“Real estate magnate and reality television star Donald Trump shredded liberals in the media who are “dishonest” on a conference call with grassroots activists nationwide from Tea Party Patriots on Sunday night, saying he’s planning to start calling out specific reporters for their inaccurate articles. “One of the things that the Tea Party has to be careful of is the dishonest press,” Trump said on the call, which is closed to media but Breitbart News was providing exclusive access to it. It’s so dishonest. They don’t cover certain people accurately. We had something with Citizens United and David Bossie and it was the biggest thing they ever had—and they [the media] don’t even report on it. I walked into the room—you couldn’t even walk in the hallway, it was so crowded, and he said there has never been anything like it. Frankly, it was incredible in a certain way. But the media didn’t report it. You have to be really, really careful with the press—not all of them, because I know some great reporters. But I’m going to start naming names because it really is incredible how dishonest the press is.” Trump added that he doesn’t think the Tea Party movement has gotten a fair shake in the press, and that’s why he’s stood up for conservatives for years. “I’ve always been the biggest advocate and a person who’s stuck up for the Tea Party to this day and I view it as just amazing people who work hard and want to see this country be great again,” Trump said. “I feel very strongly about that, I’ve been a long time fan and I think you know that better than anybody Jenny Beth [Martin].” “Yes I do and we certainly appreciate that very much,” Martin, Tea Party Patriots’ co-founder, said in response during the call. “And we all have learned you certainly have to be careful with the press because they take things and they twist it and there are other times when they just make things up to suit their own agenda.” In response to that, Trump said some in the media will make things up—or twist them out of context—to attack conservatives…”


CPAC Panel: How conservatives win in 2016

“…It was a fine topic, and my fellow panelists (Matt Schlapp of ACU, Ned Ryun of American Majority, and Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots) and I found the nearly-full crowd still fully engaged … as is obvious from the video. Curiously, the candidate that drew the greatest response was Jeb Bush, and not in a good way; when we mentioned Bush, boos and catcalls immediately erupted. It’s not a direct result of any misstep by Bush in his CPAC address, but more the problem that I’ve pointed out for over two months, ever since Bush got in the race. He’s not relevant to today’s conservative movement…”




Doctors: ‘If you want efficiency, don’t look to the government’

“Incorrect tax information. Overly generous government subsidies that must be paid back. A special extension for certain taxpayers who are unaware of the rules. Surprise penalties. Sticker shock in premiums. And deductibles. Obamacare already looks as inefficient and mistake-prone as the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to one leading physician who has served as the president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “[Health care] is not something that government should be involved in to begin with,” said Dr. Lee Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon. “They’ve never done it before, it’s a huge experiment – it just doesn’t work. And, you know, this is just medicine run by the DMV. If you want efficiency, don’t look to the government.” The Obama administration admitted Friday that the federal government sent the wrong tax information to roughly 800,000 people who bought health insurance last year on HealthCare.gov. Administration officials asked those people – who represent about 15 percent of all of last year’s HealthCare.gov enrollees – to delay filing their tax returns for two or three weeks. As a result of the mistake, about 50,000 people who have already filed their 2014 returns will likely have to file again with updated numbers, according to the Washington Post. Hieb, author of “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamcare,” said the error provides evidence of the incompetence of bureaucracies. “It just reinforces everything that we’ve always known about government getting involved in anything,” she said. “They make it complicated, they make it costly, and it ultimately doesn’t work better than a person could do on their own.” Jane Orient, M.D., the current executive director of AAPS, agrees with Hieb. “This is yet another example of the pervasive incompetence in the implementation of Obamacare, and by the very agency in charge of enforcement,” Orient said. “It is one more reason to shun everything connected with the program. Pay the penalty if you must (if the IRS can figure it out and you are not covered by an exemption).” Orient runs a private consulting practice in which she neither contracts with third-party payers nor provides covered services to beneficiaries of government programs. She advises people to explore alternatives to traditional insurance. “Best to ditch ‘insurance’ altogether – a guaranteed money sink with no guarantee of care – and sign up for a health-sharing ministry (exempt from penalty by statute) and possibly a direct-pay primary care practice,” she said.”


How GOP Takes Away Obamacare From Its Own

“The U.S. Supreme Court, which next week begins to hear a case that could decide whether millions of Americans retain subsidies to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, could harm low income people in states generally governed by Republicans who support derailing the law. At stake in the case known as King v. Burwell is whether subsidies are illegal because wording in the health law rules out subsidies in states that didn’t establish their own exchanges. Three dozen states are using the federal exchange to buy coverage and most are essentially led by Republican governors or legislatures that have intense disdain for the Affordable Care Act. Opponents of the law brought the case, which is laid out in more detail in Scotusblog. A court decision would likely be handed down in June. Below are two charts that look at the specific costs and states that purchased coverage on exchanges, or what are below called the “federally-facilitated marketplace” or “FFM” as the charts from research firm Avalere Health indicate. If the high court rules against the Obama administration (the defendant is U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell), an estimated 8 million Americans would lose subsidies and insurance markets could be upset in the three dozen states that used the federal exchange. “The federal exchange generally serves low-income populations in red states, so that’s where the premium increases would be concentrated,” said Dan Mendelson, chief executive of Avalere Health. Here are two charts from Avalere Health outlining the states and ramifications the Supreme Court could have should its ruling eliminate subsidies from Americans who purchased coverage on the federal exchange, or FFM:..”


Hospital Profits Soar As Obamacare Prescribes More Paying Patients

“Hospital operators continue to see profits and revenue not seen in a decade thanks to the Affordable Care Act and related efforts to sign up uninsured patients to coverage so facilities can reduce unpaid medical bills. Large hospital operators HCA Holdings HCA -1.01% (HCA), Tenet Healthcare THC -0.94% (THC) and Community Health Systems (CYH) in the last month issued robust 2014 earnings, revenues and large declines in uncompensated care costs, a key measure of expenses. “We reported Tenet’s strongest quarterly EBITDA in more than 10 years,” Tenet chief executive officer Trevor Fetter boasted last week of a key earnings acronym in the hospital chain’s 2014 fourth quarter. Hospitals have been working to enroll uninsured patients. Tenet said its “Path to Health program” launched in 2013 continued to enroll more patients in this year’s second open enrollment period through the use of financial counselors, direct mail marketing and community events. “We held nearly 800 outreach and enrollment events, reaching tens of thousands of people in our priority markets,” Fetter said. “Our daily enrollments have increased by more than 60% during this enrollment period and we estimate that we will exceed the number of exchange enrollments that we achieved last year.” Hospital operators are reporting more paying patients and fewer uninsured, which means far fewer unpaid medical bills. “For the last four quarters, the decline in self-pay admits and adjusted admits and the increase in Medicaid in expansion states have grown quarter over quarter,” Community Health CFO Larry Cash said…”


How to handle health insurance on your taxes


GOP: ‘We have a plan’ for ObamaCare

“Three GOP Senate leaders declared Sunday that they have united the party around an ObamaCare backup plan, just days before the Supreme Court hears its biggest healthcare case in three years. “Republicans have a plan to create a bridge away from Obamacare,” Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post late Sunday. The three GOP chairmen revealed new pieces of a strategy in case of plaintiff victory in King v. Burwell, a conservative-backed lawsuit that alleges people in 37 states have been illegally receiving subsidies under ObamaCare. Their first idea – which they say is their top priority – is giving people money to help them “keep the coverage they picked for a transitional period.” “It would be unfair to allow families to lose their coverage, particularly in the middle of the year,” they wrote. The senators do not say how the “financial help” would differ from the current tax credits under ObamaCare. The senators also promise to work with governors in those 37 states – nearly all run by Republican governors – to offer them “freedom and flexibility” to move away from ObamaCare. The governors have recently raised alarms about having to rapidly adapt to the potential loss of billions of dollars of subsidies. The Republicans’ op-ed is an effort to counter criticism that the party is unprepared to address the potential fallout – as well as appeal to the Supreme Court justices as they begin arguments. If the court rules against the Obama administration, experts warn that more than 8 million people would lose their subsidies, many of whom could be forced to drop their coverage. The new details of their plan also comes one week after freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) penned his own explosive op-ed in which he warned the Republican Party could “lose the whole war” against ObamaCare because too many Republicans remain divided on a replacement strategy. Sasse also pledged to create his own plan, which would include temporary financial help for ObamaCare customers. A spokesman for Sasse stressed Sunday that the plan would not simply extend the current subsidies, but create a new type of assistance program. King v. Burwell is widely viewed as the Republican’s best chance to undo ObamaCare before 2016. But fears within the Republicans party have grown in recent weeks as the party struggles to unite around a strategy to prevent the massive disruption that could come from a plaintiff victory. Even as ObamaCare remains unpopular nationally, polls show the vast majority of Americans support the subsidies. Still, many conservatives remain firmly opposed to any piece of ObamaCare, including subsidies.”


AP EXPLAINS: Supreme Court case against Obama’s health law


Obamacare rule harms millions: Opposing view

“In King v. Burwell, four Virginia residents are a challenging an IRS Obamacare rule in the Supreme Court. While the case involves only a handful of plaintiffs, it is really about the millions of Americans who are victims of Obamacare’s mandates and penalties. Like the King plaintiffs, millions are harmed by Obamacare’s individual mandate, which forces them to either buy insurance that they don’t want or to pay a tax penalty. But the IRS rule also has devastating consequences for countless other Americans and their families. The victims include workers who have lost their jobs or have been pushed into part-time employment; individuals who lost their health plans and doctors despite White House promises to the contrary; and those whose insurance premiums and taxes are rising due to Obamacare. If the King plaintiffs win, many of these people, who live in states that chose not to set up their own insurance exchanges, would be protected from these harms. The specific issue before the court is whether this IRS rule is valid. That rule gives insurance subsidies, paid by taxpayers, to every state in the country. Congress, however, only authorized those subsidies for states that choose to set up their own insurance exchanges. At this point, at least 34 states have rejected that choice. The IRS rule raises a basic issue that goes far beyond Obamacare: Do agencies have to follow the laws enacted by Congress, or can they rewrite them? The IRS claims that it’s merely following congressional intent, but what it’s really doing is torturing statutory language. That violates the Constitution’s separation of powers, under which Congress makes the law and agencies implement it. And to the extent the IRS gets away with it, we’ll all be victims. As for the legal standing of our plaintiffs, some have questioned it, but this is a non-issue in the case. The Justice Department challenged the plaintiffs’ standing in two different courts, and it lost each time. And at the Supreme Court stage, the government expressly conceded the standing issue. No surprise there.”


GOP fears grow over ObamaCare challenge

“Republican fears are mounting over a Supreme Court case that the party has long hailed as its best chance to undo ObamaCare. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on a GOP-backed case that threatens to erase healthcare subsidies for 8 million people. The vast stakes are raising alarm among Republicans, particularly in the Senate, who increasingly fear a backlash at the polls if their party can’t find a fix. A plaintiff victory would bring Republicans the closest to repealing ObamaCare. But the party has begun to fret about the fallout from King v. Burwell, fearing the sudden loss of subsidies could put pressure on lawmakers and governors to restore them. The loss of subsidies for millions of people would also put the Obama administration on the offense for the first time to protect its signature healthcare law.

A White House crusade against the GOP would mean a firestorm of accusations that the party is taking away care and endangering lives – building up for the 2016 election…”


Is GOP finally getting nervous that the Supreme Court might gut Obamacare?

“Supreme Court might overturn a key provision of the Affordable Care Act with unalloyed glee. The court might “ultimately take it down,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) crowed in December. “You could have a mulligan here, a major do-over of the whole thing, that opportunity presented to us by the Supreme Court.” We’re not hearing that so much these days, as the court prepares to take oral arguments on a major anti-Obamacare case next week. In the case, King vs. Burwell, conservative organizations argue that a five-word phrase buried in the ACA renders it illegal to award tax subsidies to insurance purchasers in three dozen states that opted out of setting up their own individual insurance exchanges, and chose to let the federal government do it for them. Most legal experts, and the federal government, argue from legal precedent that a hyper-literal interpretation of a single phrase can’t be used to contradict the overall import of the ACA, which explicitly aims to bring affordable insurance to everyone in the country. But that will be up to the Supreme Court. What’s making Republicans and conservatives nervous is the fear they’ll be blamed for the carnage resulting from a court ruling that strips tax subsidies from some 8 million residents and destroys the insurance markets of those three dozen states. Ultraconservative Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) laid out the consequences starkly this week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Chemotherapy turned off for perhaps 12,000 people, dialysis going dark for 10,000. The horror stories will be real. What will happen next is predictable: A deluge of attacks on Republicans for supposedly having caused this.” In the Washington Examiner, conservative pundit Byron York quotes an unnamed GOP aide fretting about “ads saying cancer patients are being thrown out of treatment, and Obama will be saying all Congress has to do is fix a typo.”…”


Is Supreme Court’s chief justice ready to take down ObamaCare?

“U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts faced a conservative backlash after casting a decisive vote to save ObamaCare in 2012. Now he must weigh in on the law once again. The case of King v. Burwell, set for arguments before the Court on Wednesday, threatens to gut the law by invalidating subsidies to help millions of people buy insurance in the roughly three-dozen states relying on the federally run marketplace. While it is legally far different than the 2012 case — a question of interpreting the text of the law rather than ruling on its constitutionality — Roberts faces the same kind of scrutiny. After Roberts’s surprise ruling in a 5-4 decision to uphold the law the last time, conservatives denounced him as a sellout. Conservative host Glenn Beck printed T-shirts with Roberts’s picture above the word “COWARD.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, now a possible Republican presidential candidate, said Roberts was “just playing to the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times.” CBS reported after the decision, citing two anonymous sources, that Roberts had switched his vote to uphold the law and withstood a fierce lobbying campaign from the conservative wing of the Court. Now conservatives are putting pressure on Roberts again. John Yoo, who was a prominent lawyer in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department, wrote in National Review that the new case gives Roberts “the chance to atone for his error in upholding Obamacare.” But it remains unclear which way Roberts will rule. The challengers argue that the plain English of a phrase in the law referring to marketplaces “established by the state” clearly prohibits subsidies from being disbursed on federally run exchanges not established by states. The administration argues that is a nonsensical reading of one phrase that is contradicted by the rest of the law, which makes no mention of restricting subsidies only to some states. Supporters of upholding the subsidies also have their eyes on Roberts. “The chief is clearly the prime person to look at,” said Simon Lazarus, senior counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center. The legal world is buzzing about a decision the Supreme Court handed down on Wednesday, thinking it might provide a window into how Roberts will rule in King. In the case, Yates v. United States — which centers on a fisherman accused of destroying evidence that he violated restrictions — Roberts joined a majority opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, holding that a fish is not a “tangible object” under a certain law. While a fish is literally a “tangible object,” Ginsburg, along with Roberts, pointed to Congress’s intent in passing the law, which was to crack down on financial fraud, and said that fish have nothing to do with that…”


Six words might decide the fate of Obamacare at the Supreme Court

“When the Supreme Court takes up the latest challenge to President Obama’s health-care law this week, how the justices interpret a six-word phrase in the bill could determine its fate. The law, adopted in 2010, says the federal government can pay subsidies to help people afford insurance bought through “an Exchange established by the state.” But two-thirds of the states have opted against setting up their own exchanges, and as a result, more Americans have been buying insurance through the federal insurance marketplace. Now, opponents of the law will make their case to the high court that Americans who are not using the state exchanges are ineligible for subsidies. And if they win, insurance premiums could skyrocket and many people might drop their coverage — possibly undermining the whole health-care program. And as the justices weigh whether the health-care law in fact has a fatal glitch, one of the key questions is this: Why did the Obama administration rule-writing officials in the Internal Revenue Service and its parent agency, the Treasury Department, ultimately interpret the language the way they did? It had never occurred to the Treasury Department official responsible for making the changes in the tax code required by the law that there was more than one way to read the phrase — until she happened across an article in a trade journal. Emily McMahon, deputy assistant treasury secretary for tax policy, read an article in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report in January 2011 raising questions about whether federal subsidies could be paid for millions of Americans buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to Treasury Department officials. The issue was whether the law allowed these payments if the coverage was bought in states that did not set up their own insurance marketplaces. So McMahon called a meeting with two of her top lawyers, one of them recalled, and asked whether there was “a glitch in the law we needed to worry about.”


SCOTUS’s Upcoming Remedial Reading Lessons

“In two cases next week, the Court should make clear that the law means what it says. The Supreme Court frequently ponders arcane matters. But this week, however, in oral arguments concerning two cases, the justices’ task will be to teach remedial reading to Congress and to Arizona. On Wednesday, the justices will consider this: Did Congress mean what it said when, with patently coercive intent, it stipulated in the Affordable Care Act that subsidies for persons compelled to purchase health insurance can be disbursed only through exchanges “established by the state”? If so, billions have been illegally disbursed through federal exchanges in the 34 states that resisted the ACA’s pressure to establish exchanges. On Monday, however, the court will consider whether the Constitution’s Framers meant what they said when, in the Election Clause, they assigned an important function to each state’s “legislature.” This clause says: “The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.” Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) supposedly is a better idea. It was created by a state constitutional amendment passed by voter initiative. The commission is composed of five members. Four of them are chosen by the majority and minority leaders of the two parties in the two legislative chambers — but these leaders must pick from a list of just 25 (of the 4.9 million Arizonans of voting age) selected by another state commission, one for appellate court appointments. No member of the legislature may serve on the IRC. It draws congressional district maps that are not subject to even such checks as a gubernatorial veto or referendum. The legislature’s role is reduced to submitting nonbinding recommendations to the IRC — “a function without consequence,” as the legislature says in its brief to the court…”


In ACA Case, Context Is Key

“As with everything else here these days, the talk about the Affordable Care Act case before the Supreme Court this week will focus on ideological splits: Will any conservative justice join the four liberals all but certain to back the administration? In fact, the correct conservative legal position would be to rule for the administration. First, it would demonstrate greater deference to the constitutional rights of states within a federal system. Second, it would reflect a restrained conception of the judicial role, respecting statutory language rather than legislating from the bench. The case, King v. Burwell, concerns the availability of insurance subsidies in the 34 states that opted for federally run insurance exchanges rather than setting up their own. A subsection outlining how to calculate these subsidies refers to an “exchange established by the state.” Thus, the argument of those out to destroy the law: If Congress wanted to subsidize customers in federal exchanges, it would have done that. So, for a statutory strict constructionist, case closed. Not so fast. I’ll dispense with the statutory interpretation issue first, and take guidance from Justice Antonin Scalia, an undoubted conservative, who literally wrote the book on statutory interpretation. Scalia’s approach is termed “textualist,” in contrast to the loosey-goosier “purposivist” method of those who see the court’s role as reading a statute in light of its underlying legislative intent. A purposivist would have no trouble deciding this case: The Affordable Care Act is designed to cover as many uninsured as possible. But a good textualist would rule for the government, too, looking solely to the structure and language of the law. First, “it is a fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme.” That language comes from the Supreme Court’s 2000 ruling rejecting the Food and Drug Administration’s bid to regulate tobacco. It was written by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and joined by Justices Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito weren’t yet serving.) In the ACA case, the text must be read in the context of other provisions that would be rendered absurd if subsidies were limited to state-operated exchanges. To take one example: No one could buy insurance on federal exchanges because the statute defines an individual “qualified” to purchase as one who “resides in the state that established the exchange.” So under the challengers’ reading, Congress would have taken the trouble to establish exchanges not only doomed to fail, because of the unavailability of subsidies, but that would have no customers at all. A second rule of statutory construction is that Congress “does not alter the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme in vague terms or ancillary provisions — it does not, one might say, hide elephants in mouseholes.” That comes from a 2001 Scalia opinion, joined by Kennedy and Thomas. In this case, according to the challengers, Congress hid quite an elephant — a provision that even they agree would gut the law — in a five-word mousehole. Which brings me to the states’ rights issue that, for conservatives, should be even more compelling. The ACA created federal exchanges as the states’ backup plan, respecting states’ rights to choose. Under the challengers’ reading, this federalist flexibility would be transformed into federal punishment: Citizens of states that failed to establish exchanges would be deprived of subsidies, sending the federal exchanges into a death spiral. Individual insurance markets in those states would collapse, too, because other provisions in the law — such as requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions — would still apply, driving sicker people into those markets and premium costs up…”


Be Prepared

How to respond if the Court ends Obamacare ­subsidies.

“Few people expect much to happen on health care in the 114th Congress, certainly not President Obama. He plans to continue bending and twisting his interpretation of Obamacare’s many complex provisions as necessary to keep it afloat and to avoid dealing at all with opposition to the law among the public or the Republicans who now run Congress. But King v. Burwell could upend the president’s plans. That’s the case, now on the Supreme Court’s docket, contesting the legality of subsidy payments to people in states that chose not to build their own Obamacare insurance exchanges. A decision against the government’s provision of the subsidies would undermine the law in the 37 affected states and, in the process, disrupt insurance for millions of people who signed up for coverage on the assumption that the subsidies would be available to them. The blame for the mess that would surely ensue should rightfully fall on the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. Congressional Democrats wrote the statute on their own, and the administration has enforced it. If the Court rules that the statute was written carelessly and enforced lawlessly, Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves. But don’t expect them to take responsibility. If the administration loses the case, Obama is sure to denounce the ruling as an ideological power grab by the Court and then to demand that Republicans in Congress fix it, with no strings attached. Further, the administration will almost certainly develop a workaround for the states, allowing them to designate and use the federal exchange as if it had been built by the states. This would give administration officials a justification to continue paying federal subsidies in the states agreeing to the workaround, even if it were legally questionable…”


Bobby Jindal: GOP Leaders in Congress ‘Fearful’ of Repealing Obamacare



Immigration debate may have increased illegal crossings

GAO: Illegals banked on staying in U.S. based on rumors

“The debate over legalizing illegal immigrants was “a primary cause” of last summer’s surge of Central Americans jumping the U.S.-Mexico border, the Government Accountability Office reported Friday, citing surveys of U.S. officials on the ground in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Crime, gang violence and poverty played major roles in pushing tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children to make the trek, and, to a lesser degree, so did abuse at home and lack of access to good schools. But the children were also pulled to the U.S. by ties to family already living here and by the belief that even if they crossed illegally, they would be given citizenship, the GAO said after surveying State Department, Homeland Security Department and U.S. Agency for International Development workers in each of the three countries. “For example, the State official’s response for Honduras reported that some Hondurans believed that comprehensive immigration reform in the United States would lead to a path to citizenship for anyone living in the United States at the time of reform,” the GAO said…”


Foreign workers fill hundreds of Sacramento-area IT jobs

“It’s nearly 8 p.m., and inside a state office building two dozen computer experts design and troubleshoot a system that will take and process millions of unemployment claims each year. It’s a $200 million Employment Development Department project, but with the exception of two managers, everyone inside the office is from outside of the U.S. They are employed by Deloitte, a major U.S. IT company hired by the state to create and manage its Unemployment Insurance Modernization project. The mostly Indian nationals are allowed to work here under a visa program called H-1B. Tech companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google and Facebook say they need hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to fill jobs here because American colleges can’t crank out computer science grads fast enough. In 2013, the industry lobbied Congress on the issue to the tune of almost $14 million. Those companies, who need workers with highly specialized knowledge like computer expertise, are awarded the visas through a lottery process. It’s allowed under the Immigration and Nationality Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. The visas can be valid as long as six years. News10 reached out to several H-1B workers over the past three months, and they all declined to comment for this story. “The program is going unfettered, unchecked, without bounds, and it’s all in the interest of profit,” Computer Database Administrator Chris Brown said. He said was displaced by one of the special visa workers in 1996, and he has been following the issue for the past 18 years. Hewlett Packard laid off Brown from its Roseville plant during the height of the H-1B program, when as many as 300,000 of the workers were allowed to take jobs in the U.S. The cap for H-1B visas today is 85,000 after federal audits showed there were abuses in the program. There’s an effort on Capitol Hill to raise the ceiling again to levels last seen in the mid 1990s. And, during a recent presidential trip to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked President Obama to help loosen the restrictions on the H-1B program. India’s tech outsourcing industry makes billions of dollars every year sending programmers and engineers overseas to work for U.S. companies. Brown is watching those new developments with interest. When he lost his job in 1996, it was just two weeks before Christmas. He says he’s afraid more Americans will be replaced by foreign-born workers. “I’m a single income, so on that particular day, as a direct result of this program, we were unable to provide Christmas presents and I kept telling my kids that day that Santa might not show up,” Brown said. A spokesperson for Hewlett Packard said he would not comment on layoffs that happened 18 years and three CEOs ago, but he defended the visas as a needed resource for HP and the industry as a whole…”



“Whoops. Democrats were so convinced that there would be a Department of Homeland Security shutdown last night that they jumped the gun on their plans to raise money because of it. An email sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee alerted donors that Republicans had shut down the Department of Homeland Security – even though Congress actually avoided doing so. “Here’s the bad news: Republicans forced a shutdown of Homeland Security,” the email blared. “It started at MIDNIGHT last night. Now more than ever, we need to raise $200,000 to launch an effective Rapid Response campaign against obstructionist Republicans.” The next morning, the DCCC emailed donors to apologize. “We screwed up,” the email read. “According to our records, we sent you an email this morning that you weren’t supposed to receive. Homeland Security did NOT shut down last night. We’re sorry for the mistake (we hate when this happens).” Undeterred by their mistake, however, they still take the opportunity to plead for more money. “Republicans are STILL trying to use our first responders as a bargaining chip against President Obama,” the email read. “These next hours are critical. Please — can you chip in to our Republican Accountability Fund before tonight’s federal fundraising deadline?”


House Democratic campaign arm fundraises off shutdown that didn’t happen


Boehner’s defeat was actually really unusual. Here’s why.

“On Friday, the politics surrounding the continued funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took a surprising, and disappointing, turn for House Speaker John Boehner. Facing restive conservative Republicans who wanted to tie DHS funding to a repudiation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Boehner sought to extend funding for the DHS for three weeks and arrange for conference proceedings with the Senate – which on Wednesday had passed a “clean” bill (shorn of any immigration language) to fund DHS through September. Boehner’s hope was that Republican House and Senate leaders, once in conference, would come up with a workable solution. But this hope was dashed when Boehner and his leadership team could not round up enough votes: the measure failed on a 203-224 vote with 52 Republicans defecting. With time running out, House Democrats – who had voted largely as a bloc against Boehner’s plan – came to the rescue and provided enough votes for a one-week postponement. In exchange for the Democrats’ support, Boehner is believed to have promised a clean vote on the Senate bill on March 6. Boehner’s ongoing struggle with the conservative wing of his caucus is well known. But Friday’s vote was unusual. In fact, it almost never happens. Here’s why. During his time as Speaker, several majority party failures have occurred, as Boehner has ignored the informal “Hastert Rule” and allowed legislation to go forward when he didn’t have a majority of GOP support. This resulted in what is known as a “roll” — when a majority of the majority party opposes a bill that ends up passing. Notable examples of rolls since the beginning of 2013 have included the revision and extension of Bush-era tax cuts (bundled into the “fiscal cliff” deal), Hurricane Sandy Relief, and the Violence Against Women Act. These examples have been written about extensively. Rolls also feature prominently in political science scholarship, such as the book “Setting the Agenda” by Gary Cox and Mathew McCubbins. In ignoring the Hastert Rule, Boehner bucked conservative opposition and relied upon Democratic support to pass legislation – which hurt his reputation as a party leader in the short run but preserved (in his estimation) the overall Republican brand name in the longer run…”


Split over ‘tactics’ is to blame for DHS funding impasse, House GOP leaders say

“Fanning out across Sunday morning’s talk shows, the top three House Republican leaders sought to portray Friday’s embarrassing defeat of a Department of Homeland Security funding bill as the result of a dispute over the “tactics” of how to combat the president’s executive orders on immigration — not as a sign of a more profound divide between conservative and moderate GOP factions. “We do have some members who disagree from time to time over the tactics that we decide to employ,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “But remember Republicans are united in this idea that the president has far exceeded his constitutional authority, and we all want to do things to stop the president from his illicit activities.” “We get in an argument over tactics from time to time,” he reiterated. “The goals are all the same.” Meanwhile, on “Meet the Press,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) struck much the same note when asked to react to the provocative suggestion, from moderate Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in the Los Angeles Times, that Friday’s floor failure was driven by “a small group of phony conservative members who have no credible policy proposals and no political strategy to stop Obama’s lawlessness.” “We have a difference of opinion in strategy and tactics, but in principle we are united,” McCarthy said. “We are united in the principle there’s a right way and wrong way to legislate. Unfortunately, the president chose the wrong way.” Facing a midnight deadline, Boehner wanted his fellow Republicans on Friday to support a three-week extension of funding for the Department of Homeland Security in order to continuing battling President Obama’s executive orders to expand pathways to legal status for illegal immigrants. But the vote failed after 52 Republicans sided with the vast majority of House Democrats to defeat the measure. It was a particularly embarrassing defeat for Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who won a leadership position last year in part because of the expectation that he could bring the House’s most conservative members behind Boehner on key votes such as this one. On “Fox News Sunday,” Scalise faced pointed questions from host Chris Wallace about his failure to deliver the votes of “Freedom Caucus” Republicans to Boehner. “You are the tea party favorite, if you will, who joined the leadership with the assurance that you were going to be able to bring more conservative members to back the leadership. You’re also, as the House whip, the person who’s supposed to count the votes,” Wallace said. “You were defeated, and defeated basically by your own caucus — 52 Republicans. What happened?”


Boehner: ‘I think’ I can lead conservatives in House GOP caucus

“Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he thinks he can lead conservative members of his caucus who disagree with him on tactics to fight President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. In a live interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Boehner was asked if he can continue leading those members as Speaker. “I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy, because it’s not,” he said. “We do have some members who disagree from time to time over the tactics that we decide to employ,” Boehner added. “Republicans are united that the president has far exceeded his constitutional authority.” Asked if he likes his job as Speaker, Boehner said, “Most days. Friday wasn’t a whole lot of fun… It was just messy.” Boehner was referring to a major defeat of his initial plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through March 19. The House had voted earlier to form a conference with the Senate to hammer out differences over attaching immigration provisions to the funding bill. On Friday evening, the vote for a three-week funding bill failed in a 203-224 vote after conservatives balked at the strategy and Democrats whipped against it, hoping for a “clean” bill funding DHS through September. The House later passed a bill funding DHS for only one week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested in a letter to Democrats Friday that she had struck a deal with GOP leaders to bring the full-year spending bill up for a vote this week. Boehner appeared to deny those rumors, which other GOP leaders had also rejected this weekend. “The promise I made to Ms. Pelosi is the same promise I made to Republicans that we would follow regular order. The bill is back in the Senate. We’ve asked for a conference with the Senate,” Boehner said Sunday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has scheduled a vote to advance the bill to move to conference for Monday afternoon, but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has already promised to block it. “If they vote, in fact, not to go to conference, this bill may be coming back to the House,” said Boehner, who didn’t detail his plan to avoid a DHS shutdown next Friday. If Boehner brings the “clean” full-year DHS funding bill up for a vote without immigration riders attached, there’s been chatter among conservatives about a possible coup to oust Boehner as Speaker. Asked which party Boehner likes dealing with more, he said, “I like dealing with both parties.”


Boehner After DHS Funding Revolt: House a ‘Rambunctious Place’

“After conservatives lawmakers in the House rejected his push on Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security for an additional three weeks — instead passing just a oneweek extension — House speaker John Boehner conceded that the chamber is “a rambunctious place.” Speaking to CBS’s John Dickerson, Boehner wouldn’t admit that some lawmakers undermined him when — worried he may cave in to President Obama’s unilateral amnesty — they revolted against his strategy to provide a long-term funding source to DHS. “It’s the House of Representatives,” hes said. “The House is a rambunctious place. We have 435 members. A lot of members have a lot of different ideas about what we should and shouldn’t be doing.” When asked if he could lead those members, Boehner replied, “I think so. I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy, because it’s not.” The speaker suggested it’s “the frustration of the country” with Obama’s policies — not his own leadership — that has caused the frustration of many GOP lawmakers…”


John Boehner on ‘Messy’ Day That House Tossed DHS Bill: ‘I’m Not Into Messy’

“John Boehner, too. For the House speaker, “Friday wasn’t all that fun,” he says, though “most days” he likes his job. The Ohio Republican and his leadership team in the GOP-controlled House had a stunning defeat when a three-week spending bill for the Homeland Security Department went down after more than 50 conservatives voted against it — contending that it will allow the Obama administration to implement its executive action on immigration. The rejection came just hours before a threatened agency shutdown. A compromise — with support from Democrats — is keeping the department open for one more week. Boehner tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Friday “was just messy and I’m not into messy.” He calls the House “a rambunctious place” and says he enjoys “all the personalities — and I have got a lot of them.”


John Boehner: Obama’s ‘illicit activity’ caused shutdown standoff

“House Speaker John A. Boehner laid the blame on President Obama for the standoff over homeland security funding, saying the president is “running the country right off the cliff.” “Remember what’s causing this: It’s the president of the United States overreaching, and it’s not just on immigration,” Mr. Boehner said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. He pointed to the 38 times Mr. Obama unilaterally changed the Obamacare law, though it was Mr. Obama’s action on immigration that led to the showdown for the Department of Homeland Security. “So the frustration in the country, represented through the frustration of our members, has people scared to death that the president is running the country right off the cliff,” said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican. The president in November announced a plan to unilaterally grant legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to more than 4 million illegal immigrants. Republicans decried it as unconstitutional and moved to block the program. House Republicans rebelled Friday against Mr. Boehner’s plan to pass a three-week funding bill to extend the fight and avoid a shutdown of the department that night. Enough GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats to kill the bill in a startling rebuke to Mr. Boehner.”


GOP leaders are struggling to show they really are in charge


Senator Mike Lee: Congress At Fault For Obama’s Amnesty Power Grab [AUDIO]

“Republican Sen. Mike Lee said “almost all of” President Obama’s executive amnesty action is ultimately the fault of Congress passing vague laws. Asked how much of the blame for the shift in power from Congress to the executive branch should be laid at the feet of Congresses of the past, Lee said: I’m going to make a lot of people unhappy with what I’m about to say in response to that question, but almost all of it is Congress’s fault. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can come up with a system of laws that delegates all of this lawmaking power to the executive branch. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to abuse that. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think that’s going to result in an erosion of not only our constitutional order, but also liberty itself. So, yeah, this is Congress’s fault, it is overwhelmingly Congress’s fault and we’ve got to turn it back. Speaking with me on my WBAL Radio show at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Lee was unambiguous in his warning that Republicans, particularly conservatives, cannot rely on the courts to keep executive power in check. Congress, when passing laws, has to be explicit in its language to prevent presidents from having wiggle-room in the implementation and expansion of laws. “We cannot allow the president to act as though he were a government of one,” Lee said. “He is not. We have a Constitution, that Constitution puts the legislative power, the power to make law, in the hands of Congress. And if the President of the United States doesn’t like our current immigration laws he needs to go through Congress, he can’t just decree it.” On the strategy some Republicans have suggested of letting this issue play out in the courts. “We don’t know how that litigation is going to turn out. And I think it would be unwise for us to proceed as if that preliminary injunction is going to stick,” Lee said…”


Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

“Bordering on dysfunction, Congress passed a one-week bill late Friday night to avert a partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department, as leaders in both political parties quelled a revolt by House conservatives furious that the measure left President Barack Obama’s immigration policy intact. The final vote of a long day and night was a bipartisan 357-60 in the House, a little more than an hour after the Senate cleared the measure without so much as a roll call. That sent the legislation to the White House for Obama’s signature, which the president provided just a few minutes before midnight, capping a day of bruising political battles and rhetoric to match. “You have made a mess,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at one point to Republicans, as recriminations filled the House chamber and the midnight deadline neared for a partial shutdown of an agency with major anti-terrorism responsibilities. Even some Republicans readily agreed. “There are terrorist attacks all over world and we’re talking about closing down Homeland Security. This is like living in world of crazy people,” tweeted Rep. Peter King of New York, a former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Hours after conservatives joined with Democrats to vote down a three-week funding measure, 224-203, the Senate presented a one-week alternative to keep open the agency, which has responsibility for border control as well as anti-terrorist measures. That amounted to a take-it-or-leave it offer less than three hours before the deadline. Some Republican opponents — members of a “Freedom Caucus” — sat together in the chamber as the vote total mounted in the legislation’s favor. This time, Pelosi urged her rank-and-file to support the short-term measure, saying it would lead to passage next week of a bill to fund the agency through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year without immigration add-ons. Aides to Speaker John Boehner promptly said there had been no such promise made. Taken together, the day’s roller-coaster events at the Capitol underscored the difficulty Republicans have had so far this year in translating last fall’s election gains into legislative accomplishment — a step its own leaders say is necessary to establish the party’s credentials as a responsible, governing party. Republicans gained control of the Senate in November’s balloting, and emerged with their largest House majority in more than 70 years. Further demonstrating GOP woes, House GOP leaders abruptly called off a vote on a major education bill that had attracted significant opposition from conservatives as well as Democrats and the White House. Aides attributed that decision to the need to work separately on rounding up enough votes to pass the funding measure for Homeland Security. For their part, tea party conservatives in the House unflinchingly defended their actions. “It does not make any difference whether the funding is for three weeks, three months or a full fiscal year. If it’s illegal, it’s illegal,” said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala…”


DHS Funded — for a Week

“Congress passed a one-week continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security after House Democrats and a group of conservatives blocked passage of the three-week funding bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) wants to create a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House-passed DHS funding bill that bars President Obama from implementing his executive orders on immigration and the Senate-passed bill, which contains no such stipulations. (Senate Democrats blocked debate on the House-passed bill in order to avoid voting on the immigration orders directly.) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) convinced Democrats to back the one-week funding measure by implying that Boehner had promised to put a clean DHS bill on the floor next week; Boehner’s office denies that claim. Representative Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) criticized Pelosi’s backing of the one-week measure on the basis of such a presumed deal, describing it to National Journal as “an awfully thin reed on which to decide to vote for a one-week extension after you whipped Democrats to vote against a three-week extension.” Some Boehner allies fear that he might lose his speakership if he brings up a clean DHS bill for a vote, but conservative backbenchers poured cold water on that idea. “I’ve had my differences with the speaker at times both on tactics and policy,” Representative John Fleming (R., La.) told Politico. “But we elect each speaker for two years. There is no discussion or talk among conservatives to get him out.” Representative Mike Simpson (R., Idaho) said that Boehner’s supporters would continue to back him even if a minority of Republicans deprived him of the votes necessary to win a support from a majority of the House. “There’s enough of us that would say, ‘We’re not voting for anybody else,’” Simpson told National Journal. “If somehow you did something that made him step out and put up another candidate, we’re voting for Boehner and you’re never going to have votes…”


Nancy Pelosi: Even Members of Congress ‘Cannot Live’ Without Getting Paychecks on Time

“Before Congress voted Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security for one week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attempted to illustrate how difficult it would be for DHS employees to go without getting paid. “I don’t know about you, but I think almost everybody I know cannot live without having our paycheck on time – members of Congress even,” Pelosi said. She didn’t add that most members of Congress make an annual salary of $174,000 — nor that she’s the 14th richest member of Congress, with a net worth of $29.01 million, according to Roll Call.”


Democrats: Boehner Promised Us a Vote on a Clean DHS Bill Next Week

Deal or no deal, House leadership will be tested next week.

“House conservatives were told a shutdown-averting vote last night bought them a week reprieve to strategize a new fight against President Obama’s immigration orders. Democrats believe they’ve been promised a vote on a full-year funding bill by next Friday. A week from now, one of those groups is going to be very disappointed—and likely irate at the deception of its own leadership. House Democrats voted en masse Friday for a one-week continuing resolution to fund the Homeland Security Department, just hours after banding together to kill a three-week funding measure. Their votes switched at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told members they would soon get a vote on the Senate-passed full funding bill. “Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” she wrote in a letter to colleagues. Just what is behind that assurance was left unsaid, but Democrats believe Pelosi extracted a promise from House Speaker John Boehner for a vote on full funding next week. “I think what changed was there was a commitment given that if we passed the one-week extension, they would agree next week to bring up the Senate clean funding for DHS, so I believe there was an agreement that was made,” said Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn. “We took [Republicans] at their word, so I hope it’s true.” Multiple Democratic aides confirmed leadership had promised their bosses a vote on the Senate-passed full funding bill next week. Two senior Democratic staffers added that they had heard from both caucus leadership and the White House that Boehner had given them an agreement to allow that vote to take place. Pelosi’s office would not confirm or deny a deal with Boehner. Reports of such an agreement were vehemently denied by the speaker’s office. “No such deal or promise was made,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. Of course, confirming an arrangement to give Democrats the clean vote they want would surely draw outrage from Boehner’s right flank. Whether one leader is lying to their caucus or the two misunderstood each other, their respective caucuses went to vote Friday with vastly different ideas of what the next week would hold. Even Democrats who were tight-lipped about whether Pelosi had told them of a deal said they had read—and believed—reports of the arrangement. Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Pelosi ally, was among many in the caucus who said the minority leader would not have switched course on short-term funding without earning the best deal she could. “This wouldn’t have been accepted if that wasn’t going to be the case,” she said. Still, Pelosi’s strategy was not completely without Democratic skeptics. “She also assured Democrats who she whipped to vote no this afternoon that, in the event of the failure of the three-week clean [continuing resolution], Mr. Boehner would have ‘no choice’ but to bring up the Senate bill tonight. How’d that work out?” said Rep. Gerry Connolly. He called the promised deal “an awfully thin reed on which to decide to vote for a one-week extension after you whipped Democrats to vote against a three-week extension.” Meanwhile, Republicans, who have surely read those same reports, will be closely watching Boehner to see if he indeed brings a full bill to the floor. They were told the one-week extension would buy them time to force a conference with the Senate on the full-year funding bill, which they could then use to push for riders that would undermine Obama’s immigration orders. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has already said his caucus will block any such efforts.”


Feinstein: ‘Clean’ DHS bill only option

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on Sunday that the only option to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one that does not roll back President Obama’s executive action on immigration. “I see nothing else happening other than a clean bill,” Feinstein said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” acknowledging that it is something that Democrats have long desired.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said Saturday that she was unaware if Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) he’d bring to the floor this week a bill to fund DHS without addressing Obama’s actions from November. The House late Friday overwhelmingly voted for a one-week DHS funding bill after Pelosi rallied Democrats to support the measure after opposing a previous measure to fund DHS for three weeks, which failed. Conservatives have railed against both clean-funding bills, as they do not roll back Obama’s action to defer deportation for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and offer more work visas. “What I’ve seen over the last few years is the need of a minority to impose their view, regardless of what the situation is,” Feinstein said Sunday. “I think most of us are accustomed to sitting down, we work out a compromise – which is not a dirty word.”


Steve Scalise vows to continue immigration fight

“House Majority Whip Steve Scalise vowed on Sunday to keep fighting against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration in the midst of the Department of Homeland Security funding battle. Congress passed a last-minute one-week stopgap bill to fund DHS on Friday ahead of a midnight deadline, so lawmakers have another week to come to some resolution. “Let’s go to conference and work out these differences, and finally put a check on this president that he himself said 22 different times, he doesn’t have the authority to write his own immigration policies,” the Louisiana Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re going to keep fighting this battle.” “What we did was pass the bill that now forces the Senate to vote on going to conference,” he said. “We actually passed a bill that pushes back on the president’s illegal actions on immigration. They made changes to that bill that we don’t like, and so the way Congress works is, when the House and Senate have a disagreement, they go to conference. So, Monday the Senate will actually be taking that vote.” Senate Democrats have said they won’t go to conference, but Scalise said just two weeks ago Senate Democrats said they wouldn’t take up the House-passed bill — but on Friday they voted on it. “I would encourage anybody that disagrees with the president’s illegal action on immigration like I do, light up the Senate switchboard between now and Monday evening when they take that vote, and put the heat on Senate Democrats to stop blocking this,” he said. “And join us, and a federal judge by the way, who’s also agreed that the president doesn’t have the authority to do this.” Scalise also expressed support for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), saying: “He’s speaker, he’s going forward, and he’s working hard to get our agenda moved through the House.” The rejection of a three-week extension Friday was by several dozen Republicans voting with Democrats, but it doesn’t show division in the party, Scalise said. “We did pass a bill to keep this fight going through next week … and we forced a vote in the Senate,” he said. “Obviously, our members have a lot of differences on how maybe we want to go about tactics, but our goal is the same. Our goal is to fight this president’s illegal actions on immigration.”


Republican Whip: ‘Light Up The Senate Switchboard’ To Fight Obama Amnesty

“House Republican Whip Steve Scalise encouraged voters to “light up the Senate switchboard” in order to make Democrats “feel the heat” ahead of a Monday night vote in order to block funding for a Department of Homeland Security bill which would fund President Obama’s executive amnesty proposal. Both houses of Congress passed a one-week stop-gap measure late on Friday to continue funding DHS through next week. That vote came hours after the House declined to pass a bill to fund the agency for three weeks. Republicans hope to defund the part of DHS’s budget which would fund Obama’s unilateral proposal to grant amnesty and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. Though members of the House GOP voted against the three-week funding bill, Scalise asserted in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that the party is united in its opposition to Obama’s move. And he said that getting the Senate to vote on the measure was a coup of sorts. “Our goal is to fight this president’s illegal actions on immigration, and we are now in a position to force the Senate to go to conference committee which is what we wanted to do all along last week when they rejected our language,” Scalise told Wallace. Wallace pushed back, asserting that the Senate will likely reject the bill and Republicans will find themselves “back in exactly the same situation.”


Conservative lawmaker: We need to be louder in DHS funding battle

“House Republicans who have opposed measures to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because they haven’t also rolled back President Obama’s executive action on immigration need to be louder, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Sunday. “We haven’t made the case strong enough. We know it’s unconstitutional and we know it’s unfair,” Jordan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Jordan, the chairman of the new conservative House Freedom Caucus, was among conservative lawmakers who signed a letter last week to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to not cave on the DHS funding issue. “We do want to fund that agency. We understand the terrorist threat out there,” Jordan maintained, challenging Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow the Senate and House to reconcile plans, potentially including defunding Obama’s actions. The House passed a one-week measure to fund DHS late Friday, setting up another debate over the issue in the coming week. “We’re willing to sit down and try to work out the differences. That’s all we’re asking for,” Jordan said. The conservative lawmaker played down a potential coup against Boehner should the Speaker introduce a “clean” funding bill for DHS that does not include measures to roll back Obama’s executive actions, saying he was “most interested” in upholding the Constitution. “That’s not gonna happen. That’s not the issue.”


House GOP leader: Senate should change its rules to pass DHS funding

“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Sunday that the Senate should change its rules in order to pass a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “I think they should change the rule,” McCarthy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” suggesting the Senate invoke the so-called “nuclear option” to allow spending bills to only require a simple majority to advance instead of 60 votes. McCarthy’s comments represent frustration among House Republicans who were forced to vote on a one-week bill funding DHS and put off debate over President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Many conservatives have pushed for a plan to fund the agency while also rolling back Obama’s action. “I don’t think going nuclear when you have 57 percent of the Senate [who] voted for the Collins amendment that would take away the president’s action,” McCarthy said on NBC, referencing a proposal from centrist Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to allow Obama’s 2012 executive action to stand but repeal his most recent moves. Some House Republicans wanted to repeal his executive action from November deferring deportation for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and offering new work visas, but also attack his 2012 action to set up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to harbor those who came to the U.S. as children. “That’s not nuclear when 57 percent of the Senate … says it’s wrong. That’s not in the Constitution. I think they should change the rule,” McCarthy said. McCarthy urged for the House and Senate to go to conference to reconcile differing GOP plans. The House easily passed a one-week DHS funding measure Friday with overwhelming Democratic support after failing to pass a three-week measure. The Senate passed a similar bill by voice vote and Obama signed the bill. “I will tell you, as the majority leader in the House, I will be in that room and help solve that problem,” McCarthy said Sunday, downplaying divisions between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and conservatives who railed against both House votes Friday. “We have difference of opinion and strategy of tactics, but in principle we are united,” McCarthy said. “We took up legislation five weeks ago so we did not have a cliff. If there’s somebody who’s not being an adult, it’s the Democrats,” he added…”


House GOP: No deal to vote on ‘clean’ DHS funding bill

“House Republican leaders and conservatives were in rare agreement Sunday, declaring that there was no deal to vote on a “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding bill and vowing to keep fighting President Obama’s deportation amnesty. “There is no such deal and there’s no such bill,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said on “Fox News Sunday,” throwing cold water on inside-the-Beltway chatter that Republicans were agreeing to Democrats’ demands. He insisted that House GOP leaders and rank-and-file members remained unified in opposition to Mr. Obama’s immigration actions, which are at the heart of the funding shutdown showdown. “Obviously, our members have a lot of differences on how we maybe want to go about tactics. But our goal is the same,” said Mr. Scalise, Louisiana Republican. Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the conservative’s newly formed Freedom Caucus, also shot down rumors of a deal for a clean bill. “That’s not gonna happen,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, said his party must do a better job in rallying the American public against Mr. Obama’s executive actions, which seek to grant legal status, work permits and Social Seuciryt numbers to more than 4 million illegal immigrations. “We haven’t made the case strong enough. We know it’s unconstitutional and we know it’s unfair,” he said. House Republicans rebeled Friday against Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan to pass a three-week funding bill to avoid a shutdown of the department that night. Enough GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats to kill the bill in a startling rebuke to Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican. The Senate later send a one-week funding measure that the House overwhelmingly approved just two hours before a shutdown. With a new shutdown deadline at the end of the week, House Republicans continued to push Senate Democrats to enter negotiations over a funding bill that includes restrictions on Mr. Obama’s actions. Senate Democrats have insisted that they will accept only a “clean” bill without anti-amnesty measures. They have accused Republicans of playing politics with national security in the funding standoff. “We do want to fund that agency. We understand the terrorist threat out there,” said Mr. Jordan. “We’re willing to sit down and try to work out the differences. That’s all we’re asking for.”


No clear signs of deal to fund Homeland Security Department

“House Republican leaders on Sunday demanded that Democrats begin negotiations on funding for the Homeland Security Department and President Barack Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration. Democrats showed no indication they were willing to talk, and some Republicans said the party should simply surrender and give the agency money without conditions. With a partial shutdown of the department possible at week’s end, Speaker John Boehner said the House wants to enter talks with the Senate on a final bill and pointed to Monday’s scheduled Senate vote. Congress late Friday cleared a one-week extension for the department after 52 House conservatives defied their leadership and helped scuttle legislation that would have given the agency a three-week reprieve. “We want to get a conference with the Senate. Now, they’ve made clear that they don’t want to go to conference. But they’re going to have a vote. If they vote, in fact, not to get a conference, this bill may be coming back to the House,” Boehner said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Friday’s humiliating defeat produced a backlash in the House, with some Republicans criticizing their conservative colleagues and others arguing it was time to fully fund the agency for the year and move on. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a former chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, said Boehner needs to find a way to get a bill to the House floor without the divisive immigration provisions. “There’s no doubt it will pass. … We cannot allow this small group to block it. Once … this comes to a vote, we get it behind us, we go forward, then we really, as Republicans, have to stand behind the speaker and make it clear we’re not going to allow this faction to be dominating and to be impeding what we’re trying to do,” King said…”


Congress no closer to funding Homeland Security Department as another shutdown deadline looms

“The widespread disagreement in Congress over President Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration that nearly resulted in a partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department resumes Monday — with Democrats, Republicans, senators and congressmen all pointing fingers. The House approved a funding bill for the agency just before the Friday midnight deadline, but only through this week. Though the GOP-led chamber failed to pass a three-week extension and had to rely on Democrats to reach the final, shorter deal, they blame President Obama and Senate Democrats for putting them in the bind. Democrats in both chambers largely oppose legislation in the GOP-controlled Congress that connects funding the agency through the fiscal year with attempts to roll back Obama’s executive action that defers deportation for millions of illegal immigrants. House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise told “Fox News Sunday” that the House passed the 7-day funding bill to “keep the fight going” and force Senate Democrats to negotiate in conference with House leaders on a bill. “Senate Democrats won’t go to conference,” the Louisiana Republican said. “And anybody who disagrees with the president’s illegal action should light up the Senate switchboard and make Senate Democrats feel the heat.” House Speaker John Boehner also said Sunday that the House wants to enter talks with the Senate on a final bill and pointed to Monday’s scheduled Senate vote. Senate Democrats have so far blocked a final vote on the House legislation over the immigration provision. “We want to get a conference with the Senate,” Boehner said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Now, they’ve made clear that they don’t want to go to conference. But they’re going to have a vote.” Friday’s House votes resulted in a backlash in the lower chamber, with some Republicans criticizing their conservative colleagues, particularly the 52 who voted no. Others argued it is time to fully fund the agency and move on. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a former chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, said Boehner needs to find a way to get a bill to the House floor without the divisive immigration provisions…”


House GOP unites against amnesty as Homeland Security showdown intensifies

“Lawmakers return Monday to the Capitol without a clear path out of the shutdown showdown over homeland security funds, with Senate Democrats resisting any negotiations and House Republicans determined to block President Obama’s deportation amnesty. Congress bought itself a weeklong reprieve by passing a last-minute funding extension that avoided a shutdown last weekend, but the new Friday deadline hasn’t altered the impasse. After rank-and-file House Republicans rebelled last week against their leaders’ strategy, Speaker John A. Boehner said Sunday that his troops were united in the fight to defund Mr. Obama’s immigration actions, if not on the tactics. “Remember what’s causing this, it’s the president of the United States overreaching and it’s not just on immigration,” Mr. Boehner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The Ohio Republican pointed to the 38 times Mr. Obama unilaterally changed the Obamacare law, though it was Mr. Obama’s immigration moves that led to the funding crisis for the Homeland Security Department. “So the frustration in the country, represented through the frustration of our members, has people scared to death that the president is running the country right off the cliff,” he said…”


Republicans Blocking DHS Funding Are ‘Delusional,’ Rep. Peter King Says

“House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Peter King today called some members of his Republican caucus “self-righteous and delusional” for opposing a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security. “I said the other night, when I was at the Republican meeting, that they are self-righteous and delusional,” King said on “This Week” of the Republican contingent holding up the bill because of their opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration. “We’re talking about maybe 40 or 50 people at most, out of a caucus of 247, out of a Congress of 435. We cannot allow such a small group to be dominating and controlling what happens in the United States Congress, especially at a time when we’re confronting terrorism,” the New York Republican told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz. House Republicans have tied funding for DHS to legislation that would roll back Obama’s executive orders on immigration, a move King calls “irresponsible.” “Listen, I am as opposed to this immigration action as they are. But the fact is, it’s essential that we fund the Department of Homeland Security,” King said. “We saw what happened in Denmark, in Paris, what ISIS is doing with the beheadings. We had the people being arrested in New York just the other night. And for these people to be threatening to defund the Department of Homeland Security at a time when our threat streams have never been greater at any time since 9/11, it’s absolutely irresponsible.” Despite a looming shutdown, the bill to fund the Homeland Security Department has been stalled in Congress for weeks. On Friday night, the House approved a one-week funding extension in order to avoid a partial shutdown, after voting down a longer extension, in a major failure for House Speaker John Boehner…”


Obama’s highhanded immigration hypocrisy

“Honestly, are any of my Democratic friends even slightly bothered by President Obama’s habitual and brazen lawlessness and what that could mean for our liberties? Does it bother them that he implemented two new administration programs to halt deportations and allow work permits for up to 5 million immigrants living illegally in the United States after clearly admitting he didn’t have the constitutional authority to do so? Does it bother them that after having done so, despite his insincere promise, he has been openly defiant about the decision U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen made in favor of the states trying to block Obama’s unlawful act? Obama said: “This is just one federal judge. We have appealed it very aggressively. … I’m using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem.” Me, me, me. Does it bother them that his administration has begun to refer to these immigrants as “Americans-in-waiting” — as if his iron will controls, irrespective of the Constitution, the law and the prerogative of the coequal legislative branch? Does it bother them that, like a third world despot tyrannizing his subjects, he said in a town hall forum in Miami that there will be consequences for any federal agents who ignore his new policies? Obama said, “If somebody’s working for [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] … and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it.” Are such threatened consequences, by the way, really the business of a chief executive, even if he is acting lawfully? Isn’t his indignation a bit tough to take, given his own propensity not to follow the law? Does anyone ever make him face consequences for not just ignoring but violating laws?…”


Colleges using coffers for financial aid to illegal immigrants stirs debate on immigration reform

“Several U.S. colleges are giving financial aid directly to students who are young illegal immigrants, extending the debate about helping people in the United States illegally at the expense of Americans who are in need of similar opportunities. Such opportunities have opened up since President Obama’s 2012 executive action that deferred deportation to millions of young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. However, they still are largely ineligible for state or federal student aid. New York University — which receives federal, state and city money — says the aid given to illegal immigrants is not at the expense of American students. “This is not taking away from anybody,” MJ Knoll-Finn, an N.Y.U. admissions officer, told The New York Times, which first reported the story. “This is a formalized way of making sure these students know they’re welcome.” However, others disagree. “This policy not only encourages new illegal immigration, but comes at the expense of the college dreams of young Americans,” Stephen Miller, spokesman for Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest, told FoxNews.com on Saturday. Steven Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Times that such funding has a “zero-sum aspect to it.” “The fact is, there is not an unlimited pot of money to help needy students or high-achieving low-income students. And there is a certain one-for-one, a crowding-out effect,” he said. NYU received at least $310 million in federal money in 2012, in addition to state and city grants, according to the school’s website. In addition, school President John Sexton has put the NYU community’s support behind a budget proposal by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give financial aid to illegal immigrants. “Expanding educational opportunities for immigrant youth not only helps individual students,” Sexton wrote Cuomo in a Feb. 7 letter. “It helps entire communities, states and the nation as a whole.”


NY farmers lobby Congress for immigration reform, food rules

“Farmers in New York state are asking Congress to push for immigration reform and changes to new federal food safety rules. The New York Farm Bureau released its 2015 priorities during a recent trip to Washington to meet with the state’s congressional delegation. The group’s agenda includes guest-worker visas to allow foreign laborers to work agricultural jobs. Farm Bureau President Dean Norton says a comprehensive approach to immigration is needed to provide a steady workforce for the agricultural industry. The bureau is also seeking changes to the implementation of new food safety rules that farmers say could hurt business, including irrigation water standards that the Farm Bureau calls unscientific. The organization is also seeking to increase exports and expand school lunch programs that use New York products…”


Mexican Trucker Said He Was Hauling Mattresses. What the Border Patrol Found Inside Broke a Drug-Smuggling Record.

“A trucker crossing into California from Mexico at the Otay Mesa port of entry Thursday evening was arrested and had his truck and cargo confiscated after he pulled up hauling nearly 32,000 pounds of marijuana, U-T San Diego reported. It wasn’t concealed or anything. It was just sitting there inside the truck. The driver, a 46-year-old Mexican citizen with a valid border-crossing card, claimed he was carrying mattresses, but officers only found a few mattresses in the truck, stacked away from the truck doors. The 1,296 bundles of marijuana recovered from the truck made Thursday’s bust the largest in the history of the Otay Mesa Port of entry and the second-largest in the history of the country, NBC News noted. The 15 tons of weed had a value of $18.96 million, law enforcement agents said. The driver, Martin Martinez-Penaflor, confessed to knowing what he was carrying, saying he’d been offered $50,000 to take the drugs from Tijuana to Burbank, U-T San Diego reported…”




Jeb Bush stands firm on controversial immigration, education policies at CPAC


Jeb Bush to Opponents Of Immigration Position: “I Feel Your Pain”


CPAC Immigration Hawks Turn up the Heat on Jeb and Rubio.

If they’re tempted to move toward the middle, the base may have other ideas. Back in 2014, she helped take down former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Now, Laura Ingraham is hunting even bigger game in her quest to rid the Republican party of immigration moderates: She’s looking to knock Jeb Bush out of the 2016 presidential race. Ingraham has hit Bush hard in the past. But speaking before a packed auditorium at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Ingraham was especially biting.“Why don’t we just call it quits and let Jeb Bush and Hillary [appear] on the same ticket?” Ingraham said. “I’m designing the bumper sticker: ‘Clush: What difference does it make?’” As tea-party-aligned attendees plotted to walk out of Bush’s appearance at CPAC later in the day, Ingraham stood on stage to rally the troops. She took a jab at Bush’s wealth, made a sarcastic remark about his wife’s spending habits, and added that the elite “donor class” is hostile to conservatism. Ingraham says her complaints about potential GOP presidential candidates who are weak on immigration aren’t personal — or confined to Jeb alone. “I like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, but this is about the country, defeating Hillary,” Ingraham says in an e-mail. “If we get this issue wrong, everything else we fought for as conservatives is jeopardized.” Many conservatives agree. Soon after dozens of CPAC attendees marched out of Bush’s appearance led by a man carrying a Gadsden flag, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions held a private meeting with reporters and conservative activists. Echoing Ingraham’s remarks from earlier in the day, Sessions took aim at Bush and called on the GOP to put workers ahead of donors on the immigration issue or lose again in 2016. “I don’t know where he would be as the campaign goes along,” Sessions said. “I think his policy on immigration is in error, and I think it would deny him the opportunity to appeal to a lot of people.”


David Brooks on CPAC: There’s Conservatives, And Then There’s “The Hardest Of The Hard Core” on the Right; “Jeb Bush Did Well”


Scott Walker: ‘My view has changed’ on immigration


Scott Walker says he opposes comprehensive immigration reform. He didn’t always.


Scott Walker On Amnesty: ‘My Views Have Changed’ [VIDEO]


Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker: ‘I don’t believe in amnesty’


Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker: ‘I don’t believe in amnesty’



Cutting federal spending should be Congress’s top priority: TWT/CPAC poll

“Conservatives say reducing federal spending should be the Republican-led Congress’s top priority this session, beating out confrontations with President Obama over his immigration executive actions, Obamacare, and the Keystone XL pipeline, according to The Washington Times/CPAC flash poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Thirty-eight percent of the 141 respondents picked reducing federal spending at the top priority, followed by rolling back Mr. Obama’s amnesty plan at 26 percent. On Friday, the House and Senate approved a one-week extension of funding for the Department of Homeland Security after conservative Republicans in the House joined with Democrats earlier in the day to defeat a three-week extension. Democrats had wanted a bill fully funding the department for the rest of the fiscal year, without language blocking Mr. Obama’s recent actions granting as many as 4 million illegal immigrants legal status and work permits, while conservatives did not like that the immigration language had been stripped. Twenty-three percent in the poll said Congress’s top priority should be reversing Obamacare, and 13 percent said it should be overriding Mr. Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL oil pipeline…”




Q4 GDP slides to 2.2% in second estimate

“The first estimate of US economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2014 turned out to be a disappointment, but the second estimate … was even more disappointing. The Obama administration spent a lot of time bragging about the third quarter’s 5.0% annualized rate of GDP growth, but the economy reverted to its post-Great Recession norm in a hurry. The second estimate dropped GDP growth from 2.6% to 2.2%, back firmly in stagnation range: Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent. The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6 percent. With the second estimate for the fourth quarter, private inventory investment increased less than previously estimated, while nonresidential fixed investment increased more (see “Revisions” on page 3). The one area where this estimate actually improved was on real final sales of domestic product, the measure of sales to end users without inventory adjustments. In the first estimate, real final sales only rose 1.8%, but the new estimate puts it at 2.1% — almost at the same level as overall growth. There are other high points in the report as well. Personal consumer expenditures continue to outperform the rest of the economy, with an increase of 4.2%, slightly down from the first estimate of 4.3%. Durable goods purchases rose 6.0%, but that’s a significant drop from the 7.4% in the first estimate. Exports increased more than first estimated, but so did imports, which tend to balance each other off. As noted a month ago, this seems to be the real story of the boom-and-blah cycle between Q3 and Q4: Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 9.9 percent in the third. National defense decreased 12.4 percent, in contrast to an increase of 16.0 percent. Nondefense increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent.

The end of the fiscal year prompted a lot of government spending in Q3. In baseline budgeting, bureaucracies either spend the money they have been allocated or watch their budgets shrink the next year. Zero-based budgeting would solve that problem, but few in the government wants to try that approach. The impact of the boom-and-blah appears to have inflated growth in Q3 while hiding some growth in Q4, especially in consumer spending, which continues to look very strong…”


Labor officials improperly awarded $200k PR contract, then didn’t review the work

“Department of Labor officials awarded a $200,000 contract to promote a book club without engaging in competitive bidding, paying double what was budgeted for the project and neglecting to keep tabs on the winning contractor’s performance or hours worked. Potential bidders had only 29 hours to prepare and submit bids, though “the department did not provide any evidence for why it could not have waited longer,” according to a new investigation by the department’s inspector general. The investigation was requested last year by then-Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. Labor officials limited bidding to advertising firms it already had on retainer, and which had experience with multiple languages and other criterion that had nothing to do with the book club assignment. That left a pool of two. The contract was awarded to Concepts Inc., a Maryland public relations firm, after the other potential bidder was unable to provide a complete response in 29 hours. The contract was awarded by Carl Fillichio, a politically appointed public affairs confidant of Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and his spokesman, but was recorded as a contract under the Office of Disability Policy. It “had nothing to do with promoting disability issues but the book club Fillichio started and chairs … Hiding the contract on another agency’s payroll was [standard operating procedure] for Fillichio — that way he could semantically answer a Hill/media FOIA and say he had no such contracts,” a Labor employee with knowledge of the situation told the Washington Examiner. The employee requested anonymity…”


Proposed EPA regulations may overstep boundaries, hurt poor families

“Proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency may hurt low-income families and small businesses and could overreach its authority, according to testimony heard before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. The agency’s proposed regulations require significant decreases in carbon emissions and ground-level ozone, and would greatly extend the agency’s authority over land use by redefining affected waterways. “We love our air and our mountains and our streams,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the full committee. “But I do worry about how severe the EPA is in its approach. Let’s also understand that there are impacts to jobs and the economy and people’s livelihood.” Ranking Member Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., however, argued that the regulations were reasonable. “In developing these proposed rules, EPA engaged in extensive outreach to states, local government and industry,” she told the subcommittee on the interior, chaired by Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. “EPA has also done a thorough job of assessing the economic and regulatory impact of the proposed rules.”…”


Obama changes tune on temporary jobs

“For President Obama, not all temporary jobs are created equal. Short-term jobs tied to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are of limited appeal, Obama emphasized both before and after he vetoed legislation authorizing the start of the Canada-to-Texas project. However, the president took an opposite view in pushing an $800 billion stimulus plan in his first term, calling those jobs “shovel ready” rather than temporary. What has changed? The White House insists that Obama isn’t being hypocritical, saying the stimulus was a national effort to bring the country back from the recession, as opposed to an individual project. “That’s a flawed comparison,” a senior administration official told the Washington Examiner of equating Obama’s stimulus rhetoric to that on Keystone XL. “This is one project. Republicans act like the fate of the economy is dependent on it. Can you imagine if our jobs plan when the president took office was one pipeline?” Republicans counter that such criticism is disingenuous, saying Obama should welcome any jobs, even if small in scale. “It’s been striking how little Keystone jobs matter to a president who has bent over backwards to highlight things that created far fewer jobs,” said a House GOP leadership aide. “The president makes it sound like we can either build Keystone or repair the nation’s roads and bridges. Why not do both?” The project’s backers have championed the 42,100 direct and indirect jobs that the State Department said the pipeline would create during its two-year construction phase…”


Obama’s Proposed College Savings Tax Gave Opposition a Needed Boost

“For years, accountants and 529 plan managers have had a long debate as to whether or not technology was a qualified education expense. If it is families could use 529 plan funds for laptop computers, etc. If it isn’t families could be subject to a hefty tax penalty if they decide to take college savings money and use it for technology. Accountants believed it was an easy argument to argue in an audit because it’s an easy argument to make that technology is necessary for college. 529 plan managers wanted it spelled out in law. The result was years of legislative proposals to make technology officially allowed getting stuck in committee. Not anymore. Oddly, opposition to President Obama’s recent proposal to tax 529 plan growth showed law makers how important 529 plans are to parents, i.e. voters. Whala! Movement on the bill finally happened. According to bankrate.com article: “The House on Feb. 25 approved the aptly-named H.R. 529 by a 401-20 vote. Nineteen Democrats and one Republican voted against it.” Just a few months ago, 529 plan legislation was in a lengthy struggle to parse and separate improvements to try to get something to pass. “The bill is one of two introduced by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, that would affect 529 plan savers. First introduced as a single piece of legislation in 2011, Jenkins split the bill in two for the current Congress: One bill would in part add an employee income tax deduction for employer matches, and a second bill would allow families to purchase technology for school and change investments more frequently than they do now, among other things. The former was reintroduced last year, and the second was introduced in late March. Both are in front of the House Ways and Means Committee. The hope is that both bills will pass, but Jenkins wanted to give the technology portion a better chance, says Tom Brandt, a spokesman for the congresswoman.”…”


Obama: Bad financial advice costs families billions

“President Obama’s weekly remarks – Hi everybody. In America, we believe that a lifetime of hard work and responsibility should be rewarded with a shot at a secure, dignified retirement. It’s one of the critical components of middle-class life — and this week, I took new steps to protect it. Six years after the crisis that shook a lot of people’s faith in a secure retirement, our economy is steadily growing. Last year was the best year for job growth since the 1990s. All told, over the past five years, the private sector has added nearly 12 million new jobs. And since I took office, the stock market has more than doubled, replenishing the 401(k)s of millions of families. But while we’ve come a long way, we’ve got more work to do to make sure that our recovery reaches more Americans, not just those at the top. That’s what middle-class economics is all about—the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. That last part—making sure everyone plays by the same set of rules—is why we passed historic Wall Street Reform and a Credit Card Bill of Rights. It’s why we created a new consumer watchdog agency. And it’s why we’re taking new action to protect hardworking families’ retirement security. If you’re working hard and putting away money, you should have the peace of mind that the financial advice you’re getting is sound and that your investments are protected. But right now, there are no rules of the road. Many financial advisers put their clients’ interest first — but some financial advisers get backdoor payments and hidden fees in exchange for steering people into bad investments. All told, bad advice that results from these conflicts of interest costs middle-class and working families about $17 billion every year. This week, I called on the Department of Labor to change that — to update the rules and require that retirement advisers put the best interests of their clients above their own financial interests. Middle-class families cannot afford to lose their hard earned savings after a lifetime of work. They deserve to be treated with fairness and respect. And that’s what this rule would do. While many financial advisers support these basic safeguards to prevent abuse, I know some special interests will fight this with everything they’ve got. But while we welcome different perspectives and ideas on how to move forward, what I won’t accept is the notion that there’s nothing we can do to make sure that hard-working, responsible Americans who scrimp and save can retire with security and dignity.

We’re going to keep pushing for this rule, because it’s the right thing to do for our workers and for our country. The strength of our economy rests on whether hard-working families can not only share in America’s success, but can also contribute to America’s success. And that’s what I will never stop fighting for — an economy where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead. Thanks, and have a great weekend…”


The Importance Of Dynamic Scoring For The Budget


Why Federal Reserve Monetary Tightening Is Still A Distant Event


Republicans Attacking Janet Yellen Should Be Careful What They Wish For





Common Core opposition unites 2016 hopefuls at CPAC, with Jeb Bush lone outlier

Federal education standards initiative garners some Republican support at state level

“Likely GOP presidential contenders’ calls to scrap Common Core are evoking frustration among Republicans who support the education initiative at the state level: They say the learning standards are not a power grab by the federal government and express concern that the political aspirations of a few could thwart educational improvements for millions of children nationwide. The K-12 education standards increasingly have rankled conservatives, and nearly six in 10 of the more than 3,000 voters who took part in The Washington Times/CPAC straw poll over the weekend said that they “would never vote for a Republican nominee that supports Common Core.” Accordingly, Common Core was a top target for almost all of the potential GOP presidential contenders — including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, neurosurgeon and columnist Ben Carson and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — who appeared at the annual conservative confab. “We object to Common Core because the federal government has no right imposing curriculum, imposing content standards in local classrooms when these decisions have always been made by local parents, by teachers, by local leaders,” Mr. Jindal told the CPAC conventiongoers, sparking applause from the crowd. Mr. Jindal, who, like some others in the emerging 2016 field, was for Common Core before he was against it, said the standards are part of a pattern of government overreach by the Obama administration. “There is a Tenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically to prohibit the growth of the federal government into areas like K-12 education,” Mr. Jindal said. “We’ve seen under President Obama the federal government get more involved, more expansion, more expansive, more intrusive. It must stop. It must stop here. We must repeal Common Core.”..”



FCC chief scheduled for marathon week of testimony on Internet rules

“Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s March schedule is filling up fast. Wheeler has agreed to cap off a marathon week of hearings next month with testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology on March 19. The hearing, announced by panel Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), will be his third of the week. He will also testify at the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Oversight Committee. There is still another request for testimony outstanding from the House Judiciary Committee. Congressional Republicans have pounced on Wheeler after the FCC recently approved regulations that would reclassify broadband Internet under regulations governing traditional telephones, in order to enforce strong net neutrality rules. The increased authority, approved by a 3-2 vote on Thursday, is meant to enforce rules to ensure Internet Service Providers do not prioritize any packet of Internet traffic above another. Committees in the House and Senate have launched investigations probing whether the White House had an undue influence on the rule-making. Republicans have accused Wheeler of bending to White House pressure, because the regulations track closely with recommendations President Obama made to the commission in November. Republicans are also considering a series of congressional actions to undo the regulations. Leaders on the House and Senate Commerce committees are pushing a bill to enact many of the net neutrality principles advocates have supported, while also restricting some FCC authority. Another group of Republicans are advocating a more partisan effort to block the regulations through a “fast track” process under the Congressional Review Act…”


Gauntlet awaits Internet rules

“Net neutrality supporters won a major victory this week when regulators issued the toughest Internet rules the country has ever seen, but their battle is still far from over. New Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations are already coming under new scrutiny from Capitol Hill and are bound for a gauntlet of legal and legislative challenges assuring that the rules are anything but set in stone. Even while supporters were cheering their win on Thursday, opponents of the new rules were plotting their next moves. “In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, never confuse a single defeat for a final defeat,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai — one of the agency’s two Republicans vigorously opposed to the rules — said after Thursday’s vote. “There are multiple battles ahead and I believe that we will win the war.” The FCC’s tough new net neutrality rules break with the last decade of regulatory policy by treating the Internet like a public utility, a move that supporters say is the only way to ensure that major Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon cannot obstruct people’s unfettered access to the Web. The move came despite opposition from Republicans who have raised alarms about a government “power grab” of the Web using a decades-old law. Those critics aren’t wasting any time. Just a few hours after the FCC’s three Democrats voted to issue the new net neutrality rules, a group of 21 House Republicans began pushing a “fast track” vote to block the regulations. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), one of the lawmakers pushing for the action, said that Congress should “absolutely” work to block the regulations before any other course of action. The plan would speed a vote of disapproval through Congress using the Congressional Review Act, which would effectively block the new regulations. Republicans attempted the move after the first net neutrality proposal was approved in 2011, but it was not successful then and has almost always been fruitless. Since the Congressional Review Act was enacted in 1996, only one set of regulations — involving ergonomics in the workplace — has ever been successfully blocked, in large part because such measures are subject to a presidential veto. “Ok great, so we go do that,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs a House subcommittee on technology, told C-SPAN. “We might, it is a tool in the tool chest. But that requires President Obama to sign it. So what do you think the odds are that he is going to sign the repeal of what he just forced down the FCC.” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week said that “Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme,” but his office declined to say whether he would support moving forward with the disapproval resolution. Republicans could also seek to prohibit the FCC from directing any funding toward implementation of the rules. Advocates have said it would be “appalling” if Congress attempted to block the regulations through the appropriations process. “People will try all kinds of things, but I’m confident the message is going to be delivered to Capitol Hill that this is a very popular thing with the American public,” Free Press president Craig Aaron said earlier this week. GOP lawmakers are somewhat divided on the issue, however. Instead of outright blocking the rules, Republican leaders on the House and Senate Commerce Committees are prioritizing legislation to enact many of the net neutrality principles advocates have supported, while at the same time restricting the FCC from reclassifying broadband Internet, among other legal powers. So far, they have failed to sway any Democrats to sign onto the legislation. However, the leaders have held out hope there will be more negotiating room now that the FCC has voted…”


Keystone veto message by Obama difficult to believe

“PERHAPS President Barack Obama took a low-key approach to his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline — issuing a statement instead of making it a photo op at the White House — because he was concerned about being able to keep a straight face. In his veto message Tuesday, Obama said that, “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.” Cuts short thorough consideration? Really? The northern leg of the Keystone pipeline has been debated and vetted and debated some more for the past six years. As The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial, this project “has been in regulatory limbo for about 2,300 days in perhaps the most extensive permitting review in the history of American government.” And it has cleared every regulatory hurdle during that time. But because the pipeline crosses an international boundary, from Canada into the United States, the State Department must give its approval. The president can have the final say. The pipeline would carry oil from western Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The southern leg of the pipeline, from Cushing to the Gulf, has been constructed. TransCanada, the company planning to build Keystone, saw its first plan rejected by Obama because the pipeline route would have gone through ecologically sensitive areas in Nebraska. TransCanada came up with a second route and reapplied in 2012. That has yet to meet State Department approval. Obama and other Democrats have said the project won’t have nearly the jobs benefit that supporters say it will — although thousands of good-paying, blue-collar jobs would result during the pipeline’s construction — and that it has the potential to increase carbon dioxide emissions. Obama has dismissed the pipeline as involving “Canada’s oil” and has said its transmission would have no bearing on the price U.S. consumers pay at the pump, apparently forgetting that energy prices are set in a global market…”


Obama’s AR-15 bullet ban under fire in Congress, 4 of 10 oppose

“With lightning speed, opponents of President Obama’s bid to ban a popular cartridge used in the top selling AR-15 semi-automatic rifle have won support from 40 percent of the House of Representatives, and Senate foes are also moving fast to build opposition. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, working with the National Rifle Association, has collected the signatures of 172 House members in just two days on a letter questioning the surprise proposal targeting the 5.56 M855 used by gun enthusiasts, associates told Secrets Saturday. And in the Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is spearheading a new drive to collect signatures from his chamber to stop the move. The shocking swiftness at building opposition to the proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the latest display by many in Congress to leave Second Amendment issues alone, and it also is a testament to sportsmen and pro-gun groups like the NRA to derail the president’s gun-control efforts. Much of the opposition is driven by the concern that the ban is a backdoor bid to outlaw the AR-15, the nation’s most popular rifle. Opponents call the military-style rifle an “assault weapon” because it can be fitted with a magazine capable of carrying 30 or more cartridges. The proposal came earlier this month and went viral when retailing giants like Cabela’s and the NRA put users on notice that the inexpensive and popular plunking cartridge used by AR-15 shooters was in jeopardy of being banned for all but U.S. government agencies…”


Conservative: Boehner coup ‘not going to happen’

“Rep. Jim Jordan repeatedly denied on Sunday that conservatives will try to oust against Speaker John Boehner, his fellow Ohio representative, over funding the Department of Homeland Security. “That’s not the point. Of course not, no, that’s not the point,” Jordan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The point is to do what we told the voters we were going to do and do it in a way that’s consistent with the United States Constitution, consistent with fundamental fairness and consistent with the only court to rule [on Obama’s executive action],” said Jordan, the chairman of the new Freedom Caucus. Jordan was among conservative lawmakers who wrote to Boehner last week, urging Republican House leadership to not back down on funding DHS while also rolling back Obama’s action on immigration to defer deportations for up to 5 million illegal immigrants and offer more work visas. He voted against both a three-week and one-week DHS funding measure on Friday, the latter of which passed after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rallied Democrats to support the measure. Dozens of conservatives opposed the bills because they didn’t touch Obama’s actions on immigration. Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash if he would challenge Boehner should the Speaker introduce a clean funding bill this week that funded DHS without rolling back Obama’s actions, Jordan said, “No, no, of course not,” quickly adding, “I don’t think that’s going to happen, though.” Some conservatives have previously tried to elect Jordan as Speaker to oust Boehner. Jordan denied the possibility of that happening again over DHS funding when pressed again on CNN. “No, that’s not going to happen, that’s not the issue,” Jordan said, who argued conservatives need to make a stronger case for defunding Obama’s actions. Jordan’s comments came just before Boehner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he thought he could continue to lead the House. “I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy, because it’s not,” Boehner said…”


Boehner: Americans Scared Obama’s ‘Running The Country Right Off The Cliff’ [VIDEO]

“Speaker of the House John Boehner said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the gridlock in the House of Representatives stemmed from Americans’ fear that President Barack Obama is running the country “right off the cliff.” Boehner admitted that it was sometimes difficult to deal with dissent within his own party. “But remember what is causing this,” he said, “It’s the president of the United States overreaching. And that’s not just on immigration. 38 times he made unilateral changes to Obamacare, many of these I believe far beyond his constitutional authority to do so.” “And so the frustration in the country, represented through the frustration of our members, has people scared to death that the president is just running the country right off the cliff,” Boehner concluded.”


Eric Holder responds to critics who say Obama admin ‘wrecked’ press freedom

“Eric Holder, who stepped down Friday as U.S. attorney general, said in a recent interview that claims that the Obama administration has been uniquely hostile to press freedom are unfounded. In an interview with Politico, Holder expressed skepticism of complaints by New York Times reporter James Risen, who tweeted last week that Holder “leaves behind a wrecked First Amendment.” The White House had threatened to prosecute Risen for refusing to identify a source in his reporting that exposed a plan by the U.S. to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. In the end, the justice department did not pursue any charges. “You know, I don’t — I can’t understand where Mr. Risen would get — get those views,” Holder said in the interview. “I’ve seen him describe, compare Barack Obama to Richard Nixon, and, I mean, you’ve got to think about that for a minute.” The Obama administration has also been criticized by journalists for monitoring the activity of specific reporters and also prosecuting whistle blowers within the administration. Holder added, “Well, I don’t think it’s founded [Risen’s criticisms]. You know, I think we brought lead cases, which is kind of the genesis of, you know, a lot of this criticism, where it was appropriate to bring them.” “But people also have to focus on the outreach efforts that I engaged in along with the deputy attorney general, Jim Cole, to meet with members of the media and to change the way in which the Justice Department interacts with the media,” Holder said. “We have put in place really substantial, new mechanisms so that — for instance, people in the media will get notice before the Justice Department does a variety of things. This is unheard of.”


Levin tells CPAC that GOP has ‘no guts’: ‘It’s time for a new Republican Party’

“Conservative radio host Mark Levin criticized Congressional Republicans for having “no principles, no strategy and no guts” on immigration. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, Mr. Levin said “It’s time for a new Republican Party,” The Hill reported. “No more excuses. No more whining. No more lying to get you elected. No more crony deals with the U.S. Chamber of crony capitalism,” he added. Mr. Levin said that while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is “one of the most despicable, dumbest men to ever be leader in the Senate,” he is “running circles around the Republicans,” referring to ongoing debate in Congress over funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which would include funding for President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. “We are not a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of citizens,” Mr. Levin said, The Hill reported. “I am sick and tired of the American citizen being demeaned and treated as a second-class citizen while anybody who crosses the border is treated as the most virtuous human being on the face of the earth.” Mr. Levin also criticized potential 2016 GOP candidates like Jeb Bush for being too inclusive on immigration policy. He said some GOP presidential candidates have referred “to us as essentially lazy and racist and themselves rejecting the belief of American exceptionalism, insisting that the nation owes its current and future greatness, if not existence, to uninterrupted massive waves of low-skilled and unskilled aliens from the third world.” “This has never been the American experience. Immigration is to be managed, limited, gradual to allow for assimilation and Americanization,” Mr. Levin said, The Hill reported. “You see, Mr. Bush, we love our country, too.”


‘It’s Time for a New Republican Party’: Radio Heavyweight Slams ‘Republican Establishment’ and Jeb Bush at CPAC


CPAC 2015 Straw Poll: Rand Paul wins again — but Scott Walker is surging

“Sen. Rand Paul won The Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll for the third time in a row while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surged to second place, as they trounced the rest of a strong but crowded field of potential candidates Saturday. Sen. Ted Cruz slipped to third place, down a rung from his showing last year, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in fourth and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush fifth. Mr. Bush was booed by the crowd when his name was announced in the poll results, suggesting how polarizing a figure he is among conservatives. The more than 3,000 activists who voted at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference also showed commanding support for legalizing marijuana, with a strong plurality of 41 percent saying it should be legal for recreational use, and another 26 percent saying Americans should be able to at least use it for medicinal purposes with permission of a doctor…”


Rand Paul Wins the CPAC Straw Poll


Hillary Clinton Seen Launching Presidential Bid in April

Move would ease uncertainties in the Democratic Party and rev up front-runner’s fundraising


The “Next America” Is Now

“The political paralysis in Washington is often ascribed, depending on partisanship, to Republican obstructionism or President Obama’s arrogance. But there are deeper causes to the stalemate. Both parties have had a hard time creating agendas that appeal across ideological, racial and ethnic lines. There’s been a fragmentation of power and purpose that transcends the defects of political leaders. A partial explanation comes in a significant report issued last week that describes the changing nature of the American electorate. It’s less white, more minority, older and less dominated by any one generation. Fascinating in their own right, these shifts also illuminate the larger origins of the political impasse. If democracy is responsive to voters, then voters preoccupied with their own narrow agendas inhibit the creation of durable coalitions capable of legislating. The report, “States of Change: The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974-2060,” was sponsored by three think tanks of differing politics: the conservative American Enterprise Institute; and the liberal Brookings Institution and Center for American Progress. The study identifies 10 transforming trends, which — considering the overlap — I’ve condensed to five. Here they are:

(1) The rise of minorities — and decline of whites. In 1980, 80 percent of the U.S. population was white. Now, that’s 63 percent; by 2060, it’s projected to be about 44 percent. Meanwhile, Hispanics have gone from 6 percent in 1980 to 17 percent now and are projected to reach 29 percent by 2060. Asian-Americans (and “others”) are expected to double from 8 percent now to 15 percent by 2060. African-Americans, now 12 percent to 13 percent, are estimated to stay stable.

(2) A graying America. People 50 and over now represent one-third of the population, up from one-fourth in 1980. By 2060, their share is forecast to exceed two-fifths. By contrast, those 18 to 39 are then expected to be about a quarter of the total.

(3) Generational shifts. These are inevitable, of course. The World War II generation is mostly gone (it’s 1 percent of the population). And baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, no longer dominate. They’re 24 percent of today’s population, slightly behind “millennials,” born from 1981 to 2000, at 27 percent, and slightly ahead of Generation X, born from 1965 to 1980, at 21 percent. (The remaining population consists of the young and the very old.)

(4) The rise of unmarried voters. This is perhaps the most surprising finding. In 1974, 70 percent of eligible voters were married, 30 percent unmarried. Now, the split is 52 percent married, 48 percent not, reflecting fewer and later marriages, more divorces and more widowed elderly.

(5) The gap between voters and the population. In 2012, slightly more than one-fourth of actual voters were minorities — well below their population share of about 37 percent. The reasons are clear. Many immigrants aren’t eligible, either because they’re children or not citizens. Also, turnout is low among eligible voters. With time, this gap should close.

None of these groups, of course, is a political monolith. But if power ultimately derives from the people, then these changes are not just electoral curiosities. They condition how the system operates. Power is being redistributed in ways that breed widespread dissatisfaction. As a group, whites still have the most power, but it is waning. Hispanics’ power is on the rise, but it has been (so far) insufficient to pass desired immigration legislation…”


Venezuela to Reduce U.S. Embassy Staff, Require Tourist Visas

President Nicolás Maduro announces measures amid dueling protests



“Leaders of ISIS are now calling on followers to assassinate an American college professor in the group’s propaganda magazine. The professor is Yasir Qadhi, reports Memphis NBC affiliate WMC-TV. Qadhi, born in Houston, Texas, is a professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, a private bastion of the liberal arts in Memphis. He is also a Muslim cleric and the resident scholar at the Memphis Islamic Center. ISIS — also called the Islamic State — and its adherents don’t like Qadhi because he stands athwart the radical Muslim entity, yelling stop. “Contrary to popular opinion, ISIS does not have support in the American Muslim community,” he explained. “ISIS does not represent my faith, their actions are in contradiction to my faith, and I’m appalled at what they are doing in the name of my faith,” Qadhi told WMC. Among the reasons that ISIS wants Qadhi dead is that he condemned the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which happened in Paris in January. Two radical Muslim immigrants massacred 11 people during the terrorist attack — which was orchestrated by Al-Qaida, not ISIS, according to The Atlantic. In its demand that Qadhi (and another Muslim) be killed, ISIS propagandists published a photo of the professor. “They have said this is an act of worship,” he told the NBC affiliate, “that if somebody kills me, God is going to reward them.” Qadhi said he is not overly concerned about the call for his murder. “I understand these people who are threatening me are thousands of miles away,” he told the station. The professor also noted that the FBI has contacted him expressing concern and suggesting that he undertake certain safety measures. Qadhi indicated that he still plans to lecture around the world against ISIS and other radical Muslim groups…”


‘Knives are out’: Hawaii Dem faces backlash for taking on Obama over ‘Islamist’ extremism

“She was Hawaii’s golden girl after winning a seat in Congress with support from top liberal groups, but now that Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been critical of President Obama, her political reputation in the bluest of blue states is taking a hit. That isn’t stopping the twice-deployed 33-year-old Army veteran from continuing to challenge the president, her home state’s favorite son, over his refusal to identify terror groups like the Islamic State as driven by “radical Islam.” “Every soldier knows this simple fact: If you don’t know your enemy, you will not be able to defeat him,” Gabbard told FoxNews.com. “Our leaders must clearly identify the enemy as Islamist extremists, understand the ideology that is motivating them and attracting new recruits, and focus on defeating that enemy both militarily and ideologically.” Gabbard has been hitting this message for weeks now, putting her at odds with many in her party who toe the line that the Islamic State should not be associated with Islam…”


Administration denies Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli warplanes

Administration official calls Middle Eastern reports ‘totally false’


Shocking Report: Obama Threatened To Shoot Down Israeli Jets Targeting Iran