Friday, April 06, 2018

WH Considers Using Obscure Law To Gut Omnibus Bill, Democrats Helpless To Stop it

As always, the problem will be the RINOs in the Senate

Conservatives who were angry with President Donald Trump and Republicans with some of the expenditures approved as part of the recently signed omnibus spending bill may soon be in a slightly better mood.

Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner reports congressional conservatives want Trump to use the 1974 Impoundment Act to rescind some spending authorized by the $1.3 trillion government appropriations bill, and White House officials are reportedly considering doing so.

The measure referred to by the Examiner is officially known as the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. For the most part, the act established the Congressional Budget Office and gave Congress more control over the budget process.

The Impoundment Control Act allows the president to ask Congress to rescind funds that have been allocated in the budget. Congress is not required to vote on the request, but if they do agree to vote, a simple majority in both chambers is all that is needed to approve cuts the president requests.

Congress has 45 days to approve any or all rescission requests from the president.

A congressional Republican aide told the Examiner that conservatives have been lobbying for Trump to use the Impoundment Act. “It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of a law passed decades ago and that hasn’t been used recently,” the aide said.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confirmed to The Washington Post that McCarthy’s office is working with the Trump administration on the idea.

White House legislative director Marc Short also confirmed the president is looking into requesting cuts to the budget. “The administration is certainly looking at a rescission package, and the president takes seriously his promise to be fiscally responsible.”



Mulvaney Brings Law and Order to the CFPB

Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is bringing responsibility and transparency to his agency – so of course he is under attack by Democrats.

The brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the CFPB purportedly exists to shield consumers from fraud. In reality, Democrats created a powerful rogue agency that they could use to control and reward their political friends. The agency was given largely unchecked enforcement authority and spent taxpayer money recklessly.

Now that Democrats have lost the keys to that castle, they are making baseless accusations that Mulvaney is acting lawlessly, projecting onto him what they did to the agency. However, Mulvaney is trying to reform the CFPB into what its mission actually is: to protect consumers.

From the beginning, Democrats tried to block Mulvaney’s appointment. Richard Cordray, the first director of the CFPB, resigned last year and attempted to appoint his own successor, Leandra English, who filed a lawsuit to keep the job. Though federal judges have thus far supported President Trump’s authority to name an interim director of the agency, English’s lawsuit continues. But Mulvaney’s appointment is constitutional. Over 100 congressional Republicans filed an amicus brief last month arguing that Trump has the legal authority to appoint Mulvaney.

Just as his appointment was constitutional, Mulvaney is trying to make his agency operate in a constitutional fashion by making sure its actions stay within the realm of its authority and its operating costs stay within an appropriate budget.

Among many examples of reckless spending under its previous director, the CFPB spent over $215 million to renovate its headquarters. On his very first day as acting director of the agency, Mulvaney told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he would seek to rein in the soaring renovation costs.

“My objective in managing this agency is to make it more accountable, efficient, and effective in fulfilling its statutory obligations,” Mulvaney said. “Because Congress does not control the bureau’s budget through appropriations, we are left to budget ourselves without oversight, and every dollar we draw from the Federal Reserve is one less dollar available to pay down the deficit.”

While examining his agency’s budget in January, Mulvaney determined the bureau would need $145 million for its second quarter operating costs, but it already had $177 million in a “reserve fund” created by his predecessor. So Mulvaney told then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the CFPB would not require any additional operating funds for its second quarter.

In a letter to Yellen, Mulvaney suggested that the Fed instead direct those funds to the Treasury to reduce the deficit.

“While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the Bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he wrote.

Mulvaney’s actions to trim the CFPB’s budget and control its regulatory actions have led to accusations from Democrats that he is attempting to shut down the bureau, but he is doing no such thing. Mulvaney has stated that he has “no intention of shutting down the bureau” and that the law requires the CFPB to “enforce consumer-protection laws, and we will continue to do so under my watch.”

Democrats, including Warren, have also baselessly accused the acting director of acting unethically by dropping investigations into some payday lenders and delaying a new rule regulating them due to campaign contributions he received from the industry when he was in Congress.

Mulvaney responded to these charges in a remarkable letter. "I reject your insinuation — repeated three times in as many pages — that my actions as Acting Director are based on considerations other than the careful examination of the law and the facts particular” to any matter, he wrote, adding:

"Prior to your letter, I would have never thought to consider, for instance, whether your vote against repealing the Bureau's arbitration rule was influenced by campaign donations you may have received from trial lawyers or other parties who stood to financially gain from the rule. Perhaps I should reconsider. Instead, shall we agree that such accusations are baseless and discuss policy matters as responsible officers holding a public trust?"

Contrary to these claims from Democrats, Mulvaney is the reformer CFPB needs, bringing both law and order to the bureau. Mulvaney is scaling the agency back to enforce the law as appropriate, rather than to “push the envelope,” as his predecessor described the agency’s actions. He is focused on fiscal responsibility and an equitable enforcement process that balances regulatory costs with need for consumer protections. He will ensure the agency advocates for consumers rather than the Democrats’ agenda.



Authoritarian dentistry in America

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a despotic pediatric dentist.

Parents who decide, for whatever reason, that they don’t like their children’s oral care provider should be forewarned. Empowered by government “mandatory reporter” laws, dental offices are now using their authority to threaten families with child abuse charges if they don’t comply with the cavity police.

Mom Trey Hoyumpa shared a letter last week on Facebook from a dental office called Smiles 4 Keeps in Bartonsville, Pennsylvania. It informed her that if she did not make a dental appointment for “regular professional cleanings” for her child, she could be charged with “dental neglect.”

Citing a law called Pennsylvania Act 31 on child abuse recognition and reporting, the dental office threatened to report the mom to state authorities if she did not schedule an appointment.

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Hoyumpa wrote: “Smiles 4 Keeps bullies the parents, controls the care behind closed doors, and turns parents into villains … and I will not stand for it anymore!!!”

On social media, parents who’ve encountered the toxic alliance of snoopy medical providers and child welfare agencies shared their own experiences with government bullies who operate on a presumption of guilt.

Brett Darken wrote: “Anyone familiar with ‘family court,’ DCF, state probate, and guardianship courts know well this story. In any other context, it would be considered a threat, coercion, and intimidation under RICO laws. But because it’s the government, it’s legal.”

This is a menacing threat to have hanging over customers of dental practices, or any medical providers for that matter: If you leave, you better tell us where you are going or we could report you to government child welfare agencies for suspected abuse.

One Twitter commenter wondered: “Is this fake?”

Unfortunately, it’s all too real, and the dental office is championing an intrusive practice that is likely to spread.

Smiles 4 Keeps replied to parental criticism on Facebook by quoting the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry definition of “dental neglect” as the “willful failure of parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection.”

The dental office also defended its intimidation letter to the mom by explaining that physicians and dentists are “mandated reporters” who are “required to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect to social service or law enforcement agencies in order to prevent such tragedy.”

But as investigative reporter Terri LaPoint at points out, nowhere has Smiles 4 Keeps provided any evidence that Hoyumpa was neglectful or abusive in any way.

Moreover, Smiles 4 Keeps insists that parents provide the name of a new dentist if the family chooses to find a new provider. Hoyumpa was just one of 17 recipients of the threatening Smiles 4 Keeps salvos.

Dr. Ross Wezmar of Smiles 4 Keeps actually boasted to local news station WNEP about the snitch letters’ ability “to jar the parent to realize that with a child comes responsibility.” Benevolent Dr. Marcus Welby he is not.

Wezmar claimed his bully notes are the first in the nation to be dispatched. With the encroachment of socialized medicine in America, they certainly won’t be the last.

Think it can’t happen to you? Last year, in Ontario, Canada, mom Melissa Lopez wanted a second opinion on getting fillings for her daughter and decided to change providers. The jilted dentist, as Lenore Skenazy reported on, called Child Protective Services to report possible “oral neglect.”

The case was dismissed, but Child Protective Services refuses to remove Lopez’s file from its books—it is part of a permanent record that keeps a permanent cloud of suspicion over her.

Skenazy drills down to the core: “The issue here is how easy it is to drag a family into an abuse investigation, and how hard it is for the family, like an impacted molar, to get itself extracted.”

Indeed, the partnership between medical providers and government child welfare services has threatened innocent families across the country under the guise of “protecting the children.” It is a short hop from cavity-shaming and misdiagnoses to ripping families apart.

Don’t forget the case of Justina Pelletier, savagely torn from her family by Boston Children’s Hospital after the prestigious medical institution wrongly accused her parents of causing her chronic illness. Boston Children’s Hospital locked Justina in a mental ward until her sister published an undercover video of Justina pleading to be reunited with her family.

Public outrage forced her release and now the Pelletiers are suing the hospital.

Big Nanny monitors hostile to family privacy and autonomy are everywhere—in your kids’ classrooms, cafeterias, and doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Eternal vigilance against government intrusion is the price of parenthood.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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