Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Reconciliation Head Fake

A new possible White House strategy is percolating out there about this entire notion of reconciliation.  The basic process of legislation is that a bill must be passed by both houses of Congress (the order doesn't matter); once a bill is passed by both, it goes to the White House for the President's signature.  Reconciliation would only come into play if there are differences between the bill passed by the House and the bill passed by the Senate (and technically, reconciliation is only allowable on purely budgetary legislation, not policy changes, but that's been covered in other posts).  Thus far, the most likely scenario is for the House to pass the Senate bill with the understanding that they would come back later to make changes that would make DemCare more palatable to members of the House.  But...if the House passes the Senate bill as is...that's it.  End of story.  The bill is finished, passed by both houses of Congress, and will go to the White House for Obama's signature.  Boom...we have DemCare as reality.

Hot Air:

Over the last few days, readers have sent a number of e-mails objecting to our focus on reconciliation as the big problem facing the opposition to ObamaCare.  Reconciliation is just a ruse, they warn.  The real danger is that the House will pass the Senate version of ObamaCare and that Barack Obama will sign it into law.  The Senate doesn't have to do anything at that point, except perhaps dodge the missiles tossed across the Capitol's parking lot from their colleagues in the House after stiffing them on fixing their concerns.

Sure, the House would be stark raving furious at the betrayal, but remember, Obama is only in it for himself.  There isn't anyone he hasn't been willing to throw under the bus yet, and there's no reason to think he wouldn't chuck the entire Democrat caucus in the House, too.  Also, Obama came from the Senate, which is a much more exclusive club than the House; I suspect he looks down on lowly Congressmen as being somehow inferior.  Congressmen are in office for two years rather than a Senator's six years, and thus much more easily replaced.  The House is looking more and more likely to swing back into GOP territory this November no matter what the Dems do, so it's pretty much a lost cause.  This potential betrayal of the House is slowly coming out in more and more places:

Sen. Judd Gregg: "They're using reconciliation to pass the great big bill," Gregg said during an appearance on CNBC. "Once they pass the great big bill, I wouldn't be surprised if the White House didn't care if reconciliation passed. I mean, why would they?"

Rep. Shelley Berkeley: "I am not inclined to support the Senate version," said Representative Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada, who voted for the House bill in November. "I would like something more concrete than a promise. The Senate cannot promise its way out of a brown paper bag."

Rep. Bart Stupak (who is still talking tough on abortion, too): "You're going to make members vote for a bill that's going to be hung around your neck come Election Day," he said. "After sending so much legislation to the Senate, we just don't trust that they're going to do it."

What's there to lose for Obama?  Nothing.  If you're going to lose big anyway, maybe it's worth losing even bigger while passing your signature domestic legislation, right?  On the other hand, what's there to lose for Dems in the House?  Everything.  They will have compromised on their (ahem) principles and still been thrown out of office by furious voters.

The obvious weakness in the plan, of course, is that if there were enough votes to pass the Senate bill in the House they would have done it already.  They haven't, thus they don't.

Here's the other problem:
there is no reconciliation bill.  Heritage:

But there is one huge difference between the Senate bill and what the President kept referring to as my/our proposal: the Senate bill actually exists. For all the talk in Washington about Democrats in the Senate using reconciliation to pass a final version of Obamacare, one key fact has been overlooked: no reconciliation bill exists. Not in the House. Not in the Senate. Nowhere. It simply has not yet been written, and there are plenty of reasons to believe it never will.

And remember those 'Republican ideas' that Obama reluctantly included after the summit charade in a fantastic show of bipartisanship?  None of those are in the Senate bill that passed on Christmas Eve.  They would only be added in the event of reconciliation.  He's not only lying to the entire contingent of House Dems, but he's lying to the American people about including any Republican ideas at all!

Quite the scam on everyone, huh?

Hot Air brings up one more, really scary point:

The real nightmare scenario isn't that the House might pass the Senate bill now, or in April.  It's that Democrats might get stymied now, and then pass the Senate bill after the midterms in late November, and allow Obama to sign it into law well after the time when voters have held them accountable for their radical agenda.

This would be after the election but before the new Republican majority would take office.

Feel like dialing the phone yet?  If your Representative in the House is a Democrat, they're the ones that need the pressure now.  Call and tell them to kill DemCare where it stands today.  Literally no one benefits from pushing forward except Barack Obama.

There's my two cents.

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