Saturday, February 26, 2011

And So, Rationing Begins: ObamaCare Vs. Breast Cancer Patients

from Town Hall:

Garrett Murch

And So Rationing Begins: ObamaCare vs. Breast Cancer Patients

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Sign-Up Influenced by the president’s mandate to “bend the health care cost curve,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to deny late-stage breast cancer patients access to the critical, but expensive, life-extending drug Avastin. The FDA wants to “de-label” the drug, a move that would force patients with insurance or Medicare coverage to pay for the drug out of their own pocket in order to survive. Now patients groups are speaking out.

Led by the Susan B. Komen Foundation for a Cure, 15 patient advocacy groups have petitioned the FDA to reverse their effort to ration the drug. In a letter to the FDA, Elizabeth Thompson, the organization’s President, expresses concern over the potential negative impact that the FDA’s decision will have on women who are benefiting from Avastin:

"We know that for some number of women, Avastin works and works well. We have heard from women who are gaining not just months, but years with a high quality of life, from this treatment.

We are concerned about the potential impact on women who are benefiting from Avastin if the FDA ultimately removes its approval for the drug for metastatic breast cancer treatment. We want to be sure that women who are using Avastin, and for whom it is working, can continue to have access to it, and that their insurers will continue to pay for it...

Today, the issue is Avastin. In the coming years, there will be other treatments that may be controversial but will help some number of women and men with breast cancer live longer, high quality lives, and perhaps to ‘beat’ breast cancer altogether…[w]e must make it possible for these treatments to be available to all who will benefit from them. The decision on Avastin is precedent setting and deserves to be considered in a public setting."

The Avastin case is the rationing camel nose under America’s health care tent. Should the FDA successfully introduce cost into the drug approval process, the long-term implications will be enormous. It will not be breast cancer patients alone who will suffer. Avastin is first step on the slippery slope toward rationing. The FDA’s action is dangerous and cannot stand.

Fortunately, Judge Vinson’s ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional has temporarily given hope that we may reverse course before it is too late. While Vinson’s decision finds Obamacare’s individual mandate unconstitutional, it strikes down the entire law as the mandate is not severable from the full legislation.

Like the individual mandate, FDA rationing is a flawed (some might say lazy, dishonest, or inhumane) attempt to lower Obamacare’s alarming financial cost. But both come with heavy price tags, nonetheless. While the mandate will cost jobs and wages, FDA rationing will cost lives that could otherwise be extended, improved, or even saved. We simply cannot afford the real cost of ObamaCare.

Vinson’s decision makes clear ObamaCare implementation by state and federal officials should immediately cease. The Cato Institute’s Mike Cannon and Ilya Shapiro, in a devastating column in the Providence Journal note:

"In ruling as he did, Judge Vinson wrote that “it must be presumed that federal officers will adhere to the law as declared by the court.” Yet the Obama administration has thus far shown no inclination to do so. But neither has it sought to stay the practical effects of the ruling — perhaps because it thinks that doing so would give credence to the court’s decision."

Sadly, the Obama Administration appears to be making calls out of President Andrew Jackson’s playbook. America’s seventh President reportedly once said about a Supreme Court ruling that Georgia could not impose its laws upon Cherokee tribal lands, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!"

Rather than adhering to Judge Vinson’s ruling or request a stay, the Obama Administration is instead requesting a ‘clarification’ of the decision, a thinly veiled attempt to run interference for ObamaCare’s supporters to continue moving forward with implementation of the law. Like its attempts to use the Environmental Protection Agency to bypass Congress in issuing politically unpalatable energy and environmental regulations, the Administration is showing a blatant disregard for the Constitutional separation of powers in ignoring Judge Vinson’s ruling.

Even with Vinson’s decision, the fight is not over and ObamaCare advocates may ultimately prevail, FDA health care rationing and all. The case is expected to move to the 11th Circuit Court by this summer. Efforts are even underway to expedite consideration by the Supreme Court. Until, then, however, it is clear ObamaCare implementation must be put on hold. We do still live in a nation of laws, after all.

Mr. President, Judge Vinson has made his decision, now you have to enforce it!

Garrett Murch

Garrett Murch is a writer and a former aide to Sen. Olympia Snowe.

ObamaCare On The Front Lines

From Town Hall:

Jason Fodeman

ObamaCare on the Front Lines

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Sign-Up 2011 has commenced and even though New Year’s cards may still remain prominently displayed on the kitchen table, a newly implemented provision of the health care overhaul law likely has some physicians and patients across the country yearning for the good old days of 2010. As of January 1, 2011, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) states patients with flexible savings accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) can no longer use these tax-sheltered vehicles to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines without a doctor’s prescription. This legislation will adversely impact physicians, patients, health care costs, and flies in the face of the enabling law that established these programs.

Previously, patients with these patient-directed plans could go to the local CVS or Walgreens and use their account to purchase an OTC medicine. Now patients need a prescription. This applies to a multitude of commonly-used medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl, Prilosec, Zantac, and many, many others.

Ultimately, this eviscerates the usefulness of these programs and will lead to extra, unnecessary work during physician-patient encounters. Doctors will now have to waste time writing OTC prescriptions for those who want to utilize their accounts. These are precious minutes that physicians could better spend performing other vital tasks such as making sure a patient understands a treatment course or warning signs to look out for. Additionally, this could lead to superfluous office visits by likely forcing some patients to make extra appointments just so they can get OTC prescriptions. This inundation will likely impact primary care physicians the most.

Let us not forget a severe physician shortage exists in this country. As millions of newly insured people formally enter the health care system, that shortage is only going to get worse. Health care providers need policy makers to foster efficiency and help them to maximize scarce resources. This law does the opposite. It makes the efficient inefficient and lacks any positive rationale for its existence.

For patients, the statute will be equally annoying. It will compel those privy of the intricacies of PPACA to waste time tracking down their physicians to acquire these now necessary prescriptions. This will mean more phone calls, more letters, and more time waiting in a physician’s office. Not exactly what the doctor ordered!

Of course, it’s safe to assume that some people between working and raising a family may have missed the memo about these new restrictions and will continue with business as usual. Down-the-line these patients could face penalties and problems with the IRS for using these special accounts contrary to the mandates.

Extra medical visits will culminate in additional health care costs. This law could also push some doctors to order more expensive trade-name drugs, which would exacerbate the impact on health care costs.

In fact the provision undercuts the very purpose of these consumer-driven plans. Their goal is to empower patients to shop around and become smarter health care consumers. Data shows they do in fact work. Yet, this legislation throws a monkey wrench in their success. It makes them more cumbersome and less attractive to patients. Unfortunately, more restrictions with these popular accounts are in the works. The new law puts them on a trajectory to oblivion, which is consistent with the administration’s vision of a one-size fits-all medical system regulated by bureaucrats.

In outlining a new regulatory review, President Obama recently wrote “we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.” If the President is truly serious about this objective, perhaps the 1,000’s of pages of regulations emanating from ObamaCare would be a good place to start.

Jason Fodeman

Jason D. Fodeman, M.D. is an Internal Medicine Resident at UCONN and a former health policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Court Case Warns EPA Could "Own" Your Land!

From World Net Daily and Vision to America:

Court case warns EPA could 'own' your land!

Petition to Supremes cites danger of 'ruinous' compliance order fines


Posted: February 26, 2011

1:00 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh

© 2011 WorldNetDaily

Mike and Chantell Sackett

A legal team asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in an Idaho controversy is warning landowners that under the compliance order procedures being used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency virtually anyone could be told to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in permit fees – or face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties – over ordinary home construction work.

A petition for certiorari has been submitted to the court by Pacific Legal, an organization working on behalf of the Sackett family of Idaho.

They own a half-acre lot in a residential area near Priest Lake and wanted to build a home. But after excavation work was begun the EPA "swooped in" with a "compliance order" that requires them to undo the excavation and restore the "wetlands," and then leave it for three years at which point they could seek a "permit" that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws"

Or they could wait for the EPA to prosecute the alleged Clean Water Act violations, which could result in penalties of $25,000-plus per day.

According to officials with Pacific Legal, the Sacketts' land has no standing water or any continuously flowing water, and they would like an opportunity to challenge the EPA's "wetlands" determination in court.

However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the most overturned court in the land, said before a court could issue a ruling on the EPA's order, the family would have to go through a years-long, $200,000-plus process of formally applying for a federal wetlands permit.

According to the petition, "Ignoring the compliance order is no option, for several reasons. First, the CWA imposes significant civil penalties for violating compliance orders. … Just one month of noncompliance puts the landowner at risk of civil liability of $750,000. A year's worth of noncompliance puts the liability at $9,000,000."

WND calls seeking comment from the Environmental Protection Agency did not produce a response.

"The Sacketts are being hit with an unconscionable price tag for the right to challenge the feds' power play," Damien Schiff, lead attorney in the case, said in a prepared statement.

"Basic principles of due process say that the Sacketts deserve their day in court, to argue for their property rights. As we're arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court, putting an exorbitant price tag on the pursuit of justice, and the defense of property rights, is flat-out unconstitutional."

Mike and Chantell Sackett explained their situation themselves:

"The issue in this case is simple, but critically important to all property owners, and everyone who values fair play and due process," Schiff said. "When bureaucrats try to impose their will on private property, shouldn't the owners be permitted their day in court, to challenge the government's claim of control?"

Said Chantell, "They've stopped our life … I just think they're bullying us. I think they do whatever they want."

The video, produced by Pacific Legal, points out that the EPA could exercise such jurisdiction over any parcel of land anywhere in the nation.

The petition explains to the high court that the Sacketts "were provided no evidentiary hearing or opportunity to contest the order."

And it explains the 5th Amendment, which states, "No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," should be applied.

The 9th Circuit conclusion "leaves property owners like the Sacketts in an impossible situation: either go through with the permit process that you believe is completely unnecessary and spend more money than your property is worth to 'purchase' your chance at your day in court; or invite an enforcement action by EPA that may give you your day in court but only at the price of ruinous civil penalties and, depending on the EPA's ire, criminal sanctions for underlying violations of the CWA."

Even the permitting process is not realistic, it argues.

"In many instances the agencies will not entertain a permit application until the compliance order has been resolved … For the Sacketts, that would mean (a) removing all the fill; and, (b) restoring the preexisting 'wetlands,' which would necessitate leaving the property untouched for a prolonged period of time," the brief argues.

The legal team noted that between 1980 and 2001, the EPA issued up to 3,000 compliance orders every year across the nation.

"The reality of the Sacketts' situation is that they have been unambiguously commanded by their government not to complete their home-building project, to take expensive measures to undo the improvements that they have made to their land, and to maintain their land essentially as a public park until the property is 'restored' to the satisfaction of the EPA. They have been threatened with frightening penalties if they do not immediately obey; but they have been refused the prompt hearing they should have received as a matter of right in any court."


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Bob Unruh is a news editor for

Read more: Court case warns EPA could 'own' your land!

Friday, February 25, 2011

De-Funding Obama's Union-Led Regulatory Army

From Big Government:

1:43 PM (11 hours ago)Defunding Obama’s Union Led Regulatory Armyfrom Big Government by Warner Todd HustonYou might recall that with great fanfare and the slobberingly positive coverage by the Old Media, President Obama made Reagan-like and claimed that he thought it was time to get rid of the regulations strangling American business. Since that time he’s met with businesses and pretended to suddenly be a pro-business, pro-economic growth president. His actions, however, give the lie to his sudden turn around from anti-business to pro-business man. Thankfully the GOP is making to help the president become what he’s selling himself as, despite his best intentions.

One of those ways that the GOP is assisting Obama to become business friendly — no matter how much Obama hates the idea — was announced last week by John Kline and the Republicans of the Education and the Workforce Committee of the House of Representatives.

Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) announced the closer scrutiny that the GOP intends to level upon the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal entity that is supposed to act as a mediator for disputes between labor. That closer scrutiny is a result of Obama’s appointees moving the NLRB from mediator between business and labor to outright advocate in favor of Big Labor.

Showing what he truly thinks of the business sector, Obama’s NLRB has been punishing businesses as much as possible and attacking worker’s rights in the process. By making labor friendly rules changes and using the office as an activist tool to take business to court to force them to accede to labor demands, all things that has never been done on such a scale before.

Obama’s NLRB has made several key rules changes that the GOP members of the committee say shows that it is, “eager to tilt the playing field in favor of powerful special interests against the interests of rank-and-file workers.”

Here are just a few of the things that the NLRB has done since Obama stocked the office full of former Big Labor employees and their lawyers.

•Essentially ended the decades old ban on “secondary boycotts” by allowing banners to be placed in front of businesses not involved in any labor dispute. A secondary boycott is when union agitators picket and attack the business of someone for whom they do not work but who does business with their employer. The goal here is for the union attackers to make associates of their own employer want to cease doing business with the union member’s place of employment to pressure their employer to accede to their demands. Sort of a guilt by association attack on the innocent, unconnected business. This used to be illegal until Obama’s labor hacks infested the NLRB.

•The NLRB decided that it now controls the child care centers of churches and religious institutions. No law change or act of Congress needed. They just decided out of hand that they now control all the kids in Churches.

•The NLRB wants to allow unions to try to organize a business not just by company but by job type. Instead of having to convince an entire company to unionize or not, the NLRB wants to allow unions to come in and unionize as few as 3 employees who happen to have the same job title and/or duties. This will allow unions to piecemeal a business to death and will make it far easier to organize when you don’t have to convince hundreds of employees to vote yes, but only need 2 or 3 to say yes and the place is automatically unionized.

•Changed rules to force employers to act as a union information outlet by making employers inform employees all about the union options they have.

•The NLRB wants to change rules to force “card check” on workers, a rule that will take away their right to a secret ballot while voting for or against unions. This is the very law that Congress rejected because voters are against it. So, since Obama didn’t get his way through legitimate legislation, he’s doing it through his powers to make rules by fiat.

•Changed rules to shorten the election time that unions have so business has less time to mount a defense against unions.

•Just last month the NLRB announced that it intended to sue any state that passed state legislation guaranteeing that workers can have a secret ballot election. So intent is Obama on taking away worker’s rights to a private vote in union elections that he’d even sue whole states to prevent them from guaranteeing the ages-old democratic right.

•The NLRB even wants to make a new rule that would have girl scouts and kid’s sports teams thrown out of businesses all across the country. Obama is demanding that if businesses allow girl scouts to sell cookies on their property, then they will also have to allow unions to flood their business to solicit for members.

When I said above that these are just a few of the Big Labor approved rules changes that Obama’s NLRB have changed or are in the process of changing, I mean that. There are dozens like this all aimed at hurting business and giving paybacks, sweetheart deals, and extra help to Big Labor.

Of course, now Obama and his comrades on the board want to wildly increase the budget of the NLRB. Obama seeks an increase of $71.2 million over the NLRB’s 2001 levels of funding. And yet, the agency has seen a steep drop in its caseload because unions have fallen to less than 7% of the private-sector workforce. Even as Obama wants a 33% increase in NLRB funding the agency has seen a 45% drop in its case load because of falling union numbers.

So why are we spending millions more for an agency that has less on its plate every year? Only so that Obama’s NLRB can have the funding to turn activist in order to increase union membership and create more rules and regulations that could hamper business.

Obama specializes in ladling on the sort of soothing rhetoric that makes it seem as if he desires a tack to the center. He’s the “reasonable” guy. But his actions never, ever reveal the “reasonable.” They always reveal a hard left ideologue that stands ready to use his power to regulate to hurt business and help unions.

Republicans are not powerless here, though. Last week Georgia Congressman Tom Price showed us how we might put a dent in the anti-business plans of Obama’s jobs-crushing NLRB by adding an amendment to the current budget negotiations that would totally defund the NLRB for the rest of 2011.

Price hopes to take away the resources that the NLRB hopes to put to its anti-business climate. His amendment reads, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay the salaries and expenses of personnel to carry out and implement the National Labor Relations Act.”

Price needs to be supported in this amendment and many more of its type needs to be (and are being) added to the continuing resolution budget process.

The left has specialized in sending forth blizzards of such changes, amendments and regulatory alterations, so many that it is impossible to stop them all. The GOP should emulate that in these budget cut proposals.

In the end, we all know that the government is spent out. But something as badly misused by Obama as the NLRB is a perfect target for savings. Legislative Update


Table of Contents


H.R. 685: Checkpoint Images Protection Act of 2011

H.R. 675: Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act

S. 401: Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act of 2011

S. 370:

S. 350: Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2011

S. 319: Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2011

S. Amendment 85:


H.R. 685: Checkpoint Images Protection Act of 2011

Sponsor: Jackson-Lee (D - TX)

Official Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to criminalize the unauthorized recording and distribution of security screening images of individuals created by advanced imaging technology utilized by the Transportation Security Administration or other Federal authority, require the Transportation Security Administration to disable image retention capabilities of advanced imaging technology, and for other purposes.


2/14/2011: Introduced in House

2/14/2011: Referred to House Judiciary Committee

2/14/2011: Referred to House Homeland Security Committee

2/16/2011: Referred to House Transportation Security Subcommittee

Commentary: This bill is similar in substance to Senate Amendment 58 that has been proposed for S. 223, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. H.R. 685 would make it a criminal violation for an unauthorized individual to "knowingly" photograph, record, or distribute any images produced using "advanced imaging technology during the screening of an individual at an airport, or upon entry into any building owned or operated by the Federal Government." A narrow exception to this prohibition is provided for the use or distribution of protected images in conjunction with a criminal investigation or prosecution or in an investigation related to foreign intelligence or a threat to national security. Violators of this amendment's prohibition would be subject to criminal sanctions of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both.

H.R. 675: Strengthening Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures Act

Sponsor: Herger (R - CA)

Official Title: To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to expand the permissive exclusion from participation in Federal health care programs to individuals and entities affiliated with sanctioned entities.


2/11/2011: Introduced in House

2/11/2011: Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee

2/11/2011: Referred to House Ways and Means Committee

2/11/2011: Referred to House Budget Committee

Commentary: Section 1320a-7 of Title 42, U.S. Code, sets forth the bases on which the Secretary of Health and Human Services "shall" (subsection (a)) and "may" (subsection (b)) exclude persons and entities from participation in federal health care programs. This bill would clarify 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7(b)(15), which extends any exclusion to include any individual who controls a sanctioned entity. As amended, the exclusion would extend to any individual who has an ownership or control interest in a sanctioned entity or an affiliate of a sanctioned entity and who knew or should have known of the conduct that forms the basis for exclusion. Section 1320a-7a(i)(7) of Title 42 defines "should know" to include "deliberate ignorance" of and "reckless disregard" for the truth but states that "no proof of specific intent to defraud is required." As amended, the exclusion would also extend to an officer or managing employee of the entity. An entity or individual threatened with exclusion is entitled to notice and a hearing before the sanction is imposed.

S. 401: Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act of 2011

Sponsor: Leahy (D - VT)

Official Title: A bill to help Federal prosecutors and investigators combat public corruption by strengthening and clarifying the law.


2/17/2011: Introduced in Senate

2/17/2011: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

Commentary: This bill is substantively similar to S. 49 from the 111th Congress, which Senator Leahy also sponsored. Like the earlier bill, S. 401 seeks to implement a massive number of changes to various federal criminal statutes. Changes of note include the following: (1) extending the statute of limitations to six years for certain "serious public corruption offenses"; (2) modifying the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to apply to schemes to obtain "any other thing of value" in addition to the current law's "money or property"; (3) amending 18 U.S.C. § 666(a) to lower the applicable monetary threshold from its current $5000 level to a $1000 level and increase the applicable criminal penalty from up to 10 years imprisonment to up to 15 years imprisonment; (4) increasing the maximum penalty for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 641 from a maximum of 10 years imprisonment to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment; (5) increasing the maximum penalty for violations of 18 U.S.C. 201(b) from a maximum of 15 years imprisonment to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment; (6) increasing the maximum penalties for a variety of public corruption related offenses (including 18 U.S.C. §§ 600, 601(a), 602(a), 606, 607(a)(2), and 610); (7) adding bribery, theft, and embezzlement of public funds to the predicates for RICO; (8) adding additional wiretap predicates to 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1)(c); (9) clarifying the language of the federal illegal gratuities statute (18 U.S.C. 201(a)); and (10) expanding venue for perjury and obstruction of justice proceedings.

S. 370:

Sponsor: Casey (D - PA)

Official Title: A bill to require contractors to notify small business concerns that have been included in offers relating to contracts let by Federal agencies, and for other purposes.


2/16/2011: Introduced in Senate

2/16/2011: Referred to Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee

Commentary: This bill would amend Section 8(d) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)) to require that an offeror who is awarded a government contract with a Federal agency notify all small business concerns of their inclusion as potential subcontractors in the offer at issue. S. 370 would require any offeror that "intends to identify a small business concern as a potential subcontractor in the offer relating to the contract" to (1) notify the small business concern that the offeror intends to identify them as a potential subcontractor in the offer, and (2) include with the offer a written acknowledgment by the small business concern that the notice has been received. Violations of this provision would initially be punishable by a fine equivalent to 20 percent of the value of the contract at issue. Repeat violations would be punishable by a fine equal to 50 percent of the value of the contract at issue or by debarment from contracting with the United States government for a period of one year. Three-time violators of the provisions of S. 370 would be subject to permanent debarment from contracting with the United States government.

S. 350: Environmental Crimes Enforcement Act of 2011

Sponsor: Leahy (D - VT)

Official Title: A bill to require restitution for victims of criminal violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and for other purposes.


2/15/2011: Introduced in Senate

2/15/2011: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

Commentary: Section 3663A of Title 18, U.S. Code, mandates that those convicted of certain crimes pay restitution to the victims of those crimes. This bill, which is substantively similar to S. 3466 from the 111th Congress, would add a wide range of conduct prohibited by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act, to the list of crimes for which restitution must be ordered as part of the sentence. Because restitution would be mandatory, federal courts would not have the discretionary authority to decide in any case that justice does not require or is contrary to ordering restitution. Under 33 U.S.C 3319(c), any person who "negligently" or "knowingly" violates a number of provisions of the Clean Water Act can be prosecuted. In addition, any person who "knowingly" violates any of those provisions and "who knows at the time that he thereby places another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury" is subject to increased punishment.

S. 319: Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2011

Sponsor: Snowe (R - ME)

Official Title: A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the importation of prescription drugs, and for other purposes.


2/10/2011: Introduced in Senate

2/10/2011: Referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Commentary: This bill is nearly identical to S. 525 from the 111th Congress, which was introduced by Senator Dorgan (D-ND), and would allow the importation of prescription drugs by wholesalers and pharmacies that register with the Department of Health and Human Services. S. 319 would also create a criminal offense for the importation of drugs in "knowing" violation of a vast array of regulations issued under the Food and Drug Act, including violations of any registration requirement, falsifications of any record required to be kept or provided to the government, and violations of any other regulatory condition concerning drug importation. Violations would be punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, criminal fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both.

S. Amendment 85:

Sponsor: Nelson (D - NE)

Official Title:


2/14/2011: Introduced in Senate

Commentary: This amendment is proposed as a modification to Senate Amendment 58 for S. 223, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. S. Amendment 58 would add a criminal penalty to the bill for the unauthorized recording and distribution of any images produced using "advanced imaging technology during the screening of an individual at an airport, or upon entry into any building owned or operated by the Federal Government." S. Amendment 85 would maintain that proposed penalty, but would slightly alter the available exceptions to the prohibition, allowing for the use or distribution of protected images during the course of authorized intelligence activities, Federal, State, or local criminal investigations or prosecutions, or other lawful activities by Federal, State, or local authorities, including training for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. As with S. Amendment 58, violators of S. Amendment 85's prohibition would be subject to criminal sanctions of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Environmentalist Fraud And Manslaughter

From Town Hall:

Paul Driessen

Environmentalist Fraud and Manslaughter

Email Paul Driessen
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Sign-Up Many chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer have highly unpleasant side effects – hair loss, vomiting, intense joint pain, liver damage and fetal defects, to name just a few. But anyone trying to ban the drugs would be tarred, feathered and run out of town. And rightly so.

The drugs’ benefits vastly outweigh their risks. They save lives. We need to use chemo drugs carefully, but we need to use them.

The same commonsense reasoning should apply to the Third World equivalent of chemotherapy drugs: DDT and other insecticides to combat malaria. Up to half a billion people are infected annually by this vicious disease, nearly a million die, countless survivors are left with permanent brain damage, and 90% of this carnage is in sub-Saharan Africa, the most impoverished region on Earth.

These chemicals don’t cure malaria – they prevent it. Used properly, they are effective, and safe. DDT is particularly important. Sprayed once or twice a year on the inside walls of homes, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do enter, so they leave without biting, and kills any that land. No other chemical, at any price, can do this.

Even better, DDT has few adverse side effects – except minor, speculative and imaginary “risks” that are trumpeted on anti-pesticide websites. In the interest of saving lives, one would think eco activists would tone down their “ban DDT” disinformation. However, that is unlikely.

Anti-DDT fanaticism built the environmental movement, and gave it funding, power and stature it never had before. No matter how many people get sick and die because health agencies are pressured not to use DDT, or it is totally banned, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, US Environmental Protection Agency and allied activist groups are unlikely to reform or recant.

Worse, they have now been joined by the United Nations Environment Program, Global Environment Facility and even World Health Organization Environmental Division – all of whom share the avowed goal of ending all DDT production by 2017, and banning all use of DDT in disease control by 2020.

A recent GEF “study” demonstrates how far they are willing to go, to achieve this goal, no matter how deadly it might be. The study purported to prove DDT is no longer needed and can be replaced by “integrated and environment-friendly” alternatives: eg, mosquito-repelling trees, and non-chemical control of breeding sites and areas around homes that shelter insects.

The $14-million study claimed that these interventions resulted in an unprecedented “63% reduction in the number of people with [malaria], without using DDT or any other type of pesticide.” However, as analyses by malaria and insecticide experts Richard Tren and Dr. Donald Roberts clearly demonstrate (see Research and Reports in Tropical Medicine and AEI Outlooks), the study, conclusions and policy recommendations are not merely wrong. They are deliberately misleading and fraudulent.

GEF did its 2003-2008 study in Mexico and seven Central American countries – all of which had largely ceased using DDT and other pesticides years before the GEF project. Instead of chemical sprays, these countries now employ huge numbers of chloroquine and primaquine (CQ and PQ) pills to prevent and treat malaria: 2,566 pills per diagnosed case in Mexico; 22,802 pills (!) in El Salvador; 50 to 1,319 pills per case in the other countries, according to 2004 health records.

It was these powerful drugs, not the “environment-friendly” GEF interventions, that slashed malaria rates. Indeed, they had begun to do so before GEF even arrived. This terribly inconvenient reality was further underscored by the fact that malaria rates were the same in “study” areas and “control” areas, where GEF did nothing – and that the number of malaria cases increased when the number of pills per case decreased. In other words, GEF could have gotten its same results using one bed net or one larvae-eating fish.

GEF’s fraudulent claims were then compounded by its insistence that the results and conclusions are relevant to other malaria-endemic regions. They are not. Malaria parasites in Latin American countries are Plasmodium vivax; in Africa and Southeast Asia, they are the far more virulent P. falciparum.

CQ and PQ are effective in preventing and treating vivax; they rarely prevent or cure falciparum malaria. Moreover, the eight Latin American countries have 140 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa has 800 million and a woeful medical and transportation infrastructure; Southeast Asia has 600 million people. Both have infinitely more malaria. Getting adequate medicines that work (far more expensive Artemisia-based ACT drugs) to 1.4 billion people would be a budgetary, logistical and medical impossibility.

But apparently none of these facts occurred to the bureaucrats who did this study. That’s hardly surprising, since the project was designed and directed, not by disease control experts, but by the UNEP and radical environmental groups – which also spent millions distributing and promoting the study and other anti-DDT propaganda all over the world, ensuring that it received substantial media attention.

The anti-pesticide fanatics know this “study” is fraudulent. They just have a very high tolerance for how many malaria cases, brain-damaged people and dead babies are deemed “acceptable” or “sustainable.” They just don’t care enough to bother learning the basic facts about malaria, CQ versus ACT, vivax versus falciparum. They need to get out of the malaria control policy business and let medical professionals do their jobs.

(To learn more facts about malaria, see Tren and Roberts’ book The Excellent Powder, Dr. Rutledge Taylor’s documentary film “3 Billion and Counting,” and the website for Africa Fighting Malaria.)

The final report claims its authors submitted manuscripts to prominent peer-reviewed medical journals. However, nothing was ever published. That suggests that they lied, and never submitted any manuscripts; or they did submit papers, but they were rejected as being shoddy, unscientific, unprofessional, or even on par with Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent vaccine-and-autism work.

To cap it all off, the bogus GEF project appears to have been conducted using funds diverted from already insufficient malaria control budgets. The GEF, UNEP, Stockholm Convention Secretariat and radical environmental groups are using money intended for malaria control to launch anti-pesticide programs in countries plagued by malaria, and gain control over public health insecticides, policies and programs.

Overall, the GEF has spent over $800 million on efforts to eliminate DDT and other “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs). It budgeted nearly $150 million in 2007 alone on its campaign to ban DDT production and use – but spent a lousy $22 million researching alternatives to DDT for vector control.

Until an equally effective and long-lasting substitute for DDT is developed – one that repels, irritates and kills mosquitoes – this vital weapon needs to remain in the disease control arsenal.

The GEF, UNEP, POPs Secretariat and WHO need to withdraw the study; discipline the people who perpetrated this fraud; retract World Health Assembly Resolution 50.13, calling for malaria-infested countries to slash their use of public health insecticides; and issue a statement making it absolutely clear that this “study” was erroneous and deceptive, and should not be considered in setting malaria policies.

Donors to the GEF and radical groups should be exposed. For any activists to continue promoting this study or demand that malaria-endemic countries stop using DDT and insecticides, and adopt the bogus “eco-friendly” GEF “solutions,” is gross medical malpractice – and deliberate manslaughter.

Malaria can be controlled, and even eradicated in many areas. We simply need to use every available weapon – including DDT, pesticides, nets, window screens, drugs and other interventions – in an orderly, coordinated and systematic manner; and ensure that mosquito infestations, disease outbreaks, malaria control successes and problems are monitored and evaluated accurately and honestly.

If we do that – and end the anti-pesticide hysteria – we can get the job done.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

U.S. Has Cut Emissions...Without Cap And Tax

From Dick Morris:



Published on on February 21, 2011

Printer-Friendly Version

While the federal Environmental Protection Administration is about to impose regulations and taxes on carbon emissions by executive fiat - in the name of stopping global climate change - the United States has already dramatically cut its emissions and probably has already complied with the Kyoto/Copenhagen goals for reduced emissions. And this has been done without taxes, without regulations, and without government intervention.

In 2007, the U.S. emitted 6.12 billion metric tons of carbon. In 2008, emissions fell to 5.92. In 2009, while Obama was promising that the U.S. would cut its emissions to 5.0 by 2015, the American economy and public - on their own - cut the emissions to 5.5 billion. Most likely, by the time the 2010 measurements are in, we will have reached the Obama goal.

While many attribute cut to the recession which, presumably, will end sometime, the fact is that emissions dropped before the recession hit and have continued to fall. A big part of the reason is the reduction in the use of coal to generate electricity.

As we explain in our new book Revolt! (to be released on March 1), coal accounted for 52% of electric generation in 1996 but only for 45% today. In the past twelve months, coal's share has dropped form 49% to 45%. Natural gas has almost doubled its share from 13% in 1996 to 23% in 2009 while renewables have risen from 2% to 4%.

Source 1996 2009

Coal 52% 45%

Natural Gas 13% 23%

Nuclear 20% 20%

Renewable 2% 4%

Source: US Energy Information Administration

The free market, free enterprise system has responded to persuasion and incentives like it does in free societies without the heavy hand of taxation, government regulation, and coercion.

These data expose the basic truth: Cap and trade or carbon regulation is not necessary to lower U.S. emissions. The government bureaucratic/environmentalist alliance want these measures to increase public control over our economy, not to fight global warming. Just as the Obama stimulus package was designed to increase public spending, not to stimulate anything, so the environmental regulations are exploiting public concern over climate change to ratify a growth in government power and oversight.

And that's the inconvenient truth!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rebuttal On Greenhouse Gas Regulations

From The American Spectator:

Rebuttal on Greenhouse Gas Regulations

By Paul Chesser on 2.16.11 @ 5:24PM

In testimony EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson tried to convince Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee why her agency needs to be funded to carry out its planned greenhouse gas regulations. Today my colleagues at the American Tradition Institute rebutted ten points that she cited to justify GHG regs -- every claim was either wrong, wrong-headed or simply silly.

From the Ameerican Tradition Institute:

ATI Refutes Lisa Jackson's Rationale for GHG Regulations

Posted by Press Release A.T. Institute on February 16, 2011, 02:09 PM


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Contact: Paul Chesser,


The American Tradition Institute has examined the 10 reasons that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson gave to oppose Republican plans to not fund the implementation of climate change regulations at EPA. Our review documents the sad state of critical thinking at EPA and its failure to distinguish between its core mission and its Malthusian alarmist activism.

Here are the 10 reasons and why each is wrong, wrong-headed or simply silly:

1. Saving lives: Last year, air pollution restrictions authorized by the Act saved 160,000 American lives. But not one of those reflected any greenhouse gas rule, and no greenhouse gas rule implemented by EPA will save a single life.

2. Cutting health care costs: Pollution regulation prevented 100,000 hospital visits last year. But not one of those reflected any greenhouse gas rule, and no greenhouse gas rule implemented by EPA will prevent a single hospital visit.

3. Preventing illness: Regulations also prevented millions of cases of respiratory illness, including bronchitis and asthma. But not one of those reflected any greenhouse gas rule, and no greenhouse gas rule implemented by EPA will prevent a single respiratory illness.

4. Enhancing productivity: Preventing illness means preventing millions of lost work days and keeping kids healthy and in school. But no greenhouse gas rule implemented by EPA will prevent a loss of a single job, and will instead cost the nation tens of thousands of jobs.

5. Creating a clean-air industry: In 2008, environmental technologies generated $300 billion in revenue and $44 billion in exports. But greenhouse gas rules only transfer money and jobs from the productive part of our economy to the unproductive, and are an unnecessary effort to reduce gases that are pollution in name only and have had no impact on American health or environmental quality.

6. Creating regulator jobs: An analysis released yesterday by the University of Massachusetts and Ceres found updated Clean Air Act standards will create 1.5 million jobs over the next five years. The greenhouse gas rules do nothing but create bigger government while causing greater harm to the American economy and American families. Where in the Clean Air Act does Congress ask EPA to create more government regulators while failing to improve air quality?

7. Protecting human health: In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases count as air pollutants that pose a threat to human health and welfare, thus qualifying them to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The Supreme Court only held that greenhouse gases could be considered pollutants. They did not reach the question as to whether they actually pose any threat to Americans’ health and welfare. This is up to EPA, yet the Agency doesn’t even have the expertise to document the relationship between this so-called pollution and actual harm to human health and the environment, a point now before courts due to challenges to the agency’s endangerment finding.

8. Heeding science: “The National Academy of Sciences has stated that there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that the climate is changing and that the changes are caused in large part by human activities. Eighteen of America’s leading scientific societies have written that multiple lines of evidence show humans are changing the climate, that contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science, and that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and the environment. Chairman Upton’s bill would, in its own words, repeal that scientific finding. Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question– that would become part of this Committee’s legacy." The debate over the science is not simply ongoing, the newest findings continue to demonstrate the errors in previous assessments. Further, EPA is supposed to examine the facts and the science itself, not rely on “authority”. If it did, it could only conclude that previous assessments no longer reflect the current state of the science. EPA refuses to examine the science and thus has no legal basis upon which to impose its rules. When EPA opens the door to an honest debate of the science, it will deliver what Administrator Jackson promised in her nomination hearings – that she would follow the science. All she now does is follow political orders.

9. Promoting a clean-energy sector: “EPA and many of its state partners have now begun implementing safeguards under the Clean Air Act to address carbon pollution from the largest facilities when they are built or expanded. A collection of eleven electric power companies called EPA’s action a reasonable approach focusing on improving the energy efficiency of new power plants and large industrial facilities. 

And EPA has announced a schedule to establish uniform Clean Air Act performance standards for limiting carbon pollution at America’s power plants and oil refineries. Those standards will be developed with extensive stakeholder input, including from industry. They will reflect careful consideration of costs and will incorporate compliance flexibility. 

Chairman Upton’s bill would block that reasonable approach. The Small Business Majority and the Main Street Alliance have pointed out that such blocking action would have negative implications for many businesses, large and small, that have enacted new practices to reduce their carbon footprint as part of their business models. They also write that it would hamper the growth of the clean energy sector of the U.S. economy, a sector that a majority of small business owners view as essential to their ability to compete.” EPA confuses a small group of companies that stand to gain under the greenhouse gas rules with the industry at large. Only the arrogant believe that cost-inefficient wind energy (the “clean energy” offered by Ms. Jackson) could survive without EPA regulations, and only EPA would ignore the fact that using wind energy on electrical grids has increase both traditional air pollution and greenhouse gases. “Clean energy” is neither clean nor cheap.

10. Reducing dependence on foreign oil: “Last April, EPA and the Department of Transportation completed harmonized standards under the Clean Air Act and the Energy Independence and Security Act to decrease the oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of Model Year 2012 through 2016 cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. 

Chairman Upton’s bill would block President Obama’s plan to follow up with Clean Air Act standards for cars and light trucks of Model Years 2017 through 2025. Removing the Clean Air Act from the equation would forfeit pollution reductions and oil savings on a massive scale, increasing America’s debilitating oil dependence.” As Ms. Jackson is fully aware, the US demand for oil will grow for many decades to come. The only way to reduce dependence on foreign oil is to develop domestic oil reserves, and EPA has refused to permit oil exploration in U.S. waters, even when every other federal regulatory body has given a green light to these efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has flunked the 10 question test on why it is time to take the budget ax to EPA’s greenhouse gas rules. The only question is as to whether Congress will use her failures to improve their own scores. Legislative Update


Table of Contents


H.R. 583: Jane's Law

S. 318: Secure Airport Terminal Act of 2011

S. Amendment 67:

S. Amendment 58:


H.R. 386: Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011

H.R. 347: Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011


H.R. 583: Jane's Law

Sponsor: Cohen (D - TN)

Official Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to strengthen enforcement of spousal court-ordered property distributions, and for other purposes.


2/9/2011: Introduced in House

2/9/2011: Referred to House Judiciary Committee

2/14/2011: Referred to House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Commentary: This bill would create a new criminal offense for "knowingly" traveling in interstate or foreign commerce "with the intent to evade compliance with a court-ordered property distribution as part of a separation or divorce settlement involving more than $5,000." Violations would be punishable by mandatory criminal restitution under section 3663A of Title 18, U.S. Code.

S. 318: Secure Airport Terminal Act of 2011

Sponsor: Lautenberg (D - NJ)

Official Title: A bill to increase the use of security cameras at airport security screening checkpoints and exits, to impose increased penalties on individuals who circumvent security screening at airports, and for other purposes.


2/10/2011: Introduced in Senate

2/10/2011: Referred to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

Commentary: This bill would increase existing criminal penalties for circumventing Transportation Security Administration security screening at airports. Currently, under 49 U.S.C. § 46314, individuals who "knowingly and willfully" circumvent security screening are subject to criminal penalties of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. Individuals who circumvent security screening "with intent to commit, in the aircraft or airport area, a felony under the law of the United States or a state" are presently subject to criminal penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. S. 318 would amend 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b) to make knowing and willful circumventors of security screening subject to criminal sanctions of up to 10 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. Under the language of the bill, airport operators would also be required to post signs near all security screening locations providing notice of applicable civil and criminal penalties for screening circumvention. Individual violators of the circumvention prohibition, however, would be subject to such civil and criminal penalties "without regard to whether signs are displayed at an airport."

S. Amendment 67:

Sponsor: Lautenberg (D - NJ)

Official Title:


2/10/2011: Introduced in Senate

Commentary: This amendment is proposed for S. 223, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, and is similar in substance to S. 318, which was also introduced by Senator Lautenberg. The amendment would increase existing criminal penalties for circumventing Transportation Security Administration security screening at airports. Currently, under 49 U.S.C. § 46314, individuals who "knowingly and willfully" circumvent security screening are subject to criminal penalties of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. Individuals who circumvent security screening "with intent to commit, in the aircraft or airport area, a felony under the law of the United States or a state" are presently subject to criminal penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. S. Amendment 67 would amend 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b) to make knowing and willful circumventors of security screening subject to criminal sanctions of up to 10 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. Under the language of the amendment, airport operators would also be required to post signs near all security screening locations providing notice of applicable civil and criminal penalties for screening circumvention. Individual violators of the circumvention prohibition, however, would be subject to such civil and criminal penalties "without regard to whether signs are displayed at an airport."

S. Amendment 58:

Sponsor: Nelson (D - NE)

Official Title:


2/8/2011: Introduced in Senate

Commentary: This amendment is proposed for S. 223, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, and is similar in substance to S. Amendment 29, which was also introduced by Senator Nelson. S. Amendment 58 would add a criminal penalty to the bill for the unauthorized recording and distribution of any images produced using "advanced imaging technology during the screening of an individual at an airport, or upon entry into any building owned or operated by the Federal Government." A narrow exception to this prohibition is provided for the use or distribution of protected images in conjunction with a criminal investigation or prosecution or in an investigation related to foreign intelligence or a threat to national security. Violators of this amendment's prohibition would be subject to criminal sanctions of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both.

H.R. 386: Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011

Sponsor: Lungren (R - CA)

Official Title: A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties for aiming laser pointers at airplanes, and for other purposes.


1/20/2011: Introduced in House

1/20/2011: Referred to House Judiciary Committee

1/20/2011: Referred to House Budget Committee

1/21/2011: Referred to House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

1/26/2011: Mark up in the House Judiciary Committee

1/26/2011: Ordered to be reported by voice vote House Judiciary Committee

1/26/2011: Discharged House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

2/11/2011: Reported to House by House Judiciary Committee

2/11/2011: Discharged House Budget Committee

2/11/2011: Placed on House calendar

Commentary: The bill would make it unlawful for any person to "knowingly aim[] the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft." The penalty for such actions would be imprisonment for up to five years, a fine as authorized by Title 18, U.S. Code, or both. The language of H.R. 386 offers a limited number of exceptions to its general prohibition, including one for aiming a laser at an aircraft for emergency signaling purposes. However, the definition of the offense does not safeguard from criminal punishment those who might aim a laser at an aircraft or its flight path accidentally, inadvertently, or with benign intent.

H.R. 347: Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011

Sponsor: Rooney (R - FL)

Official Title: A bill to correct and simplify the drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings or grounds) of Title 18, United States Code.


1/19/2011: Introduced in House

1/19/2011: Referred to House Judiciary Committee

1/21/2011: Referred to House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

1/26/2011: Mark up in the House Judiciary Committee

1/26/2011: Ordered to be reported by voice vote House Judiciary Committee

1/26/2011: Discharged House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security

2/11/2011: Reported to House by House Judiciary Committee

2/11/2011: Placed on House calendar

Commentary: This bill would amend existing section 1752 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code to reduce the protectiveness of the criminal-intent (mens rea) requirements in offenses involving conduct in "restricted" government buildings, grounds, or areas. Among other things, section 1752 currently prohibits any person or group of persons from: (1) "willfully" and "knowingly" entering or remaining in unauthorized Government buildings, grounds, or areas; (2) engaging in "disorderly or disruptive conduct" that "impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business" or is intended to do so; (3) obstructing or impeding ingress or egress to or from Government buildings, grounds, or areas; or (4) engaging in "any act of physical violence against any person or property" in Government buildings, grounds, or areas. Violations of current law carry criminal sanctions of up to one year imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. Violations that involve the use of a firearm or that result in significant bodily injury may be punished by up to 10 years imprisonment, fines under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, or both. H.R. 347 would restructure the language of Section 1752 defining the criminal offenses and reduce the level of criminal intent the Government must prove to establish a violation from a "willfully and knowingly" standard to a less-protective "knowingly" standard. The bill would not alter the existing criminal penalties.

Amendments Passed To Eliminate Obama Czars And De-Fund FF Net Neutrality Rules

From Human Events:

Amendments Passed to Eliminate Obama Czars and Defund FCC Net Neutrality Rules

by Emily Miller


The House passed two important conservative amendments on Thursday night: to eliminate funding for President Obama’s czars and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from enforcing its net neutrality rules.

The House is in the third day of an open process to debate 583 amendments to the Continuing Resolution (CR) spending bill. HUMAN EVENTS has identified 10 of the amendments which are key for conservatives to watch.

The base text of the CR would cut government spending by $60 billion for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year. Each additional limiting amendment, which cuts government funding for specific programs from passage until Oct. 1, would be in addition to the baseline cut.

The Obama czars ban amendment (No. 204), offered by Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.), passed 249 to 179. The FCC net neutrality amendment (No. 404), which was co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R.-Ore.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R.-Fla.), passed the House by a vote of 244 to 181.

Walden, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Stearns, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, offered the amendment that would restrict the FCC from using CR funds to implement its controversial net neutrality rules.

In December, the FCC set controversial new regulations to empower itself to regulate private sector networks and companies.

On Wednesday, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) introduced a resolution to overturn the FCC rules under the Congressional Review Act. At a hearing the same day with five former FCC commissioners, Upton said that he and Walden “believe these rules will hurt innovation and the economy.”

While the legality of the FCC rules is still being debated, the Walden/Stearns’ amendment blocks all government funding for the current fiscal year from being used to implement them.

“It’s not appropriate for the unelected FCC to regulate Internet services without any input from the United States Congress,” said Stearns during Thursday evening’s debate. “So Congress must stop the FCC. This amendment will do that and prevent any money from being spent to implement regulation of the Internet.”

The House Democrats defended the new regulations and the FCC during the debate.

“Vote no on this amendment that shuts down the Internet,” protested Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.), who is a member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“The FCC rules were a very light-touch regulation,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), who is the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The liberal Waxman protested that “if we stop the FCC from regulating, then we leave the status quo.”

Rep. Tom Graves (R.-Ga.) who is on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the FCC, responded to the Democrats.

“Let’s make it simple: Government control means uniformity, regulation, fees, inspection, and yes, compliance,” said Graves. “The Internet free marketplace is defined by fierce competition. And that competition has transformed the world with innovation, investment, and what we need most of all right now, jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats were really irked when the amendment to cut wasteful spending by eliminating Obama’s czars came to the floor.

Some of the Democrats believe that the whole amendment is really directed at one of the czars, Matt Lloyd, associate general counsel and chief diversity officer for the FCC.

Lloyd has come under fire from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck because of his views on blocking conservative media under the Fairness Doctrine.

“Why saw this guy’s head off? Because some talk show host says so? I think this is poorly devised and poorly thought out,” said an exasperated Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.).

The amendment restricts any CR funds to be used for Obama’s nine czars’ salaries or offices. The czars are in federal positions in his administration, but not confirmed by Congress. Of the nine positions, seven are currently filled.

Two of Obama’s czars—White House director of Urban Affairs and assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change—have not been filled yet.

The seven existing czars are in the following positions: director of the White House Office of Health Reform, special envoy for Climate Change, special adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation’s Council on Environmental Quality, senior adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counselor for manufacturing policy, special envoy to oversee the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, special master for TARP executive compensation at the Department of the Treasury, and Lloyd.

Eshoo asserted that the czars are merely “individuals who are carrying out the duties in the Executive Branch.”

The Republicans responded repeatedly that the czar offices are a waste of money and are not transparent.

“In this last election, the American people spoke out [against] lack of oversight. We need access to people with answers,” said Rep. Charles Boustany (R.-La.). “And the American people have the right to get answers from the White House. Let’s be open with the American people. Those who make policy should come before our committees.”

Eshoo complained about the Republicans’ use of the term “czar and czarina” to refer to the political appointees.

“For those who don't understand the Russian word for ‘no,’ it’s ‘nyet’,” retorted Boustany. “I say ‘no’ to the czars.”


Miss Miller is a senior editor of HUMAN EVENTS. Previously, she served as the Deputy Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of State and the Communications Director for the House Majority Whip. Miller also served as an Associate Producer at ABC News and started her career at NBC News. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Rolling Back Red Tape: Twenty Regulations To Eliminate

From The Heritage Foundation:

Rolling Back Red Tape: 20 Regulations to Eliminate

Published on January 26, 2011 by Diane Katz Backgrounder #2510
Abstract: As the new Congress assembles, many legisla­tors are considering how to lessen the regulatory burden on Americans. President Obama, too, now says that he wants to root out unnecessary government rules. With regulatory costs at record levels, relief is sorely needed. But it is not enough to talk about fewer regulations. Policymakers must critically review specific rules and identify those that should be abolished. This paper details 20 unnecessary and harmful regulations that should be eliminated now.

Americans are besieged by regulations. At every level, government intrudes into citizens’ lives with a torrent of do’s and don’ts that place an unsustainable burden on the economy and erode Americans’ most fundamental freedoms. In fiscal year (FY) 2010 alone, the Obama Administration unleashed regulations that will cost more than $26.5 billion annually,[1] and many more are on the way. These rules cover a broad swath of American life: Fifteen of the 43 major rules issued during the fiscal year arose from the regulatory crack­down on the finance sector in the Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd–Frank) and similar law­making. Another five stemmed from the Patient Pro­tection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) adopted by Congress in early 2010. Ten others came from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the first mandatory reporting of “greenhouse gas” emissions and $10.8 billion in new automotive fuel economy standards.

In total, regulations now extract some $1.75 tril­lion a year from the economy, according to a recent report from the federal government’s own Small Business Administration.[2] Little different from taxes, regulations raise the price of almost every product and service, while also inhibiting the capi­tal investment and job creation needed to keep the nation’s economy strong.

This regulatory tide must be reversed. Policy­makers should not just prevent harmful new regu­lations, but must repeal costly and unnecessary rules already on the books. Such action can be undertaken by the new Congress, or by regulators themselves. In fact, President Obama recently pledged a government-wide review of rules to determine which should be “modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.” Below are 20 such rules that should be eliminated:

1. The Individual Health Insurance Mandate

Discussion. The “individual mandate,”[3] slated to take effect in 2014, is the cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The PPACA requires U.S. citizens to obtain health insur­ance or face financial penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service—a fine that escalates from $95 or 1 percent of taxable income in 2014 to $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income in 2016. Subsidies to purchase coverage will be provided to those who meet generous income-eligibility requirements.

Experience with similar schemes at the state level indicates that the individual mandate will not solve the dilemmas created by the uninsured. The subsi­dies required to fulfill the mandate will impose a massive economic burden on taxpayers. But the most pernicious effects extend well beyond the eco­nomic. Never before has the federal government attempted to force Americans to purchase a product or service, and a multitude of legal challenges have been filed.[4] To allow this regulatory overreach to stand would undermine fundamental constitutional constraints on government powers, and curtail indi­vidual liberties to an unprecedented degree.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Until that occurs, Congress should use its appropriations power to prohibit the expenditure of funds to enforce the mandate.

Relevant Reading.

Robert E. Moffit, “Obamacare and the Individual Mandate: Violating Personal Liberty and Federal­ism,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3103, January 18, 2011, at

Randy Barnett, Nathaniel Stewart, and Todd Gaziano, “Why the Personal Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Is Unprecedented and Uncon­stitutional,” Heritage Foundation Legal Memo­randum No. 49, December 9, 2009, at http://

Conn Carroll, “White House Admits Obamacare’s Individual Mandate is a Tax,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, July 20, 2010, at

2. The Employer Health Insurance Mandate

Discussion. The “employer mandate,”[5] slated for 2014, is also a key element of the PPACA. It requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide health benefits or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee.

The employer mandate already shows signs of prompting unintended consequences. A number of major corporations are considering dropping health care coverage—the premiums for which are escalat­ing under other provisions of the law—in favor of paying the penalty. Either way, the employer man­date constitutes a major new tax on business, the costs of which will be borne by workers and con­sumers in the form of lower wages, job losses, and higher prices for goods and services.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Instead of keep­ing the employer mandate, policymakers should eliminate inequitable treatment of health benefits in the tax system, improve Medicare and Medicaid, and expand customized solutions by states.

Relevant Reading.

James Sherk and Robert A. Book, “Employer Health Care Mandates: Taxing Low-Income Workers to Pay for Health Care,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2552, July 21, 2009, at

Vivek Rajasekhar, “Side Effects: Let the Employer Penalties Begin,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, May 4, 2010, at

3. Insurer Coverage Mandates

Discussion. The new health care statute imposes a multitude of coverage dictates on private insur­ers,[6] including coverage for dependent children through the age of 26; no co-pays or deductibles for preventive services; no coverage exclusions for pre-existing conditions; no annual or lifetime limits on coverage; and a prescribed share of premium reve­nues that must be devoted to patient care expenses. Beginning in 2014, the law also requires that the fol­lowing services be included in a basic plan: “ambu­latory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; men­tal health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and well­ness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.”[7]

Taken together, these coverage mandates will substantially raise the cost of insurance, and deny­ing consumers and employers opportunities to customize affordable coverage. The insurance man­dates also impose a rigid standard of care that will prove less flexible in adapting to advances in medi­cine and the changing needs of patients.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Until that occurs, Congress should use its appropriations power to pro­hibit the expenditure of funds to enforce the mandate.

Relevant Reading.

Kathryn Nix, “Government Intervention in Health Care Increases Costs,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, October 21, 2010, at

4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regulations

Discussion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to be established pursuant to the Dodd– Frank financial regulation bill,[8] will wield ill-defined powers to create and enforce regulations on all manner of consumer-oriented financial prod­ucts, including loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Although ensconced within the Federal Reserve, the bureau will act independently.

The bureau is charged with protecting consum­ers from “unfair, deceptive and abusive” business practices. These terms are vague. While “unfair” and “deceptive” have been defined in other contexts (such as Federal Trade Commission regulation), the word “abusive” is almost completely undefined and would thus grant the bureau an inordinate amount of regulatory discretion.

At the same time, a regulatory crackdown on the terms and conditions of financial products will ulti­mately reduce the options available to consumers. For many consumers, especially those with lower incomes or impaired credit histories, this will make credit more expensive and harder to obtain.

The bureau’s independent status is also prob­lematic. Lacking accountability and seemingly any direct understanding of how its actions could affect the industry’s financial viability, the new bureau is far more likely to act in arbitrary fash­ion, swayed by the whims of the political appoin­tees who will wield the regulatory power. That means a lot less of the regulatory certainty that otherwise engenders private-sector investment and job growth.

Recommended Action. Repeal. If not repealed, this new agency will wield far-reaching and vague regulatory powers, as well as lack accountability.

Relevant Reading.

James Gattuso, Todd Zywicki, Alex Pollock, and David C. John, “Protecting Consumers in the Financial Marketplace: Thinking Outside the Boxes,” Heritage Foundation Lecture No. 1151, April 2, 2010, at

David C. John, “How to Protect Consumers in the Financial Marketplace: An Alternate Approach,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2314, September 8, 2009, at

Todd J. Zywicki, “Let’s Treat Borrowers Like Adults: The Problems with a Financial Products Safety Panel,” The Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2009, at (January 19, 2011).

5. Debit Card Interchange Fees (“Durbin Amendment”)

Discussion. The new financial reform law requires the Federal Reserve to regulate the fees that financial institutions may charge retailers for pro­cessing debit card purchases. The statute calls for such “interchange” fees to be “reasonable” and “pro­portional” to the cost of processing debit card trans­actions[9]—whatever that is.

The prospect of more costly debit card transac­tions is already prompting financial institutions to hike fees on a variety of credit instruments.[10] Con­sumers also are likely to face higher interest rates and reduced credit options.

Recommended Action. Repeal. The Durbin Amendment unnecessarily interferes with free enterprise and reduces consumer protections and choices.

Relevant Reading.

“The Reduced Credit Act,” The Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2010, at (January 21, 2011).

Todd Zywicki, “Durbin Regulations Are Aimed at Your Wallet,” The Washington Times, June 2, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

6. Proxy Access Rules

Discussion. Proxy access regulations,[11] also from the Dodd–Frank law, require firms to include board nominations (and proposed ousters) submit­ted by either an individual shareholder or share­holder group in the proxy materials they assemble and distribute.

At its most fundamental, this regulation pre­sumes that government regulators know better than corporate officers and shareholders how to establish governance procedures. Rather than allow corporate officers and shareholders to customize procedures to their unique circumstances, the proxy access dictate ignores the vast differences among firms.

Proponents claim the new rules will enhance shareholders’ rights. But there is no constitutional right to proxy access. Instead, the rule undermines the state law rights of shareholders to establish cor­porate governance procedures. The real beneficiaries of the regulation are activists and special interest groups who will be able to manipulate proxy access to focus attention on social and political causes at the expense of the legitimate business concerns of the stockholders. It will also make it easier for predator takeover groups to demand that the company pur­chase their stock holdings at a high premium or the company will face a hostile takeover attempt.

The rules already have prompted litigation, and they also invite habitual meddling by regulators in the access disputes that inevitably will arise.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Proxy access rules benefit special interest groups at the expense of stockholders, and unnecessarily obstruct corpo­rate governance.

Relevant Reading.

J. W. Verret and Stefanie Haeffele-Balch, “Corpo­rate Voting: A Pandora’s Ballot Box or a Proxy with Moxie?” Mercatus Center Mercatus on Policy No. 63, November 2009, at (January 19, 2011).

Commissioner Kathleen L. Casey, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, “Statement at Open Meeting to Adopt Amendments Regarding Facilitating Shareholder Director Nominations,” August 25, 2010, Washington, D.C., at (January 19, 2011).

7. Credit Card Regulation

Discussion. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act)[12] imposes federal restrictions on the terms and conditions of credit card services by (a) limiting when interest rates may be increased on existing balances; (b) requiring financial institutions to lower the interest rates of consumers whose rates had been increased when they pay their bills on time for six months; (c) requiring a 45-day notice period for significant changes in credit card terms; (d) mandating a 21-day pay period for credit card bills; (e) prohibiting assessment of over-limit fees unless the cardholder allows the transactions; and (f) requiring gift cards and gift certificates to remain valid for no fewer than five years.

By restricting the ability of financial firms to cover credit risks, the regulations have already caused higher interest rates and annual fees and lower credit limits, especially for moderate income borrowers. These actions further diminish the access to credit that is necessary for small business investment and job growth. As noted by bank ana­lyst Meredith Whitney,[13] “Small businesses prima­rily fund themselves through credit cards and loans from local lenders… Those same consumers that regulators are trying to help are actually being hurt by a vast reduction in available credit.”

Recommended Action. Repeal. The CARD Act harms consumers more than it protects them.

Relevant Reading.

James Gattuso, “Credit Card Regs No Credit to Congress,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, February 22, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

John Berlau, “Credit CARD Act Penalizes Thrift and Entrepreneurship,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, February 22, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

8. Phase-Out of Incandescent Light Bulbs

Discussion. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 imposed stringent efficiency requirements that effectively phase out the incan­descent bulbs[14] on which the world has relied for more than a century.

Proponents of the phase-out tout the supposed energy-saving attributes of costly compact fluores­cent bulbs. LED lighting is also gaining favor. But rather than eliminate incandescent bulbs, consum­ers ought to have a choice among all types of light­ing the market has to offer. Consumer choice and competition will ultimately determine the type of bulbs best suited for various applications and family budgets.

The light bulb regulation is also a job-killer, lead­ing to the closure of the last American light bulb fac­tory.[15] (The vast majority of fluorescent bulbs are manufactured in China.)

Recommended Action. Repeal. Light bulb reg­ulation is an unnecessary dictate that raises lighting costs and limits consumer choice.

Relevant Reading.

Nicolas D. Loris, “Government’s Light Bulb Ban Is Just Plain Destructive,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3024, September 23, 2010, at

Deroy Murdock, “The All-American Light Bulb Dims as Freedom Flickers,” National Review Online, July 2, 2010, at http://www.nationalre­ (January 19, 2011).

9. Appliance Energy Standards

Discussion. During the past three decades, Con­gress has imposed a multitude of energy efficiency standards[16] for a host of appliances, including:

Battery chargers and external power supplies

Ceiling fans and ceiling-fan light kits

Central air conditioners and heat pumps

Clothes washers and dryers

Cooking products


Direct heating equipment


Furnace fans

Furnaces and boilers

Fluorescent and incandescent lamps

Fluorescent lamp ballasts

Plumbing products

Pool heaters

Refrigerators and freezers

Air conditioners


Water heaters

In effect, efficiency standards allow the govern­ment to control how Americans clean their clothes, cook their food, wash their dishes, and light, heat, and cool their homes. No longer do consumers exercise the freedom to balance appliance perfor­mance against cost. In many cases, the efficiency standards increase the price of appliances by more than consumers will recoup from energy savings.[17]

Taxpayers also pay heavily through tax credits provided to manufacturers for producing energy-efficient appliances. Depending on the efficiency of the model and the date of manufacture, dishwasher manufacturers can claim a tax credit of $45 to $75 for every new unit.[18] The credit for residential or commercial clothes washers ranges from $75 to $250 per unit, and for refrigerators from $50 to $200 per unit.

It is also worth noting that consumers actually increase energy consumption when the cost of using electricity declines (i.e., greater efficiency). And, by forcing R&D to focus on energy efficiency, investment in other product innovations suffers.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Energy efficiency standards increase appliance costs and reduce con­sumer choice.

Relevant Reading.

Nicolas Loris, “Today’s Calamity: Energy Efficiency is Good—Except When It’s Not,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, September 3, 2009, at

Ben Lieberman, “An Annoying Regulation for Every Room in the House,”, Septem­ber 24, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

10. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards

Discussion. New fuel efficiency standards[19] set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administra­tion (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency require automakers to attain a fleet-wide average fuel economy level of 34.1 mpg by model year 2016[20] for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. The new reg­ulation—running some 300 pages—will dictate specific fuel efficiency standards by model type, weighted by sales volume. This will require signifi­cantly greater investment in re-engineering.

Justification for CAFE has evolved over time, from ending “dependence on foreign oil” to reduc­ing air pollution to mitigating global warming. No matter the intent, problems with the regulation abound. To the extent that the standards increase sticker prices,[21] consumers are more likely to con­tinue using older, less fuel efficient vehicles. A host of research also documents that increased fuel effi­ciency, by lowering the cost of driving, actually increases travel—thereby negating at least some of the supposed environmental effects.[22] CAFE stan­dards also have undercut the domestic auto indus­try by forcing production of unprofitable (and less popular) small cars in order to offset the fuel effi­ciency ratings of larger, more profitable models. But most troublesome of all is the fact that CAFE stan­dards have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths by constraining production of larger, more protec­tive vehicles.[23]

Recommended Action. Repeal. The fuel econ­omy standards set by the NHTSA and the EPA should be repealed, along with the agency’s author­ity to set standards in the future.

Relevant Reading.

Nicolas Loris, “EPA’s Fuel Efficiency Standards: Bad News for the Consumer,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, April 2, 2010, at

Sam Kazman, “Automobile Fuel Economy Standards,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 17, 2008, at (January 19, 2011).

11. The EPA Endangerment Finding

Discussion. The basis for the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide is the agency’s “finding”[24] that so-called greenhouse gases are “air pollutants” actionable under the Clean Air Act. In the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such gases do fall under agency pur­view and within the scope of the act—legislative history to the contrary.

The EPA has acknowledged[25] that the endanger­ment finding and concomitant regulations will, for the first time, impose costly requirements on mil­lions of businesses and other “facilities,” including apartment buildings, office buildings, even churches. Farmers also will be entangled in the costly regu­lations. Overall, cumulative gross domestic product losses could reach nearly $7 trillion by 2029, and annual job losses could exceed 800,000 in several years.[26]

Aside from being costly, the “finding” is factually wrong. There is no scientific consensus on the the­ory of anthropogenic climate change, and signifi­cant evidence to the contrary exists. The agency’s endangerment “finding” is all the more suspect given evidence of alleged fraud and deception in the very source documents the agency relied upon to reach its conclusions.[27]

Recommended Action. Rescind. Congress should prohibit the EPA (or any other agency) from regulat­ing carbon dioxide (or other so-called greenhouse gases). Pending that step, lawmakers should with­hold any and all funding related to such regulations, and prohibit expenditures on the same.

Relevant Reading.

Nicolas D. Loris, “How the ‘Scientific Consensus’ on Global Warming Affects American Business— and Consumers,” Heritage Foundation Back­grounder No. 2479, October 26, 2010, at

David W. Kreutzer and Karen A. Campbell, “CO2-Emission Cuts: The Economic Costs of the EPA’s ANPR Regulations.” Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. CDA08-10, October 29, 2008, at

12. The “Tailpipe Rule”

Discussion. The EPA’s new limits[28] on carbon dioxide emissions require automakers to achieve a fleet-wide average of 50 grams of CO2 per mile by 2016 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. Emissions of car­bon dioxide are directly related to the volume of fuel burned. Consequently, the emissions standard equates to a fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 mpg.[29]

The EPA estimates that the crackdown on tailpipe emissions will add about $1,000 to sticker prices by 2016. Consumers are thus more likely to hold on to older, more polluting cars. Whether con­sumers will realize cost savings from greater fuel efficiency is questionable, depending on a host of variables, including vehicle type, local tempera­tures, and driving habits. Having established the emissions restrictions on mobile sources, the agency is now authorized to impose CO2 controls on all manner of “stationary” sources, ranging from the corner bakery to office buildings.

Recommended Action. Repeal. The mandates imposed by the EPA should be repealed, along with the agency’s authority to set standards in the future.

Relevant Reading.

Nicolas D. Loris, “The EPA’s Global Warming Regulation Plans,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2768, January 20, 2010, at

13. The Renewable Fuel Standard

Discussion. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) constitutes national quotas[30] on the volume of “renewable fuels,” including corn, sugarcane and cellulosic ethanol, bio-diesel, and biomass that must be blended into transportation fuel. The 2010 RFS has been set at 12.95 billion gallons, and is slated to increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022. For the first time, quotas have been established for specific categories of renewable fuels based on projected reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Of particular note, the EPA raised the cap on ethanol, a fuel that is more costly, less efficient, and more polluting than gasoline.

The RFS represents a massive subsidy by con­sumers for the “renewables” industry—in the absence of which there is little demand for more costly fuel blends. Moreover, government dictates on the nation’s fuel mix are driven by political con­siderations more than environmental or economic outcomes. For example, the artificial demand cre­ated by the quotas, in conjunction with subsidies, creates powerful incentives to convert sensitive for­est land into agriculture; less productive farmland is also being cultivated with increased use of agricul­tural chemicals. Shifting farmland from food crops to corn for renewables is projected to increase food costs by $10 per person per year—or $40 for a fam­ily of four, according to the EPA.

Recommended Action. Rescind. Congress should also revoke the EPA’s authority to set such renewable fuel standards in the future.

Relevant Reading.

Ben Lieberman, “The Ethanol Mandate—EPA Moves Ahead with Higher Energy and Food Prices and a Worse Environment,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, May 6, 2009, at

Ben Lieberman and Nicolas Loris, “Time to Repeal the Ethanol Mandate,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1925, May 15, 2008, at

14. The Community Reinvestment Mandates

Discussion. In response to claims of widespread discrimination in lending (“red-lining”), Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977, requiring regulated depository institutions to demonstrate that they serve the “convenience and needs” of the communities in which they do busi­ness.[31] Under the act, all banking institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corpora­tion must undergo an evaluation to determine com­pliance based on 12 assessment factors.

The CRA is based on the obsolete concept of banks serving only a specific geographic area from brick-and-mortar branches as the only providers of deposit and loan services. For instance, regulators count all online deposits when calculating a bank’s lending obligations—even when the online cus­tomer lives outside the bank’s service area.

The CRA also discourages banks from locating branches in or near lower-income neighborhoods since that will automatically bring that area into the bank’s assessment area. As a result, low-income and moderate-income workers may have even less access to needed financial services.

Recommended Action. Repeal. The Commu­nity Reinvestment Act unnecessarily interferes in free enterprise and obstructs access to credit.

Relevant Reading.

Lawrence J. White, “A Flawed Regulatory Concept: The Community Reinvestment Act,” Mercatus Center Mercatus on Policy No. 54, July 2009, at (January 19, 2011).

Michelle Minton, “The Community Reinvest­ment Act’s Harmful Legacy: How It Hampers Access to Credit,” Competitive Enterprise On Point No. 132, March 20, 2008, at (January 19, 2011).

15. Section 404 Financial Reporting Requirements (Sarbanes–Oxley)

Discussion. The Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002, popu­larly known as the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, requires publicly traded companies to undertake both internal and external audits of financial reporting systems and submit reports describing the scope and adequacy of its procedures to the Securities and Exchange Commission (and distribute the findings to investors and include it in the firm’s annual report).

The regulation was shaped by the accounting failures of Enron and WorldCom, as well as the prosecution and subsequent dissolution of account­ing giant Arthur Andersen. According to the Insti­tute of Internal Auditors,[32] Section 404 is intended to provide “a level of comfort with respect to the reliability of future financial statements assuming there is no significant change in the quality of the system of internal control.”

However, compliance with Section 404 has imposed significant costs on firms that likely out­weigh the benefits of the additional reporting—par­ticularly for smaller companies, and companies of any size that are considering going public. To some extent, this reflects the shift of responsibility for internal financial controls from the chief financial officer to the chief executive officer and the height­ened caution in financial oversight. External audi­tors likewise are questioning every detail of financial accounting, performing far more extensive and complex audits than ever before.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Section 404 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act greatly increases busi­ness costs.

Relevant Reading.

David C. John and Nancy Marano, “The Sarbanes– Oxley Act: Do We Need a Regulatory or Legisla­tive Fix?” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2035, May 16, 2007, at

Tom Feeney, David C. John, and Alex Pollock, “Reforming Sarbanes–Oxley: How to Restore American Leadership in World Capital Markets,” Heritage Foundation Lecture No. 995, Feb. 20, 2007, at

16. Network Neutrality

Discussion. On December 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted net­work neutrality regulations in defiance of both Con­gress and a federal appeals court. The new rules restrict how Internet service providers such as Comcast or Verizon manage the digital transmis­sions flowing through their networks. The new rules would hobble the ability of network owners to efficiently manage traffic flows, as well as chill the investment needed to keep the Internet growing. The end result: a slower and less dynamic Web. In addition, the rules give the government a role in deciding how content is treated on the Web, poten­tially threatening the free flow of information.

Recommended Action. Rescind. Until the new rules are rescinded, the FCC should be pro­hibited from spending any appropriated money to enforce the rules. Congress should make clear that the FCC has no authority to impose regulations on the Internet.

Relevant Reading.

James L. Gattuso, “Red Tape Under the Tree: FCC Plans Internet Regulation for Christmas,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3086, December 17, 2010, at

James L. Gattuso, “The FCC and Broadband Regulation: What Part of ‘No’ Did You Not Understand?” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2864, April 15, 2010, at­band-Regulation-What-Part-of-No-Did-You-Not-Understand.

17. FCC Media Ownership Rules

Discussion. The Federal Communications Commission enforces a variety of limits on owner­ship of media outlets. Among these are a ban on joint ownership of a newspaper and broadcast sta­tion in the same market, limits on the number of local stations owned by a network, and limits on the number of stations in a market that can be owned by the same firm. The FCC is required by law to review these rules every four years, and recently started its latest quadrennial review.

Most of these rules are decades old, dating back as far as 1941. The media world, however, has changed dramatically since that time. Rather than rely on a limited number of broadcast stations and newspapers, consumers today enjoy hundreds of channels offered by a multitude of service provid­ers, and—increasingly—virtually unlimited infor­mation sources on the Internet. At the same time, many traditional sources of information—newspa­pers in particular—have lost their dominance, with many facing bankruptcy.

In such a world, ownership restrictions on media outlets make little sense. Any competitive problems that may arise can be addressed under existing anti­trust law, enforced by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Recommended Action. Repeal. Congress should eliminate the cross-ownership rule. Media choice and competition can be protected through anti-trust laws.

Relevant Reading.

James L. Gattuso, “The FCC’s Cross-Ownership Rule: Turning the Page on Media,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2133, May 6, 2008, at

Adam D. Thierer, “The Media Cornucopia,” City Journal, Spring 2007, at (January 21, 2011).

18. FCC Merger Review Authority

Discussion. Under current law, the Federal Communications Commission must approve all transfers of radio spectrum licenses and telecom­munications operating certificates. For practical purposes, this means that mergers and acquisitions involving broadcasters and telecommunications firms must be approved by the FCC. Such trans­actions, however, are also thoroughly reviewed by antitrust authorities at either the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice. This redundant review has been defended on the grounds that the standard used by the FCC— whether the merger serves the “public interest, con­venience, and necessity”—is different than that applied by antitrust authorities, which is focused on market competition.

In most cases, however, the primary issue in the FCC review, despite the different standard, is con­sumer choice and competition. This makes the FCC’s review redundant; it does not add anything to the analysis of antitrust authorities. It does impose delays on time-sensitive business transactions.

While the “public interest” standard does allow the FCC to consider broader issues than competi­tion, what exactly those issues are is ambiguous. While concepts such as “diversity” and “universal service” have been cited, the “public interest” stan­dard itself is notoriously vague and arbitrary. As a result, the FCC wields almost unlimited discretion in reviewing mergers, which allows the agency to use merger review to promote its own pet causes. Although mergers are rarely rejected outright, the FCC frequently imposes extensive conditions on a merger, routinely including service restrictions or mandates only tangentially related to the merger.

Most recently, for example, the FCC considered the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC. Even though the two firms largely do not compete against each other, the commission only approved the merger with an extensive list of conditions reg­ulating Comcast operations

Recommended Action. Rescind. Congress should restrict the FCC’s authority to review license trans­fers to a simple confirmation that the new licensee is eligible to hold the license.

Relevant Reading.

James Gattuso, “Comcast–NBC: Why is the FCC Involved?” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, December 4, 2009, at

Jim Harper, “The Lesson of the XM/Sirius Merger,” Cato Institute TechKnowledge No. 119, August 15, 2008, at (January 19, 2011).

Randy May, “The FCC Risks Over-Conditioning the Comcast–NBCU Merger,” The Daily Caller, January 3, 2011, at (January 19, 2011).

19. Dairy Price Controls

Discussion. U.S. consumers pay inflated prices for dairy products due to a variety of fed­eral programs that manipulate the supply and demand of dairy products. The Department of Agriculture, for example, issues “Milk Marketing Orders” that set the milk prices processors must pay based on the products they make. Dairy farmers in each of the 10 government-drawn regions then split the proceeds—effectively con­stituting a cartel.

To maintain demand for dairy products—and thus higher prices—the government also purchases cheese, butter, and nonfat dry milk through its Price Support Program. The program adds up to a huge wealth redistribution from consumers and taxpayers to dairy farmers. Not only are the costs of dairy products higher, but so, too, are the prices for every product made with dairy ingredients.

Recommended Action. Rescind. Eliminate dairy price controls, as well as related subsidies that artificially inflate prices for dairy products and increase the federal budget.

Relevant Reading.

Sallie James, “Milking the Customers: The High Cost of U.S. Dairy Policies,” Cato Institute Trade Briefing Paper No. 24, November 9, 2006, at (January 19, 2011).

20. Sugar Protectionism

Discussion. The Byzantine system of price sup­ports and subsidies for domestic sugar production dates to 1789, when the U.S. first imposed tariffs on sugar imports. Tariffs remain in place, along with government-backed loans to sugar processors that require repayment only if the price of sugar exceeds a floor price set by the U.S. Department of Agricul­ture. Inflated sugar prices are also maintained by production quotas (“marketing allotments”), while in some instances, the government pays processors to dump inventory to reduce supply, thereby main­taining higher prices. Most recently, the 2008 farm bill authorized the government to purchase “excess” sugar imports that otherwise would dilute the mar­ket share of domestic suppliers. The “excess” imports are sold—at a loss—to ethanol producers.

These various schemes are responsible for steep declines in U.S. industries that use sugar in their products. They are drawn instead to Canada, where sugar prices are less than half those in the U.S., while they are a third cheaper in Mexico. Conse­quently, for each job in sugar production “saved” through subsidies and price supports, nearly three confectionary manufacturing jobs are lost as Amer­ican companies relocate abroad, according to the Department of Commerce.[33]

Recommended Action. Rescind. Eliminate sugar quotas, price controls, subsidies, and tariffs.

Relevant Reading.

Andre Rougeot, “The Cost of Sugar Subsidies,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, December 6, 2010, at

Norbert Michel, “Nothing Sweet About Sugar Subsidies,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, March 7, 2004, at

—Diane Katz is Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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Show references in this report

[1]James L. Gattuso, Diane A. Katz, and Stephen Keen, “Red Tape Rising: Obama’s Torrent of New Regulation,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2482, October 26, 2010, at

[2]Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain, “The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms,” Small Business Administration Research Summary No. 371, September 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

[3]Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148), March 23, 2010, Chapter 48: “Maintenance of Minimum Essential Coverage,” at (January 19, 2011).

[4]Robert Alt and Todd Gaziano, “Judge Rules Obamacare Mandate Goes Beyond Letter and Spirit of the Constitution,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, December 13, 2010, at

[5]PPACA (Public Law 111–148), Chapter 48.

[6]PPACA (Public Law 111–148), Chapter 48.

[7]PL 111-148 § 1302(b)(1).

[8]See Title X—Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, in Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, at (January 19, 2011).

[9]Sec. 920. Reasonable Fees and Rules for Payment Card Transactions, in Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, at (January 19, 2011).

[10]Jessica Silver-Greenberg, “Don’t Look Now, But Here Come the New, New Bank Fees,” The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

[11]Sec. 971. Proxy Access, in Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, at (January 19, 2011).

[12]Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, at (January 19, 2011).

[13]Meredith Whitney, “The Credit Crunch Continues,” The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2009, at (January 19, 2011).

[14]Section 322. Incandescent Reflector Lamp Efficiency Standards, in Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, at (January 19, 2011).

[15]David Kreutzer, “The Clean Energy Future Looks Dim for Light Bulb Workers,” Heritage Foundation Foundry blog, September 9, 2010, at

[16]For example, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975; the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1978; the National Energy Conservation Act of 1978; and the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

[17]Ronald J. Sutherland, “The High Costs of Federal Energy Efficiency: Standards for Residential Appliances,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 504, December 23, 2003, at (January 19, 2011).

[18]Internal Revenue Service, “Manufacturers’ Energy Efficient Appliance Credit,” March 31, 2010, at,,id=208024,00.html (January 19, 2011).

[19]“Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, Final Rule,” Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 88 (May 7, 2010), p. 25,324.

[20]At the same time, the EPA has established a slightly more stringent fuel efficiency standard (35.5 mpg) to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, which are directly related to the amount of fuel burned. However, because the EPA will award emissions reduction credits for improvements to air conditioning systems—credits that NHTSA is barred from awarding—the two standards are equivalent.

[21]The NHTSA estimates the fuel efficiency standards will increase vehicle cost by $434 in model year 2012 and up to $926 per vehicle in model year 2016. See NHTSA, “NHTSA and EPA Establish New National Program to Improve Fuel Economy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,” April 1, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

[22]“2012–2016 Corporate Average Fuel Economy Compliance and Effects Modeling System Documentation,” U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, March 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

[23]National Academy of Sciences, “Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards,” 2002, at (January 19, 2011).

[24]“Environmental Protection Agency: Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Final Rule,” Federal Register, Vol. 74, No. 239 (December 15, 2009), p. 66,496.

[25]Ben Lieberman, “Small Business Impact of the EPA Endangerment Finding,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2766, January 20, 2010, at

[26]David W. Kreutzer and Karen A. Campbell, “C02-Emissions Cuts: The Economic Costs of the EPA’s ANPR Regulations,” Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. CDA08-10, October 29, 2008, at

[27]Ben Lieberman, “‘Climategate’ Should Derail Copenhagen Climate Conference,” Heritage Foundation Commentary, January 7, 2010, at

[28]“Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, Final Rule,” Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 88 (May 7, 2010), p. 25,324.

[29]At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established a slightly less stringent fuel efficiency standard (34.1 mpg). Because the EPA will award emissions reduction credits for improvements to air conditioning systems—credits that NHTSA is barred from awarding—the two standards are equivalent.

[30]“Environmental Protection Agency: Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 58 (March 26, 2010), p. 14,670.

[31]12 USC Chapter 30—Community Reinvestment, February 1, 2010, at (January 19, 2011).

[32]Institute of Internal Auditors, “Sarbanes–Oxley Section 404: A Guide for Management by Internal Controls Practitioners,” January 2008, at (January 19, 2011).

[33]“Employment Changes in U.S. Food Manufacturing: The Impact of Sugar Prices,” U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, February 2006, at 20, 2011).