But according to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), there’s also a strong possibility that sequestration will be used to undo Obamacare.
Gov. Mitt Romney has said that if he’s elected president next month, the first thing he’ll do after being inaugurated is to issue an executive order paving the way to start undoing Obamacare. But there’s what amounts to a “Plan B” in the works in the Senate, Isakson told local business and civic leaders on Thursday. And it would hinge on control of the Senate passing to the Republicans, which is likely, Isakson told Cobb business and civic leaders at a Thursday luncheon at The Vinings Bank.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ Obamacare decision included something that a lot of people have not really focused on, Isakson said.
“They were disappointed that he came down on the side of the health care bill, but when he did, he declared the penalty you pay for not offering health care to your employees, the ‘mandate,’ is a tax. Because of that, it becomes eligible for something in Congress we call ‘sequestration,’ which in the Senate is the only thing that’s not subject to a filibuster,” he said.
That means a simple majority of the Senate can change the law through sequestration, he said.
“For everything else, you’ve got to have ‘60 votes to get to 51’ (that is, a voting majority) except for sequestration and the budget.
“So if there was a 51-vote Republican majority, it would be possible under the Sequestration Act, which you have to do at the end of every fiscal year, to send the president a veto, which he would then have to override. We would then have to get two-thirds of senators to override his veto.”
OK, but even following a hypothetical Republican landslide it is unlikely there would be sufficient Republican senators to meet that threshold.
Not so fast, the senator said.
“I personally believe that there are enough members of the Senate — Republicans and Democrats alike — who realize we have a train-wreck coming and the best way to solve it is to prevent it,” Isakson said. “And the best way to prevent it is to take that bill, pull it back, and (keep) the things in it that make some sense, like the 26-year-old coverage that we’ve found doesn’t raise the cost of health care any because 26-year olds are healthy anyway. And (keep) pre-existing conditions and (keep) the model that uses statewide high-risk pools rather than a central-government guarantee. There are a lot of things that we can do that were included in that act and make sense, but it will never have a chance as long as it’s got the mandate in it and as long as it takes business out of the business of providing benefits.”
The senator noted that Darden Restaurants (owner of the Red Lobster, Longhorn and Olive Garden chains, as well as several others) said last week it’s going to go from full-time employees to part-time employees so it doesn’t have to provide health care.
“I’ve talked to small businesses all along that have counted up how many people they have and multiplied that times the fine and realized it’s cheaper to pay the government fine for not providing health care than it is for them to provide health care. And that is the way the bill was designed, because the government wants health care to be pushed to central-government control,” he said.
Isakson noted that health care now makes up 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and is rising.
“The cost of health care is costing us more per life because of innovation and our increasing longevity,” he said. “We need to do some things, but putting government in charge of it is not the right thing. Government does a good job of fighting wars, but everything else the private sector does better.”
AMONG those on hand for Isakson’s talk were insurance exec T.W. Lord, Southwest Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson, Superior Court Clerk Jay Stephenson, attorneys John Moore, Gary Eubanks and John Skelton, the Rev. Sam Matthews, the Rev. Joe Peabody, the Rev. Snyder Turner of Calvary Children’s Home, Cobb Chamber President David Connell, Deputy Cobb School Superintendent Cheryl Hungerford and Cobb EMC chair/Georgia Motor Truckers Association director Ed Crowell.
BLUSH MUCH? Cobb County School Board member Lynnda Eagle unexpectedly turned red Wednesday during the board’s discussion on something that shouldn’t really make anyone blush — the proposed SPLOST IV.
While talking about “below the line” projects, or ones listed in the gray box in the district’s notebook of projects, she learned that the semi-final version of the notebook they’ll see in two weeks won’t have anything listed in the gray area.
Upon hearing that she cooed, “Oooh, shades of gray, alright,” with a sneaky smile.
We can’t say for sure Eagle was thinking about the bodice-ripper “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the so-called “mommy-porn” novel popular in recent months with women readers. But her comment got a quick reaction from the mostly female crowd of about 30, which laughed out loud, snickered and made comments.
Added Board Chair Scott Sweeney, looking across at senior fellow board member David Banks, “I believe Mr. Banks is blushing.”
“NOSFERATU,” the silent, first-ever Dracula movie from 1922, will be screened at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on Marietta Square with live organ accompaniment by west Cobb’s Larry Davis and Ron Carter.
Tickets are $7 for students and seniors and $8 for others. Call (770) 293-0080.
MORE POLITICS: Georgia is not a battleground state this fall and thus is off the beaten track for the Obama and Romney tickets. But GOP veep candidate Paul Ryan will jet into Atlanta Oct. 24 for a fundraiser at the Cobb Energy Centre. Donors can choose between a $500-a-head reception, $10,000 for a grip-and-grin photo op, or $25,000 to participate in a roundtable discussion. …
“Women for Stoner” will host a fundraiser for embattled District 6 State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta. Special guests will be former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and former Georgia First Lady Marie Barnes of Marietta. ... Meanwhile, Stoner opponent Republican Hunter Hill will host a fundraiser from 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday at Taylor Brawner Hall on Atlanta Road in Smyrna. …
Cobb Commission Chair write-in candidate Craig Harfoot will hold a “meet and greet” from 2-3 p.m. Sunday at Olivia Morgan Antiques on Lower Roswell Road behind the Parkair Kroger shopping center. He’ll then lead a carpool to his home for a 3-5 p.m. barbecue reception. … The Cobb Democratic Second Saturday Breakfast is today at the 3 Amigos Mexican Bar & Grill on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.
THE COBB REPUBLICAN WOMEN’S CLUB will host wounded warrior Daniel Gade as keynote speaker at its 10th annual Veterans Celebration Brunch at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 at the Marietta Hilton on Powder Springs Street. Also featured will be performances by Heather Jones and The Morris Brothers Quartet, reports president Felicity Diamond.
West Point graduate Gade was wounded twice in Iraq, the second time costing him his entire right leg. He later worked at the White House and then earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He now teaches political science and public policy at West Point and competes in Ironman races.
For information, call (770) 785-2522.
AND THE ANNUAL Marietta Kiwanis/City of Marietta Veterans’ Day Parade and Ceremony will be celebrated this year on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The parade will begin at Roswell Street Baptist at 11 a.m. and proceed to the Square. At present there are more than 25 entries. Others interested in participating should call parade coordinator Scott Chadwick at (404) 308-5420.
Ceremonies on the Square will feature a 21-gun salute, an address from grand marshal retired Navy Admiral James O. Ellis of Marietta and the playing of “Taps.”