Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Edwards: Stretching presidential power?

When it comes to health care, John Edwards is promising to play hardball with members of Congress. The problem is, they might not play.

The former N.C. senator launched a new ad Tuesday in Iowa, where he's locked in battle with Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with barely seven weeks to go before the state's crucial caucuses.

“When I’m president," he says in the ad, "I’m going to say to members of Congress and members of my administration, including my Cabinet: I’m glad that you have health care coverage and your family has health care coverage. But if you don’t pass universal health care by July of 2009 — in six months — I’m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you. There’s no excuse for politicians in Washington having health care when you don’t have health care."

Clinton's campaign called the proposal "unconstitutional."

"That's not the way we're going to get universal health care in America," spokesman Phil Singer said. "We'll get universal health care by electing someone who has the strength and experience to actually get it done -- Hillary Clinton."

Edwards' campaign, which has been upping its attacks on Clinton, gleefully responded by saying, "she defends health care for politicians while millions of Americans and their families go without care."

But how would Edwards take away congressional health care? After all, he can't do it by executive order.

A spokesman said a President Edwards would have legislation introduced and, in effect, dare Congress not to pass it.

"If any member of Congress wants to argue that they should have health care while the American people don't, he should find a new line of work," said spokesman Eric Schultz. "When he’s president, John Edwards is going to demand accountability from Congress and he’s going to get it."

As for the constitutionality, Schultz cited the opinion of University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser quoted in a Politico blog.

"If legislation is introduced and Congress enacts it, that's fine,"
Schultz quoted Sunstein saying.

But Sunstein went on to call the Edwards' plan "a stunt."

"Congress isn’t going to enact legislation taking away its own health care," he said.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jim, here's a way for John Edwards to get from the outside looking in to the inside track to the Democratic nomination:

He's done a great job appealing to "outsiders" interested in reforming America's political system. Now he needs to put in a few platform planks for some of the insiders who are looking for a candidate to back:

--Consider coming out for a McKinleyesque "sound money" policy aimed at stabilizing U.S. currency to keep the American dollar from sliding too far down in foreign markets while backing McKinley's "reciprocity" principle in foreign trade.

--Consider appointing Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley as the next secretary of the Treasury, that is, if Hugh McColl doesn't want the job.

--Consider tapping Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California to be his vice presidential running mate.

--Consider appointing Richard Vinroot as ambassador to Sweden if the University of North Carolina doesn't recruit him first to be chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill

--Offer to give Foon Rhee an exclusive interview at The Boston Globe provided Foon doesn't forget to let his former readers down south at The Observer get a peek at the story.

--Offer Pat McCrory a nice pot of corn pudding from Iowa if the Mayor will agree not to go traipsing out to Des Moines to campaign against him.

--Reconsider the ill-advised threat to remove federal employees' health care benefits and instead, shift the focus to providing health insurance in both the public and private sectors to those Americans who do not yet have it yet.

--Invite Bill Clinton out for a round of golf and tell him he didn't mean to criticize the Capitol's Hillary but rather Capitol Hill.

--Break ranks with the Democratic Party on the boycotting of Florida's Democratic primary and take his family down to the Sunshine State for a few days during the holidays. Go all out for the shuffleboard vote!

Unknown said...

It may not be constitutional, but I agree with the sentiment. Congress seems more interested in their own well being than their duties to the American people. They don't have the fortitude to enact legislation to get health costs under control yet their benefits are great.

This is why congress has such a negative rating with the American public. They are heavy on the politics and very light on the leadership, doing what's right for Americans. They are consumed with looking at polls and fund raising from special interest groups. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton is their example, that's how he led and that is why Ms Clinton will not get elected because the public is tired of it. We want action not more talk.