The on again off again healthcare compromise was off again last night as the farthest of the far left members of the Democrats in the House revolted. When their slightly less liberal counterparts, the Blue Dog Democrats (better known as the Lapdogs), rolled over, fetched and played dead for their masters, it appeared for a moment there was a sellout by the Lapdogs on healthcare. Members of the Democrat “Progressive” Caucus, which is the coven of hyperlibs, went apoplectic over what they called a “watering down” of the government takeover of healthcare.
Just after the lunch hour on Capitol Hill, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, ordered that the markup on the government takeover of healthcare bill be resumed at 4:00 pm. Word of a compromise began to leak out to the media as majority Democrats are absolutely desperate to at least get the bill out of this final committee of jurisdiction before their month-long August vacation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) is running out of room for more egg on her face.
After keeping media in the hearing room waiting for more than an hour, committee staffers informed those assembled that the hearing was being postponed until Thursday. The so-called deal was already bursting a few seams.
This “deal” is still devastating to job creation, crippling small businesses, which are the engine of job creation. The compromise that was acceptable to the tax and spend Lapdogs still impose huge new taxes and mandates on small employers with only 17 or more employees on average. Using Census data, the Small Business Administration estimates that to be about 844,842 small businesses employing 70 percent of all small business employees, or 42.3 million workers. The so-called exemption for small businesses still imposes the full eight percent payroll tax on small businesses with only 32 employees on average. That’s a job-killer.
I spoke Rep. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Az.), a senior member of Energy & Commerce, in the hallway of the Capitol building after the markup postponement.
“If I were to be a lawyer again for a moment I would say it looks the compromise is illusory,” Shadegg said. “It hasn’t quite happened yet. I would suggest that they are being smart if they’re saying we are not proceeding until we get it absolutely nailed down. I think that to the extent the Blue Dogs are able to negotiate some changes in what is an abysmal piece of legislation they better be sure they get them in stone before they lose their leverage. And they lose their leverage when the bill clears committee. So it’s very interesting and it does not look from the outside to be particularly well organized.”
I also spoke with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), member of the Energy & Commerce and an outspoken opponent of this legislation, having experienced firsthand her state’s disastrous flirtation with TennCare. I asked what she thought of the Democrat majority chaos over the healthcare bill.
“I think that what it reflects is the discontent of the American people with what they are hearing on the way the administration and Speaker Pelosi are approaching healthcare reform,” Blackburn said. “People do not want a government-run system. They are being very vocal about this. They do not like the process. If they’ve said one thing they’ve said it a dozen times: throw that bill out and start over. And I think the American people are just showing their disgust with what they see taking place here in D.C. and their dissatisfaction is well placed.”
The Blue Lapdogs have been holding up passage in the final of the three committees of jurisdiction in an attempt to convince any conservative who might have once voted for them that they are fiscally conservative. After voting to pass bailouts, a national energy tax and the largest budget deficits in history, the Blue Lapdogs aren’t fooling anyone anymore. Voting to pass the government takeover of healthcare at the expense of small business jobs will be the final nail in their electoral coffins.
Wolf Still Fighting Gitmo Detainees Coming to U.S.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), introduced a resolution of inquiry yesterday at the House Committee on the Judiciary seeking to compel Attorney General Eric Holder to turn over records related to the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Wolf has repeatedly sent letters to Holder seeking information on the status and disposition of these detainees, among other things, and has yet to receive a response.
The resolution failed on a party line vote in committee.
I asked Wolf about Holder’s stonewalling.
“I don’t think anybody up here on the Hill knows what’s going on,” Wolf said. “And it’s a little disappointing. I think Congress is failing on the whole issue of oversight. But today, no information is coming from the Holder Justice Department.”
Wolf is particularly concerned about the disposition of folks like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who may be brought to Alexandria, Va., to be tried in a domestic court setting.
“They don’t go from Guantanamo to a Supermax,” Wolf said. “Khalid Sheik Muhammad will go from Guantanamo to Alexandria or to wherever he’s going to be tried and he’ll be there maybe up to five years and then would go off to a Supermax. There will be retaliation to communities and to witnesses and to juries — there are so many ramifications.”
Boehner Forces Floor Vote on Democrat Censorship
As HUMAN EVENTS has reported, House Democrats on the Franking Commission have censored out of Republican members’ official communications with constituents everything from a flow chart illustrating the details of the Democrat plan for a government takeover of healthcare to direct quotes from President Obama to the actual words “government run healthcare.”
Yesterday, Rep. John Boehner, the House Republican leader, offered a privileged resolution on the floor of the House forcing a vote that listed the long train of abuses and would seek action to end the censorship. Of course, the Democrats voted to table the resolution, which actually represented a vote in favor of censorship. They chose to allow the commission to continue their abuse of power in censoring Republican constituent communications. The vote was 244-173, almost entirely along party lines. Rep. Dennis Kucinch (D-Ohio) voted with Republicans against tabling the resolution. Eight Democrats and three Republicans voted “present.”
“Time and time again this year, Democratic leaders have hidden what they are doing in Washington from the American people,” Boehner said. “In a new effort to prevent an open debate and keep the American public from knowing the facts about the legislation they’re ramming through Congress, they are refusing to let Members of Congress explain this government takeover of health care to the men and women they represent in the House.”