Unchanged Senate Healthcare Bill to Become Law Today
The Senate healthcare bill will be signed into law today in at the White House with the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, Gator Aid, a half trillion dollars in tax increases, a half trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, the Health Choices Czar and the over 145 new bureaucracies, commissions, government-run boards and programs to name but a few of the parade of horribles included in the leviathan bill.
The second of the two bills that were passed on Sunday night — the reconciliation bill that "fixes" the Senate healthcare bill also passed the House — now makes its way to the Senate.
Yesterday afternoon, Republican and Democrat staffers met with the Senate parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, to discuss one particular flaw in the reconciliation bill that could have derailed the entire process.
But there are other problems with the bill.
One senior Senate GOP aide told HUMAN EVENTS that the hasty, hurried deal-cutting process in the House has "yielded so many drafting errors in the budget reconciliation bill that Republicans will spend the week identifying each error and using all available tools to strike them from the text of the bill through points of order."
If as much as one comma is changed in the reconciliation bill, the House has to vote again to pass any changes made. Since 1980, of the 22 times reconciliation has been used by both parties, 21 times changes were made. The odds are not looking good for embattled House Democrats who could again be forced to make another healthcare vote.
Of course, there is still the thermonuclear option: Senate Democrats are not bound by a parliamentary ruling. The chair (in this case likely Vice President Joe Biden, who will sit in as Senate President and be a potential tie-breaking 51st vote) can simply disregard the parliamentarian’s ruling, in which case the congressional Democrats would show how little regard they give to parliamentary rules and agreements when conducting business.
The Senate could begin debate as early as this afternoon. Debate is limited to 20 hours as part of fast-track privileges afforded a reconciliation bill. There are, however, unlimited amendments that can be offered — and it is certain that Republicans will offer hundreds of amendments, some that will pose tough votes for Democrats. The points of order and votes will begin later this week, should the bill survive the initial challenge currently being considered by the parliamentarian.
Sen. McConnell: More Taxes, Sweetheart Deals and Deeper Cuts to Medicare
Monday afternoon, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke from the floor of the Senate delivering a searing rebuke of the process that unfolded in the House over the weekend and the reconciliation bill now headed to the Senate.
McConnell’s remarks in full are below and well worth repeating as we head into what could be another ugly week in Congress:
"Last night marked a turning point in our politics and our nation.
"On a Sunday night in March, with the nation howling in opposition, a bare majority of Democrats in the people’s house ignored the people to claim a win for their party.
"And then they celebrated. The American people watched all this in utter disbelief.
"Here’s what Democrats voted for last night: a vast expansion of the entitlement state that we can’t afford, massive cuts to Medicare, higher taxes, higher health care costs, worse care, taxpayer-funded abortions.
"And don’t believe the spin: this wasn’t a party-line vote. Yes, not a single Republican voted for this bill. But, a whole lot of Democrats voted against it too.
"The fact is, the so-called ‘Senate version of the health care bill’ that passed the House last night couldn’t even pass in the Senate today.
"Because this bill is so deeply unpopular that the voters in the most liberal state in the country just elected a Republican to the Senate for the first time in nearly four decades in order to stop it.
"Democrats want to pretend this didn’t happen. They want to pretend that New Jersey and Virginia and Massachusetts didn’t happen. They want to pretend that the views of the people who sent us here don’t matter.
"They want to pretend we can afford a $2.5 trillion entitlement in the middle of a recession when we can’t meet the obligations we already have.
"They want to pretend that future generations won’t have to bear the burden of their actions.
"They want to pretend that our actions today won’t affect the American dream tomorrow.
"Well, they’re living in a fantasy. And, today that fantasy becomes even more absurd.
"As if the bill they voted on yesterday wasn’t bad enough, now they want to make it worse. That’s what’s going on in the Senate this week.
"Democrat leaders now want us to take the bill that passed the Senate in December and that the House voted on last night and make the tax hikes even higher, the Medicare cuts even deeper. And, they want us to endorse a raft of new sweetheart deals that were struck behind closed doors last week so this thing could limp over the finish line last night.
"Americans said they didn’t want this bill. Democrats passed it anyway.
"They said they didn’t like the deals and the giveaways. Democrats struck them anyway.
"Now, they want to make this bill even worse. They want to add more deals on top of the other ones.
"Well, I have message for our Democrat friends: Enough is enough
"No more tax hikes.
"No more Medicare cuts.
"No more deal making.
"No more backroom deals.
"Democrats may have won their vote last night, but they lost the argument.
"And they’ve lost the trust of the American people.
"Americans know you don’t drive down the cost of health care by spending another $2.5 trillion on health care. They know we can help people with preexisting conditions without slashing Medicare to do it. They know we can do all these things without crippling the economy or forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions.
"Americans see through all the false choices they’ve been handed by Democrats in Washington.
"Democrat leaders may have gotten their votes. They may have gotten their win. But today is a new day.
"Already, we’re seeing Democrats in the Senate distance themselves from this effort to make a bad bill worse. So, we already know that reconciliation is guaranteed to have bipartisan opposition.
"Democrats were hoping that they could silence the voices of the American people last night. But, starting today, those voices are going to be heard. Senate Republicans are going to make sure those voices are heard."