Monday, December 21, 2009


"There are two things you don't want to see being made...
sausage and legislation"
This morning the Senate got what President Obama desperately wanted, 60 filibuster breaking votes on the Senate's version of the health care proposal. Hailed as a success for the President, who achieved what could not be achieved in over 6 decades (any health care reform legislation), and the leadership of Senate speaker Harry Reid, once thought to be an oxymoron.
The bill passed is a behemoth 2,700 pages, which is estimated to cost nearly $871 billion over 10 years, starting in 2014. It will benefit 31 million uninsured Americans, half through an expansion of Medicaid and S-chip programs. It will be paid through a combination of payroll tax increases for our richest Americans, a tax on premium health insurance policies, and cuts in medicare growth in the future. Proponents say the measure will actually begin to reduce the deficit in 2011.
Of course, to get a bill this size through required negotiations, and some "pay for play" vote acquisitions....and not with the opposition party....amongst the Democratic party itself. Nebraska's Ben Nelson got additional medicaid for his state and tighter rules on abortion coverage, additional funds going to Vermont (for Bernie Sanders, an Independent), Connecticut's Lieberman flipped flopped his way to an elimination of the public option to the senate bill, and Baucus of Montana got asbestos coverage for his residents, a victim of working in Montana's mines.
These considerations to maintain the 60 vote margin draw its share of animosity on the Senate floor. Lindsey Graham, never at a loss for words said they reminded him of "seedy Chicago politics" OUCH. Oklahoma's Tom Coburn said "what the American people should pray for is that somebody can't make the vote." How God was supposed to make that crash, blizzard, heart attack...wasn't specified, but so much for the power of prayer...everybody showed.
To reach these levels of animosity on the senate floor, you would have to go back to the civil war era. Over 100 filibusters, the reading of a proposal which took the senate floor nearly all day, and objections to unanimous consent requests for additional meetings to floor debate times.
"...if the Republicans want to exercise every single right they have under the rules,
they can keep us until Christmas eve, no doubt about it.
But to what end, I ask? To what end?
We're going to have the vote at 1am that requires 60 votes, and then why stay here until Christmas eve to do what they know we are going to do?"
a little Iowa common sense from Tom Harkin
What is left in the Senate bill is not 100% approved by anyone, as substantial changes had to be made. Ted Kennedy's widow described it perfectly, when she was quoted as saying her late husband knew..."a half a loaf is better than no bread at all."
Now that the senate version has achieved the last important vote requiring 60 votes, it will be merged with the major differences in the House version, then will require simple majorities in both Houses, and the Democrats have those votes virtually sewn up. What it will end up looking like is any ones guess, but clearly, like sausage, it will contain components distasteful to some, and sickening to others. Public options, market place competitions, real tort reform, freedom to shop for health insurance policies out of state, even how it will be paid for is all on the table. One thing for sure, the Republicans will not go down without a fight....should be very interesting, indeed.


Papa Giorgio said...


Democrats Raises Debt Ceiling to $12.4 Trillion (60-to-39)

Damn Bush!


Kim said...

we both know if they hadn't they would of run out of cash for social security......we have spent / wasted a TRILLION dollars in the middle east so far (damn Bush). I don't like a lot of the healthcare expendatures, but at least that money goes to Americans, and we have plenty of time to fix it (2014). BTB, tarp money is coming back fast and furious....