How many will have to pay back Obamacare subsidies?

“More Americans will owe the government money for their Obamacare subsidy than won’t, says a new analysis. A big upcoming Tax Day question is how many Americans with government-subsidized health insurance will find that they collected more in subsidies than they’re qualified for and have to pay some of it back — and how many will find themselves in the opposite position, with the government owing them money. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that half of all subsidy-eligible households will be in the first boat, owing the government an average payment of $794. That situation comes about if a taxpayer earns more than they originally guessed, thus qualifying for a lower subsidy level. Meanwhile, 45 percent will be in the opposite situation, finding that they qualified for more in subsidies than they collected. Their average refund will be $773, Kaiser estimates. The subsidies are provided through President Obama’s healthcare law to help low and mid-income Americans buy health insurance. Taxpayers can minimize the discrepancy by promptly reporting any income changes to the online marketplace where they bought their health plan. Still, many subsidy recipients are likely to find their income fluctuated throughout the year, especially if they work in an hourly job. “An unanticipated repayment — which may require tax households to actually write a check to the IRS or get a lower-than-expected tax refund — may be difficult for these households to handle financially, even though it would only happen if their income is higher,” the Kaiser analysis says…”


Half Of Obamacare Customers To End Up Owing IRS Hundreds Back For Subsidies

“Half the Obamacare customers who received premium subsidies will end up owing the IRS big come tax season — almost $800 on average, according to a new study. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 50 percent of Americans who purchased taxpayer-subsidized health insurance on an Obamacare exchange will have to repay the federal government. Because the Obamacare subsidy system requires customers to estimate their income for the upcoming year, those who end up earning more than expected will end up getting more subsidies than appropriate. That will leave them owing $794 to the IRS on average, according to KFF. Another 45 percent are expected to have overestimated their income and should get extra money back from the government, for an average refund of $773. Those who make a set annual income may have an easy time estimating their upcoming income when applying for Obamacare coverage, but the process is more difficult for hourly workers who aren’t sure exactly what they’ll make by the end of the year. Because the subsidies are only offered to those with relatively low incomes, even owing the IRS several hundred dollars could hit these individuals and families hard. And KFF notes that it could be a complete surprise, as in the first year of Obamacare, some people were unaware they were even receiving subsidies…”


Half of people with ObamaCare subsidies will owe on their taxes

“Half of all households that received ObamaCare tax credits last year will likely owe money to the federal government, a new study found. Nearly all families that received tax credits will either owe money or receive extra money because their tax filings had changed after they calculated their ObamaCare subsidies, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 4 percent of households received the correct subsidy, according to the report, which uses data from the national Survey of Income and Program Participation. Out of those who will have to repay, the average amount owed is $794, the study found. Out of the 45 percent of people receiving money back, the average refund is $773. Some households will be paying back the majority of their tax credit. Middle-income households — with income between 300 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level – will repay about 65 percent of their tax credit. Between 4.5 million and 7.5 million households received tax credits in 2014. This year’s tax season marks the first time that people will have to account for their ObamaCare subsidies or pay penalties for lacking coverage. Under ObamaCare’s first year, people buying insurance received subsidies in advance based on their tax returns from 2012, which was the most recent year available. People with the middle-level incomes were more likely to owe money — and to owe more. There are some limits for how much money an individual or family would have to repay if their tax credits were too large. For example, families making less than 300 percent of the poverty level will not pay back more than $1,500. Anyone with an income greater than 400 percent of the poverty level has no cap on repayment…”


Report: Tax time means overhaul subsidy repayments for many


Nasty tax surprise for Obamacare customers


Why Obamacare Has Made Tax Filing an Even Bigger Headache This Year


Why Getting a Raise Could Be a Negative for Some Obamacare Users This Tax Season

“What Obamacare gives, it can take away – at least if you got a pay increase over the last year. About half of subscribers who received federal subsidies to buy private insurance plans will owe an average of $794 in repayments, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation released Tuesday. The repayments come if a subsidy recipient’s actual income was higher than their projected income. “If you are low-income, having to pay any increase on taxes is a hardship on people,” Cynthia Cox, Kaiser Family Foundation associate director and lead author of the study told TheBlaze. “Even if your income goes up over the year, some people don’t realize they are receiving subsidies and would be surprised they have to pay back so much.”…”


Happy Anniversary Obamacare Taxes, Many Happy Returns

“On the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Sylia M. Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, waxed eloquently. She showcased a story about one American, who counts the ACA as a lifesaver. It is a useful reminder, as are a few of the statistics the Secretary lauds.But five years ago this week, most of the stories are of a less hopeful kind, and one that offers grim cost-benefit trade-offs. Most people who are asked believe Obamacare at five years old is a disappointment. For all the enormous costs, which are getting worse, polls suggest that 52.5% oppose the law, while only 42% approve of it. As Grace-Marie Turner put it, our health sector has been thrown into turmoil, millions of people have lost their private health plans, $1 trillion in new and higher taxes have been imposed on individuals and businesses, and the uninsured rate dropped a net of 1.5%. Truly, for many Americans, opposition to Obamacare has become personal. But on this five year anniversary, we do have many taxes to celebrate! How many Obamacare taxes are there? It all depends on how you count. First, let’s note the obvious. This has been a bad tax season opener, with new and widespread fears about tax fraud and identity theft. Tax filing season arrived with a bang, and now the FBI is investigating fraudulent tax returns filed through TurboTax. Some taxpayers claim their federal refunds are in jeopardy. Taxpayers interviewed about fraudulent tax filings said their IRS data was compromised and returns were filed in their names. Some speculate the fraudulent returns were based on leaks of their 2013 tax return data. In past years, it seemed stressful to collect W-2s and 1099s, and discover you are missing a Form 1099 or K-1. This year makes the usual stresses seem like the good old days. Still, part of the stress this year is Obamacare, its new taxes and new forms. Yet for most of the approximately 85% of Americans who have health insurance and who make less than $250,000 a year, you can relax. Most of the new taxes are unlikely to hurt you or impact your pocketbook. Even so, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, which is one reason the IRS has a 21-page Publication 5187 on the Health Care Law: What’s New for Individuals and Families. If you’d rather be entertained, there’s always President Obama’s Buzzfeed video. And let’s look at 3 new forms, including the 1095-A Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, the Form 8962 Premium Tax Credit, and Form 8965 Health Coverage Exemptions. Forms 1095-A and 8962 are for people who bought health coverage through the Marketplace. Form 8965 is for those who got a Marketplace coverage exemption or plan to claim an exemption…”


Obamacare, at 5, still a problem child

“…Well, the president’s health care law marks its fifth anniversary this week. And most Americans are not, in fact, looking back and saying the law enacted in 2010 – with not one Republican vote in either the House or Senate – was a monumental achievement. Indeed, in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this month, a 44-34 plurality of respondents thought Obamacare a “bad idea.” And a 62-22 percent majority said that what they had seen, read or heard in recent weeks about the Affordable Care Act had made them “less confident” about the law. Some suggest the public’s misgivings about Obamacare are almost entirely attributable to GOP opposition to the law. In a statement Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz noted that “Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal or undermine this critical law.” The law is a godsend, she argued. “More than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance.” Also, “health care spending is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years.” And eight in 10 consumers “can now find a coverage plan for $100 or less per month after tax credits.” But here are a few inconvenient truths about Obamacare that Rep. Schultz neglected to mention: Deductibles, co-payments and drug payments under the average Obamacare “silver” plan – the most popular – are $3,453, according to a CNNMoney analysis, compared with $1,217 under employer-provided health insurance. Taxpayer subsidies may defray the cost for some of the 16 million Americans who have gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. However, Jackson Hewitt, the nation’s second-largest tax preparation service, said that more than half its clients who received such subsidies will have to pay back all or some of the money. That’s why most Americans are in no mood this week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the president’s namesake law. And we can’t say we blame them…”


Pavlich: America isn’t better with ObamaCare

“It’s been five years since the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was passed and signed into law. This week, the White House is touting the legislation as a huge success and claiming the country is better off.  “FACT: We’ve seen the largest drop in the uninsured rate in decades since the ACA became law. #BetterWithObamacare,” the official White House Twitter feed sent out Sunday.  “More than 16 million Americans have gained health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. #BetterWithObamacare,” another tweet said. First, it’s important to analyze this White House white lie. While more Americans do in fact have health insurance in the wake of ObamaCare, the administration fails to point out that citizens are required by law to do so or pay a fine. This wasn’t the case in decades past. Times — and the law — have changed. The government criminalized the decision not to purchase healthcare, and the IRS has been tapped with enforcing the requirement. More people have health insurance because they’ve been forced into the system, not because they want insurance or because they have easier access.  Second, let’s review how ObamaCare was passed in 2010. It happened in the middle of the night through a change in Senate rules and without a single Republican vote. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is now infamous for saying, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”  She also wasn’t shy about the tactics used to get the legislation through Congress. “We will go through the gate and if the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get healthcare reform passed for the American people for their own personal health and economic security and for the important role that it will play in reducing the deficit,” Pelosi said in January 2010.  Although ObamaCare is still highly controversial, as Pelosi once admitted, its negative impact is clearer. For example, having health insurance is not the same thing as having access to medical care or affordable coverage. The costs of health insurance premiums and deductibles have significantly increased, leaving families in even more dire financial situations. According to research from the Manhattan Institute, health insurance premiums for people living in a number of states across the country have gone up by more than 100 percent.  Overall, costs to the taxpayer have been enormous, with $2 billion spent on HealthCare.gov, which didn’t work properly for a year, and an estimated $2 trillion in addition to enforce ObamaCare over the next 10 years. Data from a Government Accountability Office report released in 2013 has been cited showing ObamaCare adds $6.2 trillion to the long-term U.S. deficit, a far cry from liberal claims that deficits would be reduced as a result of the law. Further, and most detrimental, is the mass retirement of doctors. According to a 2013 study from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 62 percent of physicians will retire early with 55 percent limiting their work hours due to new rules and regulations. Not to mention the millions of people who lost their doctors and coverage because of ObamaCare, despite the president repeatedly promising that would never happen…”


Obamacare Is Really Expensive for Small Businesses. Surprise!

Lousy news for growing the economy, creating jobs, and overall increasing prosperity

“Complying with the health care law is costing small businesses thousands of dollars that they didn’t have to spend before the new regulations went into effect,” reports AP business writer Joyce M. Rosenberg. This should be a surprise to exactly nobody. In general, government mandates have poor track record of making people’s lives less expensive and complicated. Specifically, businesses around the country have reported over the past year that Obamacare raised their healthcare costs and they anticipated more hikes to come. Hiring—especially of full-time employees—has taken a hit as a result. Writes Rosenberg: “The Affordable Care Act, which as of next Jan. 1 applies to all companies with 50 or more workers, requires owners to track staffers’ hours, absences and how much they spend on health insurance. Many small businesses don’t have the human resources departments or computer systems that large companies have, making it harder to handle the paperwork. On average, complying with the law costs small businesses more than $15,000 a year, according to a survey released a year ago by the National Small Business Association. Last summer, Federal Reserve Banks around the country surveyed businesses in their regions. In the service sector, about 82 percent of businesses told the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas that the Affordable Care Act raised costs for them in 2014; 91 percent expected increased costs in 2015.”…”


Dem senators warn Obamacare rule ‘particularly harmful and disruptive’

“Six Democratic senators and one independent have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to a delay a new rule that would likely force small businesses to pay more for employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The senators warn that if the administration goes ahead with the change it would be “particularly harmful and disruptive” to small businesses. Starting in 2016, the Obamacare change will require businesses that employ between 51-100 people to purchase insurance in what the government defines as the “small group market,” rather than the market for large group plans. The senators warn that the change will inflate health care costs for those businesses. “[T]hey could experience higher premiums, less flexibility, and new barriers to coverage. We therefore encourage you to delay the effective date in the definition change for two years so the market can more smoothly transition to the new rules,” the senators wrote in the March 12 letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. The letter was signed by Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Machin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Maine’s Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also signed it. A spokeswoman for HHS confirmed the department received the letter but had no further comment. A staffer for one the senators said they had still not received a response from the administration. In the letter, the senators note that the administration has delayed implementing other aspects of the healthcare law. They argue their requested delay is warranted because the administration hasn’t yet implemented certain programs designed to help small businesses comply with the law….”


EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Senators Beg For Another Obamacare Delay


Feds Claim Obamacare Launch Is Hindering Government Transparency

“A heavy workload caused by the Affordable Care Act, government technology limits and staff shortages are causing unusually long delays in filling public records requests, federal health officials say. The waits in some cases could stretch out a decade or more. The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to respond to records requests in 20 working days, though providing documents often takes much longer. The FBI, for instance, recently reported that complex requests could average more than two years to fill. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a backlog of some 3,000 FOIA requests and says it may need 10 years or more to dig out from under some large cases. The Justice Department disclosed the bottleneck in court papers filed Friday in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the Center for Public Integrity against the Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of CMS. The suit, filed in May 2014, seeks a broad array of records as part of the Center’s ongoing investigation into overcharges by private Medicare Advantage insurance plans for the elderly. The center filed suit after failing to receive any records as a result of its initial FOIA request in 2013. In its court filing, the Justice Department argued that CMS resources “have been placed under unusual strain” in the past year due to demands of launching Obamacare….”


Markey seeks repeal of medical device tax

“Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) rolled out legislation Tuesday to eliminate ObamaCare’s medical device tax, and replace the lost revenue by raising taxes on oil-and-gas companies. The medical device industry has been pushing hard to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on devices. That idea has bipartisan support, from practically every Republican to Democrats like Markey whose home states have large medical device industries. “Medical device companies in Massachusetts and across the country are at the forefront of a biomedical revolution that is supporting economic growth and developing life-saving technologies,” Markey said in a statement. “It’s time to end 19th century tax breaks for highly-profitable oil and gas companies that need no assistance and invest in 21st century innovation and companies that create jobs and save lives.” Still, supporters have plenty of obstacles to hurdle before the medical device tax is repealed. Democrats who have sounded open to the idea, like Markey, want to replace the revenue to ensure that President Obama’s signature healthcare law remains fully funded. Other top Democrats, like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), have shown no interest in repealing the tax, saying that the device industry will get plenty of help due to the increase in insured people because of ObamaCare. Republicans, meanwhile, want to just get rid of the tax, as part of their efforts to unravel ObamaCare…”


House unveils ‘doc fix’ bill

“House leaders introduced legislation Tuesday to permanently replace a flawed and outdated Medicare payment formula that continually threatens to deeply cut payments to doctors. The legislation would also reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program until the fall of 2016. If Congress doesn’t take action, funding for that program will expire on March 31, and doctor payments from Medicare would increase by more than 20 percent. The bill would rely on wealthy seniors paying more to help offset the projected cost of the measure. It has been a year since bipartisan lawmakers released the framework for the permanent fix, and with another short-term patch set to expire next week then House Republican and Democratic leaders are pushing to get legislation through. “We can see the light at the end of the [sustainable growth rate] tunnel — finally. Our bipartisan product begins the task of strengthening Medicare over the long term,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. The bill includes several other Medicare reforms, including extending payments for ambulatory services and extending a payment adjustment rate offering certain low-volume hospitals with additional funding associated with the higher cost of operating a hospital with a low volume of patients. The House is expected to consider the legislation later this week. The Senate has largely been waiting to see what the House comes up with. While both parties appear united on passing a permanent doc fix, several hurdles remain. Several conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation have come out against proposed legislation, wary of how the House plans to pay for the permanent fix without adding to the deficit. The legislation is expected to cost $210 billion over the next decade, and the Medicare savings will only amount to $70 billion….”


CDC: 11M fewer uninsured since passage of Obama’s law

“The number of uninsured U.S. residents fell by more than 11 million since President Barack Obama signed the health care overhaul five years ago, according to a pair of reports Tuesday from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although that still would leave about 37 million people uninsured, it’s the lowest level measured in more than 15 years. The most dramatic change took place in comparing 2013 with the first nine months of 2014. As the health care law’s major coverage expansion was taking effect, the number of uninsured people fell by 7.6 million over that time. That’s “much bigger than can possibly be explained by the economy,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The vast majority has to be due to the Affordable Care Act.” Monday was the law’s fifth anniversary, and supporters and detractors again clashed over its impact. Obama says the law in many ways is “working even better than anticipated.” House Speaker John Boehner says it amounts to a “legacy of broken promises.” The health care law offers subsidized private coverage to people who don’t have access to it on the job, as well as an expanded version of Medicaid geared to low-income adults, in states accepting it…”


Reid: No comment yet on ‘doc fix’ deal


Health Law Credits Boosted Coverage in 2014, GAO Says


Journalists and Justices

Lobbying the High Court to save Obamacare

“King v. Burwell, on which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments March 4, is the most politically important case on the High Court’s docket this term. If the King petitioners win a decision in their favor, it could explode the massive 2010 federal health care overhaul known as Obamacare, by removing subsidies for Obamacare-compliant health-insurance policies in most states. And for that reason, King v. Burwell has generated a lobbying blitz in the liberal media of seemingly unprecedented proportions. It began even before the King petitioners asked the Supreme Court last July 31 to review a ruling against them by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is unlikely to stop until the justices issue their own decision, probably at the end of June. Some of the press output touches on the actual issues of statutory interpretation and federalism that the King case raises. But the bulk of the lobbying, in newspapers, magazine articles, websites, and blogs, has consisted of belittling the petitioners, ridiculing the legal theories that their lawyers have put forth, impugning the motives of conservative and libertarian activists involved in the litigation, engaging in argumenta ad misericordiam designed to make the High Court feel sorry for the 8 million people who might not be able to afford Obamacare-mandated health insurance should the King petitioners prevail, and appealing to the amour-propre of various of the nine Supreme Court justices…”


Did Kennedy tip his hand in Obamacare case? And more on politics today


Watch How Ted Cruz Responds When He’s Asked on CBS If He Would ‘Take’ Away Health Care From 16 Million People as President

“Appearing on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, was asked by CBS News corresponded Vladimir Duthiers if he would “take” away the health care of 16 millions of Americans ensured under Obamacare if elected president. He seemingly came prepared to field such a question. “Well, you know, those numbers don’t tell the whole picture,” Cruz responded. “For one thing, the bulk of those numbers are coming from expanded Medicaid. And Medicaid is a program where a lot of people who are on Medicaid are not getting health care. Medicaid is a system that is already overburdened and more and more people are just getting waiting lists and not actually getting health care.” He continued: “Beyond that, remember six million people had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare. You are not doing someone a favor is you cancel the health insurance they like, and then force them to buy new health insurance at higher premiums that covers less.” The Texas senator also said Obamacare is the “single largest job killer” in the United States…”


Cruz: The anti-Obamacare candidate?

“Sen. Ted Cruz could hardly have picked a more fitting time and place to announce his presidential candidacy. The Texas Republican skyrocketed onto the national scene in 2012 vowing to repeal the healthcare law. He propelled forward an Obamacare-fueled government shutdown in his first year in Congress. He has aided GOP gains in Congress by keeping the anti-Obamacare message front and center. And he once vowed to speak against Obamacare from the Senate floor “until I am no longer able to stand.” Now Cruz is running for president — and he made it official on Obamacare’s fifth anniversary at a school that sued over the law the day it passed. “Five years ago today the president signed Obamacare into law,” Cruz told students Monday morning at Liberty University in Virginia. “Within hours, Liberty University went to court filing a lawsuit to stop that failed law.” He was referring to Liberty’s challenge of the law’s individual mandate and requirement for employers to provide workers with insurance. That lawsuit was eventually tossed, but the Supreme Court has ruled on a separate challenge of the birth control requirement. Cruz isn’t the only presidency-seeking Republican to oppose the 2010 health care law. In fact, it’s a position all the GOP candidates are almost certain to share. In April last year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal unveiled a a free-market alternative plan that would fully repeal Obamacare — and he has vocally criticized Republicans in Congress for not going far enough in their own proposals to replace the law. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who currently leads the field of potential candidates, has rejected the law’s offer of Medicaid expansion and even former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who’s viewed as the most moderate of the bunch, recently called the health care law “a monstrosity.”…”


Ted Cruz to sign up for government health care

“Ted Cruz, one of the loudest critics of Obamacare, will soon be using it for health insurance coverage. “We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care, and we’re in the process of transitioning over to do that,” Cruz, a Republican candidate for president, told The Des Moines Register Tuesday. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, is going on an unpaid leave of up absence from her job at Goldman Sachs to join Cruz full time on the campaign trail, Cruz told the Register. Bloomberg was first to report that Heidi Cruz has taken the leave, which means Cruz will no longer be covered under his wife’s health insurance plan. Cruz confirmed that to the Register. The exchanges became law under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. They’re an online marketplace where small businesses, people who carry their own coverage, and the uninsured can buy health insurance. The public marketplace is the only place where moderate-income Americans can obtain policies that qualify for Obamacare subsidies. (Poor people can get Medicaid, which is separate.)…”


Obamacare Has a New Customer: Ted Cruz

“Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the chief opponents of Obamacare in Congress, will sign up for health insurance under Obamacare while he runs for president. According to the Des Moines Register, Cruz’s wife Heidi will leave her job at Goldman Sachs to campaign with her husband. That report said the family had used her Goldman Sachs health plan, but in light of her plans to go on an unpaid leave of absence, the Cruz family will now rely on Obamacare…”


Cruz signing up for ObamaCare


Now Ted Cruz Has To Sign Up For Obamacare


It’s silly to attack Ted Cruz for ‘going on Obamacare’


VA to change 40-mile rule for Veterans Choice program

“The Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday announced plans to relax the agency’s rule on how far patients must live from the nearest VA medical center before the government pays for treatment at a closer private facility. Under the original guidelines, veterans had to reside at least 40 miles in a straight shot, or as the crow flies, from the nearest VA clinic. The new guideline will instead measure the distance in driving miles, as calculated by commercial mapping services such as Google Maps and Mapquest. The revision comes after widespread complaints that the department’s eligibility requirements were too strict and kept thousands of former troops from qualifying for Veterans Choice, a program that allows former troops to obtain health care from private providers if they live far from a VA medical center or waited more than 30 days for treatment….”


Philadelphia VA office investigated over disability claims

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched an investigation into allegations of widespread mismanagement of disability claims at its Philadelphia office as it braces for a report from its inspector general. The high-level administrative investigation board review began this week at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Regional Office, aimed at determining whether problems represent isolated or broader issues, according to an email from Philadelphia director Diana Rubens to agency staff on Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press. The internal review is expected to be completed by June, the department said when asked to comment on Tuesday. It comes as the VA’s acting inspector general plans to release a report early next month on its months-long investigation into the Philadelphia regional office, where numerous whistleblowers have complained of routine mishandling and manipulation of dates to make old claims look new amid a rapidly growing backlog. In a draft of the report, the IG makes 35 recommendations including having a leadership review so officials and employees are held accountable and fully comply with agency practices, according to excerpts given to the AP…”



Obama: Giving Immigrants Work Permits Is Vital for National Security

The president ignores the immigration laws in order to “improve border security.”

“Believe it or not, President Obama says his executive action on immigration isn’t actually about immigration — it’s about enhancing national security. In order to help Homeland Security agents quickly distinguish dangerous immigrants from those who pose no threat, the president had to grant, he claims, quasi-legal status to 5 million immigrants. Once the immigrants sign up, his argument goes, they will undergo background checks and receive a biometric ID, making it a lot easier for DHS agents to identify them. Oh, and by the way, because halting millions of deportations was not reason enough to coax immigrants to “come out of the shadows,” the president will approve virtually every single applicant for work authorization, Social Security benefits, and even the earned income-tax credit, as an “incentive” to sign up. It’s all part of keeping our nation secure. Remarkably, this is exactly how President Obama legally justifies his DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability) program.   This Rube Goldbergesque contortion of logic, premised on a “complete abdication” of the law, is the best defense the Justice Department can muster for why this policy should go into effect immediately. If you believe that this was the real reason behind DAPA — and not a scheme to implement an immigration policy that Congress expressly rejected — then I have a bridge to sell you. While Congress generally has broad latitude in choosing the means to accomplish legitimate policy goals, the executive, when acting unilaterally to disregard the law, should not receive such deference. This national-security smokescreen should be rejected by the courts. In February, Judge Andrew Hanen, in Brownsville, Texas, put DAPA on hold, finding that the Obama administration failed to solicit comments from the public before implementing the policy, as the law requires. After nearly a month of dithering, last week the Justice Department finally filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. In its brief, the government argues that Judge Hanen’s ruling “undermines the Secretary’s authority to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws” and prevents DHS from “marshalling its resources to protect border security, public safety and national security, while also addressing humanitarian interests.” The government argues that the appellate court should allow the administration to implement DAPA immediately — otherwise, our national security will be in jeopardy. This position is entirely false, as a matter of law and logic. Absolutely nothing in Judge Hanen’s ruling prevents DHS from protecting border and national security…”



“Deportations have declined significantly in the first five months of this fiscal year compared to years past, according to data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The rate of deportations from October to March was down 43 percent from what it was three years before, as the Obama administration has altered its enforcement priorities to target illegal immigrants who it says have committed serious crimes. The ICE data, obtained by the Sun Sentinel, shows a steep decline in overall deportations from the past three years compared to the most recent five months with a massive drop in the rate. In FY 2012 nationwide 409,849 people were deported from the U.S. at a rate of 1,213 a day. In FY 2013 that number dropped slightly to 368,644 people at a rate per day of 1,010. By FY 2014, 315,943 people were deported at a rate of 866. Compare the past three fiscal years to the first five months of this fiscal year and the picture is one of diminished enforcement. From October 1 to March 7 nationwide 101,201 people were deported at a rate of 640 a day. The news comes as Judicial Watch released internal DHS documents revealing that as of April 26, 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens convicted of serious crime such as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault…”


Feds Release Swarm Of Convicted Criminal Illegals In US

“The Department of Homeland Security has released close to 166,000 convicted criminal illegal aliens in to the United States as of April 2014. The frightening details from the 76 pages of Homeland Security documents released Monday show that many of the illegals set free by the agency were convicted of violent crimes like homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to a report released by Judicial Watch. The documents became available through a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the DHS after the agency originally failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the website. “It’s appalling that we’ve had to sue in federal court to get key information about the Obama administration’s release of 165,950 convicted criminal aliens,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in the report. “These documents show the Obama administration is lying when it says that its ‘enforcement priorities’ include deporting illegal aliens who have committed heinous crimes.” In addition to the nearly 166,000 criminal illegal aliens released by the DHS, the agency ordered more than 700,000 non-criminal illegal aliens to self-deport themselves from the country. After their release there is nothing to stop the illegal aliens from moving freely about the United States, which is exactly what they did, according to the Judicial Watch report. The documents also detailed difficulties Immigration and Customs Enforcement has enforcing immigration laws when some cities are uncooperative with federal agents and local policies interfere with the federal laws to provide “sanctuary” for the illegal alien criminals…”



“Nearly 166,000 convicted criminal illegal aliens were released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as of April, 2014. This is the analysis of 76 pages of DHS documents obtained by Judicial Watch via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The criminal illegal aliens include rapists, murderers and kidnappers. A report from Judicial Watch on Monday revealed the startling details of criminal illegal aliens who have been set free to roam around the United States after being convicted of crimes. Many of the criminals released are violent offenders who have committed homicides, sexual assaults, kidnappings and aggravated assaults. The information comes from a list of 76 documents that Judicial Watch obtained from a lawsuit they filed against the DHS in July, 2014. The lawsuit was filed after the DHS failed to respond in a timely manner to the FOIA request. The documents also revealed difficulties Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials with some cities who are uncooperative with federal agents. One example cited was an illegal alien who was in jail in Montgomery County, Maryland. The illegal alien was in jail on charges of rape. “ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers were also denied access to interview the alien at police station last Friday due to Montgomery County prohibitions against immigration enforcement,” a May, 2014 email stated. In addition to the 165,950 criminal illegal aliens who were ordered to leave the country, 706,950 non-criminal illegal immigrants were also ordered to leave the country. After being released, these 872,900 illegal aliens were free to move about the country but did not self-deport as ordered by the courts, according to Judicial Watch….”


Gutierrez: ‘Only Person Who Can Deport’ 11 Million Illegal Aliens Is ‘Barack Obama’

“Speaking at a press conference held by the National Hispanic Construction Association (NHCA) on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said that President Barack Obama is the “only person” who can deport the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally. Citing the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas challenging Obama’s executive action to protect millions of illegal aliens from deportation, Gutierrez said it’s the president who can enforce – or not enforce – immigration laws. “Because our immigrant community has to understand one thing – maybe the Republicans went to court and a judge put in an injunction against us giving them a work permit and a Social Security card, but the only person who can deport them from the United States is Barack Obama,” Gutierrez said. “The president of the United States and the executive branch of the government are the only people who can say ‘You gotta go.’”…”



“U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) isn’t letting a judge’s orders keep him from a cross-country tour that landed in Los Angeles this weekend, counseling illegal aliens on how to apply for Obama’s executive actions on immigration–DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability)–and to stay in the country with newly minted legal status. At the first event, Gutierrez joined a sparse but lively crowd at the University of Southern California (USC), complete with copious amounts of materials regarding DAPA, DACA and AB60, California’s illegal alien driver license program. U.S. Rep Karen Bass (D-CA) of the 37th congressional district partnered with Gutierrez for the “Immigration Town Hall”; however, Bass appeared solely in a video message, saying she was called away on short notice to represent President Obama at Namibia’s Presidential inauguration. In initial comments from the facilitator of the forum, courts were blamed for holding up Obama’s executive action, referring to a recent decision by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen to stay implementation of the effective executive amnesty while the constitutionality of the order’s implementation is determined. An estimated 4.5 million foreign nationals currently illegally present in the U.S. could receive legal status under the DAPA and DACA programs. Though the program was primarily conducted in Spanish, it was pointed out that not only Mexican or Latino persons illegally present are eligible to receive legal status. The reception for Gutierrez was mixed, as protesters showed up with their own questions for the amnesty-advocating Representative. Tension filled the room as dueling chants came from separate factions, with immigration enforcement activists calling out “USA” and DAPA and DACA inquirers chanting “Si, se puede.”…”


2 Indiana colleges, network partner undocumented students

“Two Indiana colleges are among 14 that will partner with a charter school network to provide students who are illegal immigrants with easier access to higher education. The Noble Network of Charter Schools says Holy Cross College in South Bend, Wabash College in Crawfordsville and 12 other schools will provide those students in a scholarship program with enough financial aid for them to avoid direct payments to the schools. Noble Network of Charter Schools Superintendent and CEO Michael Milkie says illegal immigrant students across the country often miss out on college educations because they’re ineligible for financial aid. The agreement will be available to Noble Network seniors who have qualified for a temporary federal relief from deportation and are accepted to one of the four-year colleges in the partnership…”


Harry Reid, Senior DHS Official Implicated in Scheme to Approve Visas for Non-Qualified Foreigners

“The number two official at the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday was accused of creating an appearance of “favoritism and special access” in decisions on whether to grant visas to certain foreigners — including in one case pushed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his staff — according to a report released by the DHS Office of Inspector General. The OIG report said Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took extraordinary steps in three cases to help these non-citizens win green cards, under a program that gives people access to these cards if they invest $500,000 in the United States. That program hands out so-called EB-5 visas, but it has been under scrutiny for the last several months for possible abuse. Specifically, reports surfaced that the program was being used to get visas to foreigners who were not qualified, but couldn’t get visas any other way. Today’s OIG report confirmed some of those suspicions. It said that when Mayorkas was the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he went too far by intervening in decisions to grant visas in three specific cases that otherwise would have gone the other way. “In three matters pending before USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, now deputy secretary of DHS, communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders,” the report said. “Mr. Mayorkas’ conduct led many USCIS employees to reasonably believe that specific individuals or groups were being given special access or consideration in the EB-5 program.” The report stressed that these actions were confirmed by “an extraordinary number of DHS employees.” One of those cases involved an investor in a Las Vegas hotel and casino in Reid’s home state of Nevada. “At the request of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mr. Mayorkas intervened to allow expedited review of investor petitions involved in funding a Las Vegas hotel and casino, notwithstanding the career staff’s original decision not to do so,” OIG said. “The career staff noted that the purported urgency was of the applicant’s own making and that the decision to expedite fell outside EB-5 program guidelines.” “Nevertheless, Mr. Mayorkas pressured staff to expedite the review,” it added. “He also took the extraordinary step of requiring staff to brief Senator Reid’s staff on a weekly basis for several months.”…”


Report: Homeland Security official used improper influence

“The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department improperly intervened on behalf of foreign investors in three cases involving the U.S. government soliciting investments in exchange for American visas, the agency’s inspector general said Tuesday. Investigators said he helped secure the visas, and created the appearance of favoritism and special access. The investigation could not suggest a motive for the official’s involvement. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there were lessons to be learned in the inspector general’s investigation but described the official, Alejandro Mayorkas, in a statement as “exceptionally conscientious, honest and patriotic.” Mayorkas at the time was head of the department’s Citizenship and Immigration Services agency. Mayorkas told investigators that his unusual involvement was intended to improve the government’s process or prevent mistakes. “He is often impatient with our sluggish government bureaucracy, can at times be very hands-on in resolving issues and problems that are brought to his personal attention, and is always mindful that we are public servants,” Johnson said. “Ali works hard to do the right thing, and never acts, in my observation, for reasons of personal advancement or aggrandizement.” The inspector general, John Roth, said Mayorkas involved himself in the three cases outside the normal process and in ways that benefited the foreign investors, but could not say why. Roth said that in each case, the government would have rejected the investors’ proposals except for Mayorkas’ involvement. He said Mayorkas caused resentment among agency career employees, managers and lawyers…”


Top DHS official shows ‘favoritism’ to wealthy, Dem-connected immigrants: report

“The No. 2 official at the Homeland Security Department meddled in three high-profile immigration cases, giving special treatment to applications from wealthy and well-connected immigrants after calls from major Democrats despite the objections of career employees, the department’s inspector general concluded in a report Tuesday. Alejandro Mayorkas, who was elevated from head of the department’s legal immigration agency to be deputy secretary while the investigation was ongoing, also angered many of his colleagues by getting involved in the cases, and “created an appearance of favoritism and special access” for the wealthy immigrants, the inspector general concluded. Inspector General John Roth said the cases involved major Democrats: former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Harry Reid, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In each case, pressure from those individuals helped earn favorable treatment, Mr. Roth said. The damning 99-page report also found problems with Homeland Security’s records-retention, reminiscent of the questions surrounding the IRS, the EPA and now the State Department and Mrs. Clinton’s email practices. Investigators said it was striking how many whistleblowers came forward to complain about Mr. Mayorkas’s behavior — and how worried they were about maintaining their anonymity, fearing retribution…”


Report: DHS showed favoritism to Democrat-linked immigrants


Inspector General: Top DHS Official Showed Favoritism to Hillary Clinton’s Brother

“A senior Department of Homeland Security official “created an appearance of favoritism and special access” by intervening on behalf of a company run by Hillary Clinton’s brother, a finding that contradicts the official’s testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing. The issue pertained to the EB-5 program, which provides visas to immigrants who invest in the United States. “In three matters pending before USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, now Deputy Secretary of DHS, communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders,” the DHS inspector general reports. “Regardless of Mr. Mayorkas’ motives, his intervention in these matters created significant resentment in USCIS. This resentment was not isolated to career staff adjudicating within the EB-5 program, but extended to senior managers and attorneys responsible for the broader USCIS mission and programs.” The report “specifically focused on allegations of special treatment afforded to a Las Vegas casino project championed by Sen. Harry Reid, then the Senate majority leader, and an electric car enterprise led by Terry McAuliffe, who is now Virginia governor, and involving Anthony Rodham, the brother of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” according to ABC. The inspector general notes that “an extraordinary number of DHS employees” blew the whistle on Mayorkas. “It is also quite unusual that a significant percentage of the witnesses we interviewed would talk to us only after being assured that their identities would remain confidential.” Senate Democrats confirmed Mayorkas to the second-highest post in DHS despite the allegations, which were being investigated when he testified before a Senate subcommittee panel ahead of his confirmation. “I have never ever in my career exercised undue influence to influence the outcome of a case,” Mayorkas said under questioning from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in 2013. “I have never based my decisions on who brings the case, but rather on the facts and the law. I have taken in my life oaths of office and each and every day, morning day and night, I have lived by those oaths.”…”


Cruz Hits Jeb Over Amnesty: Politicians Don’t Succeed ‘When They Treat Voters’ Like ‘Children’ [AUDIO]

“Ted Cruz’s campaign is a little more than 24 hours old and he is already taking on Jeb Bush. In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday morning, Cruz hit Bush and other potential 2016 candidates over their support immigration reform and amnesty, as well as Common Core, in the past. After Ingraham told him that Jeb claims to have “the grown up plan” on immigration, Cruz said he hasn’t seen much success amongst politicians “when they treat voters like children,” adding that’s the strategy of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

INGRAHAM: Do you take Jeb at his word that he’s not about the federal standards? I mean, if you’re going to beat Jeb, you’ve gotta hit Jeb. I mean, the idea that you’re going to beat Jeb Bush and you’re not going to go at Jeb Bush or you’re going to just dance around Jeb Bush — If I’m giving you advice, that’s not going to work. You have to take him on. I mean, big time.

CRUZ: You know, Laura, if m

Show more