Secret Super Committee Negotiations
Remember when both parties promised you more transparency? They lied.
At a minimum, they did not tell the truth about the proceedings of the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the super committee. Twelve members of Congress were chosen by the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate for the job of finding $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. President Obama submitted his ideas to the uber panel, including massive tax hikes and accounting gimmicks that purport to cut the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years, but mainly on the backs of job creators.
The super committee met for more than six hours one day last week—in secret—with all members participating. When one member, Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.), emerged and was asked by Politico what happened at the meeting, he sneered at the reporter, “I don’t want to discus what we discussed.”
Politico reported that staff cleaned the room of all documents from the meeting. The members seemed to take an oath to not talk to anybody about the closed-door proceedings, because they scattered at the sight of reporters.
You would think these politicians were keeping a national-security issue close to the vest from the way they were acting. In reality, these elites are keeping the details of legislation secret from the American people. Why? Because they don’t want to allow voters and citizens any say in the crafting of the bill.
Even some congressional staff and members are shocked by the level of secrecy exhibited by their co-workers. A source in the Senate tells HUMAN EVENTS that “it is absolutely ridiculous and stunning that Congress is abrogating decisions to a nontransparent and unaccountable committee.” Voters should be outraged by the nontransparent and secretive members of the super-secret super committee.
Rumors are swirling on Capitol Hill that it may become a self-perpetuating body, because the members apparently want to set up another, but perhaps not separate, super committee to study tax reform.
ObamaCare’s Last Stand
The fate of ObamaCare rests in the hands of nine justices at the Supreme Court.
The Obama administration requested that the High Court review a decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared one provision of Obama’s health care reform bill—the individual mandate—unconstitutional. In a bizarre move, the administration submitted a petition demanding that the justices issue a decision on what many believe to be the core element that binds ObamaCare into one regulatory mess.
The administration wants the court to answer the following constitutional question: “Whether Congress had the power under Article I of the constitution to enact the minimum-coverage provision.” The simple answer that many constitutional scholars expect is that Congress does not have the power to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance.
Ball in Congress’ Court
But Congress doesn’t have to wait for the Supreme Court to expunge ObamaCare from federal law. In January, the House voted 245 to189 to repeal ObamaCare. A bill sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) , the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, would remove two laws, PL 111-148 and 111-152. Remember that President Obama had to pass a bill and then another bill using off-the-wall procedures to get around the filibuster in the Senate.
When the bill came over to the Senate, Republicans used a procedural maneuver to put the legislation directly on the calendar, meaning that at any moment the Senate could commence debate on Cantor’s bill, HR 2. Senators David Vitter (R.-La.) and Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) also have submitted separate legislation for a full repeal of ObamaCare.
Continuing CR Procrastination
Congress late last week approved a short-term measure, a Continuing Resolution (CR), to fund the government until Oct. 4. Both the House and Senate are expected to begin debate this week on another short-term CR to fund the government until Nov. 18. Republicans and Democrats agreed to remove a controversial provision in the measure cutting spending on a green energy program to fund $3.6 billion in disaster relief. Expect that fight to resume when Congress takes up the November spending bill. Some conservatives will vote no this week on the CR, because they feel that the levels of spending are too high. Expect another fight that will bring the federal government to the brink of a shutdown just before Thanksgiving.
The only thing the parties seem to agree on these days is procrastination.