Earlier today, Speaker John Boehner spoke to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit. Here’s a few of the highlights of his plan from the Speaker’s website, along with commentary, of course (emphasis in original):
In remarks this afternoon to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Annual Fiscal Summit, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will renew his commitment to the principle he set forth at the Economic Club of New York one year ago – noting that the debt limit exists to force Washington to deal with its fiscal problems, and that any increase in the nation’s debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms larger than the amount of the debt limit hike.
They’re seriously considering bringing out the big guns (no pun intended):
House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal plan to pursue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, senior congressional aides told CBS News.
The resolution will accuse Holder and his Justice Department of obstructing the congressional probe into the allegations that the government let thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The citation would attempt to force Holder to turn over tens of thousands of pages documents related to the probe, which has entered its second year.
I’m heavily skeptical of this plan:
The Obama administration is looking for states that will experiment with unemployment insurance programs by letting people test a job while still receiving benefits.
The plan is a key feature of a payroll tax cut package that President Barack Obama negotiated with congressional Republicans in February.
Boehner, Democrats for Life Both Oppose Forcing Church Hospitals to Provide Birth Control or Abortions
Opposition to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ order that health-care providers affiliated with churches or religions–meaning mostly Catholic hospitals–provide birth control or abortion services that conflict with their religious beliefs has officially gone bipartisan.
First, as might be expected, House Speaker John Boehner, who is himself Catholic, spoke out about the order today:
“I think this mandate violates our Constitution,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday. “I think it violates the rights of these religious organizations. And I would hope that the administration would back up and take another look at this.”
He’s right, of course, this does violate the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment, and you don’t need to be a legal scholar to see that. They’re being ordered by the federal government to do something that is in direct opposition to their religious beliefs, and that’s a restriction on their free exercise of their religion.
What’s interesting, however, is that a Democratic group is also speaking out against Sebelius’ order:
Also joining in disapproval was a group that includes Democratic lawmakers who helped engineer final passage of the health care law. The group, Democrats for Life of America, represents anti-abortion lawmakers who provided the margin of victory in Congress.
“Forcing religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for services that are directly in opposition to their moral beliefs is very clearly wrong,” said Kristen Day, its executive director.
For whatever reason (feel free to use your imaginations here), DFLA hasn’t yet posted this opposition on their website, but an item from November on their front page is also of interest (bold in original):
The PPACA ncluded a provision to mandate that insurance plans include free contraception coverage. The law also proposed to continue to allow those employers who oppose those types of birth control that cause abortions of new embryos, to continue to provide insurance to their employees, but would be exempt form providing contraception coverage. This was part of the agreement reached between pro-life Democrats and the Obama administration.
“I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic colleges and universities to pay for contraception,” said former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. “We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage.”
Women’s groups scored a tremendous victory with a contraception mandate that requires all health insurance companies to provide free birth control. Some groups, such as Emily’s List and NARAL, are attempting to push the mandate even further by forcing those who oppose contraception for moral reasons to include free birth control in their plans as well. They are also using scare tactics to convince their supporters that they are in jeopardy of losing coverage for birth control.
“The campaign by Emily’s list to scare women into thinking that they will no longer have access to birth control is as dishonest as the Republican campaign to convince voters that the PPACA funds abortion,” said Day. “The PPACA does not fund abortion and not one woman will lose access to birth control under the new law. In fact, women will now receive free birth control under that law.”
Given that so far the President hasn’t himself spoken about this as far as I can find (if I’m wrong, please post in the comments and I’ll add an update), it seems that he’s not yet honoring the commitment that Congresswoman Dahlkemper spoke about. Whether or not he eventually does will depend largely on how loudly those in his own party push him on this issue.
(Cross-posted at PJ Tatler)
Yes, even the AP has decided that Obama isn’t always truthful:
In challenging Republicans to get behind his jobs bill Thursday, President Barack Obama argued Republicans have supported his proposals before, demanded that they explain themselves if they oppose him, and challenged others to come up with a plan of their own. The rhetoric in the president’s quick-moving press conference dodged some facts and left some evidence in the dust.
Following Biden’s crack about understanding China’s forced-abortion policy, and the White House mouthpiece’s walkback of same, John Boehner shot back:
There are two things the Obama administration can do immediately on this front. One is for the Vice President himself – the individual who holds the office, and who uttered the damaging comments Sunday – to publicly state the new words his staff has used. The other is for President Obama to announce the United States will stop contributing money to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which supports China and has been linked to implementation of the one-child policy. Until the administration takes these actions, the clarification issued by the Vice President’s spokesman Tuesday will ring hollow.
House Speaker John Boehner said he’s tapped House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to serve as co-chair of the committee. He’s also appointing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., to the committee, as well as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s appointing Sens. Jon Kyl, Ariz., Pat Toomey, Pa., and Rob Portman, Ohio.