World’s greatest deliberative body only got three minutes to read fiscal cliff bill

**Posted by Phineas

The 154-page fiscal cliff bill, that is:

The U.S. Senate voted 89-8 to approve legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff despite having only 3 minutes to read the 154-page bill and budget score.

Multiple Senate sources have confirmed to that senators received the bill at approximately 1:36 AM on Jan. 1, 2013 – a mere three minutes before they voted to approve it at 1:39 AM.

The bill is 154-pages and includes several provisions that are unrelated to the fiscal cliff, including repealing a section of ObamaCare, extending the wind-energy tax credit, and a rum tax subsidy deal for Puerto Rican rum makers.

I ask you, is this any way to run a republic?

Oh well, if they could pull this crap for the thousand-or-so pages of  Obamacare, why the heck not for a mere 154 pages? Heck, I’m surprised they even bothered delivering it to the chamber before passing judgment on it.

So much for the pledge to post bills online for 72 hours before voting.

While the failings of Congress are bipartisan, I lay most of the blame for this particular national embarrassment at the feet of Harry Reid and the Democrats. It’s been known for, what, two years that taxes would go up on January 1st? And we all saw the sequester deadline coming up a year ago. The House sent a bill to the Senate last August to at least buy another year to reach a settlement, but Reid, as per usual, refused to allow a vote and forced matters to wait until the last minute when he knew Republicans would be under heavy pressure to accept a bad deal to avert a catastrophe.

In short, and as the Democrats have done for at least the last ten years, Harry Reid deliberately put his party’s fortune ahead of the nation’s well-being.

“Contemptible” doesn’t begin to describe Harry Reid.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Victory for Domino’s founder against ObamaCare’s contraception mandate

Great news:

Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) founder Tom Monaghan sued the federal government in December on behalf of his Michigan office park, Domino’s Farms, to avoid providing the mandatory contraception coverage in the nation’s health care law — also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. On Sunday, a district court judge in Michigan granted an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order that allows Monaghan to avoid providing contraception as part of his property management firm’s health care plan until the case is resolved.

The law went into effect on Tuesday and is already getting costly for some companies fighting its contraception provision. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied a similar injunction request for Oklahoma City arts-and-crafts store chain Hobby Lobby, which also has a contraception-based suit working its way through the lower courts and risks potential fines of $1.3 million a day for not offering the required coverage.

The heads of both companies have protested the law vociferously on religious grounds. Monaghan — who has used his Domino’s fortune to bankroll Catholic charities, support conservative political candidates and found Ave Maria University in Florida — argues that contraception isn’t health care, but “gravely immoral.” When Hobby Lobby launched its suit back in September, founder David Green wrote an opinion piece for USA Today blasting the mandate requiring the chain’s health insurance to provide “what I believe are abortion-causing drugs” because “we believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception.”


Monaghan sold much of his controlling stake in Domino’s to Bain Capital back in 1998 and his Domino’s Farms property outside of Ann Arbor is a small holding not affiliated with the company.

Hobby Lobby having to pay $1.3 million a day in fines is going to hurt them big time but I admire them for standing their ground on this. Let’s hope the court battles they – and Monaghan – face in the months ahead lead to a change in this monstrosity of a law so other companies who can’t afford to pay the fines and court costs but who want to opt out of the contraception mandate on religious freedoms grounds can do so.H

President Autopen signs #FiscalCliff bill, continues on with Hawaii vacation

Via The Hill (hat tip):

President Obama on Wednesday signed legislation that raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans and avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which threatened to send the economy into decline.

The White House said late Wednesday that Obama reviewed a copy of the bill in Hawaii, where he is vacationing with his family. The president instructed that the legislation — passed by the House and Senate earlier this week — be signed by autopen, a device that emulates Obama’s signature.


Before leaving for Hawaii on Wednesday to rejoin his family, who vacationed there over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, Obama said the passage of the law fulfilled a campaign promise to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Fox News explains more about the autopen:

The autopen is a mechanical device that copies the president’s signature. According to the White House Executive Clerk’s Office, the bill was sent to Obama in PDF form Wednesday afternoon, and was signed via autopen once Obama approved it.

Obama is the first president to sign bills electronically, and has signed two previous pieces of legislation using the technology.

The president arrived in Honolulu before 5 a.m. local time Wednesday and immediately rejoined his family in their rented beachside vacation home in Kailua, a picturesque Honolulu suburb on the east side of Oahu. Kailua Beach is a popular place for wind sports and paddle surfing.

Obama and his family had spent several days, including Christmas Day, at the secluded compound before he returned to Washington on Dec. 26 for the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Well, he made passage of the fiscal cliff bill sound “urgent” – but apparently him sitting down to sign it wasn’t as urgent as returning to the beautiful sands of Hawaii.

Quite frankly, the “autopen” – which has been used a total of three times under this President, including on this piece of legislation – scares the hell out of me, almost as much as the “nuclear button” does. Who has access to it? How is it secured? Is it even Constitutional? documented some serious and not so serious questions and commentary about Obama’s use of the autopen, which included intriguing background info from respected CBS journalist Mark Knoller. On the humorous side, there is now a Twitter account with the @The_Autopen handle. That said, Derek A. Hunter had probably what was and is the best tweet on the controversy:

And don’t forget paddle surfing.