From the diaries by Erick
by Michael E. Hammond, former General Counsel Senate Steering Committee 1978-89.
To listen to the liberal media, you would think conservatives had won the first and only battle on ObamaCare repeal –- but already lost the war.
The Washington Post, echoing the almost universal media theme (including Fox), called the vote “largely symbolic.” Over and over again, we have been told that ObamaCare will never be repealed and we are wasting our time to even think about it.
And, incidentally, the stupid Republicans reinforce this theme when they concede at the beginning of each interview that they are too flaccid and ineffectual to prevail. Compare this to the “We will win!” mantra Obama used to pass ObamaCare in the first place.
Ironically, we are probably only about four Senate votes short of sending the repeal bill to Obama’s desk in the 112TH Congress. And, if Republicans have the courage to tack repeal onto the debt limit or continuing resolution, even without those four votes, the House will have the capacity to present Obama with a choice:
- sign the ObamaCare repeal; or
- shut down the administration’s rulemaking powers for the next two years.
That’s right. No regulatory cap-and-trade. No NLRB requirements that employers encourage unionization. No BATF gun registries for multiple sales. No massive new administratively designated wilderness areas. No taxpayer funded TV commercials touting ObamaCare. No ObamaCare implementation.
In September, 2009, Obama was more than four votes short of passing ObamaCare. He initially fell more than four votes short of ratifying START, repealing don’t-ask-don’t-tell, creating a 9/11 entitlement, and regulating small farms. Yet, he moved ruthlessly and methodically to pick up the votes he needed. And the Hypocrite Press, not surprisingly, didn’t whine that these initiatives were “symbolic” or “a waste of time.”
Here are the steps to repealing ObamaCare:
STEP ONE: BRING THE HOUSE BILL ONTO THE SENATE CALENDAR
A single senator can use the Senate rules to force the House-passed bill onto the Senate legislative calendar. And my understanding is that Jim DeMint has committed to us that he will do this.
This is done under Senate Rule 14, which allows any senator to object, on two successive legislative days, to further proceedings on a House-passed bill. After the first objection, the bill is held at the desk. After the second objection, the bill is placed on the calendar.
This is important.
Sure, DeMint can introduce a similar bill with a Senate number. But, even if that bill passes the Senate, it will be “blue-slipped” in the House, because it is a revenue measure which originates in the Senate in violation of the Constitution.
STEP TWO: TARGET FOUR DEMOCRATIC VOTES
Once H.R. 2 is on the Senate calendar, ANY SENATOR can move to proceed to it at almost any time -– and any senator can file cloture on the motion to proceed.
(This assumes that Udall and Merkley are not successful, on January 25, in their effort to abolish the filibuster of the motion to proceed. If that were to happen, a switch of four votes would make H.R. 2 the pending business of the Senate. And, incidentally, if Merkley and Udall pull the trigger on the “constitutional option” on January 25, H.R. 2 goes to final passage and Obama’s desk. I am not advocating this, but I am saying that Merkley and Udall will be held to the rules-related implications of their own sleaziness.)
True, if a GOP senator makes a motion to proceed, Harry Reid will squeal and whine that Republicans are interfering with “his prerogatives.” But as the Manchins and Nelsons and McCaskills stare into the face of electoral defeat, Reid’s “prerogatives” may not be that important to them.
How do you target senators?
With the same ruthlessness that Obama employed in passing ObamaCare. Democratic bills and treaties like the START Treaty, don’t-ask-don’t-tell repeal, the 9/11 entitlement, and ObamaCare itself started out without the necessary votes. But guess what? Barack Obama moved heaven and earth to pick off the votes he needed to prevail on these bills.
Start with all but three of the so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats who won reelection by swearing that they were “independent” and not just “Pelosi puppets” –- only to see their “independence” vanish Wednesday as soon as the Democrat Left pulled on their puppet strings. Talk about giving a big, fat obscene gesture to the suckers who have just been stupid enough to reelect you…
In the Senate, “independents” like Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, McCaskill, etc., during the ObamaCare battle and the post-election session, jumped over and over again when ordered to by the Far Left. Any argument that a vote for McCaskill is anything other than a proxy for Barbara Boxer should be met with withering resistance.
STEP THREE: AS OBAMACARE COLLAPSES, SHOUT IT TO THE HIGH HEAVENS
The primary impact of ObamaCare has been to drive premiums through the roof. Employer-provided premiums, which were supposed to DECREASE, according to CBO, have increased as much as 9% or more IN ONE YEAR.
The only reason the insurance industry has not already collapsed is the hundreds of waivers of ObamaCare given by the Obama administration to employers, unions, and AARP.
And guess what? The biggest “gotcha” is yet to come: In 2014, tens of millions of former Obama voters will find out about the bloated premiums they will have to pay, under penalty of law.
STEP FOUR: TACK OBAMACARE REPEAL ONTO A MUST-PASS BILL
If Republicans choose to tack ObamaCare repeal onto the federal appropriations bill (the “continuing resolution”) or the debt limit increase, Obama will have no choice but to repeal his treasured legacy or shut down his rule-making agencies for the remainder of his term.
Yes, yes, I know. The GOP Senate leadership is terrified of threatening a government shut-down, for fear of repeating the 1995 Gingrich debacle.
Let’s ignore the argument, for the time being, that Gingrich lost the political debate not because he stood up to Clinton, but because he cowered and lost. The fact is that the GOP can preempt this problem by introducing legislation that will keep debt payments, entitlements, and defense funding flowing, even if there is not continuing resolution or debt limit increase.
Within the past two days, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey has, at our urging, announced legislation to allow the debt limit to expire -– while requiring that the U.S. continue to pay interest on the debt, thus avoiding default.
Thus, if Obama vetoes the debt limit bill (with ObamaCare repeal attached), the international financial system will not collapse. An even more expansive version of the Toomey proposal could guarantee payment of interest on the debt, entitlements, and defense. Exactly what justification would Obama use to veto that?
So the net impact of killing the CR or the debt limit would be that BATF will not be able to illegally create gun registries of multiple sales. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer be able to implement job-killing “cap-and-trade” by administration fiat. Obama will no longer be able to ban guns in a major portion of the U.S. by designating “wilderness areas” by regulation.
STEP FIVE: DO NOT LET BEN NELSON, ETC., OFF THE HOOK BY ALLOWING THEM TO CHERRY-PICK AT THE REALLY UNPOPULAR FEATURES OF OBAMACARE, LIKE THE 1099 REQUIREMENTS
Repealing the mandate is fine, because it is so central that its repeal will collapse the entire system.
But if the GOP allows ObamaCare to be “cleaned up,” (1) we will never repeal ObamaCare, and (2) the Nelsons and McCaskills will use their votes on these efforts to nibble around the edges to defeat Republicans and retain control of the Senate and the White House.
Let me give you an example. Republicans were in the cat-bird’s seat in the post-election session. At the behest of the liberal media’s call for “bipartisanship,” they capitulated on a variety of issues in order to obtain a tepid two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts. And what did that get them? They revived the Obama administration, opened the floodgates to a raft of Obama priorities, and sent their own numbers plummeting through the floor.
So, the bottom line is this:
The successful legislative strategy of the Far Left over the past year is to pronounce, like a mantra, “We’re going to win. You’re going to lose.” And sad-sacks like Mitch McConnell have all-too-often responded by conceding that he’s going to lose. Which he does -– with unbending regularity.
But we have all the legislative tools we need to repeal ObamaCare –- or shut down the Obama administration — in the 112th Congress.
And guess what? If Republicans can prove that they are not sad-sacks and losers, maybe they will control the White House and Senate in 2013.