I’ve spoken often about “puzzle pieces” on a variety of political subjects in my posts. Rarely can we, Joe Q Public, see one news event and piece it into the entire puzzle until someone assembles all the pieces in one place.
Thus is the case with the plot for usurping traditional input from the public, and passing a bill
reforming remaking America’s health care system… with very little cost savings measures included.
Yesterday, the puzzle piece assembler happened to be Brian Darling, posting at Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry. Yes yes, many of you will say… the *conservative* Heritage Foundation?? Lest you embarrass yourself resorting to the typical “attack the messenger” defense, you’ll find that Mr. Darling’s facts and events have been confirmed by many a traditional and prominent liberal leaning media, as well as Congressional events. However, as the MSM constantly demonstrates, they are math challenged and – in this case – they have failed to put two and two together.
Allow me to ‘splain…
My first heads up came with a morning Senate Brief email update from McConnell’s office, discussing the Baucus bill, with the following comments that piqued my curiousity…
First, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out this morning, the bill “has as its foundation a trillion dollars in spending, half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, higher premiums, higher taxes on just about everyone at a time of near double-digit unemployment, and limits on the health care choices that millions of Americans now enjoy.” As for the CBO score, Sen. McConnell said, “It’s irrelevant. The bill it’s referring to will never see the light of day.” He explained why last night: “This partisan Finance Committee proposal will never see the Senate floor since the real bill will be written by Democrat leaders in a closed-to-the-public conference room somewhere in the Capitol.”~~~
So Democrats are starting with two flawed pieces of legislation and will then be stitching them together behind closed doors. As Sen. McConnell put it, “the real bill will soon be cobbled together in a secret conference room somewhere in the Capitol by a handful of Democrat senators and White House officials.” And that’s why the CBO score that Democrats are so proud of today is much less consequential than they would have Americans believe.
Hummm… what two flawed pieces of legislation will be stitched together, and how does it slide past the US taxpayer in the dark of night? By playing games with Congressional rules, of course. Now to Brian Darling’s summary of the four part Congressional Act designed to hoodwink the US taxpayer, using loophole rules.
Note: Each “STEP” title is a link itself… expand your horizons and click on them!
“The Senate Finance Committee will finish work on the marking up of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) conceptual framework for legislation by this Friday.” Progress on this had been stalled and the bill was not passed by the end of last week. Foxnews.com is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill will be released later today and a high score may further stall progress on the Committee’s Vapor Bill. Senate Finance Committee’s progress on passing something out of committee – INCOMPLETE.
Since “later today” has passed, and we now have a figure estimated at $829 bil, the game playing moves on with Dems ecstatic at having a figure under a trillion to dangle before the nation’s eyes. Aside from the fact that we’ve become so immune to the billion-trillion nuances, this figure helps advance the progress of Step One.
But remember what McConnell said above about the CBO math being irrelevant because that bill – in it’s current form – will never see the light of day. Which brings us to….
Next, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take the final product of the Senate Finance Committee and merge it with the product of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. CNSnews.com has confirmed that “the actual final text of the legislation will be determined by Reid himself, who will consolidate the legislation approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee [HELP] and the still-unapproved legislation from the Senate Finance Committee [Baucus]. Reid will be able to draft and insert textual language that was not expressly approved by either committee.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will write the final version of Obamacare to be considered in the Senate with no input from the American people.
This is an extremely complex procedure that will not be done in public, or in the form of a hearing, or a public conference committee, and only Senator Harry Reid, some other Senators chosen by Reid and Obama Administration officials will be allowed to read the bill before the Senate debate starts. Merger of the bills – IN PROGRESS.
Starting to understand the puzzle pieces, and why the Dem’s are adamant that the public doesn’t get to read the bill? It’s because any mandate that the public be allowed to view throws a monkey wrench into their carefully plotted four act Congressional stage play to merge the bills at last minute and get that turkey to the POTUS table by Thanksgiving.
Allow me to jog your memory on the HELP proposal passing the Senate Committee. I posted on this July 15th when the nation and the media were all fired consumed with the Sotomayor debate. There was a specific reason for my title to that post… “While the nation was busy with Sotomayor…. health care destruction advancing under cover of media darkness”.
The Senate Committee appeared to be addressing the House proposal – HR 3200 – introduced by Michigan’s John Dingell (D) and his eight Dem crony co-sponsors including Rangel and Waxman. The Times description suits HR 3200 to a tee.
What seems less clear is how and why the Senate was entertaining a House bill that had not been voted on by the body. And I have been unable to locate a sister bill in the Senate chamber that echos the same mandates. Any of you stellar readers out there are free to dig up what I’m missing if there is such a Senate bill for related legislation. Otherwise, it strikes me that the Senate appears to be usurping the usual path by having House bills voted on by that chamber before advancing it to their own committees for consideration… bizarre.
Just for a bit of procedure, Committees, much like “mini-Congresses”, generally advance or kill legislation by reporting favorably or unfavorably. In the case of HR 3200, it has thus far passed thru the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee… both of which revised the bill text. We do not have access to that revised text as committee proceedings are notoriously opaque, varying in what information they make public. Additionally, they often do not provide basic public information such as the results of votes electronically or in an understandable format. Furthermore, if you do not have a representative that sits on that committee, you have no input via elected official, and therefore no opportunity to voice an opinion.
Are the shenigans becoming more clear?
The HELP proposal, as summarized by the WA Times article I linked in that post, creates a mandate for citizens to purchase insurance, and employers to contribute to that cost. Make note… any Baucus bill that combines with this committee passed proposal doesn’t need a mandate. It’s already there.
The mandate for every American to purchase insurance is, of course, an insurance company’s demand because – quite simply – with the advancing boomers apt to increase claims risks exponentially, they need the younger, healthier Americans to foot the bill.
Now, with an “acceptable” under trillion price tag, the Baucus bill can advance.. making Step One “complete”, and advancing the Step Two “In Progress” to a “complete”. Once that happens, Sen. Reid can proceed with the opaque “merge” process of the bills. As New York Times reported on Sept 27th, Reid’s plans are specifically to marry the Baucus bill with the HELP proposal, … leaning heavily on President Obama to arbitrate a number of contentious issues that still threaten to divide liberal and centrist Democrats and derail a final bill.
Mr. Reid’s challenge is to stitch together legislation that can win 60 votes to stop a Republican filibuster. It must satisfy liberals demanding more generous subsidies and safety-net provisions for the middle class, without alienating centrist budget hawks or Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the only Republican who has indicated she might back the bill.
Democrats now control 60 seats in the Senate, with the appointment last week of Paul G. Kirk Jr. of Massachusetts as the interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, who died in August. But the party is far from united on the health care issue, even though Mr. Obama has declared it his top domestic priority and has expended enormous political capital on getting a bill passed.
Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, said the task of merging the two bills would be “very challenging.” Democrats are also mindful of the disaster that befell them in 1994 after the majority leader, George J. Mitchell of Maine, failed to pull together competing health care proposals.
All of this is accurately predicted, and substantiated in Mr. Darling’s Step Two above… which then brings us to:
Senator Reid will then move to proceed to H.R. 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients. A senior aid to Senate Majority Leader Ried has confirmed that he will move to proceed to Senate Calendar Number 36, H.R. 1586, or another House passed tax measure, so the Senate can avoid the Constitutional mandate that tax bills originate in the House. Proceed to tax shell of a bill – CONFIRMED.
HR 1586 is a Charlie Rangel sponsored bill that passed the House 328 to 93, with 10 present/not voting (See vote details here) In that vote, 85 GOP representatives unwittingly contributed to the Congressional back room scam.
HR 1586 imposes a 90% tax rate on bonuses received by any individual who earned them via any business entity receiving $5 billion or more of TARP bailout funds. Lest ye believe this only affects those evil CEOs, it applies to any individual with a regular pay or adjusted gross income over 250,000 dollars for an individual filer, or income over 125,000 dollars. Woof….
To “be perfectly clear”, as the POTUS loves to say, HR 1586 is the shell to which the tax heavy health care bill will be attached as a rider in order to usurp Constitutional law that tax appropriations *must* originate in the House. It is to be the vehicle to which Obama’care, designed by the Senate in the back rooms with the chosen few and the WH, can hitch a legitimate ride to the Oval Office desk.
Utilizing such tactics for such a game changing piece of legislation, not to mention the economic repercussions, is ensuring the nation’s taxpayers are being taken for a ride right along with the health care rider.
Step Four is also complete… insure a supermajority by replacing the vacated Kennedy seat with a friendly and pliable Democrat.
This scenario would most likely be implemented after the Massachusetts state legislature gives Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint a new Senator and that Senator is seated by the Senate. The Senate swore in new Massachusetts Senator Paul Kirk on September 25th. Change Law of Massachusetts to allow for interim Senator – COMPLETE.
One now sees why Obama felt quite comfortable “meddling” in MA state law…. their very back door scam depended on that seat being filled, blocking any potential filibusters and thwarting any changes that can delay the plan. I posted on the somewhat dirty method used to accomplish that 60th MA seat back on Sept 25th. To usurp MA law and deadlines, Gov. Deval Patrick had to declare their reversal of Kennedy legislation “emergency legislation”. Yes… definitely an emergency if Obama, Reid and Pelosi are to be successful in their political subterfuge.
The final nail in the coffin… which appears to be only a hair shy of being sealed… is to hand the legislation back to the House, who initiates a vote without a single change and advancing it to the desk of the POTUS for signature. CNS confirmed this to be in the works.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) won’t rule out having the House vote on the Senate health-care bill without making any changes in it, which would allow the bill to go directly to President Barack Obama without having to pass through a House-Senate conference committee and another round of votes in the House and Senate–and a longer period of public scrutiny of what the text of the proposed law actually says.
“I won’t rule it out or in because I don’t know what the package is,” Hoyer told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
“However, content will be critical in what action the House takes,” he added a moment later.
This would, of course, be the same Steny Hoyer who defended the reconciliation process as “… doing what Democracy calls for” during a Sept 1st townhall meeting in Waldorf, MD.
Going back to the first CNS story quoted INRE the House scam:
Under the proposal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would offer the Senate’s version of health reform as an amendment to a House-passed bill, H.R. 1586, which levies a 90-percent tax on bonuses received this year by employees of financial institutions that took at least $5 billion in government bailout money. Reid’s amendment would strip out the substance of H.R. 1586 as passed by the House and replace it with the entirety of the Senate health care bill.
As a senior aide to Reid explained to CNSNews.com, this would be done because the Constitution only allows the House to initiate revenue bills, and since the Senate health care bill contains revenue provisions it technically cannot be initiated in the Senate. By being amended into the “shell” of H.R. 1586, which is a House-initiated revenue bill, the Senate health care bill would technically become a House bill.
If Reid can muster enough votes (60) to overcome a filibuster of this maneuver and filibusters of any amendments subsequently made to the bill, Senate Democrats could pass their health care bill and send it back to the House, where it nominally originated. (See related story here)
The only prediction above I may disagree with is the “stripping out” of the 90% tax hike. I’m not so sure the Dems will let go of that revenue (designed to punish), and may just pass on all of it, in it’s entirety, to the Executive Branch to sign.
So for those of you who have believed this remaking of health care could be avoided, you might want to be aware that… at this point… the only thing standing between passage and reconciliation is blue dog Democrats. So if you’ve got a betting pool going, you may want to start considering the back door approach, well on it’s way to success, when placing your bet and assessing the odds. It ain’t lookin’ good…
Once again, the “transparent” Pelosi House and the “transparent” POTUS have tossed public involvement/engagement under the bus with so many others, merely to advance an unpopular agenda….
Legal via Congressional rules? Yes. Moral? Not in the America I was raised.
Oct 9th – Newt Gingrich Democracy: The joke is on us
Oct 9th – Joseph Smith, American Thinker Watching the Constitution Disappear