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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can We Work Around A Failing Congressional Leadership?

Can We Work Around A Failing Congressional Leadership?

“The longer the House allows the taxpayer purse to remain open to Obamacare, the harder it will be to repeal it.”

By Guest Blogger, Richard Falknor

Can We Work Around A Failing Congressional Leadership?

“. . . Democrats know the electoral setbacks will only be temporary. They are banking on the assurance that Republicans merely want to win elections and have no intention of rolling back Obamacare, much less of dismantling Leviathan.” – – Andrew McCarthy (March 4, 2010.)
We have tried to illuminate the failure of the post-2010-election House leadership here and here, and of the post-2008 Senate GOP leadership here and here and here.

Today we invite your attention to some probing insights into the GOP Congressional leadership from knowledgeable conservative analysts. They have been carefully tracking the descent of the House GOP leadership into continuing capitulation which those notables doubtless market as “responsible” governing.

Yesterday Russ Vought (formerly the staff director of the Republican Study Committee) declared (RedState) in his House Republicans Set to Again Violate Their Pledge to America - -

“. . . [A]ccording to an October 2010 post on Speaker Boehner’s own blog, ‘House Republicans have also called for an end to the practice of passing massive ‘omnibus’ spending bills, arguing such bills make it too difficult to cut spending and too easy to shield spending projects from public scrutiny and debate.’

Now, House Republicans are about to violate this pledge too. They are packaging three spending bills together in a so-called ‘minibus,’ combining the Agriculture, Transportation-HUD, and Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bills, but this simply amounts to playing games with names to save face. The bill would violate the House-passed, Ryan budget by at least $13 billion. Here is one example of why the bill costs so much that illustrates the logic of Congressional appropriators. According to CQ, ‘[the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program] would receive $6.6 billion. That is $570 million more than the House-passed Agriculture bill and $36 million more than Senate appropriators had recommended.’ What sort of degenerate negotiating is this?

It would also include a very troubling provision to expand Federal Housing Administration (FHA) subsidies up to $729,750 mortgages.

Conservatives in the House would do well to vote no and force their Leadership to ‘unpackage’ these bills, at levels consistent with their own budget resolution and without provisions that will likely lead to future taxpayer bailouts. After all, they made a pledge to the American people to do just that.”

The Maryland Center-Right Coalition last week heard directly from Heritage Action political chief Vought (scroll down) on that organization’s take-no-prisoners political scorecard and the perils of the debt-ceiling legislation.

Just last November 4, Daniel Horowitz (Red Meat Conservative) warned in his Bipartisan Big Spenders Appointed to Conference Committee for Spending Bills that – -

“After dithering for almost three years without a budget, Democrats are in a hellfire rush to finish all of the 12 annual appropriations bills.  Unfortunately, Republicans leaders are in such a hurry to bury the hatchet on spending fights, they are willing to void all of the House-passed bills, in return for bipartisan conference reports.  These conference committee versions – chock full of Senate Democrat amendments – will be forced down the throats of House conservatives without a chance to amend them, even though they never voted on two-thirds of  the underlying bill.  Worse, virtually all of the conferees are leftists, appropriators, and squishes.
Senator Sessions and other Senate conservatives tried to warn Republicans that Harry Reid was manipulating the process to insert $11.1 billion in extra spending to the Agriculture minibus bill.  While overall discretionary spending caps have already been set at $1.043 trillion, Democrats still have leverage (thanks to weak Republican leadership) to spend tens of billion more on transfer programs, while compensating for the extra expenditures with massive cuts to –you guessed it – the Defense appropriations bill.  They also have the ability to raise spending levels on mandatory programs, which are not subject to the spending caps imposed by the debt deal.  Moreover, the Senate stripped out many of the House-passed policy riders, such as a provision to defund most of the FDA food takeover bill (FDA Food Safety Modernization Act).”

On Friday November 11, Maryland-based Horowitz lamented Now is Not the Time to Shirk From Obamacare Fight pointing out that – -
By now, we are all intimately acquainted with the bromide that ‘Republican’s only control one-half of one-third of government.’  Nonetheless, we must remember that, in the realm of appropriations, they control the most consequential body of government; the House of Representatives.  Unfortunately, almost a year into their stewardship of that body, they have shown only a tepid inclination to defund Obamacare”. . . .

“Earlier this month, Congressman Steve King bemoaned the waning alacrity of Republicans to defund Obamacare.  ‘I have seen the fervor to repeal and defund Obamacare diminish significantly to kind of a flat line,’ he told CQ. Unfortunately, this might be another consummate example of the American people being ahead of their elected leadership; even ahead of those who were elected to defund Obamacare.”

We would add that the House GOP leadership was muddying the waters on Obamacare even before the November 2010 elections.  Readers should also re-visit Heritage Distinguished Fellow Ernest Istook’s “The ‘Untouchable’ $23.6 Billion ObamaCare Fallacy.”

Horowitz offers some specific (final-hour) solutions:

“Republicans still have several opportunities to defeat these minibus bills and reassert House control over the process.  First, Senate Republicans must oppose Harry Reid’s amendment to turn the Energy-Water bill into a three-legged minibus bill.  Next, they should vote against cloture to shut off debate (they already agreed to commence debate on the bill).  Finally, if the bill passes the Senate, House Republicans must object to unanimous consent (requested by the appropriators) on the motion to instruct conferees to conference committee.  They must demand an opportunity to offer amendments, which will strip out funding for Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and aid to evil foreign entities.”

Last June we wrote (scroll down): The longer the House allows the taxpayer purse to remain open to Obamacare, the harder it will be to repeal it. And will a GOP president, if elected, want to spend the additional political capital needed to end Obamacare in January 2013 – – or will a new GOP president just try to “mend” it?

Today, we believe that unless the conservative base pays close attention to what the Congress is doing and starts to hold GOP notables in both Houses accountable right now, conservatives are unlikely to see any progress toward realizing many of their goals no matter who the next president may be in 2013.

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