Enough With The Legislative Shenanigans!
By Carolyn Cormey
Scott Brown of Massachusetts, seemingly just a regular "Joe the Plumber" type guy, was scrutinized but could not be minimized, was criticized but could not be terrorized, and finally could not be effectively ostracized by the political machine that showed up too late at the party because Democrats were too smugly confident that they owned the "Kennedy" senate seat, and therefore did not have to work for it. A man and a truck reminded us all that this senate seat, like every senate seat in our country, is "the people's Seat!" With that, and against all odds in Massachusetts (where Democrats out number Republicans 3 to 1), Scott Brown won the election and broke the strangle hold of senate Democrats who controlled enough votes to pass legislation effecting 1/6th of our economy, without the input or vote of a single Republican.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (the Harry Reid of the Republican Party), licking his lips and grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat, dubbed Scott Brown "Number 41". Then Scott, being quick on his feet, reminded ole Mitch that his vote could not be controlled and automatically counted on by Republican Party leaders. Scott said that all senators were now the 41st vote that could prevent the cloture vote (filibuster), where the votes of 60 senators are required to close debate and call for the final vote, where it takes only the votes of 51 senators to pass a piece of legislation.
You remember Mitch McConnell. He used to be the Senate Majority Leader when the Republicans held the majority in the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. Ole Mitch used to push through his political agenda legislation in about the same way as Harry Reid is doing now; controlling the process to minimize input from the Minority Party, (who were the Democrats back then); not allowing any time for senators to even read and understand the bills before they were forced to vote on them. In 2006 ole Mitch's agenda was to capture the love and support of Hispanics, so he bludgeoned and bullied his Republican senators to join the Democrat senators to pass "The Comprehensive Immigration Reform of 2006" that provided an amnesty-type pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens and their families. Mitch's Republican senators were not quite as malleable as ole Harry Reid's Democrat senators are now, and did not follow his direction in lock step. This was especially evident when the citizens crashed the Capitol switchboard with their opposition to this legislation, which failed to get the necessary 60 votes for cloture, and therefore died on the floor of the Senate.
In 2007 they tried again to pass "The Comprehensive Immigration Reform of 2007", but things had changed. Bush was still President, (who still wanted the Immigration Reform/amnesty passed no matter how many of us were against it). Although now Harry Reid was the Majority Leader, (Democrats in control), and Mitch McConnell was the Minority Leader. The goal now shared by George, Mitch, and Harry was still to ram this immigration bill through to passage, complete with an amnesty-abbreviated pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. Again, no time was given for our senators to really read and understand this deeply flawed bill that catered to special interests, giving illegal aliens rights, and privileges not available to naturalized and born citizens. In a truly rare behind-the-scenes, non-transparent "bi-partisan" effort, Harry Reid was joined by ole Mitch, who exerted as much force as he could on his Republican senators to join Democrats in ramming through this legislation. Again, the public outcry against this bill crashed the switchboards of the Capitol Building and their senator's offices and the legislation failed to get the necessary 60 votes for cloture. Mitch McConnell almost lost his Senate race as a result. The "Comprehensive Immigration Reform of (now) 2010" (with amnesty) is back again and has already been introduced in both the Senate and the House, waiting to secure the number of votes to ram it through. Do you think that Mitch McConnell has learned a lesson from all of this or is he just waiting and working for his turn to become the Majority Leader again so that he can do the very same things again, business as usual in DC?
So what does the election of Scott Brown mean? What really happened when he was elected in Massachusetts? The Democrats still control 59 of the 60 votes that are needed for cloture. All they have to do is peel off a single vote of an Independent or a Republican and the seriously flawed health care legislation is back, complete with bribes like the "Louisiana Purchase" that bought the vote of Senator Mary Landrieu, and the "Corn Husker's Kickback" that purchased the vote of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Then there are also the special deals to the unions, and the deal with "Big Pharma" that we are already paying for in increased prescription costs, which I will cover in a future article.
By the way, we all need to ask our own Florida Senator Bill Nelson if he likes several counties on the eastern seaboard of Florida more than the rest of the counties in his state. There was some talk about a pretty sweet deal he cut to save Medicare Advantage programs for certain counties in our state, but not others. What do those counties have that the rest of the Florida counties do not have? Let's ask him to provide us Florida voters with some "transparency" and the full details on all of this, what was asked for, and how it was resolved.
Do you really think that this Health Care Legislation is dead?
Within a day or two following the election of Scott Brown, we all saw Nancy Pelosi on every TV station telling us that she does not currently have the votes to pass the Senate version of the health care legislation. Harry Reid also seems resigned, and Senator Dodd has even suggested a one or two month breather. Although, if you think that the Democrat push on this health care legislation is either dead or "resting", you may be very wrong. Pelosi and Reid are digging even deeper into secrecy and the behind-the-scenes activity is full speed ahead to find a way to ram through this monstrous health care bill. They are willing to make it even worse by adding more pet projects and bribes to senators to secure their votes and continued support of special interest groups.
Now there is even talk about passing this health care bill by "Reconciliation", where the cloture vote hurdle and safeguard, (60 Senators voting to close debate and call for the final vote), is bypassed, and Senate Leader Harry Reid simply calls for the final vote to pass it; which takes only a simple majority of Senators (51), which he easily controls.
Reconciliation is a process that is normally used to pass non-controversial budget items, and was never intended to be used to pass legislation that affects 1/6th of our national economy, and gives government control over our health care decisions. Back when the stimulus bill was being put together by the Democratic leaders, they anticipated that we might not like the bad medicine in the health care bill they were planning for us, so they added a provision into the stimulus bill in order to use the reconciliation process to pass the health care legislation…just in case they needed it.
The election of Scott Brown is wonderful. The people spoke; however, the Harry Reids, the Nancy Pelosis, and the Mitch McConnells still remain in power. Switching political power from one party to the other will bring no real changes unless those we elect learn lessons from all of this, put their office phones back on the hook, listen to those of us who voted to elect them, and change direction to make the people's interests the most important of the special interests that influence them. As far as you and I are concerned, it is no time to let down our guard to enjoy the battle we think we have won. We still need to reform our health care, but this monstrous bill remains full of bribes and perks for special interest groups, and yet the war to pass it still continues behind doors that are even more tightly closed…so much for transparency. Please contact your senator by visiting www.contactingthecongress.org.
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