The Obama administration is funding a provision of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally and against the decision of Congress, a Republican House member says. Peter Roskam of Illinois joined Fox News's Greta van Susteren Thursday to talk about the details of his findings in an oversight investigation by the House Ways and Means committee.
"We've just learned that the administration is paying out of a tax refund account, not appropriated money, into something called the Basic Health Program, which was authorized by Obamacare to subsidize various health insurance programs, but Congress never authorized any money for it," Roskam said. "And we've just learned over the last couple of weeks that the administration has paid out $60 million to the state of Minnesota, and that's just for one month."
Minnesota is the only state that has set up the basic health program, although New York is taking steps in that direction. If states opt in, the federal government would cover 95 percent of the subsidies that enrollees would have otherwise collected in the marketplaces, although it's not allowed to cover administrative costs.
Aides said they only recently discovered how the administration was funding Minnesota's program, through looking at the state's first-quarter payment this year.
Prodded by Roskam at a hearing Wednesday, Burwell acknowledged the basic health program payments are coming out of the IRS fund but said "tax credits for programs" aren't part of the discretionary funding that must be approved by Congress.
"What extra-constitutional authority are you invoking that allows you to spend money that has not been appropriated?" Roskam asked her.
Speaking earlier today in Illinois, Vice President Joe Biden praised Governor Quinn -- and, more importantly, his mother. "I like guys because of their moms," said Biden.
"You know why I like Governor Quinn so much? His mother says I'm the best looking Irish man she knows," Biden said to laughter. "That's why I like his mom. I like guys because of their moms is the real reason."
According to one U.S. senator, the Obama administration is pushing a "fairly anti-Israeli" line as they advocate for a deal with Iran.
After hearing Secretary of State John Kerry make the case for a nuclear deal with Iran, Kirk said, "that it was fairly anti-Israeli that I was supposed to disbelieve everything that the Israelis had just told me. And I don’t. I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service."
Adam Kinzinger, a sophomore Republican House member from Illinois, told constituents at a meeting earlier this week that trying to defund Obamacare could hurt the GOP and lose enough House seats to return the majority to the Democrats. The effort, supported by some conservatives in both houses of Congress, is to block a federal budget resolution that contains funding for Obamacare's implementation.
The most interesting House primary of the 2014 cycle began in June in the 13th District of Illinois. It pits freshman Republican congressman Rodney Davis against an insurgent candidate named Erika Harold. Davis is a political operative who won his seat last year nearly by accident. Erika Harold is a 33-year-old lawyer. Who happens to have been Miss America.
In remarks delivered this evening in Washington, D.C. to a group from Organizing For Action (the president's former campaign group), Barack Obama said that his speech later this week Galesburg, Illinois "will be a pretty good speech." Via the pool report:
Obama said he's going back to Galesburg, Ill., where he will talk about leaving behind distractions and phony politics and get back to basics. Will be the kickoff of many months of getting people and press to focus on economy.
New York City "Look up the definition of poaching,” Rick Perry told his press secretary Josh Havens. Perry was annoyed at being accused, in headlines and news stories and by Democratic governors, of trying to “poach” companies from blue states and carry them off to Texas, where he is governor.
After a decade of the Democratic party dominating all levers in government the state of Illinois is a mess. Its government pension debt is far and away the largest of the 50 states and its dismal credit rating reflects it. Unlike neighboring states Illinois is hemorrhaging jobs and dancing around its myriad problems, apparently hoping they’ll go away on their own.