Young at Heart of ObamaCare Reform
It may be April 1st, but Democrats are nobody's fool. While they frantically try to hang onto their seats, the Left is putting as much distance between ObamaCare and the Democratic Party as possible. Even as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insists the policy is a political "winner," more House and Senate members are climbing aboard any effort to repeal or change public health care enemy number one. That includes cosponsoring an increasing number of GOP bills to undo the damage -- like Rep. Todd Young's (R-Ind.) Save American Workers Act.
From Subway to Regal Cinemas, businesses have complained about the law's definition of "full-time worker." Under ObamaCare, the government tries to squeeze extra penalties out of employers by lowering the number of hours from 40 (which is how "full-time" is usually defined) to 30. That simple 10-hour discrepancy has been a massive job-killer, as companies slash millions of workers' hours to stay under the threshold -- or worse, cut employees altogether. And of course, the irony is that these workers are losing their health insurance as a result -- something ObamaCare was supposed to prevent!
Experts at the Hoover Institution crunched the numbers and estimate that the 30-hour ceiling puts as many as 2.6 million workers at risk of having their hours (and paychecks!) reduced. Factor that into the Congressional Budget Office's projections -- that the U.S. will have 2.5 million fewer full-time jobs by 2024 thanks to ObamaCare -- and the outlook isn't exactly rosy. Congressman Young hopes to change that by bumping the meaning of "full-time employee" back to 40 hours under ObamaCare.
House leaders will consider H.R. 2575 sometime this week -- and when they do, they'll have a surprising number of Democrats on their side. Of the 209 cosponsors, seven are Democrats -- and more are expected to vote for the Save American Workers Act when it hits the floor. On the Senate side, the idea is just as popular, as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) throw their weight behind the companion bill, the Forty Hours Is Full Time Act.
For now, left-leaning media outlets like Huffington Post are trying to scare members away from the effort with claims that employers aren't really cutting hours. That couldn't be farther from the truth, explains the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which commissioned a study that found that 27 percent of "franchise decision-makers report that their company has replaced full-time with part-time workers." And that's with the employer mandate still a year away! Imagine the fallout when the penalties finally go into effect.
Don't Ask, FOIA Tells
So much for Barack Obama's 2008 promise not to make repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a litmus test for military chiefs. According to internal documents, that's exactly what the President did two years later when he called the Joint Chiefs into the Oval Office. BuzzFeed broke the story after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request unlocked another piece of evidence that the commander-in-chief strong-armed the military's leaders into accepting his radical agenda.
This latest bombshell comes from Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp, who said that the Chiefs "were called into the Oval Office, [where] President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, 'This is what I want to do.' I cannot divulge everything he said to us... but if we didn't agree with it -- if any of us didn't agree with it -- we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things."
Unfortunately, Americans already had a snapshot of this bullying from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who was the first to pull back the curtain on the President's shocking handling of the military's policy on open homosexuality. "On one day's notice," Gates wrote in his book, Duty, Obama informed Gates and Mullen that he would announce his request for a repeal of the law. Obama had 'blindsided Admiral Mullen and me.'"
In other words, the very leaders forced to carry out this radical agenda were neither prepared for nor consulted about the change. "I felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient." Unfortunately for our men and women in uniform, that's been the case since the President took office. Commander Papp's experience is just further confirmation that Barack Obama's passion as President has been less about defending the nation through a strong military and more about advancing his radical social policy without regard to the national security consequences.
As FRC's Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin explains, the service chiefs had an obligation to our military to voice their concerns -- regardless of the consequences. "When confronted with a dilemma that pits an officer's career against his or her ethics and morality, career must take a secondary position. There is a point where honor dictates resignation in protest or the officer risks a lifetime of regret for simply not doing the honorable thing."
Court Gives Mailer Stamp of Approval
It hasn't exactly been a banner week for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which not only lost the support of the FBI but just yesterday, lost a federal court case as well. The defeat, combined with all the negative press over the government's growing wariness of the organization, is complicating matters for the once-prominent "civil rights" group. SPLC's most recent blow came at the hands of District Judge Wiley Daniel, who found no compelling evidence that the Public Advocate had acted improperly in using a photograph of two homosexuals in a mailing about candidates for state office. So ridiculous was the suit, Daniel found, that he dismissed it, insisting that it was well within Public Advocate's First Amendment rights to speak freely about same-sex "marriage."
"Public Advocate['s] actions are evidence that same-sex marriage can -- at the very least -- be considered as relating to political concerns of the community. Therefore," the court ruled, "I find that the mailers reasonably relate to a matter of public concern." For SPLC, which has been grasping at credibility since being linked in federal court to domestic terrorism, this was just another desperate attempt to cripple conservative organizations with expensive and frivolous legal suits that distract from their core mission. Fortunately for the Public Advocate, this latest victory only compounds SPLC's PR problems. If the group thought it was difficult to maintain government partners before, that task is becoming more complicated by the day.
** Another familiar face is weighing in on the war on religious liberty in the military: Chuck Norris! Check out his Townhall column, including a nod to FRC, here.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.