Yesterday, I participated in a call in with the Republican Congressmen from Florida, District 1, Jeff Miller. Let me say, by way of caveat that I was not able to stay until the end. Several things concerned me during the call, and although there was a mechanism to ask questions or comment, time did not allow me to do so.
First, the call seemed more to soothe constituents about the government shutdown and how it was not the fault of the Republican Party than to answer questions. Secondly, there really seems to be a lot of disinformation about the Affordable Care Act, ACA, also known as Obama Care. It is my opinion that our politicians should put honesty and truthfulness over partisan politics.
An elderly gentleman called in from Crestview, and was very concerned about the fact that ObamaCare was covering illegal aliens, and that "our tax dollars was going to pay for that." Congressman Miller did not address this statement directly, and certainly left the impression that this gentleman's concerns were valid and was part of the reason for the GOP fight over this legislation.
I am not a supported of the AFA, and if you have read my book, "The Reluctant Republican" you know that it is one of the reasons I ran for Congress in Florida District 2. There are many problems with it that must be fixed for this to become an effective law. But it is intellectually dishonest to suggest, as Senators Cruz and Rand did last week, things in the bill that are inaccurate.
In fact, Obamacare explicitly denies insurance coverage to illegal immigrants in Section 1312 (f)(3):
Access limited to lawful residents. If an individual is not, or is not reasonably expected to be for the entire period for which enrollment is sought, a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States, the individual shall not be treated as a qualified individual and may not be covered under a qualified health plan in the individual market that is offered through an Exchange.
Congressman Miller could have told the caller he was incorrect in his understanding, but he did not.
Secondly, Congressman Miller never addressed-while I was on the phone-the futility of the Republican position to defund ObamaCare. The GOP does not hold a majority in the Senate, with 52 Democrats and 46 Republicans.
Even if the Senate could pass such a bill, President Obama would veto it, thereby sending it back to Congress under Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which says, in pertain parts...
"...the President...approves...but if not, shall return it...to that house in which it shall have originated. to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, two=thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections [of President] to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law."
Republicans have a majority of 232 Members to 200 Democratic Members in the House. So to override a Presidential veto, one would have to have the votes of a super majority, of two-thirds of each house. In the House of Representatives, that would mean approximately 287 votes, or convincing 55 Democrats to vote against their President. In the Senate, such a vote would require 67 votes, or 18 Senators to vote with Republicans.
Let's see, assuming the accuracy of these numbers, that would make a total of 73 members of Congress needed to overturn a Presidential veto. And despite the hard cold facts of this unlikely event, in a telephone poll taken yesterday on this call, 66% thought it was a good idea to shut down the government to "try to reign in government spending." Only 34% thought a government shutdown a bad strategy.
I honestly don't think most voters have all the facts needed to make the necessary decisions about these issues. Many don't have-or take-the time to look up information, or fact check to see what is true. And as a result, many rely on their politicians to tell them the truth. But most politicians today are more concerned about being re-elected than telling voters the truth.
It's the reason moderates and centrists are needed now, more than ever. It is possible to not like a law, and be truthful about what it contains. It is possible to not want to fund bad legislation, and also realize the mathematical futility in attempting to do so. In other words, despite political parties or personal beliefs, there can be honesty and truthfulness in the dialogue. And if that happens, we might get a little closer to the center, which is usually where the truth lies.