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New Version of USA Freedom Act Would Curb NSA Spying

Senator Leahy (D-Vt.) has introduced a new version of the USA FREEDOM Act that would limit the NSA’s power to spy on innocent Americans. This bill is a good step in the right direction to restore our 4th amendment rights and it’s an improved version from the weakened bill passed by the House.

You may remember the House debate over the USA FREEDOM Act a few weeks ago. A number of pro civil liberties groups, including FreedomWorks, endorsed the original version of the USA FREEDOM Act. We felt that it was the best bill introduced to increase government transparency and limit the bulk collection of records on Americans.

Unfortunately, the USA FREEDOM Act was significantly watered down in last minute negotiations before its passage. After deliberations with our staff and other civil liberties groups, we decided to withdraw our support because the original intent of the bill was undermined. The strict definitions in the original bill were replaced with open ended definitions that would likely still allow the bulk collection of metadata on Americans to continue. We could not in good conscience support a mild NSA reform bill that would do practically nothing to stop domestic spying. Read more here...


Ten Reasons the IRS Shouldn't Be in Charge of ObamaCare

The IRS has been in the news a lot lately, but with all the hubbub of corruption and scandal, it’s easy to forget that they are also the agency in charge of enforcing and implementing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as ObamaCare. Here are the top ten reasons why the IRS should keep its hands off your healthcare choices.

1. The IRS is prone to political corruption Ever since the news broke that the IRS has been selectively targeting conservative organizations, the fiction of the organization’s non-partisanship has been exposed to the harsh light of day. We now know that the IRS can be, and is being, used as a political tool to advance a particular agenda and penalize those who dare dissent. It is troubling enough that this happened in the midst of a major presidential election, but in the case of health care, when lives are literally at stake, the potential for abuse is so great as to be positively chilling. ** 2. The IRS either can’t or won’t keep track of its own records** During the investigation of Lois Lerner, the IRS claimed to have lost emails belonging first to her, then to six of her colleagues and now to an unspecified number of people “less than 20.” This is in violation of laws that require the IRS to keep records of all official emails. Either the agency is incapable of maintaining records, or they have deliberately destroyed them in violation of the law. Either way, these are not the people you want handling your health care data. Read more here...

Tell Your Senators: Let the Ex-Im Bank Expire

Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff. That’s the philosophy of liberty in a nutshell. Everyone should be free to live their lives as they think best, free from meddling by politicians and government bureaucrats.

To me, the values of liberty just seem like a commonsense way to think about political philosophy. The rules are easily understood, our aspirations for government are modest and practical, and our designs on the lives and behavior of other people are unpresumptuous, even humble. The rules are pretty straightforward because they treat everyone just like everyone else: simply; they are blindly applied like Lady Justice would; across the board. No assembly required. Read more here...


Landrieu and the Chamber: Will They or Won't They

There have been recent rumblings around Capitol Hill that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is planning to throw its support behind Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, with a representative saying that she supports pro-business legislation more often than Sen. Ted Cruz.

If there was any doubt about the true political allegiance of the Chamber, this move, provided they follow through with it, should dispel them all. The Chamber has a long history of supporting establishment candidates who will play ball with lobbyists and special interests, protecting the monopolistic interests of big companies while crushing the opportunities for small business and entrepreneurship. With its opposition to tea party candidates who favor loosening regulations and expanding opportunity, the Chamber has signaled that the only businesses it cares about are the ones with political power. Read more here...

The Danger of Deficits to our Economy

Recently the White House Office of Management and Budget released its Midsession Review, an update and review of the budget that President Obama submitted to Congress. The document extols the virtues of the administration's economic policies, noting that a combination of economic growth, discretionary budget cuts and the reversal of the Bush tax cuts has halved the federal deficit. Moving forward, the administration hopes to further the economic recovery through additional budgetary savings from health-care reforms, closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and sensible immigration reform. What the Mid-Session Review does not discuss, however, is the mounting federal debt - and the dangers it poses to the economy.

The Congressional Budget Office's 2014 Long-Term Budget Outlook provides a more accurate picture of the challenges facing the economy. While the deficit may have fallen in recent years, CBO identifies a triple threat to long-term economic growth: an aging population, increased per capita federal spending on health care, and expanding federal health-care programs. Together, these trends ensure the return of higher deficits and increasing federal debt. According to the CBO, by the year 2039, federal debt will be greater than the nation's output, reaching 106 percent of GDP. This level of debt has not been seen since World War II. Prior to the 2008 economic crisis, federal debt was 39 percent of GDP, but the structural imbalance between revenues collected and federal spending is steadily pushing the federal debt to unsustainable levels. Read more here...

Moms Winning the Common Core War

The millions have proved no match for the moms.

Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. Given the firestorm of opposition that took them by surprise, they consider it a victory that just five states, so far, have taken steps to back out.

But in a series of strategy sessions in recent months, top promoters of the standards have concluded they’re losing the broader public debate — and need to devise better PR.

Consider: Conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin held a crackling town hall meeting last week describing the Common Core as a threat to local control of education. The two-hour event was simulcast in 700 movie theaters nationwide and will be rebroadcast Tuesday night in more than 500. 
Read more here...

Let the ObamaCare Architect Speak

Defenders of ObamaCare are finding themselves in an odd place. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that the law’s mandates and subsidies can only apply to citizens through a state-established health exchange, based on Section 1401 of the Affordable Care Act. Only 16 states actually have these exchanges and only these 16 states can enforce the mandates and subsidies, the core of the Affordable Care Act.

This means that the subsidies granted and the mandates enforced in the 34 states with federally-established exchanges could be illegal. However, an identical case (King v. Burwell) in the 4th Circuit Court upheld the legality of the subsidies and an appeal against the Halbig case is likely. Regardless, there is momentum going forward against the law. Read more here...

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