Despite the American people’s overwhelming rejection of the notion of government-run health care, the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on passage of their amended “conceptual draft” of a health care bill this week. The committee is awaiting a “score” from the CBO before the vote — a score forced by Democrats on a so-called “bill” that contains only “conceptual legislative language.” (The CBO score is to tally how much money the bill will cost taxpayers.)
What a mess.
The House is still sitting on their three bills that have been passed out of the related committees of jurisdiction but have yet to be reconciled into one bill. Fearing a thorough revolt from so-called conservative Democrats in the House, they’ve been in a holding pattern awaiting some sort of definitive movement in the Senate.
The House Democrat leadership will likely try to pass a bill with the in-your-face government takeover option.
The House version will likely keep the current radical elements such as the stealth federal funding of abortion, coverage for illegal aliens and the use of comparative effectiveness research to ration health care based on age and survivability rates. Democrats believe they can force those in their caucus posing as conservatives (the “Blue Dogs”) to vote for passage of the health care bill even with the more radical elements kept in the bill. The so-called conservative Democrats may take the hit in 2010, but the Pelosicrats are perfectly willing to throw them out the window to achieve their agenda.
Democrat leaders don’t want to spill that proverbial blood on the floor of the House unless and until they’re sure the Senate can act on health care. That question should be answered this month.
Should the amended concept draft of health care pass out of the Senate Finance Committee, the next step is to merge that concept draft with the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee partial bill passed out of committee earlier this year — resulting in one big, fat health care bill that they’ll insist really, really isn’t a government takeover. Right.
The main problem for taxpayers: without actual legislative language, all sorts of goodies that weren’t in the bills in committee can be added to the bill as the legislative language is written — things that would have adversely affected the CBO score of the cost of the bill that were never added to the mix for a true cost estimate.
Republicans will not be allowed to participate in the process that will merge these two not actual bills into the actual final Senate bill.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), HELP Committee chairman, was asked last week if Republicans would be present when the two versions of the Senate bill were merged.
“No, this will be a proposal by the Democrats to bring a bill on the floor,” Harkin told the Des Moines Register. “And that’s what I have said before, that the people of this country — I keep saying — the people of this country pretty overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama last fall and to make changes. The people of this country overwhelmingly elected Democrats to the House and Senate. We should be proposing the changes to be made.”
All attempts by Republicans to require that any of the resulting House or Senate bills — both expected to be well in excess of 1,000 pages — be made public for 72 hours before a vote have been rejected by Democrats. That means more votes without allowing the bills to be read even by those expected to vote on them.
In a video interview with CNSNews.com’s Nicholas Ballasy, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said that he doesn’t understand the legislative language and other people wouldn’t be able to understand the language if the bill was made public before the vote anyway. From the transcript:
NICHOLAS BALLASY: I wanted to ask you if you plan, if you’re going, to read the entire actual text of the health care bill before the committee votes on it.
SEN. TOM CARPER: I don’t expect to actually read the legislative language because reading the legislative language is among the more confusing things I’ve ever read in my life. We, we write in this committee and legislate with plain English and I think most of us can understand most of that. When you get into the legislative language, Senator Conrad actually read some of it, several pages of it, the other day and I don’t think anybody had a clue — including people who have served on this committee for decades — what he was talking about. So, legislative language is so arcane, so confusing, refers to other parts of the code — ‘and after the first syllable insert the word X’– and it’s just, it really doesn’t make much sense. So the idea of reading the plain English version: Yeah, I’ll probably do that. The idea of reading the legislative language: It’s just anyone who says that they can do that and actually get much out of it is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
BALLASY: Do you think Republicans on the committee should be able to read the entire full actual text of the bill?
CARPER: I, I–They might say that they’re reading it. They might say that they’re understanding it. But that would probably be the triumph of man’s hope over experience. It’s hard stuff to understand.
Congress usually takes a week-long recess for Columbus Day, but those plans were cancelled for both the House and Senate next week. Floor debate, amendments, and possible votes for passage could all come down this month. Should the bills pass both chambers they would then go to conference to be reconciled with one another as a conference report. Then the report has to again pass both chambers.
There are many parliamentary procedures, negotiations, and arms to be twisted this month — and many more phone calls, emails and faxes to be sent. Now is not the time to falter. Stay vigilant.
Saturday Night Live took a swipe at Obama this weekend saying he had nothing to show for his first year in office. Fred Armisen portrays Barack Obama in the SNL opening, doing a very bad imitation.
ARMISEN/OBAMA: There are those on the Right who are angry. They think I’m turning this great country into something that resembles the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. But that’s just not the case. Because when you look at my record, it’s very clear what I’ve done so far, and that is nothing! Nada! Almost one year and nothing to show for it. You don’t believe me? You think I’m making it up?
From here the sketch goes into radical liberal checklists including closing Guantanamo Bay, getting out of Iraq, making “improvements” to the war in Afghanistan, global warming, immigration reform, gays in the military, limits on executive powers and torture prosecutions indicating he hasn’t accomplished any of these. They even chide him for his losing effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. The skit says in his first year he’s done, “Nothing. Nada.”
They portray Obama as a harmless goofball.
The government takeover of the auto industry and the banks, billions in bailouts to the United Auto Workers Unions, the trillion dollar “stimulus” payoff to liberal constituencies, the TARP slush fund, the CIA interrogation witch hunts, the largest budgets and the largest deficits in history and more spending and more debt during his first nine months in office than all of the other presidents throughout the history of the United States of America combined — and he’s just getting started.
Obama’s not a harmless goofball at all — not by any stretch of the imagination.