Wednesday, 05 January 2011

Congressional Pushback

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Now that the 112th Congress has been sworn in and subjected to the reading of the Constitution and its 27 amendments, the direction of that Congress is beginning to take shape. In response to pressure from Americanists, Tea Partiers, Constitutionalists, and other limited-government supporters, Congress' first effort at legislation will be to vote tomorrow to cut its own budget by 5 percent. That would result in savings of a minuscule $35 million, but loyalists are taking heart that the "first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest" and that much bigger targets and greater success lie ahead.

Repealing ObamaCare is next on the agenda with passage almost assured. Rep. Fred Upton, (R-Mich), new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, predicted not only that such a bill pulling ObamaCare out by the roots will pass, but might even be able to muster two-thirds of those voting.

If we pass this bill with a sizeable vote, and I think we will, it'll put enormous pressure on the Senate to perhaps do the same thing Watch what happens. There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us.

A realistic appraisal, however, makes such passage more for show than for substance. It is highly unlikely that the Senate will vote for such a bill repealing ObamaCare, but if it does, the President himself will surely veto it.

The next step, according to Upton, would be to start dismantling ObamaCare piece by piece, especially including the individual mandate and the Form 1099 required by the bill for purchases that exceed $600. Following that, House leadership will then attempt to cut off funding for ObamaCare, invite certain Obama administration officials to testify at investigative hearings into the negative impact the healthcare bill will have, and even encourage states to attack the law in court as being unconstitutional.

Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) says that ObamaCare needs to be repealed immediately:

Its important we repeal Obamacare as soon as possible because it is already hurting the economy and killing jobs. Employers are seeing their costs for providing health insurance skyrocket, and thats causing them to hold off on hiring and job creation.

According to promises made in the Republican Partys Pledge to America, the House will seek $100 billion in cuts to government spending the first year. A closer look reveals how empty such a promise is turning out to be. With FedGov spending nearly $4 trillion annually (about $1 trillion more than it takes in), $100 billion in savings, if it can be achieved, reminds one of actor W. C. Fields response to a friend boasting about how much liquor he could consume:

W.C., I drink of quart of booze every day! What do you think about that?

Why, hell, I spill that much!

And it doesn't look like Congress is going to get anywhere near that number, claiming that the current fiscal year is already more than half over, and that promise was only hypothetical after all.

And not all of the budget is open for review and reduction. Under the knife is only about one-sixth of the total budget, referred to as discretionary domestic spending, and leaving out of the conversation altogether military spending, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Bush Prescription Drug benefit. And the ultimate target is only to roll back such spending to the level prior to the Obama administrations takeover in 2008. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that Congress really cant do much of anything until it receives the Congressional Budget Offices revised baseline projections at the end of January. And then,

I plan to file a discretionary spending limit that would take non-security spending back to its pre-bailout, pre-stimulus spending levels.

Not concerned about Constitutional niceties such as following the rules, the House adopted today their own rules package without debate or hearings, giving Ryan unprecedented power to set spending levels unilaterally. When pressed for particulars, Ryan demurred, saying only that We are going to be reducing all domestic discretionary spending. I cant tell you by what amount or which program, but all of its going to be going down, and the aggregate amount will be down to 2008 levels, before the spending binge occurred.

Other issues are on the front burner as well, including the grossly unconstitutional and immoral policies of the Transportation Security Administration, as Ron Paul (R-Texas) put it. The Patriot Act also needs to be repealed, according to Paul:

I hope that those [citizens] who elected them will watch their actions and their votes in Congress carefully. An early indication will be the upcoming vote of re-authorization of the anti-American PATRIOT Act. Defeat[ing] once and for all this police-state legislation will be a great way to start 2011 and the 112th Congress.

Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris is one of those well-informed but everlastingly hopeful souls who thinks the Republicans can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Morris says the House has been given three powerful tools to begin the pushback process, if it will but seize the opportunity:

The debt-ceiling debate

States increasing demands for bailouts, and the 2012 budget.

Morris says these three issues are our leverage. The Republican House needs to demand rollbacks in [Obamas] legislative agenda and curbs on his executive actions as the price for permitting the government to [continue] to operate."

It [is] not time to be faint-hearted. The conservatives seeking to block arbitrary expropriation over vast segments of our private sector will be accused of irresponsibility and worse. But every one of the elements of the confrontation agenda has one thing in common: The public agrees with the Republicans. (emphasis added)

On Obamacare, Medicare cuts, enforcement of the individual [health insurance] mandate, health care rationing, administration imposition of carbon taxes, FCC controls over talk radio, card check and spending cuts rather than tax increases, Americans side with the GOP position against the Democratic/Obama agenda. Americans will support the Congress in the coming confrontations.

If the pushback against Obama's tyrannical takeover is to be successful, it is going to take much more than a game of patty-cake with the enemy. If would be a grave mistake to miss such an opportunity as this by letting Congress treat the new session as "business as usual.

Photo: Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.)

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