Watching HHS Cash and Burn
June 26, 2012 - Tuesday
The traffic on the Capitol Beltway is nothing compared to the jam outside the U.S. Supreme Court. Reporters have been camped out for days, taking turns broadcasting from what will be the scene of Thursday's blockbuster ruling on health care. Along the sidewalk, cameras are trained on the 77-year-old building, while crews sit perched in nearby lawn chairs. Everyone is staking their claim to a small piece of concrete, where they--along with the rest of America--will wait out the next 48 hours. If the outside looks like a legal version of Occupy, the inside is a hive of activity. Most former clerks say the major proofreading stage is probably underway, where editors will clock long hours to perfect the text of what could be multiple ObamaCare opinions.
Seven blocks away from the Court, the headquarters of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also buzzing. According to reports, employees there are scrambling to push health care dollars out the door before Thursday's decision comes down. "Conservatives wanted the White House to stop spending on the health care law until the Supreme Court rules on whether it's constitutional. But the administration has forged ahead," Politico points out, "spending at least $2.7 billion since oral arguments in the case that ended on March 28. That's more than double the amount that was handed out in the three-month period leading up to the arguments."
In the event that the law is struck down and funding dries up, HHS officials seem anxious to shovel out as much cash as possible. The Wall Street Journal calculates that HHS has doled out almost $5 billion for early retiree coverage, $3.7 billion for prescriptions, another 10% in bonuses to doctors who treat Medicare patients, and "billions of dollars more in grants, contracts, and loans to health providers." Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Department's last-minute spending spree have been the President's pals. Last month, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sank $728 million into Planned Parenthood-eligible "community health centers"--a project that she topped off with another $128 million last week. No one seems to know how--or even if--the money could be recouped if the law is voided.
In the meantime, HHS's cash dump is helping to expose ObamaCare for what it is: a money grab for the administration's friends and political allies. Remember the Cornhusker Kickback? That was nothing compared to the Planned Parenthood Payouts and the Labor Union Shuffles. Let's hope the justices do us all a favor and send the law to the trash heap where it belongs. Otherwise, the hole these dollars are burning in Secretary Sebelius's pocket may be nothing compared to the hole they burn in the debt if the policy stays.
Lifting the Veil on Obama's Wedding Registry
President Obama may not believe in traditional marriage, but he's still trying to profit from it! In one of the tackiest fundraisers in political history, Team Obama is asking couples to forgo their wedding presents and sign over the gifts to his reelection effort. It's part of the "Obama Event Registry," which tells newlyweds that a campaign donation "goes a lot further than a gravy bowl."
One group that may be sending the President fewer gifts--and votes--is independents. According to surveys, they're turned off by his other marriage proposal, which would redefine the institution out of existence. Since the President's recent same-sex "marriage" endorsement, independents have been quitting the campaign in droves. State-centric polls have confirmed the trend--including the latest one from Michigan. Denno Research, whose president has ties to the Democratic Party, found that four in 10 independents say they are less likely to vote for Obama because of his radical views on marriage.
"The fact that only 17 percent of polled independent voters were supportive of the President's stance on gay marriage--and that 41 percent indicated they were less likely to vote for him as a result--may be some cause for concern with this crucial group." President Obama's fringe position may have helped him raise money from homosexual activists and Hollywood, but it's sure hurting him where it counts: public opinion.
A Brief Encounter
Prayer might as well be a four-letter word to atheists in Florida. In Lakeland city, a group of secularists is trying to block leaders from opening meetings with an invocation. After a few twists and turns, the case is now before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Our friends at Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are defending the city, while FRC partnered with 13 Members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in the case. We all agree that Lakeland leaders are shielded by the same legislative immunity that Members of Congress enjoy on the House floor. To read why, click over to the full brief here.
100 Days to Impact the Nation...
In a presidential race, every vote does count. That's why FRC and FRC Action are pulling out all of the stops in the next 100 days to register Bible-believing Americans to vote. As part of that push, we'll be hosting a live webcast tomorrow, June 27, at noon to share how you can get involved. Join iVoteValues for "100 Days to Impact the Nation" with special guests Ned Ryun, President of American Majority, Bishop Harry Jackson, President of High Impact Leadership Coalition, FRC Action's Tom McClusky, and myself. Learn how you can make your voice heard with special tools like Presidential Voter Guides or by hosting a voter registration drive at your church. Don't miss all this and more tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. (EDT)!