Further challenges faced by the Demoncrats
Economics policy blogger Keith Hennessey, in a post dated March 10, unfolds further problems the Democrats may have in getting the bill through. The article is quite detailed, and only for the devoted. The main new twist he adds is that Sen. Reid may solemnly guarantee to the House that the Senate will pass without changes the “fixer” bill passed by the House, but he cannot assure this outcome. If there is even one small change in the Senate fixer bill from the House fixer bill, the bill would have to go back to the House for a second vote, and if this takes place after the Easter recess, when members have presumably been getting an earful from constituents, the members may have a harder time voting yes again.
It seems to me that Hennessey is missing a key point. Obviously, for Reid to be able to guarantee plausibly to the House that no changes will be made in the House fixer bill, the House would have to have in hand not only Reid’s signature in blood, but fifty Senate Democrats’ signatures in blood. So the question is not, will changes be made by the Senate in the House fixer bill, regardless of Reid’s best intentions, thus leading to a second, and more doubtful, House vote? The question is, will fifty Senate Democrats sign their oath in blood that they will not push for any changes?
Also, Hennessey says that if there are any non-budget items in the fixer bill, forty-one Republicans in the Senate could stop their reconciliation-based passage. I did not know that. I thought the Democrats could do anything they want, whether it’s within the procedures or not, if they have the collective will to do it. But if Hennessey is correct, then the House must put in the fixer bill only budget-related items that can be passed by reconciliation. The practical question then becomes, can Speaker Pelosi get the House Demoncratic hold-outs to refrain from demanding that non-budget related items get added to the House fixer bill? If she can do that, and if fifty Demoncratic senators sign their oath in blood not to change the House fixer bill, then the grotesque unlawful mating of House and Senate can proceed, and its issue will be a new, monstrous incarnation of America.