House Leadership Bending the Reconciliation Rules

ObamaCare???s Last Stand

This week, liberals will start the process of implementing a complicated plan to jam ObamaCare through the House and Senate. The President and his liberal allies in Congress want to pass this bill before Easter, and they???re willing to ignore the regular rules of business. This action to thwart the will of the American people is an affront to the consent of the governed. Furthermore, it???s a testament to the fact that President Barack Obama is a liberal extremist who will take any action necessary to get his way on health care.

This administration ignores the constituents who flooded townhall meetings last summer to complain about the House version of ObamaCare. This administration ignores the crowds that came to Washington to protest a government takeover of health care late last fall. This administration ignores every single poll, all of which indicate that the American people don???t want ObamaCare. It ignores the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who campaigned in liberal Massachusetts to defeat the president???s health care plan. These liberals just don???t care what the American people think about health care reform and they will stop at nothing to pass it.

Bending the Reconciliation Rules

The President went to St. Louis, Missouri last week to rally support for his health care plan. His bill contains an unconstitutional mandate that all Americans be forced buy health care insurance, would create a huge government bureaucracy to tell insurance companies what to charge and what to cover, and would raise taxes by half a trillion dollars. Obama compared himself to President Harry Truman, who Obama said was criticized for ???pushing socialized medicine.??? What the President didn???t tell supporters is that he and his liberal allies in Congress are using an undemocratic strategy to railroad the Senate passed ObamaCare bill through the House without a vote.

The House may structure a rule that would automatically pass the Senate version of ObamaCare, subject to a condition: If the House can pass a budget reconciliation measure, then the ObamaCare bill passes without a vote. This may be yet another unconstitutional maneuver by Congress, because Article 1, Section 7 of the constitution states that ???Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law.??? The rule-based strategy avoids a vote in the House.

Basically, Speaker Pelosi will write a special rule that would allow the bill — crafted in secret by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — to be passed by the House without any debate, amendment or vote. This is a liberal trick to get around the constitutional requirement that the House and Senate have to pass identical measures.

Just Say No to the EPA

Senators and Representatives recognize that the Environmental Protection Agency???s (EPA) proposed global warming regulations are potentially devastating to the economy. These regulations would empower federal bureaucrats at the EPA to regulate and tax hospitals, churches, elementary schools and pubic libraries based on their amount of carbon dioxide emissions. There is bipartisan, bicameral support for preventing the EPA from moving forward with an energy tax in the name of preventing global warming.

In the Senate, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has offered a resolution of disapproval of EPA regulation and Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Joe Barton (R-TX) are doing the same in the House. This resolution is a legislative veto over the EPA???s actions and the only way to stop the Obama administration from moving forward with more regulations and taxes.

Since the pending EPA regulations are stifling job creation it should be a no-brainer. Two West Virginia Democrats, Senator Jay Rockefeller and Representative Nick Rahall, have offered their own alternative: a nine month delay in the EPA???s regulations. While they have acknowledged a problem, their solution falls far short of the type of action necessary to create economic growth.

Financial Services ???Reform???

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) backed away from a bipartisan deal on Financial Services Reform. He had been negotiating with Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and it seems that bipartisan agreement may be a bridge too far on this issue. More regulations on the financial industry may have support across the aisle, yet the way that Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Dodd are structuring a deal has sent many free-market members of Congress to the sidelines on any negotiation.

A rational reform plan has to avoid future bailouts. If the federal government creates a regulatory scheme that includes provisions empowering the Federal Reserve to bail out firms and guaranteeing against failure, that may provide an incentive to big firms to engage in more risky behavior. The American people can???t stomach legislation that sets up a permanent bailout fund for Wall Street.

President Obama needs to back away from strong arm tactics and start listening to the American people. The voters do not want government run health care, EPA bureaucrats regulating local schools and new billion dollar bailouts of failing financial firms. It???s time for this administration to listen.