GOP Lawmakers: Get Ready For The $1 Billion Obamacare Insurance Bailout

The chairman of the House Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs subcommittee said Wednesday that taxpayers could end up bailing out insurance companies to the tune of $1 billion as a result of Obamacare.

The bailout, argued Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), will result from a revenue-sharing program set up under Obamacare called the Temporary Risk Corridors Program. Jordan’s assertions run counter to previous Congressional Budget Office report that said the program would cost the government nothing.

“The American people have a right to know how much these backdoor bailouts will cost,” Jordan said. “While I have great respect for the analysts at CBO, their findings in this area did not square with the evidence presented by numerous health policy experts.”

The revenue-sharing is intended to offset insurer costs during the early stages of Obamacare implementation by distributing funds from insurers with healthier patients to those insuring higher numbers of older, sicklier patients.

Jordan told fellow lawmakers that, according to research involving 23 Obamacare co-op insurers and 15 traditional insurance providers, his committee estimates that the more than $730 million will be paid out to struggling insurers.

“The information provided by the insurers suggests that the total taxpayer bailout could well exceed $1 billion this year alone,” he said.

Republicans have previously attacked the risk corridor as being unlawful, based on opinions from the Government accountability Office and Congressional Research Service.

“Under current law, payments made under the risk corridor program would constitute an unlawful transfer of potentially billions of taxpayer dollars to insurers offering qualified health plans under the President’s health care law,” wrote Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in a recent letter to new Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

The lawmakers’ contention stems from a statement in the Administration’s 2015 fiscal year budget calling for the corridor funds to be moved through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Sessions and Upton contend that Congress should hold the sole authority to authorize the funds.

“Without an explicit appropriation, any money spent on the risk corridor program would be based on an illegal transfer of funds and your agency could be held in violation of the Antideficiency Act,” the lawmakers said.

Student Discovers School Filtering Out Conservative Web Results, Leaving Liberal Sites Untouched

After a Connecticut high school student was given an assignment to discuss the merits of gun control, he learned that it was going to be difficult to get both sides of the argument while on campus. That’s because his school restricted access to conservative information outlets, according to student Andrew Lampart. Lampart told reporters that he started doing research for a gun-related assignment in his Nonnewaug High School “Law and You” class only to find that the National Rifle Association, The Blaze, the Connecticut GOP website, the website for a Sarah Palin PAC, Town Hall , RedState and other conservative portals of information were blocked by his school’s SonicWALL firewall. “I used my study hall to research gun control facts and statistics. That is when I noticed that most of the pro-second amendment websites were blocked, while the sites that were in favor of gun control generally were not,” Lampart told Campus Reform.  That’s right, Moms Demand Action, Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton’s website, the Center for American Progress website, the Connecticut Democratic Party’s website and other left-leaning information outlets were left unblocked. “They’re trying to, in my opinion, shelter us from what’s actually going on around the country and around the world by blocking these web sites. It should be the other way around. The web sites should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument,” Lampart told FoxCT. Lampart said that he notified his school district’s superintendent of the problem but nothing was done. On Monday, he took his concerns to the local school board. Meanwhile, Campus Reform offers some insight about who might be behind the inappropriate censorship:

In an email to Campus Reform, Paul Ciotti, Director of Network Operations and Technology for Connecticut Region 14 schools said “[i]t is not uncommon for websites to be improperly categorized, resulting in a blocked website that should be accessible or unblocked website that should be blocked.” “However, SonicWall’s Content Filtering Service allows administrators as well as end users the ability to request that a website be re-categorized to a more suitable group,” Ciotti said.

It’s unclear whether Lampart’s high school plans to address the problem. Of course, this leaves us with one burning question: How many other schools throughout the Nation have a similarly indoctrinating web-filtering strategy?

Obama’s Immigration Policy Means Jihadi ‘Dreamers’ May Be Heading To U.S.

As the threat of a Mideast Islamic caliphate controlled by the brutal militants at the helm of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emerging by 2015 becomes plausible, the power of terrorists to export religiously motivated attacks to the West is growing. Meanwhile, the U.S. is embracing increasingly lax border-control standards. These two things are not unrelated.

American writer and blogger Tom Rogan, in a column for The Telegraph this week, envisions what the Mideast may look like in a year if the ISIS threat continues unabated:

For Isis, 2015 is … a dream come true. Using their Caliphate as a vehicle to export terrorism, they’ve launched two major attacks on the West. In November 2014, French citizens bombed a restaurant and a bus in Paris. In a simultaneous January 2015 attack, British citizens blew up two transatlantic passenger planes. Six hundred died. This airline attack has taken more than innocent lives. It has frayed EU-US diplomacy. America now requires EU passport holders who’ve traveled to any of 10 countries (including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey) to attain a visa for travel to the United States. Combined with fears over flight safety, the airlines have lost billions in revenues. Intelligence services are struggling to identify Isis terrorists who are returning home with a smile and the knowhow of a bomb-maker. Benefiting from Snowden’s leaks, Isis has dramatically reduced its use of the internet and cell phones. More attacks are expected.

While Rogan leaves out the prospect of an attack on the U.S. mainland so soon, it’s certainly not out of the question.

Former acting CIA Director Mike Morell discussed ISIS Monday on CBS’s “This Morning,” noting that an attack on the U.S. is a clear goal for the terror group.

“One [of ISIS’s goals] is to set up that caliphate and, it’s not just in Iraq and in Syria,” he said, contending that the caliphate would likely eventually include all areas of The Levant (or greater Syria), which includes modern Jordan, Lebanon and Israel.

“Their second goal then is to use that as a safe haven to attack the United States,” Morell added.

Rogan is correct to assume that a growing ISIS threat and terror attacks by radicalized inhabitants of other Western countries would lead U.S. officials to crack down on travel into the Nation from areas likely to harbor terror sympathizers.

But the political capital that President Barack Obama and Democrats have put into allowing illegal immigration from the Nation’s southern border creates a perfect entry point to the U.S. for Islamic terrorists. As Texas Governor Rick Perry noted on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, it isn’t just Mexicans flowing into the U.S. from the south.

“We have record high numbers of other than Mexicans being apprehended at the border. These are people that are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations. So we’re seeing record, historic high numbers of these individuals being apprehended,” Perry said.

Currently, Obama’s “dream”for the children of illegal immigrants to the U.S. is creating a nightmare for officials in charge of U.S. border security. According to reports, Border Patrol agents are spending more time handling paperwork and unaccompanied minors dumped at the border than they are doing actual patrols.

Back in 2009, an al-Qaida recruitment video surfaced, which proves that Obama isn’t the only dreamer when it comes to bringing in people from the Nation’s southern border. Though, while Obama’s policy is bringing thousands of unattended illegal immigrant children to the Nation, Kuwaiti dissident terror recruiter Abdullah al-Nafisi said he requires only one illegal immigrant for his plan to work.

“Four pounds of anthrax — in a suitcase this big — carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there,” the recruiter said. “What a horrifying idea; 9/11 will be small change in comparison. Am I right? There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings and so on. One person, with the courage to carry 4 pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this ‘confetti’ all over them, and then we’ll do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real celebration.”

Even more disturbing is that U.S. counterterror officials have long noted Mexican cartels’ willingness to work with Islamic extremists — not for ideological but economic ends.

And if you think something akin to al-Nafisi’s smuggling mission would be impossible, consider for a moment that, according to some estimates, the Sinola Mexican drug cartel moves an average of one kilo of cocaine across the Nation’s border every 10 minutes.

Official: Armed Mexican Military, Police Breached U.S. Border 500 Times Over Decade

As Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi continues to be held captive by Mexican authorities for entering the Mexico with firearms, members of Congress learned Tuesday that armed Mexican troops and police have strayed across the border into the U.S. more than 500 times in the past decade.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) in a letter that the “incursions” are “infrequent” — but the commissioner added that they happen frequently enough for the U.S. to have created special units to deal with the situation.

Kerlikowske said that a total of 525 Mexican law enforcement and military personnel have wandered into the United States in about 152 separate instances since 2004. In 81 instances, involving about 320 of the armed non-Americans, contact was made with U.S. Border agents. In 131 of those cases people were detained.

“While the number of unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities is relatively few, it is imperative for our officer safety to handle each situation assertively but with sensitivity and professionalism,” the commissioner said.

Hunter disagreed that 500 armed Mexican troops breaching the U.S. border over a 10-year span could be characterized as infrequent.

Kerlikowske also relayed that Mexican police and military units who were unarmed violated the U.S. border on 148 separate occasions over the time frame.

Tahmooressi has been jailed in Mexico since March 31 after accidentally crossing the border with three registered guns. His former Marine comrade, Andrew Bartholomew, joined Fox ‘s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” this week to discuss Tahmooressi ongoing imprisonment.

“Unfortunately, he is becoming fairly despondent about the issue, but nevertheless, it’s inherent in his character — he’s holding it together, and he is obviously hopeful for a favorable outcome,” Bartholomew said. “So I mean, he knows that on the American side we are doing all we can to raise awareness for him and to raise public support.”

Feinstein Wants Full Military Response In Iraq

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called Tuesday for the U.S. to take “direct action” in Iraq and launch a military strike to prevent Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from taking control of Baghdad.

“Most important is that we take direct action now against ISIS, marching down to Baghdad, and prevent them from getting into Baghdad,” Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee said.

On Monday, the Obama Administration announced that about 275 U.S. Army troops where on the ground in Iraq “to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”

Senior Administration officials have been quick to point out that the troops are designated as non-combat units meant to protect U.S. personnel and property and advise Iraqi forces.

But not every believes the Administration is telling the whole truth.

“The White House may say that special operations ‘advisors’ is different than sending ‘combat troops’,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl deduced, “but they would be advising Iraqi forces in Iraq—something more than just training—and it is hard to make the case they would not be in harm’s way.”

Feinstein appears to be calling for broader involvement in the Iraq situation than the White House, telling reporters that she is in communication with top Administration and intelligence officials.

“I think it’s most important that the Maliki government be replaced, and that includes Mr. Maliki with a reconciliation government,” she said. “Based on all I’ve heard, read and know, Mr. Maliki is not able to bring about reconciliation in that country.

“So you need the political strategy, you need the military strategy,” said Feinstein. “Hopefully that’s going to be forthcoming.”

Lawmaker Calls On President To Mobilize National Guard In Response To Youth Immigration Nightmare

Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Michigan Republican, sent a letter to the White House this week urging President Barack Obama to send National Guard troops to the Nation’s southern border to deal with the unprecedented influx of underage illegal immigrants.

“I strongly urge you to call upon the National Guard to assist our overwhelmed border agents in not only addressing the unfolding humanitarian crisis, but also to assist our agents in defending our border against the violent drug cartels who are increasing smuggling operations as a result of this crisis,” Miller wrote in the letter released Monday. “Vital to the success of the National Guard along the border is providing them authority to not only patrol the border but to also enforce our laws and assist in arresting those illegally crossing the border.”

The Congresswoman, who serves as the chair of a top border security subcommittee, believes that tying up Border Security agents with paperwork needed to comply with Administration policies related to underage illegals is severely weakening patrols along the border.

“The Department of Homeland Security expects more than 60,000 migrant children to illegally cross the border this year alone and estimates could reach over 127,000 children in 2015. Such massive influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children is causing significant strain on border security resources along the southern border,” the lawmaker wrote. “Rather than carrying out their regular duties, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents are put in the position of providing basic child care. This diversion away from normal patrol responsibilities will result in an increase of drugs and migrants illicitly crossing our border.”

Miller also told the President that his decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is sparking a wave of illegal immigration caused by “the rise of rumors throughout Central America that if parents send their children to United States they will be allowed to stay.”

For that reason, the lawmaker argued, the White House should immediately embark on a public relations campaign to make clear to the United States’ southern neighbors: “if parents send their children to our border unaccompanied they will be sent home.”

U.S. Ignored ISIS Threat, Homeland Could Be In Danger

As Americans continue to try to understand how Iraq, a nation the U.S. occupied for more than a decade, is so rapidly becoming a playground for brutal Islamic extremists, defense and intelligence experts say that an American response to the extremist threat will be difficult to formulate because the necessary intel is lacking.

U.S. officials realize that the Islamic threat currently growing in Iraq could have direct implications for U.S. security, a notion demonstrated by the Navy’s mobilization of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and two other U.S. Navy ships to the Persian Gulf Sunday. But as lawmakers and pundits discuss the prospect of a U.S. airstrikes with the goal of stalling the forward advances of brutal militants in the nation aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), top defense experts say that the recent rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from key Iraqi assets makes it almost impossible to discern where the strikes are needed the most.

If forces inadvertently strike areas of Iraq where large-scale collateral damage is possible with minimal success in weakening the ISIS threat, there is a risk that the bombing could make matters worse in the country by making it easier for ISIS to radicalize Iraqis who were formerly possible U.S. allies.

“We don’t have boots on ground providing intelligence and we don’t have confidence in information that the Iraqi government provides, because they’ve [been] so heavy-handed in the use of force against Sunni villages,” Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained to The Daily Beast.

One fact that officials in the U.S. have not been overly excited to note, however, is that the United States’ national security apparatus has been aware of the growing ISIS threat for years.

Via The New York Times:

With just a few thousand fighters, the group’s lightning sweep into Mosul and farther south appeared to catch many Iraqi and American officials by surprise. But the gains were actually the realization of a yearslong strategy of state-building that the group itself promoted publicly.

The Times’ article goes on to note the existence of several pieces of ISIS propaganda, including a 2007 pamphlet that cited “trends in globalization as well as the Quran in challenging modern notions of statehood as having absolute control over territory.”

In other words, ISIS leaders believe that the actions they’re currently carrying out in Iraq could be similarly reproduced throughout the entire world. And reports indicate that the brutal extremists are already laying the groundwork to challenge the Western world’s power to defend itself.

Police in Spain on Monday said that they have detained as many as eight people in connection with an ISIS-linked terror cell led by a former Guantanamo detainee.

“It should be highlighted that the leader of this cell lived in Spain after passing through the Guantanamo military base, having been arrested in Afghanistan in 2001,” the Spanish ministry said, according to AFP.

The danger that similar cells are being formed in the United States is real, according to many officials watching the situation unfold in Iraq.

White House On Missing Lerner Emails: Haven’t You Ever Heard Of A Computer Crash?

After the Internal Revenue Service claimed last week that it conveniently “lost” two years of former employee Lois Lerner’s emails— some of which were likely directly related to the agency’s targeting of conservatives— everyone from conservative members of Congress to liberal political pundits cried foul. Now, the White House is labeling anyone who doesn’t buy its “computer crash” story as a conspiracy theorist.

“You’ve never heard of a computer crashing before?” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters who questioned the Administration’s story aboard Air Force One.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, host Joe Scarborough and his Obama-apologist co-host Mika Brzezinski discussed the Administration’s claims at length, concluding that that a computer crash is implausible.

“Mika, even you have to admit…how ridiculous is it?” Scarborough asked.

“Pretty ridiculous,” Brzezinski said. “The emails are out there.”

“I’m just saying it is ridiculous that the Internal Revenue Service, who will shake down people for a receipt 18 years old, are saying they can’t find emails from the person that’s at the center of a scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service,” Scarborough said. “I think taxpayers across America think this is absolutely preposterous.”

Scarborough noted that even he smashed his laptop to pieces, his emails would remain somewhere in cyberspace.

House Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) said that he is launching an investigation into whether the IRS has violated the Federal Records Act, a law that requires government agencies to keep records in some cases.

“I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing in response to the committee’s investigation,” Issa, who’s been repeatedly stonewalled by the agency in looking for answers, said.

He added, “For too long, the IRS has promised to produce requested – and, later, subpoenaed – documents, only to respond later with excuses and inaction.”

But the White House continues to ridicule Republican calls for further IRS transparency.

“I think it’s entirely reasonable, because it’s the truth and it’s a fact, and speculation otherwise I think is indicative of the kinds of conspiracies that are propagated around this story. And they’re propagated in a way that has left people with a very mistaken impression about what exactly occurred,” Earnest said, adding that the White House had already provided nearly 67,000 emails from Lerner’s office.

“The far-fetched skepticism expressed by some Republican members of Congress I think is not at all surprising and not particularly believable,” Earnest added.

Of course, we all know about those “vast right-wing conspiracies” about Administrations which are later proven untrue. Or… completely true.

Even if the IRS lost all of those Lerner emails, Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said last week that he has a plan to help the agency comply with oversight requests.

“I have asked NSA Director [Mike] Rogers to send me all metadata his agency has collected on Lois Lerner’s email accounts for the period which the House sought records,” said Stockman today. “The metadata will establish who Lerner contacted and when, which helps investigators determine the extent of illegal activity by the IRS.”

Poll: Incumbents, Democrats Are Likely To Lose Big This Fall

If you were happy to see establishment Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor booted from his seat by underdog conservative David Brat, you’re going to love the predictions made in new polling data out from Gallup.

The polling agency predicts that voter frustration over lackluster performance from Congress combined with widespread dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration is going to cause problems for incumbents during the midterms this fall.

Gallup’s data show that fewer than one in four Americans are satisfied with the current state of affairs in the U.S. Based on the approval ratings recorded for President Barack Obama, 44 percent, and Congress, 16 percent, it’s clear who Americans are blaming for their dissatisfaction.

The polling agency notes that when Congressional approval is low during election cycles, incumbents tend to be sent packing. And Obama’s unpopularity spells particular danger for Democrats hoping to hold on to their districts.

“Although the president is not a candidate in midterm election years, his standing with voters is usually a significant predictor of election outcomes. When presidents are unpopular, their party typically loses a substantial number of seats in the House of Representatives,” Gallup says. “Conversely, in the 1998 and 2002 elections, when Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had approval ratings above 60%, their parties gained House seats, providing rare exceptions to the historical trend of midterm seat losses for the president’s party.”

Noting that President Obama’s approval numbers are more reflective of George W. Bush in 2006 and Ronald Reagan in 1982, Gallup suggests that the midterms could bring big losses for Democrats.

“In those years, the president’s party lost more than 20 seats,” the polling agency reports.

Gallup’s analysts predict that the chances of Obama, the Democrats and the overall Congressional incumbency turning the tide before this fall are low, adding that it’s more likely that approval ratings will plummet further.

Source: Gallup

Sunday News Show Roundup

Sunday’s political talk shows were focused on the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where the militant extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) undermined government control of large swaths of territory last week.

The news shows were dominated by Republicans, who called for swift action from President Barack Obama on both the military and diplomatic fronts.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that the U.S. should target ISIS-held positions in Iraq to weaken the terrorists and prevent them from advancing into the capitol city of Baghdad. The Republican lawmaker also squarely placed the blame for the terror group’s advances on Obama.

“Al Qaida in Iraq, the predecessor to ISIS, was on their back just about gone. Syria blows up. They get reinforcements from Syria into Iraq. Maliki withdrawals from the coalition, he becomes a sectarian leader, Obama’s administration completely hands off and we withdraw troops in 2011. That’s the perfect storm.”

The lawmaker went on to suggest that the President was so intent on being credited with ending the war that the Administration failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure the country’s continued stability.

“I was there on the ground at the request of Secretary Clinton. Maliki, Barzani, and the Sunnis were willing to accept an American force. We wanted the agreement to go through parliament, which would have been a disaster,” said Graham. “The Obama administration wanted to say I ended the war in Iraq, I‘m going to end the war in Afghanistan. This was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. I blame President Obama mightily for a hands off policy when it comes to Iraq.”

On Fox News Sunday, Representative Mike Rodgers (R-Mich.) said that ISIS’s growing strength poses a direct threat to Americans’ safety at home.

“We have to ask one single question: is al Qaida holding [territory] the size of Indiana a problem for the United States?Well, it certainly was when they were in Afghanistan and had time to plan the 9/11 event, and I guarantee you, this is a problem that we will have to face and we’re either going to face it in New York City or we’re going to face it here,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the U.S. can neutralize the threat without putting boots on the ground in Iraq.

“Doesn’t mean troops. Doesn’t mean the same kind of fight. It means you have to have a coordinated effort, but it has to be disruptive through tempo, meaning you can’t fire and release. You have to fire and continue the pressure so that you can dismantle and empower other Arab militaries to be successful,” Rogers said.

Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said that he is open to whatever military response is required as long as the Nation knows what it is getting into, on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“I’m open to … air strikes, technical support, drones, whatever it takes, but I want to make sure our intel is accurate before we start doing this, and I’m hopeful that they’re getting accurate intel on this,” he said.

Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the U.S. must act quickly and, if military action is the answer, judiciously.

“When you look at the terrorist training ground operations in Syria and Iraq, I believe it is one of the biggest threats,” McCaul said on ABC’s “This Week”. “Hagel and Kerry need to be in the region, getting a regional strategy together with our allies to deal with this situation, because without their cooperation against the extremists this is not going to happen.”

While other lawmakers said Sunday that all options should be on the table in dealing with the situation in Iraq, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Iraq War veteran, said she is opposed to U.S. involvement.

“We have to … focus our great military on those direct and imminent threats rather than getting distracted by involving ourselves in another civil war that’s occurring in another country between religious factions that have been warring for generations,” she said.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), also an Iraq veteran, disagreed.

“If the establishment of a caliphate by an organization that makes al Qaida look like a bunch of kitty cats is not in U.S. national interest to stop it, I don’t know what is,” he said on “State of the Union.”