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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for January, 2015

Obama Retreats From His Assault on the 529s

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

In a a rare moment of sanity, Obama has acted appropriately. According to Fox News, “President Obama has dropped his plan to end tax breaks for popular college savings accounts known as 529s, sources told Fox News on Tuesday. The decision comes in the wake of stern criticism from Republicans and pleas from top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to drop the plan…Administration officials had claimed last week that they were going after the 529 accounts because they unfairly benefit high-income people. Under the proposed change, Americans eventually would have had to pay taxes on the earnings when they were withdrawn. A White House official told Fox News late Tuesday afternoon that the 529 provision was a ‘very small component’ of Obama’s plan to cut taxes for the middle class. ‘Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support, as well as the President’s broader package of tax relief for childcare and working families,’ the official said.”

The House Sues The President

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

According to The Hill: “The House is taking action to sue President Obama over his executive actions that gave legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. Speaker John Boehner apprised House Republicans of the plan, which is still being finalized, during the weekly conference meeting Tuesday morning. ‘We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue, one we believe gives us the best chance of success,’ Boehner told members, according to a source in the room. Under the emerging plan, members would vote on a resolution authorizing the House to take various legal actions. Options could include filing a new lawsuit against the president or joining the states’ lawsuit against the executive action. Last year, the House voted to sue Obama over his use of executive actions delaying the healthcare law’s employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide insurance. Boehner’s announcement comes a day after GOP leadership pulled a controversial border security bill from the floor.”

Holder Leaves Attorney General Post

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

As January thankfully comes to a close, Holder is out and a new Attorney General needs to be voted in. The most important legacy Eric Holder will probably leave as attorney general seems to be his willingness to insulate President Obama from politically damaging issues. The main question today for Holder’s designated successor, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, is whether she will reassert the often-vaunted but seldom-seen independence of the office. Lynch is not controversial, but the agency and its current leader certainly are. That’s where you can expect to see fireworks in her confirmation hearings. As Holder leaves office, he leaves his all-but-certain successor with a host of unresolved controversies, including IRS targeting, Fast and Furious, reporter snooping and the legitimacy of the president’s executive actions. Senate Republicans have a chance to pin down Lynch on these hot bottom issues and achieve what conservatives call a “restoration” of the office to its traditional role. What she says during the hearings will help define the parameters of the administration’s legal pioneering for the closing days of the Obama era.

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