Posts Tagged 'house'

Don’t Blink

This Saturday morning, July 23rd, the Senate was originally scheduled to vote on Cut, Cap and Balance, the Republican plan to cut $111 billion out of this year’s deficit, trim $4 trillion over ten years, and present a balanced budget amendment to the states.  Instead, Harry Reid moved the vote up to Friday morning, calling it a waste of time and the worst piece of legislation to ever come to the Senate floor.  It failed to pass on strict partisan lines.

Senator Schumer called the bill “Cut, Cap and Kill” because he insisted that the bill would kill Medicare.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz declared in the House of Representatives that the bill would kill seniors and that it was the Paul Ryan plan on steroids.   The only problem is that in three different places Cut, Cap and Balance specifically exempted Medicare and Social Security from cuts and caps.  Had Republicans known, some of them might have been a little bit more up in arms about the bill.  It was actually a very good compromise.  It cut and cap wasteful spending on liberal social programs and government bureaucracy, not hot buttons like military, Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps that is a more reasonable explanation of why Harry Reid went back on his promise to allow debate on Cut, Cap and Balance and instead moved the vote up.  Perhaps someone in the Senate actually read the bill and told Reid what was in it.  And then, as if scripted, suddenly news outlets started declaring a deal between Boehner and Obama that was so close Reid needed to get this bill off the floor and stop “wasting time” on it.  The only problem is there was no such deal.  Somebody was lying to provide the sense of urgency needed to cut off debate on Cut, Cap and Balance before it got out that Democrats were lying about it killing Medicare.

This has become the name of the game in budget talks.  Neither side is willing to give in because both sides know that 2012 elections hang in the balance.  The difference is that Republicans have actually gone so far as to write a good compromise bill.  Democrats can’t vote yes on it, not because it “kills Medicare” or kills seniors.  They can’t vote on it because passing Cut, Cap and Balance would destroy Democrat re-election hopes for 2012.  It would be a huge Republican victory because Republicans came up with it.

On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan of their own.  They haven’t submitted a budget in over 800 days, and they can’t submit one now or that will also destroy their chances of getting re-elected in 2012.  Democrats can’t write a bill that says “We want to raise taxes so that we don’t have to cut spending as much” and still win in 2012 because the vast majority of the country doesn’t want Democrats to raise taxes so that they can spend more.  They are spending enough already, and we are taxed enough already.  On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan saying “Ok, no higher taxes, just cuts” or they will lose their class warfare base.  The liberal base of the Democrat party does not want a bill that doesn’t raise taxes on the “rich”.  It’s not about raising revenue, it’s about punishing upper classes more.

Republicans submitted a plan and it was a good plan.  Obama has signaled that he is willing to let the country default on its debt rather than compromise with Republicans.  Democrats have proven that they are the party of no on a budget deal.  If Republicans end up caving in order to save our credit rating, I hope Americans get the right message.  It doesn’t mean Republicans are wimps and we need to get rid of them.  It means they can only do so much with just a majority in the House.  We need to give them the Senate and the Presidency in 2012 if we expect anything to get accomplished.

Stupid Stupid Stupak

We thought Obama’s healthcare takeover was dead.  We may be wrong.

One thing is for sure, we probably aren’t going to see a new bill.  In order to ditch the current junk bill and prepare a new bill, the House and Senate would have to have some potential of actually agreeing with one another.  With the pro-life Democrats in the House and not enough Senators willing to break their rules and use reconciliation to pass social policy, a new bill would be almost as likely than an actual bi-partisan compromise.

But Obama doesn’t need a new bill.  All he needs is for the House to pass the bill that the Senate passed before Brown was elected in Massachusetts.  There’s only one problem, and I highlighted this back in November: the Senate bill funds abortion and the House doesn’t want that.

Whereas the Senate bill funds abortion, the House bill makes it so that abortion cannot be covered by insurance companies.  That is just one of the costs of government run insurance.  When the people pay for your healthcare, the people can decide what healthcare you can get.  In an act of uncharacteristic heroism, Representative Bart Stupak ensured that the House bill had an amendment that does not allow the government to buy our insurance if that insurance covers abortion.  It was the only way Pelosi could get enough votes to pass their version.  Since the government will soon fund every insurance company, companies would no longer be allowed to insure abortions.  It would almost make passing the bill worth it.

Stupak had been the last line of defense against the House passing the Senate bill, but now he is talking about making a deal.  What would a Democrat, willing to put his career on the line to protect the unborn, sell his soul for?  In this case, nothing.  Stupak instead is about to fall for the oldest trick in the book.

It’s like in the movies when the evil interrogator says “Tell me what I want to know and I’ll let you go free!”  We all know what’s really going to happen.  They can’t make changes to the Senate bill without the Senate having to pass it again, which won’t happen.  What they can do is tell Stupak that if he votes for the Senate bill, they will pass a “fix” bill with his amendment.  Obama has already been talking about passing a second fix bill because face it, he knows as well as we do that the current bill is crap.  Even Steny Hoyer could only muster a “better than nothing” when describing the current healthcare bill.  Stupak may be close to making this deal.  He will vote for the Senate bill with nothing more than a promise from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that the Democrat leadership will write, pass and get a Presidential signature on a bill that says no government funded insurance plan can cover abortion.  Come on Stupak, think about it.

If the Democrat party with complete control over both houses of Congress cannot pass their own healthcare reform bill, there is no way they will pass a second bill placing any sort of limits on abortion.  If he lets this bill pass, it will be Stupak surrounded by millions of taxpayer funded aborted babies, with Stupak saying, “But you promised nobody would get hurt!”

Even In Nevada, Sometimes The House Deals You All Aces

Harry Reid is probably pretty proud of himself tonight.  And if Republicans behave as usual, he has good reason to be.  After working and dealing with Republicans to come up with a bi-partisan jobs bill filled with tax cuts and unrelated pork programs, Reid has thrown the bill in the trash and drafted a new copy with just the tax cuts and infrastructure spending.  The cost of his new bill is less then half of the old one.  As AP put it, he has all but dared the Republicans to vote against the new bill.

This isn’t a bad move for Reid.  If Republicans vote for it, he is already in a position to call the bill a victory for himself and the Obama administration.  He can put “Taming the Republicans in a Tea Party Era” on his resume.  If the Republicans vote against it, Reid can claim he offered them a bill with tax cuts, no pork and infrastructure spending, but Republicans were so partisan that they wouldn’t go for it.  Nevermind that Reid was the one who scrapped the bi-partisan deal they had already arrived at.

Here is why the Republicans should play the hand he dealt them.  The first inclination is going to be to attack Reid for throwing away their bi-partisan agreement.  But what Reid stripped out of the bill was unrelated items and pork spending that we can’t afford anyway.  He also stripped out popular Bush tax cuts and the Patriot Act which Republicans need to highlight separately instead of allowing Dems to sneak them in to other bills.  What Reid has given them is not a perfect bill, but it is far better than whatever the socialist Democrat’s plan B might be.  In other words, if Republicans reject this, the next bill will be more like the failed Stimulus bill.  Many Republicans were calling for a payroll tax holiday over the Stimulus bill originally.

My advice to Republicans is to highlight that Democrats are now seeking tax cuts to stimulate the economy, an idea typically owned by the Right.  Then they need to take the bill back to Harry Reid with a list of Stimulus pork that they can cut to pay for it.  After all, aren’t we in the era of Paygo?  If the Republicans play their hand right, we can see who is really bluffing.  I’ll tell you right now, Pelosi and her House have already folded on Reid’s game.

The True Waterloo: Abortion

Late Saturday night, House Democrats and one Republican passed HR 3962.  This more than 2,000 page bill included payoffs to many of the more conservative Democrats who were sitting on the fence, but still it only squeaked by.  Despite the bill’s passage, there was one major victory for conservatism in the bi-partisan Stupak-Pitts amendment that bans federal funding for abortion.  The amendment reflected a shift in social values in the US, highlighted by a Gallup poll earlier this year showing that the majority of Americans oppose abortion.  The amendment enjoyed the support of 69 Democrats.

Democrats may not have realized this, but the Stupak-Pitts amendment goes much further than HR 3962.  In fact, that one amendment is a knife in heart of the Democrat universal healthcare agenda.  Unwittingly, Democrats have helped make HR 3962 non-implementable.

Under HR 3962, health costs and health insurance premiums will go through the roof.  Democrats pay for universal healthcare by taxing healthcare universally.  They tax insurance companies, tax doctors, tax health product manufacturers, tax pharmaceuticals, and of course, tax you.  What do they do with all that tax money?  They give it back to us disproportionately so that we can all buy insurance.  Through this wealth redistribution, healthcare costs far more but the government subsidizes it.   Without the government subsidy, most Americans will not be able to afford these higher rates.

The Stupak-Pitts amendment makes it so that not only can the government not offer abortion in it’s cheaper public option (which do not be mistaken, will put every other insurance company out of business), but government cannot subsidize abortion in other insurance plans.  At the much higher health costs under HR 3962, this will make abortion a luxury that only the rich will be able to afford.

Already Democrats are in full revolt against one another.  One side realizes that their radical attempts to use federal funds to pay for abortion will destroy their party’s power.  For some Democrats it is even a violation of conscience.  On the other hand, the more liberal wing of the party realizes that without catering to the radical factions in the party they will lose their base.

One thing is for sure, a final bill cannot have the Stupak-Pitts amendment in it.  When the government is paying for or subsidizing every approved health insurance plan, and the government is not allowed to pay for or subsidize abortion, then abortion has been effectively killed in the United States.  On the other hand, a Democrat style health takeover bill will not pass the Senate without an abortion amendment and barely passed the House with one.  Either the abortion amendment or the healthcare takeover has to go.

 

Barack and a Hard Place

We learned early on in the healthcare debate that if Obama did not need the Right to pass his reform, that was ok with him.  Unforatunately, Obama does need the Right.  With HR 3200 promised to be dead on arrival in the Senate, the House couldn’t even pass their version before the August recess.  Now, many House members are refusing to hold Town Hall meetings since their constituents have already made it clear they are opposed to Obama’s universal healthcare plan and team Pelosi and Reid have alienated the average American by calling them un-American and accusing them of carrying around swastikas.  The main stream media has gone as far as to say that anti-Obamacare reform people are “white supremacists” and are “building up militias” apparently because they don’t want healthcare reform.

After Pelosi’s House voted down 500 Republican amendments to HR 3200, including amendments that make it so that pro-life taxpayers won’t be forced to pay for abortion, Obama is beginning to offer more of a conciliatory tone.  At least he was over the weekend.  In Colorado he made it sound like they might be on the verge of dropping the ‘public option’.

Sibelius stated over the weekend that the ‘public option’ was not essential.  Other White House spokes people have suggested a government initiated private co-op.  It appears that Obama knows that he needs the Right.  But we are not impressed.  The idea of a government initiated private co-op begs the question: why don’t private American citizens just start their own co-ops?  In fact, many already have.  Religious co-ops boast of $100 a month premiums while still covering everything.  The problem is that HR 3200 makes private co-ops illegal.  A government initiated co-op, especially one that provides free care to the poor, must also be a government sustained co-op.  We know this, and we suspect that Obama does too.

Liberals are not any more  satisfied with compromise than Republicans are.  As much as Obama needs the Right in order to pass healthcare reform, he needs the Left even more, and they are not biting.  Even though a government sponsored private co-op and the intense regulatory restrictions put in place by HR 3200 would eventually necessitate a single payer system, the far Left either doesn’t trust Obama or isn’t willing to take the symbolic loss of dropping the ‘public option’.

Liberal activists, reports AP, are fed up with Obama.  And they have a good point.  Democrats won the House, Senate and White House.  But the majority of Americans are still conservative.  Democrats had to run Blue Dogs in order to win conservative areas and gain their majority, and now those Blue Dogs are hanging by a thread and they know it.

Obama is stuck between his party and his country.  Either one can ruin him.  The Blue Dogs are in the same boat, but are rowing in the opposite direction.  2010 should be interesting.


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