Kyl says Democrats have decided to use reconciliation

In remarks that contradict published media reports, Sen. Jon Kyl, the Republican whip, told Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that the Democrats have decided—though they have not formally announced it—to try to pass the health care bill via reconciliation. Oddly, Kyl’s information has not been widely written up. The transcript of the key part of the interview is here; the transcript of the full ten minute interview is here; the audio can be heard here. The plan as described by Kyle seems different from the one reported by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann earlier in the week. The latter involves the House passing the Senate bill, after the Senate Democrats have promised the House Democrats that they will then pass certain changes in the bill through reconciliation. The process as Kyl sees it would start with the Senate passing the desired changes via reconciliation.

Kyl’s information, which was posted at Hewitt’s site late Thursday afternoon, contradicts the stories from the AP and the New York Times on Friday morning in which the top congressional Democrats and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel indicated that they were unable to move the health care bill forward and were leaving it aside for an indefinite period while they attended to other issues. I and others took this as meaning that the bill was practically speaking dead. Also, as Kyl himself notes, even if the House and Senate leadership has decided on the reconciliation path, they would still have to win over House members who absolutely object to certain features of the Senate bill, an obstacle that the Democrats faced even before Scott Brown’s election 11 days ago.

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

Here’s a story today which puts Kyl’s statement into doubt. Rep. Maxine Waters (Black, California) said yesterday that it will be “very difficult” to pass the bill, because the Democrats have no “road map” by which it can be done.

But Kyl’s whole point, made on Thursday, is that the Democrats have decided on a road map. If an extreme left-liberal congresswoman like Waters is saying on Friday that there is no road map, then there is no road map. Unless we are to believe that the Republican Kyl is more privy to the Democrats’ inner discussions than a Democratic House member.

The article is from The Hill:

Rep. Waters: Dems who say healthcare is ‘on life support are correct’
By Tony Romm—01/30/10 10:45 AM ET

Add Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) to the list of Democrats who now say their healthcare reform bills are imperiled.

During an interview on Friday, the congresswoman stressed it was going to be “very difficult” to pass that legislation in the coming weeks, mostly because House and Senate leaders are still without a “roadmap” and have yet to address key policy differences between the two chambers’ efforts.

“I suspect that the people who say it’s on life support are correct,” Waters added, referencing Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Pryor’s (Ark.) similar remarks earlier this week.

Democrats healthcare reform bill remains at a crossroads this week for a number of reasons, mostly political.

Senate Democrats no longer have a 60-vote majority in the chamber, following the election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, creating the likelihood of a healthcare filibuster.

Consequently, the party could try to pass their bill through the 51-vote reconciliation process, but Democratic aides last week said they feared that strategy would open their bill to an infinite number of GOP amendments, which would further delay passage.

House lawmakers could instead pass the Senate bill, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stressed this month she lacks the votes to try that. Conversely, the chamber could pass a scaled-down healthcare bill, or they could break it up into smaller chunks, but the chamber’s liberals hardly support that call.

Worse yet, those political arguments only sit atop a mound of policy debates over abortion, taxes, care delivery, coverage and a host of other issues, lawmakers have previously pointed out.

Those concerns have prompted a number of prominent Democrats to suggest the bill is not going to reach the president’s desk, even within the next month. The possibility for additional delay has even prompted Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) to stress there is “no rush” to pass a bill, as Democrats still have a year to finish legislation before it expires.

But Waters on Friday implored her party to “throw down the gauntlet.” Referring to GOP opposition, she said Senate Democrats in particular had to “go for it” and force Republicans to follow through on their filibuster threats.

“I agree with the president in his State of the Union address,” she added, “and he said we’ve come to far to turn back now.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Send

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