"THE WEEKLY WRAP" with Diane W. Collins

The Constitutionality of Obama Care; the Deficit;

and Egypt

Sunday, February 6, 2011 - No video this week

Archive: Publications, Weekly Wrap


Diane W. Collins

The Weekly Wrap

Diane W. Collins

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Welcome to the Weekly Wrap. I’m Diane Collins.


Apologies for the lack of videos this week. I'm in Dallas, Texas and you may have heard the weather has been a bit unusual down here. Ice storms, rolling black-outs and Super Bowl XLV... quite a combination. But enough with the excuses. On to the review.


Monday, January 31st saw Obama Care ruled unconstitutional by Florida Federal Judge, Roger Vinson in a case brought by 26 states. Judge Vinson found the "mandate to purchase" in violation of the Constitution; and being the mandate is unserverable from the law, ruled Obama Care in entirety unconstitutional. Appeal is expected. Most believe it will go to the Supreme Court in early fall.


The ruling put some additional wind under the wings of the Republican party. Committee hearings on the Hill included the February 2nd meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee which discussed, "The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act." The committee is chaired by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, (D-VT). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) serves as the Ranking Member. The crux of the discussion centered on Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution where the powers of Congress are defined. Support for the health care reform law was predictably along party lines. The various hearings on the Hill surrounding this matter seem to be "theater" of sorts, most likely to give the Supreme Court justices the "congressional opinions."


On the same day, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell tied S. Amndt 13 to the FAA bill in the Senate. This amendment embodied HR 2, the House passed repeal of Obama Care. The amendment failed 47 to 51 with 2 not voting. Want to see the voting record? Click here. Thought you might. Following the defeat of S. Amndt. 13, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, (D-MI) submitted S. Amndt 9 as attached to the FAA legislation. The purpose of the amendment was to fix the 1099 reporting fiasco hoisted upon businesses by the health care reform law. S. Amndt 9 "repealed the expansion of information reporting requirements imposed on businesses by the health care reform act for payments of $600 or more to corporations, and for "other purposes." It passed the Senate 81 to 17 with 2 not voting. The battle of "repeal and replace" over "implement and improve" wages on.


Another issue that began taking shape this week was legislation to reduce the national debt. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) told Bloomberg News they intend to bring the National Debt Commission report to the Senate floor in the form of bipartisan legislation. I definitely applaud that move. In my December 3, 2010 article entitled, "National Debt Commission Final Report... No Formal Vote, Yet Compelling Voice," I mentioned the fourteen of eighteen votes needed to bring the recommendations to the floor of Congress during the lame duck session did not appear. I went on to state that didn't mean the recommendations of The National Debt Commission couldn't be brought to the floor during the 112th Congress. "In fact, we must support this endeavor. It will make a good starting point for what some call the politically devastating yet imperative conversation we must have regarding our national debt. It is then we will see, who serves himself or the American people." Glad to know they're listening.


Also, the employment data and jobs reports for January came out this week. Many were confused by the apparently conflicting numbers showing the unemployment rate had dropped to 9% yet only 36,000 jobs had been created. Explanations were offered. "Two different surveys had been used to compile the data... The 2010 Census numbers had been recalculated..." Embarrassing. Add to this the fact that some people simply stopped looking for work and are no longer being counted. Then there's the bad weather that stretched across the country... We need 125,000 jobs per month just to meet the population growth needs and 250,000 per month for 28 months to replace the 7 million jobs lost during the recession, thus far. It all rolls out this way. The jobs situation is still a mess and apparently so are the numbers. Hopefully, February will present a clearer picture.


On the international front, Tahrir Square in Cairo continued to rivet the world's attention as demonstrators came together on Monday in "The March of Millions," refusing to go home until President Hosni Mubarak relinquished authority and left the presidential palace. Curfews were ignored. One day melted into the next. The protestors stayed. Thursday, pro-Mubarak demonstrators appeared in numbers. Peaceful at first, they seemed a counterbalance to those calling for an end to Mubarak's regime. Then a bloody battle between pro-Mubarak supporters and the demonstrators broke out with people on camels and horseback riding through the crowds. Many thought Egypt would descend into anarchy. Journalists from around the world as well as demonstrators were attacked, beaten, interrogated... some imprisoned. The death toll increased. Violence against demonstrators and journalists was said to have been orchestrated by the Mubarak regime in an attempt to regain control of the country and the news. Yet, reports continued to make their way out of Egypt to the world. Pressure on the regime for "peaceful" transition intensified.


Friday, Tahrir Square was a different place, almost surreal. In what was called "The Day of Departure" peaceful demonstrators continued calling for Mubarak's resignation. Violence was absent, at least in relation to what was seen the day before. But, by nightfall "The Day of Departure" proved unsuccessful. Mubarak clung to power. Then, Saturday morning an announcement on Egyptian television stated high ranking officials of the National Democratic Party of Egypt had resigned. Mubarak's son, Gamal was among them. Also, we were told Vice President Suleiman had met with the "Committee of the Wise" to discuss possible options for a transitional government. Then on Sunday, reports Vice President Suleiman had talked with opposition leaders including the Muslim Brotherhood surfaced. Concessions from the talks included freedom of the press; release of political prisoners; lifting the "emergency law" under which Egypt has operated since Mubarak came to power; ...but they did not include Mubarak stepping down.


Little by little, Egypt is feeling her way through this incredibly volatile and tenuous process of finding her new identity. World interests look on as other Middle East countries ignite. Egypt's people suffer with food scarce and prices rising significantly. The crisis is costing the Egyptian economy $310 million each day. Sunday, Egypt re-opened some bank branches in the capitol but limited the size of withdrawals. The Egyptian Stock Market was to open Monday but reports state a new decision has been made to keep it closed. A pipeline in Northern Egypt exploded earlier in the week. Some reported it as an accident, others blamed terrorists. Egypt is on a precipice of Biblical proportions. Pray.

See you next week.



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