Hey, Have you Read Your Founders today?

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I keep hearing crap about how states don’t have rights to stop the federal government. Folks, you need to learn how to read.  Most of us are mentally prepared to get out and go to work everyday, but there’s still a lot of people operating in really important jobs without a brain.  Oh Wizard, can you come out from behind that curtain and help?

Jefferson and Nullification
Clyde Wilson

“Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. . . . that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; . . . . that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; . . . and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorised by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories.”

So wrote Thomas Jefferson, Vice President of the United States, in a document drafted at the request of members of the Kentucky legislature in 1798. Kentucky passed Jefferson’s paper and broadcast it to the world as the definitive opinion and stand of the sovereign people of the State. The language drafted by James Madison for similar documents adopted by the Virginia legislature in 1799 and 1800 was similarly unequivoical in its constitutional position and forceful in expression.

The people, acting through their natural polities, the States, had created and given authority to the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution conferred powers on a general government to handle certain specified matters that were common to the “general welfare” of all the States. That government was an agent. It could not be the judge of its own powers. To allow it to be so would mean nothing less than a government of unlimited power, a tyranny. The partners to the Constitution, the sovereign peoples of the States, were the final judges of what they had intended the Constitution to mean. When the general government exceeded its power it was the right and duty of the State to interpose its authority and defend its people from federal acts of tyranny – yes, to render a federal law inoperative in the State’s jurisdiction…

The scholars of the rising leftist Establishment who took over American history writing beginning in the 1930s invented a self-flattering fable to render the Kentucky and Virginia documents themselves null and void. Jefferson and Madison, they said, really did not care about States’ rights. They were merely anticipating the great tradition of the American Civil Liberties Union in opposing the Alien and Sedition Acts. Their concern was to defend the freedom of speech of the non-conformist radicals of their time.

This established interpretation is a lie and requires a good deal of either ignorance, self-deception, or deliberate falsehood to peddle. It is true that the Virginia and Kentucky acts were not followed up by active resistance to the feds. They did not have to be, because Jefferson and his friends won the following elections, got rid of the bad laws, and compensated those who had been harmed by them. There is evidence that Virginia and North Carolina were quite willing and able to call out the militia if necessary and that grand juries were standing by to indict any offending feds.

Not interested in State rights? Jefferson reiterated the centrality of State rights to the preservation of liberty and self-government in his inaugural address (and in hundreds of letters for the rest of his life). His party and the succeeding Democratic party proclaimed “The Principles of 1798” repeatedly as their foundational philosophy, right up to the War to Prevent Southern Independence. It could not be clearer: in the American government system State rights and liberty could not be separated. They were the same thing. They had the same defenders and the same enemies. The Sedition Act was not just an invasion of individual rights, it was an illegal invasion of a sphere that the people had left to their States.

Further, the Sedition Act, punishing criticism of federal officials with jail sentences and fines, had been passed in stark defiance of the recently adopted First and Tenth Amendments which absolutely forbade Congress to pass any law abridging the freedom of speech and press and reserved to the States all powers not specifically conferred on the government. How then could Congress pass such a law as the Sedition Act? Because the Federalists, Hamilton and Adams and their supporters, justified their legislation by invoking the Common Law’s provisions about the punishment of “sedition.” The Common Law existed in each State to the extent that State had found it worthwhile to adopt it, but it had no place in a written document of delegated powers such as the Constitution for the United States. If the feds could ignore specified power limitations by grafting Common Law jurisdiction into the Constitution, then literally everything under the sun could be brought under their power. Not only that, but everything under the sun could be ultimately disposed of by the federal courts, which would become the new sovereign. This had to be stopped.

Interposition by Virginia and Kentucky was intended to halt the Northeastern elite’s relentless agenda to become the economic and moral overseers of all Americans through the federal machine. This has always been the engine for the unconstitutional usurpation of federal power – then, since, and now. When State interposition next came into serious play in the United States, the occasion was the tariff laws, by which the Northeastern elite had perverted a constitutional power to raise a revenue into a means of excluding foreign competition and creating a captive market for their profit.

After their service as presidents, Jefferson and Madison lived by their republican ethics – they were private citizens with no special right to interfere in public affairs. But they expressed opinions on issues of the day privately to those who asked and who they trusted. When, less than a generation after the “Principles of 1798” had been proclaimed, the possible nullification of the tariff laws by South Carolina drew attention, Jefferson was gone from the scene. Madison, in contradiction of his own plain language and the circumstances of 1798–1800, claimed that state interposition was not what they had had in mind at that time. Historians who want to trash States’ rights and the South Carolina resistance to the tariff during 1828–1833 lean heavily on Madison’s somewhat vague statements. Self-evidently, Madison contradicted himself, as he did quite often throughout his career. Unlike Jefferson, he was a superficial and inconsistent thinker who often swung from one side to the other. (That is why his pretentious speculations in The Federalist, which, by his own admission, have absolutely no constitutional authority whatsoever, are the favourite text of third string “constitutional lawyers” and would-be “political philosophers.”)

We do not have to wonder what Jefferson in his post-presidential years thought about State interposition. It is not in the least a mystery, although it is something of a secret since “scholars” have assiduously avoided exposure of the relevant documents, which are not easy to find. In 1825, the day after his last Christmas in this earthly realm, Jefferson wrote to William Branch Giles, former Senator from Virginia and stalwart Jeffersonian. He shared Giles’s concerns about the state of federal affairs. “I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of the government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that, too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their powers.”

The minority President John Quincy Adams was pushing a large program of federal expenditures and expanded powers. Adams and his Congressional allies, Jefferson said, for an example, had construed the delegated power to establish post roads into a power to cut down mountains and dig canals. The old, evil program of the Northeastern “monarchists” to enrich themselves off the earnings of the agriculturalists was once again in the saddle. Reason and argument were no good in such a situation. “You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns” in the Capitol.

The South might well be forced into a choice between “the dissolution of the Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers. Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation.” However, not yet. “But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights; to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms, to protest them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgments…”

Jefferson mentioned that he had written a letter to Giles on Christmas about important matters, of which Giles “will be free to make use what you please.” I have not found this letter, but it may have something to do with a document Jefferson wrote out on December 24, which he titled “The Solemn Declaration and Protest of the Citizens of Virginia on the Principles of the Constitution of the United States of America and the Violation of Them.” It seems to have been intended for the use of Jefferson’s neighbours in the grand jury of Albemarle County to begin a program for Virginia once more to interpose, against Congress’s usurpation in its “internal improvements” expenditures.

Just three years after Jefferson wrote this, another Vice-President of the United States, at the request of his State, drafted a “South Carolina Exposition,” which described the illegality and injustice of the protective tariff and the proper remedy for it: State interposition upon “The Principles of 1798.” This “Exposition” was approved and broadcast to the world by the legislature of South Carolina, along with a “Protest.” The usual clamour of rent-seekers and petty political operators was raised, claiming, among other things, that Jefferson had not written the Kentucky Resolutions. In 1831 Jefferson’s son-in-law produced the draft in the great man’s own hand.

[There was so much demagoguery broadcast by the opponents of nullification and the shoddy historians who repeat their propaganda, that it is worth saying something about the roles of Jefferson and Calhoun as drafters of the Kentucky Resolutions and the South Carolina Exposition. Jefferson, as we have noted, did not publicly acknowledge his authorship. Calhoun’s authorship of the Exposition was characterised as an evil, secretive political operation. This propaganda is designed by and for people who can think only in terms of politicians and parties instead of principles and are ignorant of the ethics of republican virtue that influenced many Americans before Lincoln. Authorship was not acknowledged because it was desired that the statements be understood as the voice of the people of the State, not mischaracterised as merely the position of a national politician.]

In a later generation, another minority president seemingly destroyed forever the constitutional role of the States by declaring the open, democratic, deliberative acts of fourteen States to be only “combinations” of criminals who refused to obey him. Lincoln made that stick by a brutal war of conquest that did not “preserve the Union” but changed the Union into a central state with no limits to its power. Those who hope to revive a constitutional role for the States as counters to the present U.S. Empire, must hope to make the States once more into self-conscious, viable polities who have the political will to enact nullification and stand by it.

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National ID, another consideration of Big Brother

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Here’s an interesting article sent to me my my friend Carl. While I’m a little more optimistic about the November elections, this article does still tell it like it is.  I think that the newly elected folks still need fire applied to their feet, and if THEY don’t figure it out, this this scenario should play out!

NATIONAL ID: WHO WILL RESIST?

By Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
March 19, 2010
NewsWithViews.com

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) introduced a bill which would require all persons in the United States (“U.S.”) seeking to be employed to obtain a government-issued biometric National Identification card.[1] Not so surprisingly, this measure has come in the name of “protecting America” against illegal immigrants working in the U.S. unlawfully. Thus, “[t]o ensure that only people legally in the U.S. can work here, the bill will propose a biometric I.D. for EVERY AMERICAN before anybody can get a job.”[2] This is yet another method by which the federal government continually institutes practices and principles contrary to what a Free Confederated Republic should be and contrary to principles of limited government, self-government, natural rights, and true constitutional intent and meaning. Judge Andrew Napolitano rightfully calls this legislation a “monstrosity” and predicts that this bill will not pass.[3] Perhaps Judge Napolitano is correct, but we should consider what the people of the U.S. once rejected but now embrace.

The New Deal

After Abraham Lincoln set the stage for federal government forceful takeover of the people and states’ rights, power and jurisdiction, Franklin D. Roosevelt capitalized on the people’s economic straits in the 1930s by introducing “The New Deal,” which in part socialized the economic, commercial and industrial fabric of the United States. Federal government control, regulation and power: that was the name of the game and still is.

From this era of federal government expansion and encroachment, we see U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), ruling that Congress has the power to regulate the most local of activities, such as an individual, non-commercial farmer’s production of crops for private use, and has the power to penalize and punish any violation of the same.

Prior to 1930, it would have been inconceivable that the people of the states and the state governments themselves would have consented to such a violation of the constitution and such an open encroachment into the lives of individuals, families, businesses and states. Yet, as soon as the circumstance presented itself, the New Deal was substantially adopted and accepted into society and government (or at least by the politicians). We are living with its effect today, almost 100 years later.

The Great Society

Continuing its managerial presence over individuals, families, businesses and states, the federal government expanded its power and usurpations into their lives and into their retained powers by creating, among other things, governmental welfare programs in the 1960s for those who “needed” help. This was a “War on Poverty!”

This era federal government expansion not only instituted socialistic and communistic principles and philosophy, taking from the “haves” and giving to the “have-nots,” but also created an unlawful entanglement of the federal government into the state and local public education system. Both of these matters were traditionally and largely held to be purely local matters, and would have never been deemed a legitimate federal power.

Have these federal government programs been terminated? Not hardly. Instead, they have been expanded and increased with fervor, intensity and passion. In contrast, there was a time in the U.S. when this political philosophy and these federal programs would have been rejected immediately and without discussion. Yet, we are living with their effect today.

Abortion

One of the fundamental principles that shaped American and English jurisprudence for hundreds of years was the necessary protection of life, including the unborn life. Most (and I dare say, all) of the states in the union criminally or civilly punished the willful abortion of an unborn baby by the mother, or anyone else for that matter. If a congressman were to introduce a bill making it illegal for the states to make such restrictions against abortion, that congressman would have been told to take a long hike off a short bridge.

Yet, since 1973, over 1 million babies have consistently been aborted every year in the U.S., and when someone attempts to question the constitutionality or even the morality of the act of abortion, most federal politicians shirk their shoulders and say, “Well, it’s the supreme law of the land,” because the U.S. Supreme Court has determined it to be so. (How ignorant, disgusting and cowardly are these people!) And the ones who say they are opposed to it do very little (if not nothing) to encourage the states to resist this draconian federal usurpation. Supposedly, our only hope is in Washington, D.C., forty years afterwards. The contrast is blaring.

National Health Care

Today, the federal government is continuing to travel down the road of socialism and communism, contrary to every principle of truth held sacred by our founding generations, by their forefathers before them and by generations following them. This time, the federal government takes the matter of healthcare and determines that, first, they actually have the constitutional authority to regulate this matter; and that, second, they are going to do the U.S. a favor by creating yet another federal bureaucracy to regulate the healthcare profession and industry.

While there may be opposition to the healthcare proposals, most of them are not based upon the constitutionality of the bill, but on the pragmatism of it. The opposition is really not based upon principles of constitutional correctness or principles of freedom, but based upon the circumstances and mentality of the people in their district or other political expediencies–a purely democratic standpoint, not a republic standpoint. However, there undoubtedly will come a time in these states where the (vast?) majority of people will find it pragmatic for the federal government to regulate healthcare, just as the people did during the administration of F. D. R. and following.

Would the people in 1776 have agreed to such a federal power? What about 1787? What about 1830? What about 1860? What about 1913? In truth, the people of the U.S. have become so dis-informed, mis-informed and frankly put, ignorant on the proper limitations and constitutional ambits of the federal government. The results are obvious and apparent.

National ID

While Judge Napolitano believes that this National ID bill will not pass, our own history proves that the people of the U.S. will eventually accept this type of federal government expansion and intrusion, especially if the people continue in their ignorance as they have since the early 1900s. This begs the question: what are freedom-loving people going to do when the federal government does in fact (or at the least, attempts to) takeover our rights, powers and jurisdictions over ourselves, our families and our states?

Allow me to answer by making a dogmatic statement, without going into the supporting details and arguments at this time:

The STATES in the union must choose to live in freedom by resisting the federal government’s unnatural and unlawful actions or choose to live in submission to slavery by giving up their rightful powers and jurisdictions and by allowing the federal government to run rough-shod over the supposed constitutionally-secured liberties and freedom of the people within their borders.

Please do not misunderstand me. By resisting, I do not mean helping to get a Republic elected into a federal position. I do not mean simply sending out some email to their constituents to inform them of their position on the matter. I do not mean, encouraging people to “go out and vote.” I do not mean sending a letter of correspondence form a state house representative to the U.S. President.

By resisting, I mean the state representatives passing laws, the governor entering orders and the courts rendering judgments, preventing the federal government from attempting to tax their people for that federal power and from implementing their procedures upon the people of that state. I mean actually and physically resisting the federal government from occupying the state’s territory to execute those unlawful actions. I mean publically calling to its defense the other states in the union who stand firm upon the same fundamental principles of self-government, federalism, constitutional government and freedom to resist these ghastly attempts to reduce the people to despotism. I mean county sheriff’s arresting federal agents who are attempting to execute and enforce unlawful and unconstitutional procedures and laws upon the citizens of their counties. I mean actively and meaningfully using the sovereign powers retained under the tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution and under the Laws of Nations.

If you think that the federal government is going to be stopped by voting into office the next batch of corruptors and encroachers, you are dead wrong. This belief has been proven fruitless at least since the early 1900s. The fact that people in the U.S. still believe that this method is the only effectual and available method of preserving freedom confounds me.

For societal and political freedom to exist in the states of America, the people within their individual bodies-politics (i.e. states) must re-study, re-learn, re-calculate and re-apply the formulas and maxims of truth from the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, just as our forefathers did, to secure these God-given rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

We can no longer look to the decayed system currently propagated to secure freedom or even to reclaim freedom. We can no longer wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to come to our rescue. We can no longer wait for a “conservative” President to be elected to restore freedom and to change over 100 years of federal usurpations. Can we even expect that three-fourths of the states in the union will insist on freedom’s principles? We certainly cannot hold onto the enslaving notion that “union equals freedom.” We can no longer hope for freedom by simply voting.

The question is not a matter of how far will the federal government go. They have already crossed the line of good faith, virtue and decency. They have already rejected those principles of truth and worldview expressed by our European and American forefathers, which framed the constitutions in America to begin with. They have shamed the honorable sacrifices made by generations before us–made by the enlightenment of their minds, the purity of their hearts and the blood from their veins. We know where they are going. We see where they are. We know their philosophy and intent–their design to reduce us to despotism! So, the question is, who will resist them?

A Response from Senator Corker

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I wrote to Senator Bob Corker about illegal manipulation on the NYMEX…here is the response.  I intend to hold him to it.

Thank you for recently contacting my office regarding speculation in the futures markets.  I appreciate the time you took to contact me and I wanted to share some further thoughts about this issue.

Like you, I have concerns about the potential upward pressure speculators might have on prices, and I am digging into the issue further to determine how to appropriately address speculation in the market. I was an original cosponsor of the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008, which, along with opening up the OCS for production, would have directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to determine whether index trading activity is adversely impacting the price discovery process in the futures markets.  This legislation will need to be reintroduced in this new session of Congress, but the insight you’ve give here will certainly be helpful to my staff and me should legislation regarding speculation and CFTC oversight of the futures markets again come before the Senate.

Thank you again for your letter.  I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker
United States Senator

Another Stupak Reason to Vote Healthcare

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From Code Red, another bit of evidence that Bart Stupak was lying about holding out for abortion…he was just grandstanding!

Obama Administration Awarded Hundreds of Thousands in Airport Grants to Stupak’s District Two Days Before Vote

Was this Yet Another Backroom Deal to Force Obama’s Bill Down the American People’s Throats?

Three airports in the district of infamous fence-sitting and ultimately kowtowing Democrat Bart Stupak were awarded $726,409 in grants by the Obama Administration just two days before a vote on Obama and Pelosi’s government takeover of healthcare.

Did Stupak compromise his supposed principled stand against taxpayer funding of abortion in exchange for taxpayer dollars for pet projects?

Alpena County Regional Airport received a $85,500 grant, but had only 7,519 passenger boardings in 2008 (the most recent year for which there is information) according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data. Alpena County Regional Airport serves fewer passengers than even the late Rep. John Murtha’s famous “Airport for Nobody.”

Delta County Airport has even less customers than that, but still received a $179,209 grant.

Chippewa County International Airport received a $461,700 grant,  but had only 13,733  passenger boardings in 2008.

Will Stupak come clean about this apparent backroom deal for his vote?

Call Stupak’s district office at (989) 356-0690 and ask.

And so it begins…

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Well, I have been so disgusted that I wanted to go and quit trying.  I couldn’t believe that this corruption would happen…but yet it did.  I felt like Mike and I have been talking to a brick wall, because the loons keep coming.  I even read an article from my friend Ken Marrero on being called a Racist because of his conservative beliefs.  I worry about my kids and grand kids, and I worry about the loons too, because they don’t even realize what’s hitting them…it’s just all about the party…and what the party will GIVE them.  Well, you got it, bend over, here it comes.

I realize now that we can’t quit ringing the bell.  I think I know how alone the founders felt when they stood for what’s right.  I’m not comparing myself to the founders either, I’m just saying.

I look forward to November and beyond, to see if we can get some folks in office who give a damn about our country again. I could care less about all the petty liberal arguments, or even the arguments of the ill-informed loons who think that this social program called “health care” is the answer to their prayers.  What I do care about is being a Patriot, taking up this fight, and doing the best job I can to convince people to take up this battle with me and with Mike.

It’s important to try to explain to folks why conservatism works, why capitalism is important to their future, and freedom is vital to everyone.  Nothing good comes without an effort.  That’s why someone wise said you can’t have your cake and eat it too…wise indeed.

Thank you all for reading, writing and encouraging…and thanks to my partner Mike, who lives and breathes and heart beats pure Patriotism.  He, like me, and a lot of folks who read and write to us understand what it will take to get our country back…and we will fight on!

Social insurance is only the beginning…now, your guns.  Thanks to my friend Bill Foster for this one.

U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade

WASHINGTON (Reuters)

The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto. The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush’s administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better. On Wednesday Obama Took the First Major Step in a Plan to Ban All Firearms in the United States . The Obama administration intends to force gun control and a complete ban on all weapons for US citizens through the signing of international treaties with foreign nations. By signing international treaties on gun control, the Obama administration can use the US State Department to bypass the normal legislative process in Congress. Once the US Government signs these international treaties, all US citizens will be subject to those gun laws created by foreign governments. These are laws that have been developed and promoted by organizations such as the United Nations and individuals such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The laws are designed and intended to lead to the complete ban and confiscation of all firearms. The Obama administration is attempting to use tactics and methods of gun control that will inflict major damage to our 2nd Amendment before US citizens even understand what has happened. Obama can appear before the public and tell them that he does not intend to pursue any legislation (in the United States) that will lead to new gun control laws, while cloaked in secrecy, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is committing the US to international treaties and foreign gun control laws. Does that mean Obama is telling the truth? What it means is that there will be no publicized gun control debates in the media or votes in Congress. We will wake up one morning and find that the United States has signed a treaty that prohibits firearm and ammunition manufacturers from selling to the public. We will wake up another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that prohibits any transfer of firearm ownership. And then, we will wake up yet another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that requires US citizens to deliver any firearm they own to the local government collection and destruction center or face imprisonment. This is not a joke nor a false warning.

As sure as government health care will be forced on us by the Obama administration through whatever means necessary, so will gun control.

Poll: Low Favorability Ratings For Pelosi, Reid

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No surprise here !

Poll: Low Favorability Ratings For Pelosi, Reid

Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Most Americans don’t have an opinion about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a new CBS News poll finds, even after more than a year of debate over the health care reform bill that put them squarely in the public eye.

Yet those who do have an opinion of the Democratic Congressional leaders don’t seem to have a very good one: Pelosi and Reid are viewed unfavorably by roughly three times as many people as they are viewed favorably.

Pelosi’s favorable rating in the poll stands at 11 percent. Her unfavorable rating, meanwhile, is 37 percent — meaning that more than one in three views the California Democrat negatively.

More than half of those surveyed say they are either undecided about Pelosi or haven’t heard enough to make a decision.

CBSNews.com

Breaking News: Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Health Care Bill

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Well , well, well, what do we have here? Our federal government leaders mandate us to purchase health insurance or face a fine or go to jail for a year and then in the bill we see that senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans.

Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Bill

For as long as the political fight took over the past year, the abbreviated review process on the health care legislation currently pending on President Obama’s desk is unquestionably going to result in some surprises — as happens with any piece of mashed-up legislation — both for the congressmen who voted for it and for the American people.

One such surprise is found on page 158 of the legislation, which appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans.

A major story during the course of the health care debate was whether members of Congress would commit to placing themselves in the same health care exchanges as average citizens, or whether they would hang on to their government plans — that’s why leadership chose to add this portion to the bill, serving as a guarantee that members would participate in the same health plans as the people.

Here’s the relevant text:

(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE-

(i) REQUIREMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are–

(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

But as with a lot of legislative matters, the devil is in the details or in this case, the definitions. As anyone who’s worked on Capitol Hill knows, the personal office staff for a member is governed by different rules than those who work on committees and in the leadership offices. It appears from the way this language is written that those staffers NOT in personal offices, such as those working and paid under the committee structure (such as those working for Chairman Henry Waxman) or those working on leadership staff (such as those working for Speaker Nancy Pelosi) would be exempt from these requirements (emphasis added).

(ii) DEFINITIONS- In this section:

(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS- The term `Member of Congress’ means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.

(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF- The term `congressional staff’ means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.

According to the Congressional Research Service, this definition of staff will only apply to those staffers employed within a member’s “personal office” — meaning that it will absolutely not apply to committee staff members, and may not apply to leadership staff.

This problem was acknowledged earlier in the process last year, Senator Grassley tried to repair it, but he was rebuffed.

As Speaker Pelosi said a few weeks ago, it’s only after this legislation is passed that we’ll truly find out what’s in it.

New Ledger.com