Fox's Baier Corners Obama on Healthcare; Republicans Try To Force Vote

Late yesterday President Obama — whose administration has worked diligently to delegitimize Fox News appeared in an interview with Fox News about his proposed government takeover of health care.  Fox proved again they are the only broadcast news outlet not bowing to Obama.

In a refreshing example of the long-lost art of journalism, Bret Baier, host of “Special Report,” asked tough questions that the President was not prepared to answer. In one particularly interesting exchange, the President said people outside the beltway really aren’t concerned over House Democrats’ “Slaughter Solution” plan to “deem” the Senate health care bill passed without voting on it.

“If they vote against, then they’re going to be voting against health care reform and they’re going to be voting in favor of the status quo,” Obama said.  “So Washington gets very concerned about these procedural issues in Congress… ” as if regular old people don’t care if Congress passes a bill without voting on it.

Baier didn’t back down.

BRET BAIER: We asked our viewers to e-mail in suggested questions. More than 18,000 people took time to e-mail us questions. These are regular people from all over the country. Lee Johnson, from Spring Valley, California: “If the bill is so good for all of us, why all the intimidation, arm twisting, seedy deals, and parliamentary trickery necessary to pass a bill, when you have an overwhelming majority in both houses and the presidency?”

Sandy Moody in Chesterfield, Missouri: “If the health care bill is so wonderful, why do you have to bribe Congress to pass it?”

OBAMA: Bret, I get 40,000 letters or e-mails a day.

BAIER: I know.

OBAMA: I could read the exact same e-mail —

BAIER: These are people. It’s not just Washington punditry.

Baier is now the proud owner of one of the toughest interviews President Obama has yet faced.  Click here to read the entire transcript.

House Republicans Force Vote Today to Block ‘Slaughter Solution’

House Republicans leaders will force a vote on a resolution requiring an up-or-down vote on the Senate health care bill.  The vote and/or the vote on whether or not to vote (this is Congress!) is expected before noon.  If the resolution is adopted by the House, it would prohibit Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic majority from “deeming” the Senate health care bill “as passed” through a rules procedure gimmick. 

The text of the resolution will be introduced by Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.), the former Democrat who switched parties in December out of disgust with President Obama’s government takeover of health care.  The text of the resolution in online here.

Ryan Warns of Attempt to revive “Public Option”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), top Republican on the House Budget Committee is warning of a new attempt to put into the health care bill a back door public option.  In the “markup” of the shell health care reconciliation bill Monday night (the text that results from backroom deals will be inserted in the Rules Committee as early as today), Democrats on the committee indicated their intent to drop in a public option during the Rules Committee process.

“One thing that they did do, which I found was telling, is they added a motion to say, ‘Let’s put a new price control entity in this law,’” Ryan said in an interview with Fox News Tuesday night.  “This is what President Obama is saying he wants to add to the Senate bill. Give the government, in addition to having one person, the Health and Human Services Secretary be the regulator of all health insurance in America, he wants to give that person the ability to price control.”

“What that is another way of saying is that’s basically the back door public option,” Ryan continued.  “It gives the government the ability to run insurance, private insurance, out of business so that the government is the only player left. They want to try and insert this language in this bill in the Rules Committee, at reconciliation.”

I asked Ryan’s office for more information about the back-door public option.

“One particular motion previewed where Democrats want to go next: price controls on insurance,” Ryan told HUMAN EVENTS in an email statement.  “They’ve ignored tackling the root drivers of health inflation, so to contain costs they believe the government can simply dictate prices.  Economists, our own history, and common sense have thoroughly debunked price controls — the revival of this idea is telling on just how detached from reality Washington truly is.  This new price control agency is another attempt to create a public option, which is designed to quickly become the only option.”

Is there any wonder Rep. Dennis Kucinich was suddenly so eager to join the Obama Mile High Club?  With federal price controls in place, the move to single payer health care is accelerated.

Rules Committee Republicans Demand Cameras for Healthcare Hearings

The House Rules Committee will have its hearing on health care as early as today where all of the debate on health care is likely to take place.  Should Democrats use the sleight-of-hand rule gimmickry to “deem” the Senate health care bill passed, the rules debate could take place beyond the C-SPAN cameras. 

The Rules Committee boasts five seats for members of the press and four seats for the general public.  House Republicans are demanding the hearing be held in a larger hearing room in the new multi-million-dollar Capitol Visitors’ Center.  And they want to let the cameras in.  (Rules, Ethics and Intelligence Committees have no cameras, the latter two due to private personnel and national security matters respectively.)

“If we are going to see the federal government contemplate taking over one-sixth of our economy, we need a bigger room,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-Cal.), top Republican on the House Rules Committee.

“There’s no question they have the votes to do what they want to do, but what is it that they want to hide? Why not allow cameras into the Rules Committee?” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), a committee member, said at the presser. “Do they have so little respect for the American people that they don’t want them to see the debate?”

“If they’re going to slaughter democracy, they should do it in public,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said. “They’re shielding their members from a tough political vote because they know how tough this vote is.”

House Republican Caucus Chairman Mike Pence was on hand asking for a bit of sunshine on the process.

“Men and women, this is a very serious time in our lifetime,” Pence said.  “This government is on the cusp of passing a government takeover of health care.  It will not just affect one-sixth of the nation’s economy, it will affect one hundred percent of the American people for generations to come.  But the American people don’t want it, so the administration and this Congress are trying to bring it in through the back door. … Speaker Pelosi wants to pass it all without a vote. … That doesn’t make sense to the American people.”

“There is no instance in the history of the United States of America where landmark legislation has been sent to the President’s desk without an up or down vote on the floor of the House and the floor of the Senate,” Pence said.  It has never happened before, but it could happen now.  The American people deserve to have eyes and ears in that room and so we need cameras in that room.  The First Amendment was not put into the Constitution because our Founders got good press.”