Much Change, Little Hope
Submitted By Todd on April 4th at 6:11am
along for the ride.
While congressional Democrats easily passed the most expensive budget in history Thursday, the real fight now begins over whether leaders will try to ram through health care reforms or seek bipartisan support for one of the Obama administration's key priorities.In order to make sure normal rules in the senate wouldn't be in effect for the debate, the health care measure was included in the budget. Budget measures aren't subject to filibuster, a procedure that gives the minority the ability to block measures if the bad guys can't get 60 votes.
When Congress returns from its two-week spring break in mid-April, House and Senate Democrats will hammer out a final compromise of the chambers' budget plans. And one of the most difficult decision negotiators will face is whether to bypass regular legislative rules to allow health care reform to pass the Senate by a simple majority using a fast-track procedure called "reconciliation."Democrats, being politicians, would rather not take full responsibility for such a big move in their project to turn the U.S. into the old Soviet Union. But, God willing, the GOP will stand strong in protection of the Constitution and the Dems will be forced to fly solo.
"I hope we don't have to use it, and I hope it encourages Republicans to come to the table and offer real ideas and accept some they don't like, because that's what compromise is about," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat from Ohio. "If they don't cooperate enough, then we go through reconciliation."Go ahead. Be a kamikaze pilot.
The procedure would eliminate the filibuster and allow legislation to pass with only a simple majority, not the three-fifths supermajority needed to end a filibuster. Democrats have 58 seats - a comfortable margin, but two seats short of the 60-seat supermajority.Politically, Democrats will ultimately be damaged once people realize they've deliberately dismantled the best health care system in the world just so they can control more jobs. Unfortunately, the damage to the system, and the country, will be permanent.
House Democratic leaders for weeks have insisted that keeping the fast-track option open is essential to avoid Republican obstructions on health care legislation.We certainly hope that's the case.
Thomas Mann, a congressional specialist with the Brookings Institution, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank, said that - given the success Republicans have had blocking Democratic measures this year - an argument could be made that Democrats would be "nuts" not to include reconciliation in a final budget resolution. Democrats "are not about to let [health care reforms] die as a consequence of a unified Republican filibuster," Mr. Mann said.Of course not. Once a liberal gets the Kremlin in their blood, there ain't no rehab that can get it out. The order for change has been placed - hold the hope.