Something stirring in the Democratic caucus?

An item posted by Robert Costa at the Corner on Thursday January 21 is the first indication I’ve seen since Scott Brown’s election that the Democrats are working on a definite path to passing a health care bill and intend to push it through. Every other story I’ve seen says that they have not been able to agree on a way forward. Also there was Speaker Pelosi’s statement that she does not have the votes in the House to pass the Senate version, which, as I understand it, though I’m not sure, would be the first step of the reconciliation path. It’s also not clear to me whether Pelosi made her statement before or after Rep. Ryan’s statement to National Review. If it was after, then I assume that the Democratic plan described by Ryan has become inoperative, though I’m not sure of that. Also, even if, as Ryan says, lots of Democrats want to push forward, it’s clear that lots of other Democrats do not want to push forward and want to leave the health care issue to the side at least for a few weeks to work on other things. Without a unified Democratic caucus nothing can happen.

Paul Ryan on Reconciliation [Robert Costa]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells National Review Online that House Democrats are planning to use the budget-reconciliation process in order to pass Obamacare. “They’re meeting with each other this weekend to pursue it,” says Ryan. “I’ve spoken with many Democrats and the message is this: They’re not ready to give up. They’ve waited their entire adult lives for this moment, and they aren’t ready to let 100,000 pesky votes in Massachusetts get in the way of fulfilling their destiny. They’ll look at every option and spend the next four or five days figuring it out.”

If the Democrats pass a health-care bill through reconciliation, it means they would need only 51 votes in the Senate for final passage. To start the process, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) would need to bring a new health-care bill to the House Budget Committee with reconciliation instructions, with the Senate doing the same. “They’d have to go back to the beginning of the process,” says Ryan. “They’d need to affix reconciliation instructions to a new bill.” Doing so, he says, wouldn’t be too hard. “There’s nothing we can do to stop this from a technical standpoint, since all they need is a simple majority vote and our ratio on the committee is terrible. What [Republicans] can do on the Budget Committee is pass resolutions for the Rules Committee to insist on certain changes in the bill and create a ‘vote-a-rama’ atmosphere.”

If reconciliation happens, Ryan predicts that the Democrats will still have a hard time pulling it off. “There are Blue Dog Democrats out there who are more survivalist than ideologues. One or two switches could be a game changer. The question is whether Democrats will continue to follow Pelosi off the cliff. After Massachusetts, the Democrats are quickly realizing that even if the president comes in to stump, and you get all the union support you need, it’s still not enough to get you elected.”

01/21 06:07 PMShare

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A. Zarkov writes:

Chris Matthews demolishes Representative Alan Grayson who claims the Senate can and will (within thirty days) pass the health care bill using reconciliation. Grayson simply does not understand Senate procedures and won’t accept the fact that reconciliation can’t be used to pass legislation creating a new program. It’s utterly amazing that a member of Congress could be so ignorant about procedures, but Grayson goes beyond ignorance and displays delusional thinking. Matthews keeps asking him what he knows that Harry Reid doesn’t, and if reconciliation were such an easy solution why are the Democrats so upset about Scott Brown’s election? It’s something out of the movie Groundhog Day, where the robot-like Grayson keeps repeating his non-responsive answers over and over. This is the same Grayson who thinks he can have someone criminally prosecuted for having launched the appropriately named website, mycongressmanisnuts. Evidently Grayson doesn’t understand the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution either. Can there be any doubt that in many cases liberalism is a type of mental disorder?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 23, 2010 09:58 AM | Send

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