Morning Action: The Senate Will Work on Budget, Defense Authorization Bills

By: Katherine Rosario
The Forge

BUDGET. The Senate is working to pass the Ryan-Murray budget this week, which Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 9% hopes to get to President Obama by the week’s end. This budget deal is very flawed policy and is comprised of a $63 billion spending increase over the next two years. We have identified the top policy reasons to oppose the Ryan-Murray budget and explained elsewhere how its passage would reduce fiscal leverage points to limit government:

According to the Washington Post, “After more than two years of constant crisis, the emerging agreement amounts to little more than a cease fire. Republicans and Democrats are abandoning their debt-reduction goals, laying down arms and, for the moment, trying to avoid another…standoff.” In short, this agreement is an effort to limit the number of fiscal standoffs over the next two years. Each of these standoffs have led to sustained public attention on the $17 trillion national debt and a seemingly bipartisan inability to get the country’s fiscal house in order.

DEFENSE. The Senate is also expected to consider the defense authorization bill, and it is expected to pass this week. The Heritage Foundation explains the importance of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its passage:

Congress exercises its Constitutional responsibility to “provide for the common defense” by passing key pieces of legislation: the annual defense appropriations bill…and the NDAA, which sets forth the policies that guide how that money is spent. The NDAA also provides direction and guidance on a host of Pentagon activities.… Congress has not passed a budget in years. The NDAA is all that is left. Now it looks like Sen. Reid is willing to let the NDAA die on his watch.

OBAMACARE NAVIGATORS. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to release a report Monday indicating Obamacare “navigators,” people responsible for helping consumers enroll for Obamacare, are not required to undergo background checks. Obamacare navigators have already given consumers faulty information and have encouraged consumers to commit tax fraud:

Navigators have been giving enrollees misinformation, the documents indicate, according to the Breitbart report. The documents also suggest navigators have also put consumers’ health, social security numbers, yearly income and other tax information at risk.

“Documents call into question the effectiveness of the Navigator program and the Obama administration’s ability to safeguard consumer information,” the committee report concluded.

Some ObamaCare navigators, the report says, “encouraged consumers to commit tax fraud by underreporting income in order to qualify for ObamaCare’s health insurance subsidies.”

UNINSURED. The Heritage Foundation explains the steps necessary to help the uninsured:

Level the playing field. People who aren’t offered health insurance through their workplaces deserve to be treated the same as those who do get coverage at work.

To fix this, Heritage has suggested a tax credit or tax deduction that would be the same for everyone. This would help offset the cost of insurance, making it more affordable.

Get coverage and keep it. Many people become uninsured because they lose a job or change jobs. Heritage proposes making insurance policies more personal—so that you can keep your policy, even if you change jobs. That way, your policy stays with you, even in an uncertain economy.

These two ideas would bring vast improvements over the health insurance market we have known. And they would go a long way toward helping people afford—and keep—health coverage.

CHRISTMAS. The Heritage Foundation has designed conservative Christmas cards with quotes from Heritage President Jim DeMint, Ronald Reagan, and Lady Thatcher.

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