Daily Archives: October 14, 2013
10/14/2013 by Patrick Howley
The White House official who exchanged confidential taxpayer information with the IRS is a longtime Obama advisor and progressive activist who is currently the most powerful official on Obamacare implementation within the White House.
Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy, entered Obama-world in 2008 as a health-policy adviser to then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign. She was subsequently named deputy director and then director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) now-defunct Office of Health Reform, where she reported directly to Kathleen Sebelius.
Lambrew’s current “deputy assistant to the president” position, while modest-sounding, gives her extensive and centralized power over the White House’s efforts to implement Obamacare.
“[Lambrew] is also unabashedly liberal – often serving as the architect of her party’s most progressive ideas on healthcare reform,” wrote American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Scott Gottlieb in a March op-ed.
“The few remaining centrists thinkers inside the White House, mostly scattered across the National Economic Council and Treasury, are gone – or largely marginalized when it comes to issues around implementation. The people drafting and reviewing the regulations are mostly centered in the White House and its Domestic Policy Council — and they mostly work for Jeanne Lambrew,” Gottlieb wrote.
“Normally, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Economic Council would be heavily engaged on the issuance of regulations tied to a major law like Obamacare. Not the Obama White House. The economists still play on the fiscal issues related to Medicare and Medicaid. But when it comes to Obamacare implementation, they are not calling the shots. The power is centered on Lambrew,” Gottlieb wrote.
Lambrew exchanged confidential taxpayer information on organizations with IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram and White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller last week. Ingram attempted to counsel Lambrew and the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
Lambrew also hosted 155 of Ingram’s 165 White House visits, according to White House visitor logs that were recently taken offline during the government shutdown. The IRS improperly targeted conservative groups for harassment of their tax-exempt applications and abusive audits between 2010 and 2012.
Lambrew previously served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-wing Washington think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta.
Podesta credited Lambrew with helping to shape the “foundation” of the progressive health care reform push beginning in 2005, which was eventually realized under Obama despite attempts to “demagogue” the issue by conservatives who believe that “health is a privilege, not a right,” according to Podesta.
Lambrew moderated a June 2008 Center for American Progress panel criticizing Obama opponent John McCain’s health policy.
Among numerous other positions in government and academia, Lambrew worked on health care reform at the Department of Health and Human Services between 1993-94, as First Lady Hillary Clinton led the administration’s disastrous health care reform initiative.
“Providing and improving health care for every American may be the current test of our country’s strength of conviction, as was enacting civil rights for all in the 1960s and the creation of the New Deal in the 1930s,” wrote Lambrew, Podesta, and Teresa L. Shaw in 2005.
The White House did not return a request for comment.
14 Oct 2013
President Barack Obama is demanding a $1.1 trillion “ransom”–or else he will not allow the debt ceiling to be raised. That’s the effective offer on the table from the president and Senate Democrats. They have now refused to pass a “clean” short-term debt ceiling hike unless Republicans agree to reverse the “sequester” spending cuts in the 2011 Budget Control Act that were enacted–at Obama’s suggestion–to end the last debt ceiling crisis.
The president, who has invited congressional leaders to conduct talks at the White House Monday afternoon, still continues to insist that he “will not pay a ransom for Congress reopening the government and raising the debt limit.” Yet he and his party are the ones insisting on a “ransom,” now that Republicans appear to be in the mood to compromise after opinion poll results last week showed them losing politically in the showdown.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has claimed that the sequester dispute means that Democrats and Republicans are only $70 billion apart in budget negotiations. That is a blatant lie, as the total value of the sequester over ten years is $1.1 trillion. Democrats do not want a reprieve for one year–they want the entire sequester canceled so that they can continue spending on such priorities as the annual cowboy poetry festival in Nevada.
Last week, President Obama asked the press to “imagine if a Democratic Congress threatened to crash the global economy unless a Republican president agreed to gun background checks or immigration reform.” Now the White House and a Democrat-controlled Senate are threatening exactly that–unless Republicans agree to fork over $1.1 trillion, paid for with new “revenues” (i.e. taxes) on the American people. Ransom, indeed.