Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

As discussed in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today, there’s emerging evidence that Democrats intend to move all of their most controversial legislation — and their hearts’ deepest desires — to a lame duck session after the November elections.  That way, their members don’t have to take tough votes in advance of their elections in the fall, but Democrats still get to take advantage of their once-in-a-generation situation of huge majorities in Congress with a friendly president.  Card check, cap-and-trade, higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy — it’s all in the lame-duck agenda.

There is nothing illegal, unconstitutional, or improper about this.  It is, however, anti-democratic, cynical, and entirely preventable.  In response, the 41 Republican members of the U.S. Senate should issue a joint statement, signed by everyone, making it clear that while they will attend and participate in any session of the Senate that is called, they will all vote against cloture on every piece of legislation brought to the floor during a lame-duck session (at least assuming there is no imminent threat to the nation or somesuch thing).

That kind of statement, made now rather than in November, will take the pressure off folks like Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe.  They might be inclined to vote in favor of certain of the Democrats’ measures on a substantive basis, but they have to resent being used to pass legislation that, had it been voted on in October, could have won the Republicans a couple more Senate seats.  By saying now that they’re happy to vote on anything they bring up before November, they give themselves cover in case they are forced to vote on items their constituencies would expect them to support.   Senators can then say, “I would have voted for it if the Democrats had operated with transparency and honor before the election, but I can’t support this manipulative lame-duck agenda, no matter what it is.”

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With apologies to Wallace Stevens.


Among fifty failing states,

The only moving thing

Was the cost of the health care bill.


The CBO was of three minds,

Like a hopper

In which there are three health care bills.


A health care bill swirled in the cloakrooms.

It was but a small part of the Big Lie.


A Reid and a Pelosi

Are one.

A Reid and a Pelosi and a health care bill

Are one.


I do not know which to prefer,

The folly of the deceptions

Or the folly of the desperations,

The health care bill passing

Or just after.


Snowmounds filled the Capitol steps

With muddy puddles.

The shadow of the health care bill

Passed them, to and fro.

The mood

Traced in the shadow

An unfathomable doom.


Oh wise men of Congress,

Why do you dream of wonder cures?

Do you not see that the health care bill

Stoops beneath the feet

Of the system around you?


I know high premiums

And frightful, inescapable long lines;

But I know, too,

That the health care bill is involved

In what I know.


When the health care bill moved out of sight,

It marked the start

Of one of many scandals.


At the sound of health care bills

Read into the deep night,

Even the frauds of K Street

Would cry out sharply.


He flew over Connecticut

In a white bird.

Once a fear pierced him

In that he mistook

The shadow of his presidency

For health care bills.


Obama is speaking.

The health care bill must be losing.


It was evening all afternoon.

It was snowing

And it was going to snow.

The health care bill sat

In the Speaker’s chair.

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No, the title does not refer to what I’ve been doing to my readers for the last month.  Well, it doesn’t ONLY describe that.

What it does refer to is the very easy, quite appropriate way for Congress to deal with Lisa Jackson’s attempted blackmail of the legislative branch.  It’s plain as day that EPA’s endangerment finding with regard to greenhouse gas emissions is the gun to Congress’ head, ordering them to pass cap and trade or face limitless regulation of carbon dioxide from the bureaucracy.

There was a time, not long ago, that such a move by the administrative state would have been received with unanimous resentment on Capitol Hill.  It’s the ultimate disrespect from an agency that Congress never even created in the first place.  Even if a congressman or senator is in favor of greenhouse gas regulation, he or she should be offended that EPA believes it can bludgeon them into pervasive regulation of the nation’s economy at the precise moment that the science behind such actions is in serious question.

Many are calling for Congress to amend the Clean Air Act to exempt greenhouse gases.  Others are encouraging our representatives to pass cap and trade and avoid Carbogeddon.  These routes are either unthinkable in the current political climate or would have an unfathomable impact on our weak economy.

Luckily, Congress was granted a shorthand way of reining in wayward bureaucracies.  All it must do is insert the following language in the 2009 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill (or any appropriations bill, for that matter):

No funds may be used to develop, promulgate, or enforce any rule, proposed rule, or other regulatory action implementing or relying upon the December 7, 2009 Endangerment and Cause or Contribute findings issued by the Environmental Protection Agency with regard to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

That sentence, or something like it, would starve the EPA of funds to develop any rules on greenhouse gases.  How do I know that?  Because I wrote just such a sentence for my boss in 2000 about the Clean Air Act, and it became law.  Let it not be said that EPA has the upper hand here.  Only a weak Congress, obeisant to Obama, would countenance such bullying from a lowly administrator.

Well, OK, you’ve got me there.

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Lost among the frenzy of last Saturday’s health care debate were two discordant notes within the Republican caucus.  Both were the brainchild of Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), who challenged Minority Leader John Boehner for his position during last winter’s the 2006 leadership elections.  I was a Shadegg guy then.  Now I’m glad the caucus voted for the other guy.

First, Shadegg chose to use his Chief of Staff’s child as a prop during his speech on the bill.  Holding the 7-month-old little girl in his arms, Shadegg claimed to give voice for her unspoken thoughts on the legislation:

“Maddy believes in freedom,” Mr. Shadegg said, as his chief-of-staff’s daughter reached toward the microphone. “Maddy likes America because we have freedom.”

He added, “She came here to say she doesn’t want the government to take over health care … She doesn’t want a health care bill that will cost $1.5 trillion.” And he said that if the bill passes, Maddy knows her mother will lose her health insurance.

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The House Ways and Means Committee confirmed today that the mandate provisions in Pelosicare will follow the form we’ve all expected: obey or go to jail.  While it’s an unconstitutional, brutal, and outrageous provision, it does crystallize the legal issues in a way the Senate bill does not.  These people have abandoned any pretense of addressing public concerns.  They want their power and they want it now.

For those who are following the mandate saga, there were some outstanding contributions to the debate in recent days:

See my previous commentary on the health insurance mandate here, here, and here.

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Senator Jim DeMint has highlighted a nasty little morsel in the Democratic stimulus legislation:

(2) PROHIBITED USES OF FUNDS.—No funds awarded under this section may be used for—

(C) modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities—

(i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or

(ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission; or construction of new facilities.

That’s right — the Democrats are insisting that if stimulus funds are used by a university to repair or renovate a campus building, that building is forever banned from housing “sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity.”

Think about that for a minute.  If a Syracuse dining hall has its windows replaced by the bill, students will be prohibited by federal law from saying a prayer before their meals.  If Duke University builds a classroom building to house its art department with stimulus money, in the year 2120, the local U.S. Attorney can go to court to enjoin the school from moving its Divinity School into the structure.  If the University of Georgia so much as changes a lightbulb purchased with stimulus money in its Chapel, it can arguably never host another marriage ceremony.  And perhaps most importantly, no sectarian university could ever contemplate receiving funds from the stimulus bill, because the bill would require it to establish a “no God allowed” building in the middle of its campus.

It’s an outrageous violation of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, which any Senator should understand upon first reading.  Established Supreme Court precedent has plainly prohibited government entities, such as public schools, from preventing individuals from exercising their religious liberty in orderly ways on public property.  But Sen. DeMint has already tried to remove the language via amendment, and the AMENDMENT FAILED.

In case you wondered if liberalism had truly run amok in this bill, this should decide the matter for you.  Even I never expected the Democrats to sink this low in week 3 of the Obama Administration.  Get on the phone, folks, and put an end to this madness.

Campus transit during the Obama Administration?

Campus transit during the Obama Administration?

Update: Malkin and the Corner are all over this.

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