Malarkey From The Senate On the Health Bill

Greg Sargent swallows some utter BS from Senate aides:

Senate leadership aides have identified what they see as a key roadblock to passing a fix to their bill via reconciliation — and parliamentarians in the Senate and House are hard at work trying to identify a solution, aides say. [. . .] “How do you fix a bill that hasn’t been passed yet?” one senior Senate aide asks me, stressing that reconciliation is different than the amendment process, which obviously does allow for bills to be fixed before passage. “That’s the fundamental problem.” “This is a whole bill that would amend another bill that hasn’t become law,” the aide adds. “How do we do reconciliation before the House passes the Senate bill?”

This is dishonest BS. How do you do it? Ask yourself how you would do it if the House passed the bill. That's how you do it. You pass a bill that amends the Stand Alone Senate bill, present it to the House, which then passes both bills. Then the President signs the original bill and immediately after signs the reconciliation fix. This is not rocket science. None of the bills are law UNTIL the President signs them. Hard to understand why Sargent is swallowing this nonsense. Kagro, more nicely than me, has a similar reaction. In other words, maybe there is something in the reconciliation rules that are troubling, but the nonsense Sargent is allowing the Senate to sell ain't it.

Speaking for me only

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    Bizarre (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:14:57 PM EST

    Not really. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:37:08 PM EST
    Seems like some people are going to try anything to avoid reconciliation and protect the Senate version of so-called reform.

    Good lord (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:23:12 PM EST
    I'm a bit out of my depth here on the procedural ins and outs of this, and am trying to learn more. But according to this senior Senate aide, this is a key reason for the current delay.

    Sounds like he is asking for some education. Maybe he should have gotten before he posted the blarney wholesale.

    I'd have snapped back (none / 0) (#8)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:37:10 PM EST
    I was told by the Senator I'd be briefed,  where's your mam kid? Shouldn't you be at class?  

    With a little more finesse, (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:28:42 PM EST
    they could execute an alley-oop play:
    "Noted liberal blogger and constitutional expert Greg Sargent says that reconciliation may be impossible"

    Feigned or (none / 0) (#4)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:32:33 PM EST
    learned helplessness.  

    Where the "fack" ..oops. (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:35:42 PM EST

    Apologies btd can you save the post but (none / 0) (#10)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:38:00 PM EST
    Edit out the profanity?

    Nope (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 06:12:29 PM EST

    Lol (none / 0) (#12)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 08:59:57 PM EST
    I quits forgot myself there.

    I wonder how the CBO scores a bill that changes (none / 0) (#9)
    by steviez314 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 04:37:35 PM EST
    a bill that isn't law.

    What do they consider the status quo to compare a reconciliation bill to?  Can they assume the Senate Bill is law?

    i think i see the difficulty here. (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 03:49:44 AM EST
    it's possible (highly unlikely, but possible) that, should a bill actually be passed, some people (not many mind you, but some) might be helped.

    that this could happen, in the (very) unlikely event a bill gets passed, has caused the entire congress to go into a tizzy. until all 535 of them are assured that no one could possibly be helped, by any bill purporting to be "healthcare reform", they will continue in said tizzy (while attending a few cocktail/dinner parties), and go madly rushing to and fro.

    the mere thought, of a minor possibility, of an iota of a chance, that congress might inadvertantly do something constructive, is just more than most of them can bear. really, it's asking a lot.

    the survivors will meet in georgetown, at a bar, in an as-yet undisclosed building. they will toast their lost comrades, and just drink themselves silly, in an effort to forget.

    the horror, the horror....................

    As good as the Canadian system? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 12:55:29 PM EST
    No reconciliation possible? (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 09:50:54 AM EST
    The GOP is claiming they found a loophole to the Senate Dems' thrat to using reconciliation to pass HCR.

    As it turns out, Senate Democrats may not be able to force healthcare legislation through the chamber on a simple majority vote.

    Republicans say they have found a loophole in the budget reconciliation process that could allow them to offer an indefinite number of amendments.

    Though it has never been done, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he's prepared to test the Senate's stamina to block the Democrats from using the process to expedite changes to the healthcare bill.

    Experts on Senate procedural rules, from both parties, note that such a filibuster is possible. While reconciliation rules limit debate to 20 hours, senators lack similiarconstraints on amendments and could conceivably continue offering them until 60 members agree to cut the process off.

    Another option for Democrats would be to seek a ruling by the parliamentarian that Republicans are simply filing amendments to stall the process. But such a ruling could taint the final healthcare vote and backfire for Democrats in November.

    Or  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could use a tactic similar to the so-called nuclear option to quash the GOP tactics.

    If those options failed, and Reid couldn't convince a single Republican to vote with his 59-member conference, Democrats might be forced to consider withdrawing the healthcare bill.

    A Democratic leadership aide confirmed to The Hill that the options outlined in this articlee are correct.

    I am really sick (none / 0) (#16)
    by CST on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 09:59:23 AM EST
    of the whole "taint the process" meme.  If the republicans use this tactic, then they are "simply filing amendments to stall the process".  Any ruling that states that is true, not a "taint".

    At the end of the day, the senate would be following their own rules.

    Why wouldn't using this "loophole" be considered a "taint"?  Only the republicans are allowed to push the limits?


    The most frustrating thing about all of this is it will probably work.  The Dems will cave, and the MSM will just parrot the right wing framing.


    Isn't (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:12:41 AM EST
    The whole theme of trying to push HCR through a budget reconciliation process a little hinky as well?  Not saying they can't do that, but the Dems are just as guilty as playing politics with this....

    No (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:21:18 AM EST
    why is reconcilliation such a bad word?

    It's part of the process for a reason, it's been used historically by Dems and Repubs alike.  I am not sure why it's considered such a bad thing all of a sudden.

    It's playing by the rules.  I don't know why Dems are so afraid to use it.  It's been done a whole lot more than this "endless amendment" idea, which would be a first if used now.

    How is using an established senate procedure "playing politics"?


    Isn't it used (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:47:23 AM EST
    for bills that are primarily budgetary in nature, as opposed to complete policy shifts?  While HCR does have lots of budgetary components, it has more policy implications that if out in a bill by themselves, wouldn't be allowed to be fixed through reconciliation, right?

    I think that might be some of the issues.

    And for the record - I didn't say I was opposed to the idea.


    I believe (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:58:23 AM EST
    the parts of the bill that are up for reconcilliation are primarily budgetary in nature (like changes to the excise tax).  The rest of the bill, complete with policy shifts, already passed with 60 votes.

    What would be interesting to me, is to see republicans filibuster the hcr fixes.  If Dems were smart (which they aren't) - they would say "see Republicans are filibustering because they want to see your taxes raised".  If Dems threatened to ram this thing through the house as is, republicans would be seen as obstructing the things that most people would consider making the bill better.

    But lets face it, Dems aren't that good at framing.