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Entries in Obama Administraion (2)

Sunday
Mar042012

Newt Gingrich: Obama’s Goal Is ‘$8 or $9 a Gallon’ Gas

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich chided the Obama administration on Sunday morning, saying the president has “a goal getting us to pay European-level prices” for gas.

“This president and his secretary of anti-energy, Dr. Chu, have as a goal getting us to pay European-level prices of $8 or $9.  Dr. Chu was clear about that before he became secretary. He wants us to get to be a European-level price structure of $8 or $9 a gallon,” Gingrich said. “He said this week, in testifying in the House, he has ‘no intention of trying to lower the price of oil or the price of gasoline.’ The American people on the other hand would much rather pay $2.50 and be independent of Saudi Arabia than be where we are today. ”

Obama’s campaign senior adviser, David Axelrod, said later in the program that the Obama administration wants lower gas prices even though Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, said recently that lower gas prices are not the president’s main goal.

“We always want lower gas prices, because that’s good for our economy. The question is whether it’s realistic to say, as the speaker did, that there’s some magic fairy dust that you can sprinkle and get $2.50 gas? The American people know that’s not the case,” Axelrod said. “We have been dealing with this for some time. Six months before the president took office, gas was at $4.10. The reason that it was lower when he took office was because we had a worldwide recession. That’s not a strategy for lower gas prices that we want to follow.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun082011

Healthcare: Appeals Court Skeptical of Administration's Argument?

Comstock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A lawyer for the Obama administration told a panel of federal judges on Wednesday that healthcare is a "universal feature of our existence" and that Congress was well within its authority in passing a sweeping healthcare law.

But the judges seemed, at times, skeptical of some of the key arguments made by Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on behalf of the government.

Twenty-six states are challenging the constitutionality of the law, the Affordable Care Act, and arguing that it should be struck down.

At the heart of the case is the key provision of the law, the individual mandate, that requires individuals, with few exceptions, to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

The case was heard by three judges from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the third appellate court to hear a challenge to the law considered the signature legislative achievement of the Obama administration.

Paul Clement, representing the states, said that Congress exceeded its authority in passing the individual mandate because it forces people into the marketplace. Clement said the case turns on "whether or not the federal government can compel an individual to engage in commerce."

The judges began by asking the government whether the case is unprecedented.

Chief Judge Joel G. Dubina asked the government whether there would be any limits to Congress' reach if the court upheld the individual mandate.

Katyal said that healthcare is a unique market because "every single person can't guarantee that they won't need healthcare," adding that the mandate was "all about financing" how healthcare could be paid for.

Judge Stanley Marcus pressed again on the issue of precedent.

Katyal said the case wasn't about the government forcing someone to buy a product. It was about how to regulate the payment of a product that every American will eventually need. He noted that in 2008 the cost of the uninsured was $43 billion, and those costs were shifted to other participants in the healthcare system across the country. He said that the commerce clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to regulate such interstate commerce.

Clement argued that although Congress may have the right to regulate interstate commerce, it doesn't have the authority to "compel people to engage."

Former Acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, who attended the arguments and believes the law is constitutional, said Wednesday's panel of judges asked "more skeptical questions of each side and, perhaps, asked more skeptical questions of the government" than a panel of judges who heard a similar case in Virginia. The panel in that case was comprised of three judges who were nominated to the bench by Democratic presidents and they seemed openly skeptical of the arguments of those challenging the healthcare law.

Judge Dubina was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, while Hull and Marcus were both Clinton nominees.

Elizabethe Wydra, the chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center who filed a brief in defense of the law, noted that this is the third appellate court to hear arguments.

"Many of the judges, whether considered to be conservative or liberal, recognize that the decision not to buy health insurance is, in fact, an economic decision," she said. "Supreme Court precedent makes clear that Congress has authority to regulate such economic activity."

But Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, who attended the arguments and is opposed to the law, said afterwards, "The federal government could not rebut our argument that the individual mandate is an unprecedented intrusion on individual liberty."

The case is expected ultimately to reach the Supreme Court.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio