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Reid: One GOP Vote Makes Health Care ‘Bipartisan’ (or None)

‘Bipartisan’ has different meanings to different people. For example, the stimulus bill got just 3 2 Republican votes. Was that a bipartisan effort? According to Reid, one vote is enough to make a bill bipartisan. And based on his comments here at least, a bill can be bipartisan even when only Democrats vote for it:

Remember, “bipartisan,” as we learned with the effort on the recovery package, we only needed two. Right now we only need one. But as I told McConnell after Specter indicated he was going to change parties, we’re going to try to do our best to get along — you know, the Rodney King deal. We believe — I believe, and I believe I’ve changed the way the Senate’s worked in the last 15 or 20 years, this last 100 days by saying, “You want amendments? Offer amendments. You want to offer one on abortion? Go ahead. You want to offer one on gun control? Go ahead.” We’re not concerned about protecting people from taking tough votes. We need to get a bill that is good for the American people, and if we just jam one through without giving the Republicans options to be part of the process, it won’t be as accepted…

Well first of all, one reason I want to do a bipartisan bill is we can do more. If we go to reconciliation, there’s certain things we cannot do because of the rules that accompany reconciliation. We probably couldn’t do, even if we got everything we wanted with reconciliation, we probably couldn’t do more than 75 percent of what needed to be done. With a bipartisan bill, we can do it all, and I hope we can do it all.

It seems Reid took one too many head shots during his boxing career, since he can’t remember the difference between ‘bipartisan’ and ‘filibuster-proof majority.’ He says that he needed two votes to make the ‘stimulus’ bill bipartisan, but now he needs just one. In each case, he’s talking about getting to 60 votes – the threshold for breaking a filibuster. If Al Franken joins the Senate, Reid won’t need any Republican votes to get to 60 (or, to make it ‘bipartisan’ in his book).

Reid’s also proud of the way the Senate operates right now. Since he’s become Senate Democratic leader, the use of filibusters has exploded – including the first ever filibuster of a Supreme Court justice. The federal deficit has increased to historic levels. And polls show that the American people hold the Congress in astoundingly low esteem. Job well done, Harry!

And what could lead the American people to their shame about how the Senate operates? How about the fact that Senate leaders utter phrases like “if we just jam one through without giving the Republicans options to be part of the process, it won’t be as accepted.” Once again, Reid’s test isn’t how many Republicans vote for it, or how many of their ideas are included, or whether they accept that the process has been fair. Reid’s goal is to make sure that Republicans have the option to be part of the process – even if the bill is ultimately rammed through.

If you’re proud of the way the Senate works, thank Harry Reid. If you want change, Reid seems incapable of delivering it.

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