Saturday, February 20, 2010

Madness - Vegas senator Harry Reid now says he's going to double-down on health care reform. Pundit & Pundette has a good roundup of the news and response. In short, the topic (again) is using reconciliation as a way to pass the bill without a 60-vote majority in the Senate. But the reconciliation rule is pertinent to budget matters only - any policy issues in health-care reform cannot be decided via reconciliation. So, for example, imposing an insurance mandate on everybody cannot be passed in this manner.

How much longer are Congressional Democrats going to follow Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi over this cliff? The votes are not there for reconciliation and the House won't vote for HCR at all. The Sunday news shows are going to be lively tomorrow.

Extra - Legal Insurrection: "Obama declares legislative war"

More - Red State: "Add irrational to desperate and you get the Dems attempting to pass Obamacare via reconciliation."


The Gang of 14 + 36 said...

But the reconciliation rule is pertinent to budget matters only - any policy issues in health-care reform CANNOT BE DECIDED VIA RECONCILIATION.

It can't be any clearer than that! Let's click the link, then, and see all the bad news for the Dems:

"if they use it on Obamacare, then they will completely toss aside the letter and spirit of reconciliation rules. --- adding Obamacare to a reconciliation process would be quite contrary to the spirit of reconciliation (to reduce the deficit). --- because the Vice President is the President of the Senate, he can reside as Presiding Officer himself and rule the legislative provisions of Obamacare in order, and leave the only recourse for Republicans to be to appeal the ruling of the chair. --- Reconciliation was not intended to be the procedure of last resort when other means fail, and to do so would be a complete abuse of reconciliation rules. Some may bring up other examples of massive legislation passed through reconciliation bills as proof that using reconciliation bills to explode government spending is okay, but past instances of wrongdoing does not make it acceptable to add $2 trillion dollars worth of health care spending acceptable for a bill that is supposed to reduce the deficit. In this time of trillion dollar deficits, is nothing sacred? Even the one bill that is tasked with decreasing the deficit? --- health care reform and reconciliation are a bad mix.--- the reconciliation process does not limit amendments, leaving an opportunity for conservatives to delay passage by offering slews of amendments. So, while the majority party may be able to control what language is allowed in the bill or amendments, the minority may still have a chance to delay passage with a strategic amendment strategy."

Cannot be decided by reconciliation, eh?

Of course, the Republicans used reconciliation three times to enact tax cuts, and tried but failed to use reconciliation to allow drilling in ANWAR.

The Foundry writer's not even correct about the "chance to delay passage with a strategic amendment strategy," except in the most marginal sense. Once reconciliation begins, debate lasts just 20 hours and amendments are limited.

Of course, the GOP may appeal to the presiding senator for a ruling on any procedural objection. And if they get 60 votes, they win!

Eric said...

Tax cuts are budget-related items that reconciliation was designed for; it's for resolving taxing and spending.

Policy issues such as regulation cannot be resolved in this manner.

This is the first I've heard of the ANWAR thing.

Anonymous said...

Attempts at using reconciliation to push through ANWR drilling came in 1995, and again in 2003.

These articles are popping up like mushrooms. The "reconciliation cannot be used" case boils down to "They can't do it, because what about the original spirit of the thing, and because is nothing sacred, and mainly it'd be just AWFUL!"

Health care reconciliation may well be the usual brinksmanship and rhetoric. But it's quite possible to do. Sen. McConnell conceded as much today.

There's nothing that can stop it except political calculation and vote securing. And, should it happen, it will have been the GOP's own political calculation to impede Obama in totality that will have provided the cover. The blogosphere is correctly panicking this week.

Eric said...

Well, I concede: the Senate can do whatever it wants. Why not pass it on 40 votes? Is the insurance mandate Constitutional? Who cares!

Now the Times is reporting that Obama will prevent insurance companies from making "excessive" rate increases, because price controls have a long history of success.

Well, go right ahead, Democrats. Rewire one-sixth of the U.S. economy with a parliamentary trick. Hey, what's this?

"Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. The Approval Index has been lower only on one day during Barack Obama’s thirteen months in office (see trends). The previous low came on December 22 as the Senate was preparing to approve its version of the proposed health care legislation. The current lows come as the President is once again focusing attention on the health care legislation."

Anonymous said...

After the Patriot Act, retroactive telecom immunity, the Terri Schiavo emergency act, and McCain-Feingold campaign finance, it's nice to see people offering a kind word for the Constitution.

After eight years of "we don't pay attention to polls" and the "100 years from now" standard for success, it's interesting to see "OMG look at the latest plus-minus Presidential Approval Index!" getting a workout.

Bram said...

The funny part is that Harry thinks he's going to get re-elected this year by pouring DC money all over Las Vegas.

He'll be lucky to get 25% of the vote, even if he keeps his NRA endorsement and pretends to still be their moderate Senator.

When Harry met Death Valley said...

That is funny. You know what will be hilarious, though? If the Tea Party re-elects Harry Reid.

According to this week's polls, Jon Ashjian peels off 10% of the general election vote from either Republican primary candidate. That's enough to upgrade Reid's 2010 prospects from Dead Man Walking to Dead Man Limping.

Meanwhile, because he's facing the abyss, Majority Leader Reid's stopped legislating scared. One might say he's "reconciled" to losing his seat.

It's gonna be a fun year!

Eric said...

I like that.

The Old Democratic Party: "Vox populi!"

The New Democratic Party: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."