Thursday, September 20, 2012

Laws and the Constitution: meaningless to Dems in Congress

Everyone has heard about the fate of the so-called "Veterans Job Bill" by now. It failed to get the necessary sixty votes to overcome a budget point of order--raised by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions--and thus was returned to committee. The issue raised by Sessions was simple: he noted that the bill violated the Budget Control Act of 2011. Remember that? It was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on August 2nd, 2011. The passing of this legislation was a part of the compromise between Republican lawmakers and the President that allowed the raising of the debt ceiling.

And the Veterans Jobs Bill--S.3457--violates the terms of this legislation. Quite clearly. Look around at the news stories on the vote. They're all entitled  "Republicans kill vets jobs bill" or the like, they all mention the reactions of various Democrat Senators over this outrageous move on the part of Senate Republicans. Pundits invariably turn to talking about how the Republicans don't care about veterans and the comment sections on these stories is dominated by sheeple blathering on and on about the same, about how this was "a slap in the face to the vets," or something similarly inflammatory and obnoxious.

Most of the stories do mention the reason for Sessions' point of order objection, like this one:
Republicans said the spending authorized in the bill violated limits that Congress agreed to last year. Democrats fell two votes shy of the 60-vote majority needed to waive the objection, forcing the legislation back to committee.
But what none of the stories contain are serious arguments about why Sessions was wrong, about why the bill doesn't violate the Budget Control Act. And that's because...(drumroll) does violate the Act. No one can make the argument that it doesn't because it so obviously does! Yet, the Democrats in the Senate still want to have a vote on it, still want to pass it!

The GAO--the Government Accountability Office--has already issued a finding on the effect of the Budget Control Act on spending by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Prepared at the behest of Democratic Senator Patty Murray back in May of this year, it says:
GAO concluded that all VA programs, including veterans’ medical care, are exempt from sequestration. Section 255(b), enacted in the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, is the more recent expression of congressional intent, and thus takes precedence over section 256(e), which was enacted as part of BBEDCA in 1985. We note, however, that administrative expenses incurred in connection with VA programs may be subject to sequestration. The execution and impact of any spending reductions will depend on the legal interpretations and actions taken by the Office of Management and Budget, which is vested with implementing the Budget Control Act.
The Democrat version of this so-called jobs bill--being championed by Senator Murray--includes the creation of a new program, the Veterans Jobs Corps. As a new program that will cost money, it is automatically subject to sequestration. But even allowing that this was somehow not the case, the program entails administrative expenses because of its nature. And this means it's a no-go, as is crystal clear in the GAO response to Murray, above.

So why the hell is this bill even being considered, given that it is in clear violation of an Act of Congress? Senator Tom Coburn sums it up perfectly:
If in fact we’re going to start addressing the bigger economic problems in this country, you’ve got to quit playing felonious accounting with what you’re doing, which is exactly what that bill did. It violated the Budget Control Act … it’s exactly the same kind of, pardon my word, crap that Congress has done for years that says one thing and does another. It was a gimmick, we knew it was a gimmick in terms of getting around the spending. It’s time for us to start acting responsible.
And--shocker of shockers--the Republicans actually have a replacement bill ready to go, one that does not violate the Budget Control Act:
Sen. Richard Burr, (R-N.C.) the ranking member of the Senate committee, issued an alternative version last week that removed the Veterans Job Corps from the legislation, but added other provisions that do not require funding.
The Democratic response to Burr's alternative bill? Ad in the provisions Burr had intended as replacements for the Veterans Job Corps (or as Obama would say, "Veterans Job Corpse"), but keep the Corps in the bill, then claim the bill was therefore "bipartisan." Unbelievable. But then, our witless media falls for this stuff, hook, line, and sinker, as do all of the sheeple who read them and pretend to be thinking human beings.

What we have here are elected leaders--Democrats and a few Republicans, to be fair--who don't care a whit what the laws are, are more than happy to trample those laws for political gain, and are then openly supported by the media elites, who still fancy themselves as some sort of Fourth Estate, playing watchdog and alerting the public to transgressions by those in power.

Oh, and then there's the fact that this bill--which includes provisions for raising revenue--originated in the Senate, in DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION. But apparently, only Rand Paul is aware of that issue...

Cheers, all.

1 comment:

  1. .. if there WERE a wingding font that was some cutesie "thumbs up" - facebook would lack the tech savvy to display it. and sadness was on the face of the roy.

    but this was another good read.