“Texas leaders will continue to do everything in our power to fight this federal excess and find ways to protect our families, taxpayers and medical providers from this gross federal overreach.”
-Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry commenting on the passage of health care legislation.
Whether one believes re-establishing pre-existing conditions, for children and adults, lifetime caps, and rescission will actually protect families or not, it’s clear that “Texas leaders” are not doing all they can to protect them. Here’s the latest evidence that the Texas GOP and it’s “leaders” are just blowing smoke about the seriousness of their claim, Calls for Texas special session on healthcare met with crickets.
Just last month, many Republican activists were calling on Gov. Rick Perry to plan for a special session as soon as Obama signed the bill so that Texas could immediately opt out of the landmark federal legislation. Gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina made the need for a special session related to Obama’s healthcare bill a central plank of her primary campaign against Perry.
In the days since the healthcare bill became law, the talk of a special session has not grown stronger.
Several state lawmakers have announced plans to draft or support measures to reject the Obama bill in the next regular session in 2011.
Certainly if this was such a grave matter that our state needs to act with haste, the leader of our state should take immediate action, right? Well, maybe not. It looks like his campaign coffers are more important that his protecting families, yada, yada, yada. Will Perry take up health care battle in Texas?
Two questions: Will he? And can he?
Answering the second question first: Yes, he can.
Simply put, Article 4 of the Texas Constitution gives the Executive Branch the authority to call a special session.
During his tenure in office, Perry has called eight special sessions for issues ranging from education to congressional redistricting to the state budget.
Special sessions can only last 30 days, so governors usually try to keep sessions limited in scope and free from highly political issues.
In 2002, the Texas Legislature became bogged down time after time when the governor called special session after special session in an effort to redraw the state’s Congressional maps in an off year.
Memories of that quagmire are still fresh in the governor’s office and may affect how much of a stomach Perry has to call another highly controversial special session.
Back to the first question: Will he?
Governor Perry is in the middle of a re-election campaign and is currently focusing on Bill White. Its doubtful that he wants a distraction from the race. Furthermore, a special session would tie him up for weeks, keeping him off the trail and giving White plenty of ammunition.
Also importantly, a special legislative session would bind Perry’s hands financially. Texas has restrictions on giving and receiving campaign contributions during a legislative session. In short, Perry would not be able to hit the trail, leaving White a major opening to take the seat.
If the Texas GOP leaders think this issue is so important, then they truly should do everything in their power and put the taxpayers money where their mouths are, and get into special session ASAP, and protect us all. Or they should just shut up, and move ahead with the frivolous lawsuit Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed.
Although Sen. John Cornyn seems to be going rogue a bit, Cornyn’s Winning Strategy?
So John Cornyn, at least, is apparently cluing into the fact that being the party of hell no isn’t going work so well for them in November. “See,” they’re going to tell the American people, “we did everything in our power to keep health insurance reform from happening, but there’s stuff in it we did.” Leaving out the part, “and then voted against anyway.” Taking credit for legislation they opposed is becoming old hat for Repubicans, witness the stimulus program, which at last count well over 100 Republicans (who voted against it) were taking credit for back home.
It’s going to be a tougher line to walk for the Republicans with health insurance reform, though. The teabaggers are really wound up now, and are demanding full on repeal. Regular Republicans (what’s left of them) and Independents maybe not being so enthused about scorching the earth. The newest Senator, Scott Brown, is trying to toe that line, arguing that Senators need to “work in a bipartisan manner to repeal the worst parts of this bill” and to “replace the worst parts of this legislation.”
Is that a message to keep the base fired up until November?
The truth is the GOP wants to spout for a little while and would probably like the health care issue to fade away. If the issue of health care is front and center from now until November it’s not good news for the GOP. They’d much rather talk about almost anything else.