08.31.2009 0

Snowe to Reid: Whats the Rush?

  • On: 09/24/2009 09:25:43
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Harry Reid is once again threatening to invoke reconciliation, whereby only 51 instead of 60 votes would be needed to pass the government-run health care proposal, ObamaCare. Apparently, the democratic system is not working fast enough for Reid’s taste.

    This time, Reid has threatened to eliminate the filibuster should Republicans halt consideration of the bill in committee. “If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation,” he said, calling the tactic a “last resort.”

    “Railroading” might be a better term.

    However, the haste that Senate Democrats want to move on Senator Max Baucus’ public-private insurance “co-ops” proposal—which would provide taxpayer-subsidized health care to 26 million—has Olympia Snowe scratching her head.

    As the Senate Finance Committee prepared to vote on a measure that would have required the language of the bill to be posted online prior to a committee vote (which would have given the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) time to properly estimate the cost of the bill) she actually got angry at her Democrat colleagues who refused.

    Said Snowe with no small amount of displeasure, “I truly do not understand the skepticism about this request, the reluctance and the reticence. This is about doing our job. If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks. We’re talking about trillions of dollars in the final analysis. What is the rush? Is there something happening in two weeks?”

    She might justifiably have added the word “bums”—as in, “What’s the bum’s rush?”

    According to the CBO, a reliable cost estimate of the bill will not be quantifiable without the final proposed language, as opposed to the conceptual language the committee normally works with. Nonetheless, in a party line vote of 13-10, the committee agreed to only give the CBO the conceptual language, which would likely throw cost estimates off, according to the CBO.

    The icing on the cake is Harry Reid’s thuggish threats to Senate Republicans to invoke reconciliation if they do not vote the legislation out of committee—despite the fact that neither they nor Reid has any idea about how much it will actually cost.

    In recent weeks, Reid has threatened to use reconciliation repeatedly. At one point, Reid spokesman Jim Manley said, “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.”

    Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted a public backlash if the bum’s rush tactic were used. He said, “Let me say…budget reconciliation has never been used to structure one-sixth of the American economy. If that option were chosen, there would be a severe, negative, and I think appropriate reaction from the American people… If you thought the American people were upset in August, you haven’t seen how upset they will be if this device is chosen.”

    McConnell is not off-track. Some 56 percent of Americans currently oppose Democrats’ health care proposal, according to Rasmussen Reports. If Democrats now choose to eliminate the time-honored filibuster to nationalize the health care system, the consequences will be dire, both for Democrats, and for the country.

    The filibuster has been used as a means of giving the minority party in the Senate a voice. It has been an effective tool for slowing down debate and allowing cooler heads to prevail for more than 150 years. Without it, a majority party could rule things like a mob. Which is what Reid apparently intends to do.

    Senate Republicans need to answer in kind. They should make a threat of their own to Harry Reid: If he invokes reconciliation on ObamaCare, they will shut down and boycott the Senate altogether. Then the Senate will not work as fast as the Obama-Reid Cabal wants. In fact, it will not work at all. And the nation can heave a great sigh of relief.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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