Morning Briefing for August 3, 2009

FOR AUGUST 3, 2009

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1. Libertarians and Conservatives should rally around Nikki Haley

Meet Nikki Haley (R-SC). She’s unapologetically pro-life, but she is first and foremost known as a fiscal conservative. She is the type of candidate conservatives claim they want. She is also the type of candidate libertarians claim to want.

While she won’t please everyone — the only candidate who ever tried is now in the White House making everyone mad — she gets checks in all the major boxes: life, tax cutting, government cutting, honesty, and uncompromising on the need to reform.

She has said about her own candidacy,

“I am going to stand as an example of a minority female who understands what it means to be pro-business, who understands that government should be small, who understands we don’t need government intrusion, that you need to be able to make strong, smart decisions for yourself.”

All the candidates at the RedState Gathering talked about the need for the GOP to re-embrace fiscal conservatism as a path back to the majority. Nikki Haley went so far as to say that without losing, the GOP would have never learned. The GOP needs to “learn through the burn” of defeat what it takes to govern, she told us.

She is not afraid, even as an elected official, to criticize her own party for losing its way. That’s the type of candidate the Republicans need.

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2. Liz Cheney: “America needs a Commander in Chief, not a Global Community Organizer”

Liz Cheney spoke at the RedState Gathering. Among her memorable points:

“At his last press conference we learned the President does not care for either pediatricians or policemen.”

Then there was this: “America needs a Commander in Chief, not a Global Community Organizer.” For the context on this line, see the video.

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3. Marco Rubio at the RedState Gathering

“That cap and trade legislation, which will do nothing but make America one of the cleanest third world economies . . .,” said Marco Rubio at the RedState Gathering.

He is a phenomenal speaker.

One of the valuable points Marco Rubio made at the RedState Gathering was that the Republican Party is the natural home of conservatives, but it is not the inevitable home of conservatives. If the GOP does not clean up its act and turn back from the path it has been on, conservatives will leave.

People like Marco Rubio can keep the party together, expand the base, and keep conservatives engaged.

My favorite line: “People ask me about expanding outreach to hispanics. The first thing they can do is stop hiring mariachi bands for hispanic outreach events.”

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4. An Amazing Time

We’ve been away and busy at the RedState Gathering.

Liz Cheney spoke. She was amazing.

“America needs a commander in chief,” she said, ” not a global community organizer.”

Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Michael Williams, Ken Cuccinelli, Karen Handel, Tom Price, Pat Toomey, Roy Blunt, Jim DeMint, and Rick Perry all joined us in person or via video.

It was an amazing time. Stand by for lots of video and pictures.

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5. Another Obama campaign promise hits its expiration date

Remember this?

“Let me be absolutely clear if you are a family making less than $250,000.00 a year you will not see your taxes go up. Not your capital gains tax, not your payroll tax, not your income tax, no tax — your taxes will not go up.”

My, oh my, how soon they forget.

“We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically,” Geithner told me. “And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”

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6. Socialist Creep (Sprint?) Continues

The House Democrats must be really feeling their socialist oats, because they have passed a bill that, if enacted, would represent one of the final steps toward socialism in this country. Having already regulated the minimum wage in this country, House Democrats now are seeking to regulate maximum wages for employees of private companies as well.

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7. Democrats Reject Two Measures to Create Parity Between Congress’ Health Coverage and the Public’s

House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats voted 31-28 to reject an amendment from Reps. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), and Lee Terry (R-NE) that would have opened up the multiple-plan health coverage options available to Members of Congress to the public at large.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who spoke at length yesterday about the need to ensure Americans have access to the same quality health coverage that Congress gets, came out against the measure when the Republican trio offered him a chance to put his vote where his mouth was.

“People will say to us, ‘Why can’t we have the same thing you guys have?’” said Gingrey. “We ought to give everybody in this country an opportunity to get this.”

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8. Waxman Forces Re-Vote to Ensure Coverage for Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortion Remains in Health Care Bill

Thursday afternoon, House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) proposed an amendment to the House health care overhaul bill to allow for federal funding of elective abortion coverage for those enrolled in the “public option,” to mandate that every regional Health Insurance Exchange contain at least one private insurance plan that offers abortion coverage, and to permit taxpayer subsidies of those private insurance plans and others that cover elective abortion.

The Capps amendment passed 30-28, with E&C Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Capps, and 28 other Democrats voting in favor of mandating (and allowing taxpayer funding to be used to subsidize) abortion coverage.

Taxpayer dollars do not currently pay for, or subsidize, insurance plans that cover elective abortion services. This amendment, if the health overhaul bill to which it is attached is passed and signed into law, would alter that policy, using the tax dollars of every American – pro-life or pro-choice – to subsidize abortion coverage (and, by extension, abortion services).

Late last night, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) responded to the Capps amendment’s passage by proposing an amendment of his own. Pitts’s proposal would have prohibited the federal government from requiring any insurance plan — including the “public option” — to provide coverage for abortion (with the three chief exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother).

E&C passed the Pitts amendment by a 31-27 vote, with Waxman among the “Yea” votes. However, after the votes were in and the amendment passed, Waxman decided he wanted to change his vote, and so brought the amendment back up for “reconsideration” and a re-vote.

The second time around, Waxman voted against the amendment to prevent abortion coverage from being mandated in health insurance plans. He also convinced Blue Dog Democrat Bart Gordon (D-TN) to switch his vote from Yea to Nay, and pulled conflicted Blue Dog Zack Space (D-OH), who had managed to sit out the first round of voting, back into the debate. Space, who voted in favor of the Capps amendment earlier yesterday afternoon, succumbed to pressure from Waxman and cast his vote against the Pitts measure.

The result was a 30-29 defeat of the measure — a reversal of the initial outcome, and the Democratic preservation a health care overhaul bill that not only allows, but mandates, taxpayer-funded abortion coverage and services.

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9. The Case of the Magically Doubling Health Care Surtax

Thursday night, during yet another attempt to mark up the House health overhaul bill, Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) House Energy and Commerce Committee took up and voted down (33-25) an amendment by ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to prevent the implementation of a little-known provision in the bill that would cause the highly-publicized surtax on high earners to double if the cost of the health overhaul is higher than expected.

The “surtax” (read: tax increase) “doubles in the year 2013 if there is a study by the Office of Management and Budget that determines certain savings have not occurred,” said Barton. “The effect of the Barton amendment would be that beginning 2013, only those citizens who make over $1 million would have their taxes increased by the surtax.”

The bill currently increases the taxes of those making $280,000 ($350,000 for couples) by 1 percentage point, those making $400,000 ($500,000 for couples) by 2 percentage points, and those making more than $800,000 ($1 million for couples) by three. The provision Barton’s amendment was designed to forestall was an automatic increase of these rates by two percentage points across the board if CBO determines in 2013 that the overhaul is costing more than lawmakers currently expect it to — something that is a near-absolute certainty.

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