Democrats, Reconciliation And One-Sixth Of The U.S. Economy
March 15, 2010
By J.B. Williams
As Obama and Emanuel work around the clock to strong-arm Democrats opposed to nationalized medicine, causing moderate Democrats like Evan Bayh and Eric Massa to retire or resign, the clock ticks on Obama’s window of opportunity.
Speaking from his WKPQ-FM radio show Sunday night, Massa told listeners - "He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive," Massa said of Emanuel's desire to lock up vital votes on healthcare reform.
"You think that somehow they didn't come after me to get rid of me because my vote is the deciding vote in the healthcare bill? Then, ladies and gentlemen, you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what's going on in Washington, D.C."
If Obama cannot force House Democrats to reconcile their differences over the Senate version of the health care grab, they will be forced to resort to the reconciliation tool in order to advance their agenda.
As the nation has shifted against Obama’s effort to seize control of 1/6th of the U.S. economy by passing off “socialized medicine” as some form of private health care reform, leftists have grown increasingly desperate to find a way to move their agenda forward against a rising tide of opposition from the citizenry.
It is a highly partisan initiative with no hope of any bipartisan support, because only the most hardened Marxists see anything good in the federal confiscation of 1/6th of the U.S. economy, by a government which has a long history of bankrupting every program it has ever run. Still, Obama and company plan to go forward, using a legislative tool called “reconciliation.”
In short, reconciliation is a tool designed to block the filibuster on matters of the federal budget. It was first introduced in 1974, as a legislative procedure designed to end marathon budget debates by simply removing budget items at the root of the debate, and passing the agreeable portions of the budget by simple majority, thereby blocking a filibuster that would keep Congress in perpetual debates until the government would shut down without a budget in place.
In other words, it was a tool for reducing federal spending by ending debate on disagreeable additions to the budget, hence its nick name, the Budget Reconciliation Act.
It is a “balanced budget” tool, which came into law via the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. It was not designed as a tool for Democrats or Republicans to run roughshod over the other, nor as a tool for the federal government to run roughshod over the taxpayers.
It is a limitation on debate that prevents a budget reconciliation bill from being filibustered in the Senate, which requires a three-fifths vote to end debate, and it has led to frequent attempts to attach amendments unrelated to the budget to the reconciliation bills. Abuses quickly became rampant within the halls of congress.
In response to congressional abuses of the reconciliation tool, the Byrd Rule allows Senators to raise points of order which can only be waived by a three-fifths majority of Senators, against provisions in the reconciliation bills that are "extraneous," where extraneous is defined in the rule according to one of six provisions. Provisions are considered extraneous if they:
- do not produce a change in outlays or revenues;
- produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;
- are outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;
- increase outlays or decrease revenue if the provision's title, as a whole, fails to achieve the Senate reporting committee's reconciliation instructions;
- increase net outlays or decrease revenue during a fiscal year after the years covered by the reconciliation bill unless the provision's title, as a whole, remains budget neutral; or
- contain recommendations regarding the OASDI (social security) trust funds
Obviously, something as massive as the complete confiscation of the entire U.S. Health Industry, representing 1/6th of the entire U.S. economy, reaches far beyond the confines of the powers and intent of the reconciliation tool.
But as has been the case throughout the Obama administration, tools put in place for one thing are being perverted and used for the exact opposite purposes, to achieve a goal wholly at odds with the original intent and purpose of the tool.
It’s true that both sides of the political aisle have used reconciliation as a means to close budget debates. The key is, “to close budget debates.”
Democrat President Bill Clinton was the first to attempt the use of reconciliation as a means to pass a massive expansion of the federal government by way of Hillary Care in 1993. The people rejected socialized medicine in 1993 and Senator Byrd (D) single handedly stopped Clinton from using reconciliation to pass Hillary Care 1993, insisting that the health care plan was “out of bounds for a process that is theoretically about budgets,” and an effort to curb runaway spending.
Byrd would know, since it was Byrd who authored and passed the Byrd Rule in an effort to stop the abuse of the reconciliation tool.
Since 1980, a reported 23 reconciliation bills have passed, 17 of them signed into law by Republican presidents, and all of them budget related, used to close endless debate and pass a federal budget.
In 1999, the Senate for the first time used reconciliation to pass legislation that would increase deficits: the Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act 1999. This act was passed when the Government was expected to run large surpluses: it was subsequently vetoed by President Clinton. A similar situation happened in 2000, when the Senate again used reconciliation to pass the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act 2000, which was also vetoed by Clinton. At the time, the use of the reconciliation procedure to pass such bills was controversial. (From Wikipedia)
During the administration of President George W. Bush, Congress used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts, each of which was predicted by the Congressional Budget Office to substantially increase federal deficits. These tax cuts were set to lapse after 10 years to satisfy the Byrd Rule.
Efforts to use reconciliation to open oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge failed.
So why would Democrats attempt to use reconciliation to pass the biggest government grab of private sector industry in U.S. history?
To go forward with an overt Marxist agenda, progressives must do so against the will of most American citizens, who are fed up with such heavy handed tactics from their elected servants!
But progressives (aka Marxists) can’t back up, because the people who put them and keep them in power are very dangerous folks. The international cabal behind the current American administration is already notably disappointed that their chosen “messiah” has thus far failed to deliver on their international agenda, despite controlling all branches of the federal government.
Obama has been rejected at every turn, by the Olympic Committee, at Copenhagen, in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts. His recent stop to stump for Democrat Senator Harry Reid has resulted in Reid running even further behind in the polls. To say the very least, he’s no Bill Clinton in terms of political gravitas.
The 20% of Americans who seek a Marxist future based upon government confiscated and redistributed “social justice,” are quite disappointed that Obama was unable to ram through American Marxism before the people awakened and took note.
The international powerbrokers, who put the empty suit with a blank résumé in the Oval Office, thought that their hundred year effort to destroy American freedom and prosperity had reached its utopian peak with the election of Barack Obama. Yet fourteen months later, none of the Marxist (progressive) ideals of the Democratic Socialists of America had been achieved.
Bottom line, socialists in search of other people’s assets for their own self-enrichment, are not very nice people. Asking the government to rob their neighbors instead of robbing them on their own, only demonstrates their general lack of individual backbone. Collectivists work together, because there is strength in numbers and alone, well, if they could take care of themselves, they wouldn’t be after your earnings, would they?
If Democrats proceed to use the reconciliation tool intended to curb federal spending, as a means of exploding the size of government by confiscating 1/6th of the U.S. economy, I suspect that the American majority will react unkindly.
The best the left can hope for is defeat in the upcoming elections. American citizens are very tolerant by nature. But one thing they won’t tolerate is heavy-handed tyrannical misuse of institutional procedures for the purpose of driving America off of a cliff. I sincerely hope that most Democrats are smart enough to walk away from this anti-American operation, before the citizens run out of patience. Actually, don’t walk – run!