House passage is everything—or is it?
Jeffrey Anderson writes at March 4 at Critical Condition, the health care bill blog at NRO:
Don’t Leave the House Unattended [Jeffrey H. Anderson]This seems like a cogent and frightening argument, until we realize that the very thing that makes it frightening also raises an obstacle to it.
The whole idea is that the House, the Senate, all the relevant parties will agree in advance on a package of measures that, after the House passes the Senate bill, will be added to the bill and passed by reconciliation. These things include, inter alia, perhaps a public option, perhaps a bar on abortions (the alarming news the other day was that Rep. Stupak has been negotiating with the leadership on an abortion compromise). Now consider the thoughts of a House member, say Stupak, who is considering agreeing to vote for the Senate bill on those terms. As Jeffrey Anderson pointed out, once the House passes the Senate bill, Obama has what he wants. All he has to do is sign it. If the Senate fails to pass the additional package by reconciliation, the people who made the deal with be left out in the cold. Why should Obama hold off on signing it if the Senate balks? The bill is everything to him. He doesn’t give a damn about the Stupak people or even the public option people. He doesn’t give a damn about anyone. He would be willing to throw his mother and half the human race under a bus for the sake of having this bill, let alone some anti-abortion congressman.
Now, the Stupak types cannot help but realize this threat. They must be aware that once they vote for the Senate bill, Obama doesn’t need them any more and can do what he wants. Whether deliberately, or after a failure of the Senate Democrats to pass it by reconciliation, Obama would be all too ready to sign it. And then these congressman who voted for the bill on the condition that their measures would be added to it, would have been completely betrayed. They would have been fooled into helping pass a bill that they found unacceptable.
This will make the House holdouts very cautious about signing on. That caution will require that passage by the Senate be absolutely guaranteed, with everyone on board beforehand. That would be very difficult to achieve. They would have to be absolutely assured that reconciliation would not be blocked by the likes of Sen. Conrad. But Conrad has said he’s dead set against using reconciliation. (Correction: not exactly. See next entry.) Therefore it seems to me that what Anderson said turns out to be the opposite of the truth: it’s not the House that’s critical, it’s the Senate. If key Dems in the Senate refuse in advance to go along with reconciliation, then the House members will not sign on to the deal.
Joseph C. writes:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 06, 2010 03:03 PM | Send