Posts Tagged ‘Senate’
Obama’s immigration strategy is to destroy the Republican brand for many election cycles to come. He is less interested in actually passing legislation and more interested in “winning” politically by marginalizing Republicans with Hispanic voters.
Obama will insist on elements of immigration reform that he knows will never pass a Republican House. The bipartisan Senate reform group (lead by Sen. John McCain) announced an outline of a reform package on Monday and President Obama is speaking in Las Vegas today. Already the White House is pushing out reasons that the Senate package doesn’t go far enough.
Republicans need to travel this road carefully. They need to get the messaging right about providing opportunities to those who truly want to be here and lay out the principles of reform and call Obama out on playing politics with immigration reform.
Immigration hard-liners need to take the long view about the position the stake out. To insist on mass deportation (unworkable), will only allow the leftist media to make Republicans a caricature of heartless hicks, and set back Republican opportunities for many election cycles to come.
Candidate Obama campaigned as Mr. Everyman – the down-to-earth affable guy who could relate to real people.
President Obama is an arrogant elitist who believes – really believes – that he is a force of nature to which everyone must respond. Take his remarks regarding the Supreme Court’s oral arguments of the health care law.
“I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
Seriously? This from a man who was a constitutional law professor? There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of laws passed by Congress and state legislatures that have been overturned by the Supreme Court and even lower courts. This is a doctrine of legislative review established more than 200 years ago in a case called Marbury v. Madison.
Obama’s assertion that the law “was passed by a strong majority” is revisionist history. It ultimately passed the U.S. House on a 219-212 vote – in which all Republicans and 39 Democrats voted no.
Let’s review how it got to that point, because it’s a story that belies this notion that it was “passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
The first real floor action on health care reform happened in November of 2009 when the Democrats in the House passed their version that included a “public option” which was essentially a full government takeover of health care. That vote was 220-215 with one Republican (Joseph Cao of New Orleans, who won the seat of Democrat William Jefferson after Jefferson was caught stuffing his freezer with cash from bribes) voting yes and 39 Democrats voting no.
Because at least eight Senate Democrats were on record opposing a public option, the Senate drafted it’s own bill and used the Christmas holiday as the leverage point to get it passed.
It passed the Senate with the 60 votes (the minimum required to end debate on legislation) on Christmas Eve 2009 after some rather outrageous giveaways were promised to Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska – “Cornhusker Kickback” – and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Capitol – so to speak. Outrage at how the Senate had managed the passage of the health care bill manifested itself in the special election in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat left vacant as a result of the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. In what must be one of the most shocking political upsets of all time, Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley, thus becoming “41” – that is, the 41st Republican in the Senate, and breaking the 60-vote supermajority of the Democrats.
At that point, passage of Obama’s health care bill looked doomed. But then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided that they would force the House to vote on the Senate-passed bill by a legislative trick called “reconciliation.”
I won’t bore you with the reconciliation process, but suffice it to say, the House took what was essentially a draft bill (remember, the Senate pushed through their bill on Christmas Eve with deals being cut hours before, and what officially passed the Senate was language that included handwritten edits, notations and references) and passed it into law, because under reconciliation no language could be changed.
This is why Nancy Pelosi was being honest when she said, “We have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.” The Senate version (which was never intended to become the final law) left huge swaths of decisions to the Secretary of Health and Human Services because they hadn’t come to agreement on most of the implementation points.
Most damaging in the long run to Obama’s law was that the Senate version did not include a “severability clause” which is routine in bigger pieces of legislation. Severability is normally included so that if some portion of a bill is found to be unconstitutional, it doesn’t take the entire bill down.
The severability issue brings us back to Obama’s claim that it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to overturn a law. If it had never been done, why would Congress ever put a severability clause into legislation?
I am astounded at the blatant disregard for the truth that the President of the United States employs. Does he really think that “warning” the Supreme Court is smart, let alone appropriate? For him to equate overturning this horrific law to “judicial activism” is to turn the world upside down. Striking down a law because it violates the constitution is not legislating from the bench.
Obviously, Obama is very worried about what might happen to his signature accomplishment. But his outrage is misguided and he isn’t handling this in a very Presidential way.
Congress and President Obama struck a deal to fund the government through next fall and avoided a shutdown.
What, you didn’t know anything about that? No surprise. I get the sense that the American people have tuned out the machinations of Washington lately. I’m going to call it the calm before the storm. There is no doubt that dark clouds are brewing and it’s going to be pretty rough for Washington – both Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats have more to lose – the Senate and the White House – and the Republicans who lose are more likely to go down in primaries to other Republicans. Let’s just say there is some serious angst out there.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) cobbled together a tenuous 60-vote block of all Democrats to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed with his healthcare bill late Saturday evening. While he tried to appear triumphant with this accomplishment, it was a short victory lap as many Democrat Senators immediately began to enumerate the various concerns they have with the bill and making it clear that their vote to end debate is very much up in the air.
Patrick O’Connor with Politico is one of the most conscientious reporters on the Hill and his report (along with Carrie Budoff Brown) on the challenges that remain for Reid is one of the best summaries out there.
The bottom line, as articulate by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is this, “the battle has just begun.”