Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bad Buzz on Health Care Reform

The rumblings from the Senate are not good.  It appears that the Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid has chosen to ignore the will of 65% of Americans and hump the GOP leg instead.

Dino Surprise!

Democratic aides say that Senate leaders working with the White House to meld the two bills are inclined to leave the public option out and to let supporters propose amendments to add it during floor debate.

Before I go any further, no, that's not actually the main thrust of the article. And the main thrust is really interesting and you should go read it. But it's an important part for my purposes today -- the discussion of how procedure will effect the substantive outcome of this bill.

For those of you who don't recognize this set up, it's a familiar play. The bill comes to the floor with some particular deficiency, and the "deal" is that opponents are to be allowed a vote on an amendment that would correct it. But the catch is that the unanimous consent agreement under which the bill comes to the floor and the terms for debate are set requires a 60 vote threshold to pass that amendment.

Why would anybody agree to such an arrangement? It's meant as a mechanism for bypassing the trouble and delay caused by a threatened filibuster, whether of the bill as a whole or of that particular amendment. Rather than go through the actual annoyance and time-wasting involved in a real filibuster, the leadership chooses to recognize the validity of the threat, and instead of dealing with the annoyance of filing for cloture and waiting a real filibuster out, the parties instead agree that they'll require for passage of the bill or amendment the same 60 votes that would have been necessary for cloture.

This has the advantage of saving everyone some time and trouble without really requiring any more votes to pass the measure than would otherwise have been necessary. But it also has the effect of shielding those who claim they would filibuster from having to stand up and go on record as opposing cloture, not to mention actually conducting the filibuster -- though that, too, has certainly become easier to do these days. That's why I call this the "painless filibuster."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

This article goes on to explain the painless filibuster in more depth.  It’s worth the read.

I explained here that putting the public option in the bill would require the Republicans to get 60 votes to remove it, something they cannot do.  Leaving it out of the bill requires the Democrats to get 60 votes to put it in.  Reid is taking the power the voters gave the Democratic Party in November and handing it to the Republicans.  Why on earth would he do that?  The answer seems clear to me.  He’s protecting DINO Democrats like BARF Baucus, enabling them to earn their 30 coins of silver from Big Insurance.  If this article is correct, these DINOs will ne able to join the GOP in filibustering just the public option, saving them from having to chose whether to filibuster the entire health care bill to earn their blood stained campaign contributions.


phil said...

I'm still failing to see how Ried does anything positive. He really needs to go, and get replaced with a Democrat who can actually do the work.

Mary Ellen said...

Yup, it's pretty dirty and sleazy back there in Washington.

Reid rarely shows his spine and when he does expose it, he quickly covers it...which is why he is so far down in the polls in NV.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out the Dems. They got their majority and they squander it and it's always the same old dinosaurs that have been in office for a decade or more. Time for some strict term limits, kick the bums out.

TomCat said...

Welcome, Phil. You have that right. Who would you like to see as majority leader?

Nunly, I agree with your sentiment, but I don't think term limits is the answer. Solon tried it in Athens circa 600 BC. Legislators sold out for the promise of employment. I think we need publicly financed campaigns.

Distributorcap said...

reid is useless and horrible

all this posturing on all these issues and watch what happens in 2010.

ps - reid is the fracking worst senate majority leader ever.

Stimpson said...

I suppose Reid just feels secure in the knowledge that he looks good compared to Nevada's other Senator.

RealityZone said...

Many dems are still living in a bubble. Their main goal, just as the rethugs is to get reelected. nothing more nothing less. please quit fooling yourselves thinking that just because they are democrats, that they are progressive, or for the people. --------health care belongs on MAIN STREET, not WALL STREET.

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Oso said...


"I don't think term limits is the answer. Solon tried it in Athens circa 600 BC".

If you're saying some of those Athenian congressman might still be there today,perhaps a 2,000 year limit might do the trick.Even Strom Thurmond wasn't there that long.

rjs said...

Why Obama Has to do What Letterman Did: Refuse to Pay Hush Money (Robert Reich's Blog)

rjs said...

here's another take: Ballooning your Children :-)

TomCat said...

Stimson, what you commented fits perfectly with today's 2nd article.

RZ, I fully agree, and thanks for the links.

Bobo, no SPAM allowed.

Oso, I think Strom might have been one of them. ;-)

rjs said...

analysis (i wasnt aware of):
The Light Dawns

TomCat said...

Thanks RJ. I'm seeing the same trend and covered it in today's top article.