Bipartisanship: The Answer To So Many Questions

Last month, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) failed to garner enough Republican support in the House of Representatives to pass their chamber and move on to the Senate.  The failure was partly due to the fact that it had zero support from the Democrats, but also because of differing factions amongst the GOP.  Democrats refuse to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and many of the Republicans didn’t think that the AHCA went far enough in repealing and replacing the ACA.

Almost everyone agrees that the ACA as it stands right now is not the healthcare plan of the future for America.  Those on the left side of the aisle want minor tweaking to keep it fluid, or maybe even more reform to make it more socialistic or universal.  Those on the right side of the aisle want to get rid of much or all of the ACA and start over on healthcare reform.  In reality, the only answer that will work best for all of America is one that lies somewhere in the middle of those two sides.

Throughout America’s history, there are many examples of legislation that were passed with a large majority of bipartisan support.  Social Security and Medicare were enacted with strong bipartisan support.  In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (funneling money into skilled worker education) was passed with great bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.  The problems we are seeing with the US healthcare laws (current and proposed) are because none of them have had any bipartisan support.  When the ACA was passed in 2010, there was no Republican support for the bill in either the House or the Senate.  While there were many reasons for no GOP support (and even some Democrats in the House voted against it), a big reason was that many people didn’t even know what the thousands of pages of legislation and regulations would fully accomplish.  In the words of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.”

Fast forward about 7 years and you will find the Republicans trying the same method with the repeal and replacement of the ACA.  They drafted the bill in the House of Representatives behind closed doors with no opposition party input, brought it to the public and planned a vote all within a 2-week period.  There was no Democratic support for the bill.

We now have 2 bills that have only been supported by the party that was/is in power over the 2 chambers of Congress and the presidency.  This leaves the bills very vulnerable the next time there is a power shift in Washington.  If the Republicans are able to force their bill through, the next time the Democrats have control of Congress and have a Democratic President, then they will try to change it to their idea of what is best.  In reality, we need to have both parties sit down at the table and have some give and take.  Compromise never feels great when you give up something that you want, but in the end, getting something that is best for everyone and helps everyone is better than temporary pride.  The Democrats will need to give up some of their more socialistic healthcare ideas and the Republicans will need to give up their opposition to some of the current ACA provisions.

While I don’t pretend to have the answers for what to keep and what to do away with, I know that it’s not going to be an easy road and it’s not going to be a quick road, but it’s a road that we need to travel down to fix a system that isn’t working very well and isn’t headed in a good direction.  Congressmen and women need to stop worrying about all the special interest lobbyist and come together to think about the American people.  Talk with Doctors, talk to nurses and people in the business office of healthcare clinics.  Congress needs to get input from the people who will be carrying out these policies, instead of pretending that they know how to make you healthy, as if they have already gone through med school.  But most importantly, bipartisanship is the only strong answer for the future of healthcare in the United States.

 

Side note: While I personally believe that healthcare reform was something that was never granted to the legislative branch (see here), Congress has already opened that can of worms.  So, I believe the only thing that can be done now is to fix what is currently in place.

Jason – Three Patriots

Powers of Congress

We have discussed several issues lately concerning government and specific roles that it plays in our lives, but all of this has left me thinking, “What is the actual role of government?” So, today I’m starting a mini-series blog on the powers of government.  In order to answer that question, we need to go back to ninth grade Civics class for a lesson.  The United States of America is a constitutional republic (not a democracy as is often misunderstood).  The powers given to the government are given and limited by the Constitution.  So, in order to know what the role of government is, we need to go back to the Constitution to determine which powers it gives and which powers it limits.

The Preamble of the Constitution sets up the powers in:


“…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”


So, in that text, we see 5 points of power:

  1. Establish Justice – law
  2. Insure domestic tranquility – peace in the country’s borders
  3. Defense – protect from invasion
  4. General welfare – well-being of the citizens (notice this does not say social welfare as many want to interpret)
  5. Liberty – ensure freedoms and protect from tyranny

The Constitution then goes on to specify the powers it grants and those that it limits.  Today, I want to talk about the legislative branch of government, which means the House of Representatives and the Senate (aka Congress).  The legislative branch is commonly known to “make the laws.”  Specifically, Article I, Section 8 sets up those powers for Congress (we will discuss the other 2 branches of government in a future post).   From this, we see that Congress gives numerous provisions including collecting taxes, borrowing money, making money, declaring war, etc. (see [4] in sources for full text).  Nowhere in Article I do we find any powers to set up social security, healthcare, and many of the other welfare state functions that Congress has taken upon itself in the past century or so.  Interestingly enough, the Bill of Rights of the Constitution specifically addresses powers that are not explicitly granted to Congress in the Constitution with the Tenth Amendment.


“The powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”


Congress has taken the liberty to increase its governance to extremely broad terms.  This infinite interpretation of the congressional powers has increased spending on programs by an alarming amount.  While many of these programs sound like a great program and may even accomplish a lot of good in the country, these social programs implemented by and paid for through congressional action is beyond the powers given to it.  For example, the social programs implemented in the early and middle 20th century accounted for a little over 23 percent of the overall US budget in 1962.  Today, that number has grown well above 63 percent of the overall budget (63.3 percent when last recorded in 2011 – with the increase in the welfare system under President Obama, that number has to be significantly higher now).

What this all boils down to is that issues related to welfare, healthcare, and other social services are not powers given to Congress but, instead, are powers that they took upon themselves to make.  These assumed powers are costing the taxpayers trillions of dollars each year, and they are going largely unchecked.

I know of many noble, worthy causes and programs that have been funded by the government’s increasing focus on social programs.  While I will not go into specifics on individual programs, many of them will be completely sufficient with a reduction in budget or even the elimination of federal funding.  A majority of them are 501(c) non-profit organizations that have the ability to attract donations with tax-deductions.  I believe that the American people have a desire to fund these types organizations and, when presented with a need, would be more than willing to step up and fill that need.  Telethons across the country have reached goals of millions of dollars in a single day.  Present the American people with a just cause, and watch it obtain funding for the next year or more every time.

In the meantime, let’s get government back to what it was originally intended to do and away from becoming what our Founding Fathers never envisioned.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

SOURCES:

[1] https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/preamble/giving-meaning-to-the-preamble-by-erwin-chemerinsky/interp/37

[2] https://patriotpost.us/commentary/11449

[3] https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html

[4] http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2085

 

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Be Free

Lately, Facebook has been riddled with opinions on the new healthcare replacement bill, from here on out referred to as the AHCA (American Health Care Act). The topic brings out a lot of passion on both sides of the political aisle—the left side loves the current state and doesn’t want to change it, while the right side wants to make big changes, even completely repealing and starting over. This blog post is not about which side is right and wrong, because I think the answer is a bipartisan solution with give and take on either side; however, this post is about some of the recent op-eds I have seen shared on my timeline.

The most glaring article that has been shared was titled, “And Jesus Said unto Paul of Ryan …” a written in a NY Times op-ed. In this article, the author takes quotes from Jesus in the New Testament and lays them out as a retort to the “opinions of Speaker Paul Ryan.” My first issue with this article is that a vast majority of the words attributed to Speaker Ryan are downright falsehoods, and most of the rest are a stretch of his words and misapplication thereof. Now, before I get on to the meat of the disagreement, I must first say that Paul Ryan is an imperfect man. He has said and done things that I do not agree with personally or politically. The same goes for every single person on this planet, from my family, to my friends, to my pastor.  “…There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Rom 3:10 NIV). “No one is good—except God alone.” (Mark 10:18).

A brief example of some of the quotes “attributed” to Speaker Ryan include: (to Jesus) “Don’t go socialist on me again,”“Let me teach you about love, Jesus — tough love!” and “Jesus! You don’t have time. We have a cocktail party fund-raiser in the temple.”

Now, onto the meat of the issue. The posts that have shared this article, amongst others, take the stance that the Bible calls us to care for the poor, sick, widowed, etc., and I completely agree with that point. Scripture is filled with caring for the poor… Luke 4:18, Matthew 5:3, Luke 6:20, Matthew 25:45, and many others. Our job is to take care of the poor, the widowed, and the sick, but the key word in that is OUR. It is not the government’s job. In all my days of studying the Bible, I have not found a verse that tells me that government is responsible for providing those services. I have, however, found that it is the job of the church to care for those people. James 1:27: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

So, the premise that God calls the government to provide for the orphans and the widows and the sick and the poor is not supported by Scripture. The body of Christ (the Church) is to support them, lift them up, and help provide for them.  Has the church done its job well? I would say no, but I also see no provision in Scripture that supports a government takeover if the church doesn’t fulfill its duties.

Secondly, this notion that it is somehow religious and Biblical to support or reject support for a government bill that changes how healthcare is run in this country is incongruous. These are the same people on the left side of the aisle that cry out for a woman’s right to murder her unborn child or for the legalization of a sin that is addressed multiple times in Scripture. You cannot try to twist the Bible to say what you want it to say and use it against people of faith, while at the same time ignore Its words when it comes to your own worldview and political positions. Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

In summary, we, the Church, are called to help with the needs of the needy. We have a responsibility to do this ONLY as a church body, not as a governing body. Scripture sets up a separation of responsibilities to the family, the church, and the government, and the government isn’t involved in the direct administration of healthcare. Now, if you want to take a pure secular approach to healthcare, then, by all means, that discussion can happen, but don’t wag your finger at me and twist Christ’s words to fit your own narrative, while ignoring other words that don’t fit your narrative. You can’t have it both ways.

Jason – Three Patriots

a https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/opinion/and-jesus-said-unto-paul-of-ryan.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=0

 

It is no secret that the “One Nation Under God” has turned its back on the very God and His principles set forth in the founding of our nation. Focusing on healthcare, I too believe it is the responsibility of the Church, NOT the government to provide aid. Instead of asking for help from the government, expanding their ever growing reach, seek help from your local church, start a Samaritan clinic, start a non-profit to help with the rising costs of healthcare. DO SOMETHING! It is up to us, as citizens of this nation to care for each other, but we have forgotten that. The government has become so big and so over-reaching that it has brain washed its citizens to believe that they themselves cannot make a difference or to have individual thoughts. Instead, they rely on the government to come to the rescue or to do their thinking for them. WAKE UP and be the change.

Josh – Three Patriots