Grasping at straws
It is now apparent that Medusa Pelosi doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate bill. The Stupak coalition is holding. On top of those headaches, the other Blue Dogs are sticking with their no votes because of budgetary concerns. A very key moment I thought came yesterday when Jim Donnelly (D-Indiana) indicated that he would switch his vote from yes to no over the abortion issue. If Donnelly is switching his vote, then Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth are likely to as well. Ellsworth much more so since he is now campaigning for the Indiana senate seat vacated by the retiring Evan Bayh. The reason why this is key is because even if the Stupak became a turncoat on abortion, it is not a given that the Senate bill could still pass. Now with Stupak saying that there would be no deal in regards to getting a seperate bill that would get his federal aborition funding ban passed through the House and Senate, this in essence killed the Senate bill. Another major potential headache rearing its ugly head for Pelosi is that the 24 congressmen Hispanic caucus are indicating they might not vote for the bill now because of immigration language in the Senate bill.
Now apparently the Democrats are resorting to desperate tricks to try to get something through before the Easter recess. Obama/Pelosi/Reid are terrified of Democratic congressmen having to go home and face their constituents without any Obamacare legislation passed. Pelosi might have a lot of whip tools but no whip is more powerful than the people’s whip to persuade congressmen. Hence, the Slaughter Solution. No, that is not intended as a pun but it would in effect slaughter our legislative process as mandated by the Constitution. Daniel Foster over at NRO provided a great article yesterday on the nuances of this. As Brian Darling pointed out in his great post earlier, Louise Slaughter (yes, she is the congresswoman who introduced the sad story of a woman who couldn’t afford to get her own dentures so she had to use her dead sister’s) would in essence try to change the rules so the Senate bill could be deemed “passed” by rule and not by a vote in the House. This flies directly in the face of Article 1 Section 7 as effectively highlighted by Leon Wolf yesterday. To top this all off, House and Senate parliamentarians were at closed door meetings with Pelosi and Reid yesterday. Obviously I have a big problem with that because parliamentarians are supposed to be impartial and this appearance doesn’t exactly sustain the parliamentarian’s impartial image. Could this be a way to create a crisis that Rahm Emanuel loves to take advantage of?
Other problems for the Democrats are that since no bill has passed and been signed into law yet, reconciliation apparently cannot take place. Hence, this why they are trying to find ways around this. If everyone plays by the rules, then Pelosi doesn’t have the votes, the current bill gets scrapped and she has to start over or walk away and not take health care up again for the rest of the congressional term. I would have to agree with Mr. Foster that these tactics could be used to take the pressure off of Stupak and induce his coalition to vote for the healthcare bill. However, it would be hard to imagine Stupak and other pro-life Democratic congressmen being able to tell their constituents that they didn’t vote for the healthcare bill that had federal funding for abortions as is in the Senate bill. The constituents would be able to see straight through them because in essence Stupak would be giving tacit approval if he went along with this.
To pass a bill by usurpation of the Constitution is tantamount to opening up a Pandora’s box for Democrats. There will be legal challenges galore if they try to pull this off and Obama signs it into law. The majority of Americans would be livid. On top of that, the Democratic losses in the House come November could be the most that any political party has ever had in one congressional election. In reality, the Democrats have lost this battle. However, in their insanity to get their crown jewel socialized health care, it could permanently exile their party to the wilderness and rip apart our country in the process.
This entire package of tactics could very well be a red herring to take the people and the GOP’s eye off the real objective we should be focusing on. Keep the heat up on all the vulnerable Democratic congressmen in the House but most of all, keep an eye out for any tricks Obama, Pelosi and Reid are up to.