Cruz’s TRIUMPHANT Return

This image from Senate video show Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Cruz says he will speak until he's no longer able to stand in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law. Cruz began a lengthy speech urging his colleagues to oppose moving ahead on a bill he supports. The measure would prevent a government shutdown and defund Obamacare. (AP Photo/Senate TV)

Senator Cruz has returned to the Hill. And CNN’s blandly titled Ted Cruz Plans to Run for Re-election in 2018 published Wednesday May 11, 2016, 8 days after Senator Cruz suspended is campaign for President has some veeerrrry juicy nuggets in it for the knowledgeable watcher of all things palace intrigue.

Reminder: Cruz is widely and constantly reported to be haaaaaaated on the Hill. Not just hated, but loathed, despised, and wished a slow, torturous death. Preferably at the hands of a fellow Senator. On the floor of the Senate. In broad daylight. To loud applause. That kind of hated.

Fair observers note, correctly, that this is because he threatens their corrupt little fiefdoms. Cruz, ‘cravenly’ ambitious or not, really does believe his own bulls**t. He really does want to run a vice raid on the whore house – er – Hill. So to read that he was received “warmly” with “applause” from his fellow Senators, and that Senate President Pro-tem Senator Hatch said something nice about him is nothing short of a nuclear event. It just can’t be overstated how significant this is. It is, no doubt, why the headline was so bland. Gotta bury that news. Busts up the narrative.

No. Senator Cruz returned TRIUMPHANT to the Hill. Now hush. Mustn’t draw attention to that fact… but I will. The relevant paragraphs are below.


Cruz sat down for lunch with Senate Republicans, according to several senators who were at the meeting. Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who endorsed Cruz for president, made some introductory remarks, and Cruz himself addressed the group. The senators who were present said Cruz — who often railed against what he said was the “Washington cartel” during his presidential campaign — was warmly received and received a round of applause.

…When he arrived for a morning roll call (on the floor of the Senate), he spoke briefly with ..(some) senators (and) said hello. Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia gave him a fist bump on his arm to get is attention and then spoke for a few minutes. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, said “welcome back.” Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, stood talking with him for several minutes.

…Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is the most senior Republican in the chamber, pulled Cruz aside to have a heart-to-heart discussion about what Cruz had been through and what he will do now that he’s back to his legislative duties. “I was encouraging him to really get to work here,” Hatch told CNN later. “He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of ability.”

Hatch, who chastised Cruz last year when the Texan called McConnell a liar, said he didn’t tell Cruz he should make amends with his fellow senators but he did say he should be more open to the views of others. “I just encouraged him to understand that people have differences of opinions,” Hatch said. “He’s got a big role to play here if he wants to.”
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Obama, Explained, in ONE PARAGRAPH

Here it is.  You ready?  Because this is Obama, thus the insidious cancer of Progressivism, explained with the most sparkling clarity & brevity as I have ever seen.  Via Kevin D. Williamson at NRO, from whom I always learn something (the highest praise I can offer any writer) Bold text is my addition:


Barack Obama isn’t a policy guy; he’s a personnel guy. An underappreciated aspect of Barack Obama’s politics is that he has been trying to convert the Democratic party from a party that lives in Congress to a party that lives in the White House. The Democrats owned Congress, and especially the House of Representatives, in the postwar era, with unbroken control of the speakership from 1955 to 1995. Until Newt Gingrich came in with the 1994 tsunami, the last Republican speaker had been a man born in 1884 who rode into office on the coattails of Calvin Coolidge. Except for a few brief interludes (January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1949; January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1955; January 3, 1981 to January 3, 1987), the Democrats ran the Senate, too, from the Great Depression until the Gingrich years. That version of the Democratic party was a lawmaking party. (It made a lot of bad laws.) Barack Obama’s Democratic party, the one he is giving birth to, is a different animal. He didn’t give a hoot what was in his signature health-care law — just so long as it empowered him to start putting his people in positions to make health-care decisions. His patron saint is Roy Cohn, who proclaimed the gospel ‘Don’t tell me what the law is. Tell me who the judge is.’ Barack Obama doesn’t want to write laws — he wants to appoint judges. He doesn’t want finely crafted legislation — he wants ‘The secretary shall issue.'”


Parenthetically, Mr. Williamson also illuminates why we are $18 trillion in debt. Democrats had the purse at the dawn of the Great Society and did not let go until 1996. That’s not to say Republicans don’t own some of this disaster; they most certainly do. But it wasn’t conservatives who ushered in the welfare state and support it to this day. That’s on progressives. And that’s why we’re $18 trillion in the hole. Every social welfare program they have supported from the New Deal through the Great Society to Obamacare is not just broke, it’s breaking the back of the Republic.  Everything they touch turns to sh*t.

Everything.

I heartily recommend your read the entire thing, here.

Mr. Cruz Goes to Washington

It’s not easy to shock the cynical Washington press corps.

This did.

The tweets I saw after this speech on the floor of the United States Senate by Ted Cruz were uniformly full of shock.  Why?  Because it very rarely happens that someone calls out a member of their own party so publicly.  Add to that the member being called out is the Senate Majority Leader.  Add to that he is being called a liar.  Add to that the one calling him a liar has 53 witnesses.  Add to that the 53 witnesses are all members of the same party.  Add to that the one speaking is the only one who called him out on it.

Oh dear.

He’s put everyone in rather a tough spot, hasn’t he?

Here is the full transcript of Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) floor speech of Friday, July 24, 2015 absolutely scorching the saggy corrupt hide right off Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KS).

I cannot recommend it to you highly enough.

Savor.

Every.

Word.


 

July 24, 2015  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), on The Floor of the United    States Senate

Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, today is a sad day for this institution.
The Senate operates based on trust. Whether we are Democrats or
Republicans, these 100 Senators have to be able to trust that when a
Senator says something, he or she will do it, even if we disagree on
substance–that we don’t lie to each other.

What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing. I
want to describe the context of two preceding discussions.
A number of weeks ago, when this Senate was considering trade
promotion authority, a group of Senators gathered on this floor and
blocked TPA for many minutes because they were pressing for the Export-
Import Bank. They huddled on this floor and negotiated a deal in front
of C-SPAN and in front of the world. Then, when they had their deal,
TPA had the votes to pass.

Shortly thereafter, we had a Senate Republican lunch, where I stood
and asked the majority leader, very directly: What is the deal that was
just cut on TPA and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank? It was
a direct question I asked the majority leader in front of all of the
Republican Senators. The majority leader was visibly angry with me that
I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and
said: There is no deal. There is no deal. There is no deal. Like Saint
Peter, he repeated it three times.

He said: The only thing I told the proponents of the Export-Import
Bank is, like any other Senator in this body, they could offer any
amendment they liked on any amendable vehicle, but I gave them nothing.
There is no deal. I gave them nothing. He was emphatic and he was
repeated.

Following that public discussion, Senator Mike Lee and I approached
the majority leader afterward, in which he emphasized: There is no
deal. I will do nothing. I oppose the Export-Import Bank. All I said is
they can offer an amendment like any Senator can to any bill.

I went back to my office and I sat down and I had a long discussion
with my staff. My staff told me that afternoon: He is lying to you.
That is what my staff said. We have been around the Senate a long time.
He is not telling you the truth.

What I told my staff that afternoon, I said: Well, I don’t know if
that is the case or not, but I don’t see how, when the majority leader
looks me in the eyes and makes an explicit promise–and by the way,
looks into the eyes of every other Republican Senator and says that to
every other Republican Senator–I don’t see how I cannot take him at
his word when he makes an explicit promise.

As a result, I cast my vote in May in support of TPA because I
support free trade, and I felt I had no choice but to assume that when
the majority leader spoke to 54 Republican Senators and made an
explicit promise, he wasn’t lying to us. Well, as TPA moved on and it
went to the House, it became abundantly clear there was a deal. There
was a deal in the House for the Export-Import Bank. So the second time
TPA came up, I voted no because of that corrupt deal.

Now, I will note to the public that the majority leader and the
Speaker of the House had repeatedly said: There was no corrupt deal.
There was no corrupt deal. We made no deal. We made no deal. That is
one element of the background context.

Let me tell you a second element of the background context. A number
of weeks ago, when we were debating the Corker-Cardin bill, the Iran
review act, there were a number of amendments that Senators had filed.
I filed an amendment that would actually put teeth in the Iran review
act by requiring affirmative congressional approval before sanctions on
Iran could be lifted. Other Senators filed very good amendments.
Senator Marco Rubio filed an amendment calling for Iran to recognize
Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State before sanctions could be
lifted. Our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle did not want to
vote on that amendment, and in response, the majority leader cut off
all amendments.

Now, I sat in the majority leader’s office, and I urged the majority
leader: Invoke cloture on Senator Rubio’s amendment. Invoke cloture on
Senator Rubio’s amendment calling on Iran to recognize Israel’s right
to exist and setting that as a precondition of any lifting of
sanctions. I argued vociferously with the majority leader that if the
Democrats were so opposed to voting on that amendment, that was all the
more reason, because it was important substantively. The majority
leader said no, he would not do so, that invoking cloture on an
amendment was an extraordinary step, and he would not do so. So he cut
off every amendment. He filled the tree.

It was striking a minute ago seeing the Democratic leader, Senator
Harry Reid, calling out the majority leader for filling the tree, for
engaging in the same procedural abuse that Harry Reid did over and over
and over again in this body. Now the Republican leader is behaving like
the senior Senator from Nevada.

What we just saw was not, Madam President, what the majority leader
told you and me and every other Republican Senator. What we just saw
was not that the proponents of the Export-Import Bank, like anyone
else, could stand up and offer whatever amendment they like on any
issue. What the majority leader did is, No. 1, he called up that
amendment. He called it up himself. Why does that matter? Because, as
the majority leader, he has priority of recognition. When he calls up
an amendment, no one can stop him. He didn’t just call it up; he filled
the tree. Just like Harry Reid, he filled the tree, blocking everyone
else’s amendment. And, by the way, I agree with Senator Reid when he
says the ObamaCare amendment is a cynical amendment. Of course it is.
It is empty showmanship. We will have a vote on repealing ObamaCare. The Republicans will all vote yes, and the Democrats will all vote no. It will be at a 60-vote threshold. It will be an exercise in meaningless political theater.
Mind you, when we had a fight in October of 2013 to actually stop
ObamaCare and defund it, the majority leader, then the minority leader,
was opposed to doing something with real teeth in it to stop ObamaCare.
But an empty show vote–that is a good way of distracting from what is
going on.

You know, there is a profound disappointment among the American
people because we keep winning elections and then we keep getting
leaders who don’t do anything they promise. The American people were
told: If only we have a Republican majority in the House, things will
be different. Well, in 2010, the American people showed up in enormous
numbers, and we got a Republican majority in the House, and very little
changed. Then the American people were told, you know, the problem is
the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and
retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.
Well, in 2014, the American people rose up in enormous numbers and
voted to do exactly that. We have had a Republican majority in both
Houses of Congress now for about 6 months.

What has that majority done?

The first thing we did in December is we came back and passed a
trillion dollar CRomnibus plan filled with pork and corporate welfare.
That was the very first thing we did. Then this Republican majority
voted to fund ObamaCare, voted to fund President Obama’s
unconstitutional Executive amnesty. Then leadership rammed through the
confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Which of those
decisions would be one iota different if Harry Reid were still majority
leader? Not a one. Not a one. This Senate operates exactly the same–
the same priorities. Let me tell you why. It is not that this majority
doesn’t get things done. It does get things done. But it listens to one
and only one voice; that is the voice of the Washington cartel–the
lobbyists on K Street, the big money and big corporations.

If you go to the American people and ask if reauthorizing the Ex-Im
Bank is a priority for you, the standard response for most of them
would be this: The what? They don’t even know what this is. Let me tell
you what it is. It is an egregious example of corporate welfare. It is
the American taxpayer being on the dime for hundreds of billions of
dollars in loan guarantees given out to a handful of giant
corporations. It is a classic example of cronyism and corporate
welfare. By the way, among others, do you know what person had the
clarity of thought on that? Then-Senator Barack Obama, who described it
as a classic example of corporate welfare. That was when he was in the
Senate. Now that he is in the White House, corporate welfare sounds
pretty good. Now, just about all of the Democrats are supporting the
corporate welfare with the exception of Bernie Sanders. I will give
credit to Senator Sanders for standing up against corporate welfare.
But as to every Democrat who rails against big money and the corruption
of Washington, as to every Democrat who styles himself or herself a
populist, their actions on this matter speak far louder than their
words. When it comes to Republicans, Republicans also are listening to
K Street and the lobbyists. Why? It is not complicated. The giant
corporations that are getting special favors from the taxpayers hire an
army of lobbyists who write campaign checks after campaign checks. And,
by the way, these checks go to both Democrats and Republicans. It is
career politicians in both parties who are kept in office by looting
the taxpayer to benefit wealthy powerful corporations.

The single largest recipient of loan guarantees from the Ex-Im Bank
is the Boeing corporation. The Boeing corporation just had an earnings
call where their CEO said–and I am paraphrasing: We’ll be just fine
without the Ex-Im Bank. It is not impacting us. There are plenty of
private loan alternatives out there. But even though the market could
provide, it is a lot easier to have compliant lawmakers rob from the
public fist to enrich giant corporations.

Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A single mom waiting tables.
Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A teenage immigrant like my
father, washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour, struggling to achieve
the American dream. Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A factory
worker who just wants to work and provide for his or her children. They
don’t have lobbyists, and so what happens? Career politicians in both
parties gang up with giant corporations to loot their taxes to make it
harder for people who are struggling to achieve the American dream.
Coal miners, Madam President, in your State don’t have lobbyists who
are representing them here–the individual miners–while the majority
leader teams up with the Democratic leader to take from their paychecks
to fund giant corporations. It is wrong and it is corrupt.

It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office. I told my staff: The
majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the
eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flatout lie, and I voted based on
those assurances that he made to each and every one of us. What we just
saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told
every Republican Senator but what he told the press over and over and
over again was a simple lie.

This institution should not operate at the beck and call of lobbyists
in Washington. This institution, the majority and minority leaders arm
in arm again, should not team up against the American taxpayers. It is
why our children are going bankrupt.

Now we are facing an enormous threat with this Iran deal. A nuclear
Iran poses the greatest national security threat to this country. Yet
the majority leader refused to do what he just did for the Export-
Import Bank on Iran. He refused to invoke cloture. That was an
extraordinary step. If he was telling us the truth when he said there
was no deal, why would he do what he just did? Well, we now know that
when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit
commitment, he is willing to say things that he knows are false. That
has consequences for how this body operates. If you or I cannot trust
what the majority leader tells us, that will have consequences on other
legislation as well, on how this institution operates.

There are a host of amendments that the American people have focused
on–issues such as defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome
video. The majority leader doesn’t want to vote on that. That is actually something the American people are focused on.

He brought up his ObamaCare amendment as a smokescreen, because it is
intended to fail. But you know, what he didn’t bring up was my
amendment to end the congressional exemption from ObamaCare–the
corrupt deal that Harry Reid cut with President Obama to exempt Members
of Congress. We ought to live under the same rules as everybody else.
The majority leader doesn’t want to vote on that because he doesn’t
want to end the cronyism for Members of Congress any more than end the
cronyism for giant corporations that enrich themselves at the expense
of the American people.

There are a host of priorities for the voters who elected you and me.
Madam President, I would ask you to think about when you were running
for the Senate not too long ago. Do you recall any of your constituents
ever saying: We want the Export-Import Bank. No, they want other
things. They have other priorities, but those are not the priorities of
the Republican leadership.

Sadly, today we have government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists,
and for the lobbyists. That is not how the Senate is supposed to
operate. A far more important amendment than bringing back this
corporate welfare and cronyism is my amendment that provides that
sanctions on Iran cannot be lifted unless and until Iran does two
things: No. 1, it recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State,
and No. 2, it releases the four American hostages languishing in
Iranian prisons. That is a far more important issue than enriching some
more lobbyists on K Street and getting a few more campaign
contributions. That is what we should be voting on.

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I Don’t Even Play One on T.V.

Once again, gentle reader of my blog, (all 1 of you, you know who you are ;), we cite the excellent writing at American Thinker.  This morning’s piece is on the dusty-old, but, to civics-geeks, exceedingly exciting matter of the Origination Clause, as it specifically relates to Obamacare, and more specifically, a SCOTUS* lawsuit to kill Obamacare.  I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on t.v., but I need help with this  American Thinker piece’s anti-Obamacare legal argument because it reads to me like a pro-Obamacare legal argument, save the last paragraph.

By way of a quick review, since I presume you have a life and haven’t followed the minute particulars like those of us who haven’t seen daylight since Obama showed up, Obamacare was born by (then) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gutting a piece of  revenue-raising House legislation he found languishing in the bottom of a desk drawer, and inserting Obamacare.  Why did Dirty Harry do this?  Because only the House can tax the people and Harry needed a piece of paper with a big “H” on it to morph it into the biggest tax & redistribution legislation in the history of human-kind, Obamacare.   The Senate is allowed, of course, to “amend” House legislation, so Harry decided “amend” meant ripping absolutely e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g out of that piece of paper except the “H” and the bill number.  No… Really.  I mean it.  Literally.  That’s “amending” a piece of legislation in the new America post-January 20, 2009.  The bill could have been on curtain rods, but instead of amending it to include curtains, he “amended” it to include fish-bait.  Does that sound like an “amendment” to you?  An normal person?  No.  Of course not.

Now, I know that’s a quaint, and antiquated matter these days, that pesky Constitution, but Harry’s been around a long time and knows he needs to cross his t’s and dot his i’s down there on the Hill, being without the expansive powers of the magic “pen and a phone” of his consigliere at 1600 Penn.  So he figured as long as the origination bill had an “H-0000” on it, who the hell would notice, right?  I mean… Really?  It’s not like we have an adversarial press, and Obama-voters were watching “American Idol” not CSPAN.

Well, unhappily for Obama, not everyone was smitten with the Black Jesus, nor was everyone was watching “American Idol,”  including the author of this piece who says he is trying to help anti-Obamacare people by dint of his research, in the form of a scholarly article he summarizes for the masses at American Thinker, which I include in full below. But dang it all if it didn’t seem to do the opposite to me!  I read the entire thing, twice, and the ENTIRE article – SAVE the LAST paragraph – tells me how the author’s reading of the past HELPS PRO-Obamacare people – then WHAM! In the last paragraph, based on what I regard as an argument UNSUPPORTED BY EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH PRECEDING IT, says “NO WORRIES! It’s all good! SCOTUS will kill O’care because… non-‘germane’ amendments.”

Can some smart reader here help me? Because to a TOTAL non-lawyer it TRULY seems to me the last paragraph stands unsupported by all the previous paragraphs… Am I wrong here?

*SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States


Obamacare’s Constitutionality and the Origination Clause: New Evidence

April 27, 2015

One of the constitutional disputes triggered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is whether by substituting new material for the original House-passed bill (H.R. 3590), the Senate exceeded its constitutional power to amend the original measure. This, in turn, has provoked a debate over whether the Founders considered complete substitutes to be valid amendments.

A recently-republished piece of evidence suggests that they did. The Constitution’s Origination Clause requires that “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Because the final version of Obamacare imposed a variety of taxes, it unquestionably was a “Bill for raising Revenue.”

Obamacare’s taxes, appropriations, and health-care regulations did not exist in the House-passed version of H.R. 3590. That incarnation of the bill was only a few pages long and was limited to making minor adjustments to the Internal Revenue Code irrelevant to health care. Under the guise of amendment, the Senate gutted the original language and substituted over 2000 pages of Obamacare.

Some writers argue that complete substitutions were not considered valid amendments during the Founding Era, while others contend that they were. Last year, I undertook a wide-ranging investigation into the subject that will be published within the next few weeks by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public PolicyThe article is summarized at length here.

I found that complete substitutions may have been unknown in the British Parliament, one source of the Constitution’s House-origination rule. I also found, however, that they were occasionally used in several states between Independence and the time the Constitution was ratified, and that they were considered valid amendments in those states.

This year, the Wisconsin Historical Society issued two new volumes of the magisterial Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Those volumes cover the debate over the Constitution waged in Maryland from 1787 through the end of 1788.

The first of the volumes reprints a pamphlet written in favor of the Constitution by “Aristides,” the pen name of jurist Alexander Contee Hanson. Hanson was a respected figure in Maryland, and his pamphlet was read widely both in that state and in Virginia. At one point he addressed the question of whether the Constitutional Convention exceeded its authority on the (substantially false) assumption that the delegates’ commissions had been limited to proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Hanson argued that proposing a substitute was a recognized form of “amendment:”

Amendment, in parliamentary language, means either addition, or diminution, or striking out the whole, and substituting something in its room.

Hanson’s assertion is particularly relevant to the Constitution’s original meaning because his own state legislature is not among those offering contemporaneous evidence of complete substitutions. Hanson was reflecting, in other words, an understanding that extended beyond his own state’s boundaries.

Unfortunately for advocates of Obamacare, the validity of complete substitutions as “Amendments” does not resolve the issue of constitutionality. During the Founding Era, even complete substitutes had to be connected to the subject matter of the original bill — or, in modern language, “germane” to the original. Otherwise, they were new bills, not valid amendments.

For reasons documented in my article, H.R. 3590 as passed by the House qualified constitutionally as a “bill for raising Revenue” (even though it was revenue-neutral) because it amended the tax code. Under Founding-Era rules all the Senate’s revenue changes were germane to the original, and therefore valid. However, the Senate-added appropriations and regulations were not germane to the subject of revenue. By including them, the Senate exceeded its authority to amend a “bill for raising Revenue. This means that by the Founders understanding of the Origination Clause, those additions were unconstitutional and void.

Rob Natelson is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Independence Institute & Montana Policy Institute, and Professor of Law (ret.), The University of Montana

Filibuster Revenge Without Losing Your Soul


I’ve embarrassed this nice young man before (Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. You can read a quick, entertaining bio of him here) w/my middle-aged housewife love for him (I just think he’s wicked smart and kinda cute and we had a nice Twitter exchange a while back when I relayed those feelings to him.) and though I tweeted this article out I wanted to be sure to feature it here for the 1 or 2 people who actually visit my blog on a semi-regular, hung-over, ‘damn what did I click’ basis. Mr. Cannon first came to my attention when I saw him testifying on the Hill a few years back and the guy is sharp and fearless and more importantly, there appears to be a deep river of morality running as undercurrent to his political philosophy. Meaning, ‘he hasn’t lost his soul’ as Glenn Beck might say, which is really another way of saying he knows the bedrock upon which we were founded, has read The Federalist, knows the Constitution backwards and forwards, and thinks it’s a pretty nifty document. In other words, my kind of of guy!

So as we approach the 114th Congress in January, the new Senate will have a choice: undo the “nuclear option” Harry Reid undertook w/the filibuster rules, or keep them and shove them down their throats? Revenge is tempting, but Mr. Cannon has an excellent way to… well… stick it to the Democrats, but still leave Revenge to the Lord, where it belongs. (Even for a fallen woman like me, a pagan, I recognize the wisdom of leaving capital “R” revenge to a hand larger than man’s. It is not mine. Or “ours.” Put another way, I firmly believe in having my patience rewarded by a city bus rolling over the bastards; keeps my hands clean and still gives me a warm feeling inside. You know… ;))

It’s a bit of a read, but well worth it. Enjoy.

If Dems Can Nuke Filibuster For Judges, GOP Can Nuke It For ObamaCare (And Still Save Senate)

Republicans won an impressive number of victories last night, including a larger and more conservative House majority and enough wins to give the GOP at least a 52-seat majority in the Senate. As Jeffrey Anderson and Robert Laszewski have noted, Republicans made ObamaCare a major issue in the election  (the New York Times’ denials notwithstanding). Senate Republicans will fall several seats short of the 60-vote super-majority needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster of an ObamaCare-repeal bill, though. ObamaCare opponents are therefore debating whether and how Republicans could repeal some or all of the law via the Senate’s “budget reconciliation” process, which allows certain legislation to pass the Senate with only 51 votes. Some opponents have proposed getting around these difficulties by getting rid of the filibuster entirely. I think there’s a more prudent, targeted way Republicans could put ObamaCare repeal on the president’s desk , give Democrats a taste of their own majoritarian medicine , and convince Senate Democrats of the virtues of restoring the filibuster on legislation and judicial nominations.

The Lego Senate. Source: Mashable.com.

It goes like this. Senate Republicans would bring a reconciliation bill to the Senate floor. They would offer a one-line amendment: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is hereby repealed.” Democrats would raise a point of order against the amendment, most likely under the “Byrd rule.” There is some disagreement about whether the parliamentarian would uphold that point of order, but rather than get into the details, I will assume she does. The amendment would be dead unless Republicans could muster 60 votes to overrule the parliamentarian (technically, the presiding officer, Joe Biden), which they cannot do.

However: all Senate rules are adopted and can be amended by a simple 51-vote majority. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his caucus reminded the nation of this fact when they “nuked” the filibuster for most judicial nominations.

Immediately after the parliamentarian rules the ObamaCare-repeal amendment out of order, therefore, Senate Republicans would give the required notice that they plan to change the Senate rules such that no budget-reconciliation point of order shall lie against any legislative provision repealing part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 .  The next day, Senate Republicans would enact that rules change, and pass a bill repealing ObamaCare.

Consider the benefits of that simple, targeted, and proportionate rules change.

First, it would move the ball closer to the end zone by enabling Republicans to put an ObamaCare-repeal bill on the president’s desk. Getting a repeal bill to his desk and forcing him to veto it would further undermine the legitimacy of a law enacted and implemented against the will of the people, and demonstrate that the opposition to the law has not faded.

20141027 HuffPo-Pollster ObamaCare pollsObamaCare: Four Straight Years of Unpopularity. Source: Huffington Post/Pollster.com.

Second, this rule change would make life very unpleasant for ObamaCare’s supporters in the White House, Congress, and the 2016 presidential race.

After the president vetoes one reconciliation bill fully repealing ObamaCare, congressional Republicans could send him further reconciliation bills repealing just the law’s most unpopular features, like the individual mandate, or making good on the president’s “if you like your health plan, you can keep it” promise.

Republicans could force the law’s congressional supporters to cast lots of difficult votes, force the president to issue lots of difficult vetoes, and force pro-ObamaCare presidential hopefuls to field lots of uncomfortable questions. (“Mrs. Clinton, would you let people keep their health plans? Would you veto repeal of the individual mandate? How does it feel watching President Obama do so after he became president by attacking you for supporting it?”)

Third, this targeted rule change would only affect ObamaCare, and only through the reconciliation process. That makes it a proportionate response to the way Senate Democrats used and abused the reconciliation process to pass ObamaCare, then nuked the filibuster on judicial nominations to protect the president’s unilateral expansion of the law (see herehere, and here). If Democrats can use a majoritarian process first to enact a law opposed by the people, then again to protect that law from the people, certainly Republicans can use a majoritarian process to give voice to the people by repealing that law.  This rule change is also a proportionate response in that it would expire the moment ObamaCare does.

Finally, by giving Democrats a taste of their own majoritarian medicine, this rule change could help Democrats see the virtues of the filibuster, and thereby help restore regular order and minority rights to the Senate.

Since Democrats effectively linked judicial nominations and ObamaCare, Republicans could even offer to restore the filibuster on judicial nominations in exchange for Democratic votes on repealing ObamaCare. Vulnerable Senate Democrats who want to block future Republican judicial nominees could conceivably go along. Some Republicans might think that’s a lousy trade. They should consider that every day ObamaCare remains on the books, its subsidies (legal or illegal) are minting new pro-ObamaCare voters, which will frustrate their efforts to reshape the courts.

Though I used to work for the Senate leadership and scurry about the Senate floor, I’m hardly an expert on Senate procedure. So there could be wrinkles I’m not seeing. But Republicans do have it within their power to get an ObamaCare repeal bill to the president’s desk, and maybe even save the Senate in the process.

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