The Obama administration is the most transparent administration in history, according to Barack Obama. And in keeping with the president’s pledge to usher in an “era of openness” at the White House, his administration has mastered the art of making embarrassing announcements and releasing controversial information on Friday afternoons.
Past administrations have certainly engaged in the time-honored practice of the “Friday news dump,” but President Obama has taken it to new, impressive heights, particularly when it comes to … news about Obamacare. The House Energy and Commerce Committee noted last month:
Throughout the law’s troubled implementation, the administration made unilateral change after unilateral change as it attempted to hide some of the law’s most harmful and controversial effects. Many of these announcements have come late on Friday afternoon or before holidays, often will little fanfare as it tries to bury its failures when nobody is watching.
Because it’s Friday, and perhaps just several hours away from another scandalous revelation from the White House, we’ve compiled some of the Obama administration’s most egregious dumps. Enjoy.
April 18, 2014: Another Keystone pipeline delay
The Obama administration postponed a final decision to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline yet again “by giving eight different agencies more time to submit their views on whether the pipeline…would serve the national interest.” Of course, the decision had nothing to do with the fact that left-wing billionaire Tom Steyer is vehemently opposed to the pipeline, and has pledged to spend $100 million backing Democrats who oppose its construction.
February 21, 2014: Cuts to Medicare Advantage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service proposed new rates that could result in a 2 percent reduction in funding for Medicaid Advantage plans, though insurance companies argue the changes will impose far deeper cuts to the program.
December 6, 2013: Huge Obamacare website glitches
After weeks of refusing to provide details about the problems with the health-care law’s rollout, the administration announced that approximately 25 percent of Obamacare enrollments were affected by technical problems with the botched website HealthCare.gov, meaning that insurers may have not received the enrollment application or that the applications contained major errors.
May 10, 2013: Apologizes for IRS targeting
The IRS issued a formal apology for its “inappropriate” targeting of conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election. However, President Obama has refused to acknowledge that any “corruption” took place.
February 1, 2013: Rejects broader exemptions to Obamacare contraception mandate
The Health and Human Services Department announced that it was rejecting calls to broaden the exemption for employers wishing to opt out of the contraception mandate due to religious objections.
June 15, 2012: Amnesty for DREAMers
The administration announced that it would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements. The changes mirrored those proposed by Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), but the president opted to enact them via executive order, rather than go through Congress.
November 4, 2011: Rejects Solyndra subpoena
The White House declined to respond to a Congressional subpoena to produce “all document referring or relating in any way” to the federal loan guarantee awarded to the bankrupt solar panel firm Solyndra, claiming “there is no basis for such as broad request.”
October 14, 2011: Eliminates fiscally unsustainable Obamacare program
The administration dropped its efforts to implement a long-term insurance plan included in Obamacare—the CLASS Act—after finally acknowledging that the program was fiscally unsustainable.
June 17, 2011: Drops Obamacare waiver program
The White House announced that it was ending a controversial Obamacare waiver program that exempted certain businesses (and unions) from having to comply with all of the law’s regulations, following a tide of criticism and allegations of favoritism from Republicans. Officials insisted that political consider were “absolutely not” part of the decision.
August 21, 2009: Issues new deficit projections
The Office of Management and Budget revised its 10-year budget deficit projection from $7.1 million to $9 trillion. Meanwhile, Obama’s current budget proposal would add an additional $6.6 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, bringing gross federal debt to $26.1 trillion by 2024.
July 24, 2009: Eases restrictions on lobbying for stimulus funding
The White House announced that it would no longer ban lobbyists from meeting with government officials to discuss new spending allocated in the controversial stimulus package, an early blow to President Obama’s pledge to eliminate K Street’s influence in Washington.