tv The Journal Editorial Report FOX News March 8, 2014 11:00am-11:31am PST
editorial report" tempers flare on capitol hill as lois lerner declines to answer questions in congress. why is she talking to the justice department instead? >> vulnerable democrats breathe a sigh of relief as the administration announces yet another obamacare delay. if you thought that was the only trick up the president's sleeve, wait till you see his budget. welcome to the "journal editorial report," i'm stewart varny in for paul gigot. fireworks on capitol hill as
lois lerner once again refused to answer questions at a house oversight and government reform committee hearing. committee chair darrell issa says contempt charges could come as early as next week. some democrats are crying foul, with ranking member elijah cummings calling the house's investigation into the targeting of tea party groups one-sided and unamerican. >> i am a member of the congress of the united states of america. i am tired of this. we have members over here each who represent 700,000 people. you cannot just have a one-sided investigation. it is absolutely something wrong with that and there is absolutely unamerican. >> joining the panel this week, "wall street journal" columnist and deputy editor dan henninger, washington capitol hill kim strassel and james freeman. as i mentioned earlier, lois lerner refuses to answer
questions from congress but is talking to the justice department. what is with that? >> the issue is what part of the justice department is she talking to? an issue like this would normally be handled by the public integrity section of the department of justice. she is not talking to them. she is talking to the civil rights division, which is run by an obama partisan. that makes you wonder what is the point of her talking to the department of justice? i think what is going on here is that the obamaunderstand they are on very thin ice with this irs investigation because abuse of power is not merely a political expression, it's a federal felony. you start pulling on that string and find other people who conspired to impede a federal investigation, a lot of individuals are going to have very significant legal and political exposure. lois lerner is the one they are all hanging on to. >> it sounds like a harsh
question. is the fix in? >> i think it's a reasonable question. i talked to representative jim jordan this week who has been leading with darrell issa this investigation. he is saying lois lerner has been given a grant of immunity by the administration and its signals. saying there is not a smidge of corruption here. before that you had fbi officials saying there are not going to be criminal charges here. the question is what is she afraid of here? why can she not talk? her lawyer said one of the reasons she is reluctant to do a public hearing is because of threats against her. all the anger against her is because she's taken the fifth, hasn't come clean, won't tell the story. >> didn't her lawyer say it's over. that was the exact expression, it's over. >> i'm referring to this past weekend when there was a hint
from darrell issa she might testify again. the explanation was threats. just the truth and honest accounting to the american people would probably diminish a lot of angle here. >> kim strassel, what is with contempt charges may come next week? >> there is no recourse. this is the second time lois lerner has been called in front of a congressional committee. as dan and james laid out, it is the only place where a real investigation is happening at this moment. it's certainly not happening at the justice department. yet she refuses to speak. if you bring contempt charges, you can set the ball in motion to potentially compel her to have to testify in front of a court. republicans, i think could you see the frustration there in that clip you ran. they are simply stymied at this point, not with her refusal to talk but the irs refuses to turn over documents they need. some view this as the only logical next step trying to get something that will help finally
answer questions. >> do you think those questions will finally be answered, kim? >> it's a hard -- that is a very hard question. everyone is clearly -- something's gone on. everyone knows there is a lot of liability out there. mrs. lerner is going to fight this as hard as she can. i think the biggest problem for congress, they are doing magnificent work on these investigations. they lack, for instance, justice department ability to bring charges against people. where this all ends in the end, may end up being more political than a question of legal system. >> dan? >> let's understand political stakes. no one made up the idea that these conservative groups were investigated. they were. many were put out of business. if this all goes away, what that means is the internal revenue service has become a weapon of politics. it can be used as an instrument of politics by an administration routinely against this political enemies. it has been done before.
not on this level. it has become institutionalized. >> it goes to the heart of our democratic process. if a president or his party or people supporting him can go after his opponents, as far as how we get to the truth if justice won't act on it, there is private litigation out there. jim jordan saying let's have a special prosecutor. he suggests the igea justice to take on that role. >> you could say that the president has won. he's gotten away with it because the rules governing political activity by nonprofits have been changed. change to the point where tea party groups cannot function as they used to function. i believe, however, there are exceptions to those rules. >> the joke is the administration is now using the targeting that happened as an excuse to formalize this targeting via these new rules. the irs put up these rules, will institute a crackdown on the same tea party groups targeted
restricting their speech. as we head into this midterm election season, think of all the other nonprofits under the irs tax code that are not going to be held under that restriction. for instance, the unions, the greatest supporters of democrats out there. the effect on this year's elections. that this irs scandal will be prolonged -- not the scandal, but the suppression will be prolonged beyond those elections. >> i think the big issue in the elections is obamacare. people are working on finding ways to get their voice heard even despite this. this is about the health of our republic. more than this particular election outcome. when we come back, just in time for the midterm elections, another obamacare delay.
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this week. you can bet some endangered senate democrats are breathing a sigh of relief. the white house announced wednesday it would allow consumers to keep health insurance plans that don't meet the requirements of the affordable care act until 2016, pushing the next wave of cancellation notices until well after the midterm elections. we are back with dan henninger and kim strassel, "wall street journal" editorial board member joe ragle joins the panel. first question, all these delays, where does this leave the insurance companies? >> it's dramatically increasing risk and uncertainty in the industry. there's been about 37 changes to the affordable care act so far. most of them unilateral administrative actions of dubious legality. all this is being built into the premium structure and will increase premiums going forward next year.
it's raising questions about the larger viability of this law. is this going to be reopened, what are the rules going to be going forward? >> the money is just not coming into the insurance companies. it's just not there, is it? >> no. we've seen much lower sign-ups than were predicted. a lot of people who were expected to sign up just aren't. >> kim, it is a delay, an extended delay. i'm sure it's designed to help endangered senate democrats. will it? >> the useful thing about this announcement is that the administration actually laid out actually which democrats it was designed to help in that they came out and said this fix was engineered with the consultation of, then they listed the names of various vulnerable senate democrats like kay hagan in north carolina, mary landrieu in louisiana. these are senators who have all been in trouble because they are on record of saying if you liked your health plan, could you keep it. when they were caught with the problem that that was not the
case, they have all been out saying we are going to put legislation that says you can, indeed, keep your plan if you want it. the administration put this out in order to save them from having to push something through congress and look as though they've been proactive. >> kim, i believe various democrats were named in the delay announcement. i'm going to run a brief commercial clip from an anti-kay hagan ad. >> since friends often say and do the same things, take barack obama and kay hagan. in washington, senator hagan votes with president obama 96% of the time. 96%. they even talk alike. >> if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. >> if you've got health insurance now, you're happy with it, you can keep it. >> now we know the truth. they told us the biggest lie of the year. more than 473,000 north
carolinians have lost their insurance policies because of obamacare. >> that's sharp edge stuff. do you think they can get around that? >> that is an ad from americans for prosperity. they have been out there pounding a lot of these democrats. in particular, mrs. hagan who is on record 23 or 24 times in various video clips saying if you like your health care plan you can keep it. you can't run away from this stuff. for the average american who has indeed lost their plan, and who is being confronted with a range of opposites that have worse care at higher prices, this is something that is going to keep coming back regardless of whether or not the administration now puts forward more of these administrative delays. >> dan, the president said obamacare is working as it is supposed to. >> the same fellow who said if you like your insurance plan you can keep it? stuart, most of the country has been living through one of the
most awful winters in living memory. what we know is it's going away in the spring, for sure. this is not going away. there were two studies that came out. apparently only 10% of the uninsured have signed up or partially signed up for this program. the urban institute did a study, interviewed 8,000 people. 23% of the uninsured have no idea obamacare exists. never heard of it. it's incredible to think, but that is the case. >> never heard of it? never looked at a plan? >> never heard of it. they are off the grid. this administration is not going to be able to hit their numbers to bring sufficient people into this insurance pool to make it function, which as joe was suggesting is going to cause the insurance piece of this to degrade over time and is going to go right into that election. >> there's only three weeks to go to the deadline end of march. we were told going into this we
were going to sign up for to try to cover 30 million people who were uninsured. we are not going to come close to that. >> they can't force people into the system. you have to show up somehow and they simply are not. >> going forward we are going to raise questions about the viability of this law. the state exchanges continue to malfunction, the federal exchange is not working as it's supposed to despite assurances to the contrary. the question is, what's left? >> what is still in place? can you tell me that? >> it's the subsidies. everything else is completely plastic. i think they are setting up -- >> i've forgotten the taxes. >> taxes, as well. and the regulatory precedent they are setting up here is that this is just going to change no matter who is in power. it is a very important political question for the senate in the
and the most hours of streaming video on the nbc sports live extra app, includcomcast was honored to bring every minute of every medal of nbcuniversal's coverage to every screen. so what's next? rio 2016. welcome to what's next. comcast nbcuniversal. in case you missed it, president obama released his 2015 budget proposal this week. in an effort to turn out democrats this fall and turn th. will it work? i just call it a tax and spend budget, at way around a
political game plan for this year. >> welcome to 1933. spending is going up. it's a $4 trillion budget. revenues are up and created an array of programs. i think the political point to make here is they are trying to send money out to these constituencies because midterm elections are all about turnout. at the moment, the democrats are in trouble, they have got to get their base somehow energized, give them some reason to go to the polls. republicans are very energized. this is one piece of it creating new programs for preschool and so forth. give the democrats something else to talk about other than obamacare. >> this one thing stood out to me is the earned income tax credit. that is a check from the treasury that goes out to people working on the books but don't make much money. this budget proposal would raise a number of people getting that
check by some $13 million. >> this is the other half of the budget. this is mostly about gearing up consistencys to go out and vote. it's about the democratic big campaign this year about inequality. you see a number of aspects of this budget to back that up. eitc is coupled with new taxes on the wealthy. what we are going to do is tax the 1% more and turn around and give that money to those who are not earning very much, by expanding this refundable tax credit. this is coupled as well with proposals to raise the minimum wage. this is something democrats are going to hit hard on the campaign trail. this is making sure everybody else has more. if not you're one of those greedy republicans. >> james, will it work? >> fiscally it's not going to
work. big deficits. politically, we've been talking about riling up the base. a big part of that obama base has been young people. this year of course has been terrible for young people economically. for whatever reason they seem likely to vote for them. another piece you have in this budget is expanding the number of people, student loan borrowers who can get what is called income-based repayment plans. you pay less depending on your income level. this is another big effort to say to young people, there is a stake for you this fall in cheaper student loans. >> you could call that buying votes. that would be a perjorative statement. kim, has the president fundmentialy changed america to
the point where this class warfare is spreading the money out, take it from here and give it to there, will it work? >> here is the problem. >> what they want to focus us on they kept saying the deficit is falling. we can talk about why that is. mostly because tax revenues are gushing in and because the president is robbing the military of a lot of money. the fact they had to talk about this means they remain worried about the political criticism and the public view of out of control spending in washington. they know that's one of their greatest liabilities. that is going to be a big issue for many voters this fall. >> thank you very much. we have to take one more break. when we come back, our hits and misses of the week.
it's that time for our hits and misses of the week. kim, first to you. >> a hit to the seven senate democrats who joined with republicans to kill the nam nation of adegbile who had been named to run the civil rights division of the justice department. he is a cause celeb of the hard left in part for his work defending a notorious cop killer, a case the naac used to attack the very justice system mr. obama has proposed giving him a role in overseeing. the whole reason harry reid killed the filibuster to ram through the president the's nominees so it is notable even his own party could not stomach this one. both a hit and miss to the college board for once again revising the s.a.t. >> i know something about this
with teenage daughters. >> on one hand it's the activists claiming the s.a.t. is a source of justice rather than a test designed to base college admission on something other than wealth and privilege. on the other hand they are returning the perfect score to the iconic original 1600 thus sparing high schoolers from shooting to 2400, whatever that means. >> interesting to have it both ways, a hit and miss. that's called cheating. >> i read this week congressman paul ryan will be heading out to cedar rapids, iowa, next month to attend the lincoln day dinner out there. raising the spector of presidential politics. whenever this happens, a lot of us go, oh, my god, not another presidential election already. whether it's paul ryan or chris christie or jeb bush, let the presidential rebels begin. i cannot wait. end this long national nightmare of talking about nothing but obama. >> remember, please, if you have your own hit or miss, please
send it to us at jer at fox news.com. follow us on twitter at jer on fnc. i'm stuart varney, paul will be back next week. a fox news alert as tensions growing in ukraine's crimea region, pro russian forces refuse to let european peace keepers in. welcome to a brand-new hour of america's news headquarters. i'm arthel neville. >> i'm gregg jarrett. ukraine's interim government will not let russia take over crimea. as president obama calls world leaders today trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. amy kellogg is live in