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Op-Ed: The Problem With "Competitive" Grants
Posted by on April 08, 2014

​This opinion-editorial ran on the Washington Examiner online edition April 8, 2014 and can be accessed here - http://washex.am/1mYvrFe

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is coming to Capitol Hill today to justify the President’s 2015 budget request before my committee. In addition to the usual overspending and generally wasteful nature of the federal involvement in our local schools, the Obama Administration’s penchant for “competitive grants” truly undermines local decision-making in your child’s classroom.

Much of the $45.8 billion in discretionary spending proposed by the Department of Education is spent on Title I programs to help low-income and disabled children – the most needy among our nation’s children and the ones who can truly benefit from a hand-up. This spending has received bipartisan support for years and can be effective, though it certainly deserves the skeptical oversight each and every government program should receive.

Instead of focusing on these core programs and making them work well, Secretary Duncan and President Obama are more interested in telling states and local school boards how they should teach your kids by increasing spending on “competitive grant” programs.

A competitive grant from Washington means that states get to compete for their own tax dollars by kow-towing to Obama, Duncan, and their teachers’ union overseers. The Department of Education, by carrot and stick, can enforce their vision of schooling on classrooms throughout the country, all the while hiding behind it being “optional.”

The most notorious competitive grant is the Race to the Top program, the vessel through which the Common Core national education standards were coerced upon 45 states and the District of Columbia. By giving out waivers to the No Child Left Behind mandates and some Race to the Top dollars in exchange for Common Core compliance, The White House got its “Obamacare for education” imposed on states while claiming the initiative was voluntary, state-driven, and competitive.

The President’s 2015 budget doubles down on this strategy by proposing to spend taxpayer dollars on unauthorized and unproven competitive grant programs for the benefit of a handful of favored schools and teaching styles.

For example, the Race to the Top program has a similar mission to Title I funding (“identify and close longstanding educational opportunity and achievement gaps” and “closing the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children”, respectively) but is funded “competitively” instead of by formula. Formulaic grants are based on statistics and data, not the political decision of bureaucrats who claim to know the best way to raise your child.

Likewise, IDEA formulaic grants (named for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), dispensed to ensure children with special needs are able to receive an education, are duplicated in the Obama budget, except now as part of an expanded Race to the Top 2.0 competitive grant. Instead of working to improve IDEA grants, the progressives of the Obama Administration set up a new program to explicitly give them more control in the classroom.

These competitive grants reduce flexibility for parents and teachers while saddling a school with burdensome reporting requirements. Once a school “wins” a grant, it agrees to install Secretary Duncan as puppet master and remove parents’ voices from the classroom.

These grants do not come cheap to you, the taxpayer, either. The schools must comply with the grueling paperwork requirements attached to all government programs. This takes teachers out of the classroom and traps them in the break room as they report to Washington, DC on how they are fulfilling the demands of federal bureaucrats.

For half a century, Congress has redistributed trillions thinking it knows how to educate your child better than you. In their belief that just a few billion more taxpayer dollars can solve every problem, the Department of Education has asked for more control over your kids through “competitive grants” that let them pull the strings on your local school board. These new and expanded programs must be rejected and existing ones dismantled so that parents, with their child’s teachers, can again make their own choices.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) represents Savannah and the coastal regions of Georgia. He has sponsored H.R. 3339, the “One Size Does Not Fit All in Education Act”
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ICYMI: Congressman Kingston Speaks on Importance of Georgia to National Security
Posted by on April 03, 2014
Congressman Kingston was in Macon on April 1st to discuss the role Georgia plays in defending our nation.
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Setting the Record Straight on Uninsured Under Obamacare
Posted by Kingston Press Office on March 31, 2014
On Monday, Politifact Georgia, while "cutting some slack" for Barack Obama's failed healthcare law and anemic economic recovery, rated my claim that the uninsured are not being helped by Obamacare as "half-true".

Today, even as the President declared that "debate over repealing [Obamacare] is over," we learned the truth about its impact on the uninsured - or lack thereof. According to research in Forbes Business, the uninsured are signing up at only half the rate of the most recent projections. The Congressional Budget Office initially projected nearly 40% of the uninsured would be covered, but now it is clear only a little more than 10% of the estimated 45 million uninsured people will get covered under Obamacare.
By even the rosiest projections, Obamacare's impact on the uninsured, after taking over of one-sixth of the economy, was underwhelming. But covering only about a tenth? Embarrassing.

Before spiking the football and declaring "Mission Accomplished", perhaps the President should reflect upon the true impact of his socialistic policies - increased costs, fewer choices, and less freedom.
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True Obamacare Implementation Costs Exposed by Congressman Kingston
Posted by on March 13, 2014
Congressman Kingston Prepared Opening Statement
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
3-13-2014


I would first like to highlight some concerns I have found in your budget submission to Congress.  First, the Administration’s budget proposed to spend $56 billion over the agreed upon budget caps, proposes to shift many programs from the discretionary side of the budget to the mandatory ledger, and relies on user fees to fund programs such as a $1.2 billion Obamacare user fee.  These budget gimmicks are a disingenuous approach to federal budgeting and disguise the true cost of your proposals to the American people.

Most concerning is the out of control spending on Obamacare.  Last year, you estimated the cost of implementing Obamacare was between $5 billion and $10 billion for HHS and all other agencies. 

In spite of this incredibly vague range, it’s clear based on your new budget request, this figure is greatly underestimated.

  • Your FY15 Request assumes $430 million in a brand new mandatory account to be used for CMS Program Management. 
  • You also assume you will collect $1.2 billion next year from user fees, which are simply hidden taxes on every Americans health care.
  • And finally, you assume $639 million in annually appropriated discretionary dollars will be used to support the exchanges in FY15.

All of this totals $2.2 billion; $643 million more than last year, an increase of 41% over the FY 2014 level.

But then I read further and see there are many more costs to administer the program that don’t show up in the discretionary budget.  These include funds to operate State Exchanges, the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, the Transitional Reinsurance Program, the Risk Adjustment Program, and redistribution of funds through the Risk Corridors program.

Based on the full request, it appears it costs taxpayers more than $23 billion in FY15 to run Obamacare. This is a lot more than the vague $5-$10 billion you quoted last year. 

If I can put this $23 billion in context, assuming the Administration reached the optimistic estimate 8 million enrollees, the federal administration burden alone comes out to $3,000 per person. 

It’s important to keep in mind that you are asking for all this money to be spent on a law you and the President refuse to implement as written, to be funded through accounts you refuse to be transparent about, and this is all in addition to the increased premiums, deductibles, co-pays, taxes, and penalties Americans are facing because of Obamacare.

This misguided law is over budget, underperforming, and has failed its two objectives to increase access and reduce the cost of care – Obamacare is simply broken.  Its performance is in stark contrast to the President’s promise that family premiums were going to be reduced by $2,500 under Obamacare. Your Administration has made over 20 changes to Obamacare including two waivers to the employer mandate, expansion of premium assistance to those outside the federal exchanges, allowing non-compliance health plans, and violating individual rights by mandating abortion coverage.  We must remain accountable to the American people.

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ICYMI: Failed Maryland Obamacare Exchange Under Investigation
Posted by Greg Dolan on March 12, 2014

The Daily Caller: Maryland’s Obamacare exchange now under federal investigation

Posted By Sarah Hurtubise 03/10/2014

A second state Obamacare exchange is under federal investigation in as many weeks.

The inspector general’s office for the Department of Health and Human Services reportedly told Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris that it will proceed with an investigation into how Maryland’s Obamacare exchange spent copious amounts of federal grant money in the face of its failing exchange.

Oregon’s Obamacare exchange will also be investigated by the General Accountability Office after a separate request from House Republicans.

Harris requested the investigation last month along with Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston. Both congressmen sit on a House Appropriations subcommittee which oversees HHS.

“Maryland officials ignored early warning signs and chose to waste and abuse federal taxpayer money by opening up what they knew was a flawed exchange to the public,” Harris said in a statement Monday.

The website crashed on day one and has continued to face technical problems ever since. While state lawmakers have opted to continue with the state exchange through the current enrollment period, they’re still considering options for the next round of enrollment beginning in November.

Harris, a former anesthesiologist with John Hopkins Hospital and the state’s only Republican in Congress, lamented the fact that “Maryland has gained national attention as one of the worst roll outs.”

“This whole issue needs way more transparency,” Harris said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The announcement of Maryland’s investigation is the second in less than a week, following the General Accountability Office’s confirmation that it will take up an investigation into Cover Oregon at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s request.

The GAO will investigate Oregon’s operations “as part of a broader study planned to examine states’ health exchange websites,” GAO managing director Katherine Siggerud wrote to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton.

Cover Oregon was awarded $304 million in federal funding for its Obamacare exchange — in addition to $160 million spent in state funding so far — but the website couldn’t support any online enrollment until weeks ago, when it launched limited online insurance enrollment for brokers only.

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden applauded the decision to go forward with an investigation.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on this broken website, and taxpayers have little to show for it,” Walden said in a statement. “The GAO will take an independent look into what went wrong…their investigation will help taxpayers get answers about what happened at Cover Oregon and the over $300 million that has been allocated to the state.”

As noted in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s original letter to the GAO, officials were aware of warnings about the website’s problems as far back as November 2011.

Harris similarly charged Maryland officials with “waste and abuse” of taxpayer dollars despite multiple warning signs that the exchange would fail. The Maryland Health Benefits Exchange expects to spend $261 million, over 80 percent of its federal grants, by the end of 2015.

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ICYMI: Jack on Fox & Friends: "How do we instill work ethic in the next generation of America?"
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 21, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends on Saturday to talk about how we can instill a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans:

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ICYMI: Jack talks work ethic on CNN's New Day
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 20, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on CNN's New Day to respond to criticism of his recent comments about passing on a strong work ethic to the next generation of Americans.  Some have tried to take Jack's comments out of context but his intent is clear: we need to have a discussion about how to pass on a strong work ethic to the next generation of Americans.


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Jack's Obamacare Speech Named "One Minute of the Week"
Posted by Chris Crawford on December 15, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack's one minute speech railing against Obamacare was named by the House Republican Conference as the "One Minute of the Week."


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Town Hall with FEMA & Georgia DNR
Posted by Ivy Robinson on December 02, 2013

​​Town Hall with FEMA & Georgia DNR

On Tuesday, December 3rd, my office will host a Town Hall meeting in Brunswick at the Southeast Georgia Conference Center with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Members of my staff will be on hand with representatives from FEMA and the Georgia DNR to provide information about the National Flood Insurance Program and flood re-mapping.

Town Hall
Tuesday, December 3rd
2 p.m.

Southeast Georgia Conference Center
College of Coastal Georgia
Thomas Auditorium
1 College Dr.
Brunswick, GA 31520
(Please use 4th st. entrance)


​For more information, please contact our Brunswick office at (912) 265-9010

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ICYMI: Jack talks Obamacare Fairness Act on Fox & Friends
Posted by Press Staff on December 01, 2013
In case you missed it, Jack appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to talk about his effort to require the President, Vice President, and their political appointees to purchase health care on Obamacare exchanges.  If this Administration wants to force this law on the American people, we should force them to abide by it like everyone else.

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He is risen! Happy #Easter to you and yours

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Kingston Continues to Push for SHEP