An Olympic Blunder

Last week, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett told Politico that ???the President decided over the weekend that he wanted to be part of the final push as we enter the home stretch.??? Jarrett was not describing the President???s effort to be part of the ???final push??? to pass Obamacare or to end federal bailouts. The description was of President Barack Obama???s trip to Copenhagen, Denmark to lobby for the bid of his hometown (Chicago) to host the 2016 Olympics.

With Congress working on legislation to dramatically change health care and energy delivery, one would think the President would have more in his mind than Olympic games.

A ???Vapor??? Health Care Bill

Many are calling the legislation pending in the Senate a ???Vapor Bill,??? because no Senator has been allowed to review the latest version of Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has cancelled the next recess in anticipation of a full Senate debate, even thought no comprehensive health care bill exists.

In the Senate Finance Committee last week, committee members entered a second week of amending an outline of the Baucus health care bill and were denied access to the actual text of the bill. An angry Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) responded by offering an amendment demanding the text of the bill be available for 72 hours before a final vote on the legislation in committee. Liberals on the committee blocked it.

The fact that the Senate Finance Committee marked up a Vapor Bill should astound Americans. The goal of proponents of Obamacare is to merge the Vapor Bill with the Kennedy-Harkin bill that passed the Senate HELP Committee earlier this year, then march it out on the Senate floor. Senate leaders will hide the final product until the last possible minute, so that Senators opposed to Obamacare and the American people don???t have any time to review the bill before a final vote in the Senate.

Abortion in Obamacare

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed an amendment to prohibit any insurer that receives federal funds from covering abortions. It was defeated by a 10-13 vote in the Senate Finance Committee. This flies in the face of President Obama???s statement to Congress on September 9 that, ???under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.??? The President is trying, yet again, to have it both ways. He needs to show some leadership in making sure that none of your tax dollars will be used by Obamacare to fund abortion.

Happy Birthday, TARP

On September 24, 2008, President Bush announced his proposal for a Troubled Assets Relief Program. The federal government put some $700 billion taxpayer dollars on the line to purchase troubled financial assets. Bush claimed that ???this will help our economy grow.??? The economy hasn???t grown, no troubled assets were purchased and banks have done little to address the problem of troubled assets.

This past Saturday, October 3, marked the one-year anniversary of the creation of TARP. Leading members in Congress are trying to make sure this program doesn???t make it another year.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, has introduced the ???TARP Repayment and Termination Act of 2009??? which would end the program by December 31. Hensarling tells HUMAN EVENTS that he wants to ???terminate TARP and the Obama administration???s ability to use TARP as a $700 billion bailout fund to promote its political, economic and social agenda.??? This liberal slush fund should be terminated and the federal government shouldn???t repeat its TARP mistake.

Capping and Taxing American Energy

In April, President Obama said, ???[W]e???ve begun the work of remaking America.??? The ???Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,??? introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), is yet another attempt to remake our country. Just a quick look at the bill shows that our friends in Washington have proposed some projects and initiatives sound downright Orwellian.

Imagine bureaucrats drafting recommended ???travel demand management programs??? and national ???regulations establishing building code energy efficiency targets.??? The ???cap-and-trade??? provision would place a de facto tax on our most abundant and reliable sources of energy. My colleagues at The Heritage Foundation found that the House-passed bill would cost Americans 1.9 million jobs in 2012 alone. The Senate bill is worse and would destroy even more jobs.

Conservatives will need a gold medal effort to stop federalized health care, another TARP birthday and a national energy tax. Chicago???s a great city and deserves the Olympics. But the president ought to focus his attention on crucial national issues. Meanwhile, the forces of freedom in Congress should channel a Michael Phelps-like effort to deliver health freedom, lower taxes and free-market capitalism.