Tag: United States Congress

The Exemption

I think all of us — liberal, conservative and otherwise — can unite in saying “No Fucking Way“:

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.

A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.

Gee, politico, ya think so? One thing to note in the article: there seems to be a lot of confusion on Capital Hill about what, exactly, implementing the bill will entail for Congress. That is, Congress isn’t clear on what their own healthcare reform is going to mean to them. How do they expect the rest of us to keep up?

When this whole process started, I said that a keystone had to be that Congress got the same plan the rest of us did. Several Republicans made sure that got into Obamacare. We can’t back down now. If Congress exempts themselves from this, we really will end up with one system for the rich and power, and one system for the rest of us.


You know, he has a point:

The president is in full campaign mode. So is Congress. The federal government has been put into a holding pattern until the November elections.

Like “Major, Major, Major” from “Catch-22,” it appears that although everyone in Washington is still there, no one is actually there.

This being the situation, one might ask — Why don’t they all go home? They could leave Washington to the pundits and lobbyists.

The president especially needs to leave.

Not because he has been ineffective in managing the nation, but because in his zeal to find new groups to blame for our economic failures, by leaving town he could be in a position to travel the countryside blaming what he left behind.

In fact, he could even blame the White House since he would not be there. He could claim no residency and thus no responsibility. He could run against Washington, the Congress and the White House. It would be the ultimate political strategy, deftly executed from Chicago. It would also place the blame where it should be.

Members of Congress, once they returned home or to wherever, could also run against themselves.

As long as this came with suspending their pay, it might not be a bad idea. Well, it’s a bad idea, but it’s an honest one. Because we might as well not have a government right now. Social security, debt, the economy — all of these are on the back burner for the next six months while we argue over whose fault the current mess is. The idea of solving problems — and pay the requisite political price — is regarded as heresy.

A Portent Of Greatness?

The reasons behind dismal congressional approval ratings are rather obvious, not only is finding D.C. types that “get it” harder then what Lot went through in his search for 10 righteous men in Sodom, but it is clear to everyone that getting anything done is secondary to sticking it to the opposition and looking good doing it. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my lifetime where universal derision has not been higher and the confidence of the people in the system has not been lower. But just when you think we are beyond saving and start looking at Canada or Australia (yeah, I have) someone comes along that could be “the one”, Marco Rubio is looking real good right now:

It’s been obvious for a while now that congress critters don’t make speeches in the chambers to convince or persuade, impossible, but they do it for dissemination to the folks, constituents and normal people out there who they can possibly inform and impress, voters.

I like the fact that Rubio covered many of the topics we have discussed here, the MIA Senate in passing a budget, the duplicity of the pres and VP wrt their waffling opinions of raising the debt ceilings in the past, the truth about what is really motivating the credit agencies and their threats of a downgrade, the way business in done there in general and the politics behind it, but mostly that stuff is broke. The system, the tax code, S.S., medicare, medicaid, the uncontrollable size of government, all broke, and even when you have a consensus that something needs to be done, nothing gets done.

Rubio is young, inexperienced, and a neophyte, a stranger in a strange land, but it appears that he is learning quickly.

I have heard several appeals in the blogosphere and from media types that although the presidential candidacy is wide open, the VP slot is a lock, and that better go to Marco Rubio. I need to do more research on the matter to formulate an opinion on whether that would be a wise move or not. But one thing is clear, the Tea Party has given us 4 or 5 young guns, people that get it and want to fix Washington, and no star is brighter than Marco Rubio.

War Powers? What War Powers?

I have emerged from my proposal hermitage. And in the time between now and the rapture (be sure to set your alarms!), I’m starting to wonder: does anyone give a shit about the law anymore?

President Obama may be on the brink of breaking the law.

At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days.

The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline.

Administration officials don’t yet feel compelled to seek such permission and some party leaders have been satisfied with the information flow so far, but still, inaction is angering other lawmakers from both the left and the right who rarely agree on anything.

Let’s be blunt, shall we? The President is not “maybe” breaking the law; he is breaking the law. He was on shaky ground to begin with — the President should have used the War Power for rapid action and then gotten Congressional approval. But he doesn’t even seem remotely inclined to comply with the law. And our Congressional leaders can’t be bothered to press him on it. And do I even need to remind everyone that the Eeevil Tyrannical Bush complied with the War Powers Act? As has every other President? (Clinton may have broken it in Kosovo.)

Of course, they did find time to work out a deal to extend the Patriot Act, which expires in a week, for four years with zero additional oversight. When it comes to gobbling up liberties, deadlines are absolutely vital. But limiting the power of the President? Meh.

Update: The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get. We’ve gone from a situation where Congress took the War Power with the seriousness it deserves to the eve of the Iraq War, when they essentially punted any responsibility back to the President, to now, when they’re just too busy to bother.

The simply don’t want to take responsibility — either for ending our Libyan escape or continuing it. They’re happy to just blame Obama for it (as they blamed Bush for Iraq). It’s disgusting.

Update: Obama has no graciously asked Congress to authorize the war. Consider me unmollified. The President should have been seeking and Congress should have been debating this from day one.