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Archive for the ‘House’ Category

Bullshit!

In Abortion, House, Republican on February 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

House Republicans screwed the pooch today. I can’t even write about it. Click the link.

Um: Half of Republican Caucus, Especially Leadership and Old Guard, Votes With Democrats To Block Additional $22 Billion in Cuts.

 

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The Only Fair Fight is the One You Win

In health care, House, Republican, Violent Rhetoric on February 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

The only fair fight is the one you win.

Violent rhetoric. *Inclusion of this image should in no way be construed as endorsing the act of blowing opponents up with a tank.

So states rule #11 in the ubiquitous “20 rules for a firefight” endlessly circulated in emails and posted on (non-hippie) blogs. The effort to end Obama Care is, if you’ll pardon the violent rhetoric, undoubtedly a firefight. Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee is choosing to operate under a misguided notion of fairness. Maybe they didn’t get the email. Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘Cost’ of Extending the Bush Tax Cuts

In Economy, House, Taxes on August 15, 2010 at 8:21 am

Hoyer

The New York Post ran a little blurb about the Joint Committee on Taxation and the debate on whether to extend for another year the Bush tax cuts to the top income brackets.

House Majority Leader, Steny ‘Strong-arm’ Hoyer, decries the $38.8 billion dollar “cost” of extending the cuts through 2011 as if it were an expense. If Hoyer can’t differentiate between “expense” and “revenue”, as the $38.8 billion would more properly be accounted, then he has no business making tax policy in the first place.

In early 2009, the Associated Press ran a story about yacht builders laying off workers because the economic downturn caused the wealthy to purchase fewer yachts. For all the mainstream media’s vilification of the “trickle-down” economic theory, the AP validated it in this story. Logically, if lack of spending by the wealthy takes away jobs, spending by the wealthy creates them.

Rather than the tired, class warfare battle-cry of “No fair! Tax cuts for the rich!”, Democrats could have simply skipped the most recent $26 billion bailout and covered most of the revenue short-fall. Instead, Hoyer, who can’t distinguish revenue from expense, has deemed himself better qualified to determine how money is spent than the Americans from whom he aims to collect it.

Next Steps After Obamacare Passage

In Congress, Economy, health care, House, Republican, Senate, Tea Party on March 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The United States House of Representatives, on March 21, 2010, passed the Senate’s health care reform legislation, sending it on to President Obama who will sign the bill into law. Those of you who have fought, argued, railed and protested against this legislation don’t need me to describe any further the unconstitutionality, erosion of freedom, fiscal irresponsibility and exponential expansion of government bureaucracy that this represents. Those who argued for the passage of this legislation will find out soon enough the truth behind the bill of goods you’ve been sold. Already the bond market has reacted unfavorably because, unlike politicians who lie about the  numbers, the numbers themselves don’t lie.

At the founding of our nation, the events that fomented revolution were strikingly similar to what we are experiencing today. While they bridled against them, the taxes that led to the Boston Tea Party weren’t the root of the issue with the colonists, the beef with Britain was that the taxes were levied without someone representing the interests of the colonists in Parliament; taxation without representation. The correlation between that and the passage of sweeping legislation against the will of a majority of Americans today ought to be obvious.

Heritage describes the “Intolerable Acts”, legislation enacted by the British Parliament in the wake of the Boston Tea Party.

The British government responded harshly by punishing Massachusetts— closing Boston Harbor, virtually dissolving the Massachusetts Charter, taking control of colonial courts and restricting town meetings, and allowing British troops to be quartered in any home or private building. Richard Henry Lee wrote that these laws were “a most wicked system for destroying the liberty of America.” The American colonists, outraged by these violations of their first principles, their basic rights and the rule of law itself, called them what they were: Intolerable Acts.

The contrast between colonial American society and modern American society is largely what has allowed this current debasement of our freedoms. It’s almost as if Aldous Huxley was a prophet.

Heartening is the knowledge that our founding patriots began as a small, fringe group from which the idea of liberty spread. Having laid that foundation for us, our work in restoring those liberties, while challenging, is somewhat easier. The notion of Freedom has not yet been lost in our society, though there is a cost to freedom as Doctor Zero reminds us:

Freedom is not a gift. It is not given to you by the government, in a precise dosage that can be adjusted to match a politician’s diagnosis of what ails the body politic. Your forefathers won an impossible Revolution against an invincible foe to declare the self-evident truth that your rights descend from your Creator. Whether that Creator is a transcendent God, or a random combination of genetic material in the primordial soup, it is a power that existed before the first king assumed his throne, or the first president was elected.

In paying that price, we will have to face our own shortcomings, our past laziness, political opportunism and shortsightedness:

Not once during that period [of Republican majority in 2006] did the party seriously attempt to reform the health-care cost structure, let alone through the use of market-based strategies now expounded by Paul Ryan, among others.  Why?  First, Republicans did attempt to reform Social Security in 2005 with market-based strategies and got demagogued by Democrats for making the effort.  But it wasn’t really that reason that kept the GOP from engaging on health-care reform.  That issue was widely seen as a Democratic strength, and Republicans didn’t want to engage heavily on their turf. – Ed Morrissey, Hot Air.

Drew at Ace of Spades lays out a battle plan in an open letter to Republicans:

You need to be the party of No for the next 6 months on just about every issue. The only issue (other than national security) that matters is repealing this monstrosity. I don’t know if it can be done but it has to be tried.

Please don’t let Obama drag you into a pissing match over the small stuff. If he has another idiotic jobs bill, just let it go. Vote no but don’t fight about it, reframe the fight in terms of health care. Reframe everything in terms of health care…immigration, taxes, Cap and Trade, whatever other crap they throw at you. It all comes down to health care and the fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the people.

Repeal is indeed the word of the day. The trouble is that entitlement programs become rapidly entrenched in society, as evidenced by the inability to reform Medicare which we’ve known for years is on the verge of bankruptcy. The fact that the end of the line for Medicare’s feasibility is in sight and yet we’ve been unable to do more than delay the inevitable speaks volumes of the task we’ll have reversing this health care legislation. The Cato Institute lends a little perspective on this, taking a pessimistic view of Republican will:

Republicans will run this fall on a promise to repeal this deeply unpopular bill, and will likely reap the political advantages of that promise. But in reality there is little chance of their following through. Even if Republicans were to take both houses of Congress, they would still face a presidential veto and a Democratic filibuster.

But more important, once an entitlement is in place, it becomes virtually impossible to take away. The fact that Republicans have been criticizing Obamacare for cutting Medicare shows that they are not really willing to take the heat for cutting people’s benefits once they have them — no matter how unaffordable those benefits are. Paul Ryan put forth a serious plan for entitlement reform — and attracted just six co-sponsors at last count. Enough said.

I have to admit that such lack of follow-through concerns me, as well. For that reason, as I vet candidates for the mid-term election, commitment to repeal will be a crucial factor. If I don’t find that commitment I might actually join the vote out all incumbents crowd and begin beating the drum loudly.

Kill the Bill Status Update

In Abortion, health care, House on March 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm
President Obama addresses the House

President Obama Addresses the House

Here is a run-down of recent developments pertaining to health care legislation:

  • President Obama has just completed his final sales pitch before the House votes on health care reform tomorrow.
  • Stupak will not have his abortion language included in the House reconciliation bill. Either the Dems think that they have the votes without the Stupak 12 or the threats of revolt by the Pro-Choice Caucus were taken seriously.
  • “Deem and Pass” has been abandoned; we’ll have a straight up or down vote after all.

The House will vote tomorrow on the Senate health care bill and the House amendments separately since the “Deem and Pass” idea has been abandoned. Interestingly, it was suggested on C-Span that the House Parliamentarian may allow the house to vote on the amendments before voting on the Senate bill that they’re amending. I’m not sure how that’s going to work.

The latest whip count (depending on who you ask) puts the “noes” tantalizingly close at 214 but that may change if the House is allowed to vote on the amendments first.

Stupak May Get His Abortion Language But, Will it Work? Update: Press Conference Cancelled

In Congress, health care, House, Senate on March 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Rep. Bart Stupak (D, MI)

Rep. Bart Stupak (D, MI) and his coalition of fellow representatives, the pro-life “Stupak 12”, have been yes-vote holdouts on the Senate health care bill due to its lack of restriction on the use of federal funds for abortion services. Without the “yes” votes of the Stupak 12, which actually varies between 6 and 9 depending on best guesses, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a much tighter margin collecting the required votes for (deeming) passage of the Senate bill.

Hat tip to Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion for pointing out a post by FireDogLake chief lib-tard, Jane Hamsher, indicating that Stupak and Pelosi may have struck a deal:

The deal calls for Stupak to have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to confirm the Senate bill on Sunday. Stupak is confident that he has the votes to pass the measure, and is happy to have the vote after the House passes the Senate bill. He believes that by using a “tie bar” approach, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.

I guarantee that congressional parliamentarians will be required to sort out the building legislative shenanigans. It appears that, in order to use reconciliation which requires only 51 votes in the Senate, this would have to be a budget related matter. That’s a bit of a stretch for an abortion clause. The second tactic may  be to use an “Enrollment Resolution”, a procedure intended to make minor corrections between passage in congress and the president’s signature. The Enrollment Resolution would instruct the Senate Clerk to change the wording of the Senate bill to mirror Stupak’s restrictions on abortion funding. This is also a bit of a stretch as this is hardly a minor correction.

Further, if the Senate makes any changes to Stupak’s wording, the whole thing goes back to the House and the process starts over again. This deal is clearly a risky move on the part of House leadership and one not without its own consequences. According to The Hill, the more than forty votes of the pro-choice caucus are at stake:

“This concurrent resolution which Congressman Stupak and several others have filed, from the position of the people who signed my letter back in November, is a non-starter,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), a Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairwoman. “We compromised to the concept ‘no federal funding for abortion,’ which is current law — we don’t like that. And so if Mr. Stupak and a few members, along with the Republicans, decide to use this to take healthcare down, then that loss on healthcare coverage is going to be on their hands.”

Allahpundit posits two possible reasons for the seeming risk:

(1) It’s all for show. The pro-lifers want nothing more than a vote in the Senate. They expect to lose, but the political cover they’ll gain for making a minor stand on principle is enough to make it worth their while…

(2) The pro-choicers are planning to cave. They caved in November, didn’t they? Problem is, this is the final bill and they … sure don’t sound like they’re going to cave. Diana DeGette, leader of the pro-choice caucus, claims she has the votes to kill it if Stupak gets his way, and given how close the margin is, it’d only take three or four stalwarts to walk to torpedo the whole thing. Drama!

Stupak will hold a press conference Saturday morning, presumably to discuss these developments. In the mean time, Michelle Malkin and Ace have more.

Update:

NYT: Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan and a leader of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, has postponed a news conference that had been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, a sign that there is still serious maneuvering under way in the fight over abortion language in the major health care legislation.

The fate of the bill now largely rests with a small group of anti-abortion Democrats, who have demanded tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions.

Senator Coburn Throws Down the Gauntlet on Health Care Vote

In health care, House, Republican on March 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm

H/T RealClearPolitics

Steny Hoyer’s Weasel Words

In Congress, Democrat, health care, House, Obama on March 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Hoyer

The ABC headline almost had me. For a second there I thought the headline, “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: ‘We’re Going to Have a Clean Up or Down Vote'” meant that, in the face of the public outcry, Democrats in the House were going to abandon the parliamentarian parlor trick that’s come to be known as “Deem and Pass”. ‘Deem and Pass’, also know as the “Slaughter Rule” after House Rules Committee Chair, Louise Slaughter, is a proposed rule that would “deem” the Senate health care bill passed pending adoption of House amendments to the bill. It’s a sleight of hand maneuver that will allow Democrats to avoid an up or down vote and simply say that they voted for a rule, not the Senate bill. It’s a chicken-shit way to pass major legislation. Similar “self executing” rules have been used in the past (yes, I consider those chicken-shit too) but never for legislation that seeks to (mis)manage 1/6 of the nation’s economy. Despite what the ABC headline and Hoyer’s own words would lead you to believe, however, there will be no “up or down” vote on the Senate bill. On ABC’s Good Morning America Hoyer said:

“We’re going to have a clean up or down vote on the Senate bill, that will be on the rule… “This is not an unusual procedure. We’re going to vote on a rule.”

I suppose if Steny says it fast enough, somebody might only catch the “We’re going to have a clean up or down vote on the Senate Bill” part. There is nothing clean about it, however, and Hoyer’s aim is to intentionally mislead. Interestingly, all this comes during “Sunshine Week” during which congress proposes to pay down debts on office accounts and  “focus on the importance of open government and freedom of information… Congress is taking action to make the government more accountable, transparent and responsive to the American people…”

“Not to take anything away from these proposals, which do little but nibble around the edges, but wouldn’t having members commit to a vote on controversial legislation create more sunshine than paying down debt from office accounts?”  Observes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. “The very nature of open government in a representative government requires that elected officials have accountability for the laws they pass.  The social contract that binds constituents to these laws depends on that accountability.  If we cannot hold our representatives individually and collectively responsible for passage of laws, then we have ceased being a free people and have entered into an autocratic form of bondage.”

The weasel words regarding ‘Deem and Pass’ aren’t the only instance of Hoyer transgression this week. According to American Spectator, Hoyer also claimed on Good Morning America that:

“Since the President addressed the nation on health care, the support has gone up 18 points and a Wall Street Journal poll that just came out shows a majority of those responding indicate they’re for the bill.”

The fact is that the WSJ poll indicated no such thing. What the WSJ poll actually found, making Hoyer’s statement an outright lie, was:

…that opinions have solidified around the health-care legislation, with 48% calling it a “bad idea” and 36% viewing it as a “good idea” when presented with a choice between those two. That gap is consistent with surveys dating to the fall.

36% is clearly less than 48% but, with Obama promising a 3,000% reduction in health insurance premiums, the problem may simply be that the Democrats are really bad at math.

Jim Jordan Gets It

In Abortion, Congress, House, Tea Party on March 16, 2010 at 7:53 am

Having been called “racist” by the media and a former president, “hater”, “extremist” and pejoratively labeled “teabagger”, it is occasionally refreshing to find a public servant who gets it. Hell… it’s refreshing to find a public servant at all.

Jim Jordan (R-OH) “gets it” and delivers the message in his remarks to the Committee on Budget Markup.

During the past year as I have traveled around our district and throughout Ohio, I have seen firsthand the emergence of a grassroots movement, fueled in large part by an arrogant and out-of-control federal government. Millions of Americans from every walk of life have stood up—in many cases for the first time ever—to make their voices heard. They gather in town squares. They organize. They pray. They’ve marched on Washington, and they’re not stopping there. The American people are sending a message loud and clear.

Far from the dangerous extremists the other side and elite media may characterize them as, these are ordinary citizens—moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas—who believe that America is an exceptional nation. They are freedom loving Americans who feel like their government is ignoring them. They work hard every day so that their kids and grandkids can have life a little better than they did. They believe that there are ideals and principles that make this country unique throughout history and they see those principles being assaulted everyday in Washington.
I have been to town hall meetings and gatherings in town squares where our Founding documents have been distributed and even read aloud. No matter how many times I hear them, perhaps the most beautiful words outside of Scripture are in our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I’m jaded enough to hope, rather than know, that he’s not just kissing the Tea Party’s ass. You really should click the link and read the whole thing for yourself, though. Jordan is arguing for a Stupak/Pitts style ban on the use of Federal funds for abortion. He points out that, in the Senate bill, enrollees are required to pay a fee into an “abortion fund”. Not those receiving an abortion, mind you, but everyone enrolling in that plan regardless of your stance on abortion.

Unfortunately, the amendment that Jordan presented with this statement was shot down by the committee 19 to 17.

h/t The Other McCain

Power Grab at All Cost

In Congress, health care, House on March 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I have not written a post that I consider as important as this. Please, take fifteen minutes out of your day and study this one closely. More significant than the prevailing of one ideology over another, more important than the issue of health care reform is the sanctity and stability of our constitutional republic. The House of Representatives is about to circumvent the constitutional checks and balances that ensure your freedom in all matters. They’re going to pass a bill into law without voting on it.

Here, for the sake of both information and nostalgia, is how the system is supposed to work:

Here is the procedure strictly prescribed by Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution of the United States for passing a bill in the House of Representatives:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.

Representative Slaughter (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) have devised a scheme to circumvent the constitution, however.

From Washington Examiner: Would House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democratic leaders try to cram the Senate version of Obamacare through the House without actually having a recorded vote on the bill?

Not only is the answer yes, they would, they have figured out a way to do it, according to National Journal’s Congress Daily:

“House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

“Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

“Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. ‘Once the CBO gives us the score, we’ll spring right on it,’ she said.”

Each bill that comes before the House for a vote on final passage must be given a rule that determines things like whether the minority would be able to offer amendments to it from the floor.

In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House “deems” the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.

Doug Ross goes on to quote constitutional law attorney Mark Levin regarding the “Slaughter Rule”:

This clause goes to the heart of how our representative body, that is Congress, makes laws. And so I want you to [observe] how particular the Framers were… They have to pass a Bill to present it to the President…

This is one of the most exacting clauses in the Constitution.

And, to the best of my knowledge, which extends over three decades, no Congress has previously tried to institute policies without actual statutes.

Here we have the President of the United States and Congressional leaders actually talking about the possibility of a brazen and open violation of one of the most fundamental aspects of our Constitution and Republic! How we actually make laws!

Let me be as clear as I know how. If this is done, this will create the greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War. It would be 100 times worse than Watergate.

…It would be government by fiat… meaning there would be no law… the mere discussion by officials in this government is such a grotesque violation of the actual legislative function of Congress [that it] puts us… at the brink. At the brink.

How many times have we wagged our national finger at would-be despots of other nations who suspend or circumvent their constitutions? Even for those who believe that the Senate health care bill should be passed as-is, it should be clear that this is a grab for power by the Democrat leadership. Further, once this power is attained there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle and our constitution will be weakened, the precedent set.

Michelle Malkin has contact information for Reps. Slaughter and Pelosi. Please contact each of their offices and politely remind them that their oath was to uphold the constitution, not circumvent it.

Contact Louise Slaughter:

Washington D.C. Office
2469 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3615
Fax: (202) 225-7822

Contact Pelosi:

Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0100

Once you’ve contacted Slaughter and Pelosi, please contact your own U.S. Representative and politely ask them not to support the “Slaughter Rule”.