“The time for talking is through,” sayeth the man who apparently doesn’t realize that Congress exists to debate legislation and not to muzzle itself and rubber-stamp executive initiatives. Of course, Barack Obama might be able to make that argument a little better if this particular executive took any sort of responsibility for the executive initiative in question. Real Clear Politics has this quote from the President who wants Congress to pass the health-care reform bill by the end of the month without debate, but who apparently has no clue as to what it says or how it works. Click the image to hear:
During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Obama replied: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”
Er, what? Obama has insisted repeatedly that the bill would not force people out of their private health insurance plans, which have over 80% of Americans satisfied at the moment. Now we find out that Obama hasn’t read the section of the bill that pertains to the issue? It shows that Obama has been talking out of his hat the entire time, and has become so disengaged from the process that he’s not bothering to keep up with the legislative changes.
Bill Kristol wonders when Congress will get fed up with uninformed diktats from the Oval Office:
The Democratic bills in the House and Senate are a thousand pages long. They’re still changing as committees try to mark them up, or as they mark up other versions of health insurance legislation. There’s huge uncertainty about how lots of provisions in the bills and under consideration would work–OMB Director Orzsag and HHS Secretary Sibelius couldn’t answer straightforward questions on Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press. Nothing goes into effect in any case until 2013–except the tax provisions, which would begin in 2011. Yet President Obama wants everyone to stop debating and deliberating, and act now–because he and he alone has decided “now is the time to go ahead and act.”
Congress should assert itself, stand up for the deliberative and democratic process, and defy this presumptuous presidential dictate.
I’d put the chances of that at about 60-40 against, or perhaps 62-38 if we count the two Senators from Maine, at least until the midterms. Hopefully, the American people will provide a Congress that shows a little more spine at that point.
Update: Reuters reports that Obama now admits that the bill needs more work:
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the healthcare overhaul plan working its way through the U.S. Congress needs more work amid signs his top policy initiative, already rejected by Republicans, was running into deeper trouble with his own Democrats.
Obama was to meet with a group of Democratic lawmakers to discuss how to pay for the nearly $1 trillion reforms after a key congressional panel canceled Tuesday’s votes on its version of the legislation while talks continued with a group of fiscally conservative Democrats.
Asked whether he would sign any of the bills now being considered in Congress, Obama told NBC’s “Today” show: “Right now, they’re not where they need to be.”
But Obama said he was confident the final legislation would drive down spiraling healthcare costs over time.
Since “the time for talk is through,” Congress will use body language, hand puppets, and a fleet full of French mimes to get that work accomplished, I presume.
Update II: Heritage link added; they were the original source for the story.