House Republican Leaders React to Supreme Court’s Upholding of Obamacare

Annapolis – House Republican leaders today reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Obviously, the Supreme Court’s ruling is disappointing”, said House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell. “But, it is important to remember the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax – something that President Obama has repeatedly denied. Today is the day when work to repeal this tax begins in earnest.”

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate that Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional based on Congress’ authority to tax. The court also ruled that the federal government cannot compel states to expand their Medicaid programs by withholding funds.

“The cost of ACA is staggering”, said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “It is not just limited to the federal government either; state budgets could take a massive hit. The one bright spot in this ruling is that states cannot be forced to expand their Medicaid programs. Of course, with Governor O’Malley’s rush to be one of the first states to enact Obamacare,   Maryland’s budget may not benefit from this ruling.”

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the ACA will increase the federal debt by over $500 billion in ten years. When the federal government starts to reduce their share of the subsidies in 2019, Maryland’s already-strained budget will explode.

“In the worst economy in 80 years, with thousands of people out of work, the costs of this bill will mean higher taxes for everyone”, said O’Donnell. “With the burden this will put on our state and federal budgets, you will pay higher taxes even if you buy health insurance. Our citizens’ only hope now is for a change in the White House this fall so this tax can be repealed.”


Can Massachusetts happen in Maryland?

The people of Massachusetts have spoken and the Democrats are uncomfortable with the message that was sent by the people.  The people are tired of the arrogant one-party rule that takes their constituents for granted.  There should be no feeling of entitlement for holding public office.

 Elected representatives are supposed to represent the people.  It sounds simple, but many elected officials in Washington and Annapolis seem to forget that.  Many of them seem to embrace an elitist view where they believe that they know what is good for everyone and that sometimes the people are not smart enough to know what is actually good for them.

 The Democrats in Annapolis have a reason to be concerned about Scott Brown’s epic upset victory.  Massachusetts is a stronger Democratic state than Maryland.  In the Massachusetts General Court (which is their state legislature), Republicans comprise 10% of the House of Representatives (16 out of 160 seats) and 12.5% of the Senate (5 out of 40 seats).  Contrast that to the Maryland General Assembly were Republicans comprise 26% of the House of Delegates (37 out of 141 seats) and 30% of the Senate (14 out of 47 seats).  Additionally, Democrats have a 3-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans in Massachusetts.  The ratio is slimmer in Maryland, where Democrats only have a 2-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans.  Scott Brown’s victory has shown that even Democrats in strong Democratic states are not safe.

 Maryland Republican Party Chairman Audrey Scott praised the Brown campaign: “Scott [Brown] ran a brilliant campaign that focused on the issues and resonated with voters. This goes to show the American people do want change but they do not like the government-run solutions coming from Washington.”

 Brown’s campaign showed that people want health care reform, but they do not want the monstrosity that is in Congress being forced upon them against their will.  Brown’s campaign also highlighted the people’s desire to reduce deficits.  Maryland faces a budget deficit of $2 billion.  Governor O’Malley is counting on receiving federal funding from a federal program that has not yet been created to help close the budget deficit.  House Minority Whip Chris Shank likens this to building a “fiscal house of cards.”  No fiscally responsible family would create a budget the same way the government of Maryland creates its budget.

 Transparency is also a major issue.  President Obama promised a transparent debate on health care.  President Obama promised on multiple occasions during his campaign that C-SPAN would televise the health care negotiations; his failure to fulfill this campaign promise has led C-SPAN to recently demand more transparency and openness with the health care negotiations.  Somehow the word “transparent” does not come to mind when one looks at the many closed-door Democrat-only health care bill sessions that Congress has held.  The Democrats in Annapolis have also been unenthusiastic about providing transparency in government.

 House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell and House Minority Whip Chris Shank have proposed on behalf of the House Republican Caucus three rule changes to improve transparency: 1) to post all committee votes online in an expeditious manner, 2) to publicly stream the video of committee meetings, and 3) to make all committee meetings open to the public, including all committee voting sessions.  The Minority Parliamentarian, Delegate Michael Smigiel, has proposed two other rule changes: 1) that all committee votes shall be a yea or nay vote on approving the bill (this would eliminate the confusion caused by voting to disapprove a bill, where a yea vote would be a vote to kill the bill), and 2) that every committee shall vote on every bill and resolution referred to it.  Delegates O’Donnell and Shank have also supported making up-to-the-minute session updates available to the public without having to pay a fee.

 As Maryland faces a high unemployment rate during this economic crisis, the Democrats have not put forth any substantive plan to address unemployment.  Republicans know that businesses thrive and jobs are created when government lowers taxes and does not heavy-handedly over-regulate businesses.

 The people of Massachusetts have spoken and the Democrats in Maryland have every right to be worried when Marylanders get their chance in November.  People demand responsibility, accountability, honesty, and transparency in government.

Unstimulating Stimulus

Who exactly, besides the government, has benefitted from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)?  Since the passage of this massive spending bill, the economy has lost 1.6 million jobs.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for May rose to 9.4% – the highest rate in 25 years

 Last week, President Obama embarked on a new effort to prove that his stimulus plan was worth the $787 billion it is costing the taxpayers.   Instead of new information or concrete, specific examples we were given vague numbers and basically told to have faith and continue to hope for economic change.  We were told that, even though 1.6 million jobs have been lost, 150,000 have been created or saved.  The Administration also told us that in the next 100 days, an additional 600,000 jobs would be created or saved.  Created or saved?  Which is it and where are they?  The Department of Labor can specifically point to the precise sectors when jobs have been lost – why can’t the Obama Administration be a little more specific?  Where are the actual people who have a new job or avoided losing their job as a result of the ARRA?  Why, if the ARRA is doing what it was supposed to do, do we only have 150,000 jobs to show for it?  What happened to the 3.5 million jobs over two years that the Administration had initially promised?  A meager 150,000 is a rather austere start when such lofty promises have been made.

 The Baltimore Sun has reported that the Obama Administration is “relying heavily on educators to pull the country out of its economic doldrums”.  Education funding is important – Maryland already spends record amounts on education.  But, when exactly did educators become such dependable economic stimulators?  What is so wrong with depending on the traditional economic engines like small businesses and entrepreneurship? As a part of this new reliance on educators as an economic stimulant, Maryland will soon receive $210 million in additional federal stimulus money for education.  Now there is no doubt that the O’Malley Administration is eagerly anticipating another pot of money to spend – they have yet to find a pot of money they did not like.  However, this latest pot of money from the taxpayers (we should never forget that it is after all taxpayer money) through the ARRA is just small example of the catastrophic failure of the stimulus plan to repair the economy.  The reason for this failure is very basic – the stimulus plan does nothing to stimulate the economy and only stimulates and enables the bad spending habits government. 

In Maryland, we have grown accustomed to failed government policies disguised with a public relations and media blitz.  They have been the hallmark of the O’Malley Administration.  Governor O’Malley used this “governing by mirage” technique consistently as Mayor and brought that bag of tricks with him to the Governor’s mansion.  The best example of this is the tax increase scheme he championed in 2007 – allegedly aimed at wiping out the structural deficit.  In the summer of 2007 the Governor went on a state-wide tour with a “Cost of Delay” budget in his pocket.  The purpose of this doom and gloom budget was to scare people into supporting his massive tax increase plan.  To sweeten the pot, he told everyone that 95% of people would actually see a tax cut.  What do we have to show for the Governor’s massive tax increases?  The structural deficit was not wiped out; it is currently $1.2 billion and growing.  The 95% of us that were supposed to see a reduction in taxes are still waiting.  While congratulating himself on his fiscal responsibility, the Governor has backfilled virtually every reduction in state spending and the budget has grown year after year.   In the 2009 session it looked like the Governor would have to make actual reductions that he could not backfill, but he was rescued from having to make those reductions by the Obama stimulus package.  Instead of making the plump bureaucracy of state government lighter, leaner, and more efficient the Obama stimulus package has perpetuated the cycle of Maryland’s chronic overspending.   As a result, Maryland is well on its way to another tax increase when the stimulus money runs out – a need that will conveniently arise after the next election.

It is abundantly clear that the policies of the Obama Administration and the O’Malley Administration have done more to hurt our economy than to help it.  Citizens across the state and the nation are beginning to rise up realizing that the emperors are not wearing clothes and we have been taken for fools.  What is needed to get this economy moving is to put money in the hands of the taxpayers – not the government.  Reduce the size of government and reduce taxes – allow people to keep what they earn.  Give people incentives to spend through sales tax holidays and with tax credits.  It is time to put an end to the nanny state where government takes care of us.  It is time to put our faith back into the entrepreneurial spirit of our country.  Enough is enough.

Maryland: The Welfare State

Maryland Democratic officials have learned a new trick.  No longer content with simply shaking hands, they have learned-very quickly-how to beg. 

Governor O’Malley is in Washington today lobbying to keep a $4 billion cash infusion from the Federal government in the stimulus package.  After muscling through unprecedented tax increases and bloating the budget with spending, the governor has turned to the welfare dole as the solution for his political problems.  O’Malley’s spending blitz has left the state in bad economic shape, and the Federal injection of these stimulus dollars in the state’s bloodstream is-at best-only a temporary fix.  Rather than emulate President Barack Obama and own up to his mistakes, there will be no admission of “I screwed up” from Governor O’Malley’s lips as long as the American taxpayer can bail him out. 

O’Malley may well scrounge enough money from the Federal government to prevent the budget crisis from hampering his re-election chances in 2010; but come 2011 we will be right back where we started the session this January-in a serious financial crisis. 

 We teach our children that avoiding procrastination is a virtue.  It sure doesn’t seem to be one in Governor O’Malley’s Maryland.