Stupak Folds, House Passes

Referring to this as being “passed” by the House seems rather appropriate.

Politico:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in urging her colleagues to vote yes, reading from a letter that Kennedy left to be read by Obama after Kennedy’s death. “Senator Kennedy wrote that access to health care was the great unfinished business of our society – that is, until today,” said Pelosi.

No word on whether they will place particular emphasis on funding for water rescues in honor of Kennedy.

She spoke in historic terms of the $938 billion bill, comparing it to landmark social legislation like Social Security and Medicare – reforms that changed the social fabric of the nation. “After a year of debate, we have come to this historic moment. Today we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform for all Americans, that is a right and not a privilege,” she said.

Well, we already know that the bill will cost much more than the mere 900 billion claimed. It is wonderful to know that the progressive in the Democrat Party are now actively convincing people that they have a right to no pay for their health insurance.

The House vote sends the bill to Obama’s desk for his signature, and Democrats say it’s likely he will sign the bill on Tuesday, making health reform the law of the land. Also Sunday night, the House plans to pass a “clean-up” bill to make fixes to the Senate legislation. Then later this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, the Senate will take up that bill as well.

From the Washington Examiner:

Well, they finally did it. Despite more than a year of steadily rising public opposition, manifested in opinion polls and in protest rallies across the country, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally rammed through Obamacare late Sunday when House Democrats gave the bill their imprimatur.

<snip>

A fast-track challenge to Obamacare’s constitutionality will likely reach the Supreme Court in coming months. The justices will have multiple issues to consider, including the unprecedented federal mandate that all individuals buy approved health insurance, the undeniable inequity of the many corrupt bargains used to buy votes for the measure, and the banana republic parliamentary tactics used by the Democratic congressional leadership. Whatever the high court’s decision, it won’t be nearly as unpleasant as the verdict many Democrats will hear from their constituents in November.

Apparently some Democrats were all too aware of the impending consequences of their votes come November. From Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:

The House just adopted a rule to govern the discussion and voting to follow, making the 216 votes they needed. According to Carl Cameron of Fox News, when the magic number was reached, a number of Congressmen voted “no”, as if they would have voted “yes” had their votes been needed, but were given permission to vote with their districts once the majority was secured for the Democrats.

Hrm. I wonder who was lucky enough to get to vote against it. Do you think they drew straws, or was it just alphabetical luck?

The big event is the vote switch by Bart Stupak, who initially was against Obamacare because the House bill didn’t prevent federal funds from being used to pay for abortion, then was for it when Pelosi said she’d get Stupak’s proposals included, then was against it again when Pelosi didn’t come through for him. Stupak has decided to vote for the bill because President Obama promised to issue an Executive Order changing the legislation to prevent the use of federal funding for abortion.

The only problem is that we have a president, not a king, and apparently a president can’t really do that.

Les Carpenter at Left Coast Rebel has the full text of the proposed EO:

Section 1.  Policy. Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“the Act”), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered), consistent with a longstanding Federal statutory restriction that is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment.   The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish a comprehensive, government-wide set of policies and procedures to achieve this goal and to make certain that all relevant actors–Federal officials, state officials (including insurance regulators) and health care providers–are aware of their responsibilities, new and old.
The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges.  Under the Act, longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience (such as the Church Amendment, 42 U.S.C. §300a-7, and the Weldon Amendment, Pub. L. No. 111-8, §508(d)(1) (2009)) remain intact and new protections prohibit discrimination against health care facilities and health care providers because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

Numerous executive agencies have a role in ensuring that these restrictions are enforced, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Meredeth Jessup at Townhall comments on the ease with which Stupak was willing to sacrifice his principles, and brings up an important point about the nature of Obama’s Executive Order (emphasis mine):

I’m pretty saddened that an executive order was enough to convince Stupak and his fellow pro-lifers to support this bill.  It would seem to me that it’s papering over the issue–Obama’s executive order can be rescinded at any time.  In voting for the single largest piece of legislation since the New Deal, you paper over the issue of life?

That is, of course, assuming that Obama actually issues the order once the Bill is finalized and signed into law.

Kevin Glass at Townhall also questions the likelihood of Obama sticking to his promise.

Chris Field offers a video that the GOP is pushing as proof that the EO won’t mean anything:

Nice Deb has a pretty comprehensive analysis of the situation regarding the Stupak deal and Obama’s EO:

Mike Pence just mentioned on Fox that a court of law would throw out the EO since it would contradict the legislation passed by Congress.

Tom Price calls it “a pig in a poke” – you can’t override legislation with an executive order.

[…]

An also clearly disgusted Andrew McCarthy concurs with Pence and Price about the constitutionality  of the EO deal:

The Susan B. Anthony List observation that EOs can be rescinded at the president’s whim is of course true. This particuar EO is also a nullity — presidents cannot enact laws, the Supreme Court has said they cannot impound funds that Congress allocates, and (as a friend points out) the line-item veto has been held unconstitutional, so they can’t use executive orders to strike provisions in a bill. So this anti-abortion EO is blatant chicanery: if the pro-lifers purport to be satisfied by it, they are participating in a transparent fraud and selling out the pro-life cause.

Stupak is either really gullible or was just trying to find a way to save face to his pro-life supporters.

There are still issue of constitutionality that need to be addressed. The individual mandate, for one, has no Constitutional backing whatsoever. Hopefully these challenges will be enough. If not, I can see Republicans sailing to easy electoral victories on a campaign of “repeal the bill” — and it should be hard to do, since almost none of this immediately vitally important health care reform that must be passed right this second or else kicks in for several years. (Although the tax increases start right away.)

It really makes me feel ill that there are people out there that are not only convinced that this is a good thing, but truly believe that the only reason anyone would have to oppose it is racism.

And just for the sake of completion, here’s some more numbers on what this bill will actually cost, despite what the bogus CBO report said.

From Legal Insurrection:

Barack Obama pitches the Senate health care bill as the greatest deficit reduction plan in decades. Democratic Congressman parrot those words in announcing their support for the bill. Neither Obama nor the Democratic Congressmen are so stupid as to believe their own words.

The numbers are phony, and they know it. Obamacare is the equivalent of a Three Card Monte game, and the Democrats have turned the CBO into the witting dealer:

Democrats have so thoroughly gamed the budget process and the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring rules that the official cost estimates of the Obama health plan reveal but a sliver of the legislation’s full cost. The Obama plan would vastly increase the size and scope of the federal government, and increase our already record federal deficit.

To hear Democrats tell it, the CBO projects the legislation would cost a mere $940 billion over the next 10 years. The CBO said no such thing: that figure pertains only to provisions aimed at expanding health insurance. Other spending provisions bring the cost to $1.2 trillion.

Then there’s the additional $208 billion that Democrats plan to spend on physicians who participate in Medicare. Democrats moved that into a separate bill to reduce the apparent cost of the main health care bill. Including that spending in the estimate completely wipes out the Obama plan’s professed $138 billion of deficit reduction. After correcting for that gimmick (and accounting for how the two measures would interact), the CBO estimates really indicate that the Obama plan would increase federal deficits by $59 billion over the next 10 years.

Even worse, Democrats hid another $1.5 trillion by preventing the CBO from scoring the legislation’s hidden taxes. At present, when Congress takes money from workers and gives it to private insurers, the CBO counts that as a tax. The Obama plan’s “individual mandate” would force workers to give money directly to private insurers, which the president’s economic advisers admit is also a tax. If history is any guide, those hidden taxes would cost roughly $1.5 trillion – but you won’t find any such estimate in the CBO’s score.

Read on. It gets worse.

Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute, Take One:

The sun has now set and risen again a total of 275 times since it first shone down on the Obama health plan.  Barring some unforseen snag, the House of Representatives will hold the final vote on that legislation around 6pm EDT today.

It will do so without ever laying eyes on a complete cost estimateBy design, the official Congressional Budget Office cost estimates are incomplete, omitting one category of costs that likely totals $1.5 trillion, and fraudulently concealing other costs.

The most incredible part is that the media have shown zero interest in exposing the largest category of hidden costs: the private-sector mandates, which likely total $1.5 trillion.  But perhaps the media will report on such costs in the future.  The surest way would be for Congress to require the CBO to include them in its official cost estimates.

Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute, Take Two:

My oped at FoxNews.com explains just how well Democrats have hidden the full cost of the Obama health plan:

To hear Democrats tell it, the CBO projects the legislation would cost a mere $940 billion over the next 10 years….the actual cost of the bill is nearly $3 trillion….

Yet this legislation would set in motion political forces that would make additional spending inevitable. It would create new constituencies for government spending, hook existing constituencies on even more government spending, and promise implausible cuts in existing subsidies to constituencies that are highly organized and vocal…

When Congress inevitably fails to implement the Obama plan’s spending cuts, and expands its subsidies to more and more people, the cost of this legislation will grow beyond $3 trillion.

The CBO did an admirable job of projecting the cost of this legislation as written. But the text of the legislation does not reflect the reality it would create.

Giving the Obama health plan the effect of law will not make those costs disappear.

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