While almost all of the Republicans’ attention is focused on battling Democrat health care reform bills in the House and Senate, the Wall Street Journal reports today that President Obama has been quietly successful in passing legislation the left has long wanted, but not been able to implement, until now:
While President Barack Obama still faces stiff headwinds on a range of major legislation on his agenda, he has been signing into law a slew of smaller initiatives that had gathered dust on the Democratic wish list for years.
Many of the bills had been blocked by Republicans who considered the measures unnecessary expansions of government or too costly. But facing Democratic majorities in Congress, conservatives are picking their battles and in many cases letting the legislation roll through.
The list of changes President Obama has been allowed to pass through include:
- Hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identification (included under the cover of a defense legislation)
- Tightening rules for evidence in military commissions
- Legislation to make it easier for women to sue for equal pay
- Blocking off land in the western U.S. to prevent drilling for natural resources
- Expanding government power to raise tobacco taxes and expand health insurance for children
- Ending the F-22 fighter jet and VH-71 presidential helicopter
Most of these changes had been debated in the past, but the Democrats seem to be “overwhelming the system,” making it hard for the Republicans to focus on everything coming at them:
Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), a conservative leader in the House, concedes that, in some cases, Republicans are being outflanked. “The administration is pushing so many things so rapidly it’s difficult to concentrate on all of them,” he said.
Mockingly, Senior White House Adivisor, David Axelrod says the Republican obsession with defeating health care reform has allowed other legislation pass through without opposition:
Senior White House political adviser David Axelrod said his opponents in Congress are absorbed with defeating Mr. Obama’s health-care overhaul, what he calls “the shiny object that they’ve chased.” As a result, he contends, other measures have been left to pass into law.