Here Congress Goes Again

The Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, was "only" 906 pages long.  A subsequent version of ObamaCare, passed by the U.S. Senate on 24 Dec. 09, was 2,409 pages long.  Ain't it funny how a bill grows as it becomes a law?  That law spawned over twenty thousand pages of regulations and is being amended as this is being written.

I think that all will agree that there were some surprises in its final version.  For example, remember in 2009 when Obama said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.  No one will take it away, no matter what"?  Technically he was correct, but..."You can keep that policy, but you may very well not want to," said Linda Blumberg, a health economist at the Urban Institute.  Another surprise: remember the "Employer Mandate"?  In order to avoid ObamaCare's two- to three-thousand-dollar-per-employee penalty for failing to offer qualifying health care coverage, companies offered coverage that did not cover X-rays, maternity care, or surgery as just one cost-cutting option to offset the additional expenses of ObamaCare.

Now we have the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – all 1,648 pages of it.  The bill was posted online at 2232 hrs. on Tuesday, 3 Dec. 14.  It is scheduled to be voted on as early as Thursday, 5 Dec. 14.  Got that?  One thousand six hundred and forty-eight pages to read in two days.  I don't think that even Evelyn Wood could read that fast. 

What surprises await us with this one?  Well, as a taste of what is to come, there are two parts of this bill that have absolutely nothing to do with national defense.

On page 1,324 of the bill is a provision that "creates a federal commission to develop a plan to build a National Women's History Museum."  And the bill's wording doesn't even pretend that the museum has anything to do with national defense.

Also in the bill are "land grabs": 

  • 275,000 acres designated as new Wilderness Areas;
  • Four new National Parks;
  • Seven National Park studies for new parks to be;
  • 16 National Heritage extensions;
  • Three new Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designations.;
  • Three new WSR studies that are expected to become new designations;
  • Land entitlement for Sealaska, an Alaska Native Regional Corporation

It's interesting to note that Conservative Review says that some Republicans are behind efforts to attach the public land grab to the bill.

What other provisions are waiting to surprise?  House speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, "I've been through almost every part of that bill, as it was being put together.  So, trust me, I am well aware of what's in that bill."  Trust me!  Seems as if I've heard that before.

Recall that one campaign pledge in 2010 by Republicans, the "Read The Bill" part of the "Pledge to America," said:

We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.  No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.

I guess that, for Boehner, understanding is obtained by "putting together" the bill.  And I don't care how Republicans count – late Tuesday night until any time on Thursday isn't three days.

And here's another comfort.  House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) admits that he hasn't even read the bill.  I guess that Hoyer's understanding will be via osmosis.  Oh, wait.  Hoyer is a Democrat, so he's obviously depending on Nancy Pelosi to read it.

If such blatant money grabs as a women's museum and land are already a part of the bill, what other surprises, typically in the form of amendments, await us?

Some will argue that I'm comparing apples to oranges, that ObamaCare and national defense are quite dissimilar.  Y'all may be correct at first glance.  But who knows once Congress gets through amending the current bill?

Congress, will you ever learn?  No, wrong question.  Will we who elected Congress ever learn?

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University.  He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making.  He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired.  Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years.  He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

The Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, was "only" 906 pages long.  A subsequent version of ObamaCare, passed by the U.S. Senate on 24 Dec. 09, was 2,409 pages long.  Ain't it funny how a bill grows as it becomes a law?  That law spawned over twenty thousand pages of regulations and is being amended as this is being written.

I think that all will agree that there were some surprises in its final version.  For example, remember in 2009 when Obama said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.  No one will take it away, no matter what"?  Technically he was correct, but..."You can keep that policy, but you may very well not want to," said Linda Blumberg, a health economist at the Urban Institute.  Another surprise: remember the "Employer Mandate"?  In order to avoid ObamaCare's two- to three-thousand-dollar-per-employee penalty for failing to offer qualifying health care coverage, companies offered coverage that did not cover X-rays, maternity care, or surgery as just one cost-cutting option to offset the additional expenses of ObamaCare.

Now we have the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – all 1,648 pages of it.  The bill was posted online at 2232 hrs. on Tuesday, 3 Dec. 14.  It is scheduled to be voted on as early as Thursday, 5 Dec. 14.  Got that?  One thousand six hundred and forty-eight pages to read in two days.  I don't think that even Evelyn Wood could read that fast. 

What surprises await us with this one?  Well, as a taste of what is to come, there are two parts of this bill that have absolutely nothing to do with national defense.

On page 1,324 of the bill is a provision that "creates a federal commission to develop a plan to build a National Women's History Museum."  And the bill's wording doesn't even pretend that the museum has anything to do with national defense.

Also in the bill are "land grabs": 

  • 275,000 acres designated as new Wilderness Areas;
  • Four new National Parks;
  • Seven National Park studies for new parks to be;
  • 16 National Heritage extensions;
  • Three new Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designations.;
  • Three new WSR studies that are expected to become new designations;
  • Land entitlement for Sealaska, an Alaska Native Regional Corporation

It's interesting to note that Conservative Review says that some Republicans are behind efforts to attach the public land grab to the bill.

What other provisions are waiting to surprise?  House speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, "I've been through almost every part of that bill, as it was being put together.  So, trust me, I am well aware of what's in that bill."  Trust me!  Seems as if I've heard that before.

Recall that one campaign pledge in 2010 by Republicans, the "Read The Bill" part of the "Pledge to America," said:

We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.  No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.

I guess that, for Boehner, understanding is obtained by "putting together" the bill.  And I don't care how Republicans count – late Tuesday night until any time on Thursday isn't three days.

And here's another comfort.  House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) admits that he hasn't even read the bill.  I guess that Hoyer's understanding will be via osmosis.  Oh, wait.  Hoyer is a Democrat, so he's obviously depending on Nancy Pelosi to read it.

If such blatant money grabs as a women's museum and land are already a part of the bill, what other surprises, typically in the form of amendments, await us?

Some will argue that I'm comparing apples to oranges, that ObamaCare and national defense are quite dissimilar.  Y'all may be correct at first glance.  But who knows once Congress gets through amending the current bill?

Congress, will you ever learn?  No, wrong question.  Will we who elected Congress ever learn?

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University.  He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making.  He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired.  Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years.  He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.