Today in Liberty: Conservatives want Obamacare replacement vote, Bloomberg to spend $50 million on anti-gun group

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” — Thomas Jefferson

— House conservatives press for Obamacare replacement vote: Republican leaders suggested earlier this year that they would bring to the floor an Obamacare replacement bill, only to back away not long after. House conservatives are now pressing leadership to live up to the rhetoric and hold a vote on an alternative before the August recess. “At the end of the day, we feel it’s really important to bring a bill to the floor that is a true replacement to the president’s healthcare law,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told The Hill. “Look, leadership’s come a long way in the last six months on that, and we’re continuing to talk to them to try to get to a point where we actually have a vote on the House floor by the August recess.”

— Bloomberg to spend $50 million on anti-gun group: Undeterred by the failures of his anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Michael Bloomberg is planning to drop $50 million to build a nationwide grassroots organization to take on the National Rifle Association. “Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own,” The New York Times reports. “The considerable advantages that gun rights advocates enjoy — in intensity, organization and political clout — will not be easy to overcome. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg has already spent millions of dollars trying to persuade members of Congress to support enhanced background check laws with virtually nothing to show for it.”

— Greenhouse emissions fell in 2012: Despite the hot air coming from radical environmentalists, including our regulator-in-chief, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2012. “Greenhouse gas emissions fell in the United States by 3.4 percent in 2012 from the previous year, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday,” The Hill notes. “The EPA’s annual report on greenhouse gases found a 10 percent drop since 2005.” There are several reasons for the drop, according to the EPA, among them is a decrease in energy consumption, a sign of a still-struggling economy.

— Phony federalists: Jacob Sullum takes aim at Republicans who tout the principles of federalism but back a measure pushed by casino owner Sheldon Adelson that would ban online gambling. “[T]he blatant disregard for federalism is especially striking, since the bill’s backers brazenly claim it is necessary to protect state autonomy. They have even enlisted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an avowed fan of the 10th Amendment, to testify that a national ban on Internet gambling, which would override the policy preferences of states such as Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey, is what the Framers would have wanted,” Sullum writes at Reason. “The National Conference of State Legislatures sees things differently.” He also points out that Republicans are hypocritical on federalism when it comes to state marijuana legalization.

— Colleges see enrollment decline: Reason points us to new data from Moody’s finding that colleges have seen enrollment fall, which, the magazine notes, is evidence of the “coming burst of the education bubble.” According to Bloomberg, the credit rating agency “downgraded an average of 28 institutions annually in the five years through 2013, more than double the average of 12 in the prior five-year period.” It doesn’t end there. “Dozens of schools have seen drops of more than 10 percent in enrollment, according to Moody’s,” Bloomberg explains. “As faculty and staff have been cut and programs closed, some students have faced a choice between transferring or finishing degrees that may have diminished value.” It begs the question, “Is college worth it?”

— Campaign for Liberty will defy the IRS: Because Ron Paul. Honestly, did you expect them not to take a stand against this sort of intimidation? “There is no legitimate reason for the IRS to know who donates to Campaign for Liberty,” Megan Stiles, the organization’s communications director, told the Washington Examiner. “We believe the First Amendment is on our side as evidenced by cases such as NAACP v. Alabama and International Union UAW v. National Right to Work. Many 501(c)(4) organizations protect the privacy of their donors in the very same way as Campaign for Liberty. For some reason the IRS has now chosen to single out Campaign for Liberty for special attention. We plan to fight this all the way.”

— Obamacare doubles premiums for young people in 11 states: An analysis conducted by the Heritage Foundation found that 27-year-olds in 11 states saw health insurance premiums skyrocket under Obamacare. “Heritage’s analysis showed a 27-year-old living in Arkansas saw the highest percent increase in the cost of premiums under Obamacare, at a jump of 171 percent. Georgia followed closely behind with a percent change of 168 percent,” Melissa Quinn writes at Red Alert Politics. “Still, in only four states — Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Ohio — will a 27-year-old actually see their health insurance prices go down.”

— RLC backs Walter Jones: The Republican Liberty Caucus has endorsed Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a liberty-minded Republican seeking reelection this fall. Jones is facing an establishment-backed challenger in the May 6 Republican primary. ”Congressman Jones is well deserving of the RLC endorsement. He has proven himself to be a defender of liberty as well as a fiscal conservative,” said RLC Chairman Matt Nye in a statement. “The nation needs more lawmakers who take the oath to support and defend the Constitution as seriously as Walter Jones; he puts America and its people first, as all those who serve in Congress should.”

— Cato policy forum: On Wednesday, May 21, the Cato Institute will host a policy forum on the Obama administration’s overreaching executive actions. The event will feature legal scholars including  Andrew M. Grossman, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University Law School. The discussion, which is sure to be interesting, will be moderated by Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. More details can be found here.

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