Friday, February 19, 2010

What Bi-Partisanship? Dems Vow To Shove ObamaCare Through

While Barack Obama has been publicly calling for a bi-partisan debate on health care, behind the scenes he and the Democrats have been working feverishly to craft a monstrosity capable of being passed via the reconciliation process:

President Barack Obama is expected to publish his healthcare plan as early as Sunday or Monday, combining features of the two Democratic bills passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, congressional aides and healthcare advocates said on Friday. {...}

Democrats are struggling to push healthcare legislation over the finish line in the face of sagging public support and solid Republican opposition bolstered by recent election victories in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey.

The legislation the White House will post on its website is expected to reflect common ground negotiated over the past several weeks by House and Senate Democratic leaders.

Those agreements are likely to be combined as a privileged budget reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple 51-vote majority to pass the 100-member Senate instead of the 60-vote supermajority that has become routine in the Senate and gives Republicans power to block the healthcare bill.

And yes, it will include government run healthcare..the so-called 'public option.'

Reconciliation would only involve a 51 vote majority ( which could include VP Joe Biden in case of a tie) rather than a 60 vote majority.

The big parliamentary glitch is that the House Democrats would have to pass the Senate bill first for it to be 'reconciled to include all the corrupt special deals like exempting unions from the tax on so-called 'cadillac' health plans the House and the White House want.

This would involve a fairly dicey agreement by the Senate to pass a second bill for these goodies.

Or it may just be that the Democratic majority will simply decide to change the Senate rules of the game again and Obama's bidding anyway.

GOP Whip Eric Cantor released the following statement, which his office says was offered "in light of the Senator Reid's support for changing the rules in the middle of the game by using reconciliation to jam through a health care bill (including the public option) that the American people have already rejected multiple times" :

“If the President is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan fashion, he must take the reconciliation process – which will be used jam through legislation that a majority of Americans do not want – off the table. By using the reconciliation process, the Administration and Democrat leaders are sending a clear signal that they still refuse to listen to the American people and have no interest in bipartisanship. To be certain, by using the reconciliation process, the Administration makes clear that their promise of bipartisanship is dead.

“If the President's intention for the health care summit is to finally show that he is ready to listen and work in a bipartisan way to produce incremental reforms that the American people support, he is off to a rocky start. The health care bills that the Obama Administration has apparently combined to form a new plan - unfortunately again behind closed doors - have not only been rejected by the American people and Republicans, but by Democrats on Capitol Hill who have spent that past year arguing amongst themselves over them. I urge President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Reid to stop trying to subvert the will of the American people and finally start listening to them.”

I doubt Obama has any intention of stopping this. He's simply invested too much of his ego and prestige to stop now, and nothing - the political price, the fact we can't afford it or the fact that the American people simply want no part of it - means anything to this president next to that.

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