United States News Digest
White House Won't Budge on Shutting Down Constellation
June 24 (EIRNS)Following a meeting of a group of Senators whose states stand to lose potentially thousands of jobs related to the NASA Constellation program for manned space exploration, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said on June 22, regarding the ongoing shut-down of Constellation contracts: "We want an independent legal opinion, which could make a difference in where we are. We think this is clearly a violation of the congressional intent."
Sessions declined to identify the senators in the meeting, but said the group is waiting for reviews by the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office before deciding a strategy for fighting the cuts.
"I would say the mood was grave," Sessions said of the meeting. "A number of members feel strongly that America's leadership in space is being jeopardized by the President's budget for next year, and the attempts this year to cancel contracts before the year is out." An opinion that would make what the Administration is doing illegal would provide leverage to shoot down the entire Obama "new space" proposal. But if that is all there is, little will have been gained. The Constellation budget, as is, has left the program losing ground, delayed more and more each month.
Earlier in the day, Sessions had a meeting with NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, which he characterized as "troubling." "I didn't get the feeling there is any real give in their position," Sessions said. "We should not think that the President at the moment has any plans to make significant alterations to what they have stated is their goal."
House Dems Nix Resolution of Inquiry in Sestak/Romanoff Cases
June 24 (EIRNS)Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted down, 15 to 12, a resolution of inquiry introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), calling on the Department of Justice to turn over all documents related to the White House job offers to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff (D).
Immediately following the party-line vote, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued this statement: "Any high ground of transparency and accountability that House Democrats once claimed to stand on has been surrendered. For all the talk, and it is talk, about living up to a higher standard of conduct and disclosure, time and again, the Democratic Majority takes the path of least resistance and political expediency instead of fulfilling the American people's right to know the truth about unethical and possibly criminal conduct. Ultimately, House Democrats will have to convince the American people that their standard of secrecy, backroom deals and preservation of the status quo without a check-and-balance is the best governing vision moving forward."
Democratic Leadership Planning 'EU-Like' Austerity
June 23 (EIRNS)House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) made a self-billed "major speech" yesterday, promising fascist austerity from the Democratic leadership, and the abandonment of Congress's Constitutional power over the budget to President Obama's appointed "fiscal deficit commission." Hoyer was promoting a copy of the British-instigated "new governance" policy of the European Union, in which those nations (except the United Kingdom) have just agreed to let the European Commission bureaucracy decide on their budgets, before their elected parliaments even see them.
Hoyer told the conference of the "Third Way" think-tank that the House will no longer create a five-year budget plan originating in its Budget Committee; rather, it will leave that to the fiscal "deficit commission" created by Presidential fiat early this year. For the FY2011 budget, House Democratic leaders propose cuts $7 billion deeper than Obama's "spending freeze" outline.
Obama's "fiscal deficit commission" is completely staffed by operatives of Wall Street billionaire Peter Peterson's Foundation and his Institute for International Economics. For decades, Peterson has been trying to privatize or get rid of Social Security and Medicare. He is funding "AmericaSpeaks town meetings" across the country for that purpose on June 26. Obama's commission is stacked in favor of those who advocate slashing Medicare and Social Security; Hoyer has been saying that he definitely wants that "on the table."
Congressional Leaders Impose 21% Cut to Medicare and Medicare Doctors
June 22 (EIRNS)The fanatics leading the Democratic Party in the House and Senate have succeeded in imposing a 21% cut to all Medicare and Medicaid doctors, which will force countless doctors to stop taking poor and elderly patients, and result in countless deaths. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that she will not take up the "fix" that gets passed every year to stop the mandated 21% cut, because of disagreements with the Senate leadership over the way the bill was passed in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid separated the fix from a broader extension bill that included unemployment, home-buyer credits, and other issues, when Republicans and some Democrats held up the extension bill as too expensive, demanding cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The 21% cut officially took effect on June 1, but the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (MMS) twice told doctors they would not process claims until the bill passed. However, the MMS began enforcing the cuts June 18, and will process an estimated 50 million claims the agency had been holding since June 1, with the 21% cut included. If the fix is eventually passed, the doctors will be reimbursedbut how many people can hold out, and for how long, and how many will die in the meantime?
Dem-Majority Louisiana Legislature Joins Fight vs. ObamaCare
June 21 (EIRNS)The revolt against ObamaCare has been percolating for months from the mass strike into state legislatures. On June 18, Louisiana became the first state with a Democratic-controlled legislature to oppose the ObamaCare requirement for everyone to purchase health insurance. Similar legislation has already been enacted in statute form by the Virginia, Idaho, Arizona, and Georgia legislatures; and constitutional amendments or referenda will appear on the ballot in Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, and Missouri. Citizen initiatives are underway in Colorado, Michigan, and Mississippi.
The Louisiana House bill, which passed the state Senate with strong bipartisan support, will soon head to GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk. The measure is modeled after the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act now introduced or announced in 42 states.
Louisiana House Bill 1474, which was supported by 14 House Democrats and 12 Senate Democrats, states that, "No resident of this state, regardless of whether he has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under any policy or program provided by or through his employer, or a plan sponsored by the state or the federal government, shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual health insurance coverage." PRNewswire reports that the measure faced a tough battle in the Senate, where sponsors conceded to an amendment that may hamper Louisiana's ability to file an additional 10th Amendment-based lawsuit against the Federal health reform law.
"Today, Louisiana sends a clear message to the President and Congress that there is broad, bipartisan opposition to the centerpiece of their health reform agenda," said ALEC Health Task Force director Christie Herrera, who is coordinating the nationwide effort.