Diary

Obama's Making Congress Obsolete

In reading the news and following the healthcare battle very closely, it continues to be reported that President Obama is deeply involved in the legislative process of drafting the actual text. That sounds great–our president so involved in the government takeover of the US healthcare system in the name of social and economic justice healthcare reform process–but in reality, should Obama be writing the bill’s language as it appears? There are rules of both the House and Senate that spell out quite clearly on how a bill becomes law in the United States of America. Even more technical information on the legislative process here and here.

Understanding that a sitting president would have input in the direction of legislation; however, for President Obama to be so blatantly be involved the in so-called conference process (which has been circumvented by the Democrats), in which the Senate bill and House bill are merged, is crossing the line in the overall legislative process.

Obama and his advisors continued to meet with the 12 top Democrats, including House and Senate leaders and all relevant committee chairmen and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Exactly who are the advisors in these meeting? Is the unconfirmed health czar Nancy Ann DeParle in the meeting? Where’s her accoutability to the electorate? This is the main point of this post and it is something to think about. Congress and its committees should be drafting the healthcare legislation, not the president and members of his cabinet. There is a word for that…

The meeting began at 9 p.m. EST and had no scheduled end time. Most of these same lawmakers spent more than eight hours at the White House Wednesday trying to hammer out a deal. A bi-product of those talks emerged today in the form of a deal the White House and top union leaders heralded a policy and political breakthrough. In general, the agreement shields all union workers for five years from significant taxes on health benefit packages that non-union workers will face starting in 2013.

In a previous article Obama OKed the healthcare tax. From the piece:

President Barack Obama signaled to House Democratic leaders Wednesday that they’ll have to drop their opposition to taxing high-end health insurance plans to pay for health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

In a meeting at the White House, Obama expressed his preference for the insurance tax contained in the Senate’s health overhaul bill, but largely opposed by House Democrats and organized labor, Democratic aides said. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

House Democrats want to raise income taxes on high-income individuals instead and are reluctant to abandon that approach, while recognizing that they will have to bend on that and other issues so that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can maintain his fragile 60-vote majority support for the bill.

Pelosi and four committee chairmen met with the president Wednesday as they scrambled to resolve differences between sweeping bills passed by the House and Senate. The aim is to finalize legislation revamping the nation’s health care system in time for Obama’s State of the Union address early last month.

After researching the basics on how a bill becomes law, it states nothing that puts the president directly in the middle of the legislative process. In addition, the language on the White House website explaining the legislative branch is very explicit in the limited role of the president in writing legislation. Again, the president’s limited power in drafting legislation is noted and his only role is to veto or sign bills passed by the House and Senate. Yes, these rules are stretched for administrations, but the question is how much will the Congress allow Obama to stretch them and ignore their own rules in order to pass healthcare quickly?

This is exactly why these powers are separated between the branches, allowing for a representative form of government. But when the Democrat-led Congress allows the processes set forth by the Constitution to be circumvented to ram through legislation against the will of the American people and allow the president to aid in the legislative process doesn’t that lead to a shift in the balance of power–giving the president–including his czars–more legislative power than the Congress? Because the Congress has allowed Obama to bully “press” them, they have failed to realize that with each passing day, they have become irrelevant in the legislative process, its rules rooted in the Constitution obsolete, and have now has set precedent for future legislation and solidified Obama’s power position over them.

One must admit, it is interesting to note, that the most transparent and honest administration–evah–is behind closed doors, ignoring conference rules, and bribing elected officials to get healthcare passed.