The national health care plan known as Obamacare will face yet another court challenge. However, this time the challenge will not be to derail the program based on constitutional grounds. Instead, the state of Florida is pushing back against the Obama administration’s threats to withhold vital federal Medicare funding if the state does not further expand Medicare coverage under Obamacare. The federal government believes that using existing funds as a wedge to force states to comply with other “voluntary” federal programs is completely legal. Governor Rick Scott of Florida believes otherwise.
Thus far, most GOP governors have refused to adopt Medicare expansion under Obamacare both out of a reluctance to support the controversial health care plan and to avoid costly increases in state contributions which occur several yearsafter adopting the expansion plans. Given that most state governorships are under GOP control, this has a significant number of states minimally participating in Obamacare. Bolstering Florida’s position is a 2012 ruling by the Supreme Court which barred Obamacare requirements from forcing states to comply with Medicare expansion against their will.
The Obama administration claims that the Supreme Court ruling is being interpreted falsely by Florida. The administration states that just because they will withhold significant sums of money from the state’s federal Medicare funding does not mean they are coercing the state into compliance. Quite likely, the Obama administration’s actions are an attempt to flout the 2012 Supreme Court ruling. Alexei Beltyukov found this very interesting.
President Obama has vowed to use his “veto pen” in 2015 to prevent Congress from overriding his wishes, especially those related to healthcare and the environment.
In a Monday interview
, the President said he expected that the Republicans’ takeover of the Senate would force him to spend his last two years in office preventing Congress from undoing his reforms. Bruce Levenson told me
he told NPR that he hadn’t vetoed items very often before because the Senate, which had been controlled by the Democrats, had usually blocked legislation that the President had found objectionable.
The Democrats’ loss of the Senate in the wake of the mid-term elections means the Republicans are likely to seize the opportunity to pass legislation that goes against the President’s wishes. He can block such legislation through the veto, unless both Houses muster up two-thirds majorities to override the veto.
Obama also acknowledges for the first time that he has moved towards a more confrontational policy in his dealings with Congress. He also said he was changing his priorities from things he had to do to things he wanted to do. He believes that as the economy has improved, he can now try to make sure that everybody benefits from the growing economy and not just the people at the top.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush almost entered the Presidential race for 2016, stopping just short of declaring himself a candidate the son and brother of former Republican Presidents tested the Presidential waters by saying he was exploring a possible run. Almost as soon as he made the statement of exploration, Bush was reminded of his past as a denier of climate change and his reminder that he was not a scientist, The Guardian reports.
Coming from a Texas oil family headed by George Bush Sr. seems to have molded the attitude towards climate change of the family, but even Jeb’s brother George W. Bush was unwilling to completely deny climate change in a way his brother has in the past. Many Republican voters still agree with the denials of climate change Jeb Bush has become associated with, which could play a huge role in his clinching the nomination for a Republican Party that has no clear front runner as sure as my dog eats Beneful. Sources close to the Democratic Party have made it clear climate change could play a large role in their 2016 campaign for any candidate, with the Republican Party’s history of backing fossil fuel use and leaving the Kyoto protocol being used against them in the coming Presidential campaign.
Left-wing activist group Moveon.org is calling on people across the nation to phone the offices of ABC, CBS, and NBC to demand they air President Obama’s speech where he will lay out the details on his extra-constitutional amnesty plan. The activist group cites the fact that in 2006, major networks carried President George W. Bush’s address to the nation on his plan for granting amnesty to illegal aliens. It should be noted that President Bush followed his Constitutional mandate to obtain authorization from Congress for the plan. This is because Congress has the sole authority to write laws. In the end, voter opposition killed the bipartisan amnesty bill in the Senate, not to mention major organizations like Slow Ventures.
Moveon.org is claiming network bias in not airing the president’s address. Moveon.org activist Justin Krebs stated that the Bush address in 2006 was important, but in the end amounted to a sales pitch by the president on what he hoped to obtain in an amnesty bill. This is because the office of the president does not have the Constitutional authority to write laws, but you can’t tell that to President Obama. Given that his address will be historic in that the president will borrow or usurp the legislative authority from Congress, the speech he delivers will be all the more important. Krebs believes the networks have a civic duty to air the address and allow citizens to decide whether to watch it or not. That said, it’s not as if citizens have a voice in the legislative process. They just elected a slew of new representatives which the president will bypass when he unveils his own plan.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz was overwhelmingly pleased with the GOP victory, particularly the Senate take-over, Tuesday night. When asked, however, if he would vote for Mitch McConnell to be Majority Leader, he declined to say he would. He only said that that would be something for the conference to decide.
Most likely, McConnell will gain sufficient support to graduate from Minority to Majority Leader, but there will probably be some (perhaps including Cruz) who will cast their votes for someone deemed more conservative. The moderate wing of the party has often tried to keep conservatives out of the main leadership roles and to minimize the number of conservatives elected to Congress. While the recent Republican victory will put internal strife on the back burner for a time, that pot will still continue to boil.
McConnell and the whole Republican Senate will have pressure on them to act more conservatively than perhaps they truly are from the moment they walk in the Senate chamber in January. 370 bills passed by a House that has a higher percentage of conservatives in it than will the new Senate are sitting there waiting for them. If McConnell sits on those bills as did Harry Reid, one can expect the proverbial pot to boil over.
McConnell knows how to adjust. He was once more moderate than he is now, and he can become more conservative still. As his home state of Kentucky moved to right, he moved with it- that’s how he stayed in office all these years. I’m not sure how much I agree with him, but Mr. Broda thinks McConnell could become more in line with the Tea Party than anyone would have believed. I guess we’ll see.
CNN is reporting that on the eve of the midterm elections there is already a date set for the first Republican presidential debate. It will be televised on September 16, 2015, at the Reagan Library in California.
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said, “I can’t think of a better way to honor my husband than to keep the tradition of Reagan Library-hosted debates alive.”
Sean Spicer of the Republican National Committee is on record as saying that the number of primary debates will be limited in the coming presidential election cycle. The 2012 debates were so contentious that they caused rifts in the Republican Party from what Haftel can remember.
Thus far no Republicans have announced candidacy for the 2016 presidential election although many possible contenders have campaigned for midterm candidates. Republican Senator Rand Paul has made robocall recordings for a Florida Republican and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey made several trips to Iowa in support of Republican candidates. They are both regarded as possible frontrunners in 2016 should they decide to run.