October 20, 2009 | Commentary on Health Care
Congress is showing contempt for the American people by excluding them from the crafting of Obamacare. The president promised in his campaign he'd deliver transparency, saying, "I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table" with everybody involved. Those that can't make it would be able to see "the negotiations televised on C-SPAN." Too bad this isn't happening: yet another broken Obama promise.
The media report that the only people at this negotiation are the liberal political elites, including Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) (author of the Vapor Bill), Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), Senate HELP Committee chair Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.) and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
C-SPAN isn't there, and there's no way for the American people to know what deals are being cut. Liberals in Congress are crafting Obamacare in secret, so they can railroad a bill through before the American people can raise objections to an Obamacare bill written in this secretive and closed proceeding.
One Senator Can Be a Hero
The two most important words a senator should learn are "I Object." The Senate conducts most of its business by unanimous consent to waive the usual rules of business. If one senator objects to every request made by Senate Majority Leader Reid during the proceedings on Obamacare, the bill might not pass.
A senator may use procedural objections, or offer amendments, to expose the weaknesses of the bill and lead to the bill's political implosion. Also, an open and transparent amendment process would prevent liberal leadership from buying the votes of moderate senators by inserting special-interest projects.
The definitive moment in the Obamacare debate will be the vote on ending debate in the Senate. That final vote will be the make-or-break moment for the bill, and Americans will be watching to see if one senator will protect the people's right to participate in the process.
Another Vapor Bill
Earlier this month, Senators John Kerry (D.-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) introduced their version of a cap-and-trade national energy tax intended to prevent global warming. This bill, too, was missing key provisions for members and the public to review.
Last week, according to Congressional Quarterly, the senators "produced a 'semi-final draft' of the legislation -- including the critical formula for distributing billions of dollars' worth of pollution credits to different industries and interest groups." Unfortunately, that draft is unavailable to the public. Sound familiar?
Allocating hundreds of billions of dollars worth of carbon credits behind closed doors and failing to disclose the work product is an affront to transparency. Senators Kerry and Boxer have spawned another Senate "Vapor Bill."
Liberals in Congress added a provision expanding federal hate crimes to the Defense Authorization Bill, and the Senate is ready to approve the conference report and send it to the President. This provision is offensive to conservatives. Criminal law shouldn't adopt politically correct definitions of crimes. Furthermore, this effort offends federalism: Making activities that are already illegal in the states into a federal crime takes power away from the states and gives it to the federal government.
Obama's Second stimulus Plan
In January, the unemployment rate was 7.6% and President Obama assured us his $787 billion stimulus bill (passed in February) would prevent the unemployment rate from passing 8%. Today, the unemployment rate stands at 9.8%.
Even though the first Obama stimulus failed, many liberals are plowing ahead with a second one. In the next few weeks, the administration will present a plan that includes a $250 give-away to people with disabilities, seniors and veterans -- as if that would somehow stimulate the economy.
Slashing tax rates (permanently), eliminating the TARP program and stopping the explosive growth of the federal government would be a true stimulus plan. Laureate Obama may be in line for a Nobel Prize in economics if he can figure out a way to shrink the federal government, lower taxes, promote free trade and eliminate the TARP program -- a true stimulus plan for the globe.
Nobel Laureate Barack Obama
President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, and many Americans agreed with his reaction: "To be honest, I don't feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by the prize."
Conservatives have come to scoff at a prize that seems to be given only to liberals, not transformative conservatives such as President Ronald Reagan, who in June 1987, stood in front of the Berlin wall that imprisoned the people of Communist East Berlin, and declared: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace ... tear down this wall." The wall did fall two years later, and Reagan had won the Cold War and preserved the peace without winning the prize. Meanwhile Obama, who even his supporters admit hasn't accomplished anything, has now won before even finishing his first year in office.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in Human Events