November 24, 2009
By Brian Darling
As most Americans sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, many Senators may instead be reading Majority Leader Harry Reid's version of Obamacare. That'll take awhile, as the bill thumps in at more than 2,000 pages. Americans deserve to know what's in the legislation and ought to be allowed to participate in the process. Yet some Senators are concerned that once the American people digest Reid's bill, they'll have a bad case of health care heartburn.
When asked on Fox News if he thought Reid's bill would pass, Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) said, "I hope the American people rebel." As Obamacare gets one baby step closer to passage, it's up to the American people to "rebel" and stop America's march toward bigger and bigger government, or else be stuck with a turkey of a bill.
Expensive and Controversial ReidCare
Reid's legislation faces a difficult road to passage because of its cost, the Taxes it would impose and the question of whether it covers abortion. Americans are also concerned about the overarching issues: government-controlled health care and mandates that citizens must carry insurance.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this bill would cost $849 billion over the next 10 years. The left is selling this bill as a means to cut federal spending, yet the numbers buried in the CBO report should strike fear into the heart of every taxpayer. If the bill is fully implemented, it would cost a staggering $2.5 trillion over the first 10 years of implementation. Taxes would increase by $494 billion and Medicare would be cut $465 billion. Only liberals would argue that legislation containing massive increases in government spending, cuts in promised benefits for those on Medicare and huge tax increases could be good for America.
This bill would also allow federal dollars to go to health insurance plans that fund abortion, so a debate over federal funding of abortion could take the bill down. The mandates in the bill would further aggravate Americans if they are forced to buy a product that is both very expensive and not very good. It's possible that if the Senate passes this bill and sends it to the House, the House could pass it quickly and get it to the President's desk by Christmas.
However, it's unclear whether Reid has the votes to pass his mammoth bill and push it one step closer to President Obama's desk.
Bush on Trial in NYC
The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and four other foreign terrorists to New York City may be simply a means for the Obama Administration to play politics with 9/11 and put Bush Administration anti-terrorism initiatives on trial in a federal court in New York City.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to explain to the Senate Judiciary Committee his rational for using civilian courts to try enemy combatants. Holder's tortured logic is hard to understand when one recalls that Mohamed pled guilty and requested the death penalty at a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay. There's no need for a trial.
The irony is that the Obama Administration is committed to keeping Mohammed locked up even if he's acquitted. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Holder, "It's my understanding that if he is not convicted, and somehow the judge lets him off on a technicality or something, then he becomes an enemy combatant, and then you are right back where you started." Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) called this trial "a perversion of the justice system." Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said that the decision is "dangerous." This appears to be a show trial, one that would put Bush Administration interrogation techniques in the spotlight.
End the TARP
This past week, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced legislation to repeal the authority of the Secretary of Treasury to extend the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The individual who investigates the so-called TARP predicts that there is $317 billion still in the program that could be saved if the program was ended today. Conservative are worried that the remaining funds could be used as a slush fund to pay for liberal projects.
But enough talk of legislative turkeys. Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. There will be time in December to worry about the politics of Obamacare, new trials for terrorists and ongoing federal bailouts.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
First Appeared in Human Events
Senior Fellow for Government Studies
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