Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption

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HYPOCRITES!!!! HYPOCRITES!!! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! CALL YOUR Senators < and Congressman/women <by clicking on the hyperlink.

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

Democrats, in particular, would take a public hammering as the traditional boosters of Obamacare. Republicans would undoubtedly attempt to shred them over any attempt to escape coverage by it, unless Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) give Democrats cover by backing it.

There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it.

The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty.

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Federal Judge To Janet Napolitano: You have To Deport Illegal Immigrants

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Washington Examiner

Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano does not have the authority to refuse to enforce laws that require illegal immigrants to face deportation, according to the federal judge hearing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union’s lawsuit against DHS.

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“The court finds that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings [when the law requires it],” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said today, per Business Week. O’Connor asked DHS and the ICE union to offer additional arguments before he makes a final ruling on the legality of President Obama’s “deferred action on childhood arrivals” (DACA) program, which invoked prosecutorial discretion as a means of allowing people to stay in the country if they would have qualified for amnesty under the DREAM Act, which never passed through Congress.

The judge’s comments come one day after Napolitano scolded the union, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, for challenging the policy she and Obama have implemented.

“There are tensions with union leadership, unfortunately,” Napolitano told Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., yesterday. “Here’s what I expect as a former prosecutor and attorney general: that is that law enforcement agents will enforce the law in accordance with the guidance they are given [by] their superiors.”

Sessions faulted Napolitano for refusing to meet with the ICE officers’ union. “I have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sued their supervisor, and you, for blocking them from following the law,” he said. “They weren’t complaining about pay, benefits, working conditions – they were saying their very oath they took to enforce the law is being blocked by rules and regulations and policies established from on high, and that this is undermining their ability to do what they are sworn to do.”

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