Saturday, March 6, 2010

Newt on reconciliation

In his weekly newsletter published by Human Events, Newt lays out the history of reconciliation, the procedural trick the Senate may use to pass "fixes" to their health care bill to make it more palatable to the House.

He does a great job of explaining what it is meant for -- legislation that goes about reducing the deficit in narrow ways or tax bills -- not for new entitlement programs. "The reconciliation process was only intended to be used for legislation directly related to meeting budget resolution spending and revenue goals."

Since reconciliation was started, it "has been used for 22 bills....Notice the similarity between them? All of these bills were obviously directly related to taxation and spending."

He then gives a few scenarios under which it may be used, including the most likely: the House passes the Senate bill and then the Senate turns around and patches a few disagreements. Of course, the bill will be immediately signed by President Obama should the House pass the original Senate bill. If that happens, the White House and Senate leadership may just undergo a half-hearted effort to pass the fixes.

The only thing that may force them to proceed with the reconciled bill is the lack of trust such a move would create in the House, especially among moderate Democrats. On the fence because of the bill's popularity, a major selling point to them will be that, "Don't worry about the problems in the Senate's bill. We will correct those." If they vote yes, confident that will happen, only to see Obama and congressional leaders give up -- after all, they already have passed "health reform" -- it would create bad feelings and make it less likely they would put their necks on the line the next time.

The last section of Gingrich's newsletter is entitled: "Republicans Must Vow To Replace the Left’s Health Bill." He writes:

If the Democrats are bound and determined to exert all their power and manipulate every rule they can to pass their big government health bill, Republicans may not be able to stop its passage.

We’ll find out today as President Obama is set to announce his recommendation on the way forward.

But no matter what President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid decide, the bottom line for Republicans is that they must stand with the American people in opposing this bill.

This doesn’t just mean voting against it and using every parliamentary maneuver available to delay its passage.

It also means running on a platform of replacing whatever left-wing health bill the Democrats manage to pass with real health reform that empowers patients and doctors, not bureaucrats, to bring down health costs. And delivering on that promise in 2011 if Republicans gain control of Congress.

And if President Obama is still determined to ignore the will of the people by vetoing the Republican bill after such a clear message from America, it means that the Republican candidate for President in 2012 must run on a platform that includes signing the replacement of the left’s big government health bill.

After all, no matter what dirty tricks the politician may try to get his way, in America, the people have the final say.

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