WASHINGTON, DC – On June 26th Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk requesting permission to observe the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks that will take place in San Diego, Calif., next week. He wrote, “It is my hope that observing the negotiating process firsthand will help to alleviate some of my concerns about the process through which the agreement is being negotiated.” Congressman Issa was informed yesterday by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Kirk that he would be barred from observing the negotiations and only able to attend “public portions of the event.”
In response, Congressman Issa released the following statement today:
“The U.S. Trade Representative has once again chosen to block Congress from observing negotiations for this vital trade agreement over which the House and Senate have fundamental constitutional responsibility.
“The TPP process should be transparent and open to oversight, not a secretive backroom negotiation. TPP agreements impact multiple sectors of the American economy—especially our ability to innovate and create new intellectual property, as well as preserve an open Internet.
“Congress has a constitutional duty to oversee trade negotiations and not simply act as a rubber stamp to deals about which they were kept in the dark. While I had hoped the TPP would permit me to observe this round of the negotiation process firsthand, our efforts to open TPP negotiations up to transparency will continue.”
Learn more at KeepTheWebOPEN.com/tpp.
The Court Upheld ObamaCare By Ruling That The Mandate Is A Tax, But Democrats Are Pretending It’s Not
Dems ‘Stumbling,’ Scared To Defend Mandate Tax
“The Obama administration played down the tax factor… The healthcare law contains a slew of tax provisions.” (“Supreme Court Ruling Casts Tax Shadow Over U.S. Healthcare Law,” Reuters, 6/29/12)
“…senior administration officials argued that the penalty was not a tax…” (“High Court Gives GOP New Weapon On Taxes,” The Hill, 6/29/12)
· JAY CARNEY: “it’s not a tax…it’s a penalty” (Twitter, @MarkKnoller, 6/29/12)
· DAVID AXELROD: “…what it is is a penalty…” (NBC’s Today Show, 6/29/12)
· STEPHANIE CUTTER: “It’s a penalty.” (“Obama Campaign Spokeswoman Won’t Call Mandate A ‘Tax,’” The Washington Free Beacon, 6/29/12)
“…Democratic leaders were stumbling Thursday when asked about the ruling that the mandate was a tax — an argument that was quickly becoming a GOP talking point.” (“Democrats Take Short Health Care Victory Lap,” Roll Call, 6/29/12)
“The cautious and measured statements from Democratic House and Senate candidates Thursday reflected the unease about renewing a debate that ended badly for the party in November 2010.” (“GOP Sees Down-Ballot Gold In Supreme Court Decision,” Politico, 6/29/12)
· SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…wouldn’t say if he agrees with the Supreme Court ruling that the individual mandate in the health care law is constitutional as a tax.” (“Harry Reid Won’t Say If Obamacare Mandate Is A Tax,” Daily Caller, 6/28/12)
· SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): “…who heads the Democrats’ communication and policy arm, also sidestepped the question.” (“Democrats Take Short Health Care Victory Lap,” Roll Call, 6/29/12)
· REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D-NY): “‘Do you think it’s a tax in your personal opinion?’ ‘No, it’s a fee for services,’ Rangel replied.” (“Rangel: Obamacare Mandate Is Not A Tax, It’s A ‘Fee For Services,’” Daily Caller, 6/29/12)
SUPREME COURT: ‘A Tax’
SUPREME COURT: “…the shared responsibility payment may… be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance.” (Supreme Court Of The United States Syllabus, National Federation Of Independent Business Et Al. V. Sebelius, Secretary Of Health And Human Services, Et Al., 6/28/12)
Americans for Prosperity announced an enormous effort today – with a $9 million price tag – in response to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The effort includes a major TV buy, online activism and grassroots activities in a dozen states including CO, FL, IA, MN, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. This is AFP’s largest healthcare effort ever.
President Obama promised that his healthcare law was not a tax increase, but now we know it is actually one of largest tax increases in history. Tell Obama: repeal the healthcare bill and pass patient-centered reform.
The statement below is from the Paul Revere project, representing many conservative, libertarian and Tea Party leaders. The project is directed by Al Regnery, former publisher of the American Spectator magazine and former president of Regnery Publishing.
Statement of the Paul Revere Project
Conservatives, Libertarians, Pro-Life and pro-Family Advocates and the Tea Parties Must Unite to Make the November Election a Referendum on Obamacare
That great majority of Americans who still believe in liberty must now put their differences aside, work together and defeat the forces of statism in November.
If there was any lesson that came from the Supreme Court on Thursday, it was that Americans cannot rely on anybody but themselves to protect their liberty. If the free society is to be preserved it can only be done at the ballot box by people with a common goal.
President Obama, the slim majority in Congress, and now the Supreme Court have banded together to impose, on middle-class Americans, one of the largest tax increases in history. Worse, that troika of government power has joined together to create one of the largest expansions of government power in decades – a new law that will infringe on the liberties of every American, will result in vast deficits while destroying the best health care system the world has ever known, will. violate religious liberty, and create detrimental interference by government in people’s daily lives.
As likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama.” While replacing President Obama is at the top of the list, replacing enough members of Congress to assure that the votes exist to throw the law out is a close second.
The American system of government is built on the concept that government power comes from the people and that government should have no more power than the people want it to have. Elections, under our system, are designed to remind politicians and the bureaucracy that their power over the rest of us can be taken back as easily as it is granted. That is just what happened in 2010, when voters retired the congressional majority responsible for Obamacare. Now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, more concerned with the reputation of his institution than the liberties he is charged with protecting, has upheld the law by re-writing it, turning its mandate into a tax that the defeated congressional majority, and the President, claimed was not a tax. But what the Supreme Court was really telling Americans was that if you don’t want this law, you are going to have to defeat it at the ballot box in November. There is no better time for the American voter to again assert the limits of power over the institutions of Washington.
Thus all the forces in American society who believe in liberty, whether they are Republicans, Democrats or independents, must join together to make the November election a referendum on Obamacare.
Who are all these people? They are the traditional conservatives, to whom liberty is sacred. They are libertarians, to whom a sound economy and lower taxes are important. They are Evangelical Christians, who defend the family and believe in the sanctity of life. They are Catholics, whose religious liberty is threatened by an intrusive bureaucracy. They are the Tea Party, offended by intrusive government and threats to liberty. They are even those to view a weakened American economy as a threat to our national security. In short, they are the majority of Americans who want no part of this over-reaching, intrusive and unpopular law.
Some of commented that the Supreme Court on Thursday handed the freedom-loving American voter the greatest gift of all time. Hard for some to construe, to be sure, but if true, let us band together and deny the President and Congress another term to inflict even more damage to American freedom.
The Paul Revere Project is a non-partisan journalism effort comprised of individuals and organizations from all parts of the conservative movement, libertarians, and the Tea Party.
Advertisement being run by the American Chemistry Council in support of Dean Heller (R-NV).
By Chuck Muth:
Considering how close presidential elections have been in recent years, conservative votes for the Libertarian Party nominee, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson – who is likely to be the preferred back-up option for Ron Paul supporters – could swing enough votes in enough swing states to swing the election…and control of the Supreme Court for a generation…to Obama in November.
So what does the GOP do about all those conservative/libertarian voters who still aren’t sold on voting for Mitt Romney?
First, Republicans need to understand that browbeating and kvetching about “wasting your vote” on a third-party candidate will only cause those voters to dig in their heels. Instead, you might want to brush up on Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends” advice.
That said, Republicans must bear in mind that Libertarians have a political self-interest, as well. They’ve nominated the most credible and accomplished candidate in their party’s history, which could earn them a record-breaking popular vote total this year.
But there’s a way for everyone to eat their cake and have it, too. The way to do it is for Johnson and the LP to focus their campaigning in the solid “blue” (Obama) states where a popular vote for Johnson won’t affect the electoral vote calculus.
But what about the Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters in swing states, like Nevada, who are hesitant to vote for Romney? What can they do to help boost Johnson’s popular vote total without risking Nevada again going for Obama?
Vote swapping. Johnson and the LP should embark on an effort to get people who want to vote for Johnson in swing states to voluntarily and unofficially “swap” their vote with a Romney voter in a blue state.
Now, this vote swapping idea isn’t anything new.
I remember it hitting radar screens in 2000 when Al Gore’s Democrats were trying to find a way to keep the Green Party’s Ralph Nader from spoiling “Ozone Al’s” presidential bid. Imagine how much easier it would be for the LP to promote and coordinate a similar nationwide vote swap project using the Internet, Facebook and all the other social media tools we have at our disposal today.
Here’s the bottom line: Gary Johnson is no more going to be elected president this year than Ron Paul. But if his objective is just to beat the LP’s popular vote record and move his party forward, many conservative/libertarian voters would gladly swap their Johnson vote in swing states with Romney voters in blue states in November.
But if Johnson’s objective is simply to spoil Romney’s chances in swing states, thereby re-electing the imperial socialist we have in office now, well…fuggetaboutit. Not too many swing voters will want to have THAT on their conscience the rest of their lives!
Like you, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision. The Court misread and rewrote Obamacare in order to save it. Such contortions are not the proper role of judging. Most Americans are with you and me and deeply dislike this law.
We believe, however, that this is far, far from a time for despair. This decision will energize freedom-loving Americans to once again take matters into their own hands. Our republic has survived and flourished for more than two centuries because men and women—brave, determined, and deeply committed to the cause of freedom—were willing to stand, to march, and to make whatever sacrifices were necessary so that their children would know the blessings of liberty, the hope and opportunity that flow from living in “the land of the Free.”
They will receive this ruling as a clarion call to action. Once again, the people will have to rise to defend a fundamental American concept: that the power of government over individuals must be limited.
First, let’s acknowledge what was good in the decision. The Court recognized that there are limits to what Congress may do under the Commerce Clause. Big-government forces have for too long abused this clause’s grant of congressional authority, but the Court’s decision reaffirms that there are limits on their actions.
There’s also the fact that the individual mandate has acquired the official constitutional status of a “tax”—and if it is indeed a tax, then that is even more reason for the U.S. Senate to repeal it with the 51-vote threshold available under the Budget Act’s reconciliation process. It is a revenue provision. No filibuster problems there now.
Calling it a tax, of course, doesn’t make the heavy-handed policy in Obamacare any better for those who now have to buy a product they don’t like. And yesterday’s opinion makes clear that President Obama enacted a massive new tax on the middle class, breaking one of his repeated promises.
We must resolve to check this dangerous expansion of power.
The first step is to work harder than ever to fully repeal Obamacare. Now that the Supreme Court has had its say, Congress becomes the arena in which we can fight for relief and restoration of constitutional limits.
Congress can and must reassert its constitutional authority. Indeed, the House of Representatives has already acted. We congratulate the lower chamber for having voted to repeal Obamacare.
Now it’s the Senate’s turn to do what’s right: Repeal Obamacare, and force the President to sign its repeal.
The American experiment is predicated on the idea that government exists to serve the people, that it derives its power from the people, and that the people retain all powers they do not specifically grant to government. Obamacare turns that fundamental idea on its head.
Ours is still a government “of the people.” And the American people have spoken clearly. Indeed, the people’s antipathy toward the law keeps growing. Just this month, a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News found that more than two-thirds of Americans wanted the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare as a whole or in part. Only 24 percent would keep the law in place. While Court decisions obviously should not be driven by polls, the poll clearly shows the people’s dissatisfaction with the bad policy in Obamacare.
So many aspects of Obamacare are appalling. Once all its provisions kick in—conveniently, after the November election—millions of Americans stand to lose their current coverage. Already, it saddles individuals and families with higher premiums, higher costs, and higher taxes—and even steeper increases loom on the horizon. It has sparked a host of other loathsome mandates, like the HHS mandate that requires charitable religious organizations to provide coverage that violates the tenets of their faith.
But why should we expect government to respect the constitutional right to religious freedom if we allow government to ignore fundamental restraints on its power to regulate the lives of its citizens?
This year will mark a pivotal point in American history. The American people now must make a critical decision: We must choose between constitutional, limited government on the one hand and arbitrary, unlimited rule on the other.
We at The Heritage Foundation, as always, will stand in defense of our nation’s founding principles. We are eager to lead the fight to overturn this Intolerable Act—Obamacare—and we are grateful for your support of our efforts to save the American Dream for the next generation.
President, The Heritage Foundation
The U.S. government, understandably, doesn’t want its drone technology to fall out of the sky and into other peoples’ laps. But being able to hijack a drone and control it? That’s even worse. And a team of researchers has done it for 1,000 bucks. More