The Constitution Will Prevail Over ObamaCare

Update March 21:  Obviously, we were wrong.  The House has passed the Senate version, and ObamaCare and it is now the law of the land.

ObamaCare-gravestone

March 13, 2010:

The conflicts and lack of trust within the their own Party make it impossible for President Obama and the Democrats to enact their sweeping government take-over of health care without violating the Constitution.  In an earlier time, before citizens had the means to scrutinize Congress as closely as we now have, politicians got away with extra-Constitutional schemes like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama are now contemplating.

But we don’t believe they can pull it off in the era of the Internet, talk radio, cable news channels, and the Tea Party movement.

The Constitution’s procedural requirements for enacting new laws is clear.  Both the House and the Senate must pass exactly the same legislation, and then it must be signed by the President.  More often than not, four steps are required:

  1. The Senate passes its version of new legislation.
  2. The House of Representatives passes passes its version of the same legislation.
  3. Since the bills are not exactly the same, as required by the Constitution, members of the House and Senate meet together in a conference committee to edit and combine the two bills.  The goal of the conference committee is to write language that can attract enough votes in each body to pass the legislation.
  4. The conference committee version goes back to the House and the Senate.  Each body must pass it, as written, with no amendments.

If the conference committee version cannot attract enough votes in each body the legislation dies.

For ObamaCare, steps 1 and 2 have been completed.  But the the Senate version was passed on Christmas Eve when the Democrats had the required sixty votes.  Now, since Republican Scott Brown was elected, the Democrats have only 59 votes and thus could not pass any conference version.  Even before Scott Brown, passage of the Senate version required the now infamous “special deals” for individual Senators that could not survive the conference committee process.  Thus, the Democratic leadership ruled out the conference committee process weeks ago.

This chaotic health care debate has exposed two fundamental weakness in the Democrat party:

  1. It won it’s substantial majority in the House of Representatives by fielding candidates in swing districts who campaigned on Conservative themes that party leaders don’t believe in.  But it has been attempting to govern as if it had a sweeping mandate to dramatically expand government’s size and power.  The basic concept of ObamaCare, that absolute government control will bring about better results than the status quo, simply does not sell in those swing districts.
  2. It is largely a coalition of disparate and unpopular causes that manage to stifle their differences just long enough to win elections, but not long enough to govern.  These causes include:
    • Greater rights, privileges, and public benefits for illegal immigrants;
    • Gay marriage and public school indoctrination in favor of homosexuality;
    • Publicly funded abortion on demand for any female of any age without condition;
    • Maintaining and expanding the benefits enjoyed by union members, especially teachers and government employees;
    • Extreme environmentalism, including efforts to reduce the birth rate in order to reduce the size of the human population;
    • Enriching trial lawyers by passing legislation that creates pretexts for more lawsuits;
    • Shrinking the U.S. military and blanket opposition to any military operation.

At least half of Democrat House members owe their careers to, and cannot vote in favor of a bill that looks like it may weaken the supporters of one of these causes.  Some examples:

  • One liberal Democrat, Luiz Gutierrez of Illinois, who would otherwise be a reliable vote in favor of government health care, told CNN he would vote no because the bill, as now written would deny benefits to illegal immigrants.
  • Approximately 12 Democrats are pro-life and so far have been unwilling to vote for the Senate version because it would allow government funding of abortion.  But many more Democrats are aligned with the abortion-on-demand movement and are loathe to vote for any restriction on government funding.
  • Representative Bart Stupak, who has been the most outspoken pro-life Democrat told reporters that he was urged by Democrat leaders to vote in favor of public funding of abortion because reducing the number of babies born would reduce government spending on health care.
  • The Senate version of the bill includes a tax on the most generous and expensive health plans that are usually found in unionized organizations.  House members who are beholden to unions are unwilling to vote for a bill that includes this tax.
  • Some Democrats agree with Republicans that curtailing lawsuits and limiting money judgments to actual losses suffered would decrease the cost of Health Care.  But most Democrats are too much indebted to the trial lawyers to go along.

Democrat leaders have been trying to sell House members on a two step process that begins with the House passing the Senate version as written.  The President would then sign the Senate version and it would become the law of the land.

The second step would be pass a bill of amendments that would somehow “fix” the Senate version so it would no longer offend house members trying to be loyal to the causes that support them.  That second bill would then have to pass both the House and the Senate.  Democrats claim they can use a process called “reconciliation” in the Senate that would require only 51 votes for passage.  However, that claim is very much in dispute.

Reconciliation, if used for this legislation, would violate the rules of the Senate, which would be a violation of the Constitution.  Besides, it is doubtful that a bill that satisfied enough House Democrats could win even 51 Senate Democrat votes.

Another idea being floated by House leadership would be to pass the “fixit” bill under a contrived “rule” that would deem the Senate version also passed, but without a vote.  Obviously, this would violate the Constitution.

In reality, House Democrats who vote in favor of the Senate version, would have to do so either because it is acceptable as is to them and to the pressure groups who support them, or because they have to trust leaders to write a fixit bill that will be acceptable and can actually be enacted by both bodies.  And that would take a lot of naive trust, by sleazy politicians in other sleazy politicians!

12 Comments so far

  1. Van Nuys Vanessa on March 13th, 2010

    Another ignorant blogger trying to block health care reform!

    The time has come for health care for all in this great country! For such a wealthy country to have so many dying because they have no health care is truly immoral.

    And then you have the pro-life people so worried about the unborn -what about life for the living?Such Hypocrisy!It is time for the change that was promised- Obama ran on this issue and is now our president.

    It is time for health care. I don’t believe in the bogus polls that Americans do not want coverage and all the reforms this brings so Get with it or Get Out of the Way!

    Pass the senate bill and use reconciliation to make it better and Deal With It! What is the GOP going to say in November about siding with the insurance companys? They truly are the party of no and we wouldn’t have to go this route if they weren’t OBSTRUCTIONISTS

  2. Thousand Flowers Blooming on March 13th, 2010

    Vanessa

    No point in trying to reason with the reactionaries on this site. They’re throwbacks to Robber Barron days. They don’t recognize progress. They are happy to let Big Insurance collect Trillions and then decide who lives and who dies.

  3. Peter Alcantara on March 13th, 2010

    your comments don’t make sense. first off Vanessa you seem to forget there are many Dems opposed to this bill which means bi-partisanship is against not for the bill. secondly, govt control is not progress progress would be to let individuals be able to obtain healthcare with their own money. You simply won’t see reason or listen to opposing opinions which is called a conversation. You just ignorantly want to force on the majority who don’t want or feel the country needs to take over healtcare.

  4. Sandra Whorle on March 14th, 2010

    HOW will any government health care program have an incentive to spend health care dollars efficiently? Is Pelosi cost conscious?

  5. The Anti-Conservative on March 14th, 2010

    How come Health Care has to be deficit neutral, but war in Afghanistan doesn’t?”–Why IS that?

    Call you Congress person. Tell him or her to turn Republican corruption and obstructionism back on the bastard Republicans with a public option that will put their insurance company CEO pals in the same homeless shelters as the poor workers who paid for insurance and then got kicked out for being sick.

  6. Kat on March 14th, 2010

    I disagree with this blogger but he may be right. Health care may be dead. I know Pelosi promises to pass it this week. But they’ve been jerking us around for a year now.

    I remember Christmas Eve. We all thought health care was finally for real then. Then they told us it can’t be done because one Senate seat changed from Democrat to Republican? ONE SEAT! They can’t get anything done with a Obama in White House, Democratic House and Democratic Senate because they got 59 instead of 60 Senators?

    Nonsense!

  7. Sarah Livingston on March 14th, 2010

    Its very foolish to trust politicians with anything as complicated as health insurance for 300 million people. I’m afraid he’s wrong, but I do hope BoomerJeff is right! I hope they cant pass this thing because if they do it will be a disaster.

  8. Thousand Flowers Blooming on March 14th, 2010

    It’s even more foolish to trust insurance CEOs to do the right thing! How can you leave health care in the hands of profiteers?

    Call your Congressman. Tell him Don’t walk away from the millions of Americans who need health reform. People are dying every day because of insurance company terrorists!

  9. Rebecca on March 14th, 2010

    Well said!! So much so that the far-lefties have nothing of any content to dispute the fact that the Democratic Party can not get the votes to pass this. @ Peter…I learned that when presented with actual facts, ideologues resort to name calling. Basically, I wouldn’t waste rational thinking on them. The proof is in the vote!!

  10. Jim on March 15th, 2010

    What is funny is the fact while the left obviously can’t seem to get together or make up their minds, it is the right that is being obstructionist? To anyone calling for “progress” has not a clue what they are asking for. Sorry Libs, but the bash Bush, Blame the Pubs tactic has blown up in your face. Which you will obviously find out the hard way in about 8 months.

  11. Pete1171 on March 15th, 2010

    Interesting. Many Americans, up to 60% outright, and on specific items, up to and over 80%, are opposed to the health bill as presented! Yet WE are supposed to “deal with it”? Got that bass ackwards, doncha, Vanessa?

    Further, it is YOU who really should be concerned with the unborn! You need all the help you can find to pay for this boondoggle! Seems it should be YOU making the murder of the innocent unborn illegal!

    One other point – Democrats can’t get THEIR act together! They are are the clear majority (presently) and don’t need one Republican vote to push it thru! And, they won’t get one! However, it is desention among the majority that is the saving grace for America! Not all of your ‘D’ heros are in secure seats – and they KNOW the numbers are growing against them. Grassroots in CT rose up and Dodd is retiring, rather than face defeat in November! We are going to do the same for at least 3 of the 5 Comgressional Reps, as well! They know they vote for this at the risk of their career! Others around the country know it, too!

    That some changes in health care are needed is not in dispute! Even on its worst day, however, we have the best system in the world! So to give FedGuv control of 1/6th of our GNP is not the way to fix what needs tweaking! That, friends, is Stupidity – and a total lack of common sense!

  12. Drew on March 15th, 2010

    Nothing like a bunch of uninformed, cliche-spouting liberals to make your day. Following is a website that would be useful in making people understand why conservatives are opposed to the health care bill, as opposed to mind-numbingly stupid comments about “favoring insurance CEO’s.”

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1950_2010&view=1&expand=&units=b&fy=fy11&chart=40-total&bar=0&stack=1&size=l&title=&state=US&color=c&local=c

    Go to the site and look in the section called: “Use table below to change data series.”

    Pick a time period, say 1900 to present. Then click on a data series you want to measure. Make sure all are measured as a pct of GDP.

    So, pick health care expenditures. After 65 years of managing to live without government intervention, in 1965 “The Great Society” programs came in with medicare and medicade. After 65 years of spending less than 1% of GDP, with government interference health care expenditures exploded to 7.5% today. They, alone, could bankrupt the country.

    Govt spending on Pensions? After decades at less than 2% they are now at 7%. Education? Skyrocketing.

    Why hasn’t the country financially exploded already? Because two categories of govt expenditure that have declined have paid for it (plus the debt build-up). First, plug in defense. A favorite whipping boy of the left, defense expenditures take far fewer resources today than ever before. (Oh, and for you anti-Reaganites, I dare you to look at that graph and show me the “massive defense buildup” often claimed to be a problem.)

    And finally, look at transportation expenditures, often cited as a core function of government, and a shining example of what it can do, despite the awful state of the road system. Declining expenditures for 45 years. Neglected, while the government gives away goodies.

    Government intervention into transfer payment programs has us on the precipice of national financial ruin. The data are right there in front of your face. Is it any wonder that yet another foray by govt into a major financial sector is opposed?

    The Vanessa’s and Thousand Flowers of the world could use just a few minutes inspecting the history, the data, the facts on the results of government intervention, rather than whine about CEO’s like a couple of blithering idiots.