Obama, Republicans ready themselves for reconciliation war

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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:38 pm

Obama, Republicans ready themselves for reconciliation war

By Ron Edmonds
Associated Press
March 3, 2010


President Obama, and many Democrats, didn't use the word "reconciliation" today -- but the Republican critics of their health care plan sure did.

"Reconciliation, a budget process, is being abused so that Democrats can railroad Americans into more government, more spending and more debt," said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.

Democratic congressional leaders did not exactly discourage the idea of passing health care on a reconciliation bill, which for them has a signal virtue: It would require only 51 Senate votes, not the 60 they would need to override an expected Republican filibuster.

"We'll use every option available to deliver meaningful reform this year," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, citing Americans who lose health coverage "with each passing day."

Reconciliation will require House Democrats to essentially adopt the Senate health care bill passed late last year. That won't easy: Conservative Democrats want tougher anti-abortion language; liberals did not like the fact that the Senate left out a publicly-funded insurance option.

In a letter e-mailed today to political supporters, Obama wrote that health care "deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that has been routinely used and has passed such landmark measures as welfare reform and both Bush tax cuts" -- both items that just happened to have passed as part of reconciliation bills.

So this sets up days of debate over both the merits of the Obama health care bill and the congressional process by which it is considered.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said few of the 19 reconciliation bills passed 1974 dealt with "major social legislation," and those passed on bipartisan votes. Hatch also pointed out that Obama himself objected to use of the practice in 2005, back when he was a senator.

"Going down this path," Hatch said, "will have lasting and dangerous implications for how the Senate functions and for the prospect of bipartisanship."

Most of those 19 reconciliation bills were also initiated by Republicans, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. GOP members, he said, "will have to reconcile their beliefs and their hypocrisy."

Obama, meanwhile, will be "focused on spending the next few weeks finally getting this done," Gibbs said.
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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:39 pm

For those wondering what the definition of political suicide looks like... you're fixin' to find out here soon. Dems will regret pushing this thru as they plan.
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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:43 pm

Reaction to Obama's healthcare push

Reuters
Mar 3, 2010

In a final push for a sweeping healthcare overhaul, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday it was time for Congress to act and he urged a simple "up-or-down" vote on the legislation.

"Now is the time to make a decision about how to finally reform healthcare so that it works, not just for the insurance companies, but for America's families and businesses," Obama said in remarks at the White House.

Democrats are planning to use a budget tactic known as "reconciliation" to get final legislation through Congress despite Republican opposition. The process will allow for a simple 51-vote majority in the 100-member Senate, where a 60 vote supermajority is often needed for controversial bills.

Here is some reaction to Obama's comments:

REPUBLICANS

*Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell: "Every election in America this fall will be a referendum on this issue. To ignore public opinion is not going to put the issue behind them, it's going to put the issue before them."

*Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele: "President Obama has decided to use Republican ideas as political cover for his government-run health care experiment that will destroy the doctor-patient relationship and add to our national deficit."

*Senator Richard Shelby: "If the majority truly had the support of the American people and their representatives in Washington, then reconciliation would be unnecessary."

*Representative Dave Camp: "The American people have rejected the Democrats' healthcare bill because it spends too much, taxes too much, increases premiums too much and increases the deficit too much. Adding a few watered-down Republican proposals does not change that fundamental problem."

*Representative Wally Herger: "It's a different day but the same story. The president's remarks today continue to reflect how tone deaf the White House is to the will of the American people."

DEMOCRATS

*House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "We will now move forward to pass health insurance reform that includes the best ideas of both Democrats and Republicans, and address one of the most pressing challenges facing our families and small businesses."

*Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "The president and the American people have called on Congress to act now. We remain committed to this effort and we'll use every option available to deliver meaningful reform this year."

*Representative John Dingell: "When Republicans had control of the Senate, they vehemently argued for up-or-down votes on judicial nominations and have used reconciliation for tax cuts for the wealthy. I hope my Republican colleagues acknowledge the steps the president has genuinely taken to bridge the partisan divide that has plagued the process."

MARKET ANALYSTS

*Steve Shubitz, healthcare analyst at Edward Jones:

"It doesn't really seem like there's any change here. Basically, what it was was a call to action. ... The big question is then does something get passed or not, and that's still a wildcard at this point."

*Wayne Schmidt, chief investment officer at Gradient Investments: "It's still just political maneuvering on healthcare, I don't know that it changes the fact that I'd be surprised if anything does get done."

*Kenneth Kamen, president, Mercadien Asset Management, Hamilton, New Jersey: "The reality of it is, the votes aren't there to do it with a 60-vote majority and maybe the market is just looking at this as likely to die ... To me, I just think it's more gridlock ahead. So there's no trade in it."
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Post by Katmandu on Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:50 pm

I would like nothing more than to see this backfire and watch Pelosi not get re-elected in CA. I know it's a stretch since we're talking about 'LiberalLand, CA' but it could happen. I'd have a party to celebrate that.

Katmandu

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Post by TexasBlue on Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:48 pm

She's going to be relegated to the House Minority leader this fall. If they don't lose control, her mandate will be lessened because the GOP will have more seats. I look for the House to fall in GOP hands this fall and the Senate to remain under Dem control.... but barely.
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