Daily News Briefing: Lerner says she doesn't want to testify because she's getting 'death threats'

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Published by: Clark Barrow

Clark Barrow

Oh, and if she does she'll still plead the Fifth.

  • BIG COST - The Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rules aimed at phasing out coal-fired power in favor of low-carbon fuels will come at a high cost, according to a newly released report.

 

  • TARGETED - Lois Lerner fears for her life if she testifies openly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday, according to her attorney.   

 

  • OBAMACARE - The Obama administration has asked Congress for about $600 million in new funds to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act in 2015, including work on the insurance-enrollment website HealthCare.gov.

 

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - President Obama proposed a $3.9 trillion budget package Tuesday peppered with new taxes on upper-income Americans and businesses, plus numerous spending initiatives aimed at bolstering education, research and low-income work programs.

 

 

 

DOMESTIC POLICY

ECONOMIC NEWS

  • BIG COST - The Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rules aimed at phasing out coal-fired power in favor of low-carbon fuels will come at a high cost, according to a newly released report.
    • Over the next two decades, the EPA’s rules to fight global warming will cost the economy $2.23 trillion, raise energy prices and lower families’ incomes.
    • Using economic models based on the federal government’s National Energy Model System, the conservative Heritage Foundation found that, by the end of 2023, EPA climate regulations will cost the U.S. nearly 600,000 jobs and reduce a family of four’s income by $1,200.

 

  • WEALTH  TAX - In Britain, the leftwing Young Labour party proposed a 10 percent one-off wealth tax on the richest 10 percent. The move - which has been widely condemned as irresponsible - came during a stormy weekend, of intimidation, bullying and left wing motions.
    • One delegate, Cameron Beavan-King, attacked the event claiming that "the left (were) reasserting themselves, with a series of extreme proposals" including the wealth tax. The plan would force everyone subjected to it to hand over 10 percent of any property they have including land, shares and cars.

 

IN THE DISTRICT

  • TARGETED - Lois Lerner fears for her life if she testifies openly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday, according to her attorney.   
    • House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa announced Sunday that Lerner will testify at Wednesday’s hearing, but Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor said that Lerner will seek to continue invoking her Fifth Amendment rights and will also seek a one-week delay of her testimony.
    • Oversight members are reportedly open to granting Lerner a one-week delay if she petitions for one in person at Wednesday’s hearing. The delay would allow Lerner’s lawyers to continue negotiating for immunity, which they have been doing since at least September.

 

  • FRAUD - A failure to properly supervise a Department of Veteran’s Affairs employee led him to use VA resources for sexting, misuse official time, and inappropriately spend thousands of dollars in travel funds, according to a recent report.

 

  • WE THE PEOPLE - Tea party challenges to Republican senators are fizzling across the country, leaving Mississippi as the only state where a longtime Republican officeholder is seriously endangered by a primary threat from his right.

 

  • 2014 - The American people trust Democrats more than Republicans on some of the key issues of the day, but that has not translated into any political advantage in the battle for control of the House and Senate in this year’s midterm elections, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
    • Midterm elections generally favor the party that does not hold the White House, which gives the GOP a head start this year. Political handicappers rate Republicans as favorites to maintain their House majority and say the GOP has a legitimate opportunity to gain the six seats it needs to take control of the Senate.
    • The Post-ABC survey affirms those projections, showing Republicans in a stronger position than Democrats in the states with Senate races this fall and more than holding their own in the battle for control of the House. In the 34 states with Senate races, 50 percent of voters say they favor Republicans and 42 percent favor Democrats.

 

  • CONGRESS - While discussing federal spending and transportation funding last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said “there is absolutely no way we’re going to cut spending.”
    • Boxer was discussing the Highway Trust Fund with members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in Washington on Feb. 26, when she addressed various tax increases that may be used to raise money for the program.

 

  • CONGRESS - House Republicans are being accused of “environmental racism” by an environmental group that argues GOP efforts to reform decades-old chemical laws would disproportionately harm minority groups.

 

  • OBAMACARE - The Obama administration has asked Congress for about $600 million in new funds to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act in 2015, including work on the insurance-enrollment website HealthCare.gov.
    • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that it will cost about a total of $1.8 billion to keep rolling out the president's signature health-care law. However, the administration estimates that about $1.2 billion will come from various taxes and fees that were created by the health law. Part of the law's funding comes from fees imposed on the pharmaceutical and health-insurance industries.
    • Meanwhile, the Obama administration is set to announce another major delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act, easing election pressure on Democrats.
    • Meanwhile, Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange said Monday it will pay its main technology contractor much of the money it’s been withholding in payments, in exchange for Oracle’s promise to continue working with the state during a transition period.
    • This comes as Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects behind Obamacare, is now claiming that “insurance companies as we know them are about to die.” Critics of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law have long alleged that one of the real goals of the law was to put private insurance companies out of business.

 

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - President Obama proposed a $3.9 trillion budget package Tuesday peppered with new taxes on upper-income Americans and businesses, plus numerous spending initiatives aimed at bolstering education, research and low-income work programs.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - Organizing for Action is revamping its fundraising practices and fired a fundraiser amid questions about whether the group was promising access to Obama administration officials in exchange for donations.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - Despite an increase in the number of students who receive free meals as a part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, 1.6 million students have dropped out of the school lunch program, according to a Government Accountability Office Report (GAO), which noted that part of the decline was due to the palatability of the lunch offerings, and “plate waste” – students throwing away some of the food.

 

  • WHITE HOUSE - March is Women's History Month, and to celebrate, the Twitter account from Organizing for Action, the former campaign arm of President Obama, sent out a photo of him including one of his own quotes about women.

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • WASTE - The federal government spent millions of dollars on thousands of upgraded flights for employees in 2012 and 2013, paying many times more for business and first-class seats than the same flights would have cost in coach or the government-contracted rate.
    • Premium travel reports from 14 federal agencies documenting the flights show these agencies alone spent an estimated $8.7 million on 1,903 upgraded flights in those two years. That was about $6.4 million more than the same coach and government-rate flights would have cost.
    • The agencies spent $5.7 million in 2012, almost double the $3 million they paid for premium travel in 2013.

 

EDUCATION

  • BANG - A central Ohio principal says she suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun and pointing it at another student's head.

 

LOCAL ISSUES

  • NO HONOR - A humanist group filed a federal lawsuit last week to tear down the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a World War I memorial that honors the 49 Prince George’s County, Md., residents who died serving their country.

 

 

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