Despite the myriad problems with Obamacare’s rollout, health-insurance companies are not tempering their support for the controversial law. The industry is even gearing up
for an expensive “PR blitz” to enroll people in the exchanges, which should come as no surprise.
In the words of former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, insurance companies are “not necessarily unbiased. They have a lot of skin in the game.” Indeed, one of the more peculiar aspects of the Obamacare debate has been the mainstream media’s apparent bemusement
at the insurance industry’s support for a law that not only forces people to buy its products (which are necessarily more expensive under the law) but also offers direct taxpayer subsidies to help cover the cost, to the tune of nearly $500 billion over the next ten years.
It was hardly a shock when, in 2011, the industry’s largest lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, argued
in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that, in the event that the individual mandate to purchase insurance was struck down, Obamacare should be scrapped entirely.
At the moment, insurance companies (and the Obama administration) are primarily focused on getting young, healthy individuals to sign up, and shell out, for plans offered on the exchanges. The companies may not appreciate the administration’s habit of blaming them for every setback
, but they are so invested in Obamacare’s success at this point that they have few options other than to be team players.“Their interests are aligned with our interests in terms of wanting to enroll targeted populations,” a senior White House official told Politico
last month. “It is not that we will agree with everything now either, but I would say for some time now there has been a collaboration because of that mutual interest.”
Obamacare is certainly a shining example of the president’s signature brand of crony capitalism and revolving-door economics. Just ask Tom Daschle. He was Obama’s first choice to run the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), but tax problems forced him to withdraw his nomination and he became
a lobbyist “senior policy adviser” in the government-affairs office of mega-law firm DLA Piper, where he played an influential role in pushing Obamacare past the legislative finish line.
Just as industry lobbyists like Daschle were instrumental
in the drafting of the law, K Street continues to play a major role
in Obamacare’s implementation, and is raking in cash
in the process. The health-care industry spent
almost $250 million on lobbying in the first six months of 2013 alone. Meanwhile, the infamous revolving door between government and the special-interest groups that candidate Obama so reviled spins on and on, which is great news for the corporations and industry groups that can afford to exploit it.
The Hill counted
more than 30 former administration officials, congressmen, and staffers who joined high-powered lobbying firms after helping to craft the controversial health-care law in 2010. Their clients include large corporations such as Delta Air Lines and UPS, both of which have expressed significant concern
about the impact of Obamacare. Health-care-industry giants such as UnitedHealth Group and Blue Cross Blue Shield have also hired former Obamacare architects to help them navigate the law’s implementation.
For example, Yvette Fontenot, an alumnus of the Senate Finance Committee and HHS, was recently hired by Avenue Solutions, a boutique lobbying firm ($3 million in annual revenue) whose clients include Blue Cross, Express Scripts, and Health Care Service Corporation, the largest customer-owned health-insurance provider in the country.
Former representative Earl Pomeroy’s vote for Obamacare likely cost him his seat in the 2010 midterms, but the nine-term North Dakota congressman and member of the House Ways and Means committee managed to land on his feet almost immediately. Alston & Bird hired
Pomeroy and his chief of staff in January 2011 and hailed the arrival of the two “health care notables” in a press release, which also cited Pomeroy’s “influence over key policy decisions on tax, trade, Social Security and Medicare issues.” He is currently helping health-insurance providers navigate the law’s tower of red tape
The revolving door swings both ways, of course, and the administration has tapped a number of former lobbyists to assist in the implementation of Obamacare. In July, the White House hired
health-care lobbyist and Clinton-administration alumnus Chris Jennings as a “health policy coordinator and strategist.” Jennings’s former clients include AARP, SEIU, and a number of drug and hospital associations. White House chief of staff and (former lobbyist) Denis McDonough hailed him as “an invaluable addition.”
William Schultz, a veteran of the House Commerce Committee and the Food and Drug Administration, lobbied for a number of drug companies before being named
general counsel at HHS. One of his former clients, Barr Pharmaceuticals, makes the morning-after pill and stands to benefit from the law’s contraception-coverage mandate, which Schultz is now tasked with defending in court.
The Washington Examiner
’s Tim Carney has identified
several other potential conflicts of interest for Schultz, highlighting
the “insidious corporatism” underlying the administration’s contraceptive mandate, the fate of which will now be decided
by the Supreme Court. Pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and Merck lobbied heavily in favor of expanded coverage for “preventative services” and stand to make millions from what is effectively a huge subsidy to purchase their products.
The health-care industry, which lobbied heavily
to persuade states to expand Medicaid and set up their own exchanges under Obamacare, was successful even in deep-red states such as Idaho, where the legislature voted to set up a state exchange in March. (The state was unable to meet the October 1 deadline, however, and is using the federal exchange for now.) State lawmakers there received considerable contributions from big-name insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, and other industry groups, all of which stand to benefit from a state-run exchange, which would generate an influx of federal subsidies and stricter rules to limit competition.
Insurers and their allies, such as Enroll America, the White House–backed non-profit for which HHS Secretary Kathellen Sebelius may have illegally sought donations
from industry officials, stand ready to do their part to support Obamacare. Of course, they’ll likely prefer to wait until the exchange website is actually fixed
, not simply deemed so by the White House
and Paul Krugman
Success! The Obama administration announced over the weekend that it had hit its deadline of November 30 for HealthCare.gov.
Of course, there were caveats. The site will still probably get buggy when there’s a lot of traffic, which is why Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius advised people to use it at off-peak hours. But that simply means peak hours will be moved to after midnight. After all, you don’t alleviate crowding if you tell everyone to try a different door.
Advertisement Oh, and there will still be crashes, and occasionally the administrators will have to take the whole thing offline. But, HHS insists, the “user experience” will be boffo for the majority of users.
There’s still one hitch. HealthCare.gov doesn’t work, at all. Sure, it provides a remarkably realistic user experience, but as of now it’s basically a video game. A really, really boring video game. Call it Sim Healthcare.
This is because the so-called back end essentially doesn’t exist. That’s the part of the site that talks to the insurance companies, processes payments, and actually, you know, gets people enrolled on insurance plans.
Reports vary on whether it needs to be “fixed” or whether it still needs to be built. On November 19, Henry Chao, the administration official in charge of overseeing the site, told Congress that “the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need to be” created. Going by the rosy version of Chao’s estimate, that was roughly 30 to 40 percent of the system.
“It’s not built, let alone tested,” one insurance executive told the Washington Post last week.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Sunday that the back-end systems “that are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers still have not been fixed.” I’m not clear on how you can fix something that hasn’t been built yet, but maybe in the eleven days between Chao’s testimony and the November 30 deadline, the “A Team” President Obama deployed built the back end enough for it to be recognizably broken.
Either way, it’s not working. Think of it this way: Would you consider an ATM machine to be functional if it created a lifelike experience but didn’t actually do anything with your commands? No money comes out, no deposits get credited, no transfers actually work, but the screen just tells you that everything worked?
Now, that’s a bit harsh, of course. Insurance companies say that some people have successfully navigated the digital gauntlet. The White House’s stated goal was to get to the point where 80 percent could complete the process, which is a standard of success that accepts one in five people failing. If you knew an ATM machine wouldn’t work for every fifth person who used it, would you still stick your debit card in it? How about after you were told by legions of security experts that there was no way the information you entered could be handled securely?
In its triumphant progress report, the administration declared that the effort was now proceeding with “private sector velocity and effectiveness.” That’s adorable. A project that was sold as tangible proof of the intellectual and managerial competence of liberalism utterly fails after more than three years and $1 billion, and now the administration is bragging that it stepped up its game to the standards of the nongovernment sector.
The problem is that in the private sector, the ability to process payments is a big priority. Creating a more enjoyable user experience is nice, but the back end is where the action is. You know where the private sector has worked with real velocity and effectiveness? Sending out millions of insurance cancellation letters.
The most remarkable thing about Sim Healthcare is how it serves as an analogue to liberalism in the age of Obama generally. The president talks a wonderful game about inequality, shared responsibility, and the general superiority of liberal economic policies. It’s all uplifting, particularly for the extremely rich liberals who’ve gotten even richer under Obama but who feel like they are staying true to the cause by cutting checks to the Democrats. (A New York Times study found that between 2009 and 2011, income inequality grew four times faster than under George W. Bush.)
Sim Healthcare seems like a smashing success so long as the results don’t matter, just like Sim Liberalism. http://tinyurl.com/ohy2c3p
Obama administration officials have spent this week touting a new and improved healthcare.gov website, boasting that it can now be accessed 95 percent of the time – but that still means that it would be down 18 days a year.
Department of Health and Human Services officials blitzed the news media Sunday with a report
containing data purporting to show smooth functioning of the federal website for individuals seeking health insurance through President Obama's health care law.
One of the charts in the HHS report bragged that “uptime is consistently surpassing 90%.” Uptime, which measures the amount of time a website is available to visitors, was at 95.1 percent the week ending Nov. 30, according to HHS.
The department excluded scheduled maintenance in its calculation. The number was the best yet for the site, and represented a 43 percent increase from a month earlier.
“It sounds good, because people think, Oh, 95 percent, that's an A' when I went to school,” Justin Noll, director of client experience at AlertBot.com
, which monitors website availability, told the Washington Examiner
. “From a technology standpoint, that's not good.”
Noll said that the industry considers 99.9 percent uptime to be acceptable, but major retailers typically aim for at least 99.95 percent – or roughly 22 minutes per month. Ideally, the uptime should be 99.99 percent – or four minutes per month.
At its highest reported availability, the new and improved healthcare.gov would be down for a day and a half each month.
“To have the site totally inaccessible for a day and a half per month, that’s really bad,” Noll said. “If that was a retailer, they would typically bring in a new VP of IT and chief information officer … I mean, if you're selling something, that is a really horrible uptime.”
Jason Abate, founder of the website-monitoring firm Panopta
, said he would give failing grades to retailers who don't achieve at least 99.9 percent uptime.
Abate provided the Examiner
with Panopta's running tally of the uptimes of over 130 major retailers from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30 of this year.
The lowest recorded was 98.1 percent for women's clothing retailer Ann Taylor's website. But 33 of the sites were at 100 percent and all but three had uptimes of at least 99 percent.
Additionally, Panopta's numbers include time for scheduled maintenance, which is excluded from the HHS calculation for healthcare.gov.
When Healthcare.gov debuted Oct. 1, Obama claimed
in a Rose Garden speech that it would make shopping for health insurance as easy as searching for a television on Amazon.
But according to Panopta, Amazon had an uptime of 99.96 percent, meaning it was down for a combined 191 minutes for the first 11 months of the year. At its current availability level, healthcare.gov would exceed that total in just three days. http://tinyurl.com/qhov7cv
Republicans have introduced at least four comprehensive alternatives to Obamacare, despite President Obama’s claims they haven’t.
Obama once again said in a speech Tuesday that Republicans in Congress have offered no alternatives to his signature health reform legislation.
“If, despite all of the millions of people benefitting from [Obamacare], you still think this law is a bad idea, then you’ve got to tell us specifically what you would do differently to cut costs and cover more people and make insurance more secure,” Obama said.
“You can’t just say that the system was working with 41 million people without health insurance."
Republicans weren’t saying that to begin with; further, Obamacare isn’t covering those 41 million people. While some of that 41 million will be covered — under Medicaid or in the exchanges — many will choose to pay the individual mandate tax rather than purchase insurance. Though not every single American will be covered even under Obamacare, the goal is to insure as many as possible.
But the claim that Republicans have offered no specifics about how to improve the health care system is patently untrue. To date, Republicans have introduced at least four comprehensive bills to address health care as alternatives to Obamacare. The Patients' Choice Act
, introduced on May 20, 2009, in the House by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and in the Senate by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. They claim the bill would:
– emphasize prevention
– create a health care market through state-based exchanges
– make affordable premiums
– provide penalties for insurance companies that don’t accept patients with pre-existing conditions
– create regional pooling arrangements
– expand Health Savings Accounts
– prevent tax increases or new government spending
– clean up Medicaid and Medicare
– include ideas from states
There is no Congressional Budget Office score for this plan, so claims should be taken with a grain of salt, just as with Obamacare. The Empowering Patients First Act
that was introduced on July 30, 2009, by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., would first repeal Obamacare and replace it with a “patient-centered” solution that would:
– provide tax incentives for purchasing health insurance
– limit abortion funding
– prevent discrimination against companies who object to covering abortion based on religious beliefs
– improve HSAs
– allow for health insurance pooling among individuals and small employers
– allow insurance to be purchased across state lines
– reform Medicaid and Medicare
– increase transparency for claim reporting
Again, there’s no CBO score for this bill, but it’s an alternative nonetheless. The Patient OPTION Act
was introduced on Aug. 1 by Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., and would first repeal Obamacare and then focus on a patient-centered solution that would:
– allow individuals to deduct all health care expenses, including insurance
– increase contribution limits for HSAs
– move Medicare to a “premium assistance program”
– provide a tax credit for donations to hospitals and clinics
– allow for health insurance pooling by small businesses
– provide doctors a tax incentive to treat indigent patients
– phase out the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
There is no CBO score for this bill either. The American Health Care Reform Act
was introduced on Sept. 18 by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and would also fully repeal Obamacare. The law would then:
– increase access to portable, affordable health insurance
– expand federal support for state high-risk pools and cap premiums of those pools
– allow people with pre-existing conditions to move between markets so long as they maintain continuous coverage
– introduce tort reform
– prohibits federal funds for abortion except in extreme cases.
This bill does not have a CBO score either.
Again, these are just four alternatives to Obamacare that Republicans have introduced. Whether or not the bills would be any better than Obamacare is unknown, and whether Democrats would admit they were better than Obamacare is unlikely, but the fact remains that Republican alternatives are out there.
Oh, and by the way — Coburn, Price, Broun and Roe are all medical doctors. http://tinyurl.com/mp3lhry
Three years ago, Alexia Ricardo wanted to send her daughter to public school in New York City. But the nation's largest school district said it didn't have an appropriate place for her learning-disabled daughter. Ms. Ricardo, who was making about $13,000 a year at the time, did what she thought was best: She signed her daughter up for private school and filed with the city to request tuition payments.
In a lengthy legal fight that landed in federal court, the school system pushed back, and the two sides found themselves in a murky region of the law that is becoming increasingly problematic for parents and school districts alike.
The city argued that Ms. Ricardo acted in bad faith and never intended to send her daughter to public school. The city said she couldn't possibly pay the tuition to the Cooke Center for Learning and Development, a private school in Manhattan that cost $44,500 a year, because she was too poor.
More parents in New York state are enrolling their children with special needs in private schools and seeking taxpayer-funded tuition payments under a federal law. New York City, for example, will spend an estimated $223 million in 2013-14 on private-school tuition, up from about $63 million in the 2007-08 school year, according to the city's Independent Budget Office.
As the numbers climb, districts are balking. And who is right isn't always clear.
Under a 1997 revision to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress said parents are entitled to funding for private schools if a court or hearing officer finds a public school didn't offer families an appropriate placement.
But Congress also said tuition reimbursement could be reduced or denied if a judge finds the parents acted with some degree of "unreasonableness."
For parents to win funding, they have to prove the district didn't offer an appropriate educational setting and that the private-school placement is adequate. But judges also take into account something less tangible: whether the both sides acted in good faith.
Often, legal arguments can focus on whether the parents ever intended to send their children to public school in the first place. Sometimes, districts say that because parents sign contracts or pay deposits to a private school, that is evidence they didn't intend to enroll in public school.
A federal court in 2009 ruled in favor of New York City because a parent didn't tell the district she had already paid a nonrefundable $5,000 deposit toward private-school tuition while the district was working to find an appropriate public-school seat.
That proves tricky, lawyers said, when dealing with parents who haven't had a good experience with the public-school system. Some lawyers said the city's latest arguments hurt poor parents more. The city said it was working for the best outcomes for all.
"The DOE's approach to these cases remains consistent and based on the facts of each individual situation," city lawyer Andrew Rauchberg said. "The DOE makes a significant effort to offer services tailored to the individual needs of all students, and defends those programs when appropriate, regardless of parental income levels."
Private schools such as Cooke have agreed to enroll students and delay tuition payments while parents such as Ms. Ricardo pursue payment from school districts. But private schools have to manage their risk and limit the number of students allowed to enroll under such arrangements.
Ms. Ricardo said teachers first started noticing that her daughter, Franshees Pichardo, was having learning difficulties in second grade. The girl struggled with health issues and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Ms. Ricardo said the public-school system never seemed to offer her an educational setting that would help. In March 2010, on advice from her daughter's therapists, she signed a contract with Cooke.
She sought payment from the city, and in the hearing process, the city conceded that it didn't have an appropriate place for the girl.
But the city said the contract Ms. Ricardo signed was a "sham," because it allowed her to delay payment while she pursued the city for tuition, which she couldn't afford.
The city also argued Ms. Ricardo never intended to put her daughter in public school, which the judge dismissed, saying "the DOE pretends to have peered into" Ms. Ricardo's mind.
In September, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled in Ms. Ricardo's favor, saying that even though it was clear the South Bronx resident couldn't afford to pay, that shouldn't be held against her.
Ms. Ricardo said the closure is a relief, and she hopes her daughter will thrive. "I couldn't sleep," she said in Spanish. "But now I'm calmer, I sleep, and my daughter's happy. And that's the most important thing." http://tinyurl.com/mjg37gy
Preliminary figures suggest the Obama administration is falling far short of its goal of signing up the young, healthy and uninsured for ObamaCare.
It's a problem that could undermine the rollout of the law even more than the glitch-ridden website.
Experts say the health care program needs 40 percent of all enrollees to be between 18 and 34 years old -- a prized demographic known in the industry as the "young invincibles." They are considered young, healthy and relatively cheap to care for and are necessary to subsidize older and more expensive enrollees.
While the administration isn't releasing numbers, of the six states that are keeping score, only 28 percent fit into the young and healthy demographic.
Fox News spoke with some Los Angeles residents in that age group, who said for them, buying health insurance just doesn't make economic sense.
"A lot of people can't afford it the way it is these days," one young man said.
"I think a lot of young men my age nowadays probably don't really look into it," said another.
Though the government plans to start fining people who don't sign up for coverage by March 31, 2014, experts say the numbers simply don't add up for many young people.
Faced with expenses for rent, a car payment, auto insurance, food, and clothing, many would rather spend any leftover cash on travel, entertainment and even beer than drop $100 to $200 a month on something they don't think they'll need.
Outside a Starbucks in Santa Monica, a 20-something observed, "six or seven of my friends are uninsured right now." A friend added, "I hate the fact that I'm going to have to pay the fine, but I'll pay the fine."
That's because statistics show, the average uninsured male between the ages of 21 and 35 will see a physician as seldom as six times during that 14-year period, according to Carl Schramm, a former insurance company executive who now teaches economic policy at Syracuse University.
For those who are insured, the New York health care consultant company Milliman says men 19-34 years old will see a doctor 1.8 times a year compared with women, who will on average see a doctor 3.6 times. The two data points suggest many young people may not see health insurance as necessary.
"Most of them have zero health costs. In fact, the median health care spending for this group is exactly zero," said economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office.
"Literally if they do the arithmetic, 80-85 percent will just say no ... pay the penalty and stay out of the Affordable Care Act," he said. "There's a long tradition of the young invincibles not buying insurance. Those who did buy insurance in polling that we've looked at said that if their premiums went up as much as 30 percent, they'd drop it."
And for many, that is the case, since many had the minimal, catastrophic-care type policies that ObamaCare banned. Now they are being asked to buy better, albeit more expensive, health care policies.
Holtz-Eakin says if the administration prices young people out of the market, taxpayers will have to kick in the difference.
"If the age group doesn't sign up at all then the so-called exchanges are filled with very high-costs patients and the government will have to subsidize them extensively," he said. "We'll end up with a government run program for very sick people, something we've already had." http://tinyurl.com/ohzcacn
The Obama administration has avoided informing lawmakers of HealthCare.gov’s security problems and this is just another incidence of the White House’s incompetence we’ve seen since the health-care law’s rollout, according to House Intelligence chair Mike Rogers (R., Mich.).
“They could not even provide someone — CMS and HHS, the two folks responsible for the HealthCare.gov website — in a classified setting to come up and talk about the breaches that they know have happened,” Rogers said on Fox News on Monday. “That’s just unconscionable.”
He warned that there is currently no coordinated effort within the administration to test the website’s newly-written code which was completed over the past two months of repairs, leaving it vulnerable to breaches. “You’re encouraging people to go to a site that our own government knows doesn’t meet safety standards when it comes to security of private information,” Rogers said. http://tinyurl.com/qfxh8xz
During a congressional committee hearing about the constitutional limits imposed on the presidency and the implications of President Barack Obama’s disregard for implementing the Affordable Care Act as written, one expert testified that the consequences of the president’s behavior were potentially grave. He said that the precedent set by Obama could eventually lead to an armed revolt against the federal government.
On Tuesday, Michael Cannon, Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of the president’s legal behavior.
“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he continued. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”
“That is a very dangerous sort of thing for the president to do, to wantonly ignore the laws,” Cannon concluded, “to try to impose obligation upon people that the legislature did not approve.” http://tinyurl.com/mbpmfz3
The bloated welfare state grows stronger by the day.
Via CNS News
The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,982,920 in November, up from the previous record of 10,978,040 set in May, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.
The 10,982,920 Americans taking disability benefits in November outnumbered the total population of Greece, which is 10,772,967, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.
The record 10,982,920 total disability beneficiaries in November, included a record 8,941,660 disabled workers (up from 8,936,932 in October), 1,883,594 children of disabled workers, and 157,666 spouses of disabled workers. Keep reading… http://tinyurl.com/kumpabu
The White House is currently examining ways to enable Iran to have its own “domestic” uranium enrichment program, according to a senior Obama administration official.
As the details of a six month interim nuclear deal between Iran and Western nations are hashed out, the White House is exploring the practicality of permitting Iran to continue certain enrichment activities, an issue that Iranian officials have described as a “redline.”
“Over the next six months, we will explore, in practical terms, whether and how Iran might end up with a limited, tightly constrained, and intensively monitored civilian nuclear program, including domestic enrichment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Caitlin Hayden told the Washington Free Beacon
“Any such program,” she said, “would be subject to strict and verifiable curbs on its capacity and stockpiles of enriched uranium for a significant number of years and tied to practical energy needs that will remain minimal for years to come.”
The White House clarified its openness to a limited Iranian enrichment program just days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to “forge ahead” with the country’s controversial nuclear program.
Rouhani stated over the weekend that Iran’s contested enrichment program would “never stop
” despite the regime’s promise to eventually halt most nuclear activities for a period of six months under an interim agreement inked two weeks ago in Geneva.
The deal reached in Geneva would provide Iran up to $7 billion dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for a temporary halt to some of its nuclear activities, including the enrichment of nuclear fuel to high-grade levels.
Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, had been a key sticking point in Geneva. Many in Congress say that Iran should be forced to dismantle its entire nuclear program and be prohibited from all enrichment activities.
Asked about Rouhani’s promise to continue enriching uranium—a promise echoed by other senior Iranian officials—the White House’s Hayden told the Free Beacon
that “the United States does not recognize that Iran has a ‘right to enrich.’”
However, “the Iranian people should have access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Hayden said, echoing recent comments made by Obama.
The precise requirements of the interim deal with Iran have yet to be finalized, the White House told
the Free Beacon
last week. This means that Iran is not yet beholden to the six-month nuclear freeze negotiated as part of the deal.
The White House could not tell the Free Beacon
late Monday exactly when these final discussion will take place.
Congressional critics have lambasted the White House in recent days for approving a deal that they say would allow the Iranians to continue their most controversial nuclear activities.
“Providing Iran with sanctions relief without dismantling their nuclear weapons program was a colossal mistake,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) told the Free Beacon
“The Obama administration bargained away America’s greatest pressure point on Iran in exchange for empty promises and cosmetic concessions,” said Roskam, who has led a push in the House to enact more stringent sanctions on Iran.
“It’s no surprise the Iranian regime is already taking a victory lap, proudly trumpeting its right to enrich uranium and maintain nuclear infrastructure under the agreement,” he said.
Others demanded that the White House explain why Iran can be trusted to continue its enrichment activities given the regime’s past efforts to deceive the world and obfuscate its weapons program
“Everything Iran enriches is a risk that they could make a nuclear bomb,” said one senior official with a Jewish organization. “They’re playing games” with the public and “need to be clear on what their bottom line is.” “
“Five centrifuges is five too many,” the source said. “Nine-thousand centrifuges is 9,000 too many.”
The White House maintains that it will address all unresolved issues with Iran as the deal develops.
Iran has made clear that it will not halt activity
at its nuclear sites in Fordow and Arak despite promises to do so.
“Iran must also address the future disposition of Fordow and Arak, and the relevant [United Nations] Security Council resolutions,” Hayden told the Free Beacon
. “Iran has acknowledged that such constraints must be part of any long-term arrangement, which is a major concession and one they have opposed publicly and explicitly for years.”
The White House will not sign off on the final interim deal unless Iran agrees to everything previously discussed.
“The first step requires agreement on all aspects of the comprehensive solution,” Hayden said. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Meanwhile, the White House has reportedly been aggressively lobbying
lawmakers to shelve legislation aimed at imposing new sanctions on Iran. http://tinyurl.com/ob7rr7d