Patterico's Pontifications

3/18/2010

More Organizing for America Astroturf

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:33 pm

And Obama is fully behind it.

Shocka.

Gutless Democrats About to Pass Health Care Travesty Without Standing Behind It

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:16 pm

Unprincipled assholes:

The House today rejected a Republican attempt to force a direct vote on the health bill already passed in the Senate.

The move means Democrats are free to go forward with the “Slaughter Solution,” whereby the House would “deem” the Senate bill to be approved when it votes to set the terms of debate for a set of revisions to that measure.

Too many people see this in terms of the short-term electoral advantage this shit sandwich will surely give Republicans. That is a mistake. This is a fundamental and radical change in the power of the government, and it appears it will be accomplished by an unconstitutional sleight of hand that will allow Democrats to attempt to deny what they did.

“Outrage” doesn’t begin to describe it.

Watching the Presidential Polls

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 6:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama’s Gallup approval poll has slipped into negative numbers:

“President Barack Obama’s job approval is the worst of his presidency to date, with 46% of Americans approving and 48% disapproving of the job he is doing as president in the latest Gallup Daily three-day average.

Obama’s approval rating has hovered around 50% since November, but in the last two days has declined to the point that slightly more Americans now disapprove than approve of his performance in office.”

It’s starting to look like President Bush’s Gallup polls in 2005, when the war in Iraq hit a low point. As Charlie Cook says, health care will be Obama’s Iraq and “one of the biggest miscalculations that we’ve seen in modern political history.”

Nevertheless, I don’t think this is President Obama’s miscalculation. Massive government regulation and involvement in American’s lives is what he wants. It’s the American public and rank-and-file Democrats in Congress who have miscalculated by believing in Obama.

– DRJ

Health Care Vote Sunday

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — DRJ @ 11:32 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama has canceled his Asia trip until June, and Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says there will be a Sunday vote on health care. The CBO’s health care numbers, bolstered by the impact of a government takeover of student loans, may make the difference for Democratic fence-sitters:

“Democrats have been waiting for the CBO score for days, and several undecided lawmakers have said the CBO findings will influence their votes. Leaders need 216 members of their caucus to support the healthcare package for it to win passage.”

Republican leaders say it’s still a trillion dollar (plus) expenditure and are “set to offer a measure Thursday that seeks to force and up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill.” Even so, I suspect the GOP sees more hope in repealing the legislation than stopping it.

– DRJ

CBO Health Care Report: $138 Billion

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 11:17 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post reports the CBO has issued its report:

“An emerging compromise on health care between House and Senate Democrats would cost $940 billion over the next decade and expand insurance coverage to an additional 32 million Americans, congressional budget analysts said Thursday. Their preliminary report suggests the two-part legislation would bring the nation closer to universal health coverage than at any time in its history.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the measure would make insurance available to an estimated 95 percent of non-elderly citizens by dramatically expanding Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, and offering tax credits to an estimated 24 million Americans who would otherwise find it difficult to afford coverage.”

Here’s how the CBO says the legislation will impact the budget:

“The cost of expanding coverage would exceed $200 billion a year by 2019, the CBO said. But new revenue in the package, combined with savings from program cuts, would outpace the cost of coverage, reducing the federal deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years. The savings would continue to accumulate in the decade thereafter, the CBO said, eventually slicing around $1.2 trillion from the nation’s budget gap.”

The Washington Post has an interesting chart comparing the Senate Bill with the Reconciliation Bill. According to the link, the CBO projects there are currently 54 million non-elderly uninsured Americans, and there will be 23 million uninsured under the Senate Bill and 22 million uninsured under the Reconciliation Bill. (I assume the report of 32 million covered by ObamaCare includes elderly and non-elderly Americans. Are the 22-23 million uninsured America’s illegal immigrants? Hopefully so. If not, the promise that everyone will have health insurance under ObamaCare is under the bus.)

In addition, under the CBO projections, the government will spend $65B more under the Reconciliation Bill than the Senate Bill to cover an extra 1 million Americans, resulting in an additional $20B in savings. Thus, the government will be paying an extra $65B to cover just 1 million more people, yet will only save an extra $20B. This tells me the more these programs cost and the more people they cover, the less efficient they become … so if there are cost overruns (and there will be) costs should go up even more.

SHORTER VERSION: How did the Democrats do it? A 10 year plan with $17B in costs in the first 4 years and $923B in the last 6.

– DRJ

“Deem and Pass”: Will the Courts Allow an Unconstitutional Action to Stand?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:37 am

Via Instapundit, Jonathan Adler has an interesting post addressing the legal aspects of “deem and pass,” the unconstitutional sleight of hand whereby the House of Representatives would claim it voted on the health care bill when it really didn’t. Stripped to its essence, Adler’s take is that the technique is unconstitutional — but that the courts may be unwilling to say so.

As Adler notes, scholars such as Michael McConnell and Jack Balkin agree that the technique is unconstitutional if it is used in such a way as to remove the House’s political responsibility for the bill. That is of course precisely what they intend; Nancy Pelosi admitted this when she said: “I like it, because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”

But, Adler adds:

But even if “deem and pass” is unconstitutional, that does not mean federal courts would so rule. Another set of court precedents suggests that the question whether a bill in fact passed either House in accordance with that House’s rules is not justiciable. As I noted in this post concerning legal challenges to the Deficit Control Act of 2005, the 1892 decision of Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark would seem to foreclose such a challenge. In that case, the Supreme Court held that “the judiciary must treat the attestations of ‘the two houses, through their presiding officers’ as ‘conclusive evidence that a bill was passed by Congress.’” Pursuant to this decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously rejected a constitutional challenge to the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. (A challenge, interestingly enough supported by Reps. Pelosi and Slaughter, among others, and opposed by the Bush Administration.) This decision, and the Field v. Clark precedent would seem to create a problem for those who would like to challenge the constitutionality of any health care bill enacted through resort to the “Slaughter Solution.” Of course, just because Congress could get away with it, does not mean it’s constitutional.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision referred to by Adler had to do with a typo, described in the opinion as a “clerk’s error with respect to one term.” This is different from taking the presiding officer’s word that the bill was voted on, when the world can see that it was not. I understand the principle discussed in the case is rooted in the idea of judicial deference to the legislature. But that principle is rather comical in a world where courts routinely question the legislature’s motives in passing bills — certainly a much tougher undertaking than simply looking at two bills to see if they are the same.

In any event, as Adler notes, just because a court may be unwilling to undo a clear constitutional violation doesn’t mean we should not be outraged by it. Members of Congress take an oath to uphold the Constititution, not just to do whatever the courts will let them get away with. If “deem and pass” is used, it should be opposed on every front, and not just in the courts.


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