NewsMax Magazine has an article about the growth of the Utah Tea Party movement. My friend, Brian Halladay, is quoted,
“Our feeling is that the majority of the Republican Party delegates are now tea party people,” Brian Halladay, one of the founders of the grass-roots Utah Rising organization, tells Newsmax.
NewsMax also interviewed Dave Hansen, Utah GOP Chairman, who said,
“I’m sure they have a very strong bloc, and they may have control,” Dave Hansen, chairman of the Utah GOP, tells Newsmax. “But we won’t know that until we get to the convention.”
But the really interesting part is their discussion with Hansen concerning the fate of incumbent Senator Bob Bennett.
Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reported Tuesday that a recent poll of more than 1,000 GOP delegates in Utah showed that Bennett is the top choice of only 15 percent of them. Tea party favorite Mike Lee, an attorney and first-time candidate, was the top choice of 35 percent of the delegates polled.
Hansen is skeptical that Bennett is in as much trouble as that survey suggests, however.
The results from the straw poll taken today at the Utah County Republican Convention are in, and Bob Bennet is still carrying only about 15% of the delegates.
|Candidate||# of Votes||% of Total|
The Rasmussen poll quoted by NewsMax also fails to mention Cherilyn Eagar, who is in second place behind Mike Lee. Additionally, Rasmussen polled GOP voters, which may or may not have included delegates. And in Utah’s Primary system, the delegates decide who the voters will have to choose from on the ballot.
What this means is that, if these patterns hold up, Bob Bennett won’t have enough to win the first round of voting at the State Convention next month, because the first round of voting will reduce the field to three candidates. It looks like it’s no longer a question of Bob Bennett getting 40% or more of the votes, and the balance being split by his three challengers. Bob Bennett is fighting for his political career.
That would be the kind of political decision I would like to face more often–the choice between three equally competent candidates who are all strong conservatives.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich gives an excellent explanation of the Reconciliation process being tossed about in the Legislature as a way of circumventing a Republican filibuster and passing ObamaCare with a simple majority.
Harry Reid flat-out lied when he said “nobody is talking about reconciliation” as a way to pass the health care reform bill. Here he is only days before the health care summit.
Speaker Gingrich writes,
The budget reconciliation process was created in 1974 as part of the law that created much of the modern rules and organizational structures used by Congress to pass the annual budget.
This new law required Congress to pass a budget resolution every year that would set the parameters by which the various congressional committees would write their specific parts of the total budget bill.
Within these budget resolutions, instructions can be given to specific congressional committees to create legislation that would alter current laws affecting spending and/or taxation in order to conform to the targets set out in the budget resolution.
To enhance Congress’ ability to meet budget resolution targets, these pieces of legislation are not passed under the normal rules of the Senate. Instead, they fall under the “budget reconciliation process” rules which prohibit unrelated amendments to the bills and set a maximum of 20 hours of debate on the floor. As a practical matter, this means only 51 votes are needed to pass a reconciliation bill because the limit on debate overrides the threat of a filibuster.
The Byrd Rule to Prevent Abuse of Reconciliation
While the budget reconciliation process was a success in its principal goal of giving Congress more power to meet the spending and revenue goals of the budget resolution, it quickly became prone to abuse.
Provisions that had nothing to do with meeting budget resolution requirements, even some that directly contradicted them, were passed using the reconciliation process.
To prevent this, the so-called “Byrd Rule,” named after Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who introduced the legislation, was passed in 1985 and made permanent in 1990.
The Byrd Rule allows any senator to raise a point of order objection to provisions in a reconciliation bill that they consider extraneous to meeting budget resolutions requirements. Then, it is up to the chair – either the Vice President (as President of the Senate) or, more often, the presiding officer of the Senate if the Vice President is not present — whether that provision stays or is stricken.
However, the chair almost always relies on the advice of the Senate Parliamentarian to determine if that objection is legitimate. (Learn more about the parliamentarian here.)
This determination is made based on six tests created as part of the Byrd Rule used to weed out provisions that have nothing to do with raising or reducing taxes or spending. It takes a 3/5 majority vote to override the decision of the presiding officer if he or she finds that a provision violates one or more of these tests. (This Congressional Research Service report is a good primer on the Byrd rule if you want to learn more.)
Reconciliation in Action
Reconciliation has been used for 22 bills, of which, 14 were passed by Republican majorities. Nineteen of those bills were signed into law by the President. Three were vetoed. You can view a chart of these bills here.
Notice the similarity between them? All of these bills were obviously directly related to taxation and spending, and since 1985, have successfully met the Byrd rule tests.
Health Reform Is About More than Federal Spending
This is why passing the left’s big government, big bureaucracy health bill using the budget reconciliation process is so fundamentally dishonest and dangerous to Senate precedent.
Leaving aside the bill’s merits (which, to be clear, are abysmal), both its defenders and detractors would acknowledge that it is, for better or worse, a fundamental overhaul of the nation’s health system, both public and private. It sets new rules and regulations that span the entire healthcare sector. It is much larger in scope and more all encompassing in purpose than simply affecting federal spending and revenues.
This is not to say that the bill would not have some effect on the federal budget. Almost any piece of legislation could meet that meager standard.
The reconciliation process was only intended to be used for legislation directly related to meeting budget resolution spending and revenue goals.
The minor affect the left’s health bill would have on the deficit over 10 years (beyond that there is every reason to think it would increase the deficit substantially), even by charitable estimates, cannot be used to justify passing this sort of sweeping legislation using reconciliation.
This is one reason why a number of Democrats, including Sen. Robert Byrd, author of the Byrd Rule and who also helped create the budget reconciliation process in 1974, called the idea of using it to pass the health bill (and cap and trade) “an outrage that must be resisted.”
It’s also why Robert Byrd objected to President Clinton’s efforts to pass Hillarycare in 1993 using reconciliation.
Why should the left’s latest big government healthcare grab be held to any different standard?
Liberals and Progressive Democrats are already shouting that Republicans used reconciliation to pass welfare reform. Newt’s response:
Since welfare reform was passed while I was Speaker of the House, I am happy to compare the two cases.
First, welfare reform was an integral part of the Republican Congress’ efforts to balance the budget, producing immediate savings of over $50 billion dollars between 1997 and 2002. It was originally combined with the balanced budget act that President Clinton vetoed in 1995.
By contrast, for most of the debate over the health bill, the left has constantly boasted about how their bill was “deficit neutral”. President Obama repeatedly sought to assure the American people that he would not sign a bill that “added one dime” to the deficit. Medicare cuts were combined with new taxes to pay for the cost of new programs and bureaucracies.
So while real effective health reform would certainly have a positive effect on the deficit, it is clear that the left never intended for their health bill to be primarily a budget bill. Its focus was and still is on getting more people covered. It was only after Democratic leaders began setting the stage for passing the bill using reconciliation that they began emphasizing it as a way to reduce the deficit. (Paul Ryan explains here how their bill uses smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of savings).
Second, when we decided to roll welfare reform into the balanced budget bill in 1995, we never stopped the conference committee efforts to resolve the differences between the versions of the welfare reform legislation that passed in the House and Senate earlier in the year. This continuation of work, along with the active participation of the governors, allowed us to quickly produce the final bill in conference the next year, once it became clear that President Clinton was now finally ready to sign welfare reform.
In contrast, the Democrats have done an end run around the conference committee process that would resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills, instead trying to negotiate their final bill in secret at the White House. This process continues today, with President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid exploring different tricks they can use to ram a bill through their respective chambers without first producing a conference bill.
Third, welfare reform was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, with more Democrats voting for it in the House and Senate than opposing it. It was signed by a Democratic President. Bipartisanship was integral to the success of the bill.
Today, Democrats are turning to passing the bill using the reconciliation process precisely because they are rejecting bipartisanship. Republican Scott Brown’s stunning election in Massachusetts, thanks largely to opposition to the left’s health bill, has meant that the Democrats would need at least one Republican vote to break a filibuster in the Senate. And their bill is so bad they can’t get one.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, welfare reform was overwhelmingly popular with the American people. One poll showed that over 90 percent of Americans favored reform, including 88 percent of those on welfare.
As for the left’s health bill, after a year of debate and discussion, the American people have overwhelmingly rejected it. A poll we released at the Center for Health Transformation showed that it is opposed by a 2-1 margin. It is a fact that the more Americans learn about the left’s plan, both its substance and the corrupt manner in which it has been passed, the more they oppose it.
Keep in mind that as recently as 2005, even Barack Obama was complaining that the Republican threat to use the “nuclear option” to shut down Democratic filibusters holding up judicial appointments would have created a majoritarian government not intended by the founders. But now that the shoe’s on the other foot, Majoritarianism seems to be the preferred order of the day. Back then, Republicans called Democrats “obstructionists” for filibustering the appointments of Pres. Bush’s judicial nominees, which Bush had every right to make. Now Democrats call Republicans “obstructionists” because they object to the idea of “fundamentally transforming” the American health care system. Which is worse, seating a Republican President’s judicial nominations, or usurping control of a nation’s health care system in a massive power grab that has nothing to do with health care? I think we can all see which obstruction is justifiable.
Harry Reid has strongly criticized Republicans who object to the methods being brought to bear to get Barack Obama’s health care reform package passed into law. “…realistically, they should stop crying about this. It’s been done 21 times before,” he said.
Reid is correct that it has been done before, but never has it been used on legislation that would fundamentally transform 1/6th of the American economy. Surely legislation of this magnitude should require more than just a simple majority to become the law of the land.
But that’s beside the point. In 2005, it was the Democrats who were “crying about” the use of measures to circumvent the filibuster, referred to then as the “Nuclear Option.” And Reid’s implicit accusation that Republicans did it first is disingenuous. The Republicans ended up not exercising the Nuclear Option in 2005, and Democrats have also used similar measures.
Watch the video below to see hypocrisy on parade. Joe Biden’s statement is particularly noteworthy.
The AP is carrying a story that would have been merely annoying had I not just watched the “Big Lie” video presentation from the good folks at iCaucus.org. The Independence Caucus has unveiled part of their research into the financial backroom dealing that keeps incumbents elected, wreaks havoc on our electoral system, and completely skirts around the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.
Their research basically shows how 25 institutions (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, two auto companies, and 21 banks) have received 93% of all the TARP monies that were supposed to go to all the banks across the nation. One problem: the vast majority of the banks haven’t seen a red cent from the stimulus package. Out of over 8,500 banks, 21 got 93%, 553 got about 5%, and the rest has not been dispersed.
But you wouldn’t believe where a good portion of the money has gone…right back into the coffers of our Representatives, on both sides of the aisle. The money was contributed to the election campaigns of these people, and was almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Basically, it was payback for passing the stimulus bill. The folks at the Independence Caucus explain how it works.
So now back to the story from the AP. Why did the Banks need to be stress tested? The government has never needed to “stress test” the banks before now. Banks have always been required by law to have stress tests conducted by independent auditors at regular intervals. But lo and behold, the government stress test, required by Congress, conveniently finds that the banks need additional government money, which in turn will fuel an additional round of campaign finance kickbacks.
It’s well past time to stop this madness.
The Independence Caucus will be releasing the findings of their research into the TARP Funds money trail. This from Monte Bateman of iCaucus:
The Independence Caucus has been engaged for some time in a research effort to show the connection between ALL of the Senators and Congressmen who voted in favor of the bailout AND the recipients of the TARP funds. We will be doing our “Research Reveal” broadcast on Thursday, May 7th at 7pm MDT, 8pm Central on http://www.Justin.TV/icaucus and we invite you to come and watch and then report on anything you find blog worthy. Here’s is a preview of our findings:
- In 2006, the public approval rating for our Congress was a meager 16%, and yet in spite of the low rating, 94% of all incumbents were reelected.
- In 2008, the public approval rating sank to an all-time single digit low of 9%, and even after the American public registered 1000 to 1 against the bailout in phone calls and emails, 96% of all incumbents were reelected, AND 98% of all incumbents who voted in favor of the bailout were reelected.
- With 8,533 financial institutions in the United States, only 25 institutions (21 banks, 2 car companies and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) received 93% of the TARP funds.
- Those 25 institutions are responsible for 60% to 70% of ALL the total campaign funds of every single Senator and Congressman who voted in favor of the bailout.
- Those same 25 institutions are remarkably bipartisan with donations on both sides of the isle being about equal, ranging between 47% to 53%.
- Thursday during our broadcast we’ll be naming 12 Congressmen and Senators (6 Republicans and 6 Democrats) who are some of the largest recipients of donations from those 25 institutions. Some of the names will surprise you. While no one will be amazed that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are well fed from that trough, however one may not expect Bob Bennett’s, or John Boehner’s names to appear on that same list with campaign receipts just as high or higher than those the Democrats receive. Want to see where John McCain and Barack Obama stand in total donations? Stay tuned.
- In our research we go way beyond what the media and the FEC reports for campaign donations, and have peeled back 10 different layers through which those 25 institutions are able to give those candidates way beyond the “maximum contribution” AND we expose the “multi-donor clause” which allows those 25 institutions to double down and donate twice as much as you can, to every single candidate each election phase.
We look forward to your involvement in this, and if you are willing to help promote this event through Facebook, on your blogs and anywhere else you can, your help is greatly appreciated. If you would like to see more information, you can go to the following sites:
http://www.icaucus.org (watch Article II part 1 to start and advance from there–takes about an hour and forty minutes to get through all the videos, so perhaps just watch a couple at a time as you have the time.)
http://www.tellyourneighbor.com/icaucus/ – this was the early results of our research; gives a little more background on the seven points I just made in this email.
http://www.tellyourneighbor.com/icaucus/invite/ – Invite others by sending them to this page.
Again, please tune into http://www.justin.tv/icaucus to view, and if you want to participate in the conversation in the chat board, you’ll need to register for a Justin.TV account (registration for Justin.TV is recommended before Thursday so we don’t crash any servers).
I really hope this event becomes the kick-off moment for real change in Washington D.C., instead of Barak Obama’s phony status quo change.
Hello!? Is anyone home in Media-land?
You’d think that the Move-on Media would have figured out the dynamics of the American political landscape by now. And you’d be wrong. Despite years of reporting on current events and the critical issues of the day, the Liberal Media has yet to fully comprehend the American People. This come from inhabiting the places they do–vast echo chambers that reflect only their own worldview.
Arlen Specter’s announcement this morning triggered an analysis of the state of the GOP by Charles Babington of the AP. I suppose Charles is really trying to be helpful, but his analysis is so far off-base as to be laughable. “The GOP is a shrinking tent,” he exclaims. His conclusion as to why it is shrinking? It has moved too far to the right.
Specter’s departure follows recent Republican losses in once-reliable states. While Barack Obama was cruising to the White House last fall, Republicans were losing long-held Senate seats in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia. A moderate Republican lost his seat in Oregon, and the same seems likely to happen when Minnesota’s long recount is settled.
Alaska is an excellent point for a closer look. Who lost the seat in Alaska? Ted Stevens. Remember Ted Stevens? He lost his seat because four weeks prior to the general election, he was convicted on charges of corruption. The news was devastating to the Republicans. But even with the conviction hanging like a dark cloud over him, Stevens lost by only a thin margin. So, were the voters voting out Stevens because he was too far right? Or were they voting him out because they were tired of the corruption in Government. The answer is clear to anyone aware of the recent Tea Party Movement. Everytime a Republican is at the center of even the smallest scandal during an election cycle, it is almost assured the seat will go to the Democrat.
If there is one thing the Democrats have learned about the Republicans, it is that Republican voters don’t readily tolerate monkey business on the part of their elected representatives. We like to keep things clean–to a fault. And they have used this to their advantage.
If the Republican tent is shrinking, it is because the regular Americans who make up the Republican Party are fed up with their elected leadership governing like Democrats, and abandonning Conservative principles. Arlen Specter is an example of the kind of Republican that is causing voter dissatisfaction with the GOP. He jumped ship to maintain his own power, not so he can continue serving the American People. He couldn’t care less about the People. (Of couse, the Move-on Media label Specter a “Pragmatist,” while Conservatives think of him as a political opportunist–or worse.)
Ironically, the Stevens case illustrates just how low the Democrats will go to secure a seat for themselves in the Halls of Power. Stevens conviction was dismissed by a federal judge last month, because of corruption on the part of the prosecutors who were all but sleeping with key witnesses. They withheld evidence from the defense during the course of Discovery, and acted so improperly that the investigation into Stevens has now become an investigation into the Justice Department’s prosecutors. The judge literally yelled at them in open court.
The Democrats have their own scandals that crop up as often as any in the GOP; it’s just that the Media are less apt to report it. Besides, America has come to expect immoral behavior from the Democrats. But it seems the message has got through, and the Republicans are starting to clean house. And though we may lose a few now, in the long run, as the GOP becomes more Conservative, its power and influence can potentially exceed anything it has experienced thus far.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are too preoccupied with Republican problems to be troubled with their own issues. If the Democrats continue with the status quo, they will see soon enough that worrying about the GOP’s tent was a case of looking beyond the mark. They should be shoring up their own house.