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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Obama Declares Legislative War

I have to hand it to team Obama. They do not give up on Obama's goal of remaking the health care system into the image that Obama wants.

Even if Obama doesn't get everything he wants, if either of the current House or Senate versions passes, or some combined version, we will have government control through legislation and regulation over the most minute aspects of the health care system, and the people who use that system (i.e., everyone).

There simply is nothing to negotiate if the plan includes, as it likely will, a big government approach.

The latest "transparent" ploy is the televised "negotiation" on February 25. But Obama does not intend that event as a negotiation.

The Democrats apparently already have decided to try to push their version of the bill through the Senate using the reconciliation process:

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.

"I believe that's the path we are going to take," a senior congressional Democratic aide said.

Using the reconciliation process for such sweeping, non-budgetary, legislation will take what now is a highly fractured political landscape and shake the ground like an earthquake.

The reconciliation process was not intended to be used for social engineering, and the result will be the de facto elimination of the filibuster without an actual change in Senate Rules.

Take it or leave it, or rather, take it with a few insignificant bones tossed your way, is not an invitation to negotiation. It is an invitation to legislative war:
“They are coming out of the summit guns-a-blazing and they’re committed to reconciliation,” said one Democratic insider.
The choice for Republicans in Congress is clear.

Update: Here is an explanation of the reconciliation process, which would end up requiring Alan Frumin, the Senate Parliamentarian, to make key procedural calls. The pressure on Frumin from Democrats to get around procedural problems (such as the Byrd Rule - h/t to a commenter) will be intense.

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  1. If the Democrats use reconciliation here, they set a precedent, and you can be sure that when Republicans gain control of the Senate and House, they will be using it to overcome Democratic opposition. When they do, expect to hear shrieks of outrage from Democrats who will conveniently ignore that they broke down this barrier. In fact, they may be making it easier to repeal Obamacare--it would be very difficult to undo if there if 60 votes in the Senate are needed, but not so difficult if only 51 are needed.

  2. The "engineering" of the order in which the Administration has submitted proposed legislation has had a broader purpose. Had he taken up the top two priorities - The Wars,immigration reform, and Job creation done properly, Americans would have seen more clearly that to fund a reform in health care would be fiscally irresponsible at this time. With health care especially, that idiot so-called comic, Bill Maher said on Larry King (live?) that people elected Barack to get health care reform cum public option. I don't remember a great deal of health care reform being discussed at that time - especially with a public option but I could be wrong. Regardless, since Barack is entitled, he will have his way. Workarounds at this point are about the most clear-cut example of our loss of feedoms as you have said.

  3. The Republicans need to take a firm stand. Cantor, etc., wrote a letter threatening to not attend, but not attending on Feb. 25th will give Obama/Reid/Pelosi an "excuse" to play the reconciliation card......which they are going to use either way. Rock. Hard place.

    Personally, I believe the Republicans need to publicly announce, via Fox News and any/all media who will carry it, a clear message: the Democrats are forcing this; Obama/Reid/Pelosi are NOT interested in either listening to the will of the people or in creating a bipartisan solution. Let the DemocRATS own this; they will set a precedent, which they WILL regret.

    This unprecedented use of reconciliation for health care take-over is a toxic process-run-around, yet most people don't understand that. It needs to be clearly explained to the general public. How to best convey that message? The graphic "ram it down people's throats" is not getting traction....we need ideas on a visual, simple metaphor for this tactic. "Going nuclear" is weak and overused now.

  4. The republicans must boycott the political theatre which is planned to save Obama's butt and to crucify the republicans. We must give no quarter to the corrupt democrap plans to socialize health care.

  5. Please PLEASE do it. I can't wait to see how many from either party survive past this November is they succeed in cramming this down the voters' throats. These weasels will be fleeing Washington afraid for their lives and the getting this monstrosity of a treasonous bill overturned will become the top three campaign issues for 2010. We will finally be rid of this corrupt one-party government.


  6. I think they are using King George's playbook.....

    Wonder how it will turn out this time?

  7. pasadenaphil

    You don't understand, Obama does NOT care if Democrat seats are lost. Nationalization of 1/6 of the American economy - a larger Nannystate that makes government in charge of individual choices in the most micro ways - is worth it for them. Undoing such a huge power grab that turns into an entitlement will be infinitely harder than just keeping it from happening in the first place. Obama is willing to be a one term President himself if he can accomplish turning America into a European socialist "democracy".

  8. Ain't gonna happen.


  9. That is pretty good, informative link from Roy Lofquist on Reconciliation.

  10. All the republicans should have to do is put a simple condition to their participation in the summit: that they control 1/2 of the agenda. They should publish their agenda items ahead of time, purchasing tv ad time if necessary. Their agenda should include discussions on: 1) what is working for 240 million Americans. 2) how it is government micromanagement, 3rd party payments, and a lottery mentality in malpractice litigation that's driven up costs. 3) a recitation of the government's track record of spending versus results in the institutions they manage. 4) the pioneering innovative spirit of the American individual 5) the long-demonstrated generosity of the American heart and the capacity cheritable organizations have shown to help the underprivelaged with healthcare.

    Certainly there are additional agenda items that would make the undeniable case that with government, less truly is more. There really is no room for compromise if the Democrats want to insist that more is more. Obstruction is the Republican duty at this juncture.

  11. Wait until the President's "Plan" gets published on Monday. Call a press conference with every single R Congressman and Senator standing behind Boehner and McConnell... Then announce the Republican plan and advise the President that based on his and Harry Reid's statements it is obvious that they were simply looking for a fig leaf to hide behind as they push reconciliation and boycott Feb 25.

    Then when they pass the abomination with reconciliation, stand aside when We The People arrive with our torches and pitchforks.

  12. Darlene, I DO understand. It is you who doesn't get it. This bill has zero chance of passage. But the process of re-introducing it followed by the lame response of both parties will guarantee that there will be a "throw the bums out" election such as we have never seen before.

    The Dems are too timid to come out right now and order Obama to drop it but will try to do it behind the scenes. The Republicans will try to "message" their way out of their own predicament should they waver and show up at that dopey "summit" next week for fear of looking like "the party of NO".

    This will waste at least two months of a critical election year where both parties will come out weaker due to the Tea Party. There is no way this will not be the biggest campaign issue for everyone running. Even if Congress does pass it, it will be easy to garner 51 votes after November to reverse it.

    PLEASE DO IT OBAMA! If you are afraid of us now, you haven't seen anything yet!

  13. The GOP used Reconciliation to enact Welfare Reform in 1996. So it they set the precedent to use the budget reconciliation process for "sweeping social engineering". Quit whining.

  14. The 1996 legislation (promoted by and signed by Bill Clinton) was a budgetary act as to how welfare was funded. It did not create new rights, mandates, taxes, criminal sanctions, reorganize a large sector of the economy, and create dozens of new bureaucracies.

  15. doesn't matter. It was sweeping legislation reform, or change. You can parse that all you want, but it wasn't just pure;y budgetary. It established a new regime of law and regs as to how welfare would be administered. It did reduce the budget after 10 years to avoid the Byrd Rule, as will the dems using it with HCR, with offsets and tax code changes.

    Just because you think it's bad, doesn't change the fact that others think it is good reform. Same with Welfare Reform, just flipped around ideologically.

  16. Funny how Obama's yammer about jobs and the economy being the top priority less than a month ago during the SOTU fell off the map, and now we are back to health control again.

    Bring it on. Pass it. Let's see the Dems completely lose the House and Senate, and the GOP can pass legislation to repeal Obamacare. They will have the votes to override Obambi's veto, surely.

  17. As soon as it is passed, the grounds will exist to challenge it as unconstitutional. The stage has been set by the ruling in Citizens United. In that case one of the major concerns outlined by Kennedy was the existence of criminal sanctions relating to free speech. Even though I am unfamiliar with USA law, I would suspect that the criminal sanctions in the bill would be something that ensures that the Supreme Court would conclude that it was not Constitutional.

  18. They are deluding themselves. The Blue Dogs didn't want to vote for it with a super majority of 60%; there is NO WAY they will play ball with this reconciliation process.

    They can read the polls. Obama, apparently, cannot.

  19. Uh huh, nice try. Only 21 Senators voted against welfare reform.


    Bill Clinton campaigned on welfare reform. It was a bipartisan bill and one of the few things virtually everyone agrees worked out well regardless of ideology.

    Obamacare will be lucky to get a single Republican vote.

  20. Uh huh, nice try. Only 21 Senators voted against welfare reform.

    Bill Clinton campaigned on welfare reform. It was a bipartisan bill and one of the few things virtually everyone agrees worked out well regardless of ideology.

    Obamacare will be lucky to get a single Republican vote.