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Posts tagged ‘Capitol Hill’

Graham: Obama Not ‘Trustworthy Fellow’ on IRS Scandal.


President Barack Obama is “not a very trustworthy fellow,” in light of his claim there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption” in the Internal Revenue Service scandal and the revelation Thursday of an email chain by agency officials that pointed to a strategy to target conservative groups, Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

“I hate to say this about the president but he’s not a very trustworthy fellow when it comes to scandals in his own backyard,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” Thursday.

Jay Sekulow, attorney for 41 targeted conservative groups, testified during a hearing about the IRS scandal on Capitol Hill Thursday. He revealed an email among IRS officials outlining a strategy for applicants seeking nonprofit status. According to Sekulow, IRS employees wrote they would work “off plan to devise rules to curtail the activities of 501C-4 organizations.”

Story continues below video.

The email chain was important, Graham indicated, because it showed targeting by the IRS was not limited to a “rogue” group of employees in Cincinnati, as the administration had maintained.

“Now you have this e-mail chain talking about a plan to go after people,” Graham said. “I hope people are beginning to put the puzzle together that President Obama himself is not a very reliable person to talk to about mistakes on his watch.”

Graham maintained if that email chain “doesn’t wake up the Justice Department to criminal activity, nothing will.”

“You’ve got interaction between government officials in charge of overseeing these tax-exempt groups that are talking about a strategy. And, to me, that lends itself to a conspiracy between people in Cincinnati and other places,” he said.

Graham explained that was why former IRS official Lois Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment when testifying before a House committee in May on the issue.

“That is why she took the Fifth Amendment, because she has literally exposed herself to illegal behavior here,” he said.

President Obama repeatedly has promised that his administration would get to the bottom of scandals, including the IRS activity and the bombing of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Graham dismissed that by saying of the president that the bottom was “very shallow in his world.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Scott Walker: Primary Challenges Could Cripple GOP Bid to Take Senate.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considered a potential GOP candidate for president in 2016, said Republicans need to concentrate on defeating Democrats and capturing the Senate in 2014, not attacking fellow Republicans.

Walker made his remarks during a Saturday radio appearance on the The Mike Huckabee Show.

In introducing Walker, Huckabee lauded him as a conservative who doesn’t “tear down” other Republicans.

Walker noted that his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and A Nation’s Challenge” acknowledges Americans’ widespread frustration with the size and expansiveness of the federal government.

He said Republicans were able to implement “big bold reforms” in several Midwestern states including Wisconsin because they won governorships as well as legislatures enabling them to put a GOP “team in place.”

The situation in Washington was vastly different despite the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to push “true reform.” That’s because the Senate is controlled by the Democrats “and we still, unfortunately, for the next few years have a Democrat president,” the Wisconsin governor said.

Republican energies should be targeted, said Walker, “not on fighting Republicans” in House or Senate primaries but on overcoming Democrats in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska.

This year’s November elections offer a real chance to win the Senate and determine the future of the country, he told Huckabee’s audience.

“We need to elect Republicans to those spots,” said Walker.

None of the Republicans’ achievements at the state level— Michigan’s right to work laws, for example— could have been accomplished had Republicans not pulled together and won both the governorship and the legislature.

“We were able to put a team into place” because of the support of the Republican establishment, grass roots activists and the tea party, who were united on the objective of putting “power back in the hands of the people.”

Without Republican unity “we would have had tremendous difficulties if not an outright barrier to that kind of reform,” said Walker.

“The real answer is to not to go out and attack Republicans who try to push reform in the House or to try to defeat them in primaries. It’s to go out and win those winnable elections for the United States Senate,” he said.

“Then, after that, if a year from now, Republicans hold the United States Senate and they hold the House, if at that point we can’t get things done, then I think its legitimate to hold people in our own party accountable,” Walker said.

Walker said 2014 is “that all-important year. We get the Senate back. Then, two years later, we elect a Republican president. And it’s not just about winning elections at that point, it’s about truly reforming the federal government, reining in the debt, reining in the deficit.”

With Republicans in-charge on Capitol Hill and at the White House, “putting the power back in the hands of the American people” is “something we can do.”

But, only, said Walker, if Republicans don’t meanwhile “splinter off” in “many different directions.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Elliot Jager

Healthcare Official Linked to Obamacare Website Woes Retires.


The woman who congressional leaders called out after the meltdown of the Affordable Care Act‘s website retired from public office Tuesday.

Michelle Snyder, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services‘ chief operating officer, has worked in the sector for 40 years and had planned to retire at the end of 2012, said agency head Marilyn Tavenner, who told staff members Snyder agreed to stay for an extra year to “help me with the challenges facing CMS in 2013.”

“Michelle’s accomplishments over her career have been numerous and wide-ranging,” Tavenner wrote, listing a long series of programs and projects Snyder had worked on.

Snyder headed development of HealthCare.gov, which started freezing soon after it debuted in the beginning of October, then crashed altogether. The site temporarily was removed, underwent a rebuild and was re-introduced in November.

CMS Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle was the first to leave the agency after  Obamacare’s series of pitfalls.

“Michelle Snyder is the one responsible for this debacle,” U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Capitol Hill during oversight hearings.

Sebelius countered, “Michelle Snyder is not responsible for the debacle. Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.”

In a recent statement, House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman and California Rep. Darrell Issa had harsh words for Snyder.

“Documents and interviews indicate Michelle Snyder’s involvement in bypassing the recommendation of CMS’ top security expert, who recommended delaying the launch of HealthCare.gov after independent testers raised concern about serious vulnerabilities from a lack of adequate security testing,” Issa said.

“Americans seeking health insurance,” he said, “are left to shoulder the risk of a website that’s still an all-around work in progress because of the cult-like commitment officials had to the arbitrary goal of launching on Oct. 1.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Amy Woods

Bill to Exempt Volunteer Responders From Obamacare Gathers Support.


A bill that would allow volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act has garnered substantial support on Capitol Hill.

More than 100 members of Congress have come out in support of the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, The Hill reported Tuesday.

“Properly distinguishing between full-time, paid emergency responders and volunteers is necessary if we want to protect essential emergency response agencies that keep our communities safe and protect over one-third of the U.S. population,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who introduced the bill in the Senate.

The Senate bill has 23 co-sponsors from both parties.

The House version has been introduced by Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., and has attracted 76 co-sponsors from the two parties.

“Since there is also a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate, I am optimistic that we can have a floor vote on it in the House early in the new year,” Barletta said, The Hill reported.

Fire and emergency responders have expressed fears that the increased costs of Obamacare could seriously hamper their departments, Fox News reports. 

The ACA requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance coverage. Whether the IRS considers the volunteers to be full-time employees is not clear, as it has yet to rule on the issue.

The administration has delayed implementation of the employer mandate until 2015 as officials move to simplify the regulations. It was to begin Jan. 1, 2014.

“At this point, it’s pretty much wait and see,” Michael Berg, president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad in Virginia, told The Daily Progress, Fox News reports. “We’re an all-volunteer organization . . . There’s a lot of speculation.”

“This is just another example of how Obamacare was not well thought-out,” Barletta said. “So, we’re left to try to pave over the potholes. And this is a big one, possibly affecting fire stations nationwide.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By JOE SCHAEFFER

Desperate Obama Tries to Reset Agenda with New Staff.


As Phil Schiliro arrived at his first meeting last week with House Democratic leaders to discuss selling Obamacare, he was greeted like family.

Schiliro, who spent most of his 26 years on Capitol Hill as a senior House aide, helped pass the 2010 Affordable Care Act as President Barack Obama’s legislative director. This month, the White House lured him back to Washington to help Democrats pitch the law to voters in the 2014 midterm elections.

“He was talking to us about how to coordinate our responses. We want to be in a better position to anticipate issues that arise,” said Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen, who attended the Dec. 12, half-hour meeting led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. They also discussed “how our members could participate in making sure implementation could work more smoothly.”

Democrats are defending a six-seat majority in the U.S. Senate and must gain a net of 17 seats in the House to retake the control they lost in the 2010 elections, thanks in part to the freshly passed health-care law.

A Bloomberg National Poll last week showed 60 percent disapprove of the president’s handling of health care, the highest since the survey began asking the question in September 2009.

Those numbers are driven by the Oct. 1 dysfunctional debut of healthcare.gov, the website to sign up for coverage, and a wave of canceled non-compliant policies that turned a lie into Obama’s campaign promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them.

Seasoned Hands

The Obama White House, attempting to reset its agenda following the fumbled rollout of the president’s health-care program, has re-enlisted seasoned hands such as Schiliro to improve the party’s chances of holding control of the Senate. If they fail and Republicans, as expected, hold the House, the president could spend the last two years of his presidency vetoing Republican-sponsored bills aimed at repealing Obamacare.

Yesterday, the White House named former Microsoft Corp. executive Kurt DelBene as manager of the health-insurance enrollment system, which includes the error-prone website. DelBene replaces Jeffrey Zients, Obama’s soon-to-be top economic adviser, whom the president had tasked with the job temporarily.

And just after Schiliro’s return last week, the White House chose as legislative director Katie Beirne Fallon, a former top aide to New York Senator Charles Schumer whose role is partly to reassure Senate Democrats about coordinated messages on health care.

Reid Yells

The new team, which also includes as a special adviser John Podesta, onetime chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, is “going to help so much in getting good political judgment in the White House,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in an interview last week on Political Capital with Al Hunt. Reid said he yelled with excitement upon hearing of Podesta’s hiring.

Schiliro declined to be interviewed for this article. “A law that guarantees coverage to millions of Americans, improves quality, and saves hundreds of billions of dollars is worth fighting for,” he said in a statement. “I hope to help with that effort.”

A Baldwin, New York, native, Schiliro, 57, began his career on Capitol Hill in 1982, after graduating from Long Island’s Hofstra University and Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In 1992 and 1994, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in his New York hometown.

Waxman’s Man

Much of his time on Capitol Hill was spent as California Representative Henry Waxman’s chief of staff. In 1994, when Waxman was chairman of Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee, Schiliro helped coordinate hearings during which seven tobacco company executives testified under oath that nicotine wasn’t addictive.

While Waxman was chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Schiliro pushed for a congressional investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball. He also helped organize an examination of the “friendly fire” death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a former National Football League star.

In 2004, Schiliro switched chambers, spending a year as policy director for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

When Obama, a junior senator from Illinois, ran for president in 2008, Schiliro joined his campaign as congressional envoy. Within days of Obama’s election, the president announced Schiliro as his legislative director, a position he held until early 2011.

Taking Lead

With a push to change financial regulations at the top of the agenda, Schiliro was willing to let then-Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd take the lead on the legislation, said Dodd’s former top aide, Edward Silverman.

“In that job you have to know when it’s time to listen and when it’s time to jump in. He gets that,” Silverman said. “You can’t always run around with your chest puffed out telling people ‘the president wants this!’ and expect good results.”

Schiliro’s first tenure with the White House was “one of the most productive legislative periods in our history,” Obama said in a 2011 statement. The president calls him “Third Way Phil” for his ability to find solutions to politically fraught situations, senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett told an audience at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio, last year, according to the local newspaper.

Schiliro stepped back from the top legislative job in February 2011, serving as a senior adviser until the end of the year. He moved with his family to New Mexico, where he began a consulting business for nonprofits, a project interrupted when Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough asked him to come back.

Taking Offensive

“Phil’s got a real talent to manage and oversee a process, especially on Capitol Hill,” said Bill Daley, who was Obama’s chief of staff in 2011. “He’s well-liked in the White House and on the Hill. The comfort level is already there, so there’s no learning curve.”

Some Democratic strategists have urged their partisan allies to go on offense about Obamacare’s positive effects instead of just defending it against Republican attacks.

A Dec. 3-8 poll of 86 competitive House districts shows a majority of Americans want to fix or retain the law rather than repeal it, as Republicans have demanded. Stanley Greenberg, the Democratic pollster who conducted the survey for Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and Democracy Corps, said Democrats shouldn’t run from Obamacare next year.

“One of the bigger problems in the rollout is that the president has not made a big enough argument for what he’s doing,” Greenberg said. “I think there’s going to be a positive story to tell by the elections.”

Testing Theory

House Democrats are beginning to test that theory. Online ads released yesterday by their campaign arm in 44 competitive districts say that repealing Obamacare would be too costly.

Called “Faces of Repeal,” the minute-long web ad includes testimonials from people benefiting from the law. “I take insulin and 12 other medications, and my daughter’s medicine costs $700. We couldn’t afford it without health-care reform,” Diane of Denver says in the ad.

Schiliro is just the person to help expand those messages, Waxman said in an interview.

“He can reassure people why this law still makes sense,” Waxman said. “It’s unfortunate the rollout wasn’t handled well, but more and more, we’re going to hear the positive stories.” Schiliro, he said, can help with that because “he has a real sense of communications.”

Former Representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, got to know Schiliro through the Oversight committee.

“He knows the Hill very well,” Davis said. “The administration is going to need that to hold their members in line. And with Republicans, he knows what’s doable and what’s not. He knows their pressure points.”
© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Despite Budget Deal, Atmosphere in Washington Remains Toxic.


Image: Despite Budget Deal, Atmosphere in Washington Remains Toxic

Anyone expecting a new era of good feeling to break out on Capitol Hill in the wake of this week’s bipartisan budget deal should probably forget about it.That was the clear message from most lawmakers interviewed on Friday as well as from close observers of Congress, after the deal passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday on its way to the Senate.

Editor’s Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake 
The budget bill, negotiated by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray, is vague and non-specific, avoiding tough, divisive issues. But Congress’ agenda for the next year is full of specifics, including raising the debt ceiling, funding individual government programs, immigration reform and passing a farm bill.

“I think next year is tougher,” said Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns. “It’s an election year. Tens of millions of dollars will be spent trashing people, and it’s hard to forget that.”

The deal was a “one-off,” said Norm Ornstein, a scholar of Congress at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

It may avoid government shutdowns, assuming it passes the Senate next week as expected, he said. But “I don’t see any signs that the fundamentals have changed.”

That was also the message from the floor of the U.S. Senate, where Republicans, some red-faced with rage, kept berating Democrats on Friday for stripping away their right to block President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations using the filibuster, a procedural hurdle.

“The whole atmosphere here is totally poisoned, OK,” said Senator John McCain when asked as he left the floor if the budget deal changed anything.

“There’s no cooperation, there’s no comity. And it is what it is,” notwithstanding the fact that Democrats and Republicans came together to approve the budget bill.

“It can’t get much worse,” he said.

That does not bode well for the issues facing Congress as it enters its second half, with all seats in the Republican-led House and a third of those in the Democratic-led Senate up for election next November.

The political advantage of the budget agreement was its vagueness. It set overall spending levels for two years, a significant break from the recent pattern of short-term funding bills that required extension every few months, always under the threat of a government shutdown like the 16-day closure in October.

But it did not tackle the most volatile issues, such as Democratic demands for tax increases and Republican efforts to control spending on “entitlements,” such as the healthcare program for seniors, Medicare, or Social Security retirement.

While it set as a goal $1.012 trillion in spending, it did not specify how the sum would be divided up among individual programs, each of which has a constituency.

Indeed, once the budget bill is approved by the Senate, as expected next week, a more challenging and potentially acrimonious appropriations process will begin that could set off a scramble among advocates for particular interests.

“We have a heavy lift ahead of us,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, “drafting, negotiating, and passing these bills in just over one month.”

In an interview on PBS, Murray acknowledged that she and Ryan avoided the divisive questions. “You set aside the hot issues,” she noted in describing the formula for success in the negotiations.

In the immigration fight, for example, setting aside the “hot issues” might not be possible, as Democrats, including Obama, insist that any legislation contain a “pathway to citizenship” for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.

That presents a problem for many conservative Republicans, who see those people as having broken the law by either entering the United States illegally or overstaying their visas.

Nor did the budget deal address the bill expected in the spring to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. Conservatives, particularly those associated with the Tea Party movement, have regularly opposed the debt ceiling measure, twice bringing the government to the brink of a potential default.

Since Republican House Speaker John Boehner enraged conservatives this week by pushing through the budget deal they equated with surrender, Ornstein believes he may feel a need to mollify them by again demanding big spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

“If you do something” that angers “the radical wing, does that give you more ability and incentive to do it again or does it require you to do something to make it clear that you really love them?” said Ornstein.

Editor’s Note: 75% of Seniors Make This $152,000 Social Security Mistake 
The debt ceiling “will come up,” said Johanns. “We are going to struggle with that issue.”

“The fact that the debt ceiling fight will come right before the Republican primaries means that the fiscal battles haven’t gone away, but instead will likely heat up,” said Ron Bonjean, a former Republican leadership aide in the House.

“Republican members of Congress will want to show how conservative they are to voters back home,” he said. “This deal looks like a peaceful retreat made by both parties in order to rest up for the major battle over the debt ceiling.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Tom Price: GOP Has Solution Ready After Obamacare’s Collapse.


Republicans need to be ready with a positive alternative following the inevitable “collapse” of Obamacare, GOP Rep. Tom Price tells Newsmax.

And support is growing for healthcare legislation that empowers consumers, the five-term congressman from Georgia adds.

“The Affordable Care Act is going to collapse soon and real people are going to be hurt,” Price, a past chairman of the House Study Committee and himself a physician, said. “So we have to be ready with a positive solution. We have one in the Empowering Patients First Act.”

Editor’s Note: New ‘Obamacare Survival Guide’ Reveals Dangers Ahead for Your Healthcare

Following up on an in-depth article he wrote for National Review earlier this month, Price spelled out the details of the legislation in meetings of conservatives on Capitol Hill last week.

Price said that a new analysis by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, concluded the act will produce $2.34 trillion in savings over a ten-year period and will reduce premium increases compared to Obamacare.

Emphasizing that the measure, formally H.R. 2300, is not the official Republican alternative to Obamacare, Price nonetheless pointed out that the legislation has so far been co-sponsored by more than 50 of his fellow House Republicans.

Price said the measure contains several of the concepts that Republicans tried to make to Obamacare during the debate leading up to its passage on a party line vote in 2010.

For example, Empowering Patients permits the purchase of insurance across state lines — a practice that is currently illegal and which Democrats successfully kept out of the Affordable Care Act.

As Price noted, “when companies compete across state lines, consumers have more choices for coverage and competition will drive down costs.”

Tort reform was another Republican-crafted concept that was repeatedly struck down during the committee process before House members voted on Obamacare three years ago. Price and other physicians in Congress warned at the time that the growth of a litigious society has resulted in one-in-14 physicians facing at least one malpractice suit a year.

Lawsuit abuse reforms are included in H.R. 2300 and, as Price said, “the need for defensive medicine, which squanders hundreds of billions of dollars every year and is passed on to the patients, is reduced. That means lower medical bills.”

Editor’s Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

The Republican measure permits individuals to keep their health insurance policy regardless of whether they move or change their jobs.

While Obamacare increases the number of Americans in government programs such as Medicaid, Empowering Patients in sharp contrast extends deductibility and different forms of tax credits to make private-sector plans more affordable.

“So, under this plan, Americans will have the financial wherewithal to purchase the kind of coverage they need, not what the government forces them to buy,” Price said.

Price also referred to the case before the Supreme Court launched by the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, challenging Obamacare’s requirement that private healthcare plans provide contraceptives for employees, even if it is contrary to their religious beliefs.

Under the Empowering Patients Act, “religious liberty is protected and conscientious objection is safeguarded,” said Price.

Support for H.R. 2300 is growing among House Republicans, Price told Newsmax. However, he added, “many Democratic colleagues have expressed strong support for different parts of the bill, but no Democratic House member has yet signed on as a co-sponsor. We hope this will change in the weeks ahead.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Issa: Obamacare Will Send Patients to Cheaper Doctors.


Obamacare will cause insurance companies to send patients to “less expensive doctors” with “more limited scopes,” Rep. Darrell Issa said Thursday, following a hearing with healthcare professionals on Capitol Hill.

“They gave us literal examples of decisions made by these insurance companies, in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, that are causing them to choose less expensive doctors and more limited scopes,” the California Republican told Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” Thursday.

High quality medical institutions are not included in plans insurance companies are offering through Obamacare because they cost more, Issa explained. And, he said the reason the high quality hospitals cost more was because they were already “taking the sickest among us.”

Story continues below video. 

Healthcare professionals presented testimony Thursday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about how Obamacare was affecting the way they practice medicine. Issa chairs the committee.

Issa said he thought the administration of president Barack Obama knew there would be problems and uncertainty associated with implementing the healthcare law. He suggested the administration viewed the problems as “collateral damage they could live with.”

Congress would try to “unring the bell” on conditions causing people to lose their existing plans, Issa said. He indicated Democrats in Congress might join with Republicans in legislation to amend Obamacare.

“We do begin to see a crack in our Democratic colleagues to, at least, consider reforming some of the mistakes made in the Affordable Care Act,” Issa said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

White House Vetted Participants in Biden Live Immigration Chat.


Image: White House Vetted Participants in Biden Live Immigration Chat

By Melanie Batley

Participants in a recent live Skype chat with Vice President Joe Biden on immigration reform were pre-selected and vetted by the White House, despite the event being billed as a chance for anyone to speak with him directly.

According to PoliticoSkype preselected participants and submitted the list to the White House to review. Initially, Skype spokesman Chaim Haas told Politico that “a bunch” on the list were ultimately rejected.

“They rejected a bunch and then the others were used.”

But then Haas later emailed Politico to say that he was mistaken, that only one person on the list was actually removed.

Haas said Skype selected people that are active in the immigration debate and did not know who at the White House was responsible for reviewing participants.

“It was less the questions being asked; it was the people who we had proposed for the live questions that they didn’t like,” Haas said initially.

A Biden aide said the vice president was not aware of what questions would be asked or who would be asking them, and that the vice president’s office was only concerned about eliminating one participant who was a Capitol Hill staffer.

MSN/ Bing controlled every aspect of the Skype chat, including the selection of the moderator, participants and questions asked,” the aide said. “The vice president’s office never saw a question in advance of the chat. Skype selected the panelists independently and the vice president’s office only raised a concern about one potential panelist because she was a Democratic Hill staffer.”

That staffer was not allowed to participate in the chat.

The online event, which also included White House domestic policy chief Cecilia Munoz, was part of the administration’s strategy to renew interest in the immigration debate after momentum for reform stalled in the House.

During the event, Biden called on House Speaker John Boehner to schedule a vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in June.

“He is unwilling to let the House speak, he is unwilling to let the House vote,” Biden said, according to Politico. “John Boehner, call up the bill.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Teller Firing Splits GOP Factions.


A group of influential conservatives are squaring off against  GOP House leaders following the firing of revered Republican Study Committee Executive Director Paul Teller, Politico reports.

Teller is said to have committed political treason by divulging private RSC conversations to conservative groups working against RSC initiatives.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“We are saddened and outraged that an organization that purports to represent conservatives in Congress would dismiss a staff member for advancing conservatism and working with conservatives outside of Congress,” reads a statement signed by 50 high-profile members of the Conservative Action Project, including Ed Meese, former attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, and Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America.

The statement goes on to hail Teller as a “guiding light of Conservatism on Capitol Hill.”

Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, chairman of the RSC, announced Teller’s dismissal during an RSC meeting on Capitol Hill, explaining that “trust between senior staff and RSC members is paramount. No staffer is above a member.”

Scalise learned this week that Teller had been undermining a two-year budget deal unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, according to The Washington Post.

Conservative lawmakers are divided on the Ryan-Murray proposal, which increases the spending limit for federal agencies by about $63 billion over the next two years, offset by spending cuts and increased fees of $85 billion over the next 10 years.

Teller also went as far as working with outside conservative groups to continue the fight to defund Obamacare, an effort the RSC opted to abandon after the 16-day government shutdown, according to the Post.

Teller last came under fire two years ago during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis when he sent emails to outside groups aimed at generating pressure on conservative lawmakers to oppose a proposal crafted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner. During a Republican Conference meeting at the time, members chanted “fire him.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Melissa Clyne

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