Only a Fool Would Trust the House of Lords

In a surprise to pollsters everywhere, there apparently are a few people who trust the United States Senate. I'm not joking. Even more shocking, some of these rubes even pay attention to politics. 

For example, in an apparent move to embarrass Mother Jones, Kevin Drum actually wrote:

This is good news: both that passing the Senate bill along with an agreement to fix specific pieces later via reconciliation is the preferred strategy, as well as the fact that the Democratic leadership is apparently "working the phones furiously" to make it happen.

Calling people and saying they need to trust the senate isn't a strategy, it is a prank call. I know our Party has been striving to grasp disillusionment from the jaws of hope, but the last thing Democrats need are talking points to the base explaining the cave is out of trust of the senate.

Sequence Matters

Blogosphere parliamentarian David Waldman pondered the absurdity:

Why would anyone in the House agree to pass the Senate bill 1st & surrender all leverage in forcing the fix through? People advocate that?

Nobody should trust the senate. Since just passing the senate bill is indefensible on policy grounds and sure political suicide, the only options are to fix the senate bill or walk away. If you want a bill passed, that means we need to fix the senate bill. So unless you are foolish enough to trust the senate, it comes down to sequence. Waldman explains the simplicity of a plan far more logical than trusting the senate despite all past experience.

I'm concerned that people who appear to favor a reconciliation fix are forgetting the important part: that the Senate come through first.

If the senate isn't planning to punk us, there is no reason why the senate shouldn't pass the fix before the House passes the senate bill.

We should have a healthy debate of what is necessary to adequately fix the senate bill, but when it comes to the sequence of passing the fix, nobody should be silly enough to simply *trust* the senate.

Tags: Senate, Health care, Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, David Waldman, Side-Car (all tags)



You may not have noticed

but no one is talking about HCR on the news, because it's dead. The funny thing is that the people who killed it are chatting up a storm as though the issue were still alive. Ironic, sad, and sick.


by QTG 2010-01-25 09:05AM | 1 recs
RE: You may not have noticed

If HCR is dead, so are the Dems.  Not that HCR is all that important to me, but the Dems have just shown the world that they are utterly incapable of leadership.  That don't win elections.

Incidentally, one of the reasons HCR wasn't important to me is that I never believed that the Dems, or the country at large, had the courage to do the right thing and go with single-payer and substantially take on the Pharma-Media complex that has a quarter of the population on mind-altering drugs.

Turns out, they couldn't even tinker around the edges very successfully.  I just don't see myself voting this Fall.  But I'm prepared to be surpised.

by the mollusk 2010-01-25 11:49AM | 0 recs
Who says it is dead?

I wouldn't look to the MSM for guidance.

Let the MSM ignore it, and let them work out a compromise behind the scenes.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 12:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Who says it is dead?

No, no more behind the scenes stuff. That stuff even if innocous is an electibility killer.

by vecky 2010-01-25 06:57PM | 0 recs
An issue

I'm not sure it's possible for the Senate to fix a law that isn't law yet...I'm not sure if there's an precedence to it.

by ND22 2010-01-25 09:07AM | 1 recs
RE: I'm not sure it's possible for the Senate to fix it

And what would be the motivation at this point? The rules of politics now favor doing the bidding of the corporations, which means that the imaginary power of the Progressives is even more of a joke than it was originally. It's truly painful to read these diaries, like watching a nerdy friend pursue a cheerleader's affections when the Quarterback she's always liked just inherited a fortune and won the big game.

by QTG 2010-01-25 09:34AM | 0 recs
and you're surprised?


This is bill that Obama & Company always wanted anyway so now they are stuck - Reid & Rahm must have sat down and asked the question - how to trick the House to vote for this piece of shit?  Since the serfs are restless in the lesser arm of Government what are they to do?  They have lied to them so many times before - how to trick them one more time?  Oh - they know they promised to pass a separate bill to fix things.  They are stupid enough to believe that aren't they?

We will see -

by mwfolsom 2010-01-25 09:32AM | 0 recs
RE: It's over

 The stupid ones are the people who don't know this effort is over. History. Toast. Dead and Buried.

 The important work now is the Blaming, and I'm glad to see you are doing the important work.

by QTG 2010-01-25 09:40AM | 1 recs
RE: It's over

Why are you trying so hard to get people to stop fighting for real health care reform?

by jeopardy 2010-01-25 03:21PM | 0 recs
RE: It's over

Why are you trying so hard to avoid acknowledging your failed strategy to improve the bill has resulted in the demise of HCR for the foreseeable future? Why do you think ignoring the sure signs of its death will somehow fake the universe into making it live? I'm mad at the kill-billers and will continue to point out their role in the death of HCR. I don't really think that motive is important at this point, since the Republicans who wanted HCR dead, allied with the Progressives who wanted it dead, along with bad behavior from egotists like Lieberman and bad actors in the industry are all responsible.


by QTG 2010-01-25 05:10PM | 0 recs
RE: It's over

So I guess David Plouffe is out there lobbying for passage of the Senate bill because he lacks QTG's understanding of the political process and doesn't understand that HCR is dead for a generation.  If only you provided some contact info so I could put him in touch with you.

I don't understand why you spend so much time venting at the "bill-killers," who may have been misguided but had a marginal impact at best on the process.  I think the time would be better spent evaluating whether there was a better way than the so-called "pragmatic" approach - you know, the one you champion and the one that was actually employed by Congressional leadership - that basically says "the more you give away, the closer you are to victory."

Maybe we'll still get a health care bill, as the naive dreamers like Plouffe seem to believe.  Or maybe it was never achievable in the first place.  Or maybe it was achievable, but there was a better way to construct a legislative majority than by giving away the store time and time again in hopes of appeasing moderates while telling the liberals, "you better fall in line or it's all going to be your fault."  I dunno, all the books tell me that's supposed to be the way the world works, but the pragmatic approach has left us in a pretty bad spot right now.

by Steve M 2010-01-25 05:29PM | 1 recs
Do you see a shortage

of criticism of Obama and the leadership's weakness, fecklessness, and general proclivity for selling out around here, or in the discourse generally?  To me that market seems to be pretty thoroughly cornered.

by JJE 2010-01-25 06:07PM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

I see a shortage of reflection and self-criticism around here, and in the discourse generally.

by Steve M 2010-01-25 07:08PM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

I see a shortage of HCR, and a shortage of remorse from those who helped kill it.

by QTG 2010-01-25 08:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

Personally I now think it's sort of back from the dead. We'll see if this was just another false alarm or if it's really kicked the bucket. Hopefully soon.

by vecky 2010-01-25 09:05PM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

You still fail to appreciate that it is your "pragmatic" approach which failed here.

by Steve M 2010-01-25 09:40PM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

It may yet come out with something. We will just have to see.

by vecky 2010-01-26 12:54AM | 0 recs
RE: Do you see a shortage

I predict that even if we get a bill passed - and even the Senate bill would be a good bill, in my opinion - no one will be praising the strategy that got us here and suggesting we should repeat it for all other subject matters.

by Steve M 2010-01-26 03:04AM | 0 recs
RE: Only a Fool Would Trust the House of Lords

there is a saying in the house- the other party is the opposition, the real enemyis the Senate.

by rocky 2010-01-25 10:41AM | 0 recs
My Plan

The House should repair the Health Care Reform Bill - combine the the House and Senate bills - add the public option - include National Exchanges - remove insurance companies from anti-trust protection. In other words make it right and send it back to the Senate.

Next have the Senate use the Nuclear Option to change Senate Rules on the Filibuster. Senator Harkin's proposal would be perfectly fine. Pass the Bill. Then move forward and pass every Progressive proposal from Climate Change to Campaign Finance Reform. I mean Everything! When the Republicans whine as you know they will - Tell them Tough! Stick a sock in it! Dare them to win a majority and do the same thing. Have some BAllS!

by phastphil 2010-01-25 11:42AM | 0 recs
Doesn't work that way

Senate rules must be changed at the beginning of the session and require 67 votes.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-01-25 12:44PM | 0 recs
The HCR horse is dead

and being carted to the glue factory.  Not clear why people are still taking whacks at it.  Time to move on to other things.

by JJE 2010-01-25 03:29PM | 2 recs
Go learn how reconciliation works

Good Christ, people!  The author and nearly all the commenters show a lack of knowledge of the reconciliation process that looks at best, lazy, and at worst, willfully ignorant. Either way, it's embarrassing.

There are plenty of good explanations of the reconciliation process in the left-blogosphere. Why don't any of you go read them before writing?

An instruction has already been filed in the Senate, last fall IIRC, that serves as an empty vessel, a placeholder if you will, for a reconciliation bill to amend the healthcare bill. Once negotiators have agreed to fixes, they can use that placeholder as an amendment to the Senate bill. Since both chambers have already voted on their own versions of the the healthcare reform bill, they can vote on an amendment package through reconciliation (as long as the fixes fit within the limits of "The Byrd Rule") at any time.  It can pass with 51 votes, or 50-plus-Biden.

The amendment can pass both chambers BEFORE the House votes on the Senate bill, if that is the agreed-upon course of action.

Let me repeat so we're clear. The fixes to the Senate healthcare bill can pass both houses, BEFORE the House passes the Senate bill. So no one needs to "trust the House of Lords" to approve fixes to the Senate bill "later," because there need not be any "later." The House can pass the amendments FIRST, then the Senate bill.

Not only is all this legal, but it was actually planned-for with the filing of a reconciliation instruction last fall, before either chamber had even passed their final measures (House: Nov. 7; Senate: Dec. 24).

Finally, the President may not reverse the order of things the way Congress can. If he is to sign a bill and a reconciliation amendment to it, he must sign the original bill first, and then the amendments.

by gas28man 2010-01-25 03:33PM | 0 recs
RE: Go learn how reconciliation works

Let me repeat so we're clear. The fixes to the Senate healthcare bill can pass both houses, BEFORE the House passes the Senate bill. So no one needs to "trust the House of Lords" to approve fixes to the Senate bill "later," because there need not be any "later." The House can pass the amendments FIRST, then the Senate bill.

That is the whole point of the diary. The fixes "can" be passed first, and so you'd have to be a total fool to be one of the people pushing for the fixes to be passed at a later date.

by Bob Brigham 2010-01-25 03:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Go learn how reconciliation works

It's a matter of process, the longer HCR sit there gathering dust and politicos engage in back-room negotiations and nothing else seems to get done, the more everyone sours on it, and the more the delay tactics work and before you know it pressure builds to leave HCR till after the 2010 elections "so the voters can chime in."

Just quit the "negotiations" and put the fixes to the floor for a up-or-down vote and let the chips fall where they may. Otherwise just let it die and move onto something else.

by vecky 2010-01-25 07:03PM | 0 recs


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