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October 07, 2009

Claim: GOP Senate About to Fold on ObamaCare?
Update: Reid's "Brilliant" Two-Step: Get Cloture on a Bill Withouth Public Option, Then Slip In Public Option By Amendment

I can't vouch for this at all, but RedState says they've been tipped this.

It can't hurt to pick up the phone and contact your Senators and let them know you haven't changed your mind.

Reason to Doubt: I have heard it bandied about on cable-talk television that the CBO is about to release new numbers showing this all will be even more budget-busting than believed. The implication was that, after the latest analyses, ObamaCare would be all but unsalable.

So why back down now? Why walk away from a winning hand against a bluffing opponent with a busted flush?

Update: DrewM. informs the Baucus Bill (no public option) has been scored by the CBO at $829 billion, which is actually somewhat less than a previous scoring (which was at $900 billion).

Is shaving off 10% really enough to get some Republicans to say "Well alrighty then!" ?

Further, see the update below, in which the very pricey public option might be slipped in by amendment to the Baucus bill -- what's the scoring on that? Are we supposed to pretend that we don't notice the bill costs over a trillion dollars just because they vote on an $829 billion bill before sneaking in another $300 billion (low-end guestimate) in new costs?

Reid's "Brilliant" Trick: This doesn't seem like new news to me -- we've been talking about this for weeks, it seems -- but the Washington Examiner thinks it's news, and who am I to dispute them.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is weighing a plan to bring the final health care bill to the floor without a public option -- making it much easier to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a Republican filibuster -- and then adding the provision later as an amendment.

The public option amendment would be there waiting, but the 60-vote test would technically be on a bill without the government plan. Then moderate Democrats could drop out for the vote on the public option, which requires just 51 votes for passage.

"It's brilliant," said a top Senate Republican aide. "It gets you your votes on cloture for a package that does not include a public option."

Reid has not revealed whether he will use this tactic, but he's considering it.
"We haven't made any decisions yet," his spokesman, Jim Manley, said. "We have different options -- that is one."

Senate aides suggest that after passage in the upper chamber, the Senate bill -- public option included -- could then be sent to the House, allowing the lower chamber to simply pass Reid's legislation instead of taking up its own bill. That route would avoid a protracted and contentious battle to meld two different bills and might allow President Obama and Democrats to achieve their goal of passing health care reform by year's end.

Open-government proponents slammed the tactic, saying it would be a bait-and-switch gambit for the Senate to put forward a bill without a public insurance option, only to slip it in later.

I'm writing the in-house expert on this stuff now to ask if this is accurate -- once a bill has been amended, isn't it subject to cloture rules again for final passage?

Maybe it's not, but I'll see if I can find out.

Either way, though, this is a transparent trick -- all the more transparent because Reid & Company have announced the trick, and the intention to make-pretend the Senate "moderate" Democrats aren't voting for a public option they actually are, in advance of performing the trick.

Thanks to tmi3rd.



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posted by Ace at 04:07 PM

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