Sen. Dick Durbin: I’m Working ‘Full Time’ for DACA Illegal Aliens

by JOHN BINDER 16 Jan 2018Washington, D.C.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says his sole focus in Congress is making sure illegal aliens are given amnesty to remain permanently in the United States.

In comments on Monday, Durbin said it is illegal aliens, not his Illinois constituents, who he is working “full time” and around the clock for.

Durbin said:

Listen, politics ain’t beanbag. When you get into tough, complicated, contentious issues, sometimes rhetoric gets very fiery. If you don’t have a tough skin, this is not a good business to get into. I know what happened. I stand behind every word that I said in terms of that meeting. I’m focused on one thing — not that meeting — but on making sure that those who are being protected by DACA and eligible for the DREAM Act have a future in America. I am focused on that full time. [Emphasis added]

In the statement, Durbin was referring to a meeting at the White House where President Trump allegedly asked lawmakers why the U.S. was admitting thousands of foreign nationals every year from “shithole countries,” though Trump and others at the meeting have denied the allegations.

Durbin, Democrats and the Republican establishment have scrambled together to negotiate with the White House on a deal where potentially millions of illegal aliens shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are given amnesty.

Under Durbin’s DREAM Act, working and middle-class Americans would be put in further competition for U.S. jobs against up to 3.5 million newly legalized foreign nationals. A recent report found that 1 in 5 illegal aliens given amnesty under the DREAM Act would end up on food stamps and nearly 1 in 7 would end up on Medicaid, further straining the social safety net for America’s poor.

Kentucky first state to implement Medicaid work requirements…

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By Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kentucky on Friday became the first U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or get jobs training, after gaining federal approval for the fundamental change to the 50-year-old health insurance program for the poor.

The approval came one day after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued policy guidance allowing states to design and propose test programs with such unprecedented requirements.

Kentucky’s waiver, submitted for federal approval in 2016, requires able-bodied adult recipients to participate in at least 80 hours per month of “employment activities,” including jobs training, education and community service.

Most recipients must pay a premium based on income. Some who miss a payment or fail to re-enroll will be locked out for six months. The new rules will go into effect in July, Kentucky state officials said.

“Kentucky will now lead on this issue,” Governor Matt Bevin said at a news conference on Friday. “They want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement in the very things they’re receiving,” he said of Medicaid recipients.

Democrats and health advocacy groups blasted the federal policy on Thursday, saying it would make it tougher for the most vulnerable Americans to have access to health care. The Southern Poverty Law Center liberal advocacy group said it planned to file a legal challenge.

Certain groups are exempt, including former foster care youth, pregnant women, primary caregivers of a dependent, full-time students and the medically frail. The Trump administration also said states would have to make “reasonable modifications” for those battling opioid addiction and other substance-use disorders.

Kentucky, along with 30 other states, expanded Medicaid to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level under the Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement commonly called Obamacare.

More than 400,000 Kentucky residents gained health insurance through the program, the highest growth rate of Medicaid coverage of any state.

Among adult Medicaid recipients aged 18 to 64, 60 percent already have jobs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation health policy research group. Most adult Medicaid recipients who do not work reported major impediments as the reason, according to Kaiser.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has said that the program had become financially unsustainable under Obamacare, although the federal government covers the majority of its cost. The waiver is projected to reduce the number of people on Medicaid by nearly 86,000 within five years, saving more than $330 million.

At least nine additional states, mostly Republican led, have proposed similar changes to Medicaid: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb,; Editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Chang

*(ABOUT TIME) – PAUL RYAN TO STEP ASIDE IN ’18, LEAVE DC

Spirits were high inside the House chamber on Thursday, November 16, when, in the early afternoon, the gavel fell and a measure to rewrite the American tax code passed on a partisan tally of 227 to 205. As the deciding votes were cast—recorded in green on the black digital scoreboard suspended above the floor—the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, threw his head back and slammed his hands together. Soon he was engulfed in a sea of dark suits, every Republican lawmaker wanting to slap him on the shoulder and be a part of his moment.

Ryan was the man of the hour. Having spent a quarter-century in Washington—as an intern, waiter, junior think-tanker, Hill staffer and, since 1999, as a member of Congress—he had never wavered in his obsession with fixing what he viewed as the nation’s two fundamental weaknesses: its Byzantine tax system and ballooning entitlement state. Now, with House Republicans celebrating the once-in-a-generation achievement of a tax overhaul, Ryan was feeling both jubilant and relieved—and a little bit greedy. Reveling in the afterglow, Ryan remarked to several colleagues how this day had proven they could accomplish difficult things—and that next year, they should set their sights on an even tougher challenge: entitlement reform. The speaker has since gone public with this aspiration, suggesting that 2018 should be the year Washington finally tackles what he sees as the systemic problems with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short.

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics,” and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.

And yet speculation is building that, Ryan, even fresh off his tax-reform triumph, might not be able to leave on his own terms. He now faces a massive pileup of cannot-fail bills in January and February. It’s an outrageous legislative lift: Congress must, in the coming weeks, fund the government, raise the debt ceiling, modify spending caps, address the continuation of health-care subsidies, shell out additional funds for disaster relief and deal with the millions of undocumented young immigrants whose protected status has been thrown into limbo. It represents the most menacing stretch of Ryan’s speakership—one that will almost certainly require him to break promises made to his conference and give significant concessions to Democrats in exchange for their votes. To meet key deadlines, he’ll have to approve sizable spending increases and legal status for minors who came to the U.S. illegally—two things that could raise the ire of the GOP base and embolden his conservative rivals on Capitol Hill. There is no great outcome available, Ryan has conceded to some trusted associates—only survival. “Win the day. Win the next day. And then win the week,” Ryan has been preaching to his leadership team.

The speaker can’t afford to admit he’s a lame-duck—his fundraising capacity and dealmaking leverage would be vastly diminished, making the House all the more difficult to govern. When asked at the end of a Thursday morning press conference if he was leaving soon, Ryan shot a quick “no” over his shoulder as he walked out of the room.

Soros says he wants to pay more taxes, but prefers Ireland where he paid less than $1,000

George Soros has joined a petition to scrap tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But the billionaire prefers Ireland, where his hedge fund paid just $962 in taxes in 2013, according to Bloomberg.

Four hundred wealthy Americans have appealed to the US Congress urging Republican lawmakers not to cut their taxes. They say the GOP shouldn’t cut taxes for the wealthiest when the US debt is at all-time high and inequality is rising.

The letter, signed, among others, by George Soros and Steven Rockefeller, says the proposal “would lead to deep cuts in critical services such as education, Medicare, and Medicaid, and would hamper our nation’s ability to restore investments in our people and communities.”

The signatories are among the highest earning five percent of Americans, who have $1.5 million in assets or who are making $250,000 or more a year.

The proposed cuts are part of President Donald Trump’s program aimed to spur growth and jobs in the country. They would add at least $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the current national debt. This deficit “would leave us unable to meet our country’s current needs and restrict us in advancing any future investments,” the letter said.

One of the rich who signed the document is George Soros, who has always said wealthy people should pay more taxes. However, he prefers not to pay taxes in the United States, but in countries with more favorable tax laws.

In 2015 Bloomberg reported that Soros’ hedge fund paid $962 in tax in Ireland on $3,851 net income through 2013, while the remaining $7.2 billion operating income was allocated to investors.

A year later, Soros shut down the Irish company and set up another in the tax-friendly Caymans.

By the time the new company in the Caymans was created, Soros had reportedly funneled $13.3 billion in fees, which means he had dodged almost $7 billion in taxes if his business had been entirely located in the United States.

Make it stop: GOP quietly hands Dems EVERYTHING they want on CHIP

THE FAILED BIG GOV CYCLE: CREATE A NEW PROGRAM AFTER FIRST ONE FAILS … BUT NEVER ABOLISH THE ORIGINAL ONE.

by Daniel Horowitz

“Leave no government-run health care program and handout to the insurance cartel behind.” That is the guiding principle of the unibrow party in Washington.

After fully capitulating to the Democrats on the debt ceiling, everything in the budget bill, an insidiously bloated disaster-relief bill attached to the package, and the promise for amnesty and insurance bailouts, the GOP is quietly giving Democrats everything they want on Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization.

The question nobody is asking in Washington, or even cares to ask, is: Why should we even have CHIP at this point, now that Obamacare isn’t going anywhere?

In 1997, rather than dealing with the root cause of price inflation in health careand health insurance — namely, government handouts to the insurance cartel — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, created yet another government-run program funneled through the insurance cartel.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), now simply called CHIP, was designed as a shared federal-state insurance program for children and pregnant women in families whose incomes are too high to be eligible for Medicaid.

Like every other entitlement program, SCHIP started off modestly but rapidly mushroomed into a permanent dependency program. There are now 8.9 million individuals enrolled at a cost of $15 billion, with the federal government picking up three-quarters of the tab.

Much of the expansion occurred during the Pelosi reign of terror in 2009 when the funding, eligibility, and benefit requirements of the program were dramatically increased. As a result, 12 states don’t contribute a penny to the program. I guess that’s why they cropped off the “S” from SCHIP.

By now, some of you might be wondering why we still have the program. We destroyed the entire health care system in order to massively expand Medicaid, mandated everyone purchase insurance, we subsidize everyone else’s insurance up through 400 percent of the poverty rate and leave those above that level in the lurch. Why do we need CHIP after enactment of Obamacare?

Even the drafters of Obamacare essentially envisioned the end of CHIP, which is why they had funding for the program expire in 2015. Between the massive expansion of eligibility for Medicaid and the dependency-driven subsidies under Obamacare, there was no longer a legitimate rationale for the existence of CHIP – even from a liberal perspective. Liberals cannot argue that Obamacare was the end-all for universal coverage and then demand reauthorization of CHIP.

Yet, rather than pocket the one ancillary benefit of Obamacare and let a smaller program expire simply by doing nothing, Republicans agreed in 2015 to a two-year reauthorization of the program as part of a massive $400 billion Medicaid doc fix bill, which created nightmare red tape on doctors (the MACRA payment system). Not only did the Republicans reauthorize CHIP, they expanded funding for the program by as much as $6 billion a year. (Conservative Review included that vote in our Liberty Score.)

This was done with GOP control of the House and Senate. Yet, two years later, with control of all branches of government, rather than letting a government program expire simply by doing nothing, Republicans have once again agreed to reauthorize the program for another five years!

There wasn’t even a battle over the program. Any GOP official committed to their party’s platform would make it clear that CHIP is unnecessary when coupled with Obamacare, and would demand that Democrats pick one or the other. The country could then use the $15 billion in savings for missile defense or border security. But don’t hold your breath.

Some in the “Big Government conservative intelligentsia” are enamored with the CHIP program and will claim that it is less costly and more efficient than the Obamacare exchanges. But if that’s the case, Republicans should hold back on reauthorization of CHIP until they secure concessions from Democrats on Obamacare.

Instead, they are preemptively admitting that CHIP reauthorization is must-pass legislation and are agreeing to fully reauthorize it without any reforms to Obamacare, Medicaid, or broader supply-side health care reforms.

While this all is not making waves in the media, it is perhaps the superlative example of the failed cycle of government.

They create a new program because the first one failed … but then never abolish the original one. But again, this is not about helping the poor; this is about using dependency to create more votes and lining the pockets of the insurance cartel that administers the programs. Thus, government can only add programs but not rescind or even replace them.

This is why our politicians subscribe to the rules of the ancient Persian government described in the book of Esther (9:8), “For a writ that is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be rescinded.”

Look no further than the top lobbyists for 2017, almost all of them are part of the health care cartel:

This is why the voters are no longer presented with a choice. Because the special interests are in lockstep with endless growth of government, the options we are presented operate exclusively within the confines of the Democrat premise on any given issue. And that premise is “Leave no wasteful government program behind.”

BOEHNER: REPUBLICANS WILL ‘NEVER’ REPEAL AND REPLACE…

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/267dc018-70d4-11e7-8c17-533c52b2f014

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By Robert Costa July 25 at 6:00 AM

Former House speaker John A. Boehner, who has mostly avoided public commentary since leaving Congress two years ago, told a business gathering last week that Republicans are “not going to repeal and replace Obamacare” because “the American people have gotten accustomed to it.”

“Here we are, seven months into this year, and yet they’ve not passed this bill. Now, they’re never — they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Boehner told a private crowd in Las Vegas, according to video footage obtained by The Washington Post. “It’s been around too long. And the American people have gotten accustomed to it. Governors have gotten accustomed to this Medicaid expansion, and so trying to pull it back is really not going to work.”

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Boehner said the Republicans’ best hope in the coming months is to peel away aspects of the law, such as some tax provisions and regulations, and to end health insurance mandates.

“When it’s all said and done, you’re not going to have an employer mandate anymore, you’re not going to have the individual mandate,” Boehner said. “The Medicaid expansion will be there. The governors will have more control over their Medicaid populations and how to get them care, and a lot of Obamacare taxes will probably go.”

Boehner’s remarks diverge from the positions of President Trump and congressional Republican leaders, who are still pushing for legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and scale back Medicaid. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to hold a vote on beginning debate on GOP health-care legislation as soon as Tuesday.

Boehner’s statements were made July 21 at ThoughtSpot, a trade show hosted by Good Neighbor Pharmacy at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Videos of his appearance were obtained by The Post from a person who requested anonymity to share the clips.

A Boehner spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

As Boehner sat on the dais in an expansive ballroom, he also shared frank observations about the president and his party. The former Ohio lawmaker’s outlook echoed the frustrations of many Republicans on Capitol Hill, although those views are usually expressed in closed settings.

Boehner warned that the GOP’s infighting, despite having control of Congress and the White House, could have dire political consequences for the party. If Republicans fail to pass legislation on health care, taxes and infrastructure, “they’re going to get annihilated” in next year’s midterm elections, he said.

Boehner described Trump as a “friend of mine. We’ve played a lot of golf together over the years. He was a donor of mine.” But he said he never expected Trump to win the presidency and has been discouraged by how he has handled parts of the job.

“I never really saw him as president. You all know what I mean,” Boehner said as audience members chuckled.

Boehner urged him to “quit tweeting” and avoid spats with media personalities like the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“He keeps getting in his own way,” Boehner told the attendees.

“I mean, going after Mika Brzezinski or Joe Scarborough? What the hell is the point?” he asked, referring to Trump’s social-media assault of Brzezinski last month.

Boehner said Trump’s seemingly nonstop battles with news organizations were unwise distractions for him and the party — and risky.

“You never get into a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. He does it every day.” Boehner said, adding, “Never get into a p—ing match with a skunk. He does it every day.”

“It may have worked during the campaign. But I think he would do himself well if he would just slow the tweeting down and just focus on what he’s doing and not being critical,” Boehner said.

Boehner went on to tell the group that cutting bipartisan deals in Washington is now all but impossible due to the way negotiations unfold in the media. Any interaction with a Democrat risks being covered by conservative outlets as a potential betrayal of the GOP, he said.

Boehner blamed figures on the right who purchase lists of conservative activists and then position themselves as leaders of a movement. He said talks between party leaders can be ruined by “one person who creates a committee to preserve the Constitution” and can “blast out information quickly.”

“You used to have a little breathing room — 24 hours, 48 hours before it actually got in the press. Well, that’s gone. Everything today is instant,” he said.

Boehner recalled that when he used to visit President Obama, he would frequently “sneak into” the White House to avoid being seen by reporters.

“If I didn’t sneak in, if I went in like I would normally go in, the right-wing press would go crazy. ‘What is Boehner up to?’ The left-wing press would go just as crazy. ‘What is Obama doing? He’s going to let Boehner roll him again.’ You’re dead before you even have an agreement,” he said.

Boehner pointed to the fragmentation of the national media as another reason for the paralysis and what he sees as alarming intensity and partisanship in politics.

“What’s making everything even worse today is because we have so much news, people get to choose where they get their news,” Boehner said. “It used to be we had three big TV networks, five big newspapers, and five big radio stations and whatever they said was the news. Everybody else followed what they do.”

 

“They go to places that they agree with, reinforcing the divide that we have in the country already,” he said.

“These radio talk show guys, they carry on, it’s just nonsense,” Boehner said. “Some of these people who run these big blogs, the kind of stuff they put out, I would also disagree with.”

Turning back to health care, Boehner acknowledged that his candor may not be appreciated by Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. The last time he made headlines, his successor, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), sent him a dismayed text.

“Gee, thanks,” Boehner said, reciting what Ryan texted him.

Medicaid Enrollees Set to Climb 40 Million Under Obamacare…

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By Terence P. Jeffrey | July 24, 2017 | 5:37 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) – Under current law—including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare)—there will be 112,000,000 people who enroll in Medicaid at some time during fiscal 2027, according to the latest baseline estimate published by the Congressional Budget Office.

That would be an increase of 40,000,000 from fiscal 2013, the last year before Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program went into effect.

In fiscal 2013, according to CBO, there were 72,000,000 enrolled in Medicaid at some point during the year.

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At 112,000,000, enrollees in the U.S. Medicaid program would outnumber the 2016 Census Bureau regional population estimates for the American West (76,657,000); the Midwest (67,941,429); and the Northeast (56,209,510). Only the South—with a Census Bureau-estimated population of 122,319,574 in 2016—had more people living in it last year than the CBO expects will be enrolled in Medicaid at some point in fiscal 2027.

The CBO’s baseline estimates for Medicaid enrollment list two different annual numbers for the program. One is the “average monthly enrollment” and the other is the “total” enrollment.

The “average monthly enrollment” numbers, CBO explained in its latest baseline, “represent the number of beneficiaries, with full and partial benefits, who are enrolled on an average monthly basis.” The “total” enrollment is the “total number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid at any point during the fiscal year.”

The Medicaid baseline projections that the CBO published in April 2014, shortly after the Obamacare Medicaid expansion started to take effect, said that in fiscal 2013 (which had ended on Sept. 30, 2013), there had been a total of 72 million people enrolled in Medicaid and that the average monthly enrollment had been 58 million.

The CBO’s most recent Medicaid baseline projection, published in January 2017, said there was a total of 97 million people enrolled in Medicaid in fiscal 2016 and that the average monthly enrollment for 2016 was 76 million.

That means total annual Medicaid enrollment, according to CBO’s numbers, had increased by 25 million from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2016 (rising from 72 million to 97 million) and that average monthly enrollment had increased by 18 million (rising from 58 million to 76 million).

The CBO’s January 2017 baseline projection for Medicaid estimates that by fiscal 2027 average monthly enrollment in Medicaid will climb to 87 million and total enrollment will climb to 112 million.

If the CBO projection is correct, that means that from fiscal 2013, the year before Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion took effect, to fiscal 2027, the average monthly enrollment in Medicaid will increase by 29 million (rising from 58 million to 87 million) and total enrollment will increase by 40 million (rising from 72 million to 112 million).

“Historically, Medicaid eligibility has generally been limited to certain low-income children, pregnant women, parents of dependent children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities; however, as of January 1, 2014, states have the option to extend Medicaid coverage to most nonelderly, low-income individuals,” the Congressional Research Service explained in a report on the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148 as amended) established 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) (effectively 138% of FPL with an income disregard of 5% of FPL) as the new mandatory minimum Medicaid income eligibility level for most nonelderly individuals,” said CRS.

“If a state accepts the ACA Medicaid expansion funds, it must abide by the expansion coverage rules,” said CRS.