As you probably know, the Obama administration filed a legal challenge against the new Arizona immigration law. The administration has been claiming for weeks that the law is unjust because it will lead to “racial profiling.” However, now that the administration has filed suit – their argument against this law has taken a turn. The Obama Justice Department is not making an argument about profiling (according to the New York Times, the word “profiling” only appears once, in passing). Instead, they are claiming that the law violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which states that the Constitution, federal laws and treaties supersede state laws.
According to media reports, the administration didn’t pursue their racial profiling claims in court because they thought it would be a weak case. I personally see the supremacy clause line of attack as questionable since it would seem that Arizona is simply trying to enforce our basic immigration laws which make it is illegal to be in our country without a visa or proper citizenship. The Arizona law, known as SB 1070, requires police officers to verify the legal status of people if the officer is suspicious that the person is in the United States illegally. The bill makes it a state crime to be in the country without authorization.
There are nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in this country and something needs to be done to solve this problem. Obviously our system is broken and the federal government needs to enact and enforce strict immigration law in order to protect the citizens of our country. The problem with illegal immigration has gone on too long, and the Arizona law is an attempt from states to address a problem that the federal government has not.
The administration’s rhetorical turnabout didn’t stop with immigration. After campaigning extensively on no tax increase for anyone making under $250,000 a year, then insisting the money paying for health care wouldn’t be paid for by a tax increase on the middle class, it seems that the administration has changed its tune on trying to defend the new health care bill against a lawsuit.
When the health care bill was being debated, opponents of the legislation said that the individual mandate requiring every American to have insurance was a form of tax. Proponents of this measure said that was a false attack. Now, the Obama administration is defending legal challenges to the individual mandate saying it is part of the Congress’ “power to lay and collect taxes.” As I have been saying since I came to this Congress, the administration and Majority Democrats will raise taxes on the middle and lower income Americans through the health care overhaul, and now their lawyers have finally admitted it.
But the newest problems with health care aren’t just rhetorical. Now Obama is sending Dr. Donald Berwick to the Senate for confirmation to head up the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the same Dr. Berwick who said in a speech in 2008: “I fell in love with the British National Health Service (NHS).” If this is the case, how does Dr. Berwick feel about rationing of care? Well, he was quoted saying: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care – the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
If the President was sincere in his stated rhetoric that he does not intend to bring about a government-run health care system, why would he nominate Dr. Berwick – who is a strong proponent of the British single payer system?
The promises made by Obama during his campaign are now just memories in the rear view mirror because actions prove his words were just words and his administration’s actions don’t match up.
Rep. Phil Roe represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee. A native of Tennessee, he earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee and served two years in the United States Army Medical Corps.