Tag Archives: Congress

ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com

The constitutional challenges to ObamaCare have come quickly, and the media are portraying them mostly as hopeless gestures—the political equivalent of Civil War re-enactors. Discussion over: You lost, deal with it.

The press corps never dismissed the legal challenges to the war on terror so easily, but then liberals have long treated property rights and any limits on federal power to regulate commerce as 18th-century anachronisms. In fact, the legal challenges to ObamaCare are serious and carry enormous implications for the future of American liberty.

The most important legal challenge turns on the “individual mandate”—the new requirement that almost every U.S. citizen must buy government-approved health insurance. Failure to comply will be punished by an annual tax penalty that by 2016 will rise to $750 or 2% of income, whichever is higher. President Obama opposed this kind of coercion as a candidate but has become a convert. He even argued in a September interview that “I absolutely reject that notion” that this tax is a tax, because it is supposedly for your own good.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and 13 other state AGs—including Louisiana Democrat Buddy Caldwell—claim this is an unprecedented exercise of state power. Never before has Congress required people to buy a private product to qualify as a law-abiding citizen.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted in 1994, “Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than as members of society.” The only law in the same league is conscription, though in that case the Constitution gives Congress the explicit power to raise a standing army.

Democrats claim the mandate is justified under the Commerce Clause, because health care and health insurance are a form of interstate commerce. They also claim the mandate is constitutional because it is structured as a tax, which is legal under the 16th Amendment. And it is true that the Supreme Court has ruled as recently as 2005, in the homegrown marijuana case Gonzales v. Raich, that Congress can regulate essentially economic activities that “taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce.”

But even in Raich the High Court did not say that the Commerce Clause can justify any federal regulation, and in other modern cases the Court has rebuked Congress for overreaching. In U.S. v. Lopez(1995), the High Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school zone was not economically significant enough to qualify as interstate commerce, while in Morrison (2000) it overturned a law about violence against women on the same grounds.

All human activity arguably has some economic footprint. So if Congress can force Americans to buy a product, the question is what remains of the government of limited and enumerated powers, as provided in Article I. The only remaining restraint on federal power would be the Bill of Rights, though the Founders considered those 10 amendments to be an affirmation of the rights inherent in the rest of the Constitution, not the only restraint on government. If the insurance mandate stands, then why can’t Congress insist that Americans buy GM cars, or that obese Americans eat their vegetables or pay a fat tax penalty?

The mandate did not pose the same constitutional problems when Mitt Romney succeeded in passing one in Massachusetts, because state governments have police powers and often wider plenary authority under their constitutions than does the federal government. Florida’s constitution also has a privacy clause that underscores the strong state interest in opposing Congress’s health-care intrusion.

As for the assertion that the mandate is really a tax, this is an attempt at legal finesse. The mandate is the legal requirement to buy a certain product, while the tax is the means of enforcement. This is not a true income or even excise tax. Congress cannot, merely by invoking a tax, blow up the Framers’ attempt to restrain government under Article I.


READ THE REST HERE:  ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

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Boehner: Congress Should Heed Employers’ Warnings Rather Than Interrogating Them About Effects of Job-Killing Health Care Law

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on upcoming hearings called by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, to intimidate employers who are warning that the job-killing new health care law will increase their costs and hamper job creation:

“Throughout the past year, American employers have warned that the health care policies being promoted by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Washington will hurt our economy and make it more difficult to create jobs.  Yet now that those policies have become law over the objections of the American people, Congressional Democrats such as Chairman Waxman profess shock and surprise at hearing American employers announce that they will have no choice but to make painful changes to comply with it.  The new health care law is a job-killer, and we are already seeing the negative impact it is having on our economy.

“Just as important, the law’s new cost increases and mandates are forcing employers to consider dropping health coverage for their employees and retirees altogether, which would force even more Americans into the unsustainable Medicare and Medicaid systems.  Instead of interrogating America’s private sector job creators, Congress should be listening to them, heeding their warnings about the effects of this deeply flawed new law, and replacing it with reforms that will help them get back to creating jobs.”

In a memo sent to House Republicans last Thursday, Leader Boehner urged Republicans to focus on the economy as they discuss the new health care law with their constituents during the congressional district work period.  In the memo, entitled “Where are the Jobs?  Not in President Obama’s Health Care Law,” Boehner echoed more than 100 economists who have warned that President Obama’s massive new law will hurt the economy and make job creation more difficult at a time of nearly double-digit unemployment.

NOTE: In the days after President Obama signed the new health care law, America’s employers began warning shareholders and employees about higher health care costs that would result.  AT&T announced it would bear $1 billion in higher costs, Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Similar announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks.

via Boehner: Congress Should Heed Employers’ Warnings Rather Than Interrogating Them About Effects of Job-Killing Health Care Law | Republican Leader John Boehner.

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Healthcare Just a Costly Legacy Booster?? –>Best Letter to the Editor EVER!

EDITOR,

On July 30, 1965, at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo., President Lyndon Baines Johnson handed former President Harry S. Truman the very first Medicare card ever issued to a U.S. citizen. A few seconds earlier, Johnson had signed the Medicare Bill, America’s newest entitlement program.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that Medicare would cost American taxpayers $12 billion annually by 1980. In 1980, Medicare cost taxpayers $110 billion, almost 10 times the projection of the CBO. In 2009, the Medicare entitlement cost taxpayers $418 billion.

The CBO calculates costs based on the assumptions given by the proponents of the bill. In other words, the rosiest of the scenarios is given by the CBO. The costs are slanted by the group advocating the bill.

There is only one consistency with the CBO: When it comes to CBO projected costs on an entitlement, the CBO is consistently wrong. On cost projections, I always take the CBO numbers and triple them. History proves that a multiple of 3 is a very conservative guess when it comes to entitlements.

The CBO projects President Obama’s health care proposal will cost $940 billion over 10 years. This cost assumes a $500 billion cut in Medicare. When was the last time the government cut cost on anything?

For the Americans who will actually work and pay taxes for this boat anchor, we will begin paying immediately for a so-called benefit that we won’t see until after Obama leaves office. Then, when the program actually begins, our health care premiums will cost more than a privatized health care plan.

Just remember Tracy residents, Obama told Joe the Plumber we must “spread the wealth around a little.” This is all part of that grand plan.

However, the scariest part of this whole process is the complete subversion of the U.S. Constitution the Democrats are planning in order to get this bill passed. Yellow-bellied Democrats who do not want their names on this travesty want to “deem the bill to have passed” when voting on proposed changes to the Senate health care bill. This is the trickery of cowards, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who do not want to go on record as voting “Yea” on the bill.

Article 1, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution states “All bills which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall … be determined by the Yeas and Nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively.”

In President Obama’s recent interview on the Fox News Channel, Obama stated he does not care about the process used to get this bill passed. He just wants his health care bill to sign into law. The president was very specific about calling this “his” health care bill.

President Obama is really telling us he could care less about the U.S. Constitution. He just wants his legacy to show that he rammed health care down America’s throat.

via Tracy Press – Your Voice Health care just a costly legacy booster.

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Paul Ryan at his best! Remarks on House Floor in opposition of Majority’s Health Care Bill

In case you missed Paul Ryan in all his awesomeness on the house floor yesterday, here it is…

YouTube – Paul Ryan: Remarks on House Floor in opposition of Majority’s Health Care Bill.

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New Taxes for Health Care Help Obama ‘Spread the Wealth Around’

It snowed here in Texas over the weekend – must have been a precursor to HELL FREEZING OVER.  The following is from BLOOMBERG.  To quote Bill Engvall “THERE’S YOUR SIGN”

I must say that it is disturbing how “matter of fact” this article is.

President Barack Obama said on the campaign trail in October 2008 that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” With Obama on the verge of signing sweeping health-care overhaul legislation, he’s about to do just that.

High-income investors would pay higher Medicare taxes, tax breaks for out-of-pocket medical deductions would be curtailed, and it would cost insurance companies more to pay executives millions of dollars. Those levies will help fund expansion of Medicaid services for the poor and subsidize health insurance to cover millions who don’t currently have benefits.

“It’s very clear that taxes are levied on the wealthy and the benefits will spread across the entire income distribution, with a lot going to expanded Medicaid distribution and expanding health insurance,” said Roberton Williams, an economist at the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research institute backed by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. “One couldn’t claim he didn’t keep that promise” to “spread the wealth around.”

In all, the bill would generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes by 2019, according to an analysis by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan agency. The bill also imposes about $69 billion more in penalties for individuals and businesses who don’t meet mandates to buy insurance, according to theCongressional Budget Office, another nonpartisan agency.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE – New Taxes for Health Care Help Obama ‘Spread the Wealth Around’ – Bloomberg.com.

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From the Lips of a Key House Democrat: “There Are No Rules Here … We Make Them Up As We Go Along”

The video below features Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) – A former federal judge who was impeached for corruption and ethics violations.  More to come on Mr. Hastings…


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‘No verse about “deeming” in Schoolhouse Rock’

THE FOLLOWING IS A GREAT OPINION PIECE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER.  I think the author, David Freddoso makes a GREAT POINT!

As a subtle rejoinder to those whining about health care and the filibuster as if it somehow overturns what we learned in civics class, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., sends a short e-mail on the so-called “Slaughter Solution,” by which House Democrats avoid a vote on health care and simply “deem” it passed in a House rule:

We’re pretty sure there’s no verse about “deeming” in Schoolhouse Rock. It begs the question: why vote on anything at all? Instead of going to the polls next November, Americans can just deem who will represent them in Congress.

UPDATE: The American Prospect’s Tapped blog offers up Democratic Party talking points defending this parliamentary trick.

via Update: ‘No verse about “deeming” in Schoolhouse Rock’ | Washington Examiner.

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