Archive for March, 2010
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
March 19, 2010
Impeach the president?
The ‘Slaughter Solution’ would violate the Constitution
The Democrats are assaulting the very pillars of our democracy. As the debate on Obamacare reaches the long, painful end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is confronting a political nightmare. She may not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the Senate’s health care bill in the House.
Hence, Mrs. Pelosi and her congressional Democratic allies are seriously considering using a procedural ruse to circumvent the traditional constitutional process. Led by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, New York Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, the new plan – called the “Slaughter Solution” – is not to pass the Senate version on an up-or-down vote. Rather, it is to have the House “deem” that the legislation was passed and then have members vote directly on a series of “sidecar” amendments to fix the things it does not like.
This would enable House Democrats to avoid going on the record voting for provisions in the Senate bill – the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” the tax on high-cost so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans – that are reviled by the public or labor-union bosses. If the reconciliation fixes pass, the House can send the Senate bill to President Obama for his signature without ever having had a formal up-or-down vote on the underlying legislation.
Many Democrats could claim they opposed the Senate bill while allowing it to pass. This would be an unprecedented violation of our democratic norms and procedures, established since the inception of the republic. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution stipulates that for any bill to become a law, it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That is, not be “deemed” to have passed, but actually be voted on with the support of the required majority. The bill must contain the exact same language in both chambers – and in the version signed by the president – to be a legitimate law.
The latest battle in the healthcare war is being waged using a new strategy — the circumvention of the intent, spirit, and true definition of the legislative process by supplementing the already-passed Senate health care bill with a second bill to modify the Senate bill as per President Obama’s most recent health care proposal. Congressional Democrats propose that the House pass the Senate bill, then have both houses pass this second bill by means of the budget reconciliation process. The 1974 reconciliation method is the perfect vehicle to navigate around certain obstacles like a Republican filibuster. Besides, the budget reconciliation process only requires a 51-vote majority in the Senate and limits debate to 20 hours.
The President’s Proposal has had no official cost analysis completed but the White House estimates that the plan would cost about $950 billion over 10 years. The plan would extend coverage to more than 31 million Americans by 2019. And the excise tax to help pay for this latest unconstitutional, healthcare budget buster would be delayed for insurers and employers until 2018.
The role of federal regulators, czars and overseers would be expanded in order to review and block premium increases by private companies. The federal government would be able to supersede the authority of the states if it so chooses, which is another intrusion into what has historically and constitutionally been reserved to the states.
The broad language pertaining to abortion funding in the Senate version remains in the president’s version as government officials “believe they cannot make changes to the Senate language on abortion” when using budget reconciliation.
Nonetheless, passage of Obama’s personal plan for the nation’s health care may not be achieved as easily as originally planned, given the political climate and the resurgence of constitutional awareness.
This is a crucial issue at a crucial time and it is up to each and every one of us to relentlessly persevere in contacting our elected representatives to insist they vote “no” on any unconstitutional, government-run healthcare plan, no matter how many times it is presented and re-presented to us.
Send an email opposing Obama’s health care plan to your senators and representative. Click here for contact information for visiting, phoning, and faxing them. (Click here for how your senators voted on their health care bill on December 24. Click here for how your representative voted on the House health care bill on November 7.)
Your friends at The John Birch Society
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes:
1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
5. Attorney General Eric Holder
6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
7. President Barack Obama
8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14
Last week marked the one year anniversary of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, or the stimulus bill, passing into law. While the debate over its success has been focused on whether or not it is stimulating the economy and on various questionable uses of funds, in my estimation this legislation is accomplishing exactly what it was intended to accomplish – grow the government.
Those of us concerned about the ever increasing level of government debt gasped at the astonishing $787 billion cost estimates for this bill. True to form it has actually cost 10 percent more at $862 billion. We heard over and over that government could not sit around and do nothing while people lost their jobs and houses. The administration claimed that unemployment would not go above 8 percent if the stimulus bill passed. Now, a year later, the government estimates that unemployment is over 10 percent. The real number is closer to 20 percent. It appears that those promises were total fabrications in order to close the deal.
In any case, the American people know that more government spending obviously equals more government. If the goal was to strengthen the private sector, Congress would have allowed businesses and individuals to keep more of their own money through meaningful tax cuts. Outrageously, the administration claims that they did “cut taxes” by reducing withholding, and that they have stimulated the private economy by increasing the amount of money in every worker’s paycheck. What they fail to mention is they did not change the total amount of taxes due. This means that all that money not withheld from paychecks will add up to a big unpleasant surprise when returns are filed this year. Many tax preparers are already seeing shocked taxpayers having to come up with big checks to the government when they normally expect a refund. Stimulus, indeed!
The administration also claims that thousands of jobs have been created or saved by this massive spending bill, but these are just more government jobs, and counterproductive in the long run. Funding for the public sector necessarily comes at the expense of an overtaxed private economy. But, it makes sense that government would seek to expand its payroll since every new bureaucrat becomes a likely advocate for big government, when an increasing number of Americans are demanding the opposite. But the more the burden, the closer the government parasite comes to killing its host.
Rather than learning the lessons of the past year, the administration is moving full-speed ahead to do even more economic damage. With the stimulus bill set as a precedent and victory declared, another “jobs” bill is in the works. And, in order to address the unavoidable issues of our massive deficit, the administration has named a bi-partisan commission to find ways to decrease it. Tax increases on the middle class are notoriously back “on the table”, exposing that campaign promise as another instance of merely saying what the people wanted to hear. If the obvious solution to our spending problems was seriously put forth, that is, getting back to the constitutional limitations of government, I would be shocked. More likely, this will be a tactic to increase taxes and spending in a way that passes the political buck.