Budget Reconciliation to Repeal Obamacare

The Democrats under the lead of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are complaining that the Republicans have no alternative plan to replace Obamacare. Nancy Pelosi is telegraphing the same thing and Barack Obama is headed to the Hill on Wednesday in an attempt to work his side of the aisle in Congress to save his signature law.


In part from CNN: Democrats are pointing to two new provisions added in the rules package that they say are designed to help the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare.

One change would allow exceptions to the rule instituted by House Republicans in their recent budget plan that limits votes on any legislation that increases the federal deficit by $5 billion over a specific period. Republicans typically require any proposal that adds to the deficit has to be fully offset with cuts to other programs.
“This rule is a set-up to overturn the Affordable Care Act,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi maintained on Tuesday.
Democrats also say that another change dealing with committee oversight could open up federal entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security to potential funding cuts. The new GOP rule directs certain committees to draft recommendations for shifting these programs from the mandatory side of the federal ledger to the discretionary side. While Democrats admit this is “inside baseball” they say that if it’s implemented it could mean Congress would decide funding details for all of these programs as annual spending bills, potentially removing the automatic funding stream they now receive.

The Republicans have worked for several years on alternate solutions and kept them under wraps until a new Congress was seated. It must be known that no user of Obamacare will be left without coverage one the law is repealed as an item on the table is to give Obamacare subscribers several months and perhaps up to a year to go back into the private market for coverage with the use of subsidies and or block grants issues to the states.


Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, introduced a budget resolution on Tuesday that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

The resolution utilizes the reconciliation process to repeal elements of the health care law, since Republicans do not have a 60-seat majority that would allow them to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Reconciliation could be used to repeal parts of Obamacare with only 51 votes, similar to how Democrats used the reconciliation process to amend tax and spending provisions contained in Obamacare in 2010.

Republicans can use reconciliation to “fast-track” repeal and send legislation to President-elect Donald Trump’s desk as soon as possible. More here.

*** There are two other items regarding Obamacare that remain in question and will require diligence by conservatives.

They include: The lawsuit against Obama, Burwell and Treasury for funding subsidies and insurance provider bailouts from Treasury without the advise and consent of Congress. The other item is the severability clause, which stated if one part of the law goes away in any form, the law in full collapses.

Speaker Ryan put out this statement today:

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement after the Obamacare repeal resolution was introduced in the Senate:

“This is the first step toward relief for Americans struggling under Obamacare. This resolution sets the stage for repeal followed by a stable transition to a better health care system. Our goal is to ensure that patients will be in control of their health care and have greater access to quality, affordable coverage. Today we begin to deliver on our promise to the American people.”


  1. Repeal Is Relief
  2. Obamacare Has Failed the American People
  3. How Obamacare Is Getting Worse
  4. The Tools It Takes to Repeal Obamacare
  5. A Stable Transition to a Better Health Care System


Will Obama Burrow-in on the Trump Admin? Likely

A smooth and successful transfer of power on the surface perhaps…but beware of those in the shadows and lurking forever in dark hallways inside the beltway.

Primer: Obama tells anti-Trump protestors to march-on.

President Obama, speaking at a press conference in Germany, passed up the opportunity Thursday to tamp down the anti-Donald Trump protests back home — urging those taking part not to remain “silent.” 

The president fielded a question on the protests during a joint news conference in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

“I suspect that there’s not a president in our history that hasn’t been subject to these protests,” he answered. “So, I would not advise people who feel strongly or who are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign, I wouldn’t advise them to be silent.” 

He added: “Voting matters, organizing matters and being informed on the issues matter.” 

Have you heard of the Senior Executive Service?

The Senior Executive Service (SES) lead America’s workforce. As the keystone of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the SES was established to “…ensure that the executive management of the Government of the United States is responsive to the needs, policies, and goals of the Nation and otherwise is of the highest quality.” These leaders possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective on government and a public service commitment that is grounded in the Constitution.

Members of the SES serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees. SES members are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal workforce. They operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) manages the overall Federal executive personnel program, providing the day-to-day oversight and assistance to agencies as they develop, select, and manage their Federal executives.

Obama by using his mighty pen and phone can covert some of his most trusted operatives to be permanent government employees, undermining the missions of the next administration. Let that sink in a moment.


Personnel—Political-to-Career Conversions (“Burrowing In”)

Some individuals, who are serving in appointed (noncareer) positions in the executive branch, convert to career positions in the competitive service, the Senior Executive Service (SES), or the excepted service. This practice, commonly referred to as “burrowing in,” is permissible when laws and regulations governing career appointments are followed. While such conversions may occur at any time, frequently they do so during the transition period when one Administration is preparing to leave office and another Administration is preparing to assume office.

Generally, these appointees were selected noncompetitively and are serving in such positions as Schedule C,  noncareer SES, or limited tenure SES24 that involve policy determinations or require a close and confidential relationship with the department or agency head and other top officials. Many of the Schedule C appointees receive salaries at the GS-12 through GS-15 pay levels. The noncareer and limited tenure members of the SES receive salaries under the pay schedule for senior executives that also covers the career SES.  Career employees, on the other hand, are to be selected on the basis of merit and without political influence following a process that is to be fair and open in evaluating their knowledge, skills, and experience against that of other applicants. The tenure of noncareer and career employees also differs. The former are generally limited to the term of the Administration in which they are appointed or serve at the pleasure of the person who appointed them. The latter constitute a work force that continues the operations of government without regard to the change of Administrations. In 2007, Paul Light, a professor of government at New York University who studied appointees over several Administrations, indicated that the pay, benefits, and job security of career positions underlie the desire of individuals in noncareer positions to “burrow in.”

Beyond the fundamental concern that the conversion of an individual from an appointed (noncareer) position to a career position may not have followed applicable legal and regulatory requirements, “burrowing in” raises other concerns. When the practice occurs, the following perceptions (whether valid or not) may result: that an appointee converting to a career position may limit the opportunity for other employees (who were competitively selected for their career positions, following examination of their knowledge, skills, and experience) to be promoted into another career position with greater responsibility and pay; or that the individual who is converted to a career position may seek to undermine the work of the new Administration whose policies may be at odds with those that he or she espoused when serving in the appointed capacity. Both perceptions may increase the tension between noncareer and career staff, thereby hindering the effective operation of government at a time when the desirability of creating “common ground” between these staff to facilitate government performance continues to be emphasized.28

Appointments to Career Positions

Appointments to career positions in the executive branch are governed by laws and regulations that are codified in Title 5 of the United States Code and Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, respectively. For purposes of both, appointments to career positions are among those activities defined as “personnel actions,” a class of activities that can be undertaken only in accordance with strict procedures. In taking a personnel action, each department and agency head is responsible for preventing prohibited personnel practices; for complying with, and enforcing, applicable civil service laws, rules, and regulations and other aspects of personnel management; and for ensuring that agency employees are informed of the rights and remedies available to them. Such actions must adhere to the nine merit principles and thirteen prohibited personnel practices that are codified at 5 U.S.C. §2301(b) and §2302(b), respectively. These principles and practices are designed to ensure that the process for selecting career employees is fair and open (competitive), and free from political influence.

Department and agency heads also must follow regulations, codified at Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, that govern career appointments. These include Civil Service Rules 4.2, which prohibits racial, political, or religious discrimination, and 7.1, which addresses an appointing officer’s discretion in filling vacancies. Other regulations provide that Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval is required before employees in Schedule C positions may be detailed to competitive service positions, public announcement is required for all SES vacancies that will be filled by initial career appointment, and details to SES positions that are reserved for career employees (known as Career-Reserved) may only be filled by career SES or career-type non-SES appointees.

During the period June 1, 2016, through January 20, 2017, which is defined as the Presidential Election Period, certain appointees are prohibited from receiving financial awards. These

appointees, referred to as senior politically appointed officers, are (1) individuals serving in noncareer SES positions; (2) individuals serving in confidential or policy determining positions as Schedule C employees; and (3) individuals serving in limited term and limited emergency positions.

When a department or agency, for example, converts an employee from an appointed (noncareer) position to a career position without any apparent change in duties and responsibilities, or the new position appears to have been tailored to the individual’s knowledge and experience, such actions may invite scrutiny. OPM, on an ongoing basis, and GAO, periodically, conduct oversight related to conversions of employees from noncareer to career positions to ensure that proper procedures have been followed. More here from FAS.


Tax Reform on the Immediate Trump Agenda: Details

So it is Flat Tax or Fair Tax? Uncertain at this point. Will it be a reform plank devised by Trump’s financial advisors? Humm, will it be a reform piece of legislation created by the House Republicans? Another humm…but lets look at the following for clues.


A Better Way Forward on Tax Reform

In June, Ways and Means Republicans led the effort to unveil a “Better Way for Tax Reform.” This bold Blueprint delivers a 21st century tax code built for growth – the growth of families’ paychecks, the growth of American businesses, and the growth of our nation’s economy.

The Blueprint also provides unprecedented simplicity and fairness for taxpayers, which means most Americans will be able to file their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard.

With a simpler, fairer tax code, Americans need a simpler, fairer tax collector. The Blueprint redesigns the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into an agency with a singular focus: Service First.



Fact Sheets
CLICK HERE to read the full text of the Blueprint.
CLICK HERE to read a snapshot of the Blueprint.
CLICK HERE to read an overview of Blueprint Basics.
CLICK HERE to read the Blueprint’s Top 10 Wins for the American People.
CLICK HERE to learn how the Blueprint will Simplify Our Broken Tax Code.
CLICK HERE to learn how the Blueprint Helps Hardworking Taxpayers.
CLICK HERE to learn how the Blueprint Creates New Jobs on Main Street and Across America.
CLICK HERE to learn how the Blueprint Delivers a “Service First” IRS.
CLICK HERE to print the Tax Reform Blueprint Handout
Chairman Brady’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:The GOP Plan for Tax Sanity
Chairman Brady’s CNBC Op-Ed:We want to make tax filing so simple that ‘it would fit on a postcard’
Chairman Brady’s National Review Op-Ed:It’s Time for Congress to Pass Reaganesque Tax Reforms
Support for the Blueprint
CLICK HERE to read What They’re Saying (Part I)
CLICK HERE to read What They’re Saying (Part II)
CLICK HERE to read Praise from House Republicans
CLICK HERE to read the Tax Foundation’s findings on the Blueprint
CLICK HERE to read Chairman Brady’s Response to the Tax Foundation’s Blueprint Score

Illegals are Covered Under Obamacare, Words Matter

7 Years ago, Barack Obama delivered a speech declaring that Obamacare would not insure those that are here illegally. Congressman Joe Wilson yelled, ‘you lie’. Well Joe Wilson was right all along, so he deserves the apology.

CRS: The degree to which foreign nationals (noncitizens/aliens)1 should be accorded access to certain benefits as a result of their presence in the United States, as well as the responsibilities of such persons given their legal status (e.g., immigrants, nonimmigrants, unauthorized aliens), often figures into policy discussions in Congress. These issues become particularly salient when Congress considers legislation to establish new immigration statuses or to create or modify benefit and entitlement programs.

The 111th Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), which has been amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152) and several other bills. (ACA refers to P.L. 111-148 as amended by P.L. 111-152 and the other legislation.)2 The ACA created new responsibilities (e.g., the requirement that most people in the United States obtain health insurance) and new benefits (e.g., tax credits to help certain people purchase health insurance), and it addressed the eligibility and responsibility of foreign nationals for these provisions. One issue that has arisen during debates to amend provisions in the ACA and during discussions of immigration reform is the eligibility of foreign nationals for some of the ACA’s key provisions.

This report opens with a discussion of several different statutory and regulatory definitions of lawfully present. On the surface, alien eligibility for provisions under the ACA appears straightforward. In general, those who are lawfully present are eligible, and those who are not lawfully present are not eligible. However, due to differing definitions of “lawfully present” and the interaction between the treatment of noncitizens under tax law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the ACA, the eligibility of individuals with certain immigration statuses for these provisions can become more complicated.


This report then analyzes the eligibility of foreign nationals for key provisions in the ACA that have restrictions based on immigration status: the requirement to maintain health insurance, the ability to purchase insurance through an exchange, and eligibility for the premium tax credit and cost-sharing subsidies.3 It includes consideration of the implementing regulations and the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.4 This report concludes with information on the alien-status verification process.


Treatment of Noncitizens Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The following section discusses alien eligibility for the following provisions under the ACA: the health insurance mandate, the exchanges (the Marketplace), and premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. In general, aliens are separated into two groups for eligibility purposes under the ACA: aliens who are “lawfully present in the United States” are eligible for these provisions, while aliens who are not “lawfully present in the United States” are ineligible.

Definition of Lawfully Present

One of the complexities of alien eligibility for the ACA stems from the difficulty of defining who is considered lawfully present. The regulations implementing the ACA define lawfully present to include immigrants, asylees/refugees, nonimmigrants, and most other noncitizens who are known to the U.S. government and have been given some type of permission to remain temporarily in the United States. (For the full list, see Appendix A.) “Lawfully present” was first defined by regulation in this context for the purposes of eligibility for the high risk pools for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.5 Since then, all regulations regarding the ACA have referenced that definition for the health insurance mandate, the exchanges, and the premium credit and cost-sharing subsidies.6 The definition of lawfully present for the ACA is identical to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) policy definition of “lawfully residing” for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility7 and is similar to the definition of “lawfully present” for Social Security eligibility.8


Nonetheless, “lawfully present” is not a term that is widely used within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA divides foreign nationals into two general types of legal statuses for admission to the United States: immigrants and nonimmigrants. Under the INA, other aliens may have permission to be in the United States, but they do not have an immigration status. The term “lawfully present” in the INA is only defined in regards to noncitizen eligibility for Social Security.9 The INA also defines the term “unlawfully present” specifically for purposes of determining inadmissibility, but that definition is not equivalent to the definition of “lawfully present” for purposes of the ACA.

There are noncitizens who have temporary permission to remain in the Unites States under narrowly defined circumstances such as those with temporary protected status (TPS),11 withholding of removal,12 Deferred Enforced Departure,13 and parole14—often referred to as the “quasi-legal population.” This “quasi-legal” population is counted by researchers at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and at the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project—the two main entities that estimate the unauthorized alien population—as part of the unauthorized (illegal) population. Although these “quasi-legal” migrants comprise a small percentage of the total noncitizen population, most are considered “lawfully present” for the purposes of the ACA.15 (For a discussion of these estimates, see Appendix B, “Estimates of the Noncitizen Population in the United States.”)


Tax Treatment of Noncitizens

For purposes of the ACA, understanding the U.S. income tax treatment of noncitizens may be important for several reasons, including that any noncitizen who is a nonresident alien—which is a tax law term—is not subject to the individual mandate.22 Also, some might be interested in understanding the tax liability of noncitizens in light of the fact that the IRS may face difficulty in enforcing the mandate against any taxpayer (citizen or resident alien) who does not receive a tax refund.

For federal tax purposes, foreign nationals are classified as resident or nonresident aliens.23 These terms are used in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) but do not exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).24 As a result, the specific immigration statuses under the INA do not align directly with the terms resident and nonresident alien.25

In general, an individual is a nonresident alien unless he or she meets the qualifications under either residency test:

Green card test: the individual is a lawful permanent resident of the United States at any time during the current year, or

 Substantial presence test: the individual is present in the United States for at least 31 days during the current year and at least 183 days during the current year and previous two years (counting all the qualifying days in the current year, one-third of the days in the prior year, and one-sixth of the days in the earliest year).

There are several situations in which an individual may be classified as a nonresident alien even though he or she meets the substantial presence test. For example, an individual will generally be treated as a nonresident alien if he or she has a closer connection to a foreign country than to the United States, maintains a “tax home” in the foreign country, and is in the United States for fewer than 183 days during the year.27 Another example is that an individual in the United States under an F-, J-, M-, or Q-visa—students, teachers, trainees, and cultural exchange visitors—may be treated as a nonresident alien if he or she has substantially complied with visa requirements.28 This treatment generally applies to foreign students (most foreign students are on F visas) for their first five years in the United States and to teachers and trainees for the first two years. (You can read the full report here if you can stand it.)


He Warned the WH and Democrats About Obamacare

He Predicted Obamacare Wouldn’t Be ‘Affordable.’ Democrats Didn’t Listen.

DailySignal: Robert Laszewski is a policy adviser and analyst for the health insurance industry. He’s correctly predicted Obamacare’s pitfalls since Day One.


In an interview with “Full Measure” this Sunday, Laszewski says he warned the Obama administration and other Democrats not to call it the “Affordable Care Act.” Earlier this week, the administration announced Obamacare premiums are spiking 25 percent.

Here’s a transcript from our interview:

Laszewski: The future is not good. The fundamental problem is not enough healthy people have signed up to pay for the sick, and not enough healthy people have signed up because the insurance plans that people are being offered just simply aren’t of good value.

Attkisson: What do customers see as wrong with the insurance product?

Laszewski: The insurance products consumers see are still too expensive in terms of premium. And the deductibles and copays are too high.

Attkisson: Can you explain in simple terms how the insurance companies are losing so much money if they’re charging so much for premiums and if deductibles are so high?

Laszewski: It’s real simple. If you only provide a health insurance plan that the sickest people buy, you can’t charge enough. You can never charge enough.

Attkisson: At it’s core, it was supposed the provide affordable insurance for everybody who needed it.

Laszewski: Yes. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to ensure that whether you were employed or unemployed or self-employed, you would have access to affordable health insurance. For someone who’s not getting a subsidy, who’s paying the full cost of the insurance, it’s likely they are now paying about double what they paid before under the old market, where only healthy people could get in.

>> Find out when and where you can watch “Full Measure”



**** Either way, taxpayers are in fact on the hook to offset costs regardless of how they are applied. Socialized payment system for a broken system.


Minnesota could spend up to $300M to offset ObamaCare hikes

TheHill: Minnesota’s Democratic governor wants to pour as much as $300 million into a relief fund for people facing massive premium hikes under ObamaCare in his state next year.

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed Thursday that he would offer “rebates” to help offset the 55 percent increase in healthcare premiums that ObamaCare customers will face in Minnesota this year.

The money would be taken out of Minnesota’s “rainy day fund,” which got a boost from the state’s budget surplus last year.

But Dayton was clear that his state would need a longer-term solution to make ObamaCare plans more affordable.

Dayton is the first governor in the country to announce his own plan to tackle rising premiums this year, which are far steeper than any of the previous year’s increases. The state’s final plan will also include input from the state’s Republicans, who are working on their own proposals to address panic over the premiums.

With the new rebates, Dayton said the rate increase would be limited to an average of 16 percent — below the national average of 22 percent. Last year, the national average for premium hikes was about 7 percent.

Minnesota has attracted national attention this year as it faces one of the highest premium hikes in the country. Dayton himself came under scrutiny on the issue of healthcare after he declared earlier this month that the “Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.” Under pressure from fellow Democrats, he later walked back his remarks.

In his lengthy statement on Thursday, Dayton vigorously defended ObamaCare while also acknowledging the law is “now causing very difficult financial problems” for some people.