“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis”
–Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner
Joel Gehrke writes: Patty Murray, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the Senate, threatened today to provoke a government shutdown this fall if the Republican-controlled Congress won’t agree to a budget more in line with President Obama’s priorities.
“Republicans have a choice,” Murray said in a Wednesday speech, per the Huffington Post. “They can either work with us early on a bipartisan budget deal that will set the topline budget levels and allow the Appropriations Committee to work on bills that can be signed into law. Or, they can wait until we reach a crisis, until we approach or hit another completely unnecessary government shutdown — and work with us then.”
A question for readers: Do public schools teach civics? They did when I was in school, but it’s been a long time. Has basic civics been fully removed from public education? Or still taught, but overridden by progressive counter-programming? I’d like to hear.
I read this last night, and marveled. NRO‘s Charles C. Cooke writes like the last sane man in America. I enjoy Cooke’s thinking, but I sometimes forget how funny his writing is. The left’s reaction to the SCTOTUS decision was expected to be exaggerated, dishonest, political, and theatrical, that’s a given. But I didn’t imagine it would become this disassociated from the actual legal question involved, seemingly clueless about (or intentionally misrepresenting) the role of courts in the democratic process itself. Read the whole thing here.
Charles C. W. Cooke writes:
Conspicuously absent from yesterday’s post-Hobby Lobby hullabaloo was the acknowledgment on the left that the decision was the product of a court. Distilling into a single line what was a popular and widely disseminated critique, the New York Times’s Nick Kristof tweeted a picture of Justices Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, sardonically labeling the quintet as “The experts on women’s health on the Supreme Court who ruled today against contraception coverage.” A few hours later, Senator Harry Reid’s office pushed out an assessment that was cut from the same unlovely cloth. “It’s time that five men on the Supreme Court stop deciding what happens to women,” Reid tweeted. Among the hysterical, that sentiment was ubiquitous.
Note: Many on the right, too, are misreading or misrepresenting the perceived ‘victory’ in this narrow decision. Obamacare’s vast regulatory reach remains undiminished by this ruling, there’s not a whole lot to celebrate.
One cannot help but wonder whether Kristof and Reid are aware of what the Supreme Court actually does — which, as anybody who has even a fleeting grasp of American civics knows, is not to set American policy, on health or anything else, but to interpret and uphold the law. In this particular case, the justices were called to judge whether a mandate that was pushed out by the Obama administration in 2012 was in conflict with another law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that was added to the books in 1992. This being so, the degree to which those who decided the case are “experts on women’s health” is wholly immaterial. The justices are jurists not doctors — they are nine appointed attorneys whose role in the American settlement is to provide legal answers to legal questions. Man or woman; straight or gay; handsome or ugly; Jew, Catholic, or protestant — the law must remain the law, regardless of in whose name its intricacies are decided. The alternative would be disastrous. Does Harry Reid aspire to see Roe v. Wade, which was decided by nine men, overturned?
Identity politics notwithstanding, the central implication of the Kristofs and Reids of the world — that the very involvement of the Court in this area is uncouth — is a rather strange one. Read the rest of this entry »
— Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Well, that problem wouldn’t exist had Congress not given HHS the power to mandate that employers provide specific products and services to their employees in the first place. Prior to the passage of ObamaCare, most employers already provided some form of health insurance to their employees, and most of those already covered birth control, albeit with co-pays. Those employers who object to abortifacients found other health plans, but that doesn’t prevent men and women from acquiring birth control of their own volition — or finding other work based on competitive compensation packages, for that matter. This became an issue only when Democrats forced the creation and participation of a command economy in health insurance and gave bureaucrats the power to issue regulations such as the HHS contraception mandate, for no rational reason except as political demagoguery. Read more…Hot Air
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a critical religious freedom case. The court will decide whether the government may compel family-owned companies to provide employees with health insurance that covers no-cost birth control and other medical procedures that violate the owners’ religious beliefs.
The plaintiffs argue that a 1993 federal law on religious freedom extends to private, for-profit businesses…Read more….CNSNews
Completely unrelated, but too good not to share. A Patty Murray Freudian slip:
One year after writing and passing the first Senate Democratic budget resolution in four years, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said her conference will not make an effort in the 2014 midterm election year.
In a statement, Murray said there was no reason to do a fiscal 2015 budget after the two-year deal struck in December with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
That deal set budget ceilings for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. The 2015 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
“Fiscal Year 2015 is settled, the Appropriations Committees are already working with their bipartisan spending levels, and now we should work together to build on our two-year bipartisan budget, not create more uncertainty for families and businesses by immediately relitigating it,” Murray said.
“I went into my negotiations with Chairman Ryan hoping we could give the American people some much needed certainty after years of lurching to crisis to crisis, and I was very glad that our two-year budget deal accomplished that,” she added.
House Republicans are planning to do a budget, however. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he “expects” it to be done.
That will set up a contrast with the Senate, where Republicans for years criticized Democrats for not doing a budget. Read the rest of this entry »
David Rogers reports: House-Senate negotiators rolled out a $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night — a giant package that fills in the blanks of the December budget agreement and promises to restore some order to government funding over the next year.
Under pressure from Republicans, the measure keeps a tight rein on new funding for Wall Street regulators and effectively freezes appropriations for President Barack Obama’s health care program at the reduced, post-sequester level.
Tony Lee reports: Though Republicans and Democrats in favor of comprehensive immigration reform are ready to make a final push next year, a new national Gallup poll released on Thursday found that only 3% of the country believes immigration reform is the most important issue that needs to be addressed.
The top concern of Americans who were surveyed was “dissatisfaction with the government” (21%). That was followed by the economy (19%), healthcare (17%), unemployment (12), the budget deficit (9%), moral/ethical decline (7%), poverty/hunger/homelessness (5%), and education (4%).
Immigration also does not register among the top-five most important issues to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
Sarah Mimms writes: When budget negotiations began last month, Democrats felt confident that public opinion surrounding the government shutdown would force Republicans to the table, eager to prove their party could compromise.
But today, there’s little sense of urgency on a budget deal. With less than four weeks to go before the conference committee’s deadline, the public focus has shifted to the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and pressure on Republicans has subsided.
“The shutdown is history. We are moving forward to try to get the next thing done,” William Allison, a spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, said last week.
Asked whether Ryan and others feel pressure to get something done because of the shutdown, Allison was blunt: “Nah,” he said.
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