Reconciliation faces new hurddle

Discussion in 'The Fire For Effect and Totally Politically Incorr' started by 45nut, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. 45nut

    45nut Active Member

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    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a1L0cLABQhP0

    March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Republicans said they won a parliamentary victory as they try to fight Democrats’ efforts to pass legislation to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.

    Republicans said President Barack Obama has to sign a Senate health-care bill into law before the House and Senate can approve changes to it under a process called reconciliation. The Senate parliamentarian told Republicans that a reconciliation bill has to “make changes in law,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    “This would be another headwind for Democrats in the House” who oppose provisions in the Senate bill, said John Sullivan, a health-care analyst at Boston-based Leerink Swann & Co. “Their biggest fear has been that they vote for the Senate version and they never get the relief they’re looking for.”

    Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, declined to comment.

    The prospect of longer odds for passage sent U.S. stocks up yesterday, reversing earlier losses. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 Managed Health Care Index climbed 1.6 percent, led by Bethesda, Maryland-based Coventry Health Care Inc., which rose 3.4 percent.

    “I would expect that this would put a big barrier to this moving forward,” said Ana Gupte, a health-care analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. “I would not expect the House” to pass the Senate bill, she said.

    Pushing Democrats

    Reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote in the Senate, is at issue because Democrats are trying to find a way to complete their work on health care now that they control only 59 of the 100 seats in the chamber. Senate Democrats passed their original bill in December with 60 votes, the number generally required to push through major legislation.

    Obama is asking the House to pass the Senate bill as well as another measure to make changes to it under reconciliation, a process designed for budget items. The Senate would then also approve the changes under reconciliation.

    The problem is that House Democrats object to some parts of the 10-year, $875 billion Senate bill, so they are seeking assurance that the package of changes will also become law. They wanted Obama to hold off signing the Senate bill until the reconciliation measure passed both chambers.

    Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said on March 9 that he understands why some House Democrats might not trust the Senate to act on the reconciliation changes.

    ‘Right to Be Skeptical’

    “The House has a right to be skeptical,” Durbin told reporters. “They have almost 300 bills they’ve passed” that are “somewhere lost in the Senate,” he said.

    The news from Republicans, who unanimously oppose the legislation, came on the same day that House and Senate leaders said they had reached agreement on the majority of the language in the new reconciliation bill. The leaders presented the outlines of the plan to House Democrats yesterday.

    “The decisions are made, the choice has to be made” by lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

    Democrats are calling for the biggest changes to the medical system since the Medicare health program for the elderly was created in 1965. Their plan would require Americans to get insurance, covering tens of millions more people, and offer new purchasing exchanges and government aid to help.

    Insurance company executives including WellPoint Inc. Chief Financial Officer Wayne DeVeydt say the legislation doesn’t have strong enough penalties for people who don’t buy insurance and doesn’t do enough to curb medical costs. That means insurers, who would be required to accept people with pre-existing conditions, would have to raise rates, DeVeydt said on March 10.


    Obama is pushing Congress to act before lawmakers leave for a two-week recess on March 26. Pelosi said the vote “is not something we are going to drag out” and that the lawmakers are awaiting a cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. The White House estimated that a proposal Obama put forth last month, which is providing the basis for the reconciliation bill, would cost $950 billion over 10 years.

    Pelosi said the legislation will eliminate 80 percent of an excise tax on high-priced insurance plans in the Senate measure and replace the lost revenue with a Medicare payroll tax on unearned income. It will increase Medicare prescription-drug benefits to eliminate a gap in coverage for seniors, she said.

    Leaders haven’t reached agreement on the level of subsidies to help low-income Americans purchase insurance and how much extra help to give states such as New York that offer more generous Medicaid benefits, said a House Democratic leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.


    The leaders also haven’t yet decided whether to include House legislation to revamp the college student-loan program, said California Representative Henry Waxman, who’s helping oversee the health-care effort. The House-passed measure would expand a government student-lending program to eliminate the role of private lenders making federally-guaranteed loans.

    The House Budget Committee will take up the reconciliation measure on March 15, said a congressional aide familiar with the schedule.
  2. SpazFreak1911

    SpazFreak1911 New Member

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    Didn't republicans use reconciliation 17 times since 1980? Why are they calling it the "nuclear option" now then?
  3. 45nut

    45nut Active Member

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    Please note GOP and the DNC have both used reconciliation. So Spaz, what's your point? From WIKI, so be careful with these quotes:

    Congress has used the procedure to enact far-reaching omnibus budget bills, first in 1981. Since 1980, 17 of 23 reconciliation bills have been signed into law by Republican presidents (a Republican has been president for 20 of the last 29 years). Since 1980, reconciliation has been used nine times when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, six times when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, one time when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the Republicans the House, and seven times when the Republicans controlled the Senate and the Democrats controlled the House. Reconciliation has been used at least once nominally for a non-budgetary purpose (for example, see the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, when a Republican was president and the Democrats controlled Congress). The 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) contained some health care provisions.

    The Byrd Rule (as described below) was adopted in 1985 and amended in 1990. Its main effect has been to prohibit the use of reconciliation for provisions that would increase the deficit beyond 10 years after the reconciliation measure.

    Congress used reconciliation to enact President Bill Clinton's 1993 (fiscal year 1994) budget. (See Pub.L. 103-66, 107 Stat. 312.) Clinton wanted to use reconciliation to pass his 1993 health care plan, but Senator Robert Byrd insisted that the health care plan was out of bounds for a process that is theoretically about budgets.

    In 1999, the Senate for the first time used reconciliation to pass legislation that would increase deficits: the Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act 1999. This act was passed when the Government was expected to run large surpluses: it was subsequently vetoed by President Clinton. A similar situation happened in 2000, when the Senate again used reconciliation to pass the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act 2000, which was also vetoed by Clinton. At the time the use of the reconciliation procedure to pass such bills was controversial.


    It still is since 85% of the nation does not want government run healthcare. End of story. If they ram this through, and I don't think they have enough juice, they have committed political suicide.
  4. SpazFreak1911

    SpazFreak1911 New Member

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    Im just saying there calling it the "Nuclear Option" to scare people.
  5. mncarpenter

    mncarpenter New Member

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    I will truly be amazed if this crap doesn't pass. These people that we have elected do not represent the American taxpayer, instead they represent the American freeloader. Pelosi and Reid will use any possible venue to slide this bill through. Chicago politics will also be a strong force in this vote. Back-room deals, threats,blackmail. Pelosi is known to have had knowledge of Massa's shenanigans since last summer / fall. Why didn't she pursue it? It' wayyyy better to be able to control the guy with that information, than prosecute him... how many Congress critters have that same kind of problem? :rolleyes: The remaining Democrats in the House that are holding out will be bullied, or offered back-room deals that will remain quiet at least until the bill has passed. Then Barry and the gang will use that same back-room deal to campaign against the "blue dogs" and other Dem's that have held out, to push their own choices for office(s) into place,in upcoming elections..
    No taxes, no freeloaders.I have long thought that only people that actually contribute should be allowed to vote.
  6. carver

    carver Moderator

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    The Progressives have been trying to take over this country for over 100 years! They have made great progress up to this point, and will not stop until there dream of a Socialist U.S. comes true! This is the time for them to really come to power, and they will do what ever they think they need to do in order to gain this power! To destroy America as we know it is their goal. They want a new Constitution, because the old doesn't work for them. Therefore they just ignore it!
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