The Dems are floating a potential schedule for passing ObamaCare in the next few weeks. It might not be realistic, but it is informative:
- March 3: Obama lays out a package that will bridge the difference between the House and Senate health care bills.
- March 4-19: A summary of Obama's proposal will be turned into legislative language. Congressional leaders will begin looking for votes.
- March 19: The House passes the Senate’s health care bill. The bill then goes to the straight to Obama's desk for signature. ObamaCare becomes the law of the land. Senate Democrats will make some kind of promise to House leadership that they will pass a package of fixes through the reconciliation process.
- March 21: The House amends the Senate bill with a reconciliation bill.
- March 23: The Senate begins debate on the reconciliation bill.
- Voting begins March 26, the first day of Easter recess, at which point Reid announces that the Senate will stay in session through recess to consider all amendments.
- Before March 29: Vote on final passage follows consideration of the last amendment.
Important items to note:
- In this scheme, the House moves first. The Senate is not going to move unless forced to do so.
- The issue of Reconciliation only comes up after ObamaCare has already been signed into law.
- The third step in the sequence is the only one that matters. This is where you loose your health care freedom. Game over.
- The third step does not need to follow the first two steps. The third step does not require any subsequent steps.
- In this sequence, reconciliation is superfluous.
On December 24, the Senate passed the best health care bill that it could come up with. Since then, the House has had almost 10 weeks to pass that bill and send it to Obama. If House Democrats had any intention of passing the Senate bill, wouldn't they have passed it already? Democrats know they don't have time to waste. This is an election year and the economy is in the dump. And ObamaCare isn't becoming more popular as time passes.
The schedule outlined above is insane. Even if ObamaCare 3.0 can be hastily translated into palatable legislative language in the next 17 days, it would then need to be analyzed by the CBO. Leery house Dems aren't going to move forward until they've seen a price tag.
Again, all this speculation is founded on the assumption that the House can somehow pass the Senate bill after having sat on it for 3 months...as if they've been waiting for a miracle all this time. What miracle? On cue, the left-wing Polyannas:
Obama, Reid and Pelosi are are feverishly working behind the scenes on a brilliant 'sidecar bill' for reconciliation [ObamaCare 3.0]. The sidecar bill will include the super-incredible public option and lots of other magically delicious stuff. If Obama dangles the sidecar bill in front of House Democrats like a carrot on a stick, Team Pelosi will step out in blind faith and pass Reid's abysmally unpopular bill.
Obviously, House Dems aren't gullible enough for that. They understand that Nancy Pelosi is prepared to sacrifice vulnerable Democrats in order to achieve her goals. In light of Nancy's indifference to their dilemma, House Dems know for sure that if they pass the Senate bill, the Senate will not feel obligated to change the bill in ways that will help the peons of the lower chamber.
If House Democrats pass the Senate's version of the health care bill, and if the Senate doesn't have the time, votes or inclination to return to its own vomit, House Dems would then be on the hook for all the bill's flaws, and there would be no guarantee that any of the flaws would get fixed before the November elections.
The Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, prison sentences for failure to comply with the individual mandate, tax dollars for abortion, loopholes for illegals, new taxes on union health care plans... There would be a lot of great material for some really sweet GOP campaign ads.
Rep. Steny Hoyer proposed an alternative sequence today. Are we officially a banana republic now?
Reconciliation Math: The problem is in the House, not the Senate.
Keith Hennessy: Challenges of the Two Bill Strategy
Obama "open" to the idea of putting some lipstick on his pig
Republican Compares Obama To Snooki
Milton Friedman - Socialized Medicine
Left Coast Rebel: "Coffee Party" astroturfers exposed