Check and Balance This

First, does anyone know Rush’s new address in Costa Rica? I would like to send him a house warming present.

As much as I loathe the bickering and the parliamentary tactics of congress, I have to remind myself that this is our system of checks and balances. On the negative side, nothing major and earth shaking really ever gets done. The health care bill is a major piece of legislation, it is historic perhaps. But, for the vast majority of people, those of us with heal insurance and no pre-existing conditions, not a lot will change. It is not like we now have a national healthcare system. While many supported and called for a single-payer system, nothing anywhere like that could ever make it through congress. On the positive side, nothing major and earth shaking really ever gets done. When the Republicans held the majority, they couldn’t eliminate social security, for example. Congress is a screen that only lets small pieces of law through – things small enough to change or undo, small enough not to disrupt society.

The frustration for me is that the Republicans are simply so much better than Democrats at this. Their “screen” is nearly impervious. Even now, with the health care bill signed into law, they are fighting tooth and nail to stop it by continuing debate on the reconciliation bill – well, as long as it doesn’t go past 2:00 p.m. (What kind of arcane rule is that? Closing down at 2:00?) The list of amendments they are proposing is frustrating. These things have been debated and debated – or simply do not pertain much to the bill. The one getting attention is Tom Coburn’s no Viagra for Perverts Amendment. Now, certainly, I do not think sex offenders need erectile dysfunction medication, but is this really an issue? No. It is a delay tactic and you throw in sex offenders to give a good dose of “scare”.

I also thought that reconciliation had to be about budgetary issues. How does Senator Bennett’s amendment to suspend issuing same-sex marriage licenses in DC help reduce the budget? Senator Grassley’s is broad reaching including extending the Satellite TV authorization and the Flood Insurance Program. Hey, maybe that would be good or no, just what does it have to do with the subject at hand? My personal favorite is Senator Vitter’s, at least he is blunt and to the point: “Repeals Democrat’s Health Care Bill”.

The Democrats have a big victory under their belt and I think and hope it has given them a little more fight. They need to finish this up so we can move on to other “big” things.

Here’s a list of the amendments from the republican.senate.gov site or see the full list of 147 at the Library of Congress site: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d111:./temp/~bda3yYk:1[1-147]%28Amendments_For_H.R.4872%29&./temp/~bdneYQ

Health Care: Republican Amendments to Reconciliation

  • Senator Gregg: Protect Medicare Savings
  • Senator McCain: Remove Sweetheart Deals
  • Senator Crapo: No Tax Hikes for Families Earning Under $250,000
  • Senator Enzi: Strike the Employer Mandate
  • Senator Barrasso: Requires Legislation Not Increase Premiums
  • Senator Grassley: Requires President, Congress Enroll in Exchange
  • Senator Alexander: Reduce Student Loan Interest Rate
  • Senator LeMieux: Members On Medicaid
  • Senator Coburn: Bars Sex Offenders from Receiving E.D. Drugs
  • Senator Hutchison: State Opt Out
  • Senator Hatch: Block Medicare Advantage Cuts
  • Senator Collins: Waive Employer Mandate Tax
  • Senator Thune: Strike CLASS Act
  • Senator Cornyn: Remove New Taxes on Investments
  • Senator Hatch: Protect Wounded Soldiers from Medical Device Tax
  • Senator Inhofe: Protect Pediatrics and Disabled from Medical Device Tax
  • Senator Crapo: Protect Cancer Patients from Medical Device Tax
  • Senators Roberts, Inhofe, Brown, Crapo: Strike Medical Device Tax
  • Senator Burr: Tricare and Veterans Health Programs
  • Senator Roberts: Rationing
  • Senator Roberts: Critical Access Hospitals
  • Senator Vitter: Repeals Democrats’ Health Care Bill
  • Senator Grassley: Extensions
  • Senator Risch: Lower Itemized Deduction Threshold
  • Senator Hutchison: Marriage Penalty Relief and Sales Tax Deduction
  • Senator Vitter: Mobile Mammography
  • Senator Bunning: Medicare Opt Out
  • Senator Bennett: Same Sex Marriage
  • Senator DeMint: Cross-State Purchasing
  • Senator Ensign: Liability Protection

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