December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009 | Commentary on Health Care, Homeland Security

'Kill the Senate Bill'

Liberals are outraged at President Barack Obama for his willingness to water down Obamacare just to pass a bill. Some lefties even want to kill the bill. Howard Dean, the Dean of the Progressive movement, says, "this is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill."

He's not the only leftist to complain about the direction of Obamacare. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) told CBS, "I don't think that I've ever seen a national debate on a big issue like this where the President's kind of sat back and said 'okay, whatever you guys decide up on Capitol Hill, we're going to go with.'" The left wants to get the United States closer to socialized medicine and to exterminate private health care insurance companies, and they're angry the President isn't helping them.

With health care on the verge of collapse the president's agenda (higher taxes, a centrally-planned economy and an incoherent foreign policy) is driving his poll numbers historically low. The President seems to be uniting conservatives and liberals in opposition to him.

Read the Amendment

During the debate on Obamacare last week, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) forced the reading of an amendment offered by Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to add a single payer system to the Obamacare bill. The reading was expected to take 12 hours. But after only 3 hours, Democrats in the Senate used a parliamentary maneuver to withdraw the amendment. Coburn and other Republicans complained about the move, because the Senate rules don't seem to allow the withdrawal of an amendment while it's being read.

The rules say that, "an amendment shall be read by the Clerk before it is up for consideration or before the same shall be debated unless a request to waive the reading is granted." Coburn and other opponents of Obamacare may still use this rule to force the reading of an amendment that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) can't withdraw.

Reid has an amendment, put together by the Democrat leadership, called the Managers Package. This amendment aims to buy the votes of Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), so it must remain in the bill. Expect another long reading of an amendment soon.

Our Nation's Debt

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.), Senate Leader Reid and the Obama administration had planned to force a $1.8 trillion increase in the national debt limit through Congress last week. They backed off when they realized that, even with massive voting majorities in both chambers, Members of Congress want to debate legislation to implement entitlement reform and spending caps as part of any effort to increase the national debt.

In the end, Congress was expected to clear a smaller increase in the debt limit of $290 billion. That way the big debate over a massive debt limit increase and measures to restrain spending could happen early next year, long before Election Day.

We Are Sorry

Buried in the Defense Appropriations bill is a provision for an "Apology to Native Peoples of the United States." Saying "sorry" to Indian tribes has nothing to do with the defense of the United States. Still, liberals in the House snuck in this provision, saying it's the policy of the Congress to apologize "on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States." Political correctness has gone wild in the Capitol. The next step is expected to be billions in bailout monies for Indian tribes so liberals can sleep at night knowing that they forced Congress to officially say "sorry."

Terrorists in the United States

Congress has the power to prevent the administration from bringing terrorists to the United States for trial, yet it dropped the ball again.

In the Defense Appropriations bill, Congress banned the transfer of enemy combatants detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but also crafted a loophole. The president merely has to submit a classified plan for prosecution and detention to Congress and he can transfer terrorists to Illinois and New York City. Yet again, Congress refuses to take a strong stand against the offensive actions of our President, who seems eager to put Bush administration interrogation policies on trial and bring terrorists to a federal court near you.

The left is whistling by the political graveyard as it charges forward with aeries of unpopular ideas. Merry Christmas to all -- we can only hope that President Obama stops dispensing lumps of coal to the American people and 2010 brings us a gift of a President who actually listen to "we the people."

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

First Appeared in Human Events