Wednesday, March 9, 2011

105 billion in "pre-appropriated" funds buried in 2800 page Obamacare bill raises Separation of Powers, process Concerns

Shocking revelations that the "Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act," (i.e."Obamacare") has hidden within its pages the means for self funding via pre-authorized appropriations to the tune of 105 billion dollars has cast a further pall on the corrupt processes used to pass what can only be considered flawed legislation even as the majority of Americans support its repeal, (for reasons this is such bad legislation see post "So what's really the problem with Obamacare?")

The revelations, brought to light by Congresswomen Michelle Bachmann, (R-MN), raises questions as to the Administration's good faith in current budget negotiations with the House of Representatives, (who have been locked in a public relations battle with the White House over how to make a down-payment on reducing the burgeoning federal budget deficit in the current fiscal year in a time of scarce resources).

It has also served as an unpleasant reminder of the other less-than-savory back-room methods used to force this broad-reaching legislation through Congress on a straight party-line vote in the first place, (i.e., the "Cornhusker Kickback" and "Lousianna Purchase" whereby reticent Senate Democrats were "bribed" to acquiesce to the President's ambitious health "reform" agenda). 

 Under the U.S. Constitution the Congress reserves the power to appropriate (i.e., pay for) laws and programs it passes; while it is not entirely unprecedented for laws to contain the means for their funding withing the legislation creating the program, it is unusual, (especially in light of the fact that most members of Congress were apparently not even aware of this fact).  Moreover, to the extent that the White House had up till now conveniently failed to mention this was the case even as debate has raged about the Republican Congress' intentions to defund this invasive and controversial law which 57% of the American people support repealing, it is disturbing in its implications of deception. 

 Indeed, in this time of needed economic austerity, while the President has repeatedly invoked the potential "damage" that spending cuts might incur to the recovering American economy, the discovery of this huge spending "baked in the cake" of the Obamacare bill gives the distinct impression that the Administration might have been less than sincere when it came to both Obamacare and such grand economic pronouncements.

 It also may help explain why the Obama Administration has not seemed bothered by statements from Republican lawmakers indicating they might, absent their ability to muster the votes in Congress to overcome an almost certain veto by the President of any attempts to repeal the legislation, choose simply to defund it.  (Indeed, with the efficaciousness of such a tactic now in doubt, it would appear once again that the response of former House majority leader Nancy Pelosi, when confronted with the fact that most House members had not even read the 2800 page behemoth legislation that, "we will have to pass it to see what's in it" were never more prophetic).

 However, such attitudes (and tactics) as it is now obvious were used to pass this legislation, (and apparently, to fund it also), are an outrageous affront to Democratic principles as well as constitute rank hypocrisy for an Administration we were promised would be the "most transparent" in history.

 Moreover, of even more concern, it raises serious "Separation of Powers" concerns vis a vis the Executive's apparent and potential encroachment on Congress' law making and appropriating powers.

 We therefore fully support all efforts of Congress to get to the bottom of this legislative "surprise" in the much-needed investigations that will inevitably follow.  jp

No comments:

Post a Comment