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  • Obamacare and Health Care Nuclear Option Violate First Principles

    Signing of the Declaration of Independence

    The President’s new version of Obamacare, and his method of passing it, are not popular with the American people. Dubbed the Health Care Nuclear Option, this tactic will only further anger the American by  sidetracking the filibuster in the Senate and creating an even more highly charged partisan atmosphere in Congress.  The content of Obamacare, and the strategies being employed to pass it, violates one of our nation’s core first principles: the consent of the governed.  Our Republic is not a democracy where bare 51 vote majorities rule. Throughout our nation’s history most major legislative changes in Washington have historically been bipartisan and President Obama’s effort clearly falls short of that tradition.

    As we reported late last week:

    The Health Care Nuclear Option, also known as reconciliation, is being considered by liberal politicians to insure that Obamacare makes it to the President’s desk by Easter.  According to The New York Times, the plan is to have the President submit reconciliation legislation to be posted on the internet this weekend. The legislation will be crafted in a manner so that it can be passed using special reconciliation procedures created solely to enact laws to reduce the deficit as part of the annual budget.  The next step is for the President to conduct his half day bipartisan summit at the Blair House on February 25th. With that faux-bipartisan stunt over with, the President will be free to pass legislation in a partisan manner that tosses aside the regular rules of business in the Senate.

    Americans treasure the idea that our Republic was set up so that the power of the federal government is derived from the consent of the people.  The extraordinary state power to pass legislation that puts the government in control of more private health care decisions should only be done with the clear consent of the American people.  The Mount Vernon Statement released on February 17, 2010, a document defining the conservative movement’s first principles, states:

    We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

    The Mount Vernon Statement argues that “at this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed.”  President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) must seek consent of the governed to move forward on Obamacare. But they are not.

    There is no consent of the governed for Obamacare. As a matter of fact, there is a consensus that the President’s top down approach to reforming health care has the explicit opposition of the American people. Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was elected to represent the liberal state of Massachusetts in the Senate by running against Obamacare. The left likes to say that this was just one election. But so was the 2008 elections. The Founders never intended a change in policy as sweeping as Obamacare to be decided by just one election. That is why Senators are not up for reelection in every cycle. The Senate is designed to slow down the passions of the moment in favor of a more deliberative and settled policy.

    That is why all of the major policy changes in our nation’s history have been enacted with strong bipartisan support. When Medicare passed in 1965 there was bipartisan support for the bill.  Democrat Senators supported by a 57-7 margin and Republicans supported by a 13-17 margin (final Senate vote 70-24). In the House, Medicare passed by a 307-116 margin with House Republicans splitting 70-68 in the vote.  President Johnson signed the bill into law after bipartisan majorities supported this controversial new safety net program.

    And President Ronald Reagan got strong bipartisan consent for his revolutionary tax reform act of 1986. The House approved the measure 292-136 and the Senate passed it by a landslide 97 to 3 vote. More recently Republicans and Democrats worked together to enact a major reform of our nation’s welfare system in 1996. President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law after over 20 Democratic Senators joined with the Republican majority to pass the bill by a 74 -24 margin. That is the kind of bipartisan reform the White House should be pursuing.

    Real Clear Politics (RCP) has links to Obamacare polls that indicate that more Americans oppose Obamacare than support it.  The average RCP poll indicates that 38% are in favor of the President’s health care reforms versus 53% who are against it (an approximate 15% deficit).  It is clear that the American people do not consent to Obamacare. The only bipartisan action on Obamacare will be Democrats voting against the measure. There is broad bipartisan agreement that the government’s treatment of health care needs serious reform, yet there is not bipartisan agreement that Obamacare solves these issues.  The President’s strategy to pull and end around the opposition of the American citizens and the filibuster in the Senate is a true affront to the ideas of the consent of the governed and comprehensive reform efforts need strong bipartisan support to get passed.  It is time for President Obama to scrap Obamacare so as to proceed with negotiation between Republicans and Democrats starting from scratch.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Obamacare and Health Care Nuclear Option Violate First Principles

    1. Kevin Habib, Glen Bu says:

      These complaints seem funny to me. The U.S. is a representative democracy. We elect the 435 Members of the House every 2 years and a 1/3rd of the Senate every 6 years.

      Our country lives on majority rule. No where in constitution does it say Members of all parties need to vote for something to pass it. If one party had 90-10 advantage in the Senate and passed a bill 90-10 along party lines, would you complain that it was not bipartisan?

      It does not matter what parties vote for it – it matters if a majority does. Much like the Republicans did in 2003 when they passed the 2nd of President Bush Jr.'s stimulus plans, they only had 50 votes on the Senate and relied on VP Cheney to break the tie.

      America is too often reactive and not proactive enough. it sounds like you want the American people to decide what passes and what doesn't – and seems like you want to go the route of some weird socialist society where every person votes on every single issue.

      We elect Members of Congress based on how well we think they can represent us. We elect them and let them do theri work. if they don't do what we want, we elect someone else – but to suggest we should legislate based on where polls are every day is sad and offensive and anti-american.

    2. SPO101, MS says:

      I heard about how the CPAC Republicans are calling themselves the Party of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY… WHAT do Republicans/Conservatives KNOW ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? Are you people MAD?

      Case and point just look how the Republicans are trying to make RECONCILIATION look like it was the end of democracy. As Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes pointed out in the last few days, Republicans used the Nuclear Option (reconciliation) as a RULE OF THE SENATE 18 times.

      In OTHER WORDS Republican Party talking points are based on the ignorance of their constituents. They revise history and LIE because they CAN… because idiots who vote for Republicans DON’T KNOW THEIR OWN HISTORY!

      NOTE: (I wish the Pharmaceutical Industry could find a cure for the severe superiority complexes, odd paranoia and religious delusions most of the Right-wing is suffering through)

      The most SHAMELESS, HYPOCRITICAL THING I’ve ever been witness to is how Republicans/Conservatives are dodging responsibility for the economic meltdown. They decided it was better for their political careers and revised history legacies if they just LIED and blamed Obama/Biden for the HUGE MESS!

      I’m so sick of Republicans/Conservatives ruining this great nation while waving the patriotic flag. JUST LOOK AT THEIR RECORD during 8 years of Bush/Cheney and Republican controlled Congress (1994-2006). It’s like these incompetent, scheming fools were trying to live up to the old Soviet saying about “America will be destroyed from within”. Waste, fraud, abuse, scandal, corruption, lies, job outsourcing, off-shore tax evasion , reckless economics, war profiteering, Constitutional violations…

      jinnbad.blogspot.com

    3. Sean, Seattle, WA says:

      "The Health Care Nuclear Option, also known as reconciliation"

      Since when is reconciliation known as the nuclear option?

      You guys sure do have a selective memory.

      Let me remind you that the nuclear option was presented by the republicans as a threat to do away with the filibuster in light of democratic opposition to the appointment of federal judges.

      It has nothing to do with reconciliation and the article referenced in the times doesn't even mention the word 'nuclear'

      Only a few morons and republican journalist have even given lip service to the notion that somehow using the reconciliation process to pass health care reform would be tantamount to the 'nuclear option.'

      The reconciliation process has been used to pass the majority of heath care initiatives in the country, COBRA (R for reconciliation), SCHIP, and Medicare expansions to name a few.

      But you go ahead and keep shouting in outrage that this is some unprecedented legislative step.

      There is no reason that the American people should continue to be gouged by private insurance carries who have no desire in providing adequate coverage at an affordable price.

      Keep some credibility and lay off the talking points especially when they are complete B.S.

    4. Pingback: House and Senate Cloakroom: March 1-5, 2010 | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    5. Chris Nelson, York, says:

      Barack Obama is a dangerous lunatic. We knew it from the beginning but nobody listened. Now we are paying the price.

    6. RH says:

      Stop the Economic Holocaust…. save our Nation Freedom now

    7. Gary Mickelson, Park says:

      A little off course here, but would it be possible to get the other opinion without all the name calling, accusations of insanity and the like? To me anyway, it invalidates your arguments, labels you something you more than likely don't want to be labeled and ends the ability to take you seriously. Obviously this isn't everybody but it's the extreme views on both sides that keep anybody from working out resolutions acceptable to everybody. It's the blame game, the finger pointing and the name calling that have us as polarized as we are — and it appears its only going to get worse. This is not the 'healthy' debate the majority of Americans want to see but destructive and what has gotten us here.

      To Heritage, those are great standards. Where's the enforcement?

    8. JIm Fargo ND says:

      I agree with keeping things civil, but you have to remember that the left's side of the argument for this health care bill lacks any substance or rational, or original thoughts. so they as usual resort to personal attacks as apposed to a factual debate

      We will stay the high ground and leave them wallow in the ………….

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