Mar 01, 2010
Nearly half of the Arizona Legislature wants to force President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to state officials if he runs for re-election.
A state House committee on Tuesday approved the measure sponsored by 40 of the state’s 90 legislators. It would require presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the requirements to be president.
All 40 co-sponsors are Republicans, comprising 75 percent of the GOP caucus. Two of them have since resigned to run for Congress.
The idea was proposed by Skull Valley Republican Rep. Judy Burges. She says if people have to prove their citizenship to apply for a job or get a passport, they should have to prove it to run for president.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/26/2010 05:05:00 PM
Mar 22, 2010
In what is being described as one of the most astounding power grabs in modern history by newspaper headlines around the World, President Obama has succeeded in his audacious plan to remake America into a full fledged godless communist empire barely one year into his term with the enactment into law by the US Congress of his mammoth health care plan innocuously named H.R. 3200-Americas Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 and described by one Kremlin legal expert as having “nothing at all to do with health, but everything to do with control.”
To fully grasp the full and grim implications of Obama’s power grab over the American people with his Nationalization of the United States entire health care industry and student loan programme accomplished with the passing of this new law, it must be remembered that since taking office on January 20, 2009 he has also taken over their automobile, mortgage, and banking industries too with the Internet said being next “in his sights”.
More insidious than these takeovers that have been destroying America’s once vibrant capitalistic system is the new regime these once free peoples are now destined to live under, and where under their new health care law will require all of them to carry a National ID card (page 58) and allow their government unlimited access to all of their bank accounts and personal records (page 159).
And in a chilling instance of the ancient prophecies for these time of “The Mark of the Beast” becoming reality, the National ID card all of the American people will now be required to possess (regardless of age) is to be combined with their new government ID card under their upcoming new immigration laws allowing them to work and is biometrically designed to “read” the backs of their hands.
[Note: According to the Christian Bibles Book of Revelations, the ancients warned of a future time when everyone, both small and great, rich and poor, free or slave, would receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads which without they would not be able buy or sell anything.]
Though many have tried to warn these Americans about the plans for their Nations destruction at the hands of the Obama backed communist forces who have taken over their country [including our March 2nd report “Russia Warns US Communist Threat Endangering Entire World”] the propaganda organs in the United States have rendered silent nearly all opposition and dissident views from reaching them and they remain asleep to the true dangers soon to come upon them.
The same, however, cannot be said about the rest of the World where during this past week alone, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon signed a cooperation agreement with a Russia-led security group of ex-Soviet Nations as a counterbalance to the US led NATO forces (who are currently expanding their wars against the Muslim Nations to steal their vast oil and gas wealth) and one of China’s top military officers called for his Nation to build the World’s strongest military and move swiftly to topple the United States as the Global “champion.”
To how ignorant the American people have become to the yoke of communist oppression being pressed upon them by Obama’s forces we can glimpse from a report in today’s Los Angeles Times that says “The Democratic administration of Barack Obama, who denounced his predecessor, George W. Bush, as the most secretive in history, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than the Republican did.”
And as to why Obama and his communist forces would seek to keep from the American people what is really being done to them we had, also, previously warned about in our February 12th report “The “End Of Days” Are Upon Us, Warns Russian Patriarch” and wherein we had stated:
“Patriarch Cyril warns in his report though that the Motherlands efforts to halt the West’s godlessness “may be too late” as evidenced by the rising use among their political, military, banking and celebrity elite classes of the ancient Babylonian “Sign of the Horns” [formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb, see photo bottom left] honoring the ancient god Marduk (Sumerian spelling in Akkadian: AMAR.UTU meaning “solar calf”).”
Now most important to remember about these ancient enemies of our human race Obama and his communist forces have aligned themselves with is how truly predictable they are; including the United States passing of their health care bill during the 2010 Vernal (Spring) Solstice [when daytime and nighttime are equal length] as a “celebration” to the ancient goddess Ēostre whose name was given to the Christian festival of Easter but whose origins stretch back into the mists of time to the mystery religions of Rome where the Cybele cult preformed their child sacrifices on what was then known as Vatican hill, but today is known as the home of the Pope.
And in these monsters predictability by aligning themselves with the ancient dates and ceremonies of old also comes the most secure protection from their destructive plans; such as the United States March 4, 2001 airing of the Lone Gunman television programmes pilot episode where an American government plot to fly remotely controlled planes into the World Trade Center was discovered, and which was exactly 6 months and 7 days from when the actual attack occurred.
It goes without saying, of course, that the propaganda media organs beholden to their godless communist masters will never inform their peoples about these things, and for those of us who do there is always great danger. But as the events in the United States are now showing to even those most in denial about what is truly happening, the time nears when hard choices will have to be made by everyone if freedom for our human race is to be saved.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 3/26/2010 04:38:00 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Demagogue a word of Greek origin means a person who uses falsehoods, prejudices and emotional appeals to gain power. Huey Long, governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932, U.S. senator from 1932 to 1935 and creator of the Share Our Wealth Program, fit that definition.
Long stirred crowds with fiery denunciations of corporate greed. Ultimately, even fellow Democrats grew alarmed and backed away from his legislation.
Demagogue also describes how President Obama revved up crowds as he crisscrossed the country selling his health legislation.
"A big part of our campaign," he told audiences in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri, "was about changing the way Washington works including the responsibility to live within its means. Over the last year, we've gone through the budget line-by-line looking for places to trim the fat out of government."
The truth is, as soon as he took office, the president signed bills that flooded the nation with new spending, resulting in a fiscal 2009 budget 19% above the previous year.
He also promised audiences that "for the first time, uninsured individuals and small businesses will have the same kind of choice of private health insurance that members of Congress get."
That's not true. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, members of Congress "enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country and can choose from health savings accounts, catastrophic plans with high deductibles, fee-for-service plans, preferred provider plans and HMOs."
The Price Of 'Free'
These choices would be nice for all of us, but they are not in the offing. The health bill says you'll have to enroll in a "qualified plan" sold in your own state with a one-size-fits-all benefit package prescribed by the secretary of health and human services.
The president never said that insurance would be compulsory.
"All new insurance plans would be required to offer free preventive care to their customers," he pledged.
"Free" is a huckster's promise. In this case, there will be no co-pay or deductible for preventive services, but the cost of them is included in your premium. If you're buying your own insurance, it will cost 10% to 13% more if the bill is passed, according to the Congressional Budget Office (Nov. 30 report). That's the opposite of what the president claims.
"I want to give you more control over your health care," the president crooned.
But in fact, the Senate bill puts government in control of your care, even if you have Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross or some other private plan. The bill bars doctors from participating in the private insurance system unless they implement whatever regulations the secretary of health and human services imposes (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).
Attacks on insurers and promises of free care can be counted on to get the crowd cheering. Then the president said:
"Opponents have tried to scare people, especially seniors, into thinking that we are going after seniors' Medicare benefits. . .. (T)hat's just plain wrong."
In truth, the Senate bill reduces future Medicare funding by nearly $450 billion, including cuts in what hospitals will be paid to treat older patients. Experts are already warning that some hospitals will stop taking Medicare.
The president vowed that government has a "special responsibility to be wise stewards about how Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are spent." Grants to local community groups to offer positive self-esteem classes (Senate bill, p. 612) hardly fit that definition.
"What we're proposing is a common-sense approach to protecting you from insurance company abuses and saving money, he said. "That's the proposal, and it's paid for."
He didn't mention the $500 billion in new taxes.
"I don't know how the politics plays," he said, calling on members of Congress to push ahead, no matter what the people think.
Backing up the demagoguery was a lot of arm-twisting until minutes before the House of Representatives voted.
The largest public union, SEIU, threatened Democrats in Congress with primary challenges in the fall if they voted against the health bill.
A congressman's brother was nominated to the federal judiciary, and a popular school-loan bill was inexplicably attached to the unpopular health bill.
After the health bill was rammed through with no bipartisan support, the president declared the vote historic. That's true. It's a warning sign that We the People are losing control of our government.
McCaughey is founder and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York state.
The Vote: Conned by the promise of an ephemeral executive order, the last holdouts cave and ObamaCare advances. It doesn't add a single doctor or hospital room, but needs 17,000 new IRS agents to enforce it.
Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., spent months spelling out in minute detail how the Senate version of the health care overhaul permitted federal funding of abortion through its failure to expressly prohibit it.
In the end, he cashed in his principles for an unenforceable executive order that is trumped by the Senate bill he voted to pass.
An executive order is not the law of the land. Neither can you amend a law via executive order. The Senate version of socialized medicine will be the law of the land. It trumps any executive order, a ruling every court will make every time. As Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., reminded Stupak before the vote, this executive order can also be erased by another executive order at any time. It has the strength of gelatin and the life expectancy of a fruit fly.
Stupak was had. So was a bare party-line majority of the House of Representatives, in the face of bipartisan opposition, which proved the adage about everyone having a price, whether it be increased water rations for California's San Joaquin Valley or a bank in Rep. Earl Pomeroy's North Dakota that's now the only one in the country that can still issue student loans.
Such bribes were necessary because the Democrats' "reform" doesn't improve care, expand coverage or reduce costs. As GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin recently stated, "If you take all the double counting out of the bill, which the (Congressional Budget Office) can't do because that's the way it's put in front of them, this thing has a $460 billion deficit in the first 10 years, a $1.4 trillion deficit in the second 10 years."
With accounting tricks that would make Bernie Madoff blush, revenue and savings from the feds taking over student loans is counted as medical savings. A $250 billion dollar "doctor fix" to compensate for $500 billion in Medicare cuts is not counted as an increased cost.
This legislation will cause doctors to flee in droves. The New England Journal of Medicine just released a survey, confirming our own polling, finding that 46% of primary care physicians would consider quitting medicine under this bill.
House Subcommittee on Oversight ranking member Charles Boustany, R-La., said the Internal Revenue Service provision in the bill "dangerously expands, in an ominous way the tentacles of the IRS and its reach into every American family."
The IRS now can make sure everyone buys health insurance acceptable to the federal government and collect the fines of up to $2,250 per family or 2% of income if it doesn't.
The CBO expects the IRS will need roughly $10 billion over the next 10 years and nearly 17,000 new employees to meet its new responsibilities under socialized medicine. The American people will be faced with fines, even possible imprisonment, if they don't comply with this unique federal mandate. Now an IRS agent will come between you and your doctor.
These IRS agents will have the job of enforcing a new and unconstitutional mandate. The Constitution specifically enumerates the powers given to each branch of government and says that any power not mentioned revert to the states and to the people. Nowhere does it say the feds can compel you to buy health insurance.
A swarm of state attorneys general is ready to march into federal court to defend the Constitution and the 10th Amendment in particular from this assault on democracy and freedom. The law officials have behind them the support of an American electorate overwhelmingly opposed to this expansion of government power being rammed down their throats.
They will remember in November.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
March 19, 2010
The battle over ObamaCare is not just a debate over another piece of legislation. It is a battle over the survival of America as a free market, free enterprise, capitalist nation capable of producing the greatest outpouring of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in history and with a government based on the principles of the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution. And it’s no exaggeration to say ObamaCare is a battle over the survival of the world, as we know it. That’s because if America is mortally wounded by ObamaCare, the world will lose the strong and prosperous nation on which it depends, as the world’s major force for peace, for prosecuting the war on terror, and for humanitarian aid.
ObamaCare is an attempt by the federal government to takeover one-sixth of the American economy, and expand an already outrageously bloated federal government and federal deficit. It would wreck the greatest health-care delivery system in the world, and would go a long way to wrecking our economy. For those reasons and more, it is essential that ObamaCare be defeated. It is also essential to clear up the endless parade of lies and misconceptions ushered forth by President Barack Obama and ObamaCare supporters in furtherance of their proposals.
For starters, we must clear up the attempt to give ObamaCare a bipartisan odor by adding four cosmetic changes, based on Republican suggestions, to this 2,000-page-plus monstrosity of a bill. This is the equivalent of putting four maraschino cherries on a dunghill and thinking that transforms it into an ice cream sundae. This is just one more phony maneuver so characteristic of this man named Obama. What makes it more obviously phony is the half-baked attempt to implement these Republican suggestions. For example, instead of malpractice lawsuit reform, ObamaCare would merely authorize $50 million so it could be studied at the state level. Mr. Obama thinks he knows how to totally restructure the health-care delivery system, one of the most complicated undertakings in American history. He does that here and now without delay and in fact with reckless haste. But he has to keep studying lawsuit malpractice reform.
Another phony maneuver was the Summit to get Republican ideas and other suggestions. These ideas had been put forward for about a year. They were well known and thoroughly discussed. They were on record in the Senate and the House. The White House knew all about them. So after shutting out the Republicans for about a year, Mr. Obama finally puts on this act of wanting to hear their views…all the time knowing he would revert to his plan and all the time knowing he was going to ram it down the throat of America no matter what ideas were put forward. Has he been deaf and dumb for the first 14 months of his presidency so he did not hear Republican ideas? Yes, just as he sat in the pews of Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright for 20 years and didn’t know what he was all about.
Then after Mr. Obama personally denounced reconciliation when he was a senator, he now embraces it. Equally outrageous is the “deem and pass” approach: deeming the bill is passed without a vote. But this is typical of Mr. Obama, who was a follower of the infamous community organizer Saul Alinsky, who taught that the end justifies the means. In other words, anything goes including lies and broken promises, and ethics, values, and morals can’t get in the way of the “end,” in this case ObamaCare. And that is what the trail of ObamaCare is littered with. We have Chicago-style thugs running the White House, and we better face that reality, however ugly the picture.
Mr. Obama doesn’t want to talk about process, as demonstrated in his interview with Brett Baier of Fox News. He tried to give the impression that process is some sort of obscure technicality that doesn’t make a difference. But as a lecturer (not a professor) of constitutional law, he should have learned that process is an essential element of the rule of law. What’s more, he should realize the American people are interested in the process, and object to procedures that smell of Chicago thuggery rather than sound legal and Constitutional principles.
One of the most king-size lies is that ObamaCare won’t add to the deficit. This is another standard chorus sung by Mr. Obama and supporters of ObamaCare. Mr. Obama was saying this when his latest proposal was only in outline form. As indicated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), you need exact legislative language to cost a bill, and you can’t cost an outline. So there’s inadequate basis for the claim it doesn’t add to the deficit. He is still saying this during the week of the likely vote, when there’s still no legislative language and no CBO evaluation (as of Wednesday night). In any event, can anyone believe you can give everyone richer coverage, lower premiums, insure 30 million more Americans, and not escalate the deficit? Don’t forget that estimates of the costs of these entitlements are usual a tiny fraction of their real cost. And how could all these legislators be supporting a bill when they don’t know what it will cost? They claim it will cut the deficit, but don’t know what it will cost or its exact legislative language. And the claim is absurd on another count – the unintended consequences and costs of such a massive transformation of our economy and our health delivery system, makes any cost estimate nothing but a shaky and weak guess.
The phoniness of Mr. Obama’s position was demonstrated when Mr. Baier asked Mr. Obama if the Connecticut payoff of $100 million for a hospital to get Sen. Dodd’s vote was still in the bill. And in an astonishing admission, Mr. Obama indicated he didn’t even know if the provision was in the bill, a key issue (along with the Nebraska Kick-back and other special deals). Here again, he advocates a bill he doesn’t fully understand.
Another issue involves claimed savings by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. Why should we assume Mr. Obama knows how to end it? One reason waste, fraud and abuse persists is that bloated government bureaucracies don’t do anything well, including even ending waste fraud and abuse. Why doesn’t the Obama administration demonstrate it can fix one small piece of the health delivery system before it tears it all down and restructures it? There’s no reason to believe ObamaCare can eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse. In fact, a massive expansion of benefits will probably multiply waste, fraud, and abuse. What’s more, another fraud on the cost estimates is that taxes go into effect immediately, but many benefits are delayed for four years. With that kind of manipulation, anything can be made to look deficit-free.
Then there’s the question of likely exploding costs and shortages of doctors due to the expansion of Medicaid. A Journal of General Internal Medicine concluded that inadequate government reimbursement has already produced a shortage of primary-care physicians. That’s bad enough, but ObamaCare’s approach to Medicaid means that more unfunded liabilities are thrust upon the states, putting a severe strain on their budgets in a recession. In addition, ObamaCare adds a new benefit (filling the donut hole) to Medicare’s drug program. So ObamaCare lowers the deficit, by expanding two programs now bankrupt and continuing to bankrupt America. And ObamaCare assures that even a lower percentage of Medicaid recipients will have access to doctors.
Perhaps the biggest lie is Mr. Obama’s claim, in the Fox interview, that those who vote no on ObamaCare are voting against healthcare reform and for the status quo. The Republicans at Mr. Obama’s summit demonstrated again for the umpteenth time that they favor healthcare reform and that they have specific proposals they’ve been putting forward for a year. Yet, Mr. Obama to keeps saying the no-voters are against health-care reform and for the status quo. The man Obama is willing to tell any lie, any time, anywhere, as often as he wants, with no regard for the truth. I’ve said all along he is a congenital, pathological liar, and he keeps proving I’m right.
This list of problems with Mr. ObamaCare is long and virtually endless. That’s why the correct approach is to dump the whole bill and start from scratch to bring about the reforms needed to fix the system — provide access for the uninsured and provide better control of escalating costs. There’s no reason these ends cannot be achieved without restructuring the whole system and without the need for thousands of pages of legislation. It’s time to listen to the people, who know better than the radical ideologues and demagogues now in the White House.
Herb Denenberg can be reached at email@example.com
Health Reform: Not since the heyday of Bill Clinton have we had a leader play so fast and loose with the facts as President Obama. And as the health care debate reaches a crescendo, he's been especially reckless.
Tired of waiting for the major media to take note, here's a small sampling of whoppers we took from the president's speeches last week in Ohio and Virginia, plus his interview with Fox News' Bret Baier:
"We have incorporated the best ideas from Democrats and from Republicans." Far from it. Some of the biggest omissions include tort reform, health savings accounts, portable insurance, expanding consumer access to plans across state lines and posting provider prices for services so patients can shop around.
Republicans were almost completely shut out from the process and at the early stages last summer, were not even permitted to read the bill. In an atmosphere like this, it's little wonder the bill isn't drawing a single vote of support from Republicans of either house. It's fully a creature of the Democratic Party.
("This is not a) government takeover of health care." How is it that government can dictate to private insurance companies what they can offer, to whom, under what circumstances and at what prices, and yet still not own it? Every basic business decision a private company can make has effectively been expropriated.
Even as Obama denied his health care plan was a government takeover, his vice president, Joe Biden, laid out the real deal: "You know we're going to control the insurance companies." We'll take him at his word.
"If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." That's if your doctor chooses to remain in the profession. Unfortunately, our own IBD/TIPP Poll found that up to 45% would consider quitting if they're going to be dictated to by unaccountable bureaucrats who couldn't get into medical school.
Price controls will slash doctor salaries and raise workloads, mandating that doctors make up for losses with volume. Bureaucrats will crack the whip on costs by lowering payments and penalizing doctors who refer patients to specialists. All this, and zero tort reform relief, will drive many doctors out of the profession just as 32 million new patients enter the market.
"Our proposal is paid for ... our cost-cutting measures would reduce most people's premiums and bring down our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades." Government programs always cost more than projected. Medicare, which has $86 trillion in unfunded liabilities, was supposed to cost $10 billion within 25 years of its implementation. It actually cost $107 billion.
The real cost of the Democrats' reform plan, according to the Cato Institute, which isn't handcuffed in its estimates like the Congressional Budget Office, is $2.5 trillion over the first decade.
"If this vote fails, then insurance companies will continue to run amok." They're not exactly wildcatting as it is. Health plan providers boast a profit margin of 3.4% placing them 88th of 215 industries in Morningstar rankings. More than 2,000 state mandates dictate what coverages they provide.
"By the time the vote has taken place ... you'll know what's in it because it's going to be posted and everybody's going to be able to evaluate it on the merits." The final bill wouldn't available to the public until Saturday morning, the day before the vote, congressional sources told us Friday. So in fact, nobody would have time to digest the 2,500-page leviathan.
"We're not transforming one-sixth of the economy in one fell swoop." Yes, Obama wants to take over the health care sector, but in pieces. In 2007, he said that "economically it is better for us to start getting a system in place, a universal health care system, signed into law by the end of my first term as president." Canada, he noted, "did not start off immediately with a single-payer system, they had a similar transition step." He's been on record since at least 2003 as a "proponent of single-payer, universal health care."
"(This will be) the largest middle-class tax cut in the history of the country." Tax cut? New taxes on prescription drug sales, medical devices, tanning services and an annual tax on health insurers for being health insurers will all end up on middle-class shoulders.
Then for families earning $250,000 there are taxes of 0.9% for hospital insurance, 2.9% on "unearned income," plus a tax on high-premium policies. The "middle-class tax cut," in the president's misleading words, amounts to "tax credits to help you afford" the more expensive insurance of the new (also misleadingly named) "competitive marketplace."
"$3,000 your employer doesn't have to pay ... maybe she can afford to give you a raise." Premiums will not go down, but way, way up. The Associated Press last week found that $3,000 to misrepresent a Business Roundtable analysis last year that "didn't consider specific legislation."
Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation told the AP "it would be miraculous" if premiums went down under the legislation set to be passed. Using the HIS/Global Insight U.S. Macroeconomic model, a Heritage Foundation analysis found that with the new government-regulated exchanges "crowding out the employer-sponsored market," there will be "an overall increase in the absolute amount of health spending on premiums."
"Small business owners ... can purchase more affordable coverage in a competitive marketplace." In fact, small businesses will be slapped with new taxes including a penalty if they don't provide the level of health coverage Washington dictates. As owners of modest-sized firms cope with the new burdens, their employees may find themselves with substantially reduced coverage or with pink slips.
As to the promised financial assistance for new employer mandates, it remains unknown what "small business" will mean under ObamaCare. Will the definition apply only to micro-businesses of a couple dozen workers?
(The reform legislation is) "about the character of our country." Let's hope not. Never in American history have politicians sunk to lower depths than in the push to thrust this massive expansion of government down an unwilling America's throat.
From the unconstitutional "Slaughter solution" that would pass it without a vote of the people's representatives, to the taxpayer-funded bribery of the "Cornhusker kickback" and "Louisiana Purchase," to the pretense of passing it as a budget item bypassing Senate filibusters, Democratic leaders have shown they will stop at nothing to set us on the road to European socialized medicine.
March 17, 2010 · Vol. 5, No. 11
Will the Democrats 'Self Execute' on Healthcare Reform?
by Newt Gingrich
Posted 03/17/2010 ET
Updated 03/17/2010 ET
Last year, the Democrats passed the stimulus bill without reading it.
This year, they are trying to pass the healthcare bill without voting on it.
Yes, you read that correctly.
In the next few days, Nancy Pelosi will enact a rules change that essentially says if one bill passes the House with certain fixes to the Senate healthcare bill, then the original Senate bill will also have been “deemed” passed by the House through a “self executing rule.”
The reason, straight from Speaker Pelosi’s mouth, is simple: “Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill.”
If this doesn’t make much sense, it is probably because some overly idealistic civics teacher once taught you that the Constitution requires that before a bill can be “presented to the President of the United States” it “shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.”
You can learn more about the Democrats latest bizarre tactic and Republican efforts to block it here, but frankly, in terms of whether this bill will ultimately pass or fail, the Democrats’ latest mockery of the Constitution is secondary.
What is most important is this: no matter what Nancy Pelosi is trying to tell the nervous members of her caucus, there is nothing that can shield Democrats from having to make a “yes or no” decision on whether the Senate’s healthcare bill will be signed into law.
Yes Means Yes (and No Democrat Can Deny It)
Whatever Rube Goldberg legislative device the Democrats end up using to try and pass the healthcare bill, the bottom line is that there will be a vote.
During that vote, every member of Congress will have to go on the record as to whether the Senate’s version of the healthcare bill will be sent to the President for signature.
And once the bill is signed by President Obama, the Senate’s version of the healthcare bill will become the law of the land. There is no guarantee the “fixes” to the bill the House wants will ever pass the Senate.
This means that every Democrat that voted for the bill will have to defend:
• Federal funding for abortion;
• A half trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare services that do not fix the programs’ long-term structural budgetary problems;
• A half trillion dollars in new taxes that will be passed on to the consumers of health insurance and everyday medical devices;
• The “Louisiana Purchase” and other special deals used to bribe senators to vote for the bill.
• 159 new government boards, bureaucracies, and programs that will further depress a health system already mired in bureaucracy.
Any Democrat who votes yes and claims their vote didn’t mean yes is doing double damage to their political lives: making a bad bill the law of the land and then lying about their complicity in letting it happen.
Why “Self Executing” Is the Right Term
A recent poll by Independent Women’s Voice in 35 swing districts illustrates the danger this bill poses to the Democrats’ political lives.
In these districts:
• 61% would be less supportive and 29% more supportive of a member of Congress who previously voted AGAINST the bill and then voted FOR it.
• 49% would be more supportive and 40% less supportive of a member of Congress who previously voted FOR the bill and then voted AGAINST it.
• 58% percent would be more supportive and 34% less supportive of a member of Congress who previously voted AGAINST the bill and again voted AGAINST it.
The results are clear. Vote no and the people back home will thank you. Vote yes and spend the rest of the year being repudiated by your constituents.
For House Democrats, voting to make this bill law is indeed an act of “self execution.”
Why don’t you call your Congressman now and make that clear?
March 3, 2010 · Vol. 5, No. 9
What Is "Reconciliation" And Why Is It A Threat?
by Newt Gingrich
Posted 03/03/2010 ET
During last week’s health summit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid uttered a remarkably dishonest and, in retrospect, ironic statement, claiming that “nobody is talking about reconciliation” to pass the health bill.
It was a dishonest statement because Democrats have been openly floating the specter of passing the health bill using reconciliation since it first became obvious it would have difficulty passing the Senate, including just days before the summit by Sen. Reid himself.
It was ironic because it seems that all the cable news shows, talk radio, blogs and pundits have been talking about since the summit is whether President Obama, Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will use the Senate budget reconciliation process to pass their big government, big bureaucracy health bill.
But what exactly is the reconciliation process? And why, exactly, is it so controversial a move to pass the health bill?
A Tool for Congress to Meet Spending Goals
The budget reconciliation process was created in 1974 as part of the law that created much of the modern rules and organizational structures used by Congress to pass the annual budget.
This new law required Congress to pass a budget resolution every year that would set the parameters by which the various congressional committees would write their specific parts of the total budget bill.
Within these budget resolutions, instructions can be given to specific congressional committees to create legislation that would alter current laws affecting spending and/or taxation in order to conform to the targets set out in the budget resolution.
To enhance Congress’ ability to meet budget resolution targets, these pieces of legislation are not passed under the normal rules of the Senate. Instead, they fall under the “budget reconciliation process” rules which prohibit unrelated amendments to the bills and set a maximum of 20 hours of debate on the floor. As a practical matter, this means only 51 votes are needed to pass a reconciliation bill because the limit on debate overrides the threat of a filibuster.
The Byrd Rule to Prevent Abuse of Reconciliation
While the budget reconciliation process was a success in its principal goal of giving Congress more power to meet the spending and revenue goals of the budget resolution, it quickly became prone to abuse.
Provisions that had nothing to do with meeting budget resolution requirements, even some that directly contradicted them, were passed using the reconciliation process.
To prevent this, the so-called “Byrd Rule,” named after Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who introduced the legislation, was passed in 1985 and made permanent in 1990.
The Byrd Rule allows any senator to raise a point of order objection to provisions in a reconciliation bill that they consider extraneous to meeting budget resolutions requirements. Then, it is up to the chair – either the Vice President (as President of the Senate) or, more often, the presiding officer of the Senate if the Vice President is not present -- whether that provision stays or is stricken.
However, the chair almost always relies on the advice of the Senate Parliamentarian to determine if that objection is legitimate. (Learn more about the parliamentarian here).
This determination is made based on six tests created as part of the Byrd Rule used to weed out provisions that have nothing to do with raising or reducing taxes or spending. It takes a 3/5 majority vote to override the decision of the presiding officer if he or she finds that a provision violates one or more of these tests. (This Congressional Research Service report is a good primer on the Byrd rule if you want to learn more).
Reconciliation in Action
Reconciliation has been used for 22 bills, of which, 14 were passed by Republican majorities. Nineteen of those bills were signed into law by the President. Three were vetoed. You can view a chart of these bills here.
Notice the similarity between them? All of these bills were obviously directly related to taxation and spending, and since 1985, have successfully met the Byrd rule tests.
Health Reform Is About More than Federal Spending
This is why passing the left’s big government, big bureaucracy health bill using the budget reconciliation process is so fundamentally dishonest and dangerous to Senate precedent.
Leaving aside the bill’s merits (which, to be clear, are abysmal), both its defenders and detractors would acknowledge that it is, for better or worse, a fundamental overhaul of the nation’s health system, both public and private. It sets new rules and regulations that span the entire healthcare sector. It is much larger in scope and more all encompassing in purpose than simply affecting federal spending and revenues.
This is not to say that the bill would not have some effect on the federal budget. Almost any piece of legislation could meet that meager standard.
The reconciliation process was only intended to be used for legislation directly related to meeting budget resolution spending and revenue goals.
The minor affect the left’s health bill would have on the deficit over 10 years (beyond that there is every reason to think it would increase the deficit substantially), even by charitable estimates, cannot be used to justify passing this sort of sweeping legislation using reconciliation.
This is one reason why a number of Democrats, including Sen. Robert Byrd, author of the Byrd Rule and who also helped create the budget reconciliation process in 1974, called the idea of using it to pass the health bill (and cap and trade) “an outrage that must be resisted.”
It’s also why Robert Byrd objected to President Clinton’s efforts to pass Hillarycare in 1993 using reconciliation.
Why should the left’s latest big government healthcare grab be held to any different standard?
Welfare Reform vs. the Left’s Big Government Health Bill
This week, the left is out in force, pointing to other significant pieces of legislation passed by Republicans using the budget reconciliation process as justification for passing their health care bill. One of the examples they are using is welfare reform.
Since welfare reform was passed while I was Speaker of the House, I am happy to compare the two cases.
First, welfare reform was an integral part of the Republican Congress’ efforts to balance the budget, producing immediate savings of over $50 billion dollars between 1997 and 2002. It was originally combined with the balanced budget act that President Clinton vetoed in 1995.
By contrast, for most of the debate over the health bill, the left has constantly boasted about how their bill was “deficit neutral." President Obama repeatedly sought to assure the American people that he would not sign a bill that “added one dime” to the deficit. Medicare cuts were combined with new taxes to pay for the cost of new programs and bureaucracies.
So while real effective health reform would certainly have a positive effect on the deficit, it is clear that the left never intended for their health bill to be primarily a budget bill. Its focus was and still is on getting more people covered. It was only after Democratic leaders began setting the stage for passing the bill using reconciliation that they began emphasizing it as a way to reduce the deficit. (Paul Ryan explains here how their bill uses smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of savings).
Second, when we decided to roll welfare reform into the balanced budget bill in 1995, we never stopped the conference committee efforts to resolve the differences between the versions of the welfare reform legislation that passed in the House and Senate earlier in the year. This continuation of work, along with the active participation of the governors, allowed us to quickly produce the final bill in conference the next year, once it became clear that President Clinton was now finally ready to sign welfare reform.
In contrast, the Democrats have done an end run around the conference committee process that would resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills, instead trying to negotiate their final bill in secret at the White House. This process continues today, with President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid exploring different tricks they can use to ram a bill through their respective chambers without first producing a conference bill.
Third, welfare reform was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with more Democrats voting for it in the House and Senate than opposing it. It was signed by a Democratic President. Bipartisanship was integral to the success of the bill.
Today, Democrats are turning to passing the bill using the reconciliation process precisely because they are rejecting bipartisanship. Republican Scott Brown’s stunning election in Massachusetts, thanks largely to opposition to the left’s health bill, has meant that the Democrats would need at least one Republican vote to break a filibuster in the Senate. And their bill is so bad they can’t get one.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, welfare reform was overwhelmingly popular with the American people. One poll showed that over 90 percent of Americans favored reform, including 88 percent of those on welfare.
As for the left’s health bill, after a year of debate and discussion, the American people have overwhelmingly rejected it. A poll we released at the Center for Health Transformation showed that it is opposed by a 2-1 margin. It is a fact that the more Americans learn about the left’s plan, both its substance and the corrupt manner in which it has been passed, the more they oppose it.
Three Corrupt Options for the Left
The left’s big government, big bureaucracy health bill is overwhelmingly unpopular with the American people. It is incapable of obtaining any bipartisan support in the Senate.
Faced with this reality, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should do the responsible thing and scrap the unpopular bill and start over, focusing instead on smaller pieces of legislation that could obtain bipartisan support.
However, they’ve made it clear they aren’t willing to do this. The Democrats are determined to pass a comprehensive health bill no matter how unpopular it is. This means they have to use reconciliation to avoid needing 60 votes to end debate in the Senate.
There are several corrupt options available to the Democrats using reconciliation.
One option would be for the House to pass the exact same health bill the Senate passed in December (thus avoiding the need for the Senate to marshal 60 votes again for a final bill now that Scott Brown is in office) with an understanding that a separate bill with a series of fixes would be passed immediately afterward using the budget reconciliation process in the Senate.
The left argues that technically, this would keep the use of reconciliation fairly narrow. However, the plain truth of the matter is that the Democrats would be using the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill they could not otherwise pass using the normal legislative process. It is a dirty trick that ignores congressional tradition and the overwhelming opposition to the bill from America.
Another option is for the Democrats to try and pass the full health bill in the Senate with 51 votes using reconciliation and then for the House to pass the same bill that emerges from the Senate.
For all the reasons outlined above, this would be an enormously inappropriate use of the budget reconciliation process. But it also means that the left’s endlessly complicated bill that creates hundreds of new regulations, new programs, and new bureaucracies would have to survive the Byrd Rule tests, creating the possibility that by the time all the extraneous provisions are removed, the final “swiss cheesed” legislation would be unrecognizable.
For President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to promise to pass a bill when they, in reality, don’t know what the final bill will look like, is the height of irresponsibility. (Of course, they passed the stimulus without reading it so it would certainly fit with their precedent.)
How Far Are The Democrats Willing To Go?
Which brings us to a third, more drastic option for the Democrats to get their high tax, big government, big bureaucracy health bill passed.
As explained above, under the Byrd Rule, the vice president of the United States is ultimately responsible for deciding whether a provision in a reconciliation bill is extraneous. It is merely tradition that dictates he follow the advice of the parliamentarian, not a Senate rule.
To avoid their legislation being subjected to Byrd Rule tests, the vice president could choose simply to ignore the advice of the parliamentarian on points of order and rule to keep the extraneous provisions in the final bill. Any senator can appeal these rulings, but the appeal may be defeated with a simple majority vote.
To be clear, no vice president has ever acted in this fashion in the history of the reconciliation process. But no one has ever tried to push this kind of bill through reconciliation before either.
With the American people overwhelmingly opposed to the health bill, not to mention every other part of the left’s agenda, and the political environment turning increasingly toxic for the Democrats, President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi could decide to make a cynical, calculated political decision.
Faced with the high likelihood of political defeat in November, they could decide it is preferable to pass the bill they want and be defeated rather than to fail to get a health bill (or only a partial bill), and be defeated anyway.
In fact, this seems to be the message Speaker Pelosi was pushing this past weekend, dismissing her caucus’ concerns of defeat.
Republicans Must Vow To Replace the Left’s Health Bill
If the Democrats are bound and determined to exert all their power and manipulate every rule they can to pass their big government health bill, Republicans may not be able to stop its passage.
We’ll find out today as President Obama is set to announce his recommendation on the way forward.
But no matter what President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid decide, the bottom line for Republicans is that they must stand with the American people in opposing this bill.
This doesn’t just mean voting against it and using every parliamentary maneuver available to delay its passage.
It also means running on a platform of replacing whatever left-wing health bill the Democrats manage to pass with real health reform that empowers patients and doctors, not bureaucrats, to bring down health costs. And delivering on that promise in 2011 if Republicans gain control of Congress.
And if President Obama is still determined to ignore the will of the people by vetoing the Republican bill after such a clear message from America, it means that the Republican candidate for President in 2012 must run on a platform that includes signing the replacement of the left’s big government health bill.
After all, no matter what dirty tricks the politician may try to get his way, in America, the people have the final say.
Dear Mother Nature,
After the brutal winter you have given us on the East Coast, I just wanted to express my appreciation to you for giving us the perfect first weekend of Spring. As Dido once sang, "Thank You!" I will leave you know, in the event Casey Kasem is spying on me and wants to send this as a long distance dedication... lol.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 3/21/2010 12:09:00 AM