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House GOP Leaders Starting (Maybe) To Get It

Cantor and Boehner
Sarah Palin gets it; Senator Ted Cruz gets it; Senator Mike Lee gets it; Senator Rand Paul gets it; Representative Darrell Issa gets it; now the House Republican leaders are starting (maybe) to get it – the fight to defund Obamacare, and to end the despicable congressional and government worker exemptions in it is an important constitutional fight.

And it’s a fight worth having.

The big problem right now is that the House GOP leaders are so unfamiliar with arguing their position from the limited government constitutional conservative perspective that they still aren’t making the argument – perhaps their strongest argument – that they are doing the job the Framers of the Constitution envisioned for the House by refusing to fund programs with which they disagree.

We have yet to hear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy or any of the other establishment Republican leaders stand up and say “There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires us to fund programs with which we disagree. In fact the Framers gave us the power of the purse because they wanted Congress to act as a check on an overambitious President.”

Instead they’ve been making a process argument that Obamacare isn’t ready to go and thus its implementation should be postponed for a year.

While this is true, it all but concedes the point that Obama made in his statement yesterday that funding the government and all the programs the executive chooses to pursue should be automatic, without any “extraneous and controversial demands” as Obama put it.

With regard to the congressional and government worker exemption they’ve been doing better.

Speaker Boehner was tough and direct in saying “No more mandate that members of Congress get some so-called exemption.”

Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, was even better, saying the fight was about “carving out special treatment for special interests. It’s about telling this Administration and this President that there should be no special treatment for members of Congress - there should be no special treatment for big business. We all live under the same laws.”

This is an issue worth fighting as well, not only because it is an equality under law issue, it is also an issue that polls something like 92 percent in Republicans’ favor.

Americans are “incensed,” as Senator David Vitter of Louisiana put it, over the exemptions and special carve-outs granted to government employees by Obama.

But until now the Republican establishment has too weak-kneed to actually stand and fight on this or pretty much any other issue.

We still think the one year delay is a bad idea because it gives Obama and the Democrats what they really want – a year to fix Obamacare’s administrative nightmare and get by the next election before its most unpopular provisions are really felt by the voting public.

If the Republican leaders can’t stand on conservative principles and argue that they are fulfilling their constitutional responsibility to rein-in the executive branch by defunding Obamacare, it is heartening that they at least are starting to become good politicians and put Obama and the Senate Democrats on the wrong side of an issue that has 92 percent approval by insisting on a “no Congressional exemption” provision in the continuing resolution.

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Congressional Salaries

Equally important to requiring Congress to share the same benefits as their constituents, as regards health benefits, is their grandiose salary in the order of $174,000/year. The Speaker of the House actually makes $223,500/year.

The original concept of government service was that it was an honor to serve; it was not a job that competed with jobs in the private sector. This is our problem today. Congress was allowed to control its salary to the point that participants now consider it a cushy livelihood. They are allowed to favor their constituents with expensive benefits in exchange for votes, thus preserving their incumbency. Many stay a lifetime.

Let’s start complaining about reducing Congressional salaries by at least 60% and you will see term limits take hold automatically... and we will have better government.