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How Politicians Play Dirty Tricks: The Poison Pill Gambit

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This is a dual story of politicians working together to ensure that legislation doesn't have unintended consequences and how other politicians play dirty games with a poison pill. Carefully crafted, popularly supported legislation can be used to get bad legislation passed without scrutiny.

California Republican Congressman Dan Lungren worked for over four months, to repeal Section 9006 of the health care bill, that would increase the IRS paperwork reporting mandate for small businesses. Small businesses create 65 percent of the nation's jobs, and Section 9006 would increase their costs.

Over 145 co-sponsors supported the repeal of the section, and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate.

The legislation finally reached the House floor yesterday, as an amendment to the "Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act."

Congress could have exercised an up-or-down vote on the legislation, but realizing that the language in the amendment was likely to pass, Democrat leaders pulled the bill.

This morning, they attached the Section 9006 legislation to a tax bill that would increase taxes on American corporations with global operations.

This gave the Democrat leadership several options. Their tax bill may have passed, because of support for the amendment. If it did not pass, they could say those opposed were anti-small business.

The house also suspended the rules that required notice being given to the author of the bill, that the bill was being added into other legislation.

Congressman Lungren says he was greatly disappointed that he had to vote against the larger bill, which included the repeal of Section 9006.

"I'm saddened by the games that brought us to this point, but the good news is that my bill gained 15 new co-sponsors and the support of 239 Democrats who voted to repeal Section 9006. Clearly bipartisan support for this repeal is gaining momentum and we will pass this legislation. No matter how many times the House Leadership will use my legislation as a pawn in the games they are playing with American workers and families, I will stand ready to defend you and will not rest until we are successful in this fight."
California Congressman Dan Lungren

This is how legislation is manipulated by politicians, who can change the rules at will, to suit themselves, using the "poison pill" approach.

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