Friday, August 16, 2013

ObamaCare's flexible timeline

Just before the long fourth of July weekend, the Obama administration revealed in a little-read blog post that it would delay the employer mandate – a major element of ObamaCare – for one year. The administration had previously suspended other ObamaCare stipulations, and had offered more than a thousand “waivers” that temporarily exempted select companies, unions, and even entire states from various ObamaCare regulations.    

At an August 1 Ways and Means hearing, I asked Health and Human Services official Gary Cohen about other possible delays in ObamaCare. You can view the exchange here. Here’s a transcript:

Devin Nunes: Mr. Cohen, do you foresee any additional ObamaCare provisions that may not be ready for implementation?

Gary Cohen: No.  

That was Mr. Cohen’s entire answer. So you can imagine my surprise just eleven days later when the Obama administration announced it would delay until 2015 ObamaCare’s limit on out-of-pocket costs.

Nancy Pelosi famously said we’d have to pass ObamaCare to find out what’s in it. Well, now we’re finding out. They promised us this:


Instead, as Democrat Senator Max Baucus observed, we’re getting this:  


Friday, August 9, 2013

Odds and ends for your weekend reading


I’d like to draw your attention to a short video on the misguided policies and fiscal irresponsibility that are hobbling the state of California. As Victor Davis Hanson, Joel Kotkin, and other analysts explain, these problems are severe, but it’s not too late to change direction and save the Golden State from economic ruin. To watch the video, click here.

As the video notes, environmental regulations are a big part of the problem. Unfortunately, in his new global warming initiative, President Obama proposes intensifying these kinds of economically destructive policies. I discuss the president’s plans in an article on National Review Online available here. I also share my thoughts here on the president’s offer of corporate tax cuts for more government spending.       

On another note, I’d like to congratulate my alma mater, Liberty Elementary School, and its students, teachers, and board, for kicking off the school year yesterday at a brand new campus. I recently attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Tulare school’s new facility, where it looked like the Liberty Lions are in for a great year.
Finally, I’d like to thank readers for the boost in traffic to the revamped Nunes Digest. Updated on Fridays, the Digest is a compendium of the week’s notable news stories. To see the Digest, go to my website homepage here.     

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Big Green Strikes Again

Yesterday I participated in a forum in Sonora convened by my colleague, Congressman Tom McClintock, on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed listing of the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog and the Yosemite Toad as endangered species. Around 400 people turned out for the event, with the vast majority expressing opposition to USFW’s action.

With the listing, 2 million acres of land will be designated as a critical habitat for these amphibians. This action stands to drastically limit recreational and business activities in this enormous area, including timber harvesting, cattle grazing, fishing, hunting, mining, ranching, rafting, hiking, cross-country-skiing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing, and eco-tourism, among others.

This decision will damage local economies and local communities in exchange for little if any benefit. There is no clear evidence that human activity has caused any decline in either of these species, or that the proposed designations will arrest any projected decline in their populations. 

In other words, the proposed habitat has a low probability of improving populations of a low-value species, but there’s absolute certainty it will cost human beings their jobs and their freedom to enjoy this country’s natural treasures.  

Here once again, we see the environmental movement colluding with government to harass hard-working Americans engaged in productive business or harmless recreation. This decision is a travesty. But in light of the on-going damage wrought by the pernicious alliance of Big Government and Big Green – including the man-made drought that is plaguing farmers throughout the San Joaquin Valley – I expect this destructive action won’t raise many objections in either Sacramento or the White House.