Thursday, February 18, 2010

18 Democrat Senators support passing health care reform by reconciliation

A letter composed by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and co-signed by 3 other senators, calls on Harry Reid to bring public health care option up for a vote using budget reconciliation rules. To date 18 senators and 119 house members have signed on as supporters. Senator Schumer even boosted about it in a fund raising email to supporters and selling it as an "... opportunity to break through the obstructionism Republicans have pushed for the past year". I guess Senator Schumer did not realize the Democrats had the majority.

Meanwhile, over at the White House, President Obama is busy working on his proposal ahead of the Health Care Summit. This is from the New York Times:

Democratic officials said the president’s proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.

Congressional Democrats, however, have not yet seen the proposal or signed on.

The House and the Senate each adopted a version of sweeping health care legislation late last year. But efforts to combine the measures stalled after a Republican, Scott Brown, won a special Senate election in Massachusetts on Jan. 19, effectively stripping the Democrats of the 60th vote they needed to overcome Republican filibusters.

“It will be a reconciliation bill,” one Democratic aide said. “If Republicans don’t come with any substantial offers, this is what we would do.”

Republicans, please pay special attention to the last sentence. I am guessing that Republicans are not going to have anything "substantial" and the democrats will be "forced" to use the budget reconciliation rule to pass public health care.

Many skeptics have been telling the Republicans not to go to the health care summit, at this point I am incline to agree with that. However, it is really a lose lose for the Republicans, if they go they will be ridiculed for not bring anything "substanial" to the table, if they don't go they are being obstructionist.

So much for the open and transparent.

In case you did not know the Republican Health Care proposal has been on line since last July, you can read it here.

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