For those attempting to figure out what is in the Senate ObamaCare bill, you are in the company of 99 U.S. Senators who have not seen the bill. At least that is what today’s New York Times is reporting:
“frustration has been growing among some lawmakers over the delay, especially as they are asked repeated questions about a bill they have not yet seen.
“I don’t think the bill text is being shown to anybody,” Mr. [Senator] Nelson said last week.”
According to CNN: “In fact, no one has seen the Senate bill.”
They a have a phrase out West for this — all hat, no cattle.
I call it a vapor bill — all hype, no bill.
What about the bills that passed the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the Health. Education, Labor and Pension Committees? Well, they are merely guideposts, not actually what the Senate will attempt to vote on — Senator Reid is changing both Committee’s bills in his own image, and has been since October 13th when the Senate Finance Committee passed its bill — more than one month ago.
So where is the Senate bill? According to Senator Reid and everyone else, it is still being worked on. Under construction, with parts of the bill being changed and dropped, new ones added, to accommodate the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the bill’s cost.
Senator Reid has been getting such bad news from the Congressional Budget Office that he floated a increase in the Medicare payroll tax last week.
Senator McConnell, the Republican Leader in the Senate, said that 99 U.S. Senators have not seen the bill. How much does the bill cost — good question. How much in new taxes does the bill levy — good question.
And Senator Reid needs 60 votes on the motion to proceed to the House bill, so Senator Reid can strike and insert a bill no Senator has seen — and Senator Reid says he is bringing before the Senate this week. Uh, huh.
But according to reports by CNN and Reuters, Senator Reid does not have 60 votes, he has 57 votes. If Senator Reid loses one of the 60 votes he needs on the motion to proceed, the entire bill fails, and does not come up before the U.S. Senate.
And Senator Reid expects his party’s Senators to vote for a bill they have not had time to study, or adequately review the score? Apparently he does. Or perhaps he wants the bill to fail so he can stop the political bleeding that this toxic bill is causing the Dems, the White House’s irrational focus on health care notwithstanding.
There is so much that is so wrong with this picture. Does this all strike you as the workings of a banana republic?
Is it any wonder the independent voters are bolting from the Democrats? Do they have any idea how silly they look? They have been working since January on health care, and still they do not have a bill and still they do not know how much it costs. But they are pushing higher taxes, and half a trillion in Medicare cuts. No surprise that the world is losing faith in the U.S. dollar and fleeing it: (Dollar falls, sending gold to a record high.)
Senator Reid’s bill is a truly vaporous — shape-shifting in content and cost and taxes — with Senator Reid and CBO trying to conduct this floating mass into something appealing that can be agreed upon by 60 U.S. Senators. But the vapor bill keeps being buffeted by the shifting winds of politics.
And then there are other show stopper issues. One of which, CNN explains, could deny Senator Reid his 60 votes:
“To secure the votes of anti-abortion Democrats, House Democratic leaders passed a health care bill that prohibits abortion coverage in a government-sponsored plan and in private plans that accept anyone using government subsidies to buy insurance coverage.
In the Senate, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, said he would vote against any bill without those restrictions. But abortion rights Democrats, including many of the 17 Senate women, may object.”
And the pro-life, pro-abortion fight inside the Democratic party has nothing to do with CBO — so perhaps Senator Reid’s the-CBO-ate-my-homework excuse is true, but it may be that politically irreconcilable differences are the real problem with revealing the text of the bill.