Cue the music from you favorite superhero movie. It’s a bird; it’s a plane; its….the government? There is a superhero story you will not be seeing in theaters anytime soon. I will not go so far as to say that government is actually the villain, but those 800,000 federal employees who were furloughed last week may not be so generous.
In the midst of the government shutdown chaos, members from both political parties have been quick to blame their colleagues across the aisle. When one side challenges the other, everyone jumps on the defensive and hurls insults back across the line. The scene is very similar to a playground fight between two children who each think they know it all. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Washington.
Now, you can make your own decision of whom to blame; but I blame the president and his friends. In 2009, President Obama signed his crowning jewel into law, the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. The Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and ran the bill through without question. Then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even went on the record saying, “We have to pass it [ObamaCare] so we can find out what’s in it.” Call me crazy, but one should read proposed legislation before forcing it upon three hundred million Americans.
The story gets better. The ACA was passed without a single vote from the Republicans. It was passed without a conversation with the Republicans in Congress. It was written behind closed doors (all 2,400 pages) and voted for in a cowardly attempt at minimizing debate, because how dare someone question the pride and joy of our Forty-Fourth President? Nonetheless, its constitutionality was challenged and the case was argued in front of the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the bill’s individual mandate goes against the Constitution.
That did not stop the liberals though.
As quietly as they could, they settled for the mandate being understood legally as a tax. Congress cannot force Americans to buy into anything, but they can coerce by calling things taxes. So that is what they have done.
Several days ago, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota joined Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. During the interview she made a brilliant point. The Congresswoman argues that the President does not want Congress to fund and support the ObamaCare bill that was passed in 2009, he wants them to fund and support the ObamaCare bill that he unilaterally changed 19 times. It is the president’s job to enforce laws that have been passed and it is Congress’s job to legislate. President Obama does not get to do both. Our Founders put in place separation of powers to prevent such tyranny.
James Madison wrote in Federalist 58 that the House of Representatives has the power of the purse and should use that authority to keep other branches in check. According to Section 7 of the Constitution, bills regarding revenue must originate in the House. James Madison and the Founders recognized the dangers of a tyrannical executive. They put in place numerous precautions, two of which have been described here. However, power hungry officials who think they know best find Madison and our Founders irrelevant and senseless.
News grows ever so slightly more hopeful as the days progress, and I am confident a compromise will be reached at some point. The House has passed multiple bills to fund specific areas of the government, many of which the Senate (controlled by the Democrats) refused to even consider and the President vowed to veto. President Obama and his friends refuse to negotiate and, despite their claims, they are using Americans as pawns in this complex game of chess.
Better days are coming. This fiasco has revealed much about members of both parties. By the time it is over, maybe Americans will finally come to their senses and give these Members the boot in 2014.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.