American history is replete with examples of politicians insisting on, “the law of the land” in defense of their preferred policies.
The phrase was invoked as a reason for not allowing women to vote or African-Americans to live as free citizens, for schools to be segregated for prohibition of alcohol and for the internment of American citizens of Japanese heritage during World War II.
Today, we are again hearing politicians invoking, “the law of the land” with regard to the Affordable Care Act.
These are the elected officials who are coming to the defense of a law they will not apply to themselves or their staff.
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As the partial government shutdown drags on what we are not hearing is that this law has already been altered many times, sometimes without the due process of traditional statutory protocols.
This “law of the land” has been amended and altered by the Obama administration numerous times over the last three years.
One time it was to delay the employer mandate on health insurance, another to disregard the caps on out-of-pocket costs, and another to provide Congress and congressional staff a taxpayer subsidy for their health insurance and more.
Not only was this “law of the land” repeatedly amended before even taking effect, it was often changed without a vote by Congress.
The final law of the land is the Constitution, which gives the House of Representatives the power of purse and to change laws as circumstances demand. Yet cynical politicians are seeking to lend some nefarious connotation to the simple, constitutional practice of changing law.
Another false argument in support of ObamaCare is that elections have consequences. The administration seems to think that only one election has consequences; that of the president.
The American people also voted for a Republican majority in the House yet the president and his allies want us to believe that those elections are of no consequence. They could not be more wrong.
One consequence of a Republican majority in the House is the Continuing Resolution that funds the entire federal government, makes Congress live under the same, “law of the land” as the people they represent and gives the same consideration to the American people that the White House has given to big business.
But rather than making Congress abide by their own law and provide a one-year delay of the individual mandate, as the administration has done for corporate interests, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid exercised the politics of petulance and allowed the government to shut down.
The House does have the power of the purse for a reason -- it's members are the duly elected representatives of the people. The people oppose this law.
With the power of the purse comes funding and the House has offered many ways to fund certain parts of the government while negotiations go on, but President Obama and Senate Democrats refuse to negotiate.
The Tea Party respects the constitutional checks and balances of government. It is within this framework that we are working to repeal ObamaCare.
Disagreements are to be expected in politics but when the discussion devolves into false arguments and vicious name calling, it’s strong evidence that Democrats, from President Obama on down, have no interest in meaningful dialog.
Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, a national grassroots organization with more than 3500 chapters.