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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - Mar 3, 2010 - House Republicans Call for Spending Limit Constitutional Amendment

Yesterday, the Senate voted 78-19 to pass a bill (H.R. 4691) extending unemployment insurance, COBRA subsidies, highway funding, and the Medicare doc fix through the end of the month using deficit financing.Prior to that vote, 53 Democrats voted down a substitute amendment from Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) to pay for the bill with unused stimulus funds. Earlier in the day, the Senate voted 99-0 twice to invoke cloture and to confirm Barbara Keenan to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Today, the Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 4213, the tax extenders bill. The bill extends tax provisions that expired at the end of the year such as state sales tax deductions and the research and development tax credit. Votes on amendments to the bill are possible throughout the day.

In the House, Speaker Pelosi is whipping democrats into line to abandon the House proposed health care plan and to accept the Senate version as their bill based on trust that Reid will allow them to push through changes using conference agreements and then to force voting using reconciliation in the Senate.  Today, President Obama proclaimed that it is time to move forward and to use reconciliation.  The arrogance of this president is beyond belief.  He speaks our on pontificates as if he is running Congress now.  If Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi are allowing Obama and his administration to dictate to the legislative process, they have abrogated their Constitutional responsibility and have placed the Republic at risk. In addition, the House faced the issue of Rep. Charlie Rangel stepping down from his committee leadership due to ethics violations. Today's GOP House Leadership Press Conference can be viewed here.

The runaway spending under the democrat leadership has become so disastrous that three House members today proposed that the American people need a new constitutional amendment. Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Rep. John Campbell "believe that a constitutional amendment to control spending must be a central part of that debate and will likely serve as a necessary precondition for any serious spending restraint at the national level. The last few decades have proven far too often that the appetite to spend taxpayers’ money is strong, and lawmakers of both parties repeatedly bend to electoral pressures to bust their own budgets and amend statutory constraints. "  So they are proposing " a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to limit spending to one-fifth of the economy—the historical average for spending since World War II. The limit could only be waived if a declaration of war was in effect or by a two-thirds vote of Congress."

The Washington Post reports today, “As Democrats on Capitol Hill prepared a risky effort to muscle sweeping health-care legislation to final passage, President Obama on Tuesday made a last gambit to split Republicans on the issue, proposing to incorporate a handful of GOP ideas into his signature domestic initiative. On Wednesday, Obama plans to call on Congress to bring the year-long debate to a swift close, and congressional leaders expect him to signal support for a strategy that includes a special budget maneuver known as reconciliation.”

But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explained the problem with this approach in a floor speech this morning. “Americans don’t want us to tack a few good ideas onto a bill that reshapes one sixth of the economy, vastly expands the role of government, and which raises taxes and cuts Medicare to pay for it all. They want us to scrap the underlying bill altogether and start over with step-by-step reforms that target cost and expand access.”

Yet Democrats are apparently determined to jam this bill through over the bipartisan objections of the American people, abusing the reconciliation process in the Senate along the way. In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal doesn’t pull any punches in blasting the Democrats for their decision: “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.”

As Sen. McConnell points out, “[Americans] don’t want it, and they won’t tolerate any more back room deals or legislative schemes to force it through Congress on a partisan basis. History is clear: Big legislation always requires big majorities. And this latest scheme to lure Democrats into switching their votes in the House by agreeing to use Reconciliation in the Senate will be met with outrage.”

One senator even said of reconciliation, “Reconciliation is therefore the wrong place for policy changes . . . . In short, the reconciliation process appears to have lost its proper meaning. A vehicle designed for deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility has been hijacked to facilitate reckless deficits and unsustainable debt.” Which senator? It’s a statement from the junior senator from Illinois in 2005: Sen. Barack Obama.

Tags: federal spending, government healthcare, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:15 PM - Post Link

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