Out With the Old

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With trademark lachrymosity, Congressman John A. Boehner accepted the gavel of the House of Representatives Wednesday from outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Presiding over his maiden session in the “people’s House,” Boehner aptly expounded on “the people’s” will and the urgency of enacting it during the already-fleeting tenure of the 112th Congress. “The people voted to end business as usual,” the speaker said, “and today we begin carrying out their instructions.” More than empty rhetoric, Speaker Boehner leads an ambitious Republican constituency, which has already seized both horns of the national dilemma: the looming prospect of the unpopular healthcare legislation passed by President Obama and the previous Congress, and the unmanageability of federal spending. Both pit Republicans directly against the agenda President Obama has aggressively led for the past two years. This time around, however, no single party holds many trump cards.

A few hours after representatives were sworn into office, the now Republican-led House enacted a number of new rules to address spending and taxation. A Democratically-controlled House in 2007 instituted the “pay-go” policy, essentially requiring that new spending be offset by spending cuts or tax increases. Today’s Republicans have replaced this policy with what they call “cut-go,” or requiring spending cuts and prohibiting tax increases for new spending. Taxes, on the other hand, can be cut even without an offset in spending reductions elsewhere. This maneuver has prompted many on the Left to accuse Republicans of hypocrisy with respect to their seriousness toward reducing the deficit. This criticism, however, ignores the potential for diverting revenue to the deficit from desperately-needed government downsizing. As GOP leaders have frequently argued, “We don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”

The talk of the town as of late has been the need to raise the federal debt ceiling, which proponents argue is needed to preserve America’s AAA credit rating. House Republicans are divided on this issue, with some staunch conservatives absolutely committed to voting “no” on an increase, while some suggest they will vote for the increase if it is accompanied by austerity measures. In any case, new House rules have mandated that the debt ceiling increase must be approved through an on-the-record vote, rather than through the annual budget process. This will make the increase more difficult to pass, or at least the subject of closer public scrutiny. Another House rule will require the bill (and all bills) to be posted on the Internet 72 hours before being brought to the floor for debate. This will be a sharp distinction to the secrecy of Pelosi’s House, where legislation was not uncommonly fashioned in the early morning hours and brought to the floor for a vote the following day.

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  • Rosewood11

    The end of Obamacare? It is something devoutly to be wished, and as the author says, it will likely pass the House and stall in the Senate. Or will it!?! I have the feeling that more than one Democratic senator got the message that was given to the House last fall even if he/she wasn't up for election last year. That message was that "We the People" understood Obamacare very well, and didn't want any part of it. We also understood the difference between an open vote and "deem and pass." Additionally, the mess in the economy has alerted us to the fact that there is no money to pay for any of this new entitlement unless we sell our souls to the Chinese–if Congress hasn't already managed to do that. I think you might be surprised how many of the faithful Democrat legislators become strangely "bipartisan" when they are actually forced to publicly vote for something they know will get them kicked out of office in the next election. And yes, should the repeal pass, Mr. Obama will certainly veto it. "We the People" will remember that, too, as we expend a little of our $5.00-per-gallon gas to get to the polling place to veto him in 2012.

    • Dennis X

      Obama Care will save 143 billion dollars over the next ten years. You want to bring back not being able to get insurance with a pre-existing condistion, or kicking your 23 old off your insurance, or senoirs not getting a 50% discount on medication? In California Blue Shield wants to increase your cost by 59% !! Make the debate public and see what the public wants!!!

      • dgc001

        That is what the election reflected! Stop insulting the majority of the American public; we are not mindless drones, and many of us ACTUALLY have begun to read the bill to "find out what is in it". Nifty little surprises like the CBO revising it's cost estimates to show that the cost curve will bend dramatically upward, not down; that 45 new or existing physician-owned hospitals nationwide must now shut down because they are illegal; that their was absolutely NO tort reform; that the much ridiculed 'death panels' have now resurfaced through rule making in HHS; that the American people were compelled for the first time in the history of the republic to buy a government sanctioned product or face legal sanctions…Gee! We're all dolts! Get real pal! Americans have not warmed to this power grab, and they won't!

  • http://www.therepublicrevealed.com/ Victor Laslow

    After Pelosi spoke for so long I thought she would not let go and have a tug of war over the gavel with Boehner. One would think she said enough over the last few years but she had to praise herself and the progressive socialist accomplishments. Her speech to turn over power in the house broke the record for taking the longest time. So if as a reporter said by speaking for a considerably shorter time Boehner may have analogized the future of our government "Less Is Better"….

  • USMCSniper

    Vince Lombarbi once said; "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and this is indeed true. The democrats will obstruct in every way possible with the MSM on their side, the RINOs will be the first to cave, then a large number of republicans will "compromise" as they will spin it, and Obamacare will not only survive, but be permanent – and they will all congratulate each other and raise taxes.

    • wsk

      Man, I hope you're wrong, but I fear you are correct.

  • alexander

    Boehner – Pelosi – big hammer – closeness….do it, John! ;)
    Republicans – you have no media – get some!!! WHO'S GOT MEDIA THAT RULES