Theodore's World: Ruling Kills an Option for Moving Health Bill

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March 12, 2010

Ruling Kills an Option for Moving Health Bill

Krauthammer: Biden Overruling the Senate Parliamentarian Would Be a 'Thermal Nuclear Option'


Roll Call

The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Barack Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package, senior GOP sources said Thursday.

The Senate Parliamentarian’s Office was responding to questions posed by the Republican leadership. The answers were provided verbally, sources said.

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.

Information Republicans say they have received from the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office eliminates that option. House Democratic leaders last week began looking at crafting a legislative rule that would allow the House to approve the Senate health care bill, but not forward it to Obama for his signature until the Senate clears the reconciliation package.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved Thursday to put Senate Republicans on the defensive over health care, sending a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in which he dared the GOP to vote against reform.

Reid also defended the Democrats’ use of reconciliation to get a final health care reform bill to the president’s desk, noting that the bulk of health care reform was approved under regular order via the package that cleared the Senate on Christmas Eve. Reid also emphasized that Republicans have used the procedure several times over the years.

However, Reid also promised in the letter that Republicans would have ample opportunity to amend the reconciliation package.

“Reconciliation is designed to deal with budget-related matters, and some have expressed doubt that it could be used for comprehensive health care reform that includes many policies with no budget implications. But the reconciliation bill now under consideration would not be the vehicle for comprehensive reform — that bill already passed outside of reconciliation with 60 votes,” Reid wrote to McConnell.

“Reconciliation will not exclude Republicans from the legislative process. You will continue to have an opportunity to offer amendments and change the shape of the legislation. In addition, at the end of the process, the bill can pass only if it wins a democratic, up-or-down majority vote. If Republicans want to vote against a bill that reduces health care costs, fills the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ for seniors and reduces the deficit, you will have every right to do so,” he said.


And this from Bloomberg

Health-Care Bill’s Passage Faces New Hurdle, Republicans Say

Republicans said President Barack Obama has to sign a Senate health-care bill into law before the House and Senate can approve changes to it under a process called reconciliation. The Senate parliamentarian told Republicans that a reconciliation bill has to “make changes in law,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“This would be another headwind for Democrats in the House” who oppose provisions in the Senate bill, said John Sullivan, a health-care analyst at Boston-based Leerink Swann & Co. “Their biggest fear has been that they vote for the Senate version and they never get the relief they’re looking for.”

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, declined to comment.

The prospect of longer odds for passage sent U.S. stocks up yesterday, reversing earlier losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 Managed Health Care Index climbed 1.6 percent, led by Bethesda, Maryland-based Coventry Health Care Inc., which rose 3.4 percent.

“I would expect that this would put a big barrier to this moving forward,” said Ana Gupte, a health-care analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. “I would not expect the House” to pass the Senate bill, she said.

Pushing Democrats

Reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote in the Senate, is at issue because Democrats are trying to find a way to complete their work on health care now that they control only 59 of the 100 seats in the chamber.

~ snipet~
Democrats are calling for the biggest changes to the medical system since the Medicare health program for the elderly was created in 1965.

Obama is pushing Congress to act before lawmakers leave for a two-week recess on March 26. Pelosi said the vote “is not something we are going to drag out” and that the lawmakers are awaiting a cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.


Wild Thing's comment......

MUAAAAHAAAHHHAAAA!!!!!!!! (evil laugh rubbing hands together)

This might harden some of the House reps in their "no" vote. And this is a total HUGE cripple against the Dems. If I understand this correctly.

It is good news. It may not be enough to kill the bill, but forcing Biden to overrule the Senate Parliamentarian is going to make the bill seem even more illegitimate in the eyes to the 2010 voters. The Independents are not going to like it at all.

Keep calling your Senators and Representatives.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved Thursday to put Senate Republicans on the defensive over health care, sending a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in which he dared the GOP to vote against reform.

Harry Reid, WE THE PEOPLE dare you and your corrupt cronies to cram this socialistic garbage down the throats of the American people!!!!!

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at March 12, 2010 06:55 AM


I'm hoping this bill dies a quick death. Start over, Hell no. These people can't get anything right. Just leave the system alone. They refuse to fix the most glaring problem, Trial Lawyers, so why pretend they are going to look for a fix.

Posted by: Mark at March 12, 2010 06:30 PM

Mark, I feel the same way. I don't want any of it, and redoing it or starting over is not what I want either. I agree so much, leave the way it has been alone.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 12, 2010 07:02 PM

I would be much happier if I did not know that the Income Tax technically never passed. You generally will not find a date for the adoption of the 16th amendment because the Progressive Woodrow Wilson administration said "let us just assume that it has passed" and began structuring Government around it. The states' adopting it became irrelivent.

Eight years later Warren G. Harding could not bother to unwind the complex fraud, because he was handed the worst depression of the twentieth century.(1920-1921) Like the Great crash of 1987 real Republicans understand economic problems and do fix them. They can not, however: fix all of the problems from Democrats at once. It takes time.

Like Lincolns Executive orders things that have no legal or constitutional existance have a very nasty way of being assumed into existance around Washington, D.C

Posted by: Avitar at March 13, 2010 03:46 AM