Wednesday, September 25, 2013
McConnell vs. Cruz
Playing politics or winning the argument.
My dad once told me, “Kelly, you may not like politics but politics likes you.” His point was that politics has very real consequences to your life. Nowhere is this more obvious than with the Obamacare law; a law with life and death consequences.
Government provided healthcare should be a relic of the past like religious wars, kings and serfs and tuberculosis wards. Didn’t the government run those? To say nothing of your friendly government run insane asylums. How did those work out for both the patients and the doctors?
Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stood on the Senate floor to speak against Obamacare. And as I write this, he is going on 20 hours.
Certainly Senator Mitch McConnell isn’t rising with his colleague in a 20-hour lecture on why Obamacare is a bad bill with a bad Supreme Court ruling backing it up.
Last week, Boehner’s House gave conservative Senators a bill that would keep the government funded but cut Obamacare’s purse strings. Exactly what Cruz and friends, including me, would like to see.
But this is politics and nothing is ever as clear as it seems. Take the initial passing of Obamacare.
In the House, Obamacare started as House Resolution 3590, which was then called the Service Members Home Ownership Act. That’s right home ownership for veterans. Who isn’t for a military veteran coming home from war and having a roof over his or her head?
The Service Members Home Ownership Act passed the House, but was stripped in committee in a process known as “gut and amend”. This is where Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde. HR 3590 was replaced entirely and became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as it headed for the Senate.
According to Washington insiders and the U.S. Department of Justice using H.R. 3590 as a “shell bill” is a “commonplace procedure (which) satisfied the Origination Clause,” said their brief. “It makes no difference that the Senate amendments to H.R. 3590 were expansive. The Senate may amend a House bill in any way it deems advisable, even by amending it with a total substitute, without running afoul of the Origination Clause.”
A total substitute? Which begs the question, then what is the use of passing a bill in the House in the first place if it can be rewritten entirely by the Senate? The procedure may be commonplace and satisfy the Origination Clause but is it right?
So jump ahead several years and Obamacare is now the “law of the land” and the Senate is once again up to its armpits in “commonplace procedures” that may “satisfy” some lawyer somewhere and are certainly political.
Upon receiving Boehner's House passed bill that strips funding for Obamacare, the Democratic leadership in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), wanted to simply “gut and amend” again creating a new Senate version restoring funding with a simple majority vote. And why shouldn't he. The rewrite-a-good-House-bill-into-a-bad-Senate-bill tactic known as "gut and amend" worked for Reid and friends the first time. And, this time they're only going for a bit of added funding.
Senator Cruz stood up and said no...and he's still saying no...for 20 hours now and counting. I guess Senator McConnell continues his proud support of the House passed Service Members Home Ownership Act.