First on the docket today is the vote to force Charlie Rangel D-NY to step down from his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means committee. Mr. Rangel has hidden assets and cheated on his taxes - which has a special irony, since he is responsible for writing tax code - as well as bribing 119 members of congress, including three members of the ethics committee charged with investigating his criminal acts (to the tune of about $20,000 each). The result of the vote was predictable. One of his biggest supporters is none other than Nancy Pelosi, she of the 'most ethical Congress ever'.
Although that particular vote illustrates the corruption and cronyism rife in Washington, the shenanigans surrounding the health care reform attempts takes the underhandedness of our current government to a whole new level.
As everyone knows, the democrats are currently enjoying a super majority, and, technically, can ride roughshod over the republicans and pass any legislation they want. And yet, curiously, they have been unable to pass health care reform. Why is this? Well, if you ask the democrats, it is because of the republicans being the 'party of no' and holding up the bills.
Let me reiterate: they have a Super Majority, including a filibuster-proof Senate. They don't need even a single vote from the republicans.
Even so, they still don't have the votes.
So what are they going to do? Well, there is a possible plan percolating that would bypass the voting process, so that when midterm elections come around next year, democrats can deny voting for this mess while still managing to get it implimented.
This is CYA (cover your ass) on a whole new level. They know this bill is unpopular and those in purple districts will face defeat in the voting booth if they support the bill, so they are trying to eat their cake and have it, too.
This plan is incredibly sneaky and underhanded. The Max Baucus bill will be part of the scheme, but the CBO estimate that came out yesterday claiming the bill will be deficit neutral is a preliminary report, as the bill still needs to be mashed together with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which the CBO has scored at costing over $600 billion over the next decade.
The 'mashing together' of the two bills will be done solely by Harry Reid D-NV, who will be able to add or subtract key points at his discretion, with no oversight. Those changes will not be voted on; the votes getting them out of committee, before his changes, will be binding, even though he may completely change the bills into something completely unrecognizable from what was originally voted on.
They will then use a previously voted in House bill (another option not mentioned in the Heritage article below is the House-passed Cap and Trade bill - two birds, one stone) as a shell for the health care legislation. This will be ground into the HELP/Finance committee bill to create a craptastic sausage of 'reform'
The Heritage Foundation explains the process best (I strongly suggest reading the whole article):
"Step One: “The Senate Finance Committee will finish work on the marking up of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) conceptual framework for legislation by this Friday.” Progress on this had been stalled and the bill was not passed by the end of last week. Foxnews.com is reporting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill will be released later today and a high score may further stall progress on the Committee’s Vapor Bill. Senate Finance Committee’s progress on passing something out of committee – INCOMPLETE.
Step Two: Next, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take the final product of the Senate Finance Committee and merge it with the product of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. CNSnews.com has confirmed that “the actual final text of the legislation will be determined by Reid himself, who will consolidate the legislation approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the still-unapproved legislation from the Senate Finance Committee. Reid will be able to draft and insert textual language that was not expressly approved by either committee.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will write the final version of Obamacare to be considered in the Senate with no input from the American people. This is an extremely complex procedure that will not be done in public, or in the form of a hearing, or a public conference committee, and only Senator Harry Reid, some other Senators chosen by Reid and Obama Administration officials will be allowed to read the bill before the Senate debate starts. Merger of the bills – IN PROGRESS.
Step Three: Senator Reid will then move to proceed to H.R. 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients. A senior aid to Senate Majority Leader Ried has confirmed that he will move to proceed to Senate Calendar Number 36, H.R. 1586, or another House passed tax measure, so the Senate can avoid the Constitutional mandate that tax bills originate in the House. Proceed to tax shell of a bill – CONFIRMED.
Step Four: This scenario would most likely be implemented after the Massachusetts state legislature gives Governor Deval Patrick the power to appoint a new Senator and that Senator is seated by the Senate. The Senate swore in new Massachusetts Senator Paul Kirk on September 25th. Change Law of Massachusetts to allow for interim Senator – COMPLETE."
The Baucus plan is rife with taxes, which is why it is deficit neutral. And where it doesn't tax, it passes on costs to states, to the tune of $14 billion over ten years. States like California, already on the brink of collapse, simply cannot sustain such expenditures. The other taxes are aimed at medical devices, insurance providers and hospitals, among others, but, really, all those 'fees' (liberalese for taxes) will be passed on to consumers.
So, although technically they aren't raising our taxes, believe you me, we will ALL be paying for this mess. The fact that we have no say in the legislation, and won't even know what the bill truly entails until after President Obama signs it into law illustrates the contempt our 'betters' in Congress hold for the public.
The desperate measures the administration is stooping to in order to pass this legislation speaks volumes about the true purpose of this legislation - power and control. If it was a good bill that would win over a majority of voters, it wouldn't have to be passed in the dark of night, unread. Heck, the darn thing isn't even written yet, and they want to vote on it.
How can they constitutionally pass legislation that isn't even written, and the few bits that are on paper will be radically altered after it is voted on?
Not only are they refusing to read the bills, now they aren't even bothering to write them!