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Posts tagged ‘Heritage Foundation’

DeMint: Republicans Had Little Choice on Debt-Limit Vote.


Last week’s debt-limit vote brought criticism from many conservatives, but Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said he believes Republicans did the only thing they thought they could do.

“It was a defining vote this week,” DeMint told NBC “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. “I think it showed that all the Democrats in Congress were completely willing to give the president a blank check to borrow whatever he wanted. Most of the Republicans weren’t.”

However, the former South Carolina GOP senator said, Republican leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have figured out that they either give President Barack
Obama “all the money and debt he wants or he’s going to close the government down and blame it on them. So I think they did what they thought was the only thing they could do.”

Editor’s Note: 
Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

Story continues below video.

DeMint said he doesn’t blame Boehner or other Republicans for their vote, but he also does not believe people who share his brand of conservatism feel well-represented in the nation’s capital, and many Americans, “regardless of political labels,” feel the same way.

“I hear it all over the country and I think that’s why you see a stirring in the country,” DeMint said. “Frankly, people are less interested in the label of Republican and Democrat and they’re tired of that but they will unite around some principles that will give us a stronger economy, a strong society, a strong America… America’s not nearly as divided as it looks like they are in Washington.”

DeMint said he is concentrating on his work with the Heritage Foundation, which is working to promote conservative goals. He said he is not involved in the super PAC he founded, Senate Conservative Fund, which aims to oust moderate Republicans, including making a push this past week to remove Boehner as House speaker.

“We’re less involved with, really, trying to cram anything down the throats of congressman and senators,” said DeMint.

Editor’s Note: Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Big Medicaid Changes in 2014 Under Obamacare.


Millions of Americans who consider themselves able-bodied and middle class will in 2014 find themselves covered by a remodeled Medicaid program that previously had the image of serving the poor and disabled.

People who live in the District of Columbia and the 25 states which have expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act will see Medicaid taking on a wider role in providing healthcare, The Washington Post reported.

From Wednesday, anyone in those places with an individual income of less than $15,856 a year, including childless adults, as well as families with earnings below $32,499 will be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Among those likely to seek Medicaid will be the unemployed, lower-paid workers, those just entering the job market and retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare.

In states where Medicaid has not been expanded it will cover its usual catchment of children and those with very-low incomes as well as the elderly poor and handicapped.

The Supreme Court ruled in the summer of 2013 that the Obama administration could not compel states to expand their Medicaid services. The original plan was to use Medicaid expansion as part of a comprehensive Obamacare effort to provide all Americans with health coverage.

Starting in 2014, in all states, Medicaid will no longer factor personal savings — except for those in long-term care— in determining eligibility.

Medicaid presently covers more Americans than Medicare. Both programs were created by the Lyndon Johnson administration‘s Great Society legislation in 1965.

Matt Salo, who heads the National Association of Medicaid Directors, noted that “Medicaid — for all the good we think it does, and it does do a lot of good — does have a connotation,” of being a program for the very poor, the Post reported.

Opponents of the expansion say it will encourage dependency on the government. “It is very bad social welfare policy,” said Edmund Haislmaier, of the Heritage Foundation.

“You are taking people who are by and large young, healthy and perfectly capable productive members of society and encouraging them to become dependent on public assistance. This is the very last population you want to do that for.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Elliot Jager

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year.


Image: Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year

By Andrea Billups

Incandescent light bulbs, which have been in use in the United States for more than a century, are on their way out in the new year. The federal government has prohibited their manufacture and import starting Wednesday.

The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Opponents of the law protest that the government is making decisions for consumers rather than letting the marketplace determine the products people want.

“When we make a purchase, it’s about quality, price, how much money we have now, can I use that money for a better investment? I don’t need the government to say that I am making the incorrect decision and therefore I should buy energy-efficient products,” said Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation.

He decries the light-bulb ban as representing heightened government overreach.

“The light-bulb issue is about a complete ban of a product. It’s overkill. Now you have something you can no longer buy. That’s really indefensible,” he said.

“Forget about choice. It’s basically saying not only can you not make smart choices, we have so little faith in you that we will make sure you can’t buy those goods anymore.

“Here you have a central-planning bureaucrat that knows everything, saying we’re going to make sure you do the right thing. Granted, Congress passed the law, but this looks like the state knows better than the public does,” Bakst said.

The prohibition has also led to U.S. job losses, as factories that made incandescent bulbs have been forced to close.

Because of the ban, General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, Va., that was the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China, where some of the new compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made.

Energy efficiency experts say the new light bulbs benefit consumers, who will pay more on the front end for the new-generation bulbs but will save money over time because they last longer — up to 23 years for LED bulbs and about nine years for CFLs.

CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy, government estimates say, while LEDs use about 85 percent less than incandescent bulbs, but they cost about 10 times more.

“The reason why the federal government legislated the change is because these incandescent bulbs use four times or more energy than other technologies,” Kevin Hallinan, a University of Dayton engineering professor who studies renewable energy,told the Dayton Daily News, noting that incandescent bulbs emit more heat.

“That’s more pollution coming out of the power plants, that’s more carbon emissions, so this is really a good thing for the U.S,” Hallinan said.

Consumers can still purchase the incandescent bulbs as long as supplies last, and they remain in stock at many home-product retailers around the country. Once those are gone, however, the newer bulbs will be the only ones available.

Some Republican members of Congress have sought a repeal of certain elements of the ban, but have had no success despite cries of a “nanny state” imposing its will on consumers.

In 2011, a trio of Republican lawmakers — Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — offered the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, but the legislation failed to pass the House.

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and eight co-sponsors, was also floated in 2011 but died in a House subcommittee.

Current laws under the federal government’s Energy Star program are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is in charge of new guidelines for light fixtures. The guidelines for a fixture to earn Energy Star ratings increased in 2013 as part of the federal law’s broader energy efficiency plan.

The light bulb issue marks a continued pattern of what some say is the federal government’s overextending its power in recent years, including spying on news reporters’ sources, forcing menu labeling laws in an attempt to change what people eat, and intimidating certain groups, including conservatives, through IRS intrusion.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain said in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition‘s annual conference:

“We’ve got the IRS abuse. FEC intimidation. EPA discrimination. DOJ intimidation. NSA corruption. And it goes on and on and on in terms of the abuse and the corruption in the government that wants to control all of our lives.”

Said Bakst, of the Heritage Foundation:

“We certainly have seen far more government intrusion in the last few years than we have before. It has become the expectation that the government has the proper role in the free choices that we make.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-CIA Officer: Putin Must Tread Carefully after Terrorist Attacks.


Russian President Vladimir Putin must tread carefully in responding to domestic terrorist attacks with the 2014 Sochi Olympics on the horizon, former CIA officer Peter Brookes told Fox News’ “Happening Now.”

“(Putin’s) not saying much right now. I think there is reason for that. He wants to be very cautious. He doesn’t want to turn visitors or heads of state . . . or even athletes, from coming to Sochi in the coming days,” Brookes, also a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said Monday.

“This is a major event for Russia. It’s not only a domestic audience for Putin. He wants to look as the leader of the country. But, it’s also an international event,” he said.

Story continues below video.

Two separate bombings in a 24-hour period rocked Volgograd, in southern Russia. The first killed 17 people in a railway station Sunday, and the second blast targeted a trolley bus a day later, killing 14. Similarities in the bombings indicated they could be related, but no group claimed responsibility.

Brookes suggested Chechnyan Islamic militants from the Caucasus region were behind the attacks. He said they had sought an independent Islamist state and had recently “decided to target civilians, as well as the Olympics.”

The Olympics are set to begin Feb. 7 in Sochi in southern Russia. Brookes said the back-to-back attacks had already succeeded in seeming to cast a pall over the Olympics. He said he thought the Chechnyans had the advantage “because of the possibilities for a public relations victory for them.”

“Russia looks insecure. Putin looks bad. And, it’s going to be very difficult for them to react in a way that will not make the situation worse, while at the same time providing security for the people of Russia and all those people coming to Sochi,” he said.

Brookes called terrorism a “psychological game.” During the Olympics, he suggested terrorists do not have to target the Olympic site at Sochi “to make an international splash.”

“While the Olympics are going on, they could attack Volgograd again. They could attack Moscow. They could attack St. Petersburg,” Brookes said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

Chamber of Commerce Promises $50 Million in Fight Against Tea Party.


Image: Chamber of Commerce Promises $50 Million in Fight Against Tea Party

By Cathy Burke

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ready to take on the tea party in 2014 Senate primaries and elections with a deep-pocketed boost of establishment and business Republican candidates.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” Chamber strategist Scott Reed told The Wall Street Journal. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . . 

The financial support, which The Hill reported would pour at least $50 million into the campaigns of centrist GOP candidates, is part of an aggressive approach toward tea party Republicans since the 16-day October government shutdown.

The Chamber has expressed its displeasure with tea party favorites Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who resisted passing a budget without a provision to defund Obamacare, triggering a stalemate.

Just a month later, the Chamber jumped into the intra-party GOP voting, backing establishment GOP candidate Bradley Byrne over tea party prospect Dean Young in an Alabama special House election.

Byrne beat Young, and went on to an easy victory in the Dec. 17 special election,defeating Democrat Burton LeFlore.

The Chamber — which hasn’t usually gotten involved in GOP primaries — is airing ads for Rep. Mike Simpson in Idaho, where he faces a tea party-backed challenger in his race for a ninth House term.

Hard-right candidates’ blunders are perceived to have cost the GOP five Senate seats in recent years, The Hill reported.

Republicans, for example, lost Senate elections in Indiana and Missouri after conservative candidates made controversial comments about abortion and rape that hurt their support, particularly among women.

The Chamber could also toss its influence into upcoming Senate races in Georgia,
Iowa, and North Carolina, where tea party candidates are challenging, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, the head of Heritage Action is vowing to challenge GOP leaders on a number of fiscal issues — and to keep active with grassroots activists.

“Lawmakers do not have a monopoly on information, and we will continue to communicate directly with their constituents on important legislation as it moves through Congress,” Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation think tank, told the Journal.

He said most lawmakers “will find it difficult to go back home and defend votes that increase spending, increase deficits and undermine the rule of law.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Google Increases Donations to Norquist, Conservative Groups.


Image: Google Increases Donations to Norquist, Conservative Groups

By Courtney Coren

Google has donated money to Heritage Action for America, a conservative political action committee created by the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, and one of the groups that pushed for the government shutdown in October.

According to The Center for Media and Democracy based in Madison, Wisconsin, Google has also given “substantial” funding to other conservative groups such as Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society and the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual CPAC conference in Washington.

Heritage Action is a new addition to the list of organizations that have been receiving grants from Google since 2012, The Washington Post reported.

“Our U.S. Public Policy and Government Affairs team provides support to a number of independent third-party organizations whose federally-focused work intersects in some way with technology and Internet policy,” Google states. 

The list also includes libertarian groups such as the Cato Institute and liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress.

The Center for Media and Democracy notes that while “Google has a distinctly progressive image,” the company hired former Republican Rep. Susan Molinari of New York in 2012 as head of Google’s lobbying arm, primarily to have someone who could reach out to Republican lawmakers and groups, who have historically been skeptical of the internet giant, The New York Times reported 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Debt Ceiling Suspension Angers Anti-Waste Groups.


The budget deal reached this week fails to impose a debt limit on the United States — it merely suspends the current limit without putting a new figure in place.
And that has anti-waste groups fuming as no one knows how much extra money will be borrowed between now and February 7, when a new figure will be imposed.
“Here’s how it works,” CNN reported Friday. “The deal effectively allows Treasury to continue borrowing to pay the country’s legal obligations without regard to the debt limit. Then, on February 8, the debt limit will automatically reset to a higher level that reflects how much Treasury borrowed during that “suspension period.”
CNN says the Bipartisan Policy Committee estimates the Treasury will borrow around $600 billion in the 16 weeks between now and the February deadline.
David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, says the deal is “further proof that Congress is taking a major step backward in fiscal responsibility.”
“A real dollar figure is a constant reminder to taxpayers and Congress that the country is broke,” Williams told The Daily Caller. This was done to hide the real debt from taxpayers.”
Other critics such as the conservative Heritage Foundation complain that by suspending the debt ceiling, lawmakers can rack up more debt without voting for debt limit increases, applying a “smokescreen” to the problem.
On Thursday, Heritage Foundation legal fellow Andrew Kloster wrote on the organization’s blog that suspending the debt limit is “fiscally irresponsible.”
The Default Prevention Act doesn’t just end with suspending the debt limit, but “continues with 10 pages of convoluted and pointless provisions related to a one-time ‘disapproval’ of the president’s certification” said Kloster.
“These provisions simply outline a process for the Senate and House to pass another bill — subject to the president’s veto — expressing their disapproval of the automatic suspension of the debt limit (which they have just passed).”
But lawmakers can always submit bills, and the provision in the bill passed Wednesday “simply gives politicians a mechanism for expressing their “disapproval” of the suspension, thereby giving them the ability to campaign next fall claiming that they voted against the debt limit increase.”
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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