Monday, March 8, 2010

The Latest Lefty Lie About Health Care: Dems Are Not Using Reconciliation

Jonathan Chait went on something of a rant directed at Mike Allen of Politico because he just isn't smart enough or something to get that the Dems are not really using reconciliation (the process that must not be named) to pass health care.  Senator Kent Conrad explains why reconciliation is a figment of our imaginations:
Reconciliation is not being considered for passing comprehensive health-care reform. Major health-care reform legislation passed the Senate without reconciliation on Christmas Eve. If the House now passes that legislation, it can go immediately to President Obama's desk to be signed into law. What the president and others have suggested is that, after the House acts, reconciliation could then be used to pass a much smaller "fixer" bill to allow for modifications to the comprehensive bill that will have passed under regular order.
Conrad is correct, the health care reform passed on Christmas Eve without reconciliation.  That, of course, was before a guy with a truck took Ted Kennedy's seat.  They weren't done on Christmas Eve, if they were, the bill would have been rushed to Obama's desk long before this.  Byron York explains the "normal" procedure legislation would have taken from there:

Now, if you did in fact ask a kid who just took a civics class, she -- could be he! -- might explain that the House and Senate pass bills, and if there are differences between them, the bills usually go to a House/Senate conference committee, where lawmakers appointed by the leaders of both parties resolve the differences between the bills and come up with one final bill, which the House and Senate pass and which then goes to the president's desk for signature into law. (Wasn't that the method used for the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, the 1996 welfare reform bill and other legislation often cited by Klein and his allies today?) Isn't that what a kid who just took a civics class would say? Isn't that what we teach in textbooks? And is that what's being practiced in the case of the national health care bills?
The answer to that question is no mainly because that guy with the truck came along and took away the 60th vote they needed to close the deal.  Now left with few alternatives and a desperate need to ram health care through at all costs, the House of Representatives must pass the Senate bill because we all know there is no way the House bill gets through the Senate.  Clearly Chait understands this because he writes:
Since a bill can't become a law until the exact same bill passes through each chamber of Congress, and Democrats now lack the ability to break a Republican filibuster, they have a different plan. They'll pass the Senate bill through the House. Then, to appease House members who disapprove of certain Senate features, they'll pass a second bill through reconciliation. This will only address budgetary issues -- some taxes will be raised, others lowered, some spending will be rejiggered. In the grand scheme of things, the changes in the reconciliation bill will be minor. As National Review's Rich Lowry has noted, "Only the House vote matters."
Reconciliation is necessary to convince the House the things they dislike about the Senate bill they must now swallow whole will be fixed.  The Senate could ultimately shaft the House and skip the  reconciliation process altogether.   As of right now, however, the House wants the fixes to the bill.  Why the rant from Chait?  The left doesn't want you or the American people as a whole to focus on reconciliation.  They don't even want to say the word because it is *really really* unpopular.

Chait tears into Mike Allen for making the following interpretation of Conrad's latest op-ed
When Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) made this confusing argument last week on “Face the Nation,” we weren’t sure he was being deliberately disingenuous. It was, in fact, spin. Now, he’s made the same case in a similarly obtuse WashPost op-ed, “Reconciliation is not an option for health-care reform.” Don’t misread it: It’s an Alice-in-Wonderland argument FOR the use of reconciliation as part of the recipe for getting comprehensive health reform to the president’s desk: “Reconciliation is not being considered for passing comprehensive health-care reform. … What the president and others have suggested is that, after the House acts, reconciliation could then be used to pass a much smaller ‘fixer’ bill to allow for modifications to the comprehensive bill that will have passed under regular order. … If the Senate bill can be further improved with changes made through a small ‘fixer’ reconciliation package, we should do so.” 
 Allen merely said it was part of the recipe.  Isn't it part of the recipe?  Well yes, but they don't want us to focus on that remember?   In truth Chait is angry that Allen used the words confusing, obtuse and spin when talking about part of the recipe.   He wanted to drive home the point this is all very simple when in fact it is not.  The Democrats and their liberal cheerleading friends in the media (Chait included) want us to believe this is all perfectly normal.  Lately they've come to talk of it as inevitable once again.  I guess it must be inevitable because it passed on Christmas Eve without reconciliation.  I would suggest they might still need to convince a few of those vulnerable "Blue Dogs" to take a bullet for ObamaCare first.  If they do, however, none of the other cheerleaders better call the rest of the recipe confusing or obtuse and they had better not speak its' name.

Note:  I will be at a health care rally this morning and have tickets to see Obama give speech number 36 for this "inevitable" health care bill.  I will have a full post when I return.


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