Then and Now
Back on 2005, the Democrats liked the idea of the filibuster and didn’t much like the fact that the GOP was seriously considering scrapping it to get a 51 person vote to confirm judges.The Democrats are doing the same thing now.
- Reconciliation has not been used in the past as the procedure of last resort – Last November, the House passed a version of Obamacare by just a five-vote vote margin. That bill contained a public option, strong anti-abortion language and an income surtax on wealthy individuals, but it has been tossed aside in this new strategy. On Christmas Eve the Senate passed ObamaCare with no public option, a provision that allows federal monies to go to abortion and a tax on high-cost health plans. The House plan passed by 5 votes and the Senate plan passed on a party line vote. When Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass) was elected, they tossed aside the regular rules and are now using the Health Care Nuclear Option.
- Reconciliation has never been used to amend a bill that has not passed – It is unprecedented to use reconciliation to amend a bill that has not been signed into law yet. The plan is for the House to pass the Senate version of ObamaCare, then for the House and Senate to use the Health Care Nuclear Option to pass a new bill that amends the old bill. It is very confusing and they want it that way. The liberals are using a special procedure to amend ObamaCare in a way they could not do without reconciliation. This has never happened.
- Reconciliation has not been used in the past as a means to pass a bill before the American people are allowed to participate in the process- The White House is promoting a quick approval of ObamaCare through reconciliation to steamroll the American people. Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor, argues “my free advice to the President: If you want to get health care enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly.” They want to get it passed quickly, because they know the American people don’t like the core of the bill. Reich argues that “Republicans have done a far better job scaring Americans about health care reform than any pollster has been able to uncover.” Translated into English this means that they are worried that if the American people are allowing time to read the President’s new proposal and review it, then there could be a problem with passage. Therefore, pass it quick before the American people can have a say. It is unprecedented to use reconciliation as a means to ignore the will of the American people.
And then there are the Democrats on words and trying to change Senate rules to enact things with just 51 votes:”The President hasn’t gotten his way [on judges] and that has prompting a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever . . . . What I worry about would be that you would still have two chambers, the House and the Senate, but simply majoritarian absolute power on either side. And that’s just not what the founders intended.“— Barack Obama in 2005.”This President is saying change the rules. Do it the way I want it done.”– Hillary Clinton in 2005.
Writing to Thomas Jefferson, who had been out of the country during the Constitutional Convention, James Madison explained that the Constitution’s framers considered the Senate to be the great “anchor” of the government. To the framers themselves, Madison explained that the Senate would be a “necessary fence” against the “fickleness and passion” that tended to influence the attitudes of the general public and members of the House of Representatives. George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to “cool” House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea.