Morning Action: There is Only One Way to Reform the Farm Bill
FARM BILL. With Congress back in Washington, lawmakers are once again beginning to discuss the farm bill. Heritage explains the only way to reform the bill is to pass a one year extension of current law, not a compromise bill between bills passed in the House and Senate:
The best option before Congress is a new extension of the 2008 farm bill. The existing farm bills passed by the House and Senate are flawed, so a compromise with these bills would only lead to bad policy for the American people.
Extending the existing law would give Congress time to identify the best ways to keep the food stamp program and farm programs separated from each other.
Congress just passed a farm bill extension at the start of 2013. Farmers were fine, and the food stamp program continued without missing a beat.
The choice is not between enacting a farm bill and doing nothing. Instead, the choice is between pushing bad policy through Congress and taking some time, by passing an extension, so that sound policy can be developed in a deliberate and transparent manner.
OBAMACARE. Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint warns that America must stop Obamacare before it becomes hazardous to our health. Here are a few of the reasons he gives to fear Obamacare:
First, many Americans will lose their current health coverage. That’s what’s happening to Rod Coons and Florence Peace, a married couple in Indianapolis. Rod and Florence like their current plan.
Second, many Americans will lose access to physicians they trust. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the case of John Nowak, who faces a dilemma when he chooses an insurance plan on ObamaCare’s Exchanges this fall. He “will be able to pick a [revised, ObamaCare-compliant] plan from his current insurer—or go for one that includes his primary-care doctor.”
Third, ObamaCare places bureaucrats between doctors and patients. The law imposes new penalties on doctors who do “not satisfactorily submit data” that meet Washington bureaucrats’ standards.
UNIONS. Unions may issue formal criticism of Obamacare at the AFL-CIO convention:
The AFL-CIO Executive Council is expected to consider a resolution, subject to fierce internal debate, that will call for changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — setting up a potential floor vote this Wednesday before the convention closes. Frustration has grown within labor as the Obama administration has failed to offer a fix to temper union worries over the law.
A copy of the draft resolution, obtained by The Hill, praises aspects of ObamaCare and states that the AFL-CIO supports the law’s goal of providing healthcare coverage for all. But the four-page document lays out a laundry list of complaints against ObamaCare — at times taking aim at the administration.
SEAWORLD. SeaWorld is reducing the hours of thousands of part time workers so they will not have to comply with costly Obamacare mandates:
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is reducing hours for thousands of part-time workers, a move that would allow the Orlando-based theme-park owner to avoid offering those employees medical insurance under the federal government’s health-care overhaul.
SeaWorld confirmed the move Monday in a brief written statement to the Orlando Sentinel. The company operates 11 theme parks across the United States and has about 22,000 employees — nearly 18,000 of whom are part-time or seasonal workers. It has more than 4,000 part-time and seasonal workers in Central Florida.
Under a new corporate policy, SeaWorld will schedule part-time workers for no more than 28 hours a week, down from a previous limit of 32 hours a week. The new cap is expected to go into effect by November.
With the reduced hours, those employees would not be classified as full-time workers under the Affordable Care Act, the health-care overhaul championed by PresidentBarack Obama and signed into law in 2010.
SYRIA. Syria says it accepted Russia’s proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent dismantling:
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday after meeting with Russian parliament speaker that his government quickly “agreed to the Russian initiative.”
Al-Moallem added that Syria did so to “uproot U.S. aggression.”
His statement sounded more definitive than his remarks Monday, when he said that Damascus welcomed Russia’s initiative.