As you have probably heard, the Senate Finance Committee this week rejected attempts to put the government-run "option" in the Senate health care bill by a vote of 15-8. What you probably did not hear was that only about an hour later, Speaker Pelosi held a press conference and stated that the House version that she intends to bring to the floor would have the government option in it. So what gives?
It takes 218 votes to pass a bill in the House. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a health care bill that is a full-blown, complete "single-payer" system with the entire health care system being run by the government and private health made illegal. This bill has nearly 100 cosponsors - all Democrats. Since Republicans are being excluded from the health care bill design & negotiations, there is no Republican that will vote for what they have now. That means that nearly half of all the people who will vote for the Pelosi bill are on record as saying that they want complete socialized medicine. The "government option" is the road to get there, which is why they are fighting so hard for it. "Single-payer, " "socialized medicine," "required government-run health care," or "national health system," whatever you want to name it, is where the bills in both the House and the Senate are designed to lead us.
If you don't believe that, then just look at what has happened with student loans. Student loans used to be offered by a number of private companies under government requirements and with some government subsidies. Since Democrats took control of Congress, they instituted a government-run option and changed the rules for the private issuers. That, along with the bad economy, put the private issuers in financial trouble. Rather than give them some regulatory or other financial relief, Democrats proclaimed that the private sector had failed and eliminated them from eligibility to loan to any student who gets government assistance. So now, in just a few years, a thriving and functioning private student loan business has all but disappeared and has been replaced by a 100% taxpayer-funded, government-run system, which by the way, is adding to the deficit and costing lots more money than the private system. This is what will happen with health care, if either of these bills passes.
Another canary in the coal mine is a little known provision in the Senate bill which exempts hospitals from being paid by the government system at Medicare rates. Why? Because hospitals will all go broke if they have to live solely on Medicare rates. But, the Senate bill does not exempt the doctors. Needless to say, a hospital without doctors is not very helpful.
I could go on and on. This Obama/Pelosi health care plan is awful in so many ways.
By the way, the majority leader announced yesterday that no health care bill will be considered on the House floor for at least 2 more weeks. That means they have still not cobbled together enough votes for it. Let's hope they never do.
Just the facts on the Fiscal Year End: The 2009 fiscal year for the federal government ended 2 days ago. The deficit through the first 11 months was $1.4 trillion, 43 cents of every dollar spent was borrowed, and the national debt is now $11.77 trillion which is a 35% increase since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. More debt has been accumulated in those 33 months than in the entire period of the nation's history from 1789 to 1989.
You can draw your own conclusions, they are pretty obvious. This is unsustainable.
What else am I doing? I am the author, or one of the primary authors on about 21 pieces of legislation or initiatives in this Congress. Some of this legislation has zero chance of becoming law in this Congress because Democrats are in charge and their leadership opposes those ideas. Others, meanwhile, do have a shot at becoming law because I have either a Democrat co-author or they are otherwise not controversial. Over the rest of this month, while Congress idles as Democrats fight each other over health care behind closed doors, I'll give you a brief description of what these bills and initiatives entail, why I introduced it, and what its prospects are. Here are the first two:
1. Spending Limit: This has been something I have championed since my first days in the California Assembly. Republicans spend too much. Democrats spend way way too much. In 44 out of the last 49 years, the nation has run a deficit through Republican Congresses, Democratic Congresses, Republican Presidents, Democratic Presidents, and every combination thereof. We need an external discipline to keep US from driving YOU into further debt. This Amendment will do that. This Constitutional Amendment would limit federal spending in any year to one fifth (20%) of the economy (GDP). That is the historic average since World War II. Right now, we are at about 27%. Through Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Great Society, etc., in the last 64 years, we have managed to thrive with a federal government that represents about 1/5th of the economy. Why can't we continue to thrive at the same level for the next 64 years? The Amendment allows Congress to go over the limit in any year in which a Declaration of War is in effect or with a 2/3rds vote, and it gives Congress 4 years after ratification to get spending down to this level. Constitutional amendments are never easy to pass (there have been only 27 to date, the last one being in 1992) but it has no chance of even being voted on in this spendthrift Congress, but a number of us are starting to talk about it as the solution we need to keep our government from taking over everything and spending us all into oblivion. The government budget cannot keep going up while family budgets are going down.
2. Rocks: There are roughly 40 big rocks off the coast of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point. Each rock is roughly the size of a house. If you live in Orange County, I'm sure you've seen them. Here's a picture of a couple and a map of where they are.
In 1935, these rocks were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard to build lighthouses or for Civil Defense. (Remember that in World War II the California Coast was threatened by Japanese submarines) No lighthouses or gun emplacements were ever built. Today, such uses are no longer practical or even necessary. So, my bill (H.R. 86) would transfer these rocks away from the Coast Guard to the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM). With this transfer, nothing will ever be built on the rocks and they will be preserved for marine habitat and public viewing and enjoyment. I testified in favor of this bill in front of the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday, and I expect to get it passed off the floor of the House before the end of the year.
Until next time, I remain respectfully,