Morning Action: Harry Reid’s Radical Push for the “Nuclear Option” in the Senate Continues
NUCLEAR. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% is still eyeing the so-called “nuclear option,” a process by which Senate Democrats would change the Senate rules to force votes on controversial nominees and effectively end the filibuster, Senators’ ability to speak at length against measures they oppose. The Heritage Foundation explains that Sen. Reid would have to break the rules to change the rules and why this decision would be shortsighted:
The proposed rules change would constrain Senators’ ability to deliberate on nominations through the vital debate function as long as one party retained a bare majority.
Senate Democrats may be willing to go along with this change for now, but 31 of the 53 Democrats have never experienced life in the Senate minority. They may come to regret the decision to effectively eliminate the filibuster for nominations if in the future they become the minority party and no longer have a President who is a Democrat.
Moreover, Sen. Reid also seems to forget the past and how infrequently President Obama hasn’t gotten his way. Yes, Reid continues to throw an unnecessary tantrum:
If Senate Democrats insist on forever changing how the Senate operates, it will not be because Senate Republicans have forced their hand. Republicans have worked with Democrats to confirm 1,560 executive nominees over the past four and a half years. Of all the nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, only four have been rejected.
CANCELLATIONS. Obamacare cancellations are far from over:
A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall — right before the mid-term elections.
The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses. While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shakeup in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader.
An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, shows the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predict up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.
MEDICAID. One mother in Washington is being pushed into Medicaid even though she was perfectly content with her current plan before Obamacare (sub. req’d):
My mother is not one to seek attention by complaining, so her recent woeful FacebookFB +1.16% post caught my eye: “The poor get poorer.” It diverged from the more customary stream of inspirational quotes, recipes and snapshots from her tiny cottage in Pierce County, Wash.
The post continued: “I just received a notice: ‘In order to comply with the new healthcare law, your current health plan will be discontinued on December 31, 2013.’ Currently my premium is $276 and it is a stretch for me to cover. The new plan . . . are you ready . . . projected new rate $415.20. Now I can’t afford health insurance.”
The unaffordable ObamaCare-compliant plan that her insurer offered in a Sept. 26 letter is not what makes my mother’s story noteworthy. Countless individually insured Americans have received such letters; many are seeing more radical increases in premiums and deductibles.
Since she couldn’t afford the new plan offered by her insurer, she told me she was eager to explore her new choices under theAffordable Care Act. Washington Healthplanfinder is one of the better health-exchange sites, and she was actually able to log on. She entered her personal and financial data. With efficiency uncommon to the ObamaCare process, the site quickly presented her with a health-care option.
That is not a typo: There was just one option—at the very affordable monthly rate of zero. The exchange had determined that my mother was not eligible to choose to pay for a plan, and so she was slated immediately for Medicaid. She couldn’t believe it was true and held off completing the application.
MONEY BEHIND AMNESTY. A group of wealthy tech executives are doing what they can to push for an amnesty bill:
With the movement on immigration reform at a standstill in Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top Silicon Valley executives joined together on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to press ahead with their work on fixing the country’s immigration system.
Zuckerberg, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Dropbox CEO Andrew Houston were on hand to help kick off a “hackathon” event at LinkedIn’s headquarters, where a group of 20 young immigrants who came to the country illegally as children—often called “Dreamers”—will spend the next 25 hours coding Web tools aimed at advocating for immigration reform.
“I think this is one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time,” Zuckerberg told the room of young coders from across the U.S. and reporters. “We’re at a pretty critical moment in the movement right now where it’s really important to keep pushing ahead.”
The three tech executives, along with Groupon co-founder Andrew Mason and immigration rights advocate Jose Antonio Vargas, will judge the young immigrants’ final work on Thursday afternoon and determine which project wins for “best design,” “best advocacy app” and “best storytelling app.”
DISABILITIES TREATY. Steven Groves explains that the White House has made misleading statements to Americans with disabilities about what the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) would actually do for them:
That is precisely what the White House and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are doing in their effort to convince senators to ratify the United Nations-spawned treaty known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Secretary of State John Kerry comes to Capitol Hill today to press for its ratification.
Fans of the CRPD blithely claim that U.S. ratification of the treaty will benefit Americans with disabilities. Not here at home, mind you. But when disabled Americans venture overseas for travel, work, or school, the CRPD will somehow make their lives much, much easier.
That assurance rests entirely on wishful thinking. CRPD supporters would have us believe that human-rights treaties like the CRPD act as a sort of magic wand — if a treaty says that all signatories must do something good, then presto-chango, it shall be so. But in the real world, human-rights treaties simply don’t work like that.
Consider the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The U.S. has been a party to that treaty since 1992. Other signatories include Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Yet, somehow, civil and political rights in those nations are no more available now than they were before. Indeed, all of these nations received the lowest possible rating in Freedom House’s 2013 Freedom in the World report.