Category: Our Governments Actions

VA is failing at its core mission; we need oversight, accountability, and action!

The ACLJ had this say about the ongoing Veterans Administrations debacle –

The men and women of our armed forces deserve our gratitude. They have fought, sacrificed, and died for the freedoms we hold dear. We owe them an enormous debt. But we owe more than our gratitude. We owe our nation’s veterans the best medical care available. Disturbingly, the VA scandal has exposed a federal bureaucracy that has not only left our veterans behind it is broken a solemn promise to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. President Obama and his Administration has left our heroes behind. His recent press conference promising an “investigation” is wholly insufficient to correct this horrific dereliction of duty. There are reports that 26 or more VA hospitals could be embroiled in this exploding scandal. They deserve more than this Administration’s empty promises.

One of the biggest problems is that with any federal job it’s next to impossible to get fired, even though someone shows no ability to complete their job satisfactorily.

The USA Today says federal employees’ job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired, a USA TODAY analysis finds –

When job security is at a premium, the federal government remains the place to work for those who want to avoid losing a job. The job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43% last year and nearly 100% for those on the job more than a few years. The nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 or more enjoyed a 99.82% job security rate in 2010. Only 27 of 35,000 federal attorneys were fired last year. None was laid off. Death claimed 33.

David French had this to say –

I’m sorry, but if the process for termination is complex, expensive, and difficult, then employees can and will game the system with near-impunity. Spend much time talking to conscientious VA employees, and they’ll tell you stories of the colleague caught snorting cocaine in the parking lot who’s allowed to work the next day, other colleagues who do nothing but surf the web and run eBay businesses from their office, or others who milk complaint processes to make life miserable for supervisors who try to impose order and efficiency. The system is so dysfunctional that top-down demands for improvement and efficiency are simply laughed off. The military is plagued with similar deficiencies. While the deployed military is hardly perfect, the immediacy of danger and the horrific real-world consequences of failure do create a mindset that can cut through red tape to properly sustain and support our forces at the tip of the spear, but when you arrive back home, the world changes. I was astonished and remain astonished at the amount of paperwork (often 100-plus pages that must be perfectly completed) required to toss out of the Army Reserve a soldier who not only fails to show up for work for months, but also refuses to answer any inquiries from his command. And don’t get me started on the bureaucratic minefield that is the medical separation process. Talk to any soldier about military bureaucracy and prepare to hear stories that will shock anyone but an employee of another federal agency.

It is an immutable law of human nature that extremes of job security will quite often result in extremes in incompetence and corruption. You can clean house at the top of the VA, but until the VA can clean house at all ranks — or, better yet, until the VA can clean house at all ranks and faces an existential threat to its very existence (in the same way that incompetent private-sector businesses do) — we’ll continue to stain our national honor by mistreating our nation’s heroes.

Bureaucracies fail. It’s the thing they do best.

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Updated: May 24, 2014 — 5:51 PM

Obama’s Unilateral Presidency

Some may not remember that President Obama was a constitutional lawyer prior to becoming a Senator. While on the campaign trial in 2007, he reminded us that it was his duty to ensure the constitution was being followed.

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Senator Cruz released a list of seventy-six actions made by the President that completely violated the constitution and are grave examples of the abuse of his Presidential power.

Senators Cruz had this to say in his report titled “The Legal Limit: The Obama Administration’s Attempts To Expand Federal Power” –

The President’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too. 
Rule of law doesn’t simply mean that society has laws; dictatorships are often characterized by an abundance of laws. Rather, rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men. No one—and especially not the president—is above the law. For that reason, the U.S. Constitution imposes on every president the express duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” 
Rather than honor this duty, President Obama has openly defied it by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 
In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House to ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same. 
For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed. That would be wrong—and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness. As Montesquieu knew, an imperial presidency threatens the liberty of every citizen. Because when a president can pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore, he is no longer a president. 

Here is the category list:

  • Governing by Executive Fiat
  • National Security
  • Obamacare
  • Economy
  • Executive Nominees and Personnel
  • Free Speech and Privacy
  • Lawless Acts
  • Abuses of Power

Of course I am not going to list all seventy-six, however I will list some that are the most popular. When reading the violations you have to ask yourself a question (I know I did,) why has not the Congress acted on holding this administration accountable for their unconstitutional actions?

The Heritage Network explains seven of the seventy-six here –

1. Delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate

The administration announced that Obamacare won’t be implemented as it was passed, so employers with 50 or more employees don’t have to provide the mandated health coverage for at least another year (and longer if they play their cards right). Slattery and Kloster observe that “The law does not authorize the president to push back the employer mandate’s effective date.”

2. Giving Congress and their staffs special taxpayer-funded subsidies for Obamacare

It was uncomfortable for members of Congress when they realized that, through Obamacare, they had kicked themselves and their staffs out of the taxpayer-funded subsidies they were enjoying for health coverage. But the administration said no problem and gave them new subsidies. In this case, “the administration opted to stretch the law to save Obamacare—at the taxpayers’ expense.”

3. Trying to fulfill the “If you like your plan, you can keep it” promise—after it was broken

When Americans started getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies because Obamacare’s new rules were kicking in, the president’s broken promise was exposed. He tried to fix things by telling insurance companies to go back to old plans that don’t comply with Obamacare—just for one year. Slattery and Kloster note that “The letter announcing this non-enforcement has no basis in law.”

4. Preventing layoff notices from going out just days before the 2012 election

There’s a law that says large employers have to give employees 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs. And layoffs were looming due to federal budget cuts in 2012. But the Obama administration told employers to go against the law and not issue those notices—which would have hit mailboxes just days before the presidential election. The administration “also offered to reimburse those employers at the taxpayers’ expense if challenged for failure to give that notice.”

5. Gutting the work requirement from welfare reform

The welfare reform that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996 required that welfare recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program work or prepare for work to receive the aid. The Obama administration essentially took out that requirement by offering waivers to states, even though the law expressly states that waivers of the work requirement are not allowed. “Despite [the law’s] unambiguous language, the Obama administration continues to flout the law with its ‘revisionist’ interpretation,” write Slattery and Kloster.

6. Stonewalling an application for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain

This was another case where the administration simply refused to do what was required by law. An application was submitted for nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, but “Despite the legal requirement, the Obama Administration refused to consider the application.”

7. Making “recess” appointments that were not really recess appointments

Slattery and Kloster explain that “In January 2012, President Obama made four ‘recess’ appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, claiming that, since the Senate was conducting only periodic pro forma sessions, it was not available to confirm those appointees.” The catch: The Senate wasn’t in recess at the time. Courts have since struck down the appointments, but the illegitimate appointees already moved forward some harmful policies.

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Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon Evaluates the Obama Administration’s National Security Policies

The Heritage Foundation

After over a decade of war, America’s armed forces are under stress and at risk. Sequestration and the Administration’s budget cuts threaten to undermine America’s capability to win wars and prepare for future conflicts. They also are taking away predictability with regard to planning for unexpected contingencies in the future.

One of the few bills that the President has signed into law each year since taking office is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Join us as Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon offers insights into the upcoming NDAA process, evaluates the Obama Administration’s national security policies, and reflects upon their impact on America’s core defense capabilities.

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