Lawmakers See Quick Health Bill Without Public Option

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Well for many of us this is what we’ve been hearing might happen. During the combining of the two health care bills (Senate & House) they may attempt to skip the conference that usually occurs to reconcile the two bills. What else could you expect from the liberals in charge after all they’ve done so far, like back room deals and closed door sessions.

This video is from the program “Focal Point” with Bryan Fischer on American Family Radio.

Lawmakers See Quick Health Bill Without Public Option

U.S. Democrats will likely drop the idea of setting up a new government-run insurance program as they try to quickly resolve differences between House and Senate health-care bills, party members in both chambers said.

Democratic leaders may also bypass a House-Senate conference, the normal route for reconciling legislation, in favor of more informal talks to wrap up in a “few weeks,” said New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, who heads the House Energy and Commerce panel’s health subcommittee.

“I don’t think the public option survives,” Pallone told state lawmakers in Trenton yesterday. “There is nowhere near 60 votes on that.”

Democrats control 60 votes in the Senate, exactly the number needed to pass major legislation. Not all the party’s lawmakers support the idea of a new insurance program, or public option, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to jettison it from the measure his chamber passed Dec. 24.

It’s “not likely” the public option will make the final bill, said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. While leading Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have championed the idea as a cost-saving measure, critics said it would unfairly tilt the market against private insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.

“The Senate has pushed this to the limit of 60 votes,” Durbin said yesterday. “We have to be careful that whatever we change doesn’t jeopardize that 60-vote margin.”

Compromise Timing

House and Senate negotiators are already discussing how to combine the bills and may reach an agreement “by the end of the month, if we’re fortunate, or the first part of next month,” Durbin told reporters in Chicago.

One goal is to finish before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in late January or early February. After aiming for bipartisan votes in each chamber by August, Democrats managed to pass the House bill on Nov. 7 with one Republican’s backing. No Republicans supported the Senate plan.

Tax Battle

Both the House and Senate would require Americans to get insurance or pay a penalty, offer expanded government aid and online purchasing exchanges to help people buy policies, and impose new requirements that insurers accept customers regardless of pre-existing conditions.

The House opted to use a surtax on the wealthiest Americans to pay for its 10-year, $1 trillion bill. Pallone said that idea will probably fail in talks with the Senate, which would partially fund its bill through a tax on high-end insurance plans. That plan that has drawn fire from labor unions.

Lawmakers will also forge some compromise that satisfies both sides of the abortion debate and prohibits the use of federal funds for the procedure, Pallone said.

“Everyone understands we can’t have federal dollars used in any way, or subsidies in any way, to pay for abortions,” said Pallone, an abortion-rights supporter.

Today’s Meetings

Pelosi, of California, is scheduled to confer today with the heads of the three committees with jurisdiction over health care to discuss strategy and then plans to talk to reporters.

Later, she and Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, will meet with Obama at the White House. Reid, of Nevada, and Durbin plan to call into that strategy session.

Durbin said yesterday he’s not “assuming a thing,” and said leaders would work hard to keep the 60 votes controlled by Senate Democrats together.

“We’ll never have another chance like this in my political lifetime,” Durbin said. “This is it.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are criticizing the closed-door nature of the talks and got some added ammunition from the C- Span network, which released a letter sent to congressional leaders that requested rights to broadcast the negotiations.

Obama promised during the 2008 presidential campaign that he would have C-Span broadcast work on the health-care bill. Instead, the big compromises have largely emerged from closed meetings between Democratic leaders and lawmakers.

Bloomberg.com

Here’s a copy of the C-SPAN letter to the Democrats to televise the health care conference as Obama promised while campaigning for president.

December 30, 2009

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Harry Reid
Speaker Majority Leader
United States House or Representatives United States Senate

The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives United States Senate

Dear Speaker Pelosi:
Representative Boehner:

Senator Reid:
Senator McConnell:

As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.

The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.

Since the initial introduction of the America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate
C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, mark ups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives.

President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system. Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.

We hope you will give serious consideration to this request. We are most willing to employ the latest digital technology to make the cameras, lights and microphones as unobtrusive as possible.

Please contact me if I can answer any questions.

Sincerely,

Brian Lamb

2010 Candidates face ultimatum: Kill Obamacare, or else

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Well we could see this coming, even though the liberal Democrats don’t seem to care if they’re committing suicide.

This photo of a Code Red tea party protest was posted on Flikr.

Candidates face ultimatum: Kill Obamacare, or else

Max Pappas, vice president of FreedomWorks, echoed Brandon’s statements in an interview with Gary Sargent, Washington blogger for the Plum Line, this week.

“This has an unusual ability to be repealed, and the public is on that side.” he said. “The Republicans are going to have to prove that they are worthy of their votes.”

Both Brandon and Pappas emphasized that Congress must try to repeal the whole bill if it passes.

Brandon said most people are opposed to the bill’s requirement that citizens pay a fine if they don’t maintain insurance for themselves and their families. Under the current bills, the government will also collect taxes for 10 years, but only pay out benefits for the last six years. As WND reported, majority Democrats in the U.S. Senate have inserted in the fine print a provision that it would take a supermajority of 67 votes in the Senate for future legislative bodies to even consider amendments to its provisions for “death panels.” (thru the Independent Medicare Advisory Board)

Other serious concerns about the current legislation include possible health-care rationing, denial of treatment, substantial cost increases and stifling of medical innovation.

Also, the Senate bill provides that Medicare fees for doctors would be cut by 20 percent beginning in 2011, but the Heritage Foundation notes, “Nobody believes these cuts will be allowed to happen.” If the cuts don’t take place, it would result in an added $196 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years and $765 billion in the following one, according to Congressional Budget Office calculations.

Brandon said FreedomWorks has been told “legislative entrepreneurs” are already planning a Senate bill calling for repeal of the health-care legislation, should it pass.

“That means there will be something we can start to rally around in 2010,” he said. “We’re going to remind them every step of the way that this bill was a real stinker.”

He said Democrats plan to tell the electorate this year: “We said we were going to do this, and we did it.”

“They passed a terrible bill. Not only was it a terrible bill, but it was a disgusting process to watch,” Brandon said. “It was almost like they were playing mafia with taxpayer dollars.”

However, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, wasn’t so hesitant to declare his intentions.

“If they somehow manage to get the votes and get enough Democrats to walk the plank and commit suicide, in the next Congress, I’ll be chairman Joe Barton of the Energy and Commerce committee, and we’ll repeal it,” Barton told the Hill today.

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “I suspect every Republican running in ’10 and again in ’12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill. The bill – most of the bill does not go into effect until ’13 or ’14, except on the tax increase side; and therefore, I think there won’t be any great constituency for it. And I think it’ll be a major campaign theme.”

Brandon said, “Now, realistically, with Obama as president and with the current Congress, could you get repeal? No. But we can build up the momentum so that during the next Congress it gets repealed.

“Would President Obama veto that one? I don’t know. I think when President Clinton saw the writing on the wall, he became a pretty moderate guy. So we’ll see if Obama would then say, ‘This doesn’t reach any of our goals.'”

WorldnetDaily.com

DOES THE “GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE” OF THE U.S CONSTITUTION AUTHORIZE CONGRESS TO FORCE US TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE?

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A recent commenter on one our articles  entitled,“The States Will Be the Next Battlefield in the Fight Over ObamaCare” referred us to an article in the New York Times in which it said this,

“In terms of US federalism specifically, federal health-care legislation cannot be justified by any of the enumerated powers granted to the US Goverment. So it must be the spending clause that the feds are using.  The US Government may spend for the general welfare. In my view, this is best interpreted as “for that which the states cannot do” or “for emergencies rather than ordinary spending.”  Otherwise, the spending clause easily trumps any enumeration at all because with spending comes power (i.e., strings).

Let’s see what the founders meant by the “general welfare clause” in the Constitution. We don’t have to guess what they meant….here’s another article by my newly made friend Publius Huldah a retired Constitutional lawyer of 35+ years here in Tennessee.  Her great articles and research can be found at Publius Huldah.wordpress.com

DOES THE “GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE” OF THE U.S CONSTITUTION AUTHORIZE CONGRESS TO FORCE US TO BUY HEALTH INSURANCE?

Defending The Constitution From It’s Domestic Enemies.

By Publius Huldah

CNSNews.com recently posted an article, “Hoyer Says Constitution’s ‘General Welfare’ Clause Empowers Congress to Order Americans to Buy Health Insurance”.  In the article, Steny Hoyer (Democrat House Majority Leader) said Congress has “broad authority” to force Americans to purchase health insurance, so long as it was trying to promote “the general welfare”.

Oh my! Does Steny Hoyer not know that his view was thoroughly examined and soundly rejected by our Founders?

The Truth is that Congress is NOT authorized to pass laws just because a majority in Congress say the laws promote the “general welfare”! As shown below, James Madison, Father of The Constitution, and Alexander Hamilton, author of most of The Federalist Papers, expressly said The Constitution does not give a general grant of legislative authority to Congress! Rather, ours is a Constitution of enumerated powers only. If a power isn’t specifically granted to Congress in The Constitution, Congress doesn’t have the power. It really is that easy – and our beloved Madison and Hamilton prove it.

1. Let us look at the so-called “general welfare” clause: Article I, Sec.8, clause 1, U.S. Constitution, says:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…

Immediately thereafter, follows an enumeration of some 15 specific powers which are delegated to Congress. If you will spend 20 minutes carefully reading through the entire Constitution and highlighting the powers delegated to Congress, you will find (depending upon how you count) that only some 21 specific powers were delegated to Congress. This is what is meant when it is said that ours is a Constitution of enumerated powers!

2. But Steny Hoyer and his gang of statists claim that the “general welfare” clause is a blank check which gives them power to pass any law they want which they say promotes the “general welfare”. Further, they claim the power to FORCE their view of such on us.

3. Let us analyze this. Since words change meaning throughout time [200 years ago, “nice” meant “precise”], we must learn what the word, “welfare”, meant when the Constitution was ratified. “Welfare”, as used in Art. 1, Sec. 8, clause 1, meant:

Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil govern-ment (Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828).

But The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1969), gave a new meaning: “Public relief – on welfare.  Dependent on public relief”. Do you see how our Constitution is perverted when 20th century meanings are substituted for original meanings?  Or when the words of The Constitution are treated as if they have no meaning at all except that which the statists assign to them?

4. Both Madison and Hamilton squarely addressed and expressly rejected the notion that the “general welfare” clause constitutes a general grant of power to Congress. In Federalist No. 41 (last 4 paras), Madison denounced as an “absurd” “misconstruction” the notion that

…the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare….

In refuting this “misconstruction”, Madison pointed out that the first paragraph of Art. I, Sec. 8 employs “general terms” which are “immediately” followed by the “enumeration of particular powers” which “explain and qualify”, by a “recital of particulars”, the general terms. Madison also said:

…Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity…

Madison was emphatic: He said it was “error” to focus on the “general expressions” and disregard “the specifications which ascertain and limit their import”; and to argue that the general expression provides “an unlimited power” to provide for “the common defense and general welfare”, is “an absurdity”.

In Federalist No. 83 (7th para), Hamilton said:

…The plan of the [constitutional] convention declares that the power of Congress…shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended… [italics added]

5. So!  It is clear from Madison and Hamilton that The Constitution does not bestow any general or unlimited grant of legislative power to Congress! And what else did Madison and Hamilton say about the “enumerated” powers of the federal government?  In Federalist No. 45 (9th para), Madison said:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.  The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people….[emphasis added]

Madison said it again in Federalist No. 39 (3rd para from end):

…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignity over all other objects….” [emphasis added]

In Federalist No. 14 (8th para), Madison said:

the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...[emphasis added]

In Federalist No. 27 (last para), Hamilton said:

…It merits particular attention in this place, that the laws of the Confederacy [the federal government], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members, will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS…[caps in original]

6. Now, let’s look at the 10th Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Now, we can understand the true meaning of  the “general welfare” clause: OUR FOUNDERS UNDERSTOOD that the “general Welfare”, i.e., the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, and the enjoyment of the ordinary blessings of society and civil government, was possible only with a civil government which was strictly limited and restricted in what it was given power to do!

7. So!  How did we get to the point where the federal government claims the power to regulate every aspect of our lives, including forcing us to buy health insurance? Consider Prohibition:  During 1919, everyone understood that the Constitution did not give Congress authority to simply “pass a law” banning alcoholic beverages! So the Constitution was amended to prohibit alcoholic beverages, and to authorize Congress to make laws to enforce the prohibition (18th Amdt.).

But with Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the federal government abandoned our Constitution:  FDR proposed “New Deal” schemes; Congress passed them. At first, the Supreme Court opined (generally 5 to 4) that “New Deal” programs were unconstitutional as outside the powers granted to Congress. But when FDR threatened to “pack the court” by adding judges who would do his bidding, one judge flipped to the liberal side, and the Court started approving New Deal programs (generally 5 to 4).

Since then, law schools don’t teach the Constitution. Instead, they teach Supreme Court opinions which purport to explain why Congress has the power to regulate anything it pleases. The law schools thus produced generations of constitutionally illiterate lawyers and judges who have been wrongly taught that the “general welfare” clause, along with the “interstate commerce” and the “necessary and proper” clauses, permit Congress to do whatever it wants!

Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute nailed it in his recent post on Politico.com:

Is it unconstitutional for Congress to mandate that individuals buy health insurance or be taxed if they don’t? Absolutely – if we lived under the Constitution. But we don’t. Today we live under something called “constitutional law” – an accumulation of 220 years of Supreme Court opinions – and that “law” reflects the Constitution only occasionally.

Now you see how the statists justify the totalitarian dictatorship they are attempting to foist upon the American People.  The statists and the brainwashed products of our law schools go by U.S. Supreme Court opinions which reject Our Constitution! (But Publius Huldah goes by The Constitution as explained by The Federalist Papers).

8. But is the Supreme Court the ultimate authority on the meaning of our Constitution? NO! Hamilton said the people are “the natural guardians of the Constitution”, and he called upon us to become “enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority.” (Federalist No.16, next to last para). Madison (or Hamilton) said that breaches of our Constitution can be corrected by “…the people themselves, who, as the grantors of the commission [The Constitution], can alone declare its true meaning, and enforce its observance” (Federalist No. 49, 3rd Para).

Folks! Your duty is clear:  Study The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. Live up to the expectations of Hamilton and Madison; and throw off the chains which the usurpers are forging for you and Our Posterity.

PubliusHuldah.wordpress.com

ObamaCare Bill “Death Panels” Could Only Be Repealed With 67 Senate Votes

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Well they’ve made fun of Sarah Palin for talking about those “death panels” that didn’t exist. Well guess what they do, but in the legislation they of course don’t use the words “death panels” instead they’re called “Independent Medicare Advisory Boards.”

I’m including an Alex Jones video and I don’t agree with everything he does, but this video is very informative and he shows the articles as he tells you information about health reform. The articles are real, I’ve googled them and read them already just to make sure.

President Obama and Harry Reid change the rules in order to pass health care reform bill

At a debate in Los Angeles on January 31, 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama said, (speaking about health care reform), “That’s what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process”.

On August  21, 2008 at a Town Hall meeting in Chester, VA, presidential candidate Barack Obama said, “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.”

At 1 AM on Sunday, December 21, 2009, the Senate voted for cloture, ending further debate on the Senate health care bill. The Senate bill is being rushed to vote before Christmas, and is currently scheduled for 7PM on Christmas Eve.

Few negotiations have been televised on C-SPAN.  Most have been held behind closed doors, as was the discussion with Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) that garnered in his vote for the bill in exchange for increased federal funding to cover his state’s cost of paying for the expanded Medicaid population created by the bill.

In further disregard of public opinion, the bill being negotiated in the Senate includes a clause that requires a two-thirds vote to amend or repeal certain sections of the bill. Section 3403 of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment (page 1020) states thatit shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” Unfortunately, the subsection that it applies to deals with regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards a/k/a the Death Panels.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) pointed out this clause on the floor of the Senate Monday night.  The video below is long, but it provides tremendous insight to the issues at hand.

Not only is this limitation unacceptable because it prevents changes to the health care bill once passed, but it also sets a precedent for using this tactic in the future. As Ed Morrissey points out in his article this morning, “The elected representatives of today should not have greater authority than those who will follow them. Any attempt to pass this into legislation aggrandizes the power of this Congress at the expense of those that follow.

And as DeMint points out, it sets a very dangerous precedent regardless of which party is in power. What will be next – a Republican Congress declaring any future bill that increases taxes out of order? Would Democrats sit still for that, too?”

Americans are still waiting for the transparency we were promised. Unfortunately, the change has already begun.

Examiner.com/Memphis


10 Red States Now Questioning Nelson Deal

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Well as they say, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings” and boy is that appearing to be true when it comes to health care. States are upset over the “sweetheart deals” made for some states to win votes. Congressman Stupak is being told to “be quite” by the White House on the abortion amendment to healthcare until they can get it worked out. So when these two bills (House  version & Senate version) go to committee to reconcile them both, there may be some big problems.

10 Red States Now Questioning Nelson Deal

At least 10 states are now raising questions about the legality of the deal that Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat, cut for his home state of Nebraska during the health care negotiations.

Under the agreement, which is on the verge of being approved Thursday by the Senate, Nebraska is permanently exempt from paying for its expansion of Medicaid, shoving that cost onto taxpayers in every other state.

Mr. Nelson was able to exercise such leverage because in exchange, he was providing the magical 60th vote that Democrats needed to advance their health care bill.

The deal has enraged other Senators, especially those from red states, whose Republican Senators didn’t bring home any pork at all because they were not part of the negotiations with Democratic leaders. Several other Democratic Senators did get concessions for their states, but no deal has hit the nerve struck by Mr. Nelson’s.

Attorneys general in at least 10 states held a conference call late Tuesday to consider how they might challenge the deal, which they call federally subsidized vote-buying.

Some say it is certainly unfair and may be unconstitutional.

Troy King, the attorney general in Alabama, told MSNBC on Wednesday that the Constitution was not written to allow “the subsidization of a backroom deal.”

The Constitution, he said, was written to protect citizens from arbitrary and capricious decisions by Congress, not “for Congress to force Alabama to subsidize vote-buying.”

Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist, defended the Nebraska deal on MSNBC. He said that brokering legislation was a long American tradition and said there was nothing unconstitutional about it. In fact, he said that Mr. King of Alabama had been “incoherent” in trying to back up his assertion that it was unconstitutional.

Could the growing backlash threaten passage of the health care bill? Mr. Nelson has said that he would vote for the bill only if nothing in it were changed. That makes it seem unlikely that Democratic leaders would try to undo the bill before the Thursday vote because doing so could threaten final passage.

But if anger builds — and especially if it spreads to Democratic senators — it may be harder for the Senate and House to keep the Nebraska deal intact when they meld their two bills in January.

prescriptions.blog.NYTimes.com

GOP Constitutional Challenge to Senate Health Bill Fails

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Well this is no surprise~because the Democrats are in full control and the majority. But in 2010 it is going to cost them seats ~ big time.

GOP Constitutional Challenge to Senate Health Bill Fails

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a GOP senator’s call to examine the constitutionality of a health care mandate central to its overhaul bill as it moved up its final passage vote by one hour to 7 a.m. ET Thursday.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., wanted to determine whether it was constitutional for the federal government to require Americans to purchase a health insurance.

But the Senate voted 60-39 against the challenge.

The vote was one of a series of seven votes wrapping up the health care debate.

Once the Senate measure is passed, it has to be merged with legislation passed by the House before a final bill could go to President Obama.

House liberals insisted Wednesday that certain provisions be included in the final bill, including a government-run insurance plan that was dropped in the Senate legislation as part of the concessions made to moderates to secure 60 votes.

“For Congress to achieve true health care reform we must have a meaningful conference process that integrates both bills into the best possible piece of legislation for the American people,” California Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee said in a joint statement.

FoxNews.com


Lawyer files lawsuit against Obama administration for health deal records

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With all the “Let’s Make a Deal” stuff going on nothing surprises me~not even the law being broken.

Lawyer files lawsuit against Obama administration for health deal records

By Jordan Fabian – 12/21/09 02:47 PM ET

Conservative attorney Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against the White House Monday demanding that it release information on healthcare meetings with lobbyists.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court, charges the Obama administration violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Freedom of Information Act by not providing relevant information about closed-door meetings on healthcare policy.

Klayman’s suit refers to reports of meetings between administration officials on the “Health Reform De Facto Advisory Committee” and lobbyists representing the pharmaceutical industry, Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AARP and others.

Klayman said the advisory committee has been tasked to design a policy that “is intended, at its endpoint, to socialize the American health care system.”

The suit demands that the White House release the minutes and final results of the meetings as well as the names and addresses of all people involved.

Should the White House not comply, “Public confidence in the integrity of the presidency and the executive branch as a whole has been and will be harmed” because of the “appearance that the president and the Obama administration as a whole are under the influence of” those groups listed in the suit, Klayman wrote in the criminal complaint.

The White House has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed just hours after the Senate vote to advance its version of healthcare reform legislation.

The administration’s meetings with various interest groups have raised questions among conservatives and liberals regarding their influence on the outcome of the legislation.

Most recently, some observers questioned if the White House’s agreement with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on prescription drug costs helped sour senators on an amendment to the Senate bill allowing the “reimportation” of cheaper prescription drugs into the U.S. The amendment failed to pass last week. .

“Because time is short, we have to get this information out before the [conclusion of the healthcare votes],” Klayman told The Hill. “There’s going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing before the month ends.”

In the lawsuit, Klayman alleges that he was “illegally detained” by Secret Service agents at the front gate of the White House after he hand-delivered a letter to agents addressed to President Barack Obama requesting that the administration reply to his information requests.

Klayman says that agents “berated, harassed and threatened” him for his “public advocacy.”

He says that the agents eventually delivered the letter to Obama but that his request for information “was later denied in its entirety.”

The Hill.com

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