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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)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Today in Washington, D.C. - Feb. 3, 2011: Sen. Dems Vote To Retain Obamacare; Reps Say The Fight Is Not Over

Feb 6, 1911-2011
The Senate resumed consideration of S. 223, the FAA Reauthorization bill.  At 1 PM, the Senate will for 2 hours for Senators to pay tribute to President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.

Votes on amendments to the FAA bill are possible later today.  Yesterday, 51 Senate Democrats voted to preserve President Obama’s deeply flawed, unpopular health care law. All 47 Republicans voted to repeal it.

However, Democrats finally embraced repeal of a piece of the law that was going to bury small businesses in paperwork, the 1099 reporting requirement. After a year of voting against repealing that requirement, Democrats took Sen. Mike Johanns’ (R-NE) proposal and used it for their own amendment, which passed 81-17. Johanns did such an outstanding job raising awareness about the 1099 requirement that Democrats took the idea and are now claiming it as their own.

However, prior to that vote, an amendment from Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) to do the same thing while raising taxes on oil and gas companies at a time of rising gasoline prices was rejected by a vote of 44-54.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans made good on their promise to force a vote on repealing President Obama’s massive, unpopular health care spending law. Unfortunately, every Senate Democrat present for the vote, 51 in total, voted against repeal. All 47 Republicans voted to scrap the 2,700-page monstrosity and start over.

Following the vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell released a video, saying, “The Senate Republicans promised the American people we would vote to repeal Obamacare, and we have done that. But this fight isn’t over. We intend to continue the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare with sensible reforms that would lower the cost of American health care, like medical malpractice, like selling insurance across state lines.”

Politico explains today, “Just holding the vote is a political victory for Republicans: McConnell managed to force the roll call on the floor of the Democratic-controlled Senate. And some moderate Democrats are now on the record with a vote in favor of Obama’s signature legislative achievement — something that GOP campaigns are sure to exploit over the next two years. The country is relatively split in its support for the law, particularly in states where moderate Democrats will face reelection in 2012. Republicans hope that support for the law will further erode, forcing Democrats to reconsider their support for health reform.”

Politico also points out, “Senate Republicans pledge that their first crack at repealing the health care overhaul won’t be their last. ‘Yes, we were unsuccessful, but we know where everyone stands,’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). ‘It’s not too late to start over. We should repeal this bill and start over. We may not do it today, and we may not do it tomorrow, but we will defeat this bill,’ he said. . . . McConnell has promised to force numerous votes against the health care reform law. ‘We think this is just the beginning,’ he told reporters after the failed vote. ‘This issue is still before us, and we are going to go at it in a variety of ways.’”

The Washington Post adds, "'here’s a narrative I’ve seen and read out there that this was somehow a futile act because Republicans didn't have the votes to repeal Obamacare. But I have to tell you, these are the first steps in a long road that will culminate in 2012 whereby we will expose the flaws and the weaknesses in this legislation,’ Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.) said at a news conference held by GOP leaders after Wednesday’s vote. Republicans in Congress will seek to deny the Obama administration the money it needs to implement parts of the law. They could try to strip out specific provisions, such as some of the cuts to Medicare. They might win a few of these skirmishes. But even if they lose, Republicans could use the assault as a campaign issue in 2012.”

And according to Politico, “Republicans have a bill pending that allows states to ‘opt out’ of the individual requirement to buy insurance, the requirement for large employers to provide coverage and the state expansion of the Medicaid program. They’re also eyeing a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will control the growth of Medicare, and the individual mandate. The expiring continuing resolution to fund the government could give Republicans a new opportunity to attack the law. McConnell said they might try to ‘delete the funding for bureaucrats to ramp up Obamacare.’”

An email from Speaker Bohner's office this morning signaled the House, Republican leaders are willing to "slash domestic agency spending by almost 20 percent in their drive to bring it back to levels in place before President Barack Obama took office."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, House Budget Chair says this is "the first salvo in a battle with Obama as they seek to keep a campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic programs." The GOP promise was to reduce spending for domestic agencies whose budgets are set by Congress each year back to levels in place under the last budget approved by former President George W. Bush. The AP responded this morning stating: "The hard-charging GOP freshman class may have some second thoughts when confronted with big cuts . . ."

Tags: Washington, D.C., US House, US Senate, Obamacare, government healthcare, repeal the bill, budgets, 1099 Reform 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 12:53 PM - Post Link


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