Senator Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said yesterday that reconciliation can only be used if the House passes the Senate bill first. As Sen. Conrad declared, “I don’t know of any way, I don’t know of any way where you can have a reconciliation bill pass before the bill that it is meant to reconcile passes.” Neither do I.
Then, the kicker: “When reminded that House Democrats don’t want to do health care in that order, Conrad said bluntly: ‘Fine, then it’s dead.‘”
Now, the Speaker finds herself in the position of having to pass a bill she says she does not have the votes to pass.
Without passing the Senate bill she can’t pass, the Speaker can’t do reconciliation. (See Sen. Conrad, above.)
OK. Now, this next part is really, really important.
The Speaker and the White House find themselves in this position because of Senator DeMint (R-SC). He insisted that Senator McConnell object to the appointment of the House-Senate Conferees, thus preventing a Conference on the bill.
The inability of the Dems to have a House-Senate Conference then forced the Speaker to have a House floor vote on the Senate bill, which she can’t pass. And there the process has been stuck. Has not moved an inch since Sen. DeMint’s objection. It can’t, she does not have the votes.
The Speaker could fix the Senate bill on the House floor by amendment, then pass the Senate bill amended and fixed, but then it would have to go back to the Senate, where it would have to get 60 yes votes, or die. Since it will not get 60 votes ever again in the Senate, it will die — if the Speaker tries the amend the Senate bill on the House floor and send it back to the Senate route.
When Senator DeMint (R-SC) denied the Speaker the ability to fix the bill in Conference, he put the Speaker and the White House in their current box. If there had been a House-Senate Conference, then the House could have fixed the bill without a floor vote and the bill could have changed, without having to send it back to the Senate to face 60 vote margins.
But now, they can’t have a conference, and the Speaker and the White House must pass the unpassable Senate bill, in order to even try reconciliation.
When the Democrats finally admit ObamaCare is dead, historians should note, this is the single act that killed it. And it was such an artistic assassination of the bill.
Even with a city full of people watching the process, and who all saw the House and Senate Conference be denied, all the chattering heads and analysts did not understand what it meant, until it was too late.