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CD071: Our New Laws

In this episode, we look at all the important bills that become laws since the start of 2014, including a law that might cost you thousands of dollars per year, a law that ends public financing of political party nominating conventions, and a law that President Obama openly intends to ignore. We also discuss the resignation of Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey from the House of Representatives. 

Laws Discussed in This Episode 

S. 25: “South Utah Valley Electric Conveyance Act”

Introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch

This law has nothing to do with the South Utah Valley Electric Service District.

  • S.25 changes the cost of living adjustment included in the budget agreement that was created after the shutdown ended which cut cost of living adjustments to pensions paid to veterans by 1%, which would short them each tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their lives. Now, we’re going to short change military members who enroll on or after January 1, 2014.
  • Makes changes to which fund we use to pay Medicare doctors.
  • Pays for all of this by extending the sequester for another year. It’ll now go through 2024.

HR 4302: “Protecting Access to Medicare Act”
Introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania

In 1997, Congress invented the “Sustainable Growth Rate” (SGR) system for paying Medicare doctors. It tied the amount of money doctors get for Medicare doctors to projected growth of the economy. Since health care costs have skyrocketed at the same time that the economy has gone sour, doctors would see a huge pay cut of 24% if the SGR system of payment were used.

HR 2019: “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act”
Introduced by Gregg Harper of Mississippi

  • Eliminates all public funding of “any major or minor” political party nominating convention.
  • Authorizes – but does not appropriate – the money to go towards a ten year pediatric research fund

NPR segment on H.R. 2019

S. 2195: Denys US admission to UN Reps who were spies or terrorists
Introduced by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado

  • Denies visas to United Nations representatives who have been “found to have been engaged in espionage activities or a terrorist activity.”

This new law was designed to keep Iran’s representative to the United Nations out of the United States.

The United States says that Hamid Aboutalebi was involved in the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.

President Obama called the new law “advisory”, basically saying he has the right to waive it using his power to receive or reject ambassadors. President Obama claims that Bush set the precedent for waiving laws in this manner.

S. 404: Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act
Introduced by Patty Murray of Washington

  • Green mountain lookout can’t be moved except for safety reasons

S. 2183: Propaganda for Ukraine
Introduced by Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

  • Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Incorporated and Voice of America will provide “news and information” to Ukraine & Ukraine’s neighboring countries
  • We will conduct a “programming surge” broadcasting 24-7 to “target populations”
  • We will “highlight inconsistencies and misinformation provided by Russian or pro-Russian media outlets”
  • We will focus on areas dominated by Russian media
  • We will put more reporters and “organizational presence” in eastern Ukraine
  • We will “partner with private sector broadcasters” to create content and spread the word.
  • We can use “jamming and circumvention technology to overcome any disruptions to service.”
  • Congress is allowed to use $10 million of our money for this, if they appropriate the funds.

Emergency Declarations

President Obama continued national emergency declarations for “the situations” in:

President Obama declared new national emergencies for situations in:

Rob Andrews Resigns from Congress

On February 18, Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey resigned from Congress, citing his family has the reason when the real reason was because he was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Read the House Ethics Committee Report

Rob Andrews under investigation for, among other things:

  • Spending over $16,000 of campaign funds to fly his family to a wedding in Scotland.
  • Using campaign funds to fly himself and his daughter to Los Angeles six times in 2011 so that she could pursue an acting career in Hollywood.
  • Using campaign funds to donate thousands of dollars to theaters that hired his daughter to appear in their productions.
  • Earmarking over $1.5 million to the Rutgers University School of Law, where his wife is an Associate Dean.

By resigning, Andrews made all these investigations go away because the House Ethics Committee said it lacks jurisdiction over ex-members.

On May 5, Rob Andrews registered as a lobbyist based out of a Philadelphia law firm where his wife used to work. He will be lobbying on behalf of Merit Inc., which provides IT and security for private and public institutions including the EPA, National Park Services, U.S. Corps of Engineers, US Navy, US Army, the FAA, the Dept. of Justice, and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He will also be lobbying on behalf of the National Coordinating Committee for Multi-employer Plans, which proudly proclaims on it’s website that “NCCMP influences virtually every piece of employee benefit legislation for the benefit of multi-employer plans.”

Representatives Quoted in This Episode

Music Presented in this Episode

 

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