Study: Welfare for FOREIGN refugees costing U.S. taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars

(National SentinelAmerica First: A new study appears to validate President Donald J. Trump’s claims that taxpayers are increasingly on the hook to care for refugees who are brought into the country and resettled.

The study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found that foreign refugees are being given about $867 million in welfare benefits every year.

In all, taxpayers are billed about $1.8 billion for the full cost of resettling foreign refugees every year, the study found. And after five years, American taxpayers will have spent about $8.8 billion on resettling foreign refugees.

“Using the most recent admissions figures, data on federal and state public assistance programs, and information from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), our analysis found:

  • The cost per refugee to American taxpayers just under $79,600 every year in the first five years after a refugee is resettled in the U.S.;
  • In 2016, the State Department spent nearly $545 million to process and resettle refugees, including $140,389,177 on transportation costs;
  • Of the $1.8 billion in resettlement costs, $867 billion was spent on welfare alone;

  • In their first five years, approximately 54 percent of all refugees will hold jobs that pay less than $11 an hour;
  • $71 million will be spent to educate refugees and asylum-seekers, a majority of which will be paid by state and local governments.
  • Over five years, an estimated 15.7 percent of all refugees will need housing assistance, which is roughly $7,600 per household in 2014 dollars.”

“It is important to note that this analysis does not address the costs associated with any incurred national security and law enforcement costs associated with some refugees who pose a threat,” the study continued.

“The total price of additional vetting and screening expenditures, law enforcement and criminal justice costs, and federal homeland security assistance to state and local agencies is hard to quantify,” it said.

Democrats have long argued that refugees and immigrants do not qualify for federal welfare benefits. But FAIR’s study proves otherwise.

Since 1980, the U.S. has admitted more than 3.5 million foreign refugees, with nearly 100,000 refugees arriving in 2016 under former President Obama.

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Trump, who has been critical of U.S. refugee resettlement programs, lowered the number of refugees admitted to the country, reducing the annual flow of refugees by 70 percent in his first year in office, as Breitbart News reported.

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Another DEM congressman busted paying off staffer with secret ‘severance package’

(National SentinelDemocratic Sexual Harassment: Another Democratic congressman has been identified as paying a secret “severance package” to a former staffer in order to settle claims against him.

Outspoken Trump critic Rep. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for a staffer threatening a lawsuit claiming Grijalva was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment.

As reported by the Washington Times, the settlement with one of his top staffers reveals yet another way in which lawmakers are able to use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior.

In other cases, the Office of Compliance has come under scrutiny and has been the focal point for taxpayer outrage stemming from hush money payouts for sexual harassment claims.

But the Grijalva payout leads to another office that lawmakers can and have used to keep accusations against them from seeping out thanks to taxpayer-funded settlements: The House Employment Counsel, which essentially serves as the attorney for all House offices.

As for Grijalva’s settlement, the Times noted:

The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.

The arrangement appears to run contrary to House rules that constrain severance packages, and it caught the eye of watchdogs who were already demanding answers about payouts in the wake of harassment complaints.

“It seems like all of these House bodies are designed to help cover for members of Congress,” said Melanie Sloan, an ethics lawyer in Washington. “A large part of the problem is that each member of Congress can treat their staff as their own fiefdom and also know that it will remain silent.”

FO-logo-square-regular-2Grijalva told the Times the settlement was actually part of a severance package, noting that a complaint was never filed with the Office of Compliance, the agency that customarily handles congressional workplace complaints.

“Under the terms of the agreement, had there been an allegation of sexual harassment, the employee would have been free to report it. Regrettably, for me to provide any further details on this matter would violate the agreement,” he told the paper.

He would not respond to questions about why he would provide a package worth $48,000 for an employee after only three months on the job.

Also, the payout looks to be in violation of House rules prohibiting a Congress member from retaining “an employee who does not perform duties for the offices of the employing authority commensurate with the compensation such employee receives.”

Normally, payouts are made in lump sums, not stretched out over a period of months, House rules state.

The Office of Compliance has paid out $17.2 million to settle 264 complaints of sexual harassment and other workplace violations on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported earlier this month.

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Taxpayers spending BILLIONS to finance NFL stadiums of protesting millionaire players

(National SentinelPay to Play: As more and more NFL players protest the National Anthem and the American flag, they do so in many stadiums that were financed in the billions of dollars by taxpayers who are offended by the disrespect.

As reported by the Washington Times, taxpayers in various NFL cities around the country have underwritten some $13 billion in bonds to build or renovate stadiums — spanning all sports — since 2000, according to a Brookings Institution study.

More:

American taxpayers shelled out billions of dollars to build the stadiums that National Football League players are now using to stage their kneel-down protests of the national anthem.

The players say they have a right to express their displeasure with racism in the U.S. with their protests, but lawmakers say the NFL could be risking its access to the public trough if the team owners don’t get a grip on the situation.

“These protests are spitting in the face of the people who paid for that stadium,” said state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican in Minnesota, where the NFL’s Vikings team just opened a stadium built with more than $500 million in local and state financial assistance. “It will create buyer’s remorse among the taxpayers.”

In all, Vikings fans will shell out more than $1.3 billion over the next 30 years.

It’s one aspect of the more than $6.7 billion in public funds taxpayers have contributed to build 19 NFL stadiums and renovate three others since 1997.

Further, the Brookings study estimated that the federal government has lost as much as $3.7 billion in tax revenue on the bonds, exceeding the $3.2 billion in savings they created for stadium owners.

As we reported earlier this week, the protests have renewed interest in Congress in federal legislation that would end all federal funding of sports stadiums:

As protests against the National Anthem by millionaire NFL players rose dramatically this weekend amid criticism from President Donald J. Trump, there is a resultant rise in legislative efforts to end federal subsidies for new sports stadiums.

Legislation was introduced over the summer to prevent federal taxpayer funding from going towards the construction of professional sports arenas.

Now that protests are ramping up and the game has become politicized, it’s likely the legislative effort may gather steam. There’s little doubt that Trump would sign it.

“Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said in a statement. “There’s no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It’s not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers, especially when wealthy teams end up reaping most of the benefits.”

Booker has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Jim Lankford, R-Okla., that would ban professional sports teams from using municipal bonds in relation to federal funding to build their sports arenas.

There is also rising interest on the local level to end taxpayer underwriting of stadiums, the Times noted:

Republican state-level politicians responded by calling for an end to taxpayer-subsidized arenas. Kenneth Havard, a Republican legislator in Louisiana, proposed cutting tax breaks for his local team, the New Orleans Saints. Mr. Havard said Louisiana spent $85 million to repair the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina amid threats that the team would relocate to San Antonio.

“Most Louisiana residents can’t afford to even walk in the Superdome, and these players are protesting a system that is giving them the opportunity to make millions of dollars playing football,” Mr. Havard said.

NFL players earn an average of $1.9 million per year, according to league data. The median salary in the United States is about $44,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

“These players are earning millions, and the average soldier who is keeping the Superdome from being blown up is only earning about $40,000,” Mr. Havard said. “That is a huge slap in the face to them.”

Team owners and coaches had better get a handle on these protests and soon, or the league’s brand will be irreparably harmed. NFL favorability fell 50 percent in one week after more than 200 players “protested” during Week 3’s games, including at a game in London, where players knelt during the U.S. National Anthem but had the ‘courage’ to stand for “God Save The Queen.”

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Bill to end federal funding of sports stadiums may make progress in wake of NFL protests

(National SentinelSports Legislation: As protests against the National Anthem by millionaire NFL players rose dramatically this weekend amid criticism from President Donald J. Trump, there is a resultant rise in legislative efforts to end federal subsidies for new sports stadiums.

As reported by The Daily Caller, legislation was introduced over the summer to prevent federal taxpayer funding from going towards the construction of professional sports arenas.

Now that protests are ramping up and the game has become politicized, it’s likely the legislative effort may gather steam. There’s little doubt that Trump would sign it.

“Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said in a statement. “There’s no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It’s not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers, especially when wealthy teams end up reaping most of the benefits.”

Booker has co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Jim Lankford, R-Okla., that would ban professional sports teams from using municipal bonds in relation to federal funding to build their sports arenas, The DC reported.

Lankford agrees with his Senate colleague. “The federal government is responsible for a lot of important functions, but financing sports stadiums for multi-million – sometimes billion – dollar franchises is definitely not one of them,” he said.

As protests have risen, there is a renewed interest in their bill.

The senators said that, over the past 17 years, there have been 36 professional sports stadiums built or renovated with the assistance of federal tax-exempted municipal bonds. The cost to taxpayers has been around $3.2 billion, according to a Brookings Institute report published last year.

What’s more, “despite claims from local officials and team owners that the construction of these stadiums would create jobs and economic growth, research from the Journal of Economic Perspectives showed ‘there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development,’ specifically aimed at income growth or job creation,” The DC noted.

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Finally, Planned Parenthood loses in court

(National SentinelPro-Life Victory: Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, had been on a winning streak, emerging victorious in a slew of federal court decisions forbiding states from stripping away the organization’s federal funding.

That winning streak has now come to an end. As reported by the Washington Times, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Arkansas can boot Planned Parenthood out of its network of Medicaid-approved health providers.

“The plaintiffs are asserting a right — the absolute right to a particular provider of their choosing — that [the law] does not grant them,” Judge Steven Colloton wrote in the majority opinion.

In the court’s 2-1 ruling, the judges decreed that Planned Parenthood can protest the decision through the normal administrative process. But in the meantime, at least, it is out of Arkansas’ network of healthcare providers who accept Medicaid.

Most other federal court rulings have sided with Planned Parenthood, citing language within the Medicaid Act prohibiting states from cutting out providers without sufficient cause.

Republicans in Congress had repeatedly promised for years to cut out the $500 million in tax money sent each year to Planned Parenthood. But like so many other promises, they’ve broken that one, too, leaving states themselves to have to fight Planned Parenthood funding.

It’s not clear whether Planned Parenthood will appeal the decision — that seems likely — and whether the decision will be reversed. But because the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is at odds with a number of other federal circuits, it wouldn’t surprise us to see this issue wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s against federal law for Planned Parenthood to utilize its federal tax subsidies to pay for abortions. Since 1977, an annual budget rider called the Hyde Amendment has been signed into law prohibiting federal payments through Medicaid for most abortions.

But let’s face it: Those tax dollars that go for salaries and operational costs make it possible for the organization to keep its doors open and provide abortions, so taxpayers are providing at least ancillary support for abortions.

Perhaps this new ruling is the first step towards ending all taxpayer funding for abortions.

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It shall be life: Texas permanently bans taxpayer dollars for abortion

(National SentinelPro-Life: A woman’s ‘right’ to an abortion may be the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers should be forced to subsidize them, according to Texas lawmakers.

The state has passed legislation permanently banning the use of taxpayer funds for abortions, Lifesite News reports. The law will keep Texas residents for subsidizing elective abortions via their insurance plans.

“As a firm believer in Texas values I am proud to sign legislation that ensures no Texan is ever required to pay for a procedure that ends the life of an unborn child,” Gov. Abbott said. “This bill prohibits insurance providers from forcing Texas policy holders to subsidize elective abortions. I am grateful to the Texas legislature for getting this bill to my desk, and working to protect innocent life this special session.”

The site reported further:

HB-214, which the House passed last week and the Senate approved Sunday, applies to “elective” abortions and specifically includes an exemption for cases of medical emergency to save the mother’s life.

“What we’re saying here is: If you want to buy this coverage, you can buy it,” Republican Rep. John Smithee said during the House debate. “This isn’t about who can get an abortion. It is about who is forced to pay for an abortion.”

“Texas must take steps to prohibit taxpayer and premium dollars from subsidizing abortions that are not medically necessary,” Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton said.

More:

Gov. Abbott called a special legislative session to focus on the bill, along with another bill to require doctors and health clinics to report abortion complications to the state in greater detail. That second bill passed both state chambers on Friday.

“Just because abortion is legal does not mean that people who have significant moral concerns with the taking of innocent life — as they believe abortion does —- need to pay for it through their health insurance, said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director in Texas who now runs And Then There Were None.  “Abortion advocates automatically go to the far reaches of hysteria and assume the worst with this kind of legislation: that women won’t be able to get abortions when they want them.  Women have access to abortion but those of us who believe it is the intentional ending of a human life shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

Pro-abortion groups inside and outside the Lone Star State attempted to thwart the legislation, but to no avail.

While abortions continue in Texas, the state’s pro-life approach and matching legislation have led to major decreases in the numbers of elective procedures — from more than 82,000 reported in 2006 to just over 54,000 in 2015, Lifesite News reported.

This demonstrates precisely why power needs to devolve away from the nation’s capital and back to states, as our founders intended; residents in states that want to promote or restrict certain behavior — abortion, smoking pot, or other personal activities — should be free to decide such issues on their own, without being subject to ‘one-size-fits-all’ mandates from Congress, federal courts or the Washington bureaucracy.

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Since when did Planned Parenthood become an entitlement program?

(NationalSentinel) There are few political issues that create as much passion on both sides than abortion. And inevitably, when the subject comes up, so, too, does the $500 million in federal tax dollars paid every year to the nations’ largest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood.

Following the abhorrent scandal unearthed by the Center for Medical Progress a couple of years ago, in which undercover investigators recorded Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for the sale of body parts – in violation of federal law – Republicans have been pushing to defund the organization on grounds that such practices are offensive to a majority of Americans.

Now that the GOP has both chambers of Congress and the White House, plans are afoot to keep the half-a-billion dollars PP gets every year in the U.S. Treasury, to be put to better use as Congress and the president see fit.

This, of course, has outraged the Left, which makes the usual claims that without Planned Parenthood poor women won’t have anywhere else to go for their “health care.”

A column this week by Cayte Bosler in the New York Observer is typical:

No federal dollars go toward abortion services—except in the protected cases of rape or incest upheld by the Hyde Amendment. Rather, the bulk of services provided by Planned Parenthood are STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, pap smears, contraception and educational counsel. Therefore, the term “defund” is a misnomer. In reality, the proposed legislation prevents millions of women who rely on Medicaid from accessing the healthcare provider they’ve been depending on for decades.

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About 75 percent of federal funding to Planned Parenthood comes from Medicaid. Additionally, 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s healthcare patients are at or below the federal poverty level, and Planned Parenthood accepts them at no cost or on a sliding scale. To provide care, the organization receives with Medicaid reimbursements, totaling about $500 million annually. Denying access to this funding threatens millions of women who have no other options.

As liberal women writers who support abortion tend to do, Bosler’s figures come from Left-wing publications which are immediately suspect to conservative opponents.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, pro-life opponents cite their statistics, as this Breitbart News story claiming women don’t need Planned Parenthood for health care does:

Planned Parenthood clinics provide a relatively small number of health services including birth control, manual breast exams, urinary tract inspections, STD testing, PAP testing and pelvic exams, while federally qualified health centers provide these and eleven more services including mammograms, emergency care, diabetes and glaucoma screenings, well-child services, radiological services, cardiovascular blood tests, bone mass measurements and more.

Jeanneane Maxon of American United for Life said in recent years Planned Parenthood is focusing more on its core profit center, abortion.

Since 2006, during a time when overall abortions are dropping in America, Planned Parenthood’s abortion business has been growing. Cancer screening and prevention screenings have dropped from roughly 2 million to 985,000 while abortions have increased from 289,750 to 327,000.  “Since 2004, Planned Parenthood has increased from performing one in every five abortions to now performing one in every three,” she said.

As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. But the real question becomes, who made funding for Planned Parenthood some untouchable entitlement in the federal budget? And why should a majority of Americans who oppose unrestricted abortion-on-demand be forced to support it against their will?

The point is, just because the Left has designated Planned Parenthood permanently worthy of your tax dollars doesn’t make it legally so. If Republicans – elected largely by voters who agree with them on this issue – want to spent the $500 million normally earmarked for PP on something else, that is their prerogative. If a majority of voters disagree, then they can voice that in the next election.

Regardless of where you are personally on the issue of abortion, Planned Parenthood is not a mandatory federal expenditure. If its proponents want to save the organization, there are plenty of deep-pocketed liberal donors out there who would no doubt be willing to help.

If not, then maybe the organization isn’t worth saving anyway.

President Obama and family spent $85 million of your money on vacations

To be fair, no one expects the president of the United States to work 24/7/365–though it most certainly is a 24-hour job–without taking a break sometimes. In fact, most reasonable people would encourage a president and his family to take a step away from the trappings of Washington, D.C., and its incessant narcissism, tedious politics and boorish arrogance.

But at the same time, considering they are footing the bill, most taxpayers would also appreciate a little frugalness, especially in an age of budget-busting deficits and a $20 trillion national debt.

Yet, frugal is not how the Obama’s do vacations. In fact, as reported by McClatchy Papers, the Obama’s spent more money on vacations than previous presidents–and likely much more than President-elect Trump will spend:

As America’s first family enjoys its eighth and final vacation in Hawaii, new estimates put the price tag of the Obamas’ annual trip at $3.5 million or more.

In total, the cost of the the first family’s personal or largely personal travel during the last eight years comes to $85 million – though that is likely to climb to $90 million after additional records are released, according to the conservative group Judicial Watch based on federal government records.

The cost of Air Force One and other government planes as well as helicopters, cargo planes, armored cars, Secret Service protection and advance, communications and medical staff has led Judicial Watch to push for less personal travel.

“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”

Critics of Obama’s lavish vacations say that President George W. Bush likely saved the taxpayers some money because he would vacation at his own 1,600-acre ranch in Texas. Granted, it, too, had to be modified in order to accommodate Air Force One pilots, Secret Service agents, personal staff and so forth. But most of those were one-time expenses.

Trump has been vacationing at his own properties and is expected to continue to do so throughout his presidency. As McClatchy noted, he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at his properties in Florida and New Jersey, respectively.

Bush actually flew home to Crawford, Texas, more times than Obama has taken vacation days, most of them to Hawaii.

That said, in an age where government austerity should be the order of the day, the last couple of presidents certainly haven’t minded spending more of your money so they could get away.