Daily Catch

Daily Catch: Medicaid expansion, IRS crackdown, Collins on FCC, Rubio’s best speech yet…


Medicaid: After early indications that Democratic leaders were attempting to move a Medicaid expansion bill out of committee Wednesday and schedule House and Senate votes Thursday, it appears Sen. Roger Katz (R-Augusta) has put the brakes on. The expansion package is now expected to move out of committee this week and to the floor of the House and Senate next week. It will include Medicaid expansion, a managed care contract bill sponsored by Katz, and host of other compromise provisions. Read more about the bill here.

Public Resists Obama IRS Crackdown: The Barack Obama administration, vis-à-vis the Internal Revenue Service, has proposed changes to rules governing the conduct of social welfare nonprofits – 501(c)4s. The rule change would place limits on these groups political speech. But public comments submitted to the IRS show tremendous resistance to the rules – from both progressives and conservatives. Here in Maine, the rule change would impact both the libertarian Americans for Prosperity and the progressive Maine People’s Alliance – two (c)4s that maintain an active presence in Augusta. Should the rules pass muster, groups like AFP and MPA would not be allowed to talk about candidates in the two months preceding an election. For conservatives, the new rules would simply codify and legalize the IRS’ discrimination against groups aligned with the tea party movement.

Jiu Jitsu Police: As concern over the militarization of America’s police force rises, police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, are preparing squads of jiu jitsu-trained police officers to help with crowd control efforts during the World Cup.

Jindal Jibes Obama: Following a meeting of the bipartisan National Governor’s Association (one of the groups responsible for promulgating the Common Core State Standards), Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal took advantage of an attentive press corps to levy attacks on the Obama administration. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” said Jindal, according to Time. When Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy called Jindal’s remarks “the most insane comment” he’s ever heard, Jindal rerurned to the microphone to call from complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. National political observers see Jindal’s hardline comments on President Obama and his controversial health care law as a sign the swampland firebrand his gearing up for a 2016 presidential bid. (Jindal supporters should hope his future public remarks are better than his 2009 response to the State of the Union Address.)

Democrats’s Focus on 2016 Could Cost them 2014: Writing for TheHill.com, liberal commentator Bill Press says the left’s focus on 2016, much of which revolves on former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is distracting the Democratic Party for the 2014 midterm elections. Writes Press: “Enough already! Whether it’s Clinton, [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren or [Sen. Bernie] Sanders, Democrats have a bad case of premature political ejaculation. It’s like we’re already in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign, yet we have no declared candidate. Meanwhile, the important work of 2014 is being ignored at the Democrats’ great peril.”

HealthCare.gov’s Cloud Cost Quintuple Projections: Taxpayers will spend more than five times the original estimate for computing cloud software, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The report follows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ release of contracts with various IT providers. The amount of taxpayer cash the feds will fork over has skyrocketed from the original estimate of $10.8 million to $59.9 million since 2011. The news about inflated cloud computing costs follows a long pattern of dysfunction, cost overruns, and shady contracting practices related to the troubled Obamacare website. In related news, the Washington Examiner reports that a senior HHS official found “disarray” in the White House prior to the launch of HealthCare.gov.

Credit Unions Object to New Tax: America’s credit unions are speaking out against a Congressional initiative to implement a new tax on approximately 96 million people. As part of a review of the American tax-code, some lawmakers and lobbyists have suggested ending the tax-exempt status for non-profit credit unions. Read more about the proposed new tax from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Collins Slams Obama Admin Over “Offensive” FCC Newsroom Survey: Republican Sen. Susan Collins slammed the Obama administrations Federal Communication Commission’s recently exposed plan to send researchers into American newsrooms. Check out her letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Rubio Delivers Incredible Oration on Venezuela, Cuba, and Totalitarian Regimes: Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a Senate floor speech Monday that some are calling the best oration of his career. The speech followed remarks from Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin about his trip to Cuba. Harkin had praised Cuba for a host of things, which was too much to bear for Rubio, who is the son of parents who fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

Rubio: “Let me tell you what the Cubans are really good at, because they don’t know how to run their economy, they don’t know how to build, they don’t know how to govern a people. What they are really good at is repression. What they are really good at is shutting off information to the Internet and to radio and television and social media. That’s what they’re really good at. And they’re not just good at it domestically, they’re good exporters of these things. And you want to see exhibit A, B, C and D? I’m going to show them to you right now. They have exported repression in real-time, in our hemisphere, right now.”

Rubio: I can close by saying this: Over the last week, I have tweeted about these issues. I get thousands of retweets from students and young people, until they shut them out, in Venezuela who are encouraged by the fact that we are on their side. What they want is what we have, the freedom and the liberty. That’s what all people want. And if America and its policy-makers are not going to be firmly on the side of freedom and liberty, who in the world is? Who on this planet will? If this nation is not firmly on the side of human rights and freedom and the dignity of all people, what nation on the Earth will? And if we’re prepared to walk away from that, then I submit to you that this century is going to be a dangerous and dark one. But I don’t believe that’s what the American people want from us. Nor the majority of my colleagues.”


About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently the executive producer of the Kirk Minihane Show. Follow him on Twitter @BigSteve207.

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