07.31.2009 0

Reid: ObamaCare By Any Legislative Means Necessary

  • On: 08/21/2009 09:32:45
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Harry Reid has delivered his ultimatum to Republicans in the Senate. And it is nothing short of a coup of representative government. Either Republicans bow to the demands of Senate leadership and pass a “bipartisan” bill, or he’ll invoke a process known as “reconciliation,” whereby only 51 votes would be needed to pass the bill.

    Reid’s problem is that he doesn’t have enough Senate Democrats to break a filibuster—which requires 60 votes. And so, he’s rolling the dice, gambling that the Senate parliamentarian will go along with his blatant breach of procedure and that his thuggish threats will cause Senate Republicans to capitulate to his demands.

    The truth is, however, this may be the only way Barack Obama’s takeover of the nation’s entire health care system will be passed this year or any year. The so-called public “option”—which is not at all optional—cannot clear the 60 votes needed in the Senate. And a bill in the House without the public “option” cannot pass either because of demands by the so-called “progressive” caucus.

    All of which leaves Reid, Pelosi, and Obama with but one option: to change the rules and eliminate the filibuster in a sharp departure from more than 200 years of parliamentary history.

    According to Reid spokesman Jim Manley, “The White House and the Senate Democratic leadership still prefer a bipartisan bill. However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary.”

    That’s right. “By any legislative means necessary.” Attila the Hun would be proud.

    To make matters worse, Reid’s dictatorial move is a definite shift to a “Senate-first” strategy to pass ObamaCare. In this scenario, Senate Democrats would pass the legislation through the “reconciliation” process and send the bill(s) directly to the House for a vote. Then, there wouldn’t be a conference bill, which would still need 60 votes in the Senate to get cloture.

    Instead, it would just get rubber-stamped against the express wishes of the American people.

    And don’t be surprised if Reid and his cabal surreptitiously insert the force “option” into the bill. According to the Wall Street Journal, “In recent days, Democratic leaders have concluded they can pack more of their health overhaul plans under this procedure, congressional aides said. They might even be able to include a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers, a key demand of the party’s liberal wing, but that remains uncertain.”

    But then again, Reid is committed to getting this done “by any legislative means necessary.” And that certainly includes ignoring the intent and spirit of the reconciliation rule—which is only supposed to deal with budget resolutions.

    As a result, the normal rules are likely to be circumvented, and Congress will try any underhanded, backroom maneuver possible to get government-run health care without any opportunity for a filibuster.

    The worst part is, there may not be a thing that Senators opposed will be able to do to stop it.

    That is, unless the American people make their voices heard and let members of Congress know that it is they who will be rolling the dice with their political careers should they go along with this subversion of the time-honored filibuster.

    Concerned Americans need to specifically let Senate Republicans know they must not cave into Harry Reid’s ultimatum and sign on to any mealy-mouthed compromise. If they hold the line, it is Reid and his caucus who will pay the price for this coup, and not they.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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