GOP Must Focus on Democrats’ Conduct, Legislative Content

Earlier today, I mentioned that I wanted to see Republican leaders work overtime on outreach, do their best to explain exactly what’s wrong with the brand of health care reform congressional Democrats plan to force through Congress through shady procedural maneuvers (especially for legislation of this size and import), with the focus being placed on the maneuvers themselves, as they run afoul of our system of government.

Simply put, we need to hold them accountable. Now. Republicans should be doing that in any number of ways, including direct advertising in constituencies from coast to coast highlighting the egregious recklessness being displayed by Democrats on Capitol Hill, as well as efforts taken to go on the record with resolutions condemning not only the conduct but also the contents of the legislation.

While the feasibility of advertising is still up in the air, with regard to resolutions and other such efforts, two of my favorite conservatives in Washington went a long way in holding Democrats accountable for conduct and content.

On the conduct side, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint joined with Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning in the introduction of a resolution which would establish an official U.S. Senate rule enacting a 72-hour waiting period and requiring a score from the Congressional Budget Office (though we see how that worked out for us yesterday . . . ugh) before any legislation whatsoever could be considered in committee or by the Senate as a whole. According to a Tuesday piece at Politico, support for such a measure is starting to look darned-near bipartisan, with seven Democrats and one independent echoing the call.

For common sense Americans like you and like me, it’s difficult to understand why any respectable elected official would think otherwise — but then, of course, we remember that most aren’t all that respectable.

Still, DeMint certainly is, and in a statement from his Senate office the Palmetto State powerhouse warned against the hastiness currently taking place inside the Beltway:

The American people have had it with the way Washington does business, and they’ve made a simple request: Read the bill.We cannot rush to a government takeover of health care, a huge cap & tax energy bill, or a bill to deny the secret ballot elections in the workplace without even understanding the bills before us.

It’s hard to believe, but the Senate Finance Committee is actually debating and about to pass a bill that hasn’t even been written yet. It defies logic for a member of Congress to vote for a bill they haven’t even read, but it happens all the time in Washington. It’s time to be honest with Americans and allow them time to read and understand the legislation that will impact their lives. Let’s put the bills we debate out there for everyone to see and debate before we make our decisions, it’s simply common sense.

And Sen. Bunning raised an excellent point in another statement released by his office, highlighting the common sense nature of he and Sen. DeMint’s simple request:

According to a recent poll, eighty-three percent of voters say legislation should be posted online in final form. In a sharply divided country having eighty-three percent of the electorate supporting transparency is a clear signal for the Senate to act.

I call on President Obama, who came into office on a platform of transparency in government, to urge his former colleague Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to immediately take up this legislation. The American people want it, and as we wade into the health care debate, passage of this commonsense resolution will be critical.

On the content side of the equation, today’s hero is none other than Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, no stranger to the practice of actually listening to the people he represents.

What a novel concept! In fact, he’s so good at it, I’m one of many who wish he would run against the war hero-turned-maddening failure which is Sen. John McCain. Or, heck, just run for president.

On Tuesday, Shadegg issued the following statement after he introduced a House resolution condemning the harsh penalties supported by the president and the Democratic Party leadership which would saddle anyone who could not afford government-mandated health coverage with a $25,000 fine or possible jail time:

Extreme penalties such as thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time are another shocking part of the Washington liberals’ health care takeover.

On September 24, 2009, the Joint Committee on Taxation confirmed that in addition to paying a fine for failing to purchase health coverage, the Congressional Democrats’ health plan could require an individual to pay an additional $25,000 fine or even spend up to one year in jail.

President Obama and the Nancy Pelosi Democrats claim to be protecting the “little guy.” Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), American families will pay $29 billion in penalties for failing to meet the Washington’s new order. Even insured Americans are subject to these harsh penalties if Congressional Democrats and Washington bureaucrats don’t approve of their coverage!

As my resolution simply states, no American should pay a fine or go to prison because they do not buy government-mandated health coverage. How did America get to a point where fines and jail for the uninsured are part of a health care “reform” bill?

All three of these gentlemen are doing the right thing. Shadegg and DeMint are favorites of mine for a reason. Now, though, I would like nothing more than to see Republicans follow up such strong and relevant statements by ensuring that they are heard, even–and especially–by those Americans who do not actively seek out political news, opinion and information.

This bill is an absolute nightmare, and the method through which the Democrats plan on forcing it upon the American people is even worse. It’s sickening, and I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of Americans, regardless of how they vote or think, would not stand for it if they knew the particulars. Remember — Discernment through education, Thomas Jefferson said, is the only cure for constitutional abuses. Right now, we need to focus on educating Americans. And, from the look of Rep. Shadegg and Sens. DeMint and Bunning, we’re starting to get on the right track.

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Comments

  1. whats_up says:

    This bill is an absolute nightmare, and the method through which the Democrats plan on forcing it upon the American people is even worse

    It is the same procedures that the Republicans used to get through Bush tax cuts, Republicans have used reconcillation many times themselves, but know its wrong to use it?

  2. MaryAlice says:
  3. MaryAlice says:
  4. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    What's Up — reconciliation is MEANT for budget-, revenue- and tax-related issues. Not healthcare.

  5. whats_up says:

    Jeff,

    With all due respect health care is the biggest budgetary issue that we have right now. Also remind me again how drilling in ANWAR which the Republican tried to use reconcilation to pass is related to tax cuts and budgets? I get upset with selective outrage.

  6. Boston Blackie says:

    Whats_up – that was a budget issue and it was not used "many times", get your facts straight. Even if it was, you have the mentality that got us into this mess – they did it so we are going to do it. ENOUGH ALREADY!!
    If you want to see the disaster that is universal health care look no further than my home state of mASS. It is year 3 and the costs are through the roof. You must provide proof when filing your tax returns of health insurance or you are fined and any refund is confiscated. Thank you Mitt Romney.

  7. suek says:

    "Extreme penalties such as thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time are another shocking part of the Washington liberals’ health care takeover."

    Outrageous enough, but just exactly _who_ is going to go to jail? As I understand it, it will be linked to your tax return. A tax return is normally filed jointly. So will both husband and wife go to jail? Is the fine for both or for each? What about the kids or the remaining spouse? I'd guess that now they're on Medicaid since income would likely fall below the level required to qualify.

    So…now we have parent plus kids on Medicaid, spouse in jail…but not to be dismayed – they're all getting health care!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The "doctors" who joined Obama at the White House last week should be in STRAIGHTJACKETS, not white jackets!

    If the bill that Harry Reid is going to sneak into Congress actually passes with reconciliation, I truly believe there will be civil unrest in this country!

    We are being hijacked!

    Every state should hold recall initiatives NOW! We can recall every single dupe who votes "yes" to the bill.

    Lisa in TX

    Let's see…so if people go to jail for not having insurance, then doesn't that cost the taxpayers to house them? Just another brilliant idea from our enthroned marxists!

  9. Rix says:

    I hope you guys missed me these days; I was out on a vacation of sorts.

    Jim deMint, I see, has proven yet again that he is the staunchest conservative of all in the Senate. It beats me why he would not consider a 2012 run: he has plenty of national exposure, stellar cred, considerable oratory skill and photo-op-ready looks.

    As for the actual matter of so-called "healthcare reform", I have a nagging feeling that the train is gone. The thing is as good as signed and the conservatives must declare – openly, loudly and unambiguously – that they will work to repeal it in 2011 or, failing that, in 2013. That alone may ensure a few million of extra votes. Otherwise, they will be saddled with the disastrous consequences of that "reform", just like they were saddled with subprime mortgage crisis (which they had nothing to do with) while the Democrats reap political and financial benefits.

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