Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, April 24, 2009

Health Care Reform: Republicans, You Can Run Along Now

The Senate is planning to use a parliamentary procedure that will “fast track” Obama’s proposed health care changes. Under this procedure — known as Reconciliation — a simple majority vote is all that’s required for a bill to become law.

Now, there are 100 senators, and Democrats comprise…hmmm…let’s see…


OK, equal time for the Rightwads: Socialized Medicine!!! Government Tyranny!!! Fascism!!! The biggest most frightening Government Power Grab in history!!!

Like it or not, America will probably be joining the rest of the industrialized world soon. Next stop — Twenty-First Century. Fifty million Americans won’t be facing bankruptcy or homelessness just because they don’t have health insurance, or because their slippery HMO found a way to push them through the cracks.

The Democrats’ plan to use the Reconciliation procedure is still a tentative agreement. It should be ratified by the House and Senate next week. This procedure has its drawbacks and not all Democrats are in favor of it.

I think these parliamentary procedures should be used as a last resort. And our health care crisis qualifies as one of those Last Resorts, IMHO.

Republicans and some Democrats are warning that using this tactic might cause divisiveness and polarization.

Oh no. You mean we won’t be having any more of these level-headed civil discussions? The Loyal Opposition might suddenly get shrill and angry?

Say it isn’t so!

cross-posted at Bring It On!



Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"The Democrats’ plan to use the Reconciliation procedure is still a tentative agreement.""Tentative" is too weak a word. Sen. Kent Conrad, the Democrats' budget honcho, is against it.

There were some interesting exchanges in floor debate on the reconciliation possibility yesterday. Two sticking points for some Democrats: 1, the maneuver isn't supposed to be used to enact a major policy shift and big new program; and 2, Democrats hollered loud and long when Republicans misused it. (Note that neither concern has or in the future would bother Republicans one bit if they had control, hypocrisy being a staple of their approach to politics.)

Additionally, Republicans complained the Senate shouldn't let itself be set up by the House into having to use Reconciliation. Democrats claimed there was no requirement for reconciliation in the House bill. Republicans disagreed.

I think Democrats should allow extended debate, give Republicans a chance to amend health care reform into yet one more money-packed pinata for the insurance industry and other big-money interests while delivering suprisingly little benefit for those most in need of federal help with health care costs. Then, Dems should count noses.

If the Party of No is staying its bloc-voting, naysaying course, which it will, THEN Dems should go for reconciliation and not look back.

April 25, 2009 at 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

Thanky jeezus!

April 25, 2009 at 3:49 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

The Dums should be a first-class ass on health care reform. Fix that (and the never-sated behemoth that is the military of an imperial state, but that'll never happen) and you can get the long-term health, ha ha, of the economy on more solid ground, LA instead of Frisco.

April 25, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Demeur said...

I think S.W. nails it. The "No" party has been lock step since Bush left with the exception of 3 moderates that one time. I'm sure FDR had the same problem with Social Security that the "No" party wants to abolish.
I say we ram it down their throats just like they did to us the last eight years.

April 25, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Bee said...

However, to play devil's advocate, if healthcare reform is not forced through now, by whatever means available, we stand a very good chance of losing momentum, and never having it passed at all. Once this economy (and the global) starts to unfreeze, that momentum, and sheer public desire and will to pass what will be the single most contributing factor to a middle class renaissance since the Social Security bill was passed during FDR's 100 days will be gone. The fact remains that healthcare reform was, in 1933, proposed as a New Deal legislation - medical industry outrage killed it, and it never got past the FDR administrations drawing board. The point, though, is that it has been debated to death for more than 70 years - and it took 76 years for the issue to become absolutely critical. The Obama administration had tried to play ball with the repubes on nearly every single piece of legislation so far during his 100 days, with the end result being that, just as SW points out above, they have countered with silly excuses for plans, such as their budget debacle of a couple of weeks ago. So maybe it can be assumed from the start that's exactly what they will do with healthcare - parrot the John McCain campaign platform. With that initial assumption, we can move along to finally passing some useful legislation. Kent Conrad can be brought into line. I personally am not above my president and his administration using whatever tactics with the deferring democrats to get said dems to vote the right way. This one is too important to just let it go. With all the hype, and talk, and public support behind healthcare reform now, if it dies now, it might never be brought back to the table. If that happens, we think the insurance and medical industry are eating us alive now? Whooooee.
We certainly do get verbose on Tom's site, don't we? :)

April 25, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: This is the only issue where I'm in favor of the Democrats pulling out all the stops and doing whatever it takes to get this passed. I don't think the Republicans will play ball; they might put up a front of "let's work together," and then throw a last minute suckerpunch that derails everything.

As important as this issue is in its own right, it's also the single largest issue that could make or break Obama's first 2 years in office. It could determine whether the Republicans retake Congress in 2010. For this one issue, I want Obama to do as much armtwisting as it takes to get recalcitrant Democrats in line.

Carlos: Yes, there is a god.

Randal: Damn right. No more Mr. Nice Guy for the Democrats. Nice guys finish last. Not this time, hopefully.

Demeur: It'll be nice to give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine. But I don't even want payback, as far as health care reform goes. I think we really need to ram this through, get it done and let the chips fall where they may.

Bee: Exactly what you said. There are so many powerful interests opposing "socialized medicine," and this is the exact moment that the momentum is right. This hasn't even been attempted since early in Clinton's presidency (as you mentioned), and when that got derailed it stayed derailed, up until now.

I'm all in favor of Obama forcing the reluctant Democrats to toe the line, for this one issue. This issue is too important to be nice and gentlemanly and then get suckerpunched by the Republicans. If they're able to derail this attempt at health coverage, they can paint Obama as "weak" and they might be able to retake Congress in 2010. And that doesn't even bear thinking about.

April 25, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"For this one issue, I want Obama to do as much armtwisting as it takes to get recalcitrant Democrats in line."
Don't anyone get me wrong. As Bee says, this one's too important to let get away, and no way do I want to see the lobbyists and economic Darwinists kill it again.

I just want Obama and congressional Dems to pass it without Republicans being able to say it was rammed through without being properly debated and vetted, without them having a chance to amend it.

They will scream bloody murder next year no matter what goes down, but there's probably 40 percent to 48 percent of the public very nervous about something this big on top of all the bailouts, loans, stimulus, etc. So the GOP, with a lot of help from lobbyists, might get traction with the nervous nellies. I don't want that to happen.

The short of it is, I don't want anything like what happened in '94.

I want to see Obama doing a lot more teamwork-type PR with congressional Dems for the same reason, starting yesterday.

April 25, 2009 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I don't know much about senate/congressional procedures. If there's a way to bring everything to the floor and have a full debate, etc., and then invoke reconciliation, then I'd be in favor of it. I would like Obama and the Senate Democrats to be able to honestly say "we worked with them, gave them every effort to be honorable and trustworthy, and they tried to stab us in the back again."

But time is of the essence. The clock is ticking. As you said, "starting yesterday."

April 25, 2009 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

If the Democrats didn't do this, I'm sure the GOP would find something else to criticize them for, after all they do know how to act like an opposition party.

April 25, 2009 at 9:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: That's how I look at it. Obama has done more "reaching across the aisle" (to borrow McCain's phrase) than any other president I can think of. And the wingtards reward him with more shitting and vomiting and gurgling than ever. I say give them something to spew about.

April 25, 2009 at 11:29 PM  

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