« Very Foreign Policy | Main | Tea Party Continues to Confuse and Anger Liberals »

WSJ on Obama's Reconciliation Move: Abuse of Power

With Barack Obama's declaration, "Damn the American people! Full speed ahead!" the US Congress is perverting a parliamentary process that was designed only for budgetary issues that could reduce the deficit. Instead, he and Nancy Pelosi are using it to pass their massive new health care entitlement program because they can't pass it any other way. As the The Wall Street Journal writes in its must read editorial out today it is a shocking abuse of power:

A string of electoral defeats and the great unpopularity of ObamaCare can't stop Democrats from their self-appointed rendezvous with liberal destiny--ramming a bill through Congress on a narrow partisan vote. What we are about to witness is an extraordinary abuse of traditional Senate rules to pass a bill merely because they think it's good for the rest of us, and because they fear their chance to build a European welfare state may never come again.

***

The vehicle is "reconciliation," a parliamentary process that fast-tracks budget measures and was created in 1974 as a deficit-reduction tool. Limited to 20 hours of debate, reconciliation bills need a mere 50 votes in the Senate, with the Vice President as tie-breaker, thus circumventing the filibuster. Both Democrats and Republicans have frequently used reconciliation on budget bills, so Democrats are now claiming that using it to pass ObamaCare is no big deal.

Yet this shortcut has never been used for anything approaching the enormity of a national health-care entitlement. Democrats are only resorting to it now because their plan is in so much political trouble--within their own party, and even more among the general public--and because they've failed to make their case through persuasion.

"They know that this will take courage," Nancy Pelosi said in an interview over the weekend, speaking of the Members she'll try to strong-arm. "It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare," the Speaker continued. "But the American people need it, why are we here? We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress."

Leave aside the irony of invoking "the American people" on behalf of a bill that consistently has been 10 to 15 points underwater in every poll since the fall, and is getting more unpopular by the day, particularly among independents. As Maine Republican Olympia Snowe pointed out in a speech last December, Social Security passed when Democrats controlled both Congress and the White House, yet 64% of Senate Republicans and 79% of the House GOP voted for it. More than half of the Senate Republican caucus voted for Medicare in 1965. Historically, major social legislation has always been bipartisan, because it reflects a durable political consensus.

There's a lot more at the article, which I highly recommend you read.

I'm not sure which is more outrageous, that Obama and Pelosi are brazenly abusing this procedure in order to satisfy their engorged and pulsing egos, or that Pelosi is still insisting that passing ObamaCare is what the American people really want - they just don't know it. Either way, what Obama and Pelosi are engaging in is a shocking violation of their roles as elected representatives and the American people's trust. All the polls have shown that the American people's hostility to Obama and Pelosi's health care reforms is growing stronger by the day. But they won't listen. They are so confident that the American people will love their health care reforms that they are forcing their bill through, even though the American people for months on end have screamed "NO!"


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/38391.

Comments (33)

"They know that this will t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"They know that this will take courage,"

No. This will take a breath taking amount of cowardice. This will require that the dems refuse to face the will of the people and they hide their heads from reality. They will have to ignore all the rules of the House and Senate and they will have to slime this bill through to signature.

This is not courage, but merely the abasement of party politicians for personal gain.

"They know that this will t... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"They know that this will take courage," Nancy Pelosi said.

No, this will take an enormous about of chutzpah and stupidity. The electoral backlash against the Democrats will be horrific. Nancy wants a piece of "history". She'll get it. The Democratic House leader who sent the Democrats into the wilderness. The only question now is; will the lemmings willingly follow?

This whole health care thin... (Below threshold)
Patrick:

This whole health care thing irks me and I think I have got my finger on it now. Liberals love to cite the world health system rankings that were put out by the World Health Organization (WHO) where the United States ranked 37th worldwide. Boy, did that ever send them into a tizzy! It is our number of uninsured citizens (and non-citizens) I think that led to our low ranking - it certainly was not the quality of our overall care. France was ranked #1 in the study. And how exactly did almost 15,000 people die during a heat wave in 2003? Oh, it happened in August when most physicians and nurses were on holiday. Health care employees in France only work 35 hours a week which further dilutes access to their celebrated system. Score one for single payer health care! When people don't have choice, the system can decide when to take their vacations (hey, let's all take or vacations at the same time!) because there is no competition. And liberals in this country fret about Hurricane Katrina where some 1000 people died - mostly because people did not leave their homes despite living in areas below sea level...

And why the sudden liberal interest in how this nation ranks in any study? Since when were they interested in American exceptionalism? They continue to defend a broken education system that spends pretty much more per student than any nation on earth (top three I think) yet our children rate average or below average in almost every category! Yet liberals created this crappy system and still claim we don't spend enough! At the same time they oppose charter schools and other competitive educational options. I guess they just want to continue to pump out indoctrinated illiterates. Yes, there a lot of excellent teachers in the public school system but there aren't nearly enough of those and the whole public education system is poorly run and accountability is sorely lacking. Also, parental involvement is sorely missing from the equation. Studies show that parents who participate and invest time in their children's education simply do far better - more than all the money in the world can accomplish.

But back to health care. What people are confusing here is the differences between health care and access to health care. We have the best care in the world - period. We have the best doctors, the best hospitals and the best equipment and it is not even close. That is why people come here from other parts of the world when their lives hang in the balance. What we have is a cost/access problem (although people are not turned away from ERs in this country based on an inability to pay). You don't get something for nothing - that is a rule that is pretty much universal. These people who think that government-controlled care will simply mean the same care at lower cost are completely delusional. We have the best because we have a competitive system (that still is not perfect) that does not ration care. But you truly get what you pay for - not as many lines and you can get better diagnostic tests and other special services that help spot issues before they become real health problems. These idiots on the left want some European system that they really have not taken the time to study. Part of it must be is that they simply cannot abide by the notion of inequality - that some people are better off than others and hence may have a better health care plan than they do. They are much happier if everybody has the same plan - even if the care sucks beyond belief and it will. As Sir Winston Churchill so aptly said:

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

Honestly, I can't muster ou... (Below threshold)
James H:

Honestly, I can't muster outrage anymore. As far as I'm concerned, the filibuster is a stick that Republicans are using to beat Democrats black and blue. Reconciliation is simply a bigger stick that Democrats are going to use to beat Republicans. I don't particularly care for the use of reconciliation here, but I also don't like the now routine use of the filibuster. I say screw it, let each side break out its respective stick, and we'll decide who was right at election time.

Kim,Are you aware ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Kim,

Are you aware that republicans have used reconciliation more often than democrats? The Bush tax cuts were passed through reconciliation. In addition the Bush tax cuts cost more than the health care plan and they were pushed through without a plan on how to pay for them.

Would you consider doing an article on abuse of filibuster? Up until recently, I have never seen anybody filibuster a bill, and then after the filibuster ends, vote for the bill. Republicans are filibustering bills that they are not even opposed to, they are just doing it to grind everything to a halt.

"In addition the Bush tax c... (Below threshold)
Tom Blogical:

"In addition the Bush tax cuts cost more than the health care plan and they were pushed through without a plan on how to pay for them."

There's no "cost" to a tax cut. It's a reduction in the amount of taxes received by the government. Which, in turn, reduces spending by the government. There was no plan to "pay" for them, because there's nothing to "pay" for.

"It took courage to pass... (Below threshold)

"It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare," the Speaker continued.

Funny, on Feb. 27th in another comment I said:

it's social security. it's medicare. it's that one step closer to a permanent* majority of those living off the fruits of others' labor.

No need to applaud, this is all pretty obvious by now, after all.

Tina your right to a point,... (Below threshold)
Deke:

Tina your right to a point, the problem is tax cuts are part of the budget, whether or not they are "paid" for, allowing the American ppl to keep their own money seems strange when talking about the budget, but still. The issues of mandates and new federal regulations that are in this bill have absolutely NOTHING to do with budgetary concerns and trying to get it through on a simple majority vote in the Senate is just insane. The American ppl deserve a consenus on another HUGE entitlement, one that will, in all likelyhood, destroy our current system.

If they pass this on a simple majority and it holds up to court challenges I think it will be time for the states to call for an Article V convention to look at re-working Article 1 to include term limits of 12 years for Federal office, not including the Presidency and adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

"Are you aware that republi... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Are you aware that republicans have used reconciliation more often than democrats?"

Good old Tina! Right there with a 'talking point' that means absolute horse shit!

Tina, the Republicans DID NOT USE IT TO RESTRUCTURE 1/6TH OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMY!

but I also don't like th... (Below threshold)

but I also don't like the now routine use of the filibuster.

James, when the Dems were in the minority I was saying that the GOP should make them actually filibuster, not just pass a note to the majority leader saying "I filibuster this". I see no reason why the Dems shouldn't say the same thing now. If McCain and friends want to filibuster something tell them to get a phone book and some cots and get to it. Besides, the coverage of such a thing would let them actually speak to the public about why they're doing it instead of letting the media paint it all the way they want. Same is true if the Dems are in the minority, let the coverage expand so they have to explain why they're doing such a thing instead of letting the media just pretend that they're defending puppies and kittens by filibustering tax cuts or whatever. Forget this nonsense with 75 year old children standing up and saying 'I respectfully filibuster, you need 60 votes' and that's the end of it. Go grab 'War And Peace', grandpa. Or better yet, change the rules so that a filibuster is defined as perpetual reading, out loud, of the US Constitution and/or Declaration of Independence until such time as the motion is withdrawn or cloture is invoked.

Tina, You need to ... (Below threshold)

Tina,

You need to get your facts straight. First, the Bush tax cuts were a budgetary issue, not a legislative one. Second, when the Republicans used reconciliation for the examples you cite, they had clear super majorities (that means 60 votes) each time, so they didn't even need to use it to begin with. So, why did they use reconciliation? I don't know. Jon Kyl was on Fox News last night and said he didn't know why Republicans used reconciliation when they didn't need to.

Obama and Pelosi are using reconciliation for a legislative issue that will create a massive new entitlement program for one reason: they can't pass it any other way. That is a clear violation of Senate rules and an abuse of power. It also is against the will of the people.

Now, about the Republicans using the filibuster. The American people do not like Barack Obama's agenda. When the Republicans use the filibuster against Barack Obama's policy initiatives, they are working to protect the American people from an agenda they do not want.

JamesH -No. The f... (Below threshold)
jim m:

JamesH -

No. The filibuster is a tactic used by the minority. The dems have used it extensively in their time as well. As recently as Bush43 people were suggesting ways around the filibuster in order to push through the GOP agenda. At least the GOP had the sense not to destroy the fabric of government for the sake of partisan advantage

Tina is ignoring the facts.... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Tina is ignoring the facts...so she can barf out the DNC talking points.

Tina, only in a liberal uni... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Tina, only in a liberal universe is a "tax cut" an expense.

If you ever ran a business, built and followed an operating budget, and met a payroll you'd know this.

Reconciliation used for Hel... (Below threshold)
RickZ:

Reconciliation used for HellthCare = You Say You Want A Rev-o-lut-ion, We-ell You Kno-ow . . .

. . . You'll get one, just not the kind you expected. Do this and if you're lucky, tar, feathers, and a ride out of DC on a rail will be looked upon by History as a kindness.

Double post. Sorry.... (Below threshold)
RickZ:

Double post. Sorry.

Tina belongs to the large n... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Tina belongs to the large number of ignorant libs that believes that the government owns 100% of everyone's income and therefore when the government decides to let us keep a little more of our income it actually does cost the government.

For the rest of us Tina, we do not believe that we are slaves belonging to the government. We believe that the government should properly be working for and serving the people. Taxes are something we give the government. Salary is something we earn by our labor.

We own our income. The government does not. When the government puts itself in the place of determining who deserves to get paid how much you have entered into the realm of tyranny.

James, when the De... (Below threshold)
James H:
James, when the Dems were in the minority I was saying that the GOP should make them actually filibuster, not just pass a note to the majority leader saying "I filibuster this". I see no reason why the Dems shouldn't say the same thing now. If McCain and friends want to filibuster something tell them to get a phone book and some cots and get to it.

I saw an article about this recently, and it actually turns out the filibustering is just as time-consuming for the majority party as it is for the minority party. But in general, I would support this sort of thing.


I think the focus reconcili... (Below threshold)

I think the focus reconciliation in the Senate is all wrong. The process as I see it is this:

1. The Senate, with a late night Christmas Eve vote, passed it's version of "Healthcare Reform."
2. The House of Representatives must pass the Senate bill as written.
3.The House then passes a separate bill of "fixes."
4. The Senate passes the fixes via reconciliation.

Let's look at few scenarios. Step #1 is already done. Assume for a moment that votes are there and the House completes Step #2 and Step #3. Then imagine that in a tremendous political and procedural fight the Republicans prevent the Senate from using reconciliation and successfully block Step #4. Where does that leave us?

That leaves us at Step #2-A. The house and the Senate have both passed the same language for socialized medicine. Anybody doubt The One will sign that bill?

Even if the House can't get it's act together to complete Step #3 we're still at Step #2-A. We're still screwed.

All effort, and all energy should be focused on stopping the House from completing Step #2.

Stop this insanity in the House. Stopping the reconciliation fix is too little too late.

jim, I think they were only... (Below threshold)

jim, I think they were only talking about ignoring filibusters re: confirming appointments (I could be wrong, but that's all I remember). And the reason was that the Constitution is rather explicit on the point. I see no reason why it shouldn't apply now, the GOP should not be 'filibustering' judicial nominees or other appointees, they get to advise and consent (or not), that's it. Not 'ignore' which is what a filibuster is. The president gets a pocket veto, the Senate doesn't.

They are only concerned wit... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

They are only concerned with the continuing expansion of the US government and socialization of US society.

Its all about power and control over *other people's lives* and nothing else. They don't give a damn about your heath or ability to get health care or they would be proposing a one size fits all approach, not the glad handing 'here, you can have this for free and make everyone else pay for it' plan or the fact that so many people get to opt out of it because they have union plans that are so much better.

Not to mention they have exempted themselves from it as well.

Im reconciled to the fact t... (Below threshold)
914:

Im reconciled to the fact that Obama is the worst President ever!

Now, can We have a vote? +1 = Yes -1 = No,

so +1.

This isnt algebra and "spork" will not grade your paper.

Gmac has it exactly right.<... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Gmac has it exactly right.

"Either way, what Obama and... (Below threshold)

"Either way, what Obama and Pelosi are engaging in is a shocking violation of their roles as elected representatives and the American people's trust."

It's not so shocking if you accept that Obama doesn't like our form of government or our country as it currently exists. Somewhere above his bed has got to be a painting of Hugo Chavez or even a tattoo of him on his butt.....in fact I wouldn't doubt that he admires him since he has the same antipathy for corporate profits, private property, dissenting views and our institutions and traditions, the latter 2 which are under the the greatest assault by our young aspiring socialist tyrant.

Pelosi is just a nasty power hungry hag who is obviously getting off on her legislative conquests. Crackhead Barry however is a chain smoking lush who has a huge chip on his shoulder.............he's surrounded by Alinskyite freaks like that guy with the mullet on his face, Axelrod, who are deliberately following the Marxist playbook of deconstructing all traditions and institutions so they can build a monument to their egos and socialist fantasies. Just like Chavez.

Problem is most of the center right country are not chain smoking martini sipping passive serfs who will take this perfidy. This little punk has no idea what kind of backlash he's in for and all of the potheads on the left who celebrate this abuse of power will soon regret it.

You need to get your fac... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

You need to get your facts straight. First, the Bush tax cuts were a budgetary issue, not a legislative one.

Kim,

Reconciliation is deficit reducing measure. It is intended to be used to strip/add provisions to an existing bill in order to reduce its cost. The Bush tax cuts violate the purpose of reconciliation. The Bush tax cuts have added over a trillion dollars (even after taking into consideration it's stimulus affect) to the defecit over the past 10 years; this exceeds the cost of the health care plan.

Question for Tina - ... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

Question for Tina -
When did hope and change become - "the republicans did it, so can we"?

Tina your right to a poi... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Tina your right to a point, the problem is tax cuts are part of the budget, whether or not they are "paid" for, allowing the American ppl to keep their own money seems strange when talking about the budget, but still. The issues of mandates and new federal regulations that are in this bill have absolutely NOTHING to do with budgetary concerns and trying to get it through on a simple majority vote in the Senate is just insane. The American ppl deserve a consenus on another HUGE entitlement, one that will, in all likelyhood, destroy our current system.

If they pass this on a simple majority and it holds up to court challenges I think it will be time for the states to call for an Article V convention to look at re-working Article 1 to include term limits of 12 years for Federal office, not including the Presidency and adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Deke,

I respect and understand all of your arguments, with the possible exception of extending term limits. Do you mind elaborating on why term limits should be extended?

I respect and underst... (Below threshold)
Deke:

I respect and understand all of your arguments, with the possible exception of extending term limits. Do you mind elaborating on why term limits should be extended?

Tina

Simply Tina, the role of Congressman and Senator has gone from being a civic duty to that of a career path. Prior to the 1960's the turnover rate in the house was near 50%, today it's around 2. I truly don't think our founders envisioned a congress controlled by long time political wonks, from safe little districts, that through service length, would have the power to influence and control the lives of Americans across the country. In the past, legends of Congress, such as Clay and Webster, served for many years, yet never did they have the power to cajole and bully as we see today. In the past our congressmen truly represented the will of their constituents and were trusted to vote in their best interest and truly looked forward to ending their tenure so they could return home, today not so much. The never ending campaigning, gives so much power to lobyists that it impedes the effecient flow of government, ending congressional retirements and unlimited terms would, imo, end the cycle.

Congress recognized that a president with unlimited terms could become dictatorial thus the 22nd amendment was ratified in 1951. I truly think the same theory needs to be examined in regards to congress.

"The Bush tax cuts have ... (Below threshold)
Tom Blogical:

"The Bush tax cuts have added over a trillion dollars (even after taking into consideration it's stimulus affect) to the defecit over the past 10 years; this exceeds the cost of the health care plan."

Wrong again. Absolute hogwash. As stated before, tax cuts are not "costs". They reduce the amount of governmental income, which in turn SHOULD reduce govermental spending, but as we've seen, our government spends money it doesn't have. A reduction of income to the government doesn't add anything to the budget; nor the deficit. You're arguing non-existent, phantom costs against the Health Care "Plan". I think you know that, you just don't want to admit it.

If you want to see how bad the Health Care "Plan" would be for the American people, just examine how bad the Workers Compensation system is. The Health Care "Plan" would end up the same way, only on a much more grand scale.

Just how stupid do you have... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

Just how stupid do you have to be to believe tax cuts add to the deficit??
Why haven't we held politicians responsible for using Social Security as a slush fund?
HOW MUCH of the stimulus money went to China?
Why does the interest, and return of the "bailout" money not go back into reducing the national debt, instead of being a "freebie" for the political machine to spend where it wants?

On a lighter note, with the upcoming elections and the ENTIRE House open, what percentage of the seats will be filled by republicans or those backed by TEA party? My guess is 75%.
With 33 Senate seats open, look for the Senate republicans to gain 12 seats.

Simply Tina, the role of... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Simply Tina, the role of Congressman and Senator has gone from being a civic duty to that of a career path.

Deke, now I understand. I agree that Congressmen and Senators should have term limits. I originally thought you were refering to extending the presidential term limit to 12 years.

Aye, probably could have ma... (Below threshold)
Deke:

Aye, probably could have made it more clear, I meant 12 yrs of congressional service, either House or Senate, not to include the Presidency, which they could run for if they so chose.

Deke,I just didn't... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Deke,

I just didn't read it carefully enough. In your original comment you said "not including the Presidency". I'll read your comments more carefully in the future.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy