Paul Ryan asks conservatives not to revolt…

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House Speaker Paul Ryan kicked off a policy summit at the Heritage Foundation with a clear message for the conservatives who have been his allies over the years but made life hard for former Speaker John Boehner: Please don’t revolt, at least not this year.

“The Left would love nothing more, they would love nothing more than for a fragmented conservative movement to stand in a circular firing squad and fire so that progressives can win by default,” Ryan said at the 2016 Conservative Policy Summit, hosted by Heritage Action.

Ryan was warmly received at Heritage, but his call for unity included a mild rebuke for the conservatives who have hounded GOP leadership in recent years. He issued it while warning that conservatives may have to ignore some of President Obama’s unilateral executive actions, which Ryan described as “distractions” designed to prevent the Republican party from uniting around a conservative agenda.

Ryan urged the Heritage crowd not to “take the bait” when Obama tries to provoke the GOP. In exchange, he promised to spend the next years preparing to push a conservative agenda, including a politically risky plan for entitlement reform, if a Republican wins the presidency in 2017. “I am fine if I lose my seat in 2018 after doing the right thing to save America,” Ryan said.

The newly minted House speaker seemed concerned that some activists leaders would thwart that opportunity by channeling their anger over Obama’s maneuvers towards Republicans this year.

SE he said. “When voices in the conservative movement demand things that they know we can’t achieve with a Democrat in the White House, all it does is depress our base, and in turn help Democrats stay in the White House.”

That’s the complaint that mainstream Republicans and leadership allies have made about Heritage Action since at least 2013, when the organization backed Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R.-Texas, in an attempt to defund Obamacare that ended unsuccessfully with a government shutdown.

Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham, a thorn in the side of Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, briefly justified such tactics while introducing Ryan. “In recent years, the Republican party has been too often not been the party of ideas, but a party of patronage doling out benefits to constituents and treating conservatives as just one more constituency to be pacified,” Needham said.

But then he distinguished Ryan from other GOP leaders. “Going forward must be different. As such I am thrilled to welcome you to our third policy summit and cannot think of a better man to start off the day,” he said.

Those comments are a sign of Ryan’s early success in cultivating the grassroots leaders since taking over as House speaker, and Ryan returned the favor when thanking Needham for the introduction. “I see a lot of myself in that guy from where I was a couple decades ago in the think tank world,” Ryan said.


Paul Ryan seeks to tame conservatives…

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Speaker Paul Ryan is frequently asked if he’s managed to tame the raucous House Freedom Caucus. His consistent response: Nobody can be tamed.

Despite those protestations, Ryan has spent his first couple months as Speaker aggressively courting some of the same Freedom Caucus conservatives who forced his predecessor, John Boehner, out of office last fall.

The Wisconsin Republican ensured that conservative rebel Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), ostracized for years by Boehner and his allies, won a subcommittee gavel and a coveted spot on the powerful Speaker-aligned panel that picks committee chairmen.
He’s invited Freedom members to weekly dinners he hosts in the Capitol. And Ryan has made Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a frequent thorn in Boehner’s side, a key member of his advisory team.

So far, founders of the nearly 40-member Freedom Caucus have praised Ryan’s more inclusive leadership style and are willing to give him some breathing room to show what he can do in his new role. But Ryan knows he’s walking a perilous tightrope: A major misstep this year and the Freedom Caucus could send him packing, just like they did to Boehner.

Freedom Caucus members themselves are also feeling heat from grassroots conservatives and some talk-radio hosts, who want them to dump Ryan. Some lawmakers are still receiving phone calls from constituents angry that they helped give Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, enough votes to win the speaker’s gavel last October, aides said.

Fortunately for Ryan, there aren’t many political landmines in 2016. The budget deal Boehner struck with Obama in October during his final days in office cleared the decks for Ryan, setting government spending levels for the next two years and ensuring there would be no debt default until at least March 2017, after a new president is sworn in.

Freedom Caucus leaders are also aware that Ryan is enormously popular on Capitol Hill right now, both among rank-and-file members and the press. His media shop has been sending out glowing profiles of the 45-year-old Speaker on almost a daily basis. GOP strategists said the newly empowered Freedom group, which ousted Boehner just nine months after it was founded, would “lose credibility” and appear petty if it moved too quickly against Ryan, who appears to be bending over backwards to accommodate conservative rebels.

At this month’s joint House-Senate Republican retreat in Baltimore, Freedom members said they’re pushing for a vote this year on a long-awaited plan to replace ObamaCare. They also want use the GOP’s fiscal 2017 budget blueprint to cut billions from top-line spending levels that were part of the Boehner-Obama budget deal.

But conservatives demurred when asked if they would target Ryan if he doesn’t accede to their wishes.

“The words that are said need to be met with action, so let’s see what happens over the next year and we’ll be in a better position to assess how we’re doing as a conference,” Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a Freedom Caucus co-founder, said just as the three-day GOP pow-wow in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was wrapping up.

“I think you need to give it time.”

Ryan may have bought himself time by immediately reaching out to some of Boehner’s fiercest foes in the GOP conference right from the start.

After crossing Boehner, Huelskamp in 2012 was booted from both the Budget and Agriculture committees — a huge blow for a congressman whose state economy relies on farming. The relationship got so toxic that Boehner didn’t even bother calling Huelskamp when he visited his district last year, according to Huelskamp.

One of Ryan’s first orders of business upon moving into the Speaker’s office was backing a conservative push to overhaul the powerful GOP Steering Committee, the Speaker-led panel that decides which lawmakers get committee gavels and committee assignments.

In the shake-up, several influential committee chairman lost their spots on the Steering panel; Huelskamp, the current chairman of the Tea Party Caucus, was elected to one of the vacancies. Then this month, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) made another surprise announcement: He was naming Huelskamp the new chairman of the subcommittee on economic growth, tax and capital access.

A fifth-generation farmer, Huelskamp said he’s now seeking to win back his seat on the Agriculture Committee.

“We’ve seen what happens when you change out a Speaker who was dedicated to retribution and attacking conservatives rather than Obama,” Huelskamp said in a phone interview from Kansas on Monday. “We’re now hoping it translates into some policy changes in the House.”

The courtship has also been taking place behind the scenes. Ryan has hosted Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and other conservative hard-liners at some of his weekly dinners in the Capitol. Each time, Ryan typically invites a cross-section of the 246-member GOP conference, from hard-core conservatives and centrists to chairmen and rank-and-file members. The Speaker’s goal is simple: force members to talk to each other.
The Ryan dinners are a contrast from Boehner, who would frequently dine with close-knit group of buddies at Trattoria Alberto on Barracks Row.

Ryan’s “having small dinners with everyone, not just conservatives,” said Meadows, who authored a resolution last summer to oust Boehner from the Speaker’s office. “The dinner I went to allowed me to have a great conversation with colleagues who aren’t part of my normal social circle.”

Jordan had served in the Ohio delegation with Boehner, but the former Republican Study Committee (RSC) chairman and the Speaker often viewed each other as political rivals. Once Boehner was out, Ryan swiftly brought Jordan into his inner circle. The new Speaker named Jordan and another key Freedom Caucus leader, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), to his advisory group, an informal kitchen cabinet that meets weekly. The group also includes close Ryan confidants and leaders of the conservative RSC and centrist Tuesday Group.

Allies argue that the Speaker’s outreach efforts aren’t aimed solely at conservatives — they’re targeting all factions within the enormous GOP conference. With Donald Trump and other GOP presidential hopefuls at each other’s throats, Ryan is working to unite his usually fractious caucus behind what he’s described as a positive, pro-growth election-year agenda.

“We will follow a lot of what happens on the presidential side, but we need to lay out a distinct vision for the country, so I’m with Paul on that effort,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, a fellow Wisconsin Republican and close Ryan ally.

Another way Ryan is getting his members on the same page: giving them more time and opportunities to weigh in on what exactly that 2016 agenda should look like. He’s added a second GOP conference meeting each week on Thursdays that focused on debating policy ideas. And the open-microphone session at the Baltimore retreat was more freewheeling than it has been in the past, lawmakers said.

“I didn’t feel like I was vilified as much for speaking the truth,” Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a GOP gadfly who is not part of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters. Both he and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) unsuccessfully challenged Boehner for Speaker a year ago.

“We ought to be a party where people can stand up and exchange ideas freely and not be worried about losing a chairmanship or a committee because we expressed a different view than the leadership,” Gohmert continued. “Because it’s only when you have the free flow of ideas that you have the party that will appeal to the masses of Americans.”

Warning: Feds now foresee $30 trillion debt, blame looming tax hikes and Obamacare


 – The Washington Times – Monday, January 25, 2016

The federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday in a new report detailing a still-sluggish economy more than seven years into the Obama recovery.

The CBO blamed steadily increasing spending on the elderly, looming tax hikes and particularly the increasing bite of Obamacare for the poor economic outlook, saying they will chase workers out of the labor market and onto the public dole, dampening the prospects for economic growth between now and 2020.

Looking out 10 years from now, gross federal debt will spike by $1 trillion a year, rising from $18.1 trillion at the end of 2015 to reach $29.3 trillion in 2026, the CBO said. At that point it would be more than the entire size of the total U.S. economy, as measured by gross domestic product.

Debt stood at just $10.6 trillion when President Obama took office, and he’s overseen the fastest spike in modern political history, outside of wartime.

The future, though, could be even worse, the analysts said.

“Beyond the 10-year period, if current laws remained in place, the pressures that had contributed to rising deficits during the baseline period would accelerate and push debt up even more sharply. Three decades from now, for instance, debt held by the public is projected to equal 155 percent of GDP, a higher percentage than any previously recorded in the United States,” the CBO said.

The grim picture has sparked fear among budget watchdogs and on Capitol Hill — though Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over the best way to tackle the problem, with the GOP favoring tax cuts to spur the economy, and Democrats calling for tax increases and government spending to invest in future growth.

CBO analysts, though, said it was tax increases under Mr. Obama — including the Affordable Care Act’s tax on high-income taxpayers — that will hurt the economy in the next few years.

“The ACA’s largest effect on the labor market — especially as overall employment conditions improve — will come from provisions of the act that raise effective marginal tax rates on earnings, thereby reducing how much some people choose to work,” the CBO said in its new report. “The act also directly imposes higher taxes on some people’s labor income. Because both effects on labor supply will grow over the next few years,CBO projects, they will subtract from economic growth over that period.”



10 of Your Favorite Impeachable Offenses of 2015


Obama’s impeachable offenses are so many and so often that it is nearly impossible to track all of them. Typically Obama has used one scandal to get attention away from another scandal.

Will any of this ever catch up with Obama? Once we get him out of office it will take a herculean effort to repair all the damage he has done. Probably a generation, if not more.

Though there are so many things we could and should impeach Obama for, it won’t come to pass. He has too many friends in the media and the Democrats, who will scream bloody murder and convince the nation it is all a racist ploy to destroy a black man.

But that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t admire the list of atrocities that Obama has committed.

As we approach the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency, there isn’t much that the President can do to change people’s opinion of him, for better or worse. His legacy, barring some extraordinary occurrence — including an extraterrestrial one, as the holiday advertising blitz for the new Independence Day movie reminds us — is baked into history.

Setting aside legislation and executive action (on which more imminently), we note that one of President Obama’s chief accomplishments has been to return the Constitution to a central place in our public discourse.

Unfortunately, the president fomented this upswing in civic interest not by talking up federalism or the separation of powers but by blatantly violating the strictures of our founding document. With his pen and his phone, and hearkening to Woodrow Wilson’s progressive view of government, he’s been taking out his frustrations with the checks and balances that inhibit his ability to “fundamentally transform” the country.

But a lack of congressional acquiescence hasn’t stopped this President. Even in his first term, the administration launched a “We Can’t Wait” initiative, with senior aide Dan Pfeiffer explaining that “when Congress won’t act, this President will.” And when the reelected President Obama announced his second-term economic plans, he explained that “I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way.”

Accordingly, it hasn’t been difficult to point to constitutional abuses; the hard part is narrowing them down to a top-ten list. I did so in 2011 and 2013 (and once for Eric Holder when he resigned as attorney general), and now it’s time to do so again. Obamacare alone is a never-ending bonanza of lawlessness, so I’m limiting myself to five entries there.

In any case, herewith is my best stab at the list of President Obama’s top ten constitutional violations of the year (including actions taken in 2014 whose effects continued into 2015):

1. Obamacare’s Bay State bailout and Commonwealth kickback. To bail out Massachusetts’s malfunctioning health-care exchange, President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick (before he left office) arranged for more than 300,000 state residents to receive temporary Medicaid coverage without any verification of eligibility, and for the state to get the most generous taxpayer-funded premium subsidies in the entire country.

2. Further delays of Obamacare’s employer mandate. On February 10, 2014, the administration announced that it would again be delaying the employer mandate. This particular delay gives mid-sized employers (those with 50 to 100 full-time employees, a category that doesn’t exist in the text of the law) until 2016 to provide coverage and relaxed some of the requirements for larger employers.

3. Extending Obamacare subsidies to non-exchange plans. The administration found in February 2014 that some exchanges were having difficulty determining people’s eligibility. And so now, owing to this “exceptional circumstance,” exchanges can grant retroactive coverage based on the application date rather than on the date of acceptance. Also, those enrolled in plans outside the exchanges who were then determined to be eligible for coverage could receive the subsidies granted to those in an exchange plan.

4. Delay of Obamacare’s transparency requirements. In October 2014, the administration announced that it would not be enforcing the Obamacare’s “transparency in coverage” provisions, which require insurers to disclose data on enrollment, denied claims, and the costs to consumers for certain services. 5. Obamacare’s hidden tax on states. The Affordable Care Act imposed a health-insurance providers’ fee on insurance companies, for the purpose of taxing the windfall they were expected to receive from increased enrollment. In March 2015, states were notified that they too would be assessed this fee, because they use managed-care organizations to provide Medicaid services. Nothing in the ACA allows the federal government to force states to pay the fee, so the administration left it to the “private” Actuarial Standards Board to determine what makes a state’s payments to managed-care organizations “actuarially sound,” as required by law. The board then interpreted that “actuarially sound” standard to require states to pay the taxes assessed on their managed-care organizations. For Texas, that means an unanticipated annual budget hit of $120 million. This assessment raises serious coercion issues, as the states have no choice but to pay the tax or lose their federal Medicaid funds. Texas, joined by Kansas and Louisiana, sued the government in October. SHARE ARTICLE ON FACEBOOKSHARE TWEET ARTICLETWEET 6. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. Speaking of Texas suing the government: After President Obama decided in November 2014 that he had been wrong 22 times in saying he couldn’t give temporary legal status to illegal immigrants, a majority of the states took him to court. The administration engineered DAPA in the wake of Congress’s rejection of the very policies the program sets forth, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, immigration law, and the Constitution’s take-care clause. A district court temporarily enjoined DAPA in February 2015, which action the Fifth Circuit twice affirmed. Stay tuned for the Supreme Court’s resolution this coming June. 7. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule for regulating power-plant emissions. Despite significant criticism, on August 3, 2015, it announced a final rule. It gives states until 2018 — it “encourages” September 2016 — to develop final plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with mandatory compliance beginning in 2022. EPA cites Section 111 of the Clean Air Act as justification for the Clean Power Plan, but that section can’t give the agency such authority. Section 111(d) doesn’t permit the government to require states to regulate pollutants from existing sources when those pollutants are already being regulated under Section 112, as those deriving from coal-fired plants are. 8. EPA’s Clean Water Rule. On May 27, 2015, EPA announced its new Clean Water Rule, which aims to protect streams and wetlands from pollution. The agency insists that the rule doesn’t affect bodies of water not previously regulated, but several groups have sued on the basis that the rule’s definitions of regulated waters greatly exceed the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate “waters of the United States.” The Supreme Court has thrice addressed the meaning of that phrase, making clear that, for the EPA to have regulatory authority, a sufficient nexus must exist between the location regulated and “navigable waters.” The Clean Water Rule, however, purports to give EPA power far beyond waters that are “navigable” by any stretch of the definition of that word. 9. EPA’s cap-and-trade. On October 23, 2015, EPA issued a carbon-emissions cap-and-trade regulation, establishing for each state limits on carbon dioxide emission, with four interim steps on the way to the final goal. The focus is on cap-and-trade as the means to meet the limits. EPA says that this rule, too, is authorized by Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, but Congress considered and rejected such a cap-and-trade program in 2009. Far from being authorized by the Clean Air Act or from lying in some zone of statutory ambiguity, this new regulation contradicts the express will of Congress. 10. Net neutrality. In the works throughout the Obama presidency, the Open Internet Rule was adopted in February and went into effect on June 12, 2015. Although the Federal Communications Commission touts the regulation as a means to ensure that the Internet remains free of censorship, the rule impinges on the First Amendment rights of Internet-service providers, which are forbidden to prioritize any Internet traffic.

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We’re down to the last year of Obama. Now it is time to deflate liberals and fix our government once and for all.

Sitting out another election is not an option. We must get out and be active this election. Liberals have ruled long enough. It is time to take the power away from them and restore America.

You must get involved locally in order to make this happen. Make a difference. Get out and vote!