Dollar Spent on Health Care Up 22 Percent Since 2012. “Every year since 2011, the White House has used tax time to post a "Federal Taxpayer Receipt" showing taxpayers how their federal tax dollars are being spent. President Obama introduced the concept in his 2011 State of the Union address, and Wednesday the White House posted the fifth installment so taxpayers can see how "tax dollars are being spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, and health care."  While users can punch in their own tax liability and see dollar amounts assigned to each ...

News Briefing for Tuesday, April 14

TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: 'Yesterday is Over': Rubio Announces 2016 Campaign “…Rubio's announcement is receiving praise from at least one tea party group. He ran as an outsider in 2010 for U.S. Senate and upset the Florida political world with his surprising win, catching the eye of the tea party as it was gaining traction. "As we mark the Sixth Anniversary of our original Tax Day rallies, it's gratifying to see yet another candidate who shares tea party values enter the 2016 presidential race. We have come a long way, in six years, when three tea party senators are major players in the presidential race," Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea ...

News Briefing for Monday, April 13

TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: Fiorina, Tea Party loyalists have much in common “Carly Fiorina told the Tea Party Patriots Sunday that she too wants smaller, more responsive government, as she spoke and took questions from callers. The grassroots conservative group has been hosting government officials and potential presidential candidates in its teleconferences. Fiorina, a former corporate executive, said she will “probably make a final decision and announcement within a month” on a White House bid. She stands to be the only major Republican woman in the race. Sunday, she stressed her executive skills, criticizing both the George W. Bush and Obama ...

News Briefing for April 11

HEALTHCARE: Obamacare sticks some enrollees with unexpected bill “Last year, a study found that about four out of every 10 people who received financial help from the government while buying their Obamacare health plans had no idea they were getting any assistance. This tax season, many of those people may be in for a rude surprise when they're asked to pay some—or even all—of that money back. That's despite government and tax preparers last year repeatedly urging those enrolled in Obamacare plans to report changes in income during the year, to avoid a situation where they owed back—or were owed by the government—more in the way of ...

News Briefing for Friday, April 10

HEALTHCARE: Obamacare spending leads to a higher budget deficit so far in 2015 “The Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday that the federal government saw a higher budget deficit in the first half of fiscal year 2015 compared to 2014, and said higher spending due to Obamacare is part of the reason. CBO said the budget deficit was $430 billion in the first half of fiscal year 2015, a $17 billion increase. While there were several contributing factors to that increase, CBO said spending on Obamacare was a significant change from 2014 to 2015. First, CBO said Medicaid spending rose by $31 billion from October 1 through March 31 compared ...

News Briefing for Thursday, April 9

TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: The Speaker strikes back (Op-ed by Jenny Beth Martin) “House Speaker John Boehner’s latest volley in his petty war against conservatives in the GOP conference – while saying much more about himself than the men he’s targeting – provides a great opportunity for a discussion about Congress’ stewardship of taxpayer dollars. In the aftermath of the failed attempt to displace him in January, Boehner moved into recrimination mode with considerable dispatch.  For his sin of allowing colleagues to place his name in nomination for speaker, Rep. Dan Webster (R-Fla.) was bounced from the Rules Committee, along with his ...

News Briefing for Tuesday, April 7

TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: The GOP quandary: How far right without falling over the edge? “Tea party loyalists are still somewhat wary of Walker, though, because of past positions on immigration and government support for ethanol, a big issue in Iowa, site of the nation’s first caucus. In 2006, he said during his gubernatorial campaign that “we as conservatives should oppose” federal ethanol requirements. But at the Iowa Ag Summit this month, he said he was “willing to go forward” with federal standards. Tea Party Patriots president Jenny Beth Martin asked Walker why he switched his position. Walker said his position was consistent, ...

News Briefing for Friday, April 3

TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: Twenty conservative groups: SB 127 would have ‘chilling effect on free speech in Georgia’ “Leaders of 20 national and local conservative action groups have signed onto a letter protesting an amended SB 127, which they said would “have a chilling effect on free speech in Georgia by restricting the ability of nonprofit organizations to engage in public debates and political discourse.” Signers include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, and Jason Pye of FreedomWorks. The AJC’s Chris Joyner has your background at myAJC.com. A taste:...

Legislative Update for 03/29/15

Listen to the legislative update podcast here: CALENDAR: The House and Senate are both out of session for the next two weeks. LAST WEEK’S HOUSE FLOOR ACTION: As happens every now and then, I need to begin this week’s update with a correction to something I said last week. Last week, when I was discussing House floor action the week before, I said the House had passed the Rules for both H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Act, and H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act. But I most specifically did NOT say the two bills had passed on the floor. That’s because I couldn’t find any record online of the votes on final passage ...