With Republicans now in charge of the Senate, many are counting on a rollback of sequestration and budget caps on the Pentagon. But one Alabama lawmaker could stand in the way of hasty plans to spend more taxpayer money carelessly.
[Senator Jeff Sessions] who’s in line to take over the Senate Budget Committee in January, and other lawmakers seeking to lower the U.S. deficit say they aren’t convinced the Pentagon needs more money. Even if they agree, restoring funds to the military would require comparable cuts to domestic programs, which Democrats reject.
“I’m going to be pushing to examine what their needs are,” Sessions, who’s planning a series of hearings, said in an interview. “We don’t want to add additional monies until we know what we want to add it for and be sure that we need it.”
These statements are very encouraging for anyone who wants to keep America safe with smart budgeting, not politically motivated big spending.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has presided over everything from sequestration to the recent ISIS unrest, is set to resign today, the New York Times reports:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.
The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.
The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.
Today, House Republicans took action on an issue they’ve threatened for some time: A lawsuit against what they say are the President’s illegal actions regarding the Affordable Care Act.
The suit accuses the Obama administration of unlawfully postponing a requirement that larger employers offer health coverage to their full-time employees or pay penalties. (Larger companies are defined as those with 50 or more employees.)
In July 2013, the administration deferred that requirement until 2015. Seven months later, the administration announced a further delay, until 2016, for employers with 50 to 99 employees.
The suit also challenges what it says is President Obama’s unlawful giveaway of roughly $175 billion to insurance companies under the law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration will pay that amount to the companies over the next 10 years, though the funds have not been appropriated by Congress. The lawsuit argues that it is an unlawful transfer of funds.
Political motivations of these actions aside, they do bring some important questions. Notably for our purposes, they highlight the fact that the administration is carrying out a de facto bailout while few are watching.
With billions at stake, we should demand real accountability, not unilateral handouts of our money.
Some bad news on a little-known but extremely important issue: Medicare’s Doc Fix.
The Congressional Budget Office … said legislation (H.R. 4015, S. 2000) to repeal and replace the Medicare physician payment system would cost $144 billion from 2015 to 2024, a jump from the $138 billion 10-year estimate that the CBO made in February when the identical bills were introduced . . .
In its latest document on the so-called doc fix, the CBO also estimated that freezing physician payment at the current rate through 2024 would cost $118.9 billion, while offering doctors an extra 0.5 percent hike for each of those years would jack up the price to $140.2 billion.
The Doc Fix, for readers unfamiliar, is essentially a way by which Congress has gotten around budget-controlling rules passed in the 1990s. These rules would tie provider reimbursement to economic health, but since the cost of healthcare rises faster than GDP, Congress has consistently passed bills to get around the rule.
Most people might not have heard of it, but it’s costing billions. It’s time for real solutions, not stopgap measures that cost us billions.
In case you missed it, you can now view Jonathan Bydlak’s full-length speech at the 2014 Liberty Political Action Conference.
Speaking alongside speakers including Rep. Mark Sanford, Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Raul Labrador, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, and many others, Jonathan discussed the importance of holding all politicians — good and bad — to their word.
Check out the full speech here!