400 Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
- Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
- Local 202.783.3870
Government goes to those who show up. FreedomWorks makes it easy to hold your elected officials accountable in our fully interactive Action Center.
Find activists, groups, and events right in your own neighborhood. Join FreedomConnector to get involved and learn more about key issues threatening our economic freedom. Whether you’re looking for like-minded people, trying to boost your existing group’s impact, or simply trying to stay up on current events, FreedomConnector is the place to start. See what’s happening in your state today!Get Connected
400 Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
As the 112th Congress approaches a vote on legislation that would repeal in its entirety the ObamaCare health care law, many of the lawmakers who worked to pass the legislation are now crying foul. On Tuesday, former-House Speaker turned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) claimed that the repeal of the Democrats' reform would do, “very serious violence to the national debt and deficit.”
Interesting how different the Minority Leader's tone seems now that she is no longer in power. We must remember that this is the same woman who, in her four years as Speaker of the House, increased the national debt from $8.67 trillion to $14.01 trillion. Under her direction, Congress has added a staggering $5.34 trillion to the debt; that's more than a trillion dollars per year. Even in the face of such facts, Leader Pelosi has the gall to claim, "Deficit reduction has been a high priority for us. It is our mantra, pay-as-you-go.”
But the former-Speaker's hypocrisy is beside the point. The truth of the matter is that repealing the unwanted, intrusive, unaffordable monstrosity that is the health care law will not increase the national deficit. In fact it will have the opposite effect. A repeal of ObamaCare would be the first step towards restoring fiscal sanity in our nation's Capitol. As the Conn Carroll of the Heritage Foundation recently noted:
Only someone so out of touch with reality that they could claim that “deficit reduction” has been their “highest priority” while simultaneously adding more than $1 trillion a year to the debt could possibly claim that repealing Obamacare would add to the debt. But that is exactly what Pelosi wants us to believe.
Despite the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) report that ObamaCare could reduce the deficit by $124 billion over its first 10 years of implementation, most objective onlookers believe that it will actually increase the national debt and deficit by quite a bit more. Carroll notes that even the Director of the CBO Doug Elmendorf seems to think that his organizations estimates were off. Elmendorf writes:
CBO’s cost estimate noted that the legislation maintains and puts into effect a number of policies that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time.
In his piece for Heritage, Carroll observes:
Elmendorf then goes on to identify a number of specific Obamacare policies, such as arbitrary reductions in the growth rate for Medicare spending, that anyone who follows health care policy knows will be impossible to actually implement.
Before the health care legislation was passed, FreedomWorks Vice President of Public Policy Max Pappas and I examined some of the budget trickery that then-Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used in order to manipulate CBO calculations and achieve the "deficit neutral" cost estimate that they so desperately desired. At the time, we observed that--despite the Democrats' claims that their government takeover of the healthcare system would cost less than $900 billion--the total cost of the bill is actually much higher. We said that when they made such assertions, Democrats' failed to explain the elaborate budget gimmicks that they had strategically placed within the bill to produce such a cost estimate. We noted that among other tricks, the Democrats willfully ignored the following aspects of the reform legislation when claiming to have achieved deficit neutral reform:
The withholding of benefits: According to the Heritage Foundation:
"The Senate bill is cleverly designed to gather revenues (higher taxes, fees, and other offsets) over the full 10 year window but delays paying out the major benefits, like subsidies, until the last 6 years. So, the 2010-2019 estimate is not a full cost estimate of all provisions fully implemented and will certainly add significantly to the true cost of the bill."
Although the total cost of reform is unknowable, it has been estimated that the cost of the bill is somewhere around $2.5 trillion over 10 years of full implementation (2014-2023).
The deceitful "Doc Fix" that could not pass through the Senate: Introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), S. 1776, the Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009, would have spent an additional $247 billion in taxpayer money on reimbursements for physicians through Medicare. In part, the Reid bill owes its deficit neutral status to the reduction of $200 billion in physician reimbursements through Medicare that exist within the legislation. The savings in the Reid plan are almost the exact equivalent of the cost of S. 1776. The passage of S. 1776 would have negated reductions in Reid's legislation without adding to the perceived cost of reform. This deception helps to explain why the Reid proposal was estimated to cost less than a trillion dollars and also why it was estimated to reduce the deficit.
With the defeat of S. 1776 by a bipartisan majority, the price of the $247 billion doc-fix will have to be added to the cost of Senator Reid's bill. The CBO examined what would happen if the cost of the doc-fix bill in the House-- H.R. 3961-- was added to the cost of the House bill. It estimated that combining the two would "add $89 billion to budget deficits over the 20102019 period.
The CLASS Act: Senator Reid's bill includes the creation of a government healthcare program for individuals with disabilities called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act. At first, the premiums collected for the new entitlement will raise revenues for the federal government. The benefits paid out will be lower than the premiums taken in. This gives the impression that the Act lowers the deficit. It does not. The CBO points out that after 10 years the program would, "lead to net outlays when benefits exceed premiums" and, thus, it would add billions to the deficit over time.
Underestimates: Historically, such attempts to estimate the price of government programs have fallen woefully short of the actual cost of legislation. For example, in 1967 House Ways and Means analysts estimated Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. They were wrong--by a staggering factor of 10. The actual spending in 1990 was $110 billion. If the current CBO estimates are off by a similar margin, the Reid bill could end up being a multi-trillion dollar piece of legislation.
Because Leaders Reid and Pelosi included such deceitful trickery in the legislation that was eventually passed by the Democratic majority in Congress and signed into law by President Obama, the bill itself will actually cost the American people a great deal more than the original cost estimates indicated. Repealing such an onerous law will not increase the deficit and add to the public debt. It will do the exact opposite. It will prevent the implementation of one of the most harmful and intrusive laws in recently history.
The time to act is now. Please contact your representative and let him know that you want to see the repeal of ObamaCare law and all of the destructive regulations that it includes. Click here to access the FreedomWorks Repeal ObamaCare War Room.
As the 112th Congress approaches a vote on legislation that would repeal in its entirety the ObamaCare health care law, many of the lawmakers who worked to pass the legislation are now crying foul. On Tuesday, former-House Speaker turned House Minority L
Over a century ago, Judge Gideon Tucker first said “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session.” Those words still ring true today. As the 112th Congress starts, we should remain watchful but there is some reason for hope. Today, the Constitution was read on the floor of the House for the first time in the history of America. This is encouraging news. We applaud House Republicans for putting our Founding document in the spotlight where it belongs.
The real test will be whether lawmakers will legislate within the bounds of the Constitution that they took an oath to support and defend. Fortunately, the House just passed a number of rules to increase transparency and rein in government spending. To help ensure that all members uphold their oath, members are now required to cite specific constitutional authority for any bill that they introduce. As a plank in the Contract FROM America, we count this as significant victory.
These changes to the House rules are a step in the right direction to restore fiscal responsibility and limited government. Every bill will be made publicly available at least three days before the House or the committee votes on it. As Speaker of the House John Boehner declared “we will dispense with the conventional wisdom that bigger bills are always better; that fast legislating is good legislating." Additionally, the rules include a “Cut-As-You-Go” provision that requires that all new spending must be offset with a reduction in spending elsewhere in the budget.
With the rise of the Tea Party movement, more Americans are holding their legislators accountable for their votes. The November election was a huge wake up call. Americans lined up at their voting booths to send their big spending representatives packing out of Washington.
We have a lot to watch out for in 2011. While we should keep a close eye on the new Congress, there is a potentially even greater threat to our liberties. The power of the executive branch is out of control. With Republican control of the House, the executive branch will likely enact more regulations that would not make its way through Congress. In article 1, section 7 of the Constitution, the process of creating a new law is outline, putting authority with the legislation. The omnipotent executive branch, however, has disregarded these limits by enacting thousands of new provisions without proper approval from Congress.
We must limit the excesses of executive power by giving the American people and elected officials a voice in all major regulations imposed on us. FreedomWorks continues to support Rep. Geoff Davis’ (R-KY) and Sen. DeMint's (R-SC) REINS Act which would require Congress vote on any federal regulation introduced by the executive branch that would impose at least $100 million in compliance costs. During the health care debate, lawmakers removed end-of-life counseling—or death panels— from the Obamacare legislation due to public outcry. But the death panels didn’t stay dead for long. Over the Christmas holiday, the death panels were secretly inserted into the law by faceless bureaucrats at the Health and Human Services. According to the New York Times,
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Despite Congress’ rejection of some bad policy, the executive branch has enacted it nevertheless. While Cap and Trade remains unpopular with the American people and their legislators, the EPA has already set caps on greenhouse gas emission. According to reports, the Federal Reserve may be preparing for a back-door bailout of profligate states such as California and Illinois without Congressional approval. The IMF is likely getting ready to bailout Portugal and Spain followed by Italy and Belgium. Since American taxpayers pay the largest share of IMF dues, our tax money will be propping up poor economic policies in other countries. Moreover, the United Nations has already developed an Internet Governance Forum in hopes of regulating the Internet globally. Our Congressional representatives will have no say in these matters.
This year, let’s continue to keep close tabs on Congress. But let us also focus our efforts to exposing the excessive powers within the executive branch. Our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances for a reason. They wanted to prevent one branch of government from infringing on our freedom. In 2011, let’s stand up to government abuses from all divisions of government.
Over a century ago, Judge Gideon Tucker first said “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session.” Those words still ring true today. As the 112th Congress starts, we should remain watchful but there is some reason for hope. Today, the Constitution was read on the floor of the House for the first time in the history of America. This is encouraging news.
Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution states:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…
As has been the case for every member of Congress since the birth of our nation, members of the 112th session of Congress adhered to this constitutional mandate yesterday. Before officially accepting the honor of serving the American people in Washington D.C., all of the newly-elected representatives took an Oath to support and defend the United States Constitution. Their Oath reads:
I, [individual's name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
In addition, as one of their first acts, members of the House of Representatives will spend time later today reading aloud the supreme law of the land--the United States Constitution. To remind our newly elected officials of the importance of the Oath that they have just taken and of the Constitution that they have sworn to protect, Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation has written an excellent piece entitled, "Support and Defend: Understanding the Oath of Office." Mr. Spalding's piece is worth reading in its entirety but here is just a sample of its contents:
At the start of each new Congress, all Members beginning a new term of office (the entire House of Representative and one-third of the Senate) take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. In doing so, the Members of Congress perform an act that harkens back to the country’s founding and its first principles. As it applies to Members of Congress, the “Oaths Clause” plays an important role by obliging them to observe the limits of their authority and act in accordance with the powers delegated to them by the Constitution. The oath also serves as a solemn reminder that the duty to uphold the Constitution is not the exclusive or final responsibility of the Judiciary but is shared by Congress and the President (per Article II, Section 1) as co-equal branches of the United States government.
While reading through Spalding's writings, I was reminded of a speech that I delivered at the Massachusetts State House last fall at a Constitution Day event held by the Liberty Preservation Society of Massachusetts (Mass. LPA):
Last fall, while doing interning in Washington, I had the great honor of meeting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. During our conversation, Justice Thomas told me that before reviewing every case, the first question that he asks himself is: by what authority? By what authority did the government pass the law in question? To further explain his point, he used the following example:
If a police officer from Anchorage, Alaska drove down to Massachusetts, entered this room and tried to arrest me, the first question that I would ask him is: by what authority are you arresting me? Similarly, Justice Thomas insists, when considering legislation passed by the federal government, one must ask himself: by what authority is the government enacting this law?
In my mind, this question raises an even larger one. By what authority does the government enact any law? Who gave the government the power to create and enforce legislation?
America is unlike any other nation in the history of the world. It is the only country in which the people predate the government. The federal government was not established by the divine right of a king or by military coup. It is built upon the agreement and consent of the American citizenry. Because of this, the government does not get its power through force. The government gets its power from us— it gets it power from the people. We agree to allow the government to make laws because we want our rights protected from outside forces. However, we have not given the government limitless amounts of power. The authorities that we grant to the government are limited and defined and they can be found in the 4,400 word text of the United States Constitution.
You see, the writers of the Constitution were brilliant men. They understood that politicians have a propensity for power and that, if left unchecked, lawmakers will always sacrifice good government for more government. So they crafted the Constitution in an attempt to ensure that only certain, necessary laws would be passed. In the 223 years since the adoption of that text, we as a people have lost sight of their noble goal. We have traded in the document that protects our liberties and replaced it with the self-righteous opinions of activist judges.
Today there is a great debate over how the Constitution should be read. On one side are the government growers. They claim that the Constitution is old. That it is outdated. That it is tired. They say that times have changed and that we need a document that is flexible enough to adapt to the challenges of today. On the other side of the issue are those of us radical enough to say that the founders knew what they were doing. We say that there will always be a new challenge, a new crisis, and a new group of people willing to trade our freedoms for an easy solution—but we will not let them.
Still, the government growers continue to insist the Constitution is meant to be read loosely. They contend that the founders wanted it to be left open to interpretation. So how can we be so certain that they are wrong? How do we know that a strict textual reading of the Constitution was what the founders envisioned? To understand how the Constitution should be read, we need not look any further than our nation’s other founding document: the Declaration of Independence.
The preamble to the Declaration states:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…"
The arrangement of this statement is very important. I believe that it reveals the role that the founders envisioned for the Constitution. It shows their core belief that individual rights pre-exist the establishment of a government.
The Declaration begins by referring to the subsequent statement as self-evident truth. In doing so, the founders insist that it does not merely apply to the colonists. The Declaration was not written to announce the rights of those living in America in 1776. It was written to make known the God given rights of every person ever created. It then goes on to boldly assert the founders’ fundamental belief that “all men are created equal” and that no one life is more valuable than the next. If all humans share the same rights, then no individual has the authority to rule over or oppress another.
Furthermore, the God given rights shared by all people are “unalienable.” They are not granted to us by any man or institution. They are not given to us by the government. They are “endowed” upon us by our Creator. And only the God who grants us our rights has the authority to take them away.
Although the founders believed in the unalienable rights of every person, they also understood that there will always be forces in this world that seek to oppress. Thus they note that in order to protect our rights, we form governments. Governments themselves have no rights. They get their authority from the consent of the governed. Their sole purpose is to protect the rights of their citizenry from outside forces. And if they fail in that duty, it is the responsibility of the individuals to either fix or dismantle them.
The writers of the Declaration—and subsequently the writers of the Constitution—believed that government’s power comes out of its ability to protect the rights of its people. We do not receive our rights from the government and thus the government has no authority to take our rights away.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. In it, Paine writes:
[G]overnment even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”
The founders knew that a government was needed to protect the rights of the American people. But—after fighting to escape the wrath of British rule—they also knew that governments often commit the most egregious acts of oppression. So, to insure that Americans would be free from the shackles of government, they wrote the United States Constitution. The checks and limitations that they incorporated within it were seen as both a safeguard against oppression and an essential way of protecting personal liberty.
The Declaration of Independence reveals that the purpose of the Constitution is twofold. First, it was written to grant the federal government the authority to create specific and necessary laws. More importantly, it was written to constrain government power and protect the rights of citizens.
Allowing for an expansion upon the original language of the Constitution threatens both of these goals. If the federal government exercises powers that exist outside of those found in the Constitution, then its rule becomes illegitimate. An illegitimate ruler cannot be a just ruler. And, if the federal government acts unjustly, then it fails in its duty to guard the rights of those that it is meant to protect. A government that does not protect the liberties of its people is not a government of the people. It is a government in which the few impose their will upon the many. History has shown—and continues to show—that this type of government is unsustainable. The greatest amounts of progress and prosperity known to man have resulted from the adoption of the United States Constitution. Never before has human innovation developed and flourished so freely. Never again will our amount of achievement be duplicated.
We come together today at a crossroads in history. We can either return to the principles that lead to our prosperity, or we can continue down the road of expansive, intrusive government. If we allow our republic to escape us now, I’m afraid that we will lose it forever.
We cannot let that happen. We will not let that happen. It is up to us in the grassroots community to work for and elect leaders who understand the importance of their oath. It is up to us to pay attention once such leaders have been elected and to hold them accountable. It is up to us to restore the Constitution that has been all but erased.
Thank you and God bless America.
Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution states:The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution…As has been the case for every member of Congress since the birth of our nation, members of the 112th session of Congress adhered to this constitutional man
Personal Freedom and Power 104: Taxes Diminish Personal Power
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. -President Calvin Coolidge
Every tax imposed by government diminishes the power of the person taxed.The Right Way to Balance the Budget
To stabilize the national debt, taxes must be raised by 23percent, expenditures reduced by 23% or a combination of tax increases and cuts. The political elites, e.g., the Bowles and Simpson debt commission, are proposing some cuts and significant tax increases. Offensively, the Obama Administration ran up the debt, while planning to enact an additional VAT tax.
Americans be warned; any increase in taxes will be spent by the politically powerful, which will reduce every taxed American’s power over how we spend and invest the fruits of their labor. Worse, a tax increase will lead to more spending and delay and retard debt reduction efforts.
Utilizing the ground-breaking work of Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna of Harvard, Andrew Biggs, Kevin Hassett and Matt Jensen of the American Enterprise Institution (AEI) studied many governments’ attempts to reduced debt and found that major spending cuts is indispensable:
The data also clearly indicate that successful attempts to balance budgets rely almost entirely on reduced government expenditures, while unsuccessful ones rely heavily on tax increases.
The AEI study found reducing transfers/entitlements and government wages was also essential:
A 1996 International Monetary Fund study concluded that "fiscal consolidation that concentrates on the expenditure side, and especially on transfers and government wages, is more likely to succeed in reducing the public debt ratio than tax-based consolidation."
The research is strong, cut entitlements/transfer payments and wages. The political elites will surely resist. Alas, it is the same political class that created the debt and the danger.
Once again, change will not happen within government. It will be up to the American people make it happen. Our goal should be to match the reductions achieved by Finland, 108% reduction of spending followed by a tax cut.
As French economist Jacques Attali forewarned, our enormous debt threatens our civilization. Again, the citizens must force spending cuts by demanding the reduction of government workers and restructuring entitlement/transfer payments.
Personal Freedom and Power 104: Taxes Diminish Personal Power Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. -President Calvin Coolidge Every tax imposed by government diminishes the power of the person taxed.
On behalf of over a million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to vote yes on the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," which would repeal the Obamacare law enacted last March. Despite Americans loudly voicing opposition to the misguided health care law, it was rammed through with backroom deals and major tax increases. Polls have continuously shown that the majority of Americans want Washington to reverse the government takeover of their health care.
Nearly 10 months after its passage, the new health care law has already done damage to our economy and way of life. Insurance premiums are soaring across the nation. According to the Washington Examiner, the numerous government mandates in the law have caused insurance prices to rise by as much as 47 percent in Connecticut. When the law is fully implemented in 2016, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the average price of insurance will be 27 percent to 30 percent higher for all Americans. Struggling American families will have to pay an average of $2,100 more for their health insurance. In other words, the law will accomplish the exact opposite of what it was intended to achieve.
The unintended consequences of the new health care law are heartbreaking. Due to a provision that insurance companies must charge the same rates for healthy and costly sick children, nearly every major insurance company has ceased offering child-only policies. Employer penalties in the law have led some major companies such as 3M to announce that they will no longer be offering health benefits to retirees. Employers have declared that they will drop insurance policies for low-income workers unless they are granted an exemption by the Department of Health and Human Services. So far, over 200 politically connected companies and unions have been offered waivers.
The worst is still to come. The new health care law will cost $2.6 trillion during its first 10 years of full implementation. Ultimately, the law will create 159 new bureaucracies to control our health care. Health care is too important to be run by inefficient government bureaucracies. Moreover, the law includes an individual mandate provision which forces all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. A federal judge has already rightfully declared this mandate to be in violation of the Constitution. At a time when federal debt and deficits are at all-time highs, we simply cannot afford this massive new government spending program.
We will count your vote on the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2011. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here for a pdf version of this letter.]
FreedomWorks is a leading grassroots organization with over a million members fighting for lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I am writing today to offer our support for the House rules package that includes several welcomed changes designed to increase transparency and rein in government spending. The current House rules that favor big government need drastic changes.
These proposed changes to the House rules are a step in the right direction to restore fiscal responsibility and limited government. In the previous Congress, total government spending increased by 16.8 percent. With an estimated $1.3 trillion deficit in 2010 and national debt near $14 trillion, we cannot afford to continue down the same path of fiscal disaster. The House must show the American people that they are serious about curbing spending for the sake of our prosperity.
The proposed rules include important tools that will make it easier to cut excessive spending. A new requirement would ensure that representatives directly vote on transportation spending. As the rules currently stand, the House is prevented from cutting wasteful transportation projects. The rules package also includes spending reduction accounts to save taxpayers money. Under the current rules, any amendment to strike spending from a bill is transferred to other federal accounts. This proposed change would transfer this money to a spending reduction account and will prevent another member from spending these savings.
Furthermore, the rules package includes a number of provisions to increase transparency. The previous congressional session will forever be known as the closed door and backroom deal Congress. We were given little or no time to read bills that consisted of over 1,000 pages. The American people deserve better leadership. The rules package would require all bills to be made publicly available at least three days before the House or the committee votes on it.
To help ensure that all members uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution, the proposed rules will require members to cite specific constitutional authority for any bill that they introduce. Since this is a plank in the grassroots document Contract FROM America, we are encouraged to see representatives listening to their constituents. In the 111th Congress, many laws were passed without consulting the Constitution. As we all saw, a federal judge recently declaring part of the health care reform bill passed last year unconstitutional.
We believe these rules are crucial to restore freedom for the American people. At this point we know of amendments to the rules by Rep. Garrett and Rep. Jordan that would strengthen this package, which we encourage you to adopt, and one by Rep. LaTourette that would weaken it that we encourage you to oppose. I hope you will join us in supporting the rules package in its current form.
President and CEO
[Click here for a PDF version of this letter.]
Dear Representative, FreedomWorks is a leading grassroots organization with over a million members fighting for lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I am writing today to offer our support for the House rules package that includes several welcomed changes designed to increase transparency and rein in government spending. The current House rules that favor big government need drastic changes.
Yesterday, House Republicans released to the public their repeal bill for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also known as the ObamaCare law. While it took Democrats nearly 3,000 pages worth of complex legalese to institute their radical change to the American health care system, it will take the GOP a mere two pages to repeal the unwanted law (and its only taking that much paper because of formatting).
Here, see for yourself:
What does this repeal bill aim to do? As the first line of the legislation indicates, the goal of the bill is to repeal the Democrats' government takeover of health care and the health care related provisions included in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA). If passed, the repeal would reset American health care laws to the time prior to the signing of ObamaCare in March of last year. In addition to that, it would eliminate the fixes to the original health bill that Democrats included in the companion reconciliation act that passed through Congress at the same time as the ObamaCare law.
This bold bill may be the first indication that the new GOP majority in the House is committed to keeping the promises that they made to the American people. Unlike President Obama who campaigned on transparency and then allowed lobbyists and lawyers to craft his reform in secret, Republicans seem to be delivering on their 2010 campaign promise to repeal the bureaucratic nightmare instituted by Democrats. By revealing their intention to strike down the entirety of the health care law, Republicans have opted not to play it safe by picking and choosing which unpopular parts of ObamaCare to repeal and which more popular parts to leave intact. They campaigned on the notion that they would act in the best interest of the American public and they seem to understand that the only way to follow through on that promise is to eliminate the Democrats' reform and start over from scratch. As the last line of their bill states, passing the repeal would make it as though ObamaCare “had not been enacted.”
In addition to offering this legislation to repeal the health care law, the GOP has also offered a two page resolution that outlines the reform ideas that they would likely include in an alternative Republican health care law. The outline lists many of the types of reforms that FreedomWorks has championed for decades.
(Click here to see a list of reforms that we would like to see Republicans fight to enact with their new majority in the 112th Congress.)
If the GOP repeal is passed through Congress, it is likely that President Obama will use his presidential veto to strike down the bill. Still, using the next two years to pass transparent, liberty-based legislation in the House will reveal to the American people how the GOP will govern if they gain a true majority in 2012. Repealing and replacing the freedom-stifling ObamaCare law which grows more unpopular by the day is the first step on the path to fiscal sanity. As our friend Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), astutely notes:
Obama’s veto or the Democrat Senate’s filibuster will remind Americans that they only got part of the job done on Nov. 2, 2010.
Yesterday, House Republicans released to the public their repeal bill for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) also known as the ObamaCare law. While it took Democrats nearly 3,000 pages worth of complex legalese to institute their radical change to the American health care system, it w
Dreams and impatience have always driven men in power to draw on the resources of others—be it slaves, the inhabitants of occupied lands, or their own children yet to be born—in order to carry out their schemes, to consolidate power, to grow their own fortunes. -Jacques Attali
A government debt is a government claim against personal income and private property – an unpaid tax bill. – Hans F. Sennholz
The West and the Tyranny of Public Debt
Today, western democracies have loaded debt on future generations. Jacques Attali, a French economist, incisively states the relationship between government debt and the rise and fall of great nations. In Newsweek, Attali states the danger to peace, prosperity and our civilization.
The history of public debt is the very history of national power: how it has been won and how it has been lost. … But never, outside periods of total war, has the debt of the world’s most powerful states grown so immense. Never has it so heavily threatened their political systems and standards of living. Public debt cannot keep growing without unleashing terrible catastrophes.
Perceptively, Attali recognizes the root cause – the politician’s lust for power, which is obtained by using the resources of others. Attali writes: Dreams and impatience have always driven men in power to draw on the resources of others—be it slaves, the inhabitants of occupied lands, or their own children yet to be born—in order to carry out their schemes, to consolidate power, to grow their own fortunes.
Presently in the western nations, democratically elected politicians have loaded debt on future workers. Despicably, they have burdened the most vulnerable and the least represented in a democracy – the young and unborn. Attali recognizes the future burden … the very nature of public debt: it is an obligation handed down from the present generation to future ones.
Excessive government debt and the resulting tragedies have occurred over three hundred times between 1800 and 2009. Economically and culturally vibrant nations and empires reneged on their financial obligations with terrible consequences. For example, Spain, Amsterdam, Venice, Germany, France all defaulted to some degree and not only lost their great economies but suffered terrible civil wars and declines. Often terrible genocides and banishments of minorities occurred.
Attali cogently describes the danger of debt and the potential catastrophe, but writes sparsely on the solutions. However, he outlines the options:
(1) higher taxes;
(2) less spending;
(3) more growth;
(4) more lenient interest rates;
(5) worse inflation;
(7) external aid; or
Attali avers that only growth is viable, but only outlines the tasks required by government:
The West needs to wake up now, shake off the yoke of public debt, and take the path of liberty. That path is long and difficult. It means balancing budgets and stabilizing the financial sector. But the great reward will be a return to confidence and growth—for those who put in the effort, and for those with the audacity to see it through.
Fortunately, some excellent American thinkers have proposed solutions, which will be covered in following posts.
Democracy and Power: 104 Future Debt Burden Dreams and impatience have always driven men in power to draw on the resources of others—be it slaves, the inhabitants of occupied lands, or their own children yet to be born—in order to carry out their schemes, to consolidate power, to grow their own fortunes. -Jacques Attali
The outgoing Congress, which began with a bailout-and-stimulus bang, ends with a Tea Party-inflicted whimper, bruised by a series of post-election "shellackings" on taxes, spending and pork.
Meanwhile, a new Congress is charging toward the Hill like the U.S Cavalry, reinforced with scores of Tea Party-backed candidates and committed to a new day in Washington.
We believe big things are possible these next two years – on everything from taxes to budgets to spending – because the big-government left is on the defensive and the left’s leader, President Obama, wants to be reelected.
And nowhere is this sea-change in political fortunes more evident than on health care.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we believe the president’s signature accomplishment is vulnerable to repeal.
Indeed, we believe repeal is not only achievable, but may happen sooner than many expect, for five basic reasons:
1. Support for repeal has gone up since the election. The share of people supporting full or partial repeal has risen from 49 percent in last month’s Kaiser health tracking poll to 59 percent in the Dec. 13, Washington Post poll. And Rasmussen finds that “Belief in the likelihood of repeal has now edged to its highest level to date” -- 47 percent, up 1 point from the election. Voters want, and expect, repeal.
2. The law’s structure makes it vulnerable. Democrats will have trouble maintaining their current “mend it, don’t end it” stance, because they can’t persuasively explain how they’d mend it. Obamacare’s core elements -- the mandates, exchanges, and subsidies (including the massive Medicaid expansion) -- are all interconnected. This makes the law vulnerable to “effective repeal” through surgical amendment.
Like the Death Star, the law has one critical weakness: the individual mandate, which requires all individuals to purchase government-controlled health insurance. Repeal just this section, and the rest of the law comes apart. In the absence of the mandate, people who lack job-based coverage will wait until they’re sick to seek coverage through their local government exchange, and premiums will soar there, driving people away.
The system will become unsustainable.
Only 27 percent of Americans support the mandate; 68 percent oppose it. And eliminating the mandate would save taxpayers $202 billion (2014-19).
3. Fiscal realities make the law an irresistible piggy bank. Obamacare is the world’s biggest deficit-reduction piggy bank. Its $900 billion in subsidies (2014-19) offer a rich fund out of which to pay for higher priorities, for example, to provide Alternative Minimum Tax relief, a Medicare physician payment “doc fix” or a budget-neutral increase in the debt ceiling.
The Medicaid expansion will cost $434 billion; its exchange premium subsidies, $464 billion; its discretionary authorizations for new programs, $19 billion; those for existing programs, $86 billion. Eliminating all of this new spending would save more than a trillion dollars. This is one piggy bank you can be sure Congress will break open.
4. Three-fifths of the states are challenging the law, and the Supreme Court could find it unconstitutional. Most states oppose the new law, because it shifts control of insurance regulation to Washington, but even more because its massive Medicaid expansion will bankrupt them. Twenty-one states have filed suits challenging the law’s constitutionality. Another nine have filed friendly briefs.
The Dec. 13 ruling by Federal District Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia v. Sebelius found the individual mandate to be an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power.
Higher courts will now have to answer: Is the mandate constitutional (and therefore there are no limits on federal power)? Or is the mandate unconstitutional (and therefore Congress acted wrongly in ramming the bill through)? Voters deserve to know the answers before November 2012. That’s why FreedomWorks has launched a grassroots effort to push for expedited Supreme Court review of these cases.
5. A majority of lawmakers in the new House and a near-majority in the new Senate ran on full repeal. Therefore, after an initial “full repeal” vote in January, House leaders should bring up at least four “effective repeal” bills: (1) repeal the individual mandate; (2) repeal the IRS Form 1099 paperwork nightmare; (3) let people with private insurance “keep what they have;” and (4) let states opt out of the exchanges and Medicaid expansion. We believe each of these bills can pass both Houses of Congress with bipartisan support.
In sum, we can preserve the world’s best health care system. Repeal is achievable because the American people clearly want and expect repeal, the law is vulnerable to effective repeal and a majority of the new Congress ran on repeal.
The clock is running. Obamacare begins in earnest three years from now.
With the right combination of legislative savvy and grassroots pressure, we can -- and will -- stop that day from coming.
Matt Kibbe is president of FreedomWorks and co-author of "Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto."
The outgoing Congress, which began with a bailout-and-stimulus bang, ends with a Tea Party-inflicted whimper, bruised by a series of post-election "shellackings" on taxes, spending and pork.Meanwhile, a new Congress is charging toward the Hill like the U.S Cavalry, reinforced with scores of Tea Party-backed candidates and committed to a new day in Washington.
As Congress continues to negotiate the federal government's budget for this fiscal year, conservatives aren't letting up their campaign against earmarks.
Lawmakers and conservative political activists alike are wailing that the regionally-specific federal spending projects are the hallmark of government waste.
Conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma released his annual Wastebook today, which purports to highlight some of the most wasteful government spending of 2010, including earmarks. The report gives examples of over $11.5 billion in government spending considered wasteful, including a $60,500 earmark for a parachute museum in Dayton, Ohio, and a $350,000 earmark to refurbish a functional, historic clock tower in Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, after Republican opposition to earmarks managed to kill an "omnibus" government-spending bill last week, the conservative group FreedomWorks credited the Tea Party for compelling the Senate to drop the "pork-stuffed" legislation. The bill, which would have funded the federal government through Sept. 30 of next year, included $8 billion worth of earmarks that both Democrats and Republicans had requested. Some of the very same Republicans who requested earmarks in the bill decided to vote against it in the name of fiscal responsibility.
FreedomWorks highlighted some of the "wasteful spending" in the omnibus, such as $413,000 for peanut research in Alabama and $208,000 for beaver management in North Carolina.
With the omnibus bill off the table and funding for government operations about to run out, Congress over the weekend enacted an emergency "continuing resolution" to fund the government for a few more days. On Tuesday, when the emergency bill expires, the Senate will vote to end debate on another continuing resolution, which would fund the government through the beginning of March. The continuing resolution drops some of the significant spending items in the proposed omnibus bill, such as funding to implement President Obama's health care reforms and Wall Street reforms.
While conservatives balk at the billions in earmarks Congress allots each year, others like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have argued that earmarks simply represent Congress fulfilling one of its main obligations: directing government spending.
And while "beaver management" in North Carolina may sound like a frivolous pursuit to FreedomWorks, managers at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission say it's a necessary and cost-effective federal investment. Beavers in North Carolina cause millions of dollars in damage annually by flooding highways, bridges, agricultural land and other infrastructure.
The Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP) depends on resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state wildlife agencies and county governments, as well as modest fees imposed on landowners dealing with beavers, to mitigate that damage. In 2008, BMAP saved the government and landowners approximately $4.75 million in resources from prevented beaver damage.
"It's probably one of the best examples of federal government, state government, and private citizen partnerships that I could draw attention to," Brad Gunn, a biologist with the Resources Commission, told Hotsheet.
Gunn said the fact the federal government and private landowners, as well as local governments, all have a vested interest in the project makes it that much stronger. What's more, the federal government already has a mandate to handle animal control on infrastructure, Gunn said, so arguing over giving the program federal money is something of a moot point.
As Hotsheet has previously noted, the entire debate over earmarks is something of a red herring, since earmarks do not create new spending, but simply say specifically how government budgets should be spent.
However, that hasn't stopped 2012 congressional candidates from slamming their incumbent opponents for earmark requests, the Hill reports.
As Congress continues to negotiate the federal government's budget for this fiscal year, conservatives aren't letting up their campaign against earmarks. Lawmakers and conservative political activists alike are wailing that the regionally-specific federal spending projects are the hallmark of government waste.