Expecting that a vote by the House to repeal Obamacare will be thwarted in the Senate, the incoming chairman of the health subcommittee of the House Energy Committee told HUMAN EVENTS he plans a “piecemeal” effort to repeal key portions of the controversial healthcare legislation. In his first interview since assuming the important chairmanship, Rep. Joe Pitts (R.-Pa.) told us that the “first strike” of the repeal forces will be to pass the Stupak-Pitts amendment, which he co-sponsored and which bans any tax dollars for abortion in healthcare legislation.
“You’ll recall that the President insisted he was against tax dollars for abortion in the healthcare bill and this would be achieved through the executive order he signed,” said Pitts. “By passing Stupak-Pitts, we’ll give him the opportunity to demonstrate this further.” He added that incoming Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) has promised that the full panel “will move on this quickly.” Other early steps planned by Pitts in the repeal effort include making the Hyde Amendment (which bars tax dollars for abortion in other government programs dealing with health care statute law so it doesn’t need to be re-authorized every year and ending the so-called “1099 regulation,” which requires too much paperwork and documentation by health providers.
Congress’s Worst-Ever Approval
With Congress now likely to stay in session through Christmas to pass a variety of bills, voter opinion of its performance is at a new low. A just-completed Gallup Poll shows that nationwide voter disapproval of Congress is 83% — the worst Congress has measured in more than 30 years of Gallup’s tracking its job performance. The same survey showed only 13% of voters approve of Congress’s job performance.
Paul to Oversee Monetary Policy
With Rep. Spencer Bacchus (R.-Ala.) set to chair the House Financial Services Committee, there was considerably more attention paid to the choice of House Republicans to chair the subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve: Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.), by far the sharpest congressional critic of the Fed and possibly the congressman who knows the most about it. Following his tapping for the subcommittee chair, Paul told Bloomberg News he would not immediately press his own agenda for abolishing the Fed or subpoena Chairman Ben Bernanke. “If next week I issued a subpoena for such and such, I do not think that would be met with good acceptance,” said Paul. “It is not like I am a powerful person. My ideas are powerful, but I am not.”
Should Trump Run?
Although he is not exactly an unbiased source when it comes to longtime friend Donald Trump, veteran GOP political consultant Roger Stone did raise some eyebrows last week when he made a strong case that the multi-millionaire developer and star of the “the Apprentice” TV show “must run for President in 2012.” Writing in his StoneZone blog, Stone, who chaired Trump’s presidential exploratory committee in 2000 before “the Donald” nixed a race, noted that Trump “has broader experience and greater credibility than any of the prospective candidates considering a White House bid in 2010.” Specifically, Stone wrote, Trump “is probably the toughest business negotiator in the country and understands more about capital formation and job creation than any of those looking at the race.” He also cited Trump’s “unique ability to generate media coverage” and said that, his past reputation as a playboy notwithstanding, “Donald is happily married to a wonderful wife and has a son in his formative years.”
Trump has said he will make up his mind on running later in 2011.
NRCC Keeps Winning Team
Fresh from the elections that gave Republicans their largest membership in the House since 1946, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced last week it will keep three of its top campaign operatives in the same positions for the next election cycle. NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R.-Tex.) told us that eCampaign Director John Randall, Coalitions Director Mike Bober and Research Department head Jon Black would all remain in their current roles for the House elections in 2011-12. “John, Mike, and Jon played critical roles in laying the groundwork for victory in 2010,” Sessions said. “With their leadership in new Campaign and Coalitions departments and a strong research department, we opened new communications channels with allies and positioned candidates for success.” All three members of the Sessions team are well-known, trusted figures among the conservative community in Washington — an important point, given the criticism of previous NRCC chairmen that they kept conservative activists at arm’s length.