Morning Action: The Attack on Conservatives on Capitol Hill
CONSERVATIVES. Conservative leaders have responded to the attacks on conservatives on Capitol Hill and Paul Teller:
We are saddened and outraged that an organization that purports to represent conservatives in Congress would dismiss a staff member for advancing conservatism and working with conservatives outside of Congress.
Paul Teller is one of the true heroes of the conservative movement. For over a decade, he has been the guiding light of conservatism on Capitol Hill. No one has done more to advance conservative principles and block the liberal agenda than Paul Teller. In the tradition of President Reagan, he is a true happy warrior who is both forceful and courageous.
Read the entire statement here.
BUDGET. Democrats say they will not support the Ryan-Murray budget deal over federal unemployment benefits:
The budget deal worked out by House and Senate negotiators is on the verge of unraveling over the exclusion of federal unemployment benefits, several leading Democrats warned Wednesday.
The lawmakers are outraged by a GOP move to add the Medicare “doc fix” to the package but not a continuation of unemployment benefits — a strategy they say could sink the entire package by scaring away Democratic votes.
Conservatives oppose the deal but for completely different reasons. Here are the top policy concerns with the budget from a the conservative perspective, from the fact that it increases spending in the short-term to the fact that it increases deficits in the short-term and savings are severely back loaded. Senate Republicans are reportedly skeptical of the deal (sub. req’d):
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other Republicans gave a chilly reception on Wednesday to the bipartisan budget agreement as the chamber’s Democrats looked to win support from GOP members for final Senate action.
The chamber’s top Republican took no stand on the budget deal, and left murky the question of whether Republicans would allow the Senate to expedite floor action, if it wins House passage this week.
OBAMACARE POLL. A majority of Americans say they want to go back to the previous healthcare system, according to a recent poll:
At a recent event, President Barack Obama said the health care law is here to stay and vowed, “We aren’t going back.” But 55 percent of Americans say they’d prefer to go back to the health care system that was in place before the Affordable Care Act, while 34 percent prefer the current health care system.
OBAMACARE WEBSITE. The Obamacare website is set to receive a $47 million taxpayer funded makeover:
The government has been cagey about revealing how much money has been spent to fix HealthCare.gov, but today officials revealed the overall price tag for the troubled Obamacare website has increased by $47 million.
In Washington jargon, it is called an “increase in the total amount obligated” rather than a price hike. But the end, result is the same.
An official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees the site, could not immediately explain the reason for the additional cost. But the official confirmed the amount of money “obligated” by the Obama administration for IT costs has increased in the past month.
FARM BILL. The House will debate a one-month extension of the farm bill one-month extension, H.R. 3695. The Hill reports on the state of play:
This bill is partly aimed at ensuring the continuation of dairy subsidies, in the hopes of avoiding a spike in dairy prices. But some say the extension is not needed, and Senate Democrats have said they won’t consider the short-term bill.
Members are expected to start debate on this bill today, but finish work on it Friday.
“DOC FIX” The House is also set to debate a three-month patch to avert cuts in Medicare physician payments (sub. req’d):
The House is set to consider as early as Thursday a three-month patch to avert cuts in reimbursements to Medicare physicians and extend other health payment provisions, along with a budget compromise.
The House Rules Committee approved a closed rule 9-3 Wednesday evening to set up floor consideration of the budget deal and “doc fix” payment patch, both as amendments to another measure (H J Res 59). Some Democrats protested the inclusion of the doc fix with the budget agreement, because the bill did not also include an extension of unemployment insurance payments .
If cleared, the three-month payment patch would stop a scheduled 24 percent payment cut in reimbursement rates for Medicare physicians beginning Jan. 1 under the sustainable growth rate formula. Instead, the bill would increase current payment rates by 0.5 percent for three years, which the Congressional Budget Office said would cost $7.3 billion over 10 years.
Heritage Action in the News
The Washington Examiner reports:
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, lashed out at conservative groups Wednesday for criticizing the bipartisan budget deal before the details were released.
But Boehner would be able to make that claim a lot more credibly if House Republican leaders would allow enough time for conservatives to study the legislation and lobby their members of Congress before a vote.
Given Boehner’s history of rushing legislation to the floor in utter disregard for his own pledge, it’s no surprise, then, that conservative groups such as Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity began mobilizing in opposition to the emerging deal once news reports surfaced that it would undo sequestration spending levels in the near term.
The Washington Post reports:
The deal, announced late Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), immediately came under criticism from conservatives on and off Capitol Hill, with some outside groups such as the influential Heritage Action for America announcing their opposition a full day in advance.
ANC News reports:
From Boehner, it was a rare and pointed public dressing-down of Club for Growth, Heritage Action, the Koch Brothers and other conservative groups that have urged Republicans to oppose the budget deal. Boehner openly questioned the motives of such groups, demonstrating a far more aggressive posture than he usually takes.
Rush Limbaugh notes:
Now, a number of conservative groups have reacted in totally warranted anger and outrage, and Boehner has lashed out at them.
I’m convinced he’s gonna try to walk some of this back, but he’s called them ridiculous.
One of the three groups is the Heritage Action Group, Heritage Foundation, our buddies there. Friday, grab… Let’s see. Grab sound bite number four. This is Boehner, and this is this morning in Washington at a press conference talking about the tentative budget deal.