Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Day - Another Dem Go-It-Alone Strategy

Today's go-it-alone strategy is brought to you by the letters "E" and "F" - this one is sure to end in epic failure. The WSJ has a report today that hope is running low a bipartisan agreement will be reached by the Senate Finance Committee. White House and Senior Democrat officials are considering a proposal to divide the bill in two parts. The first would consist of insurance regulations that have some support among Republicans and would contain relatively low costs. The second half, which would contain the large expenditures and presumably the bones of a public program would be passed solely by Democrats.

The report suggests the second portion of the bill would likely need to be passed through the reconciliation process, which is a budget process. There are numerous obstacles to passing a huge piece of legislation this way. Keith Hennessey recently had a series of posts on the obstacles. You can read them here , here , and here . In short, however, Hennessey concludes a bill passed by what is commonly called "the nuclear option," would end up like "swiss cheese." In a previous post, I mentioned Kent Conrad, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee used the same words to describe a resulting bill passed through the Senate by reconciliation.

Whether splitting the bill in two would result in legislation without the holes is hard to say. Assuming Republicans knew the "nuclear option" was on the horizon, they might be inclined to vote against even the first portion of the bill to prevent the second from having any teeth. Even more moderate members of the Senate find this option distasteful. Senator Olympia Snowe, who provided a key vote to pass the stimulus legislation in February is angered by the idea:
The idea of using reconciliation angers even such moderate Republicans as Ms. Snowe.
"At a time when we need to bolster the public's confidence in whatever we do with health care, I don't think the reconciliation process will serve the purpose of providing affordable health security for all Americans," she said.
Angering Senator Snowe might be the least of the White House concerns should they choose such a path. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Independents oppose 63 - 33 percent passing a bill with only Democratic votes. A Democratic Congressman said recently , President Obama told him he was willing to risk being a one-term President to get major health care reform. If the White House chooses the reconciliation route, he would likely get his wish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Web Analytics