Here we go again. Yesterday, President Obama announced Democrats will use the nuclear option to attempt to pass the government takeover of health care through the Senate. Never before has the arcane budget reconciliation measure been used to pass a sweeping policy bill.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) yesterday actually admitted it’s never been done before in a not-so-subtle warning to House Democrats that Senate Democrats cannot guarantee it will be able to use the parliamentary trick to pass the changes to the health care bill they desire.
“If we go the reconciliation route, we will be testing some reconciliation rules and provisions that have never been tested before,” Durbin said.
So if they don’t get those pesky changes done after the House has passed the Senate version of
the bill, oh well, they really, really meant to. And all those Blue Dogs left to hang in November? Well, Sen. Durbin will be very very sorry.
Obama’s announcement yesterday was simply this; he’s taken the leviathan 2,700-page Senate-passed health care bill, slapped on tepid versions of a couple of Republican ideas and called it bi-partisan. And and now he will try to ram it through using any means available, regardless of consequences or the number of electoral casualties on his side.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pointed out, “The only thing bi-partisan about this bill is the opposition to it.”
Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.), an orthopedic surgeon, blasted Obama’s decision to use the nuclear option to attempt to shove the health care bill through.
“The President told America, in terms never so clear, that he simply doesn’t care what the people think,” Price said. “Over the last year we have seen an unprecedented level of public debate about the President’s plan, and the resounding conclusion America has come to is ‘no thank you.’ Yet, the wishes of the American people appear to be no obstacle to the President as he has endorsed the most partisan path possible to achieve his ideological goal. This is an abuse of power and an outrage to representative government which will not soon be forgotten.”
“But even more than the broken process, the policies that the President seeks to ram through Congress represent an enormous threat to American patients,” Price continued. “Despite his rhetoric, the President’s plan would give Washington bureaucrats control over personal health care decisions. President Obama’s claim that his plan is somehow bipartisan because he’s ‘open to’ a few minor Republican ideas is as cynical as it is absurd. You can’t tweak a disaster like this; you have to start over from scratch. The very foundation of his plan is a non-starter for the American people who overwhelmingly want the Democrats to scrap it and start over with a blank sheet of paper.”
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee, has been warning about the nefarious pathway for the nuclear option hidden in the Democrats’ leviathan bills from the very beginning.
“I am disappointed that Democrats are moving ahead with the nuclear option,” Camp said. “Big social policy changes should have bipartisan support and the support of the American people — this bill has neither. But as bad as the process for moving this bill is, the policy and its impact is far worse.”
The entire Republican consensus is that you can’t take a fatally flawed, $2.5 trillion bill, pile on more studies, commissions and programs, and come out with a good solution. No Republicans will vote in favor of the bill. The question is how many Democrats will join them in opposition to this highly-unpopular bill.
This is not about anyone’s health and it’s most certainly not about care. Passage of this bill is about unabated, raw political power and those who seek it. It is up to the American people to defend their God-given right to make their own health care decisions for themselves and their families. The time is now. This is the last gasp for this health care bill. Call your representative and senators and tell them enough is enough. Vote no on health care or they will lose their job. That’s all you have to say.
Pence and Hensarling Introduce Spending Limit Amendment
House Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Pence joined Rep. Jeb Hensarling, second-ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, and others yesterday to introduce a constitutional amendment that would limit federal spending to 20 percent of the national economy each year, calling it a “spending cap with teeth.”
“With our nation facing a fiscal crisis, it is time to fundamentally change the way Washington spends the taxpayers’ money,” Pence said. “Unless we change course, the public debt will consume the entire economy in less than fifteen years. Runaway spending and record debt will make future generations of Americans less free, less prosperous and less secure.
“We have a moral obligation to put our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Pence continued. “The Spending Limit Amendment will give the American people a unique opportunity to define the size and scope of the federal government for future generations. I urge the American people, and every Member of Congress, to support the Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
“As the President today announced his latest plan to try to salvage the $1 trillion health care plan that the American people do not want, it is a sober reminder that when it comes to spending, unfortunately the President and the Congress just don’t get it,” Hensarling said at the presser. “We hear the word ‘crisis’ every day in Washington. I firmly believe we are facing a real crisis. But don’t take my word for it.
“CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said ‘…the outlook for the federal budget is bleak. U.S. fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path…’ Economist Robert Samuelson said the rising costs of entitlement spending could, ‘…trigger an economic and political death spiral.’ Former Comptroller General David Walker has said rising costs government entitlements a “fiscal cancer” that threatens ‘catastrophic consequences for our country.’
“Moody’s has recently announced America’s bond offerings may soon lose their ‘AAA’ Rating,” Hensarling continued. “But most importantly, when it comes to federal spending the American people know something is amiss and they fear for the future.”
“Under President Obama and the Democratic Congress the deficit has increased 10-fold. The national debt will double in five years and triple in ten years putting the nation on a pathway to bankruptcy.
“At that point Americans will live in smaller homes, drive older cars, find fewer jobs, cash shrinking paychecks and will find themselves confined to small, timid dreams,” Hensarling said. “We could wake up one day and find we have become France – without the wine and the art.”
“A Federal Government that consumes 40% of our economy was not part of the vision of the Founding Fathers, it is not part of our historic American experience, it is not commensurate with the role of government in a free society. And it certainly does not allow us to keep faith with prior generations by allowing future generations greater opportunity, more freedom and a better standard of living,” Hensarling said.
The text of the amendment is available online here.