Posts Tagged ‘Harry Reid

10
Jan
10

ObamaCare Transparency Promise Broken

(Original HERE)

Transparency be damned. It seems as if many of the elites in Washington, D.C. were for transparency before they were against it.

President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all promised and pledged transparency as part of a covenant with the American people to allow them to take power. Those promises have been broken. One Senior Congressional Staffer tells Big Government that “for elected officials that promised the most transparent Congress ever, I never believed them, but it is stunning how fast they are going back on their promises as if they think the voters are too dumb to remember things they said 3 years ago.”

According to Politico, Nancy Pelosi ripped on President Obama for breaking his promise to have all ObamaCare negotiations on C-SPAN.

Pelosi emerged from a meeting with her leadership team and committee chairs in the Capitol to face an aggressive throng of reporters who immediately hit her with C-SPAN’s request that she permit closed-door final talks on the bill to be televised. A reporter reminded the San Francisco Democrat that in 2008, then-candidate Obama opined that all such negotiations be open to C-SPAN cameras. “There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail,” quipped Pelosi, who has no intention of making the deliberations public.

Evidently, there are eight clips of Senator Obama promising to have ObamaCare negotiations on C-SPAN. On January 8, 2007, Senator Barack Obama was quoted as saying of the Democrats ethics reform package.

To do this, we must not only strengthen but enforce the rules governing our interactions with lobbyists, and finally make the legislative process fully transparent to the public. The American people put their faith in us so we could restore their faith in government, and this is our chance to make that happen.

To date, there have not been any of the real negotiations on C-SPAN nor any transparent legislative process. This is a broken promise by the President.

Nancy Pelosi herself pledged an open and transparent process that included Republicans and the American people in deliberations. Pelosi opened the 110th Congress on January 4, 2007 with the following remarks:

In order to achieve our new America for the 21st century, we must return this House to the American people. So our first order of business is passing the toughest congressional ethics reform in history. This new Congress doesn’t have 2 years or 200 days. Let us join together in the first 100 hours to make this Congress the most honest and open Congress in history. 100 hours. This openness requires respect for every voice in the Congress. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” My colleagues elected me to be Speaker of the House, the entire House. Respectful of the vision of our Founders, the expectation of our people, and the great challenges that we face, we have an obligation to reach beyond partisanship to work for all Americans.

That promise seems to have been kicked to the curb by Speaker Pelosi. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also pledged an open and transparent process on the Senate floor in speech on January 4, 2007:

In this body, the U.S. Senate, nothing can be accomplished unless we reach across the aisle–not one way but both ways. It is because when our Founding Fathers created the Senate 219 years ago, they carved out a special place for the minority. See, the Framers of this Constitution knew that majorities can always take care of themselves. Majorities didn’t need help as defined in the Constitution. But this Constitution takes care of minorities because they can’t always take care of themselves. The Founding Fathers created an institution that protects this minority, and we will respect our Constitution and those protections.

Reid on February 9th, 2006 was debating Asbestos Litigation Reform and blasted Republicans for not using a traditional conference process to legislate (hat tip to The Hill for referencing this speech) when he declared “This is not the way to legislate. It demeans the Senate, demeans the legislative process.” Reid was upset about the use of manager’s amendments to expedite the process of passing the bill by Republicans. Reid went on to say that “it deprives Senators and the public of an opportunity to consider the bill on its merits. The Senate should operate in the spirit of transparency and candor, not secrecy.” Reid complains about actions by Republicans that he is taking today to railroad ObamaCare through Congress.

This process for passing ObamaCare has been the least transparent process in recent memory. These politicians are treating the American people as if they are irrelevant to the legislative process. With all the promises broken on the issue of transparency by the President, Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, we shall see if there are consequences to these broken promises.

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22
Dec
09

We Are No Longer a Nation of Laws. Senate Sets Up Requirement for Super-Majority to Ever Repeal Obamacare

(Original HERE)

If ever the people of the United States rise up and fight over passage of Obamacare, Harry Reid must be remembered as the man who sacrificed the dignity of his office for a few pieces of silver. The rules of fair play that have kept the basic integrity of the Republic alive have died with Harry Reid. Reid has slipped in a provision into the health care legislation prohibiting future Congresses from changing any regulations imposed on Americans by the Independent Medicare [note: originally referred to as “medical”] Advisory Boards, which are commonly called the “Death Panels.”

It was Reid leading the Democrats who ignored 200 years of Senate precedents to rule that Senator Sanders could withdraw his amendment while it was being read.

It was Reid leading the Democrats who has determined again and again over the past few days that hundreds of years of accumulated Senate parliamentary rulings have no bearing on the health care vote.

On December 21, 2009, however, Harry Reid sold out the Republic in toto.

Upon examination of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment to the health care legislation, Senators discovered section 3403. That section changes the rules of the United States Senate.

To change the rules of the United States Senate, there must be sixty-seven votes.

Section 3403 of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment requires that “it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” The good news is that this only applies to one section of the Obamacare legislation. The bad news is that it applies to regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards a/k/a the Death Panels.

Section 3403 of Senator Reid’s legislation also states, “Notwithstanding rule XV of the Standing Rules of the Senate, a committee amendment described in subparagraph (A) may include matter not within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Finance if that matter is relevant to a proposal contained in the bill submitted under subsection (c)(3).” In short, it sets up a rule to ignore another Senate rule.

Senator Jim DeMint confronted the Democrats over Reid’s language. In the past, the Senate Parliamentarian has repeatedly determined that any legislation that also changes the internal standing rules of the Senate must have a two-thirds vote to pass because to change Senate rules, a two-thirds vote is required. Today, the Senate President, acting on the advice of the Senate Parliamentarian, ruled that these rules changes are actually just procedural changes and, despite what the actual words of the legislation say, are not rules changes. Therefore, a two-thirds vote is not needed in contravention to longstanding Senate precedent.

How is that constitutional? It is just like the filibuster. Only 51 votes are needed to pass the amendments, but internally, the Senate is deciding that it will not consider certain business. The Supreme Court is quite clear that it won’t meddle with the internal operations of the House and Senate. To get around the prohibition on considering amendments to that particular subsection of the health care legislation, the Senate must get two-thirds of the Senate to agree to waive the rule. In other words, it will take a super-majority of the people the citizens of our Republican elected to overrule a regulation imposed by a group of faceless bureaucrats and bean counters.

Here is the transcript of the exchange between Jim DeMint and the Senate President:

DEMINT: But, Mr. President, as the chair has confirmed, Rule 22, paragraph 2, of the standing rules of the Senate, states that on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the senators present and voting. Let me go to the bill before us, because buried deep within the over 2,000 pages of this bill, we find a rather substantial change to the standing rules of the Senate. It is section 3403 and it begins on page 1,000 of the Reid substitute. . . . These provisions not only amend certain rules, they waive certain rules and create entirely new rules out of whole cloth.”    

The Senate President disagreed and said it was a change in procedure, not a change in rules, therefore the Senate precedent that a two-thirds vote is required to change the rules of the Senate does not apply.

Senator DeMint responded:

DEMINT: and so the language you see in this bill that specifically refers to a change in a rule is not a rule change, it’s a procedure change?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: that is correct.

DEMINT: then i guess our rules mean nothing, do they, if they can re define them. thank you. and i do yield back.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: the senate stands adjourned until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

That’s right. When confronted with the facts, the Senate Democrats ran for cover. The Senate Democrats are ignoring the constitution, the law, and their own rules to pass Obamacare.

To quote the Declaration of Indepedence:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is one of those causes. When the men and women who run this nation, which is supposedly a nation of laws not men, choose to ignore the laws and bribe the men, the people cannot be blamed for wanting to dissolve political bands connecting them to that government.

UPDATED: A number of people on our side are saying I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill on this issue. I hope they and you, after reading this, will read this response to that criticism.

For your edification, the full transcript of the exchange between Jim DeMint and the Senate President is presented, unedited, below the fold.

————————————————————————————-

7:30 PM
PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. DEMINT
not. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. demint: mr. president?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
the senator from south carolina.

DEMINT
mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak for ten minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
without objection.

DEMINT
parliamentary inquiry, mr. president. does rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate provide that on a measure or motion to amend the senate rules, the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the senators present and voting?

7:31 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
it does.

DEMINT
further parliamentary inquiry. is it also the case that on numerous occasions, the senate has required a two-thirds cloture vote on bills that combine amendments to senate rules with other legislative provisions that do not amend the rules?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
that would require a two-thirds vote.

DEMINT
i have numerous examples here. we did it twice this year on senate bill 2349 and i could read those but i’ll spare the chair all of these. i’m just trying to get at a concern we have here. am i correct that with respect to these bills, there was a combination of legislative provision and rules changes and the chair ruled that because they were — and i’m referring, mr. chairman, to the — earlier this year, those he

referred to where we required the two-thirds cloture. am i correct on these previous bills that with respect to the bills, there was a combination of legislative provisions and rules changes and the chair ruled that because there were rules changes, a two-thirds vote was required?

7:32 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
if there were changes to the standing rules of the senate, a two-thirds vote would have been required to invoke cloture.

DEMINT
i thank the chair. mr. president, am i also correct that the senate has required a two-thirds cloture on amendments to bills where the amendments combine legislative provisions

and rules changes?

i have a number of references on bills that this was done if there’s any question, and i have given them to the parliamentarian for consideration. is there an answer? i mean, i know that there have been amendments to bills that we required two-thirds because they include rule changes. i just wanted to get a confirmation from our parliamentarian. is that, in fact, the case, where two-thirds cloture on amendments to bills have been required to have a two-thirds vote because

there were rules changes included in them?

7:34 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
the chair would like to check that for a future answer.

DEMINT
okay. i believe the parliamentarian does have some of the references of times this has been done. we’re quite certain it has. but, mr. president, as the chair has confirmed, rule 22, paragraph 2, of the standing rules of the senate, states that on a measure or motion to amend the senate rules, the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the senators present and voting. let me go to the bill before us, because buried deep within the over 2,000 pages of this bill, we find a rather substantial change to the standing rules of

the senate. it is section 3403 and it begins on page 1,000 of the reid substitute. these provisions not only amend certain rules, they waive certain rules and create entirely new rules out of whole cloth. again, i’ll skip over some examples but let me read a few of these provisions that amend the senate rules which are contained in section 3403 of the reid substitute. it’s section d, titled referral. the legislation introduced

under this paragraph shall be referred to the presiding officers of the prospective houses, to the committee on finance in the senate, and to the committee on energy and commerce, and the committee on ways and means in the house of representatives. the bill creates out of whole cloth a new rule that this specific bill must be referred to the senate finance committee. another example under section c, titled “committee jurisdiction.” and it references rule here. “notwithstanding

rule 15 of the standing rules of the senate, a committee amendment described in subparagraph a may include matter not within the jurisdiction of the committee on finance if that matter is relevant to a proposal contained in the bill submitted under subsection c-3. clearly a rule change. so there’s no pretense that this bill is being referred under the rules of the committee of jurisdiction. and now it is allowing the finance committee to add whatever matter it wants to the

bill, regardless of any rules regarding committee jurisdiction. and of good measure, the bill even specifically states that it is amending rule 15. let me just skip over a number of other examples referring to rules just to try to get to the — the point here. because it goes on and on, and i’ve got pages here. but there’s one provision that i found particularly troubling and it’s under section c, titled “limitations on changes to

this subsection.” and i quote — “it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” this is not legislation. it’s not law. this is a rule change. it’s a pretty big deal. we will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law. i’m not even sure that it’s constitutional, but if it is, it most certainly is a senate

rule. i don’t see why the majority party wouldn’t put this in every bill. if you like your law, you most certainly would want it to have force for future senates. i mean, we want to bind future congresses. this goes to the fundamental purpose of senate rules: to prevent a tyrannical majority from trampling the rights of the minority or of future co congresses. mr. president, therefore, i would like to propound a parliamentary inquiry to the chair. does section 3403 of this

bill propose amendments to the standing rules of the standing rules of the senate? and further parliamentary inquiry. does the inclusion of these proposed amendments to the senate rules mean that the bill requires two-thirds present and voting to invoke cloture?

7:38 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
the section of the proposed legislation addressed by the senator is not — does not amend the standing rules. the standing rules of the senate.

DEMINT
okay. mr. president –

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
and, therefore, its inclusion does not affect the number of votes required to invoke cloture.

DEMINT
mr. president, is the chair aware of any precedent where the senate created a new law and in doing so created a new rule — and i’m quoting from our bill — “it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change the law.” is the chair aware that we have ever put this type of binding legislation on future congresses in a bill?

7:39 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
it is quite common to do that.

DEMINT
i would ask the chair to get those references, if the parliamentarian would, to us. mr. president, another parliamentary inquiry. if this new law will operate as a senate rule, making it out of order for senators to propose amendments to repeal or amend it it — i’ve been in congress 11 years. i have not ever heard of an amendment being called out of order because it changes something that was done before. you know, how is that different from the types of senate rule making for which our predecessors in their wisdom provided a two-thirds cloture vote?

this seems to be a redefinition of words in my mind. mr. president, it’s clear that the parliamentarian is — is going to redefine words, as i’m afraid he has done as part of this process before, but this is truly historic, that we have included rules changes in legislation. we have included rules changes in this legislation yet we’re ignoring a rule that requires a two-thirds cloture vote to pass it. i believe that

it’s unconstitutional. it subverts the principles that — i believe it subverts the principles that we’ve operated under and it’s very obvious to everyone that it does change a rule. mr. president, it’s clear that our rules mean nothing if we can redefine the words that we use in them. and i yield the floor.

7:40 PM
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
the chair will note that it is quite common to include provisions affecting senate procedure in legislation.

7:41 PM
DEMINT
is there a difference between senate procedures and rules?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
yes.

DEMINT
and so the language you see in this bill that specifically refers to a change in a rule is not a rule change, it’s a procedure change?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
that is correct.

DEMINT
then i guess our rules mean nothing, do they, if they can re define them. thank you. and i do yield back.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER
the senate stands adjourned until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

01
Mar
09

Where Is Our Republic?

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…”

– United States Constitution Article 4 Section 4 Clause 1.

Our Founding Fathers agreed to a Republican form of Government for this young upstart nation vice a Democracy for many reasons, among which, as James Madison said “A pure democracy is unwieldy, dangerous in its passion, and subject to mob rule thereby lending itself to instability and violence. Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

In a Republic, the majority may never have complete control over the minority. The rights of the minority are protected by the checks and balances built into the Republics by-laws. One of the checks and balances our Constitution provides was in how or country was represented at the Federal level. The members of the House of Representatives were elected by the people of the respective districts, the Senators were appointed by the legislatures of each of the several States. One chamber was for the people and one chamber for the States and the President was elected by a majority vote of the electors of the several States. This ensured that the rights, needs and desires of the PEOPLE and the STATES were represented at the Federal level.

Since the Seventeenth Amendment was adopted to the Constitution, the voice of the States has been taken away. The Checks and balances put into place by our founding fathers have been removed and our form of governance has been whittled away to an unwieldy Democracy. The people vote for our President, the people vote for our Representatives and the people vote for the Senators. Fifty-one percent of the country now has complete control over the other 49 percent. Look back at the history of our nation, prior to the adopting of the 17th Amendment things were pretty smooth, the People and the States had to agree in order for legislation to pass both houses. Now the People have to agree with the People, which ever side has 51 percent will usually win. I am well aware of the Senate 60 vote filibuster issue, but I contend it is merely a matter of time before Harry Reid tries to change that. The House has already all but eliminated any input from the minority party, I don’t expect the Senate to be far behind.

In order to reacquire the promise of Article 4 Section 4 Clause 1 of the Constitution, this American believes the road starts with repealing the 17th Amendment.

Written by: DJ




Quotes:

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry

"Politicians and diapers both need to be changed, and for the same reason." - Anonymous

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." - William Penn

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" - Hermann Goering

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing." - Romans 7:18-19

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

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