Skip to comments.Next Step As Obamacare Goes Nuclear
Posted on 10/16/2009 8:23:13 AM PDT by 2nd amendment mama
The House of Representatives yesterday set into motion the nuclear option for H.R. 3200 that would make it possible for the Senate to pass government-run health care with only 51 votes.
House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) held the mandatory hearing yesterday to pass the formal notification in the form of a letter to the Budget Committee saying H.R. 3200 -- the main House Obamacare bill which was the subject of all the town hall rage in August -- has met all requirements to pass as a “budget reconciliation” measure.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee, spoke with HUMAN EVENTS yesterday about events at the hearing and maneuvers by House Democrats to give their Senate comrades the opportunity to shut down debate on the bill in the Senate with 51 votes instead of the required 60.
“Under the rules, they had to have a hearing in committee in order to be able to position themselves to move through a process called reconciliation,” Camp said. “They had to send the bill to the Budget Committee to do that.”
The notification is in the form of a letter certifying that the Ways & Means Committee has met the requirements set forth in the budget bill.
“Attached to the letter would be the bill,” Camp said. “So this sends the bill to the Budget Committee to vote it out. They’re setting up the nuclear option, not having any Republican votes for this bill. They’re setting up that process.”
“That is an amendable document,” Camp continued. “It’s an amendable process. There’s an opportunity to have amendments and have debate. They shut that completely down.”
The notification letter passed out of the Ways & Means Committee on a straight party line vote. No debate was allowed, and no amendments. Rangel told Camp that he would not have preferred to do it this way, but leadership -- i.e., Speaker Pelosi -- forced his hand.
“We had let them know we were offering amendments and we had heard no problem with that until we got there today,” Camp said. “Chairman Rangel said leadership made him do it, but he did it, not the leadership.”
This was the final opportunity for debate and amendments to the bill on a committee level. The Budget Committee will simply vote to pass the bill out with an up or down vote that would certify that the bill has met the reconciliation requirements.
“It’s supposed to only be bills that impact the deficit,” Camp added. “And what they’ve done is said this bill will save a billion dollars. That’s what we were ordered under the budget resolution to do. They’ll fulfill that marker, but they’ll use that obviously to spend a lot more.”
The bill being certified for “reconciliation” is the Ways & Means version of H.R. 3200 that was passed out of committee before the August break, and before it was read aloud at town hall meetings across the country and blasted by voters across the country.
It contains all of the horrors previously exposed: federal funding of abortion, coverage for illegal aliens, comparative effectiveness, healthcare rationing, deep cuts to Medicare. Everything the American people overwhelmingly reject.
“Since the time we voted on this bill until today, we’ve had new issues develop, we’ve had new scores from the Congressional Budget Office which is the non-partisan expert agency that reviews our legislation,” Camp said. “We felt it was important to talk about the issues. We’ve had some new developments, new information.”
“Let’s have 72 hours to read the bill and have the bill available,” Camp continued. “That didn’t get any certain discussion today. Let’s make sure members of Congress are part of any health care bill that passes. That didn’t get any debate today. Let’s make sure that we do not have non-citizens here illegally getting government funded healthcare. Let’s make sure we don’t use tax dollars to fund and pay for abortion. We didn’t get to vote on that today.”
Reconciliation is a parliamentary process that was created for use solely on the reduction of spending bills in order to reduce the deficit. Spending bills must originate in the House, and when passing the budget, the full House can include language in the budget bill to a specific committee instructing them to reduce spending by a specific amount in order to reduce the deficit.
Having learned from the 1993 Hillarycare debacle when the American people utterly rejected the notion of the government takeover of health care, House Democrats placed reconciliation language into the 2010 budget to facilitate passage of the government takeover of health care with Obamacare through budget reconciliation. In the case of H.R. 3200, the reconciliation instruction was to reduce the cost of the health care bill by $1 billion -- a bill that by some estimates will cost taxpayers a minimum of $1.6 trillion.
“This is after August when the American people clearly weighed in and said, ‘Hey, hold up. We want to be part of this. We want to have some more openness,’” Camp said. “I think they feel the less people know the better; that they, the majority, are better off because they don’t have to explain. People don’t know what it is they’re really doing. We won’t find out until it’s actually done.”
Since it has now cleared the Ways and Means Committee (fulfilling the $1 billion reconciliation requirement), H.R. 3200 will go to the Budget Committee where they will do the same thing that was done today in Ways & Means. They will agree on a straight party line vote that the bill has met the reconciliation requirements.
The bill then goes to Pelosi and the Rules Committee where Pelosi will do the same thing Sen. Harry Reid is doing with the two Senate bills right now: Pelosi will merge the three House versions of H.R. 3200 together into whatever she wants it to be, then she will schedule it for a floor vote.
H.R. 3200 could see a floor vote in the next two weeks, likely no later than the first week of November if Democrats believe they have the votes for passage. If the bill does pass a full House vote, and that’s a big “if” given the deep divides over the issues among Democrats, the bill would then be sent over to the Senate.
There are still bumps in the road for passage in the Senate with 51 votes, placing the undue burden for passage of H.R. 3200 through the Senate by reconciliation on rulings from the Senate parliamentarian.
Next stop a dictatorship?
What have Democrats previously said about Reconciliation :
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND):
Once youve unleashed reconciliation, you cant get it back in the barn, and it could be used for lots of different things that are completely unintended at this moment. People need to think about that very carefully. CongressNow, 4/21/09
I dont think this was the purpose for which reconciliation was originally desed. There are many problems that it creates in trying to write substantive legislation. So I would much prefer that we not have reconciliation instruction in this resolution. RollCall, 4/21/09
Reconciliation was never intended for this purpose [health care reform], and it doesnt work well It was never intended for this purpose, and I think there would be a lot of unintended consequences. RollCall, 4/21/09
Reconciliation was designed for deficit reduction. The place where I would agree with the Senator is, I dont believe reconciliation was ever intended to write major substantive legislation. Senate floor statement on FY 2010 Budget, 3/31/09
Our distinguished Parliamentarian has said, if you try to write major legislation in reconciliation, you will be left with Swiss cheese. So I hope people are thinking about that. I know there are attractive features of reconciliation ..I dont think we should do it for substantive legislation that is really not deficit reduction legislation. Senate floor statement on FY 2010 Budget, 3/30/09
Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd (D-WV):
I oppose using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform and climate change legislation. Such a proposal would olate the intent and spirit of the budget process and do serious injury to the Constitutional role of the Senate. Dear Colleague letter, 4/2/09
As one of the authors of the reconciliation process, I can tell you that reconciliation was intended to adjust revenue and spending levels in order to reduce deficits it was not designed to create a new climate and energy regime, and certainly not to restructure the entire health care system. Dear Colleague letter, 4/2/09
I am one of the authors of the reconciliation process. Its purpose is to adjust revenue and spending levels in order to reduce deficits. It was not designed to cut taxes. It was not designed to create a new climate and energy regime, and certainly not to restructure the entire health care system. The ironclad parliamentary rules are stacked against a partisan minority, and also against dissenting ews within the majority caucus. It is such a dangerous process that in the 1980s, the then-Republican majority and then-Democratic minority adopted language, now codified as the Byrd Rule, intended to prohibit extraneous matter from being attached to these fast-track measures. The budget reconciliation process will not air dissenting ews about health and climate legislation. It will not allow for feedback from the people or amendments that might improve the original proposals. Senate floor statement on FY 2010 Budget, 4/1/09
I understand the White House and congressional leadership want to enact their legislative agenda. I support a lot of that agenda, but I hope it will not require using the reconciliation process. Again, I commend the chairman of the Budget Committee for excluding reconciliation instructions, and look forward to working with him to ensure those instructions are not included in conference. Senate floor statement on FY 2010 Budget, 4/1/09
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Under reconciliation, the Senate is not the Senate; the Senate is a different institution. Senate floor statement, April 5, 2001
Ive not totally ruled it out I am doing everything I can to prevent us from going down that road. Senate Finance Committee hearing, February 25, 2009
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
[Reconciliation] is an abuse of the process. From 2003, as cited in The Hill on April 23, 2009
I have strongly opposed past efforts to use reconciliation it wasnt appropriate then. It isnt appropriate now. Senate floor statement, April 2, 2009
There are some features of this resolution with which I take exception, most notably the use of reconciliation as a tool to expedite health care reform. The arguments over the use of reconciliation are familiar to this body. Sadly, a tool intended to streamline the painful process of deficit reduction has been used to clear a path for major policy changes that have, at best, only a passing relationship to reducing the budget deficit. Senate floor statement, 4/29/2009
Health care reform is long overdue, and I look forward to the Senate finally acting on an issue that is so important to my constituents. But lets not kid ourselves. It is no more appropriate to use reconciliation as a hammer to push through health care reform under regular procedures than it is to use it directly to enact those reforms. Both are abuses. Both undermine its original intent. Both inte even greater abuses in the future. Senate floor statement, 4/29/2009
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
Today, we are being asked to turn our backs on Senate history by adding language to this budget resolution which will make it difficult for the Senate to fully debate. Senate floor statement, April 5, 2001
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Reconciliation was designed to help Congress pass a large package of measures to reduce the deficit, not to be used to resolve one major policy issue. Senate floor statement, March 16, 2005
I was one of the authors of the legislation that created the budget reconciliation process in 1974, and I am certain that putting health-care reform and climate change legislation on a freight train through Congress is an outrage that must be resisted. (The End of Bipartisanship For Obamas Big Initiatives? The Washington Post, 3/22/09)
The budget reconciliation process will not air dissenting views about health and climate legislation. It will not allow for feedback from the people or amendments that might improve the original proposals. (Floor statement on FY 2010 Budget, April 1, 2009)
It will pass and we will do nothing. Maybe a little bitching but that is all. But then again, the politicians know this and it doesn’t worry them a bit. Once it is implemented, they they will get their revenge on the naysayers.
Socialized health care is impossible without seizing private medical records without warrants.
Anotehr March on Washington by millions of people is needed.
Anotehr March on Washington by millions of people is needed.
I’ve heard an awful lot of threatening bluster on how the Democrats are going to ram this bill through with various measures. I’m really not buying this. I think that we have a lot of scared congress critters who are trying to talk big.
Let’s talk about the Public Option. The radicals in the House are all for it while the Blue Dogs are supposedly not. So first, the House has to agree on it. Then the Senate, as far as we can tell will deliver a bill without a public option, or at least a watered down version of it. How can any one ram through a bill when they can’t agree on any of the details.
In terms of using Budget Reconciliation or the Nuclear Option. The Wikipedia article and a recent WSJ article make it clear that such an action would strip the bill of any items that did not have a direct impact on costs or revenues. This would leave such a gaping hole in the bill that it would never pass that way.
In sum, I challenge any one to believe this bluster. My prediction: the lack of agreement between the two legislative bodies will lead to a stalemate and no final passage, though I am not currently enthused enough to put money on this. I wonder what the Iowa markets could say about the likelihood of health care legislation?
Coup de tat, Chicago-politico style.
That one of the biggest crooks in Congress, the tax cheat Rangel, should grease the wheels is not surprising. He just played his stay-out-of-jail card with BO’s inJustice Dept.
The same group of jackasses waved the flag and sang "God bless America" on Sept 11th 2001. Shortly after they were siding with the lunatic fringe and supporting the enemies of America.
There has got to be a way to stop this crap.
We should all stop filing our income tax. Seems like money talks in this world.
A GOP majority should use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare and possibly a number of other Democrat programs that are helping to destroy this country.
My sister, a nurse, and her whole idiot family voted for this.
We have fought it. The TEA parties, letter-writing campaigns, and more. The opposition to this bill has been extremely vocal and wide-spread.
This should surprise no one. The rats don’t care what the voters think because with help from acorn and jessie’s rainbow push groups they will keep getting elected. This is why the legislation making it legal to register and vote on the same day is so dangerous. You can be assured the buses will be going from district to district taking people to vote multiple times.
“Ive heard an awful lot of threatening bluster on how the Democrats are going to ram this bill through with various measures.”
THEY ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME....
They have just 18 days left to pass this nightmare. That’s what is driving all of this.
If Dems lose BOTH New Jersey and Virginia, the moderate Democrats will flee Obama’s agenda like roaches exposed to the light.
Yes, the first did so much good derailing HR 3200.
Nope. The next stop is the rounding up and putting their political enemies in camps to be liquidated at their leisure.
The dictatorship was established November 4, 2008.
You’re off the hook for the moment, because your fascist friends don’t need the Baucus bill *you* let out of the Finance Committee. Now, though, please vote with our pitiful thirty-nine other Republican Senators. Many of your friends will be in trouble next November — if they make it to next November.