A Blizzard of Spending
Last week, Washington, D.C. was shut down by two huge snow storms. These rivaled the snow job that President Obama put on in a White House news conference. He scheduled an ObamaCare summit for February 25th to supposedly reanimate his failed health care plan and to demand bipartisanship. The President now wants Republicans to work with him to pass ObamaCare, another stimulus bill and to approve his controversial nominees.
This is no time for conservatives to back down in the name of bipartisanship. ???Bipartisanship,??? after all, doesn???t mean surrendering to big government. This President is in denial, and he???s showing contempt toward the American people who have repeatedly rejected his big government ideas.
Liberals search for ???Trick??? to Pass ObamaCare
Liberals now need a gimmick to pass ObamaCare, because the usual approach has failed. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) campaigned on a promise to filibuster and defeat the President???s health care bill, and the people of liberal Massachusetts agreed. Now that the Democrats can???t overcome Republican threats to filibuster a final package of ObamaCare proposals, they have come up with a new plan to force the President???s plan through the House and Senate.
An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says liberals have crafted a way around the Senate???s filibuster rule, so they hope to get ObamaCare signed into law by Easter. First, the House would pass a reconciliation bill making changes to the Senate-passed bill. With a reconciliation bill, the filibuster rule in the Senate would be set aside, and liberal Democrats could ignore the concerns of moderate Democrats and Republicans. Conservatives call this the ???Nuclear Option,??? because Senate leaders would be bending the rules of the Senate to avoid any chance of a filibuster.
But a reconciliation bill can only be used to pass spending, revenue and tax bills. So after reconciliation, the House would have to pass the exact Senate-passed version of ObamaCare. This trick would force many liberals to vote for a bill they don???t think goes far enough. But the left understands that this may be its best chance to move America one step closer to a socialist, single-payer health care system
Another Massive Stimulus Bill
Last week???s debate on a new stimulus plan, this time referred to as a ???Jobs Package,??? was snowed out, so the Senate will commence debate next week. One of the problems with this legislation, as with so much legislation in this Congress, is that nobody has seen the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to take up a House-passed, $154 billion bill and insert a new, to be determined, Senate version.
Yet again the Senate is crafting a bill behind closed doors. There???s no transparency and Americans aren???t being allowed to participate in the legislative process. The tax measures that are expected to be in the bill include a tax credit for small businesses that hire new employees, elimination of capital gains taxes for small business and a bailout for community banks. Liberals are pushing to add bailout money for the highway trust fund, an extension of unemployment benefits, increases in Medicare payments for doctors (Doc Fix) and a bailout for some state and local governments. Yet again, a lack of transparency may have poisoned the well on this legislation and the jury is out as to whether Democrats in Congress are committed to cutting some tax rates in the name of bipartisanship.
Just as the President was calling for bipartisanship, he was setting the table to seat his most controversial nominees (who have yet to be confirmed by the Senate) through recess appointments.
A recess appointment can be made to put a nominee into a position temporarily, usually for a year or so, when the Senate is out of session. Many Democrat Leaders in the Senate vigorously opposed President George W. Bush???s use of recess appointments, but now support Obama???s stated intent to use recess appointment authority.
One of the questionable nominees is Craig Becker (for the National Labor Relations Board). Becker was blocked last week by the Senate because many are concerned about his views on the Executive Branch???s power to implement big labor???s agenda without legislation.
Conservatives should make sure we don???t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the name of ???bipartisanship.??? We must block the President???s flawed health care reform, his big spending approach to stimulus and his left-wing nominees. At some point, Barack Obama may actually listen to the American people. Until then, conservatives must keep working to defend the idea of a limited federal government.