Basically, the situation as it stands today is this. The House and Senate have both passed a version of health care
So, the best chance of Congress getting any kind of a bill to Obama is for the House to pass the Senate bill, trusting that the Senate will use reconciliation after that passage to go back and change the things that the House wants. There is no reason to think that the Senate will do so, since DemCare has become so politically toxic...as soon as the House passes the Senate version, they'll likely send it off to Obama to sign, and the House will get screwed over. Everyone knows it, too.
The big sticking point is abortion. There is a group of supposedly pro-life Dems in the House (led by Bart Stupak) who are refusing to vote for the Senate bill because it uses taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. Without those House Dems, DemCare is likely dead. But, since they are elected Democrats, all they need is the appearance of standing on principle, and they'll go ahead and fold, voting for DemCare even if they know it funds abortions. So, they can use the whole reconciliation thing as a lame justification: "hey, I voted for DemCare in good faith, but the Senate failed to keep up their end of the bargain and pull the abortion funding". The bottom line is that they have political cover and can vote for DemCare that provides abortion funding while still being able to say they're against abortion. See how this works? So, here's where it gets interesting.
Knowing this is happening, the GOP (which has historically been much more likely to oppose abortion as a party) is playing the Senate Dems and House Dems against each other in a brilliant move:
Basically, for Senate Dems to kill abortion in reconciliation, they'd have to pull the funding for it. The GOP is saying that they will block the move to pull funding for abortion (the opposite of their traditionally normal position). But, by doing so, they are effectively destroying the House Dems' political cover. If there is no possible chance of reconciliation removing funding for abortions, the House Dems know that a vote for DemCare is guaranteeing funding for abortion...the very thing they say they refuse to support.
Republican Senators plan to raise a budget point of order, a procedural move objecting to the reconciliation process that requires 60 votes to defeat.
“If there is anyone left in the House who believes Senate Republicans will help carry their water on abortion or anything else so they can vote in favor of the health bill, they are radically misreading our Conference,” a senior Republican Senate aide said Tuesday. “Republicans intend to raise every point of order and will not waive a single one regardless of merit to assist Democrats in passing this $2.5 trillion health care boondoggle.”
It's a no-lose for the GOP - they can easily justify the abnormal vote as trying to kill a greater evil, especially because if the Senate bill passes, the abortion funding is there, anyway. The Dems, on the other hand, are stuck. At least, the ones who say they stand on pro-life principles, anyway.
Pretty slick! Well done.
Now, here's the other thing I wanted to pass along. There's apparently a new idea in the House that would allow the Dems to pass DemCare without officially passing it (again, they're desperate for political cover on this issue). Heritage explains this new sleight-of-hand, which is quite convoluted. I highly recommend checking out the full article, but here are the
First, the House Budget Committee will report out a reconciliation bill. It is unclear as to whether the Stupak Amendment will be added. This reconciliation measure would be reported for consideration by the House of Representatives as a whole.This is the most sneaky and dishonest in a series of shockingly sneaky and dishonest manipulations and maneuvers by the Democrats in Washington to force the takeover of almost 20% of the American economy and every medical decision made by every American in the future. Recall also that every American will be required by law to carry health insurance...if you don't, you face fines and possible jail time. That needs to be front-and-center in everyone's mind as they consider just how wonderful DemCare will be.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would then package the Senate passed Obamacare bill and the House reconciliation measure into one measure. The House rules committee will report out a rule that will allow the Senate passed Obamacare bill to pass the House without a vote. The rule will be self-executing in the sense that the House will have been deemed to pass the Senate Obamacare bill if the House can muster the votes to pass the reconciliation measure.
Procedurally, this would happen in the following order. The House Rules Committee would approve this self-executing rule. The House would vote on the rule that allows this scenario. Then the House will vote on the reconciliation measure. Upon passage of the reconciliation measure the Senate Obamacare bill will be deemed to have passed the House and the reconciliation measure will be sent to the Senate. This so called “Deeming Resolution” is a trick that allows the House to pass a bill they never voted upon. Therefore, the real vote on the pro-abortion Senate passed bill will be the vote on the rule to allow this scenario to roll out on the House floor.
... Sound complicated? Yes and it is supposed to so the American people can’t understand that the House is on the verge of passing an unpopular Obamacare bill, yet they are reserving the right to claim that they did not vote for the Senate passed bill.
If the liberals in the House can pull off this trick, this would have allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to have secretly written the version of Obamacare going to the President’s desk. Do you remember Harry Reid and the Chamber of Secrets? Reid merged, without any official proceedings, the Senate HELP and Senate Finance Committee versions of Obamacare, with his personal additions to the bill including a Public Option with an opt out for states, in closed door meetings with political elites. Basically, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, OMB Director Peter Orszag, Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Max Baucus (D-MT), Chris Dodd (D-CT) and a few other liberal Senators have rewritten health care law in secret closed door meetings.
After those meeting the Senate moved to proceed to this bill, without any hearings or opportunity for public review. During debate in the Senate, Senator Harry Reid crafted a manager’s package of amendments and added the Cornhusker Kickback for Nebraska, a Louisiana Purchase and a Gator-Aid earmark. Now the House is preparing to pass this bill without a vote. The American people should demand that Congress start over. This secretive and non-transparent procedure is not way to force through Obamacare.
What can we do about it? Again, the only battle that counts now is in the House. Democrats in the House need to fear the American people more than they fear the Democrat leadership, and that means they need to be absolutely overwhelmed by angry citizens demanding a stop to these abuses of power and the legislative process. PICK. UP. THE. PHONE. AND. CALL.
You know, as we look back through history, there have been plenty of times when a half dozen people have conspired in secret to wrest control of a nation from that nation's people. We usually call them dictators, despots, or tyrants.
Welcome to Obama's America, where the re-making project is going swimmingly forward.
There's my two cents.
Related Reading and Other Links:
- Why Obama can't move the health care approval numbers up
- A whopping 68% of the country opposes a Democrat-only bill (so naturally, that's what the Democrats are going to shove down our throats)
- Huge majorities think Obama is lying about every one of the biggest selling points for DemCare
- 23 votes move from 'Yes' to 'Undecided'
- Obama is expanding the welfare state, possibly beyond the point at which the country is broken (h/t NRO's Morning Jolt)
- Another tale of government run health care success (aka Canadian death panels)
- Congress messes up the federal health care plan
- Obama's approval rating drops to new low of 43%