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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Senate GOP Decides to Improve Health Care Bill so it Can Pass

This is frustrating. The Senate Republican Conference is giddy that its first amendment to the health care legislation is to preserve the bloated Medicare bureaucracy. The Senate Democrats want to do what they always accuse the GOP of doing and cut Medicare. The GOP is apparently giddy at the opportunity to rub the Democrats’ noses in their Medicare cuts.So now the GOP is using its first amendment to reaffirm the Democrat theory that Medicare cannot be cut and cuts even to the rate of growth of Medicare are also wrong.The GOP could have, by chance, offered up the Stupak language, which has not yet been inserted. The GOP could have offered up an amendment to split the Democrats up front. The GOP could have done nothing and moved on to let cloture fail, thus killing the bill. Instead, Democrats and Republicans will no doubt join hands and vote to put the money back in Medicare, making it a grand bipartisan exercise.What next? A GOP amendment to guarantee breast cancer screenings in the legislation?Having started from the presupposition that the health care legislation is going to pass, the GOP seems to be signaling it will work to “improve” the legislation just enough to overcome a filibuster.The legislation has 57 votes already. The GOP does not need to offer amendments to improve the bill — they need to bring it to a vote and kill it. Preening for cameras and favorable press coverage is going to get the bill to 60 votes and a signing ceremony.*Yes, I realize these are all motions to recommit the bill to committee, which will never pass. So they aren’t trying to improve the bill, this a pure messaging/posturing exercise, but it doesn’t help to stop the bill. Since I assume we’re trading amendments (one GOP amend vote, then one Dem, and back and forth) every lame GOP recommit amendment we rush to do gives Dems another chance to fix their bill and cobble together 60 votes.

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