The Best of the Forge
Over the past week, there has been a renewed interest in the fight for the heart and soul of the “right.” We recall the classic split in the movement in the 1950’s and 60’s with the Rockefeller vs. Goldwater (Reagan versus Ford) fights that broke down by Liberal Republican versus Conservative Republican. Abortion, War, and Tax divisions defined the debate. This is why Goldwater, Reagan and Phyllis Schlafly said that we needed a “Choice, not an Echo.”
The Conservative Wing won that fight; we had 12 pro-life candidates vying for the GOP nomination in 2012, no Republican ran on a tax-raising platform or for Nationalization of Housing and note the unified bloc of GOPers all but shouting down a national health insurance scheme called ObamaCare.
The HHS anti-conscience mandate tramples on religious liberty, and all Americans have reason for concern, whether they are religious or not. Our elected representatives have a serious responsibility to protect religious freedom, though all too often they are responsible for its deterioration.
The Heritage Foundation has made the case for exempting Hobby Lobby and other organizations from the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds. The Heritage Foundation explains that employers do not forfeit their deeply held convictions and religious freedoms by going into business, and therefore, they should not be required to comply with the anti-conscience mandate under the threat of debilitating government fines. The HHS anti-conscience mandate, which requires employers to provide coverage of abortion inducing drugs, is characteristic of the Obama administration’s “offensively narrow view of faith in public life,” and religious employers should be exempt.
Heritage Foundation visiting legal fellow Evan Bernick has added a new argument to bolster the religious liberty argument — and it’s one that should resonate with secular viewpoints.
Remember the farm bill? That $1 trillion piece of legislation that ties food stamps to agriculture policy? It’s not going to pass this year, but it’s going to resurface next year. And Democrats have found a way to throw unemployment insurance (UI) in the mix.
They are planning to use the passage of the farm bill as leverage to ensure UI gets reauthorized, an effort being initiated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
There are two problems with this picture.
This week the Senate may pass the Ryan-Murray budget, which the House passed last week by a vote of 332 – 94. Apart from the fact that it is terrible policy and constitutes a $63 billion spending increase over the next two years, there is reason to be concerned with how the deal affects Senate procedure. Bad policy often becomes law because lawmakers break the rules, pass legislation that changes rules in a dangerous way for the minority, or use procedural changes as leverage to negotiate bad policy.
While that may sound boring or insignificant, procedure can make or break good (and bad) legislation. As Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) once said, “If you let me write the procedure and I let you write the substance, I’ll beat you every time.”
He’s certainly qualified for the task. HHS Secreatry Kathleen said, “Kurt has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development.”
He will be an “unpaid senior adviser,” but with a wife who is a strong Obamacare supporter, it’s clear he has an incentive to help Obamacare to have some semblance of workability, an impression Americans are swiftly losing.