New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, January 4, 2011, Page 4

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

January 04, 2011

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Issue date: Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 4, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4 — Herald Zettung — Tuesday, January 4, 2011 FORUM Herald-Zeitung "¡erring New Hmunfeh and Vernal (hunty time 1852 New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852. New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged tn 1957 and printed m both German and English until 1958 Doug Tonoy Autumn Phillips Jeff Fowler Rosie Willingham Timothy Tergeoglou Other Opinion Move against Straus reeks of smoke-filled rooms hditor’s note: This editorial originally ran in the Waco Tribune-Herald. State Rep. Warren Chisuni, R-Pampa, is one of the most engaging sorts we know in the Texas House. We find much in his conservative credentials to embrace. But we also find the political maneuvering under way to land him in the Texas House speaker’s seat unnecessarily divisive among Republicans at a time when unity is vital. Chisum and fellow Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, seek to eject House Speaker Joe Straus from power on the grounds he isn’t quite conservative enough as a Republican. Resolving this matter would normally be left to the lull House, but Chisum and Paxton seek to subvert protocol and call for the leadership question to he decided solely by the Republican caucus behind closed doors, safely out of public view. Chisum says 11 lawmakers — including himself — will force the GOP caucus to meet Jan. 5 and vote on the House speaker- ship. Straus says he isn't worried, that he already has enough votes to win. But he also tells The Dallas Morning News that "it’s something we haven t done before. It is the way they do things in Washington." We can only imagine the howls from Republicans if Democrats in the Texas House sought to exclude them from a vote on the speaker. Few newspapers in Texas have railed more against the Democratic leadership in Washington the last two years than we have. We empathize deeply with Republicans on Capitol Hill who say they've been cut out of crucial decision-making roles. How then can we condone the very same thing on our own turf in Texas? Republicans like to claim they're principled in government. What does that make them when they shed principle because it's no longer politically convenient? And what ot the transparency promised to voters? The agenda facing the Legisla ture is daunting — passing a voter ID bill that doesn't alienate Hispanics, redistricting, school finance and a budget deficit of $28 billion by some estimates. Republicans must now come together for the good of all Texas. We find Straus a good fit for GOP leader. In surveys with local voters during the primary election and general election, we found many of the center-right perspective here in Waco and believe it wrong to now ignore their voices. Plus, Straus has n marched in lockstep with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on key issues, including demands that state government be downsized. We commend lawmakers like Charles "Doc" Anderson, R-Waco, who are staying true to their pledges to vote for Straus, and before the full House in the bright light of day. The last thing Texans need now is Republicans splitting apart, taking votes behind closed doors, creating rampant ill will and acting, frankly, like so many Democrats. Editor and Publisher Managing Editor Circulation Director Business Manager Advertising Director Today in History Today is Tuesday, Jan. 4,2011. Today s Highlight in History: On Jan. 4,1951, during the Korean War, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured the city of Seoul. On this date: In 1821, the first native-born American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, died in Emmitsburg, Md. In 1861, Alabama seized a federal arsenal at Mount Vemon near Mobile. In 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state. In 1904, the Supreme Court, in Gonzalez v. Williams, ruled that Puerto Ricans were not aliens and could enter the United States freely; however, the court stopped short of declaring them U.S. citizens. In 1948, Burma (now called Myanmar) became independent of British rule. In 1960, Algerian-born French author and philosopher Albert Camus died in an automobile accident in Villeblevin, France at age 46. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson outlined the goals of his "Great Society" in his State of the Union Address. Poet T.S. Eliot died in London at age 76. In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon refused to hand over tape recordings and documents subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee. In 1990, Charles Stuart, who'd claimed to have been wounded and his pregnant wife fatally shot by a robber, leapt to his death off a Boston bridge after he himself became a suspect. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi was elected the first female speaker of the House as Democrats took control of Congress. Ten years ago: It was announced that George, the politics and lifestyle magazine founded by the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., would fold. Orchestra leader Les Brown, known for his "Band of Renown," died at age 88. Five years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a significant stroke; his official powers were transferred to his deputy, Ehud Olmert. (Sharon remains in a coma.) In a triple-overtime game that began Jan. 3 and finished after midnight, No. 3. Penn State beat No. 22 Florida State, 26-23, in the Orange Bowl. No. 2 Texas won college football's championship, beating No. 1 Southern California 41 -38 in the Rose Bowl. One year ago: Dubai opened the world's tallest skyscraper, and in a surprise move renamed the 2,717-foot gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi—the oil-rich sheikdom which had come to its financial rescue. The Secret Secret said that a third uninvited guest had made his way into the White House state dinner for India's prime minister in Nov. 2009. TsutomuYamaguchi, the only person recognized by the Japanese government as a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings at the end of World War II, died at 93. United States Government PRESIDENT ■ Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Buildina Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: http://hutchison.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: http://cornyn.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2409 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: http://www.house.gov/cuellar SAN ANTONIO OFFICE. 615 E. Houston St. San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government iiiiiiiiiiinii Obamacare mess is legacy of Denis’ brief moment of power As Republicans takp     **“■ As Republicans take power in the House and play a more influential role in the Senate, it’s good to think hack a year. As 2010 began, it was not at all clear that big Republican victories were on the way — only that the GOP was at its lowest point in a long, long time. Roundly defeated in 2008, House Republicans were powerless to stop a    l    w,™- huge Democratic majori- dent for The Washing-ty from passing the ton Examiner. national health care bill in November 2009. Then, in late December of that year, Senate Republicans were just as powerless to stop a filibuster-proof majority of 60 Democrats from pushing that far-reaching and deeply unpopular piece of legislation through the Senate. BYRONYORK By ron York is chief political correspon- reports showing that Obamacare will actually bend the cost curve upward, not downward; that many companies are curtailing or planning to curtail coverage offered to employees and retirees; and that its core provision — the individual mandate — might well be unconstitutional. It’s a mess. And as this Congress ends, and a new Congress considers repeal, it's worth remembering the unusual and fleeting circumstances that led to its passage. Obamacare is the product of a brief moment of total Democratic dominance in Washington. Key to that dominance was a 60-seat, Filibuster-proof Senate majority, lt wasn't a sure \atuu    F*wiocu<uemajomy.it wasntasure rni) passage of Obamacare, bet for Democrats; despite victories in GO lawmakers learned what defeat    2008, the party's hopes for that major- reafiy meant.    ity depended on the defection of for- The country is still learning the full merly Republican Sen. Arlen Specter extent of the damage. A new analysis and the outcome of a contested race by the Washington Post shows that a in Minnesota. After a controversial provision of Obamacare dealing with recount, A1 Franken became the 60th high-nsk patients is attracting far few- Democratic senator on July 7 2009 er participants than expected but still giving Democrats an unassailable costs vastly more than projected — a edge. bad omen for the law s other pro- But that majority disappeared just grams. And that is on top of earlier 49 days later when, on Aug. 25,2009, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy died. State law called for a special election to fill the empty seat. 1 hat would have taken months, and as public opposition to Obamacare grew, Democrats became increasingly anxious to pass the bill as quickly as possible. Luckily for them, Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature came to the rescue, changing the law to allow the immediate appointment ol Democrat Paul Kirk. Sworn in on Sept. 24,2009, Kirk gave Democrats 60 votes once more. After Obamacare passed the House on Nov. 7 — over the opposition of 39 Democrats and all but one Republican — Senate Democrats raced to get the job done. Threatening to keep the Senate in session through the holidays, they finally passed the bill — 60 Democratic votes, not one to spare — in the early hours of Christmas Eve. Even as that vote was taken, a little-known Massachusetts Republican named Scott Brown was rising in the polls in the race for Kennedy's seat — by promising to become the 41st vote against Obamacare. On Jan. 19, Brown s victory shocked the political world. When he was sworn in on Feb. 4, the second period of a Democratic filibuster-proof majority was over. It had lasted 134 days. But health care had been passed. Later, without a decisive Senate majority, Democrats were forced to use procedural maneuvers to put the fined touches on Obamacare. But they were just tweaking what had only been possible with a 60-vote majority. The last such achievement, Medicare, passed in 1965 with bipartisan support on the foundation of a huge Democratic majority that lasted many years. Obamacare barely scraped by. Brown’s win helped change GOP fortunes. But even with that victory— and wins by Republicans Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell in the New Jersey and Virginia governors races — the huge victories that would come for Republicans in November 2010 were beyond the imagination of most observers. Now a new, more balanced Congress will consider what to do with Obamacare. House Republicans will likely vote to repeal the bill, and Democrats, still in control of the Senate and White House, will fight furiously to keep their achievement untouched. As the battle goes on, it will be good to remember the circumstances and lessons of the bill’s passage. Given a brief window of opportunity, a determined group of lawmakers can do damage that might take years to undo. ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Doug Miller EXT E 1.216 RO. Box 2910 Au sti n TX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512)463-5896 STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address: [email protected] NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL 424 S. Castell Ave. P.O. Box 311747, New Braunfels, TX 781 SI-1747 (830) 221-4000 ■ Mayor Bruce Boyer [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4507 ■ Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4501 ■ Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4502 ■ Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra mybarra @ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4503 ■ Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4504 ■ Dist. 6 Councilor Kathleen Krueger [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4505 ■ Dist,, 6 Councilor Steven Digges [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4506 Comal County Commissioners' Court 199 Main Plaza New Braunfels,Tx 78130 (830) 221-1100 ■ COUNTY JUDGE SHERMAN KRAUSE [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1105 ■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLESON [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1101 ■ PCT. 2 COMMISSIONER SCOTT HAAG [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1102 ■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1103 ■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER JAN KENNADY [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1104 ;

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