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Democrats Face Additional Battles over Health Care

First we got the surprise announcement today that Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith has switched to the Republican Party because of the Democratic leadership's stand on the health care reform bill. This makes things a bit embarrassing for the Democratic leadership:

Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday that he's switching parties - saying he can no longer align himself "with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt."

"Unfortunately there are those in the Democratic Leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system," Griffith said in a statement. "I have always considered myself to be an independent voice and I have tried to be that voice in Congress - but after watching this agenda firsthand I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear and that for me to be true to my core beliefs and values I must align myself with the Republican party and speak out clearly on these issues.

Griffith's party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.

Good for him.

Update: Video of Griffith's announcement is here.

But there are more problems for the Democrats, and that is this bill faces a slew of law suits should it pass because there are so many constitutional issues with it. Senator Ensign has already expressed concern about the constitutionality of requiring people to purchase health insurance as a requirement for living in the US.

Earlier today I was in my car listening to Karl Rove on Fox News talk about the deals that some states secured. In Florida, senior citizens won't experience cuts to their Medicare plans, whereas seniors everywhere else will. To me this was a clear violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The same goes for the Nebraska deal. It seems others were thinking the same thing:

On the first issue, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., on Tuesday renewed the call to examine the constitutionality of whether the federal government can require Americans to purchase a product.

"I don't believe Congress has the legal or moral authority to force this mandate on its citizens," Ensign said in a statement, raising what's known as a "constitutional point of order." Such procedural challenges are rare and typically lead to a vote.

The non-profit Fund for Personal Liberty, as well as a Virginia-based group called the 10th Amendment Foundation, already have threatened to file suit in federal court over this issue if the health care bill passes.

The Constitution allows Congress to tax, borrow, spend, declare war, raise an army and regulate commerce, among other things. Proponents of the insurance mandate point to the Commerce Clause in arguing that Congress is within its rights to require health insurance and dismiss such potential legal challenges.

But foes say the across-the-board requirement is too broad.

"I personally do not believe the Congress has the authority to enact an individual mandate requiring a person to purchase a product from a private seller," said Kent Masterson Brown, lead counsel with The Fund for Personal Liberty. "I don't think the power is there. This is not regulating anything."

He said his group would be joined by the Washington Legal Foundation in filing suit against the health care bill.

"This thing may be stillborn, even if it passes," he said.

Even though Obama argues that the mandate is similar to laws requiring drivers to obtain auto insurance, opponents cite several key differences. First, the auto insurance mandate is avoidable, since anyone who doesn't want to pay doesn't have to drive. Second, auto insurance is mandated in large part so that drivers carry liability insurance to cover damages to other people and cars -- not themselves. Third, auto insurance regulation occurs at the state level.

Clearly, this is why the Democrats have been so secretive about this bill, but what's so ridiculous is that Reid, Pelosi, et al could not keep this secret for long. What's especially preposterous is Senator Chuck Schumer's assertion that the Democrats' poll numbers will go up once the American people find out what's in the bill. If this were truly the case, the Democrats would have been screaming the contents of this bill from the mountain tops.

There's a reason why they haven't, and it's because this contents of this bill will make the vast majority of the American people very unhappy.


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Comments (21)

I wouldn't bet money on the... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't bet money on the likelihood of the courts invalidating even minor provisions of this.

Constitution? Bah, humbug!... (Below threshold)

Constitution? Bah, humbug!!

Senate Rules? Bah, humbug!!

Will of THE PEOPLE? Bah, humbug!!

2010? Oh yeah.

"I wouldn't bet money on th... (Below threshold)

"I wouldn't bet money on the likelihood of the courts invalidating even minor provisions of this."

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! Ol' Stevie; pass the Kool Aid and watch me shove my head up my ass (again).

The poverty wagon rolls on ... (Below threshold)

The poverty wagon rolls on for Seazer,Dingy Greed and the rest of the Kool-aid clique..

Once they get thrashed in 2010 We will see "real" tears and "gnashing of dentures", not the phony symbolic sniffle Gried & Barry portend for the downtreaded.

What's especially ... (Below threshold)
What's especially preposterous is Senator Chuck Schumer's assertion that the Democrats' poll numbers will go up once the American people find out what's in the bill.

We must not forget that Chucky's got his own personal publication---the NYT's---that will gladly accomodate his assertion.

And then there's the Schumer/Nelson connection:

Then the senator from New York saw a pheasant, took aim, and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.

"He didn't get the safety off, so he couldn't shoot," his host, Nelson, recalled with a chuckle Tuesday morning. "You have to push the safety off to shoot. He figured that out." link

Chucky also figured out what Nelson's price was, called Harry, and said "put it in the bill". This is what most Americans are getting sick of, and will show their "foul mood" next Novermber.

While Griffith (filled seat... (Below threshold)

While Griffith (filled seat vacated by Cramer(D-AL) in '08) will likely lose in the Republican primary, it is interesting that apparently he thought he had a better chance winning as a former-Democrat in the Republican primary than he did as a Democrat in the general election.

New Yorkers ain't exactly h... (Below threshold)

New Yorkers ain't exactly happy today. They just found out how much their 'share' of expanded medicare is going to cost the state. You can bet Uncle Chucky got an earful.

NY'rs should be used to get... (Below threshold)

NY'rs should be used to getting taxed to death by now? I guess their just braindead from the neck up.

Garandfan: are you in such ... (Below threshold)

Garandfan: are you in such a hurry to post your insults that you don't take time to actually read and understand the comments you're addressing? there's no koolaid being drunk here, except perhaps by those who think the courts are going to ride to the rescue and rule this unconstitutional. just because you think something is unconstitutional doesn't mean (1) anybody else does and (2) and more importantly, that anyone wearing a judge's robe is going to agree.

and please spare me the verse about why you think this is unconstitutional... your opinion means nothing to the courts... and the last time I checked, they're the ones who get to decide and not you and not me.

Didn't know you were now a ... (Below threshold)
Nancy's Nazi:

Didn't know you were now a constitutional scholar Steve. I've got my copy right here on my desk.

Suppose you could direct me to the article and section that gives congress the authority to bar future congressional action to overturn current legislation? Or maybe where they have the authority to violate the equal protection clause? Or how about where it says they can force SOME of the citizens to buy insurance but not others?

Sturm is a moron. He has no... (Below threshold)

Sturm is a moron. He has no understanding of our government. He thinks that what fascist Democrats do trump the constitution...of boy is he is for a shock.

Parker Griffith will... (Below threshold)

Parker Griffith will loose the 5th district Republican primaries, he's despised by conservatives here.

That he had the sense to flee the ship in not unusual as most Democrats that are in marginal districts are getting internal polling that shows them far behind a generic Republican challenger.

Steve, you are way wrong. T... (Below threshold)

Steve, you are way wrong. There are a number of constitutional issues at play here mainly because of the sloppy work done on this bill. I am not like you and claim to be a constitutional scholare, but what age, experience and history teach is this bill stinks in numerous ways. We know it. You know it. Congress knows it. All of this because the empty suit in the white house doesn't want to "fail". Too late. He already did. 56% disapproval. All time record. ww

And I'll keep repeating, it... (Below threshold)

And I'll keep repeating, it doesn't matter what you and I think of its constitutionality, or whether it stinks in other ways, we're not the ones who get to rule on the issue.

So scream all you want about there being nothing in the Constitution that allows Congress to pass a mandate that everybody buy insurance or whether it violates equal protection provisions for Nebraska to get a pass on certain provisions... per the quip, neither you nor me nor the Pope has any divisions.

"And I'll keep repeating... (Below threshold)

"And I'll keep repeating, it doesn't matter what you and I think of its constitutionality, or whether it stinks in other ways, we're not the ones who get to rule on the issue."

Like hell!! There is no other Man above You or Me that We should relinquish such things too.

"...we're not the ones who ... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

"...we're not the ones who get to rule on the issue..."

By that standard, why do comment on anything? Certainly you don't have a vote on most of it.

I accept trolls as a fact of life on the internet but, dammit, at least do a halfway job of it. If you are such a pathetic loser that this is the best you can come up with, troll the pre-teen boards. Are your Mommy and Daddy siblings, by chance?

Why don't you answer the qu... (Below threshold)
Nancy's Nazi:

Why don't you answer the questions I asked Steve?

As citizens we DO ha... (Below threshold)

As citizens we DO have a say in this because its a Representative Republic.

There are two ways that we can have a say in this, well three really.
1. Direct input through communications with our state/federal representative.
2. Voting for a new representative if the first fails to listen.
3. The third way, which is to take up arms to overthrow a tyrannical government.

Its at the 'elect a new representative' point right now...Parker Griffith is playing both sides of the aisle in a failing effort to get on the right side of history. That he is reviled by conservatives in the 5th district is no surprise to him. He's seen the polling and switched parties because of it. It doesn't matter though, he'll meet two conservatives in the primary and will lose to one of them.

An interesting point that I... (Below threshold)

An interesting point that I saw recently is that the Senate bill does not exempt people who are living outside the country from the yearly penalty tax. They would not be eligible for the "insurance plans" that we are going to be forced to buy, but would still be hit with the penalty for not having it.

They will either have to pay for the unusable insurance or pay the fine.

It is like a single man who must pay the "abortion premium" or purchase insurance that would cover his pregnancy.

NN: I hope you're not as na... (Below threshold)

NN: I hope you're not as naive in life as you are in your comment. It doesn't matter what YOU think the Constitution says, you're not the one who gets to decide. You can huff and puff all you want to and pull out your copy of the Constitution until the pages fall off... and it doesn't matter, your opinion doesn't count.

And by the way, my interpretation is the same as yours... but my opinion doesn't count either.

this is something that is g... (Below threshold)

this is something that is going to come back to bite the dems in the ass... reid gave sweetheart deals to a few senators that held out on the healthcare bill.. while the other dem senators towed the line for reid and the president.. no questions asked... they supported the bill no matter what was in it... and now... they are seeing.. hey .. if I hold out.. I can get a few hundred million to a billion dollars too... and now.. in future negotiations that the dems are going to make... how many senators do you think are going to hold legislation up to get themselves some of that payola? How do youthink the dems are going to do with future bills? how much is it going to cost the american people to pay off dems to get legislation passed... we have the cap and trade bill coming up... can you imagine how many dems are going to hold out and how much its going to cost the american people...

the dems really really really screwed themselves with these bribery sweetheart deals... this will put the dems in a whole new catagory of swindlers....

the dem party has really done some serious damage to themselves... very serious damage...

see ya
cathy : )






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