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August 20, 2009

Senate Democrats Make More Noise On A "Democrats Only" Health Care Option

Nobody is buying this right?

The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.

The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the overhaul plans are losing public support, giving Republicans less incentive to go along.

...In recent days, Democratic leaders have concluded they can pack more of their health overhaul plans under this procedure, congressional aides said. They might even be able to include a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers, a key demand of the party's liberal wing, but that remains uncertain.

...The idea of using reconciliation angers even such moderate Republicans as Ms. Snowe. "At a time when we need to bolster the public's confidence in whatever we do with health care, I don't think the reconciliation process will serve the purpose of providing affordable health security for all Americans," she said.

This is a bluff and they've got a tell bigger than Teddy KGB's in Rounders....they didn't do it already.

Remember Obama, Reid and Pelosi all wanted a bill before the August recess. They knew what was coming, maybe not to the extent it did but they all saw what happened in '93 and that the clock was ticking on Obama's stratospheric poll numbers. If they were going to push it through come hell or high water, they would have done it when the numbers were higher.

Now we are supposed to believe they are going to bite the bullet and pass the most expensive parts first all by themselves? In this political environment? Yeah, sure.


This split bill strategy also does nothing to bridge the divide between the Senate and House Democrats. Senators aren't stupid (well, you know what I mean), they never go first and get left hanging by the House. They leave the House hanging like they did with Cap and Trade. Are they really going to pass a one house bill that only includes more taxes and spending but none of the big ticket reform items only to see the House sit on it?

Marc Ambinder takes a look at the reconciliation process and it turns out it's not the panacea they Dems are making it out to be.

But you can see why this uncertainty makes Democrats a bit wary of using the process. There's no telling what might not make it in the final bill, and even if something does get in, the provisions automatically sunset after five years, providing opponents a stationary target to try and delay their implementation. Given that points of order are, on balance, found to be germane, the legislation could end up looking like "Swiss Cheese," as Sen. Kent Conrad has said.

If the Democrats go this way, will at least one Senator (Hello Dr. Coburn!) be upset enough to bring the chamber to a halt but objecting to even routine unanimous consent requests (and maybe make them read the damn bill on the floor, perhaps even multiple times) ?

Still, it comes down to, if they were going to do this, they would have. If the issue and bill is as awesome as they say, wouldn't they want the credit? They did with the so-called "stimulus" (or is 'stabilizer' the new and approved term?). But they didn't. Because they can't.

BTW-Where's the proof that they even have 50 votes for some of this stuff? If they risk annoying Olympia Snowe, what's the odds they keep Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Kent Conrad or Ben Nelson to name a few?

Have an Oreo Sen. Reid.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:12 PM

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