NEW CUTS ADDED: The good, the bad and the undecided in the 2011 budget compromise bill.

Listen to Heart of America’s Radio program regarding the 2011 Budget Compromise, the cuts, the increases and who was the ultimate winner in the budget battle.–heart-of-americas-2011-budget-compromise


Overall Spending Limit: The final CR will include a total of $1.049 trillion in funding, nearly $40 billion worth of reductions from last year’s (fiscal year 2010) levels.

Pretty amazing, considering President Obama only wanted to freeze spending and not engage in real cutting.

This includes the $12 billion in reductions previously approved by Congress and for this bill:

Program Cuts; $36.5 billion cut + $2 billion cut for 1 wk continuing resolution = $38.5 billion cut.

** $13 billion from funding for programs at the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services

** Over $1 billion in a cut across non-defense agencies

** $8 billion in cuts to our budget for State and Foreign Operations

** $630 million in earmarked transportation projects

** At least $2.5 billion in transportation funding

** $35 million by ending the Crop Insurance Good Performance Rebate

** $30 million for a job training program that was narrowly targeted at certain student loan processors

** $1.9 billion from Homeland Security

** $354 million in funding for an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was cut.

** $325 million was cut for production of and modifications to Boeing Co.’s C-17 military transport plane.

**$1.6 billion was cut from the EPA’s budget.

** $2.9 billion for funding of Obama’s pet project of a  high-speed rail projects was reduced, wiping out funding for all such new projects and taking back money that remained unspent.

** $438 million from a Energy Department’s energy-efficiency and renewable-energy program.

** More than $1 billion would be cut from programs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, and viral hepatitis.

** $377 million cut from current levels on contributions to the United Nations.

** $433 million would be cut from the agriculture credit insurance fund.

**$3 billion cut from Agriculture, $64 million cut to Agricultural Research Service and $125.9 million cut from National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

** Only $1 billion for Food Safety and Inspection, which is $10 million below the fiscal year 2010 level, while allowing for uninterrupted meat, poultry, and egg products inspection activities of the agency.

** $10.9 billion reduction in Commerce, Justice, Science.

** $946 million cut for the Justice Department appropriations.

** $6.5 billion cut in the Commerce Department.

** $4.2 billion cut on Defense earmarks.

** $3.6 billion reduction in the Energy and Water section.

** $800 million reduces most Treasury and Executive Office of the President accounts and reduces funding for construction of new federal buildings.

**  In addition, the bill terminates two programs funded in ObamaCare (the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and the Free Choice Voucher programs.

** Over $1 billion from the Department of Education

Programs “protected” in the 2011 budget compromise.

** Current levels of Head Start and Race to the Top enrollment

** Pell Grant’s maximum award at $5,550.

**  Title I grants leveled to districts at $14.5 billion, special education at $11.3 billion.

**  Teacher Incentive Fund is level-funded at $400 million.

** Strong investments to efficiently and effectively run Medicare and to implement the Affordable Care Act

** Strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science

** The bill also includes $18.5 billion for NASA and fully funds the newly authorized exploration program.

** The Department of Defense is funded at $513 billion in the CR – approximately $5 billion above last year and also includes an additional $157.8 billion for overseas contingency operations (emergency funding) to advance our missions abroad.  However; some defense spending was cut (such as the 2nd F35 alternative engine and defense earmarks etc).

[The Defense section of this legislation includes $126.7 billion for military personnel, providing for 1,432,400 active duty and 846,200 reserve troops. In addition, the bill contains a total of $165.6 billion for operations and maintenance, $102.1 billion for procurement, $75 billion for research and development, and $31.4 billion for Defense health programs.]

** The CR restores a long-standing provision against the use of federal and local funds for abortions in the District of Columbia.

** All critical operations for DHS – including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Agency, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service are sufficiently funded to meet mission requirements and sustain staffing levels. This includes funding for 21,370 Border Patrol agents, 33,400 ICE detention beds, and military pay and allowances for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Program funding increases

**  $13 million increase over last year for the Inspector General of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to provide oversight of the billions of dollars remaining in TARP assets and continues current funding for drug task forces and programs to assist small businesses

** The CR also includes the reauthorization of the DC Opportunity Scholarships, along with a $2.3 million funding increase, to stop the termination of the program and allow new students to participate.

** The legislation also eliminates four Administration “Czars,” including the “Health Care Czar,” the “Climate Change Czar,” the “Car Czar,” and the “Urban Affairs Czar.” Cost  savings; unknown.

** An Energy Department program to provide loan guarantees for renewable and alternative energy projects was spared. That means the Obama administration will be able to honor commitments such as a $967 million loan guarantee for a 290-megawatt Arizona solar power plant. First Solar Inc. is developing the solar farm and has agreed to sell it to NRG Energy Inc. The deal would have been scuttled without the loan guarantee.

** Plus, Head Start, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, got a boost of $340 million, bringing it to $7.57 billion.

** $100 million Educational Technology State grants, $19 million Literacy Through School Libraries and the $42 million Byrd Honors Scholarship made the cut. (The $88 million Smaller Learning Communities and $250 million Striving Readers program from 2010 remain unfunded).

Much speculation and discontent is being expressed by fiscal Republicans as they feel that the budget cuts presented (despite it being the largest budget cut in history) is too small.

I am getting a feeling that this budget could also reach a stalemate and so I am asking that the House of Representatives follow the Senate lead and bring HR 1297 to the House floor for an up/down vote to ensure that our military is paid in the event of a government shutdown.

There are some controversial measure that are still left to be discussed.

**  Funding for NASA’s Constellation exploration program, courtesy of Alabama’s Senator Richard Shelby. This is an absolute MUST as Obama is trying to stop our space exploration and hitch rides with Russia at $60+ million/a seat.

ESPECIALLY since Virginia based Orbtial Science has failed 2 launches- one back in March 2011 and another in 2010 and Orbital Sciences is one of the private companies NASA is counting on to lift cargo to the International Space Station when the shuttles are retired. We MUST have a back up plan and keeping NASA’S Constellation exploration program opened and funded is essential to ensure our lead in Space.

**California has posed serious restrictions on water usage and now they are wanting to limit the water usage again to preserve some fish species.

I dont live in California but have many friends who do that say that the water restrictions are creating a problem for people, California needs to look into a healthy balance. Why is this even being placed in the 2011 budget, this is a state issue.

** A program designed to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases common among IV drug users is in the works of whether to fund them in DC and other states.

Considering that HIV and AIDS does not have a cure, if there is a preventive procedure available to lessen the possibility of an outbreak then, by all means, we should look into funding it on a federal level. The states cannot afford any additional financial stress.

** Homeowners associations want to apply for federal grants for pool and spa safety programs. THIS IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYER MONEY. Homeowners associations can take necessary measures to ensure that there pools and spas are safe for everyone without getting federal funding for it. This measure needs to be opposed.

** Environmental issues range from waiving the price cap for the federal government when it purchases a green vehicle (a price cap should hardly ever be waived, I support a tax credit but that is for everyone not just the federal government).

There are also several clean air provisions, beyond the EPA and CO2 measures that were not included in the broader bill (I support the Clean Air Act because I enjoy breathing in clean air as well as a provision that would exempt some ponds and creeks, particularly on farms, from being subject to the EPA’s “Navigable Waterways” restrictions.

Here’s hoping that we can reach an agreement to the 2011 budget so we can start focusing on the 2012 budget (which is for a much longer period of time as the 2011 budget runs out September 30, 2011 [funding for a little over 5 months] and the 2012 budget appropriations and get started on our talks of NOT raising the debt ceiling and bringing (S. 163 and H.R. 421),  The Full Faith & Credit Act which ensures that our debtors are paid if we do not raise the debt ceiling.

In the meantime, dont forget to contact your Representative and ask them to bring HR 1297, Ensuring our Military is Paid Act to the floor for an up/down vote to ensure that our military is paid and to keep our mission operational despite a possible government shutdown on April 15th.

**This list contains highlighted program cuts. This list is not comprehensive of all program funding levels in the legislation. In addition, the totals DO NOT reflect the overall across the board cut of 0.2% to all non-defense programs.**

For a list of additional highlighted cuts, please click HERE.


The 2011 Budget Compromise passed the House  260 to 167 and passed the Senate 81 to 19.

Also voted on was the controversial plan to end Title X funding for reproductive health care, money that Republicans complained goes predominately to Planned Parenthood as well as defunding the health care law implemented last year.

Although it passed the House it was defeated in the Senate 42 to 58.

The  amendment to defund health care reform was rejected 47 to 53.

Next up, the 2012 budget and the vote to raise the debt ceiling, two more highly charged congressional debates.

Copyright (c) April 10, 2011. All rights reserved.
Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm  Comments (1)  

Over 1000 health care waivers given, 2012-2013 waiver talks.

The Obama administration, which has taken heat from Republicans for granting more than 1,000 one-year waivers for a portion of the healthcare reform law, still faces an important question of how to handle waivers in 2012 and 2013, before a major component of the law goes into effect.

The 1 year waivers are typically granted to organizations that offer limited health insurance, known as “mini-med” plans, and are  meant as a stopgap measure until new state-run health insurance exchanges open.

However, the new state run exchange will not start until 2014, meaning HHS must come up with a plan for stabilizing the health insurance market for an additional 2 years when this round of waivers expires not to mention the underlying structure of the state ran exchange.

The department is just starting to deal with the problem, but its task is complicated by the lack of existing information about the low-value plans, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told The Hill on Friday.

“It’s a portion that frankly there isn’t a lot of data about,” Sebelius said. “Part of the waiver issue is also for companies to submit data on where they are, what the plans look like. A lot of them don’t even file at the state level.”

The healthcare law requires a phase-out of annual dollar limits on benefits, with a minimum limit of $750,000 in 2011. The limits gradually rise until they are completely eliminated in 2014—  that’s the extent of the backbone what is worked out for these low value plans. The state exchange needs to be more in depth than that, to ensure success.

Again, it seems that the Democrats are throwing a general blanket over the problem in an attempt to make it disappear.  If the health care law was somewhat attractive to small businesses,  exemptions would not be necessary.

Further talk on the waivers and the legality behind them will take place on the hill tomorrow, 03/15/11.
Copyright (c) March 14, 2011. All rights reserved.
Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Florida Judge who declared Obamacare unconstitutional sends msg to White House with second ruling

Roger Vinson, the U.S. federal judge who ruled Obamacare unconstitutional in its entirety, has ruled again on the health-care law.

On Thursday, Judge Vinson issued a stay on his earlier ruling that the law could not be enforced.

In doing so, he sent a clear message to the Obama administration: Appeal my decision to a higher court or stop implementing the law.

When Judge Vinson ruled on Jan. 31 that the health-care law was unconstitutional, the administration followed up by filing a motion for clarification rather than filing an official appeal.

Vinson’s ruling criticized the administration for that action.

“During the four-plus weeks since entry of my order, the defendants have seemingly continued to move forward and implement the act,” Vinson wrote. “While I believe that my order was as clear and unambiguous as it could be, it is possible that the defendants may have perhaps been confused or misunderstood its import.”

Now, Vinson has given the Obama administration an ultimatum to either stop implementing the law, or appeal it – presumably to the Supreme Court.

Following Vinson’s initial ruling, Florida and Alaska stopped implementing the law. Several other states have lawsuits pending challenging its constitutionality.

Meanwhile, President Obama continues on-  completely disregarding the ruling of Florida’s District Court.

Copyright (c) March 3, 2011. All rights reserved.

Obamacare reform 101: If you cant repeal it, block the funding.

The House voted today and approved an amendment to block funding to implement the nation’s health care law that was put into place last year.

The action came on several amendments to a must-pass spending bill that would pay for government operations from March through September.

Specifically, the House voted to prohibit any funds be used by the Internal Revenue Service to carry out the law’s mandate that Americans buy health insurance. The individual mandate, one of the law’s key tenets, has been struck down by federal courts.

The House also adopted an amendment by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., to bar the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments from spending any money for the rest of fiscal year 2011 on the health care law.

Yet another provision adopted today would ban the government from paying the salaries of any federal employee involved in implementing the health care law.

If you cant get the healthcare bill repealed, the best next move is to knock the money out of the program. Way to go.

Copyright (c) February 18, 2011. All rights reserved.

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Health Care Index

26 (potentially 28) states have filed a lawsuit against Obamacare.

Checking the list for Senators who would repeal healthcare.

CBO Confirms Health Care Law Destroys Jobs by 800,000.

Florida to rule on constitutionality of the healthcare bill.

Good news for Seniors- $250 would not have to be repaid if healthcare appeal passes.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan Tears Down the CBO & ObamaCare Fiscal House of Cards

Healthcare reform: Adios 1099 provision

Healthcare reform: Removing the public pay out for abortion.

Healthcare repeal pushed back after shooting.

New York sues New York City for medicaid fraud. Potential debt reduction.

Organizational Chart of Healthcare Law- Where do you fit in?

PREDICTION: Healthcare law will be sent to the Supreme Court. Eyes on Scalia/Kagan.

“Read my lips, no new taxes”

Repeal and Revise Obamacare

Senate Democrats- Finally Expressing the Unconstitutionality of the Health Care Law.

Senate strikes down health care reform road, Republicans find an alternate route.

Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

CBO Confirms Health Care Law Destroys Jobs by 800,000.

Senate Democrats- Finally Expressing the Unconstitutionality of the Health Care Law.

To much relief of concerned Republicans, A group of Senate Democrats are discussing ways to take aim at part of the Unconstitutional controversy of the new health care law- the individual mandate.

“We’re looking at everything humanly possible. I’ve always had a concern and a problem with the mandate, that we were forcing it, basically saying by the law of the land you have to buy the product,” Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin is one of the moderate Democrats trying to figure out how to repeal the individual mandate. While talks are still in the early stages, Manchin hopes the push will take shape sooner rather than later.

Joining him in these efforts could be a handful of other Democrats who are also up for re-election in 2012: Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, and Montana’s Jon Tester.

Nelson, for one, has been exploring alternatives to the individual mandate since even before the bill was signed into law.

A former insurance commissioner, he has written to both the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office asking them to analyze various alternatives.

If the GAO and CBO eventually provide him with alternatives that would be improvements on the individual mandate, then he could propose legislation to replace the current law.

In addition, Nelson and Manchin have similar profiles and could end up leading this charge, possibly even unveiling a plan within weeks.

Meanwhile, Tester and McCaskill have indicated that they are willing to look at any proposal that improves the law.

Ultimately, the four senators appear interested in improving the bill if a better alternative exists.

Trust me, there is definitely a better bill. So their support is a welcomed addition.

Copyright (c) February 8, 2011. All rights reserved.

GOP Rep. Paul Ryan Tears Down the CBO & ObamaCare Fiscal House of Cards

Senate strikes down health care reform road, Republicans find an alternate route.

Senate Republicans have vowed a sustained, unrelenting push to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform law, despite falling short in their first effort Wednesday.

Republicans say they are not content to wait idly until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the healthcare law in 2012 or later.

Instead, they will pursue a multi-pronged strategy to delay implementation of the law and repeal its most controversial provisions.

“We think is just the beginning,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday evening after the Senate voted 47-51 along party lines to reject an amendment he offered to repeal the law.

“This issue is still ahead of us and we will be going back at it in a variety of ways,” McConnell added.

1099 Provision Struck Down

Republicans won a victory Wednesday when the Senate voted to strike down a 1099 requirement that businesses report all vendor payments exceeding $600 to the IRS. This is excellent news as it would have created a mountain of paperwork putting a financial strain on small businesses.

Another Strategy: Defunding the Healthcare Law

In addition to attempts to repeal various sections of the law, Republicans will attempt to block funding for implementation of the law when a stop-gap spending measure funding government expires on March 4.

McConnell noted that Republicans blocked more than a million dollars in funding for healthcare reform that Democrats tried to include in a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill at the end of last year.

“You may recall that when we passed the continuing resolution to March 4, we deleted funding for additional bureaucrats to ramp up enforcement of Obamacare,” McConnell said. “So we’ll be looking at it in every different way to revisit it.”

Republican strategists say defunding efforts are likely to be more successful than amendments to repeal it. Repeal proposals would require the support of at least 20 Senate Democrats to overturn a presidential veto.

Blocking funding is much easier with Republicans in control of the House and 47 seats in the Senate.

“He can’t appropriate,” Sen. John Cornyn said of Obama. “Conversely, he has a lot more power when it comes to vetoing legislation he disagrees with.”

House Republicans plan to take the lead in the battle over funding. They are expected to deny the administration the necessary resources in the appropriations bill it passes for the rest of 2011 when the stop-gap measure funding government expires next month.

Rejection of accumulation of social security funds to pay for health care.

The Senate passed a vote of 81 to 17 an amendment offered by Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Stabenow’s measure indicated that specified funds could not be taken from the Social Security Administration to offset the cost which I fully support. We cannot steal from Social Security to fund this law.  Social Security is already looking at a financial crisis with more money going out then is coming in and too many people are dependent on this government assistance. It would be reckless and irresponsible to play russian roulette with the Social Security program.

State opt out on the table

Senate Republican leaders will push a proposal sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso to allow states to opt out of federal requirements to add millions of beneficiaries to its Medicaid rolls.

Experts project the law could add 15 million to 23 million people to Medicaid, putting substantial pressure on state budgets.

“Medicaid is a real weak link” to this law, said Graham. “You’re going to have Democrat and Republican governors complaining about Medicaid expansion under the bill and how it will affect their states.

“The next debate is whether states should have a say about waivers for states,” Graham said.

Repeal on the Individual Manadate

Representative Paul Ryan said he would like GOP leaders to force a vote on repealing the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a fine, in which I agree, as this is a direct violation of the 10th Amendment, General Welfare and Commerce Clause which is outlined in the US Constitution.

While Im not surprised that the Senate (and the Democratic majority) did not vote to repeal health care, I am disappointed by the lack of regard for the US Constitution, a document, that each Senator promises to obey and protect before taking office. I understand the importance of everyone having the ability to obtain health care but we cannot buck the US Constitution in the process.

The best thing for the Republicans to do is to work on defunding this bill as outlined above as well  as to ensuring that the HHS cannot transfer any of their budget funds towards the implementation of this bill. The push for the individual mandate to be removed must also be enforced as that is strictly Unconstitutional.

My prediction is that the states will have to go back to the court and have a formal injunction filed against the administration to stop them from imposing health care on the People. If the ignoring of Judge Vision’s decision is the forerunner of what to expect from the Obama administration, they will most likely ignore that ruling as well.

Copyright (c) February 3, 2011. All rights reserved.

PREDICTION: Healthcare law will be sent to the Supreme Court. Eyes on Scalia/Kagan.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers believe the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the fate of President Obama’s healthcare law, and some of them are already exerting pressure on the justices.

The high-stakes lobbying comes as the Senate is scheduled to vote on a healthcare repeal bill Wednesday. That effort is expected to fall short, and the spotlight of the intense debate is expected to pivot back to the judicial branch.

Senator Orrin Hatch, who served as senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmations of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, said, “I would hope the four so-called liberals on the court would recognize that personal liberty is involved here.

“I think there are some very good Democrats there on the court, or I should say more liberal people on the court, who have to recognize these constitutional issues,” Hatch added.

Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Tuesday, “Justice Antonin Scalia, interestingly enough, has argued for years that barring any overly gross action by Congress, the court should let the Congress make its laws and if people don’t like them, let them decide at the ballot box.

It will be interesting to see how Scalia proceeds.

It will also be interesting to see Kagan proceeds. I fully believe that she should recuse herself from this case when it comes up as she was appointed by Obama as Solicitor General and is too close to this administration and results in a direct conflict of interests.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is expected in May to hear oral arguments on a challenge to the law, which requires people to buy health insurance or face penalties.

Depending on how fast other circuit courts act, the case could reach the Supreme Court at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012, according to legal experts. That timetable would coincide with the presidential primary season, which officially begins with the Iowa caucuses in February of next year.

Republicans want the case to reach the Supreme Court swiftly. The Obama administration, however, is in no rush for it to reach the nine justices who sit on the other side of First Street from the Capitol.

“Quite frankly, the longer the healthcare bill is in existence and the more people find out the benefits they have,” the more popular the law will become, Harkin said. “The court may want to take a look at that and think about what the public reaction will be.”

It is also important to note that the longer the health care bill is in existence the more people will find out about the high tax increase imposed. Read the 14 taxes that I have found thus far that will be pushed on the American People to pay for this unconstitutional atrocity by visiting:

House Democratic leaders have also tried to shape public expectations ahead of Supreme Court consideration of the controversial law.

“We strongly believe that health reform is constitutional, and is consistent with longstanding precedents of the Supreme Court,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said after Roger Vinson, a federal district court judge in Florida, struck down the entire law in a ruling Monday.

Seriously, Pelosi? The health care reform flies in face of the 10th amendment as well as restricting the People’s voice in their healthcare choices as outlined by the Commerce and General Welfare clause.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on the high court, will be watched very closely to note his response.

Legal consensus over the healthcare law has changed in the wake of Fla’s District Court Judge Vinson’s decision and a prior ruling by a federal court in Virginia that found the individual mandate unconstitutional.

Previously, many constitutional scholars expected the Supreme Court would vote by a comfortable margin to uphold the law, but now the consensus is it will be a 5-4 decision.

“There’s been a big change in the conventional wisdom,” said Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse professor of legal theory at the Georgetown University Law Center. “The temperature of law professors has changed considerably.”

Barnett described Vinson’s decision as “extremely deep in its discussion of principles and constitutional doctrine.”

Liberal legal experts and bloggers have already begun warning of the politicization of the courts and said a Supreme Court decision against the law would be a reprise of the Bush v. Gore decision that ultimately ended the 2000 presidential contest.

“That decision, Bush v. Gore, will go down in history as taking its place alongside the Dred Scott decision as being an outlier,” said Harkin, in reference to the 1857 ruling that held slaves were not protected by the Constitution.

If this law’s mandate that all Americans must purchase a product — and purchase it as well from a private company — is declared “constitutional”, then this would set an instant, unrestricted, and freedom-devastating, precedent — one that would eviscerate and pervert the actual content and purpose of the U.S. Constitution, converting it, by such an interpretation, into a purported justification for the Federal Government to do ANYTHING. Imagine the consequences.

Copyright (c) February 2, 2011. All rights reserved.