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Business as usual in Washington

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Column by Jim Clark 01-07-2011

By Jim Clark

The other day, I was going through the websites of a bunch of newspapers, reading all the stories about the opening of Congress, with a new majority of Republicans in the House.

In going through the material, I was hard-pressed to find a decent story about what was going to happen, but I found plenty about who was occupying what office in the Capitol.

Congressmen were worried about the pecking order, seeing who got the biggest and best-placed office space, which committees got the most staffers, whose budget would be cut, etc.

Yes, there was a story about the introduction of legislation that would roll back health coverage to last March, before the president signed the health care bill. But the story failed to analyze what would happen to that bill when it got to the Senate and when it reached the president.

In a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, Rep. John Boehner (pronounced BAY-ner) was to move to become speaker, and was to be handed the gavel by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I’m sure she was going to be very ceremonial, but deep down she is probably wishing she could bop him over the head with said gavel.

The House does control some pursestrings, and cuts in staff and committee budgets have already been mandated. It’s a good symbolic gesture, but it’s only going to save $35 million, a mere drop in the bucket when you talk about the trillions of dollars being spent by government.

There was a good proposal that should carry over to all bills in the country, both in the House and Senate. The House is going to require that every proposed law state the Constitutional authority by which it is being enacted. In other words, if it’s not provided for in the Constitution, it won’t pass; it may not even come up for a vote.

That kind of rule might have saved us a lot of grief in the past as the health care bill was rammed down the throats of Americans.

Here’s the basic text of the health care repeal bill, which doesn’t have a number yet as this is being written:

“A bill to repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education

Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act’’.

SEC. 2. REPEAL OF THE JOB-KILLING HEALTH CARE LAW AND HEALTH CARE-RELATED PROVISIONS INTHE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010.

(a) JOB-KILLING HEALTH CARE LAW.—Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111–148, such Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had notbeen enacted.

(b) HEALTH CARE-RELATED PROVISIONS IN THE HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2010.—Effective as of the enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152), title I and subtitle B of title II of such Act are repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such title or subtitle, respectively, are restored or revived as if such title and subtitle had not been enacted.”

That’s it, short and sweet. It’s a lot less than the 2,000 pages of health care legislation that was passed before most people had a chance to read it.

We do need help with health care in this country. But things such as forcing Americans to buy it are obviously unconstitutional. Rework the law, and get rid of the monstrosity that the Democrats created last year … please!

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at 352-854-3986 or at editor@smcitizen.com. The newspaper website is www.smcitizen.com.