Morning Action: Sentinels Accept the Challenge
SENTINEL POWER. Heritage Action Sentinels are making a difference in states and congressional districts all across the country. Now, even mainstream media outlets like USA Today are beginning to take notice:
Their top target: the sweeping legislation that will set federal farm policy for years to come. Next week, a group of lawmakers will meet to begin hashing out differences between the Senate and House versions of the farm bill. Conservative groups, such as Heritage Action for America, are lobbying to jettison any compromise, saying neither version does enough to slash taxpayer subsidies to agribusiness.
… Grassroots Tea Party activists, whose opposition to the health care law helped fuel the budget fight that led to a 16-day partial government shutdown this month, say they won’t back down from efforts to reduce government spending and will make their displeasure known in next year’s midterm elections.
“We think gridlock is a good thing,” said Diane Cox, a Tea Party activist from Valdosta, Ga., who is one of 6,000 Heritage Action “sentinels” who pushed to defund the Affordable Care Act and is closely watching developments on the farm bill. “It’s called the balance of powers.”
“I don’t think politicians understand that we are serious about stopping wasteful government spending,” said Cox, 68. “We are going to have to bring a few more of them home.”
UNILATERAL DELAY. For the past several months, conservatives all across the country rallied behind a serious legislative to delay the implementation of Obamacare by defunding the law. Now, after the media and many pundits dismissed the effort as absurd, Democrats are breaking ranks and begging for a delay of sorts themselves. The New York Daily News reports:
A White House offensive to shore up support for Obamacare failed Wednesday to prevent a series of high-profile Democratic defections from the party line.
Citing the troubled rollout of the principal Obamacare website, three more Democratic senators called for an extension of the March 31 deadline under the Affordable Care Act for most Americans to have health insurance.
Those senators — Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) — are up for re-election next year.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2%, who also is up for re-election, made a similar proposal on Tuesday.
And a fifth Democrat, conservative Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) 21%, called for more dramatic action — delaying the so-called “individual mandate” for Americans to own health insurance for an entire year.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. That red-state Senate Democrats are running for the hills should come as no surprise. Obamacare remains deeply unpopular and those Senators are in jeopardy of losing their seats in 2014. It is an incredible flip-flop for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who recently doubled down on her support for the law: “If they do not like [Obamacare], they can unelect us. Believe me, they will have a great chance because I am up for reelection right now. They will be able to do that.” Watch: Why did Mary Landrieu shut down the government?
#MORETHANAGLITCH. Of course, there is little to indicate the latest calls for a tweak will do anything to help those suffering the real burdens of Obamacare. The law is also keeping businesses from hiring. Via Heritage:
[A] recent Gallup survey reporting two-fifths of small business owners have held off on hiring because of Obamacare. As Heritage expert James Sherk summarizes: “For the next several years, Obamacare will also make it harder for workers who want jobs to find them.”
Not just today—the “next several years.”
For Americans seeing their premiums go up or their health coverage dropped, trouble finding a job would be a double whammy.
IMMIGRATION PIVOT. How will the administration respond to rising premiums, fewer work hours and higher out-of-pocket costs? Today, President Obama will pivot (again) to the issue of immigration (i.e., amnesty). Amid health care woes, Reuters has the details:
As the White House struggles to fix the problem-plagued rollout of its healthcare reform law, President Barack Obama on Thursday will try to focus attention on another policy priority – immigration reform – with a call for congressional action.
Talking about immigration reform on Thursday could be an effort to deflect attention from the White House’s healthcare woes.
The White House official said Obama would be joined on stage and in the audience on Thursday by immigration reform supporters.