- CNN covers Obama’s campaign
Regardless of which side of the health care debate you may find yourself on, you should be very concerned about how any health care bill is passed. Democrats claim that their proposed use of “reconciliation” to force their health care bill into law is nothing extraordinary, but rather a standard parliamentary move used repeatedly in the past and even used by Republicans. In the noon hour today, CNN’s Tony Harris repeated the Democrat claim, listing historical examples in-which “reconciliation” has been used.
The problem for me is that the procedure is not called “reconciliation,” rather it’s called, “BUDGETARY RECONCILIATION”. The not-so-subtle difference is that the process was created to pass spending bills, NOT whole new laws. The Democrats are not attempting to pass a budget or tax bill. They are trying to fundamentally alter the American health care system and in effect, the economy. I know my opinion may mean nothing to you, however, it is a fact that in nearly every instance in-which Budgetary Reconciliation has been employed it was to pass a budgetary or tax bill. Where it has been employed otherwise it was an abuse of power – regardless of whether it was Democrats or Republicans who did it.
When Budget Reconciliation was used
So how has Budgetary Reconciliation been used in the past? Let’s look at the historical uses of Budgetary Reconciliation and which party used it.
(Source: NYT, “S”=Senate “H”=House, Controlling parties only updated when there was a change.)
- 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (S-R H-D)
- 1982 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
- 1982 Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act
- 1985 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
- 1986 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
- 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (S-D H-D)
- 1990 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
- 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
- 1996 Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunity Act (S-R H-R)
- 1997 Balanced Budget Act (S-D H-D)
- 2001 Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (S-D H-R)
- 2003 Jobs & Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (S-R H-R)
- 2005 Deficit Reduction Act
- 2005 Tax Increase Prevention & Reconciliation Act
- 2007 College Cost Reduction & Access Act (S-D H-D)
So we can see that in 30 years this procedure has been used 15 times. In all but two (2) uses it was used properly to pass budget or tax acts. Only twice has it been employed to pass non-budget items, in 1996 when Republicans pushed through welfare reform and in 2007 when Democrats rammed through a student aid program. If you will open the NYT graphic linked above, you can see reconciliation wasn’t even needed in most of these cases. In eight of the 15 cases the bills were passed with clear super-majorities.
American History: Protecting the Minority
Why should Congress even waste time with super-majority votes? Shouldn’t a simple majority be all we ever need? I mean, we elect Presidents and every other official with simple majorities, right? However, the founding fathers set the government up to protect minorities. What? You’re surprised? It’s likely you are, as liberals have polluted our understanding of American history, portraying our ancestors as murderous bigots.
True the founding fathers, for the most part, didn’t have Africans or Native Americans in mind, but they did protect minorities. The House of Representatives directly represents the population and in theory it should reflect the will of the people. However, the Senate does not reflect population, as every state no matter it’s size, has exactly two votes.
They established the House as the LOWER body of Congress, not the upper body. The minority was empowered to stop bills through the process of filibuster and it requires a super-majority of 2/3 to prevent or stop it. You see they wanted to provide a process whereby the minority can stop legislation that may be harmful or disadvantageous to them.
In 1974, Democrats in Congress, established Reconciliation as a method to pass spending bills. Effectively undermining the minority. I find the entire procedure to be counter to the intentions of the founding fathers. (A note to the gotcha-crowd, a super-majority is not required to pass legislation – only to prevent or stop a filibuster.) What they are attempting now is what Democrats have become very comfortable doing, crushing opposition by prohibiting the opposition from speaking.
It is worth noting that my family has been touched by cancer as well. I understand the high price of health care and the current problems with insurance. I am currently trapped and unable to voluntarily change jobs as my wife’s history of cancer make her a high risk. I know the cost of cancer. I was lucky, my “Cadillac” health insurance covered the vast majority of our costs. I am sensitive to the plight of Natoma Canfield. I listened to her tell her own story on CNN (BTW, who else thinks CNN could be on the Obama payroll?) Natoma’s story underlines the need to do something but does that mean doing something stupid, reckless, or dangerous to national solvency?
Perhaps the most amazing statement made supporting the use of Reconciliation to pass this health care bill came from the President just moments ago (as I was writing.) The President emotionally and forcefully said, “They don’t want us readin’ polls. … they want us to show courage and act now.” Wow, if you are a thinking person what would you think this meant? Is the President saying the majority of Americans want this bill passed without regard to polling data? What would that mean and why would the majority care since, if indeed the majority wanted this bill passed, then the polling data would simply back that fact up. Ah, but the polling data shows – even in the MSM – that the majority don’t want this bill. Rather, I believe what the President is actually saying is, damn the majority, I want this bill passed because some Americans including and especially me want it passed. This is signature rhetoric from a radical ideologue.