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.
Following the 2014 elections, Congressman John Kline remains the major and senior elected figure in the Minnesota Republican party. The powerful chairman of the House education committee, he will be a central figure in the reform measures ahead to improve the nation’s faltering public school systems.
One health insurer in Minnesota, once the top seller on the state' s Obamacare-mandated exchange, is expected to raise its premiums between 40 and 60 percent. Small-business health insurance rates are also expected to go up in Minnesota. KSTP-TV reports the story:
Minneapolis The 2014 race for governor of Minnesota had been placed in the “Safe Democrat” category since it began in earnest. Potential Republican opponents to the Democratic (Democratic-Farmer-Labor in this state) incumbent Mark Dayton were numerous, but most voters told pollsters the state was going in the right direction. Unemployment was lower than the national average, and Minneapolis was growing again
and seemingly booming with new housing construction.
In 1978, Republicans in Minnesota, astonishingly, won all three statewide races: both Senate seats and the governorship. It became known by DFLers (Democrats here run as Democratic-Farmer-Laborites) as the “Minnesota massacre.” Republicans preferred to call it their Minnesota miracle. This year they’re looking for another miracle. One Senate seat is up, as is the governorship, and the DFL incumbents are widely expected to win. If an upset is possible, it might be in the Senate race.
Minneapolis One of the most fascinating congressional races in the nation this year is taking place in a practically unknown Minnesota district between two men who could not be more different—in style and in substance.
There’s a refrain familiar to any regular Capitol Hill reporter trying to ask a question of Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota and Saturday Night Live alum: “I don’t talk to national press. You’ll have to speak to my staff. I only talk to Minnesota press.”
Al Franken, the first-term Democratic senator from Minnesota, is under 45 percent against 4 potential GOP challengers in a new poll. Suffolk University's poll of likely voters in Minnesota also found Franken with a 46 percent favorability rating, while 41 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of him.
Minnesota’s Keith Ellison made history as the first Muslim elected to Congress. He is a former member and local leader of the Nation of Islam who first ran for office as a Democrat in 1998 under the pseudonym Keith Ellison-Muhammad. He’s a voluble striver and a hustler emitting Marxist claptrap with an Islamic twist. He now puts these qualities on display in his engaging new memoir-cum-manifesto, My Country, ’Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future (Karen Hunter Publishing/Gallery Books, $25.00).
Americans for Prosperity has two new ads targeting House Democrats in swing districts, both of which make the case that Obamacare "doesn't work" and should be repealed. The first ad, running in New Hampshire, tells Democratic congresswoman Annie Kuster to "stop thinking about politics and start thinking about people." Watch it below:
The chief executive officer for Minnesota's Obamacare exchange resigned Tuesday after reports surfaced she had taken a tropical vacation in November, right when the state's health insurance exchange website was experiencing problems. ABC affiliate KSTP has the story:
Minneapolis While most states outside the liberal bastions of the Northeast and the West Coast are, or have been, moving to the center-right, there’s one notable exception: Minnesota is shifting decidedly to the left.