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Breaking: House must past Senate health care bill before reconciliation can be considered

There have been so many attempts to ram Obamacare through Congress that I must admit I'm way behind in understanding all the archaic rules and procedures that have been considered. But Daniel Foster over at the Corner discusses a recent ruling with respect to reconciliation and he, at least, labels it as big news. First the ruling:

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate's original health care bill.

Information Republicans say they have received from the Senate Parliamentarian's Office eliminates that option. House Democratic leaders last week began looking at crafting a legislative rule that would allow the House to approve the Senate health care bill, but not forward it to Obama for his signature until the Senate clears the reconciliation package.

The short summary is that the House must pass the Senate bill and Obama must sign the bill into law before reconciliation can be considered. Obviously this greatly complicates things for the Democrats as a modified bill would be much easier to pass. This ruling means that Pelosi needs to get the votes for the existing bill. Foster remarks:
"Game Changer" is quickly replacing the various iterations of "under the bus" as the most overused political cliche of our age, but this certainly qualifies as one. And it leaves House Democrats with little but the fig leaf of the "Slaughter Rule" as political coverage.
To me and I would hope to many Americans, the situation has gotten ridiculous. I have no idea how binding this ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian is but would anyone be shocked if Reid and Pelosi try to find a way around it? Foster's fellow author Yuval Levin sums up the current situations nicely.
Democratic leaders should be asking themselves just how they have gotten to the point that their strategy is to amend a law that doesn't exist yet by passing a bill without voting on it. Surely it's time to start over.


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Comments (14)

"...their strategy is to am... (Below threshold)

"...their strategy is to amend a law that doesn't exist yet by passing a bill without voting on it. Surely it's time to start over."

Anyone remember Pearl Harbor? The Democrats try bullshit tactics like this, November will be Hiroshima.

"have no idea how binding t... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:

"have no idea how binding this ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian is but would anyone be shocked if Reid and Pelosi try to find a way around it?"

The rulings of the Senate Parliamentarian are technically not binding at all. They can be over ruled by the President of the Senate (ie Slow Joe Biden), so if the Dems are willing to pay the political price they are free to ignore the Parliamentarian.

not sure Biden can overrule... (Below threshold)

not sure Biden can overrule this ...

If they went ahead and igno... (Below threshold)
retired military:

If they went ahead and ignored the parliamentarian ruling (and they might) I think that it would give that much more weight to the future supreme court ruling that parts (if not all) of Obamacare are unconstitutional. I also think that it would also give weight to a judge making a decision to stay the law until the constitutionality of it was determined as well.

"Over? Did you say OVER? No... (Below threshold)

"Over? Did you say OVER? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!

"And it ain't over NOW! 'Cause when the going gets tough.. The tough get going! Who's with me?"

- Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Caucus Meeting

Oddly enough, the guy who I... (Below threshold)

Oddly enough, the guy who I miss right now is Sen. Robert Byrd. Byrd, was always a stickler for the rules. I don't think he would be party to all of these oddball rule changes. Too bad he is too far out of it to really weigh in anymore.

Expect the Parliamentarian ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Expect the Parliamentarian to be sacked following some manufactured scandal in the next 4 weeks.

The dems won't listen to this. They have already decided what the rules are: The rules are whatever they need to be so the dems can get their way.

I'd like to be charitable and say that this was just a bad trial balloon from Slaughter, but deep down I think that they are serious and will try to pass the bill this way.

We are near he tipping point. Obama cannot pass healthcare, he cannot pass cap and trade, he can't take over college loans, he can't get his agenda passed. Declaring his agenda as being 'deemed' to have passed is the next step. He won, the GOP lost.

I think this proposal from Slaughter is the administration thinking out loud about how serious they are about forcing their agenda regardless of the legality. Obama is seriously looking at casting off democracy and ruling by fiat.

How can anything be amended... (Below threshold)

How can anything be amended and changed when there is nothing on paper, yet? This bill still exists in the realm of the Twilight Zone and will be there for the foreseeable future. The 2000+ pages that are called the Senate Bill, is just a rough outline of what the bill is supposed to look like. In order for it to be law, it must be put into a proper legal form. This has not been done or has any attempt to be made to do this. As for the Slaughter rule, this end around is blatantly Unconstitutional.

Article 1 Section 7

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Unfortunately if this does ... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately if this does not get enough coverage the Democrats can overrule the Parliamentarian, not enough Americans are paying attention or understand the archaic rules.

First the Parliamentarian's rulings are non -binding as I understand it.

The findings can be overruled by Biden acting as Senate President. (Someone had an article wondering if Biden would be willing to do that.)

One of the Liberal wonks at TNR said that it didn't even have to be Biden-it could be any of the Democrats who were in the chair at the moment presiding over the procedures.

Secondly, the Parliamentarian is a hire of the majority party they can simply fire him and it's been done twice before.

Now every time the Republican base thinks this is a done deal guess what happens?

They stop calling their Representative. Some pundits are not helping by saying that supposedly because of their superior knowledge the Democrats can't possibly pass this Health Care legislation.

They keep making the same near fatal err-they underestimate just how low the Democrats will go.

Will they overrule the Parliamentarian even fire him...

Why not?

They've done much, much worse undermining the war effort and challenging the ballots of military serving overseas-this would be a picnic for them by comparison.

We'll know Nancy has the vo... (Below threshold)

We'll know Nancy has the votes when she calls the Senate bill to the House floor. She can ramble on and on about 'minor technicalities' all she wants. Look for a big push next week because Nancy, Harry and Obama DO NOT want House members going home on Easter break and getting hit by THE PEOPLE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT.

The greatest writers in his... (Below threshold)

The greatest writers in history couldn't make this shit up.

Years ago there was a story... (Below threshold)

Years ago there was a story in a magazine:

Seems this fellow had an excess of garbage lying around his House and needed to get rid of it quickly. As it was December and Christmas (Easter) was fast approaching, he wrapped it up in boxes with pretty paper and tied with bows, and left it in his unlocked car. Sure enough some fool(s) took the pretty boxes. His problem was solved. Wonder what the people who opened the pretty boxes thought?

THE current "health care" b... (Below threshold)
john diver:

THE current "health care" bill is a boon to the already corrupt American Insurance Industry! It guarantees it additional billions of dollars in profits, if ratified and signed into law! If the bill fails, the lucrative American Insurance Industry maintains the status quo and does business as usual. It is a win/win situation for the American Insurance Companies!
Short falls: the current bill does not address DENTIAL INSURANCE needs! It does not address EYECARE INSURANCE needs! Why? That could lesson profits!
What the American nation needs is to do is extend the existing "Medicare" insurance to all Americans! No need for congress to pretend to have to re-invent the wheel here!

Mr. Stupak only pretends to... (Below threshold)
john diver:

Mr. Stupak only pretends to be anti-abortion.






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