The Last Push for Healthcare

In the last few days, I have received emails from organizations that Heathcare reform is not over and expect the last push to pass this takeover.  Please contact your elected officials this week and remind them the majority of Americans do no want this.

Here is what Dick Morris writes in his email:

As the story below indicates, our prediction of a month ago is, unfortunately, coming true: Obama is planning one final push to pass healthcare with no Republican support. Disguising his true intentions behind a health care summit which is designed to fail, he will try to pass the Senate bill in the House and send it to the White House to become law. Then, he will use the reconciliation procedure (which lets him pass budget related bills in the Senate with only 51 votes) to push through additional legislation which modifies the bill to suit House and Senate liberals (probably including a public option).

Obama will probably get the House liberals to go along with passing the Senate bill as long as reconcilation looms in the future. He will also have no trouble getting the 51 votes to pass reconciliation in the Senate.

The only way to stop him is to deny Pelosi the support of conservative Democrats in the House who are scared to death following the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts.

And here is what NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis) wrote:

Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is at it again. Late last week, Pelosi announced that Democrats “have set the stage” for reconciliation. Pelosi’s proposed use of reconciliation, a legislative tactic which would empower 50 Senators-rather than 60-to pass ObamaCare, is viewed by many Americans as dirty politics. Amazingly, even Pelosi’s senior health advisor, Wendell Primus, referred to the reconciliation process as a trick. Here’s how Pelosi’s sordid strategy would work:

  • Step 1: The House Passes “Fixes.” As of late 2009, both House and Senate had passed versions of health care legislation. However, these versions differed in several important respects. To move past this impasse, House Democrats would get the ball rolling by passing a number of modifications to the Senate version of health care reform.
  • Step 2: The Senate Passes the “Fixes.” Senate Democrats would follow Pelosi’s lead, endorsing the House’s modifying legislation and sending it to the President’s desk.
  • Step 3: The House Passes the Senate Bill. House Democrats would then pass the Senate version of health care reform as it is-thus bypassing the need for a subsequent Senate vote-and offer it to the President for signature or veto.
  • Step 4: The President Signs (and Combines). In an unprecedented lawmaking slight-of-hand, the President would sign the Senate version of health care and subsequently sign the modifying legislation, the “fixes.”

The reconciliation process is an arcane budgetary process, used traditionally to reconcile the differences between expected revenues (taxes) and expenditures (spending). Customarily, lawmakers pass legislation and, if reconciliation is required, subsequently pass modifying bills. As an approach to the legislative process, reconciliation is rarely used and, more importantly, has never been used in the way that Pelosi proposes. Pelosi’s stratagem fails the ‘what’s right’ test in two meaningful ways:

  • Procedure: Reconciliation Bypasses Senate Rules. Reconciliation would deprive Senators of the opportunity to fully participate in the legislative process. The Senate has long-held that 60 votes are required to pass substantive law. Now, Pelosi and Reid are trying to avoid that rule because of political expediency. Simply put, that’s not right.
  • Substance: Reconciliation Bypasses Senate Debate. While Republicans as well as Democrats have used reconciliation in the past, it’s never been used for legislation of the cost and scale of health care reform. For many Americans, health care reform is literally a matter of life-and-death; they deserve a comprehensive debate of the issues in the bill.

The Wall Street Journal calls

“reconciliation.” It’s just another word for nothing left to lose

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