Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guess who loves the new government health care plan?

According to the Washington Post, "Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shuster Statement on Voting Against the Democrat Government Takeover of Health Care

This evening, the House will vote on one of the most important pieces of legislation in 50 years. Congressman Shuster has opposed the Democrats’ reform proposal from the start and will vote no. Shuster issued the following statement in advance of the House vote:

“Tonight, the House will vote on legislation that will reshape our nation. The federal government will take control over one sixth of our private economy in order to extend government approved health care across America. Never before in our history has such an important issue been brought to the floor on a party line vote. In fact, the only bipartisan agreement on this bill has been the opposition against it.

No one disputes the need for health care reform in America that lowers costs and protects those with pre-existing conditions, but this bill is not the answer. The reality is that we cannot even afford the government we have today and we cannot afford the disastrous fiscal and economic consequences this bill will place on future generations.

The Democrats’ bill will create a $2.4 trillion entitlement when fully implemented. Our deficit, already dangerously in the red, will grow by $662 billion in 10 years. The bill raids Medicare and Social Security to pay for these new entitlements and will require $529 billion in new taxes while national unemployment hovers around 10 percent. This health care bill is nothing short of a road map to fiscal insolvency.

One of the cornerstone principles of this nation is that we have a government by the consent of the governed. For over a year, the President and Congressional Democrats have pushed this health care plan over the vocal objections of the American people, my own constituents and House Republicans who have offered solutions only to be denied at every turn.

It didn’t have to be this way. Health care reform could have been achieved through bipartisan cooperation and a sharing of ideas between the political parties. The American people deserve better than this.”

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shuster Joins Constituents to Rally Against Democrats' Health Care Bill

Earlier today, Congressman Shuster joined a rally which took place at the Capitol Building against the Democrats’ health care bill.

During the rally, Shuster spoke to dozens of activists from the 9th district and across Pennsylvania who descended on Washington, DC in advance of tomorrow’s House vote on health care reform.

“The American people have been telling Congress for over a year that they don’t want this big government takeover of health care,” Shuster said. “Today, thousands of Americans, including many of my constituents came to the Capitol on their own to make their voices heard again before tomorrow’s vote.”

“I join my constituents here today and the thousands back in Pennsylvania who oppose this bill,” Shuster added.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tax increases in the Democrats' health care bills

Courtesy of the Republican Ways and Means Committee staff, this document provides a side by side comparison of the tax increases in the Senate-passed health bill (H.R. 3590), the Senate bill combined with the proposed reconciliation bill (H.R. 4872), and the reconciliation bill alone. The chart also shows tax increases in the bills that violate the President’s pledge to not raise taxes for anyone earning less than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for couples.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

House Democrats Reject Up or Down Vote on Healthcare

House Democrats Reject Up or Down Vote on Healthcare

What a Way to Celebrate “Sunshine Week” in Washington

Today, House Democrats voted down a Republican resolution to require an actual up or down vote in the House on the Senate health care bill. This is the same resolution Shuster signed onto as an original cosponsor yesterday to defeat the “Slaughter Solution.” Shuster released the following statement on today‟s vote:

“I find it sadly ironic that in the middle of "sunshine week,‟ House Democrats would vote to oppose the most transparent act in American government; the up or down vote.

The American people are calling on their Congress at the top of their lungs to stop this poison pill called health care reform. No matter the volume, Speaker Pelosi and her leadership continue to play deaf to the people‟s demands.

By moving forward on the 'Slaughter Solution,' House Democrats think they are pulling a fast one on the American people. Speaker Pelosi and the White House say that the American people don‟t care about the process. I disagree. My constituents back home care about the Constitution and they want their elected representatives to protect it. I‟ll do my part by opposing the Democrats‟ health care bill.”

NOTE: March 14 to the 20th is the annual “sunshine week” in Washington, DC, a seven day period dedicated to government openness and transparency.

Leader Boehner on the "Slaughter Solution"

At a press conference this morning with House & Senate GOP leaders, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) dismissed President Obama’s sales pitch to rank-and-file Democrats that “the fate of his presidency” is on the line with the upcoming health care vote and also discussed the House vote expected today on the resolution offered by Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL) to block the “Slaughter Solution”:

“Well, it’s pretty clear that Democrat leaders here in Congress and the President aren’t listening to the American people. Because the American people are saying, ‘stop!’ and they’re screaming at the top of their lungs. The President’s latest ploy as he’s dealing with Members trying to convince them to vote against their constituents and to vote with him, is to make the point that his presidency is on the line. Well, I’m sorry Mr. President, this isn’t about you. It’s not about the office you hold and it’s not about the Speaker. This is about the American people and the health care system that they want for our country. We’ve made clear that it’s time to scrap this bill and start over on commonsense reforms to make our current health care system better. But no, they are going to continue to ram, ram, ram this bill through the Congress. Every kind of scheme known to man to try and get it through the Congress without a vote.

“We’re going to have an opportunity for the Members today to vote on a straight up-or-down resolution, about requiring a straight up-or-down vote on this bill. It’ll be part of our Previous Question when we get a Rule bill up, and Members will have a chance to vote on that. But I can tell you this, that Republicans in the House and Senate have worked closely together or the last year, and we’re going to continue to work closely together to do everything that we can do to make sure that this bill never, ever, ever passes.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The American People Deserve an Up or Down Vote on Health Care

Shuster Cosponsors Bill to Stop the “Slaughter Solution”

Today, Congressman Shuster signed on as an original cosponsor of a resolution that will require an actual up or down vote in the House on the Senate health care bill.

If passed this resolution, originally introduced by Congressman Parker Griffith of Alabama, would prevent Speaker Pelosi from implementing the “Slaughter Solution;” a highly controversial parliamentary trick that would effectively pass the health care bill without actually voting on it:

“Process matters,” Shuster said. “The American people were outraged when the Democrats passed the stimulus without reading it and they are doubly angry today that Speaker Pelosi is endorsing a scheme to pass healthcare without the basic requirement of an up or down vote.”

“A recorded vote on this health care bill will be the kiss of death for many Democrats and Speaker Pelosi knows it,” Shuster added. “Why else would they concoct the ‘Slaughter Solution’ to hide from their constituents?”

“House Republicans will join with the American people to demand accountability from their Congress. It starts with an up or down vote on health care.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

MUST READ OF THE DAY: The House Health-Care Vote and the Constitution

Here is the must read article of the day from the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal on health care reform and the unconstitutional manner it could be forced upon the American people:

The House Health-Care Vote and the Constitution
No bill can become law unless the exact same text is approved by a majority of both houses of Congress.

By Michael W. McConnell
March 15, 2010

Democratic congressional leaders have floated a plan to enact health-care reform by a procedure dubbed "the Slaughter solution." It is named not for the political carnage that it might inflict on their members, but for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D., N.Y.), chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, who proposed it. Under her proposal, Democrats would pass a rule that deems the Senate's health-care bill to have passed the House, without the House actually voting on the bill. This would enable Congress to vote on legislation that fixes flaws in the Senate health-care bill without facing a Senate filibuster, and without requiring House members to vote in favor of a Senate bill that is now politically toxic.

The Slaughter solution cannot be squared with Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution.

Senate rules protect against majoritarian overreach by allowing a determined minority to filibuster most types of legislation. The majority needs 60 votes to override a filibuster. One exception, adopted in 1974, is legislation that makes adjustments to spending or revenues to reconcile current law to a budget resolution that has passed Congress. These are called reconciliation bills, and they require only a majority vote.

Last Christmas Eve, the Senate approved a health-care bill by 60 votes, overcoming a Republican filibuster. This is the bill that contains the so-called Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, taxes on high-cost health insurance plans and coverage for abortions. Virtually no one now supports that version of the bill, but Senate Democrats no longer have enough votes to pass an alternative bill under ordinary procedures.

That is where reconciliation fits in. If the House passes the Senate bill and the president then signs it into law, reconciliation would permit Congress to pass new legislation making changes to that law. Reconciliation might not solve the abortion coverage problem or other nonbudgetary issues, but it would allow Democrats to correct most of the Senate bill's offensive features.

The rub is that, according to the Senate parliamentarian, reconciliation is permitted only for bills that amend existing law, not for amendments to bills that have yet to be enacted. This means that, for the Senate to be able to avoid a filibuster, House Democrats first have to vote for the identical bill that passed the Senate last Christmas Eve. That means voting aye on the special deals, aye on abortion coverage, and aye on high taxes on expensive health-insurance plans. Challengers are salivating at the prospect of running against incumbents who vote for these provisions.

Enter the Slaughter solution. It may be clever, but it is not constitutional. To become law—hence eligible for amendment via reconciliation—the Senate health-care bill must actually be signed into law. The Constitution speaks directly to how that is done. According to Article I, Section 7, in order for a "Bill" to "become a Law," it "shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate" and be "presented to the President of the United States" for signature or veto. Unless a bill actually has "passed" both Houses, it cannot be presented to the president and cannot become a law.

To be sure, each House of Congress has power to "determine the Rules of its Proceedings." Each house can thus determine how much debate to permit, whether to allow amendments from the floor, and even to require supermajority votes for some types of proceeding. But House and Senate rules cannot dispense with the bare-bones requirements of the Constitution. Under Article I, Section 7, passage of one bill cannot be deemed to be enactment of another.

The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the "exact text" must be approved by one house; the other house must approve "precisely the same text."

These constitutional rules set forth in Article I are not mere exercises in formalism. They ensure the democratic accountability of our representatives. Under Section 7, no bill can become law unless it is put up for public vote by both houses of Congress, and under Section 5 "the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question . . . shall be entered on the Journal." These requirements enable the people to evaluate whether their representatives are promoting their interests and the public good. Democratic leaders have not announced whether they will pursue the Slaughter solution. But the very purpose of it is to enable members of the House to vote for something without appearing to do so. The Constitution was drafted to prevent that.

Mr. McConnell is a professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He formerly served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rail re-regulation may be catastrophic public policy

Here is the op-ed that ran in today's special transportation section of The Hill newspaper:

Rail re-regulation may be catastrophic public policy

America has the greatest freight rail network in the world. Our system is the most efficient of its kind, and relies on virtually no subsidies from the federal government. Over a century ago, America’s railroads ushered in the great advancements in industry, which sparked America’s emergence as an economic power on the world stage. America’s railroads revolutionized transportation, gave promise to freedom of movement, and made business more efficient.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a freight rail renaissance. America’s freight railroads carried over 2.26 billion tons of freight in 36 million cars over 140,000 miles of track in 2008. Dollar for dollar, the freight rail industry carried this cargo more efficiently and at a lower operating cost than other modes of transportation with rail fuel efficiency up 94 percent since 1990.

Railroad’s resurgence could not have come at a better time. Highway congestion and environmental concerns have become increasingly important, and railroads are an effective means of mitigating both issues. A single freight train takes 280 trucks off the road and can move a ton of goods 457 miles on one gallon of diesel. If just 10 percent of the trucks on the road were shifted to freight rail, America would save 1 billion gallons of fuel each year.

Yet given their successes and self-reliance, the railroad industry is in Congress’s crosshairs. Stark choices will be made that will have important implications for railroads and the American economy. The question is this: Will America’s railroads continue to be given the freedom necessary to grow their industry without direct interference by the federal government, or will Congress re-regulate it?

Re-regulation would be a potentially catastrophic public policy that could erase 30 years of positive growth, and threaten to reduce the railroads to the ruinous decreases in services and disinvestment not seen since the 1970s. I firmly believe that if Congress re-regulates rail, it will be only a matter of time before our once self-reliant railroads are forced to rely on taxpayer dollars to invest in infrastructure and safety improvements as federal mandates mount.

These debates are occurring at a time when the rail industry is already dealing with massive new mandates that threaten to undermine our rail renaissance. Recent unfunded mandates to retrofit equipment with Positive Train Control systems are expected to cost in excess of $10 billion, with limited operational benefit. This mandate will divert scarce capital from critical investments in one of the most capital-intensive businesses in the world.

The rail industry already spends a large amount of its revenues on capital investment. Between 1996 and 2005 freight rail spent 17.2 percent of its revenue on capital spending. Compare this number to other industries in the same time period. Electrical utilities invested 12.6 percent of their revenues in capital investment; 4.4 percent for the R&D heavy computer electronics industry; and only 2.7 percent of revenues for the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry.

If railroads are not free to put their dollars into the projects that make the most economic sense, and are instead forced to spend their profits complying with legislative mandates, the long-term viability of the industry is threatened.

The Obama administration’s most recent budget also proposed a new tax on freight rail to pay for the Federal Railroad Administration’s safety enforcement program. However, the rail industry does not have unlimited capital to pay for new regulatory measures imposed by Washington. Fortunately, this proposal has received bipartisan opposition on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. To proceed with this new tax would be both shortsighted and harmful.

Instead of penalizing the rail industry for its success, Washington should be promoting new investment to keep America’s railroads in the driver’s seat of the global economy. That’s why I support tax credits for the expansion and rehabilitation of the nation’s rail infrastructure.

Tax credits are a proven policy tool to encourage businesses to invest in worthwhile projects. Because the railroads still pay for their projects under tax credit plans, tax credits ensure that the railroads will only pursue projects that make sense. Direct grants, on the other hand, could be seen as “free money” that would not be subject to the same rigorous business decisions. There are two tax credit bills that I support, including a 25 percent tax credit for rail projects that expand the rail network and ease congestion, and a short line tax credit that expired at the end of last year.

America’s railroads are at a crossroads. The direction Congress moves will have a lasting impact on American competitiveness. Washington must resist the urge to over-regulate an industry that has proven to be largely self-sufficient and capable of weathering economic stress. I will do my part as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to make sure it does not happen.

Shuster is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Morning Must Reads

Washington Post: Jihad Jane

The Wall Street Journal editorial: "Why Obama Can't Move the Health-Care Numbers"

by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen (The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed)

One of the more amazing aspects of the health-care debate is how steady public opinion has remained. Despite repeated and intense sales efforts by the president and his allies in Congress, most Americans consistently oppose the plan that has become the centerpiece of this legislative season.

In 15 consecutive Rasmussen Reports polls conducted over the past four months, the percentage of Americans that oppose the plan has stayed between 52% and 58%. The number in favor has held steady between 38% and 44%.

The dynamics of the numbers have remained constant as well. Democratic voters strongly support the plan while Republicans and unaffiliated voters oppose it. Senior citizens—the people who use the health-care system more than anybody else and who vote more than anybody else in midterm elections—are more opposed to the plan than younger voters. For every person who strongly favors it, two are strongly opposed.

Why can't the president move the numbers? One reason may be that he keeps talking about details of the proposal while voters are looking at the issue in a broader context. Polling conducted earlier this week shows that 57% of voters believe that passage of the legislation would hurt the economy, while only 25% believe it would help. That makes sense in a nation where most voters believe that increases in government spending are bad for the economy.

When the president responds that the plan is deficit neutral, he runs into a pair of basic problems. The first is that voters think reducing spending is more important than reducing the deficit. So a plan that is deficit neutral with a big spending hike is not going to be well received.

But the bigger problem is that people simply don't trust the official projections. People in Washington may live and die by the pronouncements of the Congressional Budget Office, but 81% of voters say it's likely the plan will end up costing more than projected. Only 10% say the official numbers are likely to be on target.

As a result, 66% of voters believe passage of the president's plan will lead to higher deficits and 78% say it's at least somewhat likely to mean higher middle-class taxes. Even within the president's own political party there are concerns on these fronts.

A plurality of Democrats believe the health-care plan will increase the deficit and a majority say it will likely mean higher middle-class taxes. At a time when voters say that reducing the deficit is a higher priority than health-care reform, these numbers are hard to ignore.

The proposed increase in government spending creates problems for advocates of reform beyond the perceived impact on deficits and the economy. Fifty-nine percent of voters say that the biggest problem with the health-care system is the cost: They want reform that will bring down the cost of care. For these voters, the notion that you need to spend an additional trillion dollars doesn't make sense. If the program is supposed to save money, why does it cost anything at all?

On top of that, most voters expect that passage of the congressional plan will increase the cost of care at the same time it drives up government spending. Only 17% now believe it will reduce the cost of care.

The final piece of the puzzle is that the overwhelming majority of voters have insurance coverage, and 76% rate their own coverage as good or excellent. Half of these voters say it's likely that if the congressional health bill becomes law, they would be forced to switch insurance coverage—a prospect hardly anyone ever relishes. These numbers have barely moved for months: Nothing the president has said has reassured people on this point.

The reason President Obama can't move the numbers and build public support is because the fundamentals are stacked against him. Most voters believe the current plan will harm the economy, cost more than projected, raise the cost of care, and lead to higher middle-class taxes.

That's a tough sell when the economy is hurting and people want reform to lower the cost of care. It's also a tough sell for a president who won an election by promising tax cuts for 95% of all Americans.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Peak Cherry Blossom Dates Announced

The cherry blossom season is a popular time for tourists to come to Washington, not only to view the trees in full bloom, but to partake in some of the cultural activities that surround the event.

Many readers may not know this, but the two week long National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC is the largest event of its kind in the United States. Throughout March and early April, the nation's capital hosts cultural events that highlight US-Japan relations and the cultural exchange between our two nations. More information on the festival, as well as the cherry blossom street fair (sakura matsuri) can be found here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Courtesy: GOP Leader

During his health care speech today, President Obama again repeated many claims with a straight face that simply aren’t true. The President’s rhetoric doesn’t change this simple fact: Americans want to scrap the Democrats’ massive bill and start over with a clean sheet of paper so we can work on step-by-step, common-sense reforms that lower health care costs. Following are some of the discredited claims the President repeated today:

  • CLAIM: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

  • FACT: If this line sounds familiar, it’s because it was a staple of the President’s rhetoric on health care last year. We haven’t heard it in a while because it’s not true. Media outlets, including the Associated Press and ABC News debunked the claim thoroughly, noting that even White House officials acknowledged the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken “literally.” Eventually, the White House press office took it out of the President’s speeches. Why is it coming back now?

  • CLAIM: “Finally, my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for … the federal government.”

  • FACT: Non-partisan experts at the Congressional Budget Office and within the Obama Administration have each respectively said that the Senate bill will raise premium costs for families on the individual market by an average $2,100 and raise national health spending overall. What’s more, a majority of Americans think “the new system would end up costing more than the current health care system – the opposite of its intended effect. Fifty-three percent think their own health care costs would be higher.”

  • CLAIM: “I don’t believe we should give government bureaucrats … more control over health care in America.”

  • CLAIM: “Now, it’s true that all of this will cost money – about $100 billion per year.”

  • FACT: “About” $100 billion per year adds up to “about” $1 trillion over ten years. The President’s health care plan has actually gotten more expensive in the six months since he addressed a joint session of Congress and pledged that his proposal would “cost around $900 billion over 10 years.”

  • CLAIM: “My proposal also gets rid of many of the provisions that had no place in health care reform…”

  • FACT: The plan the President proposed last week left in place several “controversial special provisions of the Senate health reform bill” including the “Louisiana Purchase.”

  • CLAIM: “The bottom line is: our proposal is paid for.”

  • FACT: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has stated that it lacks sufficient details to evaluate the President’s plan, so this claim cannot be independently verified. As for the Senate bill that the President’s plan is based on, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf has stated in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that “a detailed year-by-year projection for years beyond 2019, like those that CBO prepares for the 10-year budget window, would not be meaningful because the uncertainties involved are simply too great.” The Washington Post stated in an editorial today that many Democrats reluctant to support a massive government takeover of health care “are justly worried -- as are many of their constituents -- about enacting an expensive new entitlement at a time of rising federal debt.”

  • CLAIM: “But we do this while protecting Medicare benefits, and extending the financial stability of the program by nearly a decade.”

  • FACT: The Democrats’ plan slashes seniors’ Medicare benefits by roughly $500 billion and it shortens, rather than extends, the financial life of the program. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told the Senate Finance Committee last fall that “that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee.” As the Associated Press put it last July, “Democrats are pushing for Medicare cuts on a scale not seen in years…” As for the future fiscal health of the program, the President’s own experts have said that projected Medicare savings are “unrealistic.” CBO has stated that Democrats are double-counting by claiming that they are improving the balance sheets of both Medicare and the federal government at the same time.

Shuster's remarks on a successful THON 2010

Congressman Shuster submitted the following remarks to the Congressional Record yesterday as the House moved to pass H.Res. 1112, "Congratulating the Pennsylvania State University IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON)"

Mr. Speaker,

A little over a week ago, I spent a very memorable and moving afternoon watching Penn State students taking part in THON, the annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. THON at Penn State is no small event. It remains the largest student-run philanthropy in the world which since 1977 has raised over $68 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital to fight childhood cancer.

THON involves over 15,000 student volunteers from Penn State’s University Park campus and its nineteen commonwealth campuses. Over 700 dancers take part in THON’s marquee event: a 46 hour dance marathon at the Bryce Jordan Center. Thousands of other students join in as moralers, family and public relations, entertainment, donor relations, finance, communication, hospitality, logistics, technology, rules and regulations, and ‘OPP’erations team members. These students’ year-long efforts culminate in THON weekend - truly an amazing and uplifting sight to see.

All of the student dancers, volunteers and sponsors who participated in this year’s THON deserve recognition from Congress and the thanks of Americans everywhere for their work to help end the scourge of childhood cancer. Their hard work resulted in raising $7.83 million this year, breaking last year’s record of $7.5 million.

I am proud to say that my own daughter was among the hundreds of students who took part in THON 2010. Ali served on the Morale Committee “Jule Runnings” and helped lift the spirits of exhausted dancers, massage tired feet, and lead the hourly line-dance to keep everyone moving to stay motivated for their cause.

Penn State students are joined by hundreds of Four Diamonds Families from Penn State Children’s Hospital who look forward to THON all year round. Four Diamond Families often develop lifetime friendships with the Fraternities, Sororities, and organizations that “adopt” them and spend time with them throughout the year. At THON weekend you will find the kids running throughout the event, participating in talent shows, playing games with the dancers, getting piggyback rides and even starting water-pistol fights with unsuspecting volunteers. The culmination of the weekend is Family Hour – when families share the struggle in the fight against childhood cancer with everyone in attendance. This was a deeply emotionally moving hour that brought the struggle of childhood cancer into a personal light. Some of the stories had happy endings, some did not. But each story was an inspiration to keep fighting for the cure for childhood cancers. These children and families are why Penn State dances.

THON is a life changing event for anyone who attends or takes part in the event. And while Penn State students are hoping to change the lives of children affected by childhood cancer, more often than not it’s the students whose lives are changed by participating in THON. Love truly does “Belong Here.” We Are Penn State - For the Kids.

82% of PA-09 residents polled think Congress should start over on health care reform

Here are some interesting results from the monthly Shuster Standard E-Newsletter's health care reform poll. Last month, Shuster asked over 3,000 of his newsletter subscribers for their reactions to the health care debate. Results are still trickling in, but with over 200 respondents answering, here are the results from one of the questions from the poll:

Do you believe Congress should move forward with health care reform in its current form or start over in smaller, more incremental steps?

No, Congress should stop and start over: 82.62%

Not Sure: 5.67%

Yes, move forward: 11.70%

Abuse of Power

A strong editorial in today's Wall Street Journal on reports that President Obama will trigger the 'nuclear option' on healthcare reform by allowing legislation to pass through reconciliation. Here is a snippit from the piece:

"A string of electoral defeats and the great unpopularity of ObamaCare can't stop Democrats from their self-appointed rendezvous with liberal destiny—ramming a bill through Congress on a narrow partisan vote. What we are about to witness is an extraordinary abuse of traditional Senate rules to pass a bill merely because they think it's good for the rest of us, and because they fear their chance to build a European welfare state may never come again."
"President Clinton preferred to use reconciliation to pass HillaryCare in the 1990s, but he was dissuaded by West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who argued that it would be an abuse of the process. Mr. Byrd, author of a four-volume history of Senate rules and procedures, told the Washington Post last March that "The misuse of the arcane process of reconciliation—a process intended for deficit reduction—to enact substantive policy changes is an undemocratic disservice to our people and to the Senate's institutional role," specifically citing health reform and cap and trade."
Read it all here