President Barack Obama’s highly anticipated Blair House Summit was sold as a bipartisan negotiation on ObamaCare between House and Senate leaders of both parties. The White House claims that this day long meeting is an opportunity for the American people to witness a negotiation between Republicans and Democrats. If you tune into this event, you will not see any negotiation. You will witness a desparate President trying sell a warmed over version of ObamaCare. Even for a President well known for his exceptional ability to communicate, the Administration’s attempts to sell a plan that is offensive to a substantial majority of Americans has proven to be an epic failure.
The fact of the matters is that in anticipation of this so called negotiation, the Democrats are crafting a reconciliation strategy. Reconciliation is a fast track partisan strategy for the Democrats to change the rules of the game so they can avoid a filibuster in the Senate. I call this new strategy to pass Obamacare the Health Care Nuclear Option because it will blow up what remains of bipartisanship in the Capitol and put the United States on a pathway to European style government run health care.
Furthermore, the American people explicitly reject ObamaCare and don’t want it. So much for consent of the governed. This Summit is going to be a day long press conference for President Obama and the ObamaCare Cheerleading Squad to try one last time to sell the President’s health care plan that includes unpopular mandates, higher taxes and cuts to health care providers.
The President’s health care summit was supposed to be an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to get in a room to negotiate a bipartisan health care reform bill. Not gonna happen. From the AP:
Here’s one point on which Democrats and Republicans agree on health care: President Barack Obama‘s much-touted televised summit has virtually no chance of breaking the political logjam. That means Democrats will be forced to find a way to pass an overhaul on their own or face a huge political defeat.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “I’m not quite sure what the purpose is. It seems the President has already made up his mind.” And liberal columnist Ruth Marcus wrote for the Washington Post, “the real target of presidential bidding is his own party — specifically House Democrats.” This is true. The Democrat Leadership in the House have to convince Blue Dogs and pro-life Democrats to walk the plank and further endanger these member’s chances of coming back to Washington next year as members of Congress. Basically, this Administration is asking moderate House Democrats to commit political suicide to help pass ObamaCare.
The Senate will be a bit easier, because the Health Care Nuclear Option only requires a simple majority, therefore the Democrats only need 50 Senators to go along with the plan with Vice President Biden providing the deciding vote. This would provide Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Jim Webb (D-Va.) and other moderate Democrats an opportunity to vote with a majority of Americans and against ObamaCare. This is called inside the Beltway a cover vote, because these moderate Senate Democrats can vote against ObamaCare after they voted for it. If reconciliation passes the House, it will be game over. Although Republican Senators will have opportunities to raise points of order and force tough votes, they will not be likely able to defeat the bill.
Although the liberals point to to the many times that reconciliation has been used, it would be unprecedented to use reconciliation to pass ObamaCare. Reconciliation is unusual for the following three issues:
- Reconciliation has not been used in the past as the procedure of last resort – Last November, the House passed a version of Obamacare by just a five-vote vote margin. That bill contained a public option, strong anti-abortion language and an income surtax on wealthy individuals, but it has been tossed aside in this new strategy. On Christmas Eve the Senate passed ObamaCare with no public option, a provision that allows federal monies to go to abortion and a tax on high-cost health plans. The House plan passed by 5 votes and the Senate plan passed on a party line vote. When Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass) was elected, they tossed aside the regular rules and are now using the Health Care Nuclear Option.
- Reconciliation has not been used in the past to amend a bill that has not passed – It is unprecedented to use reconciliation to amend a bill that has not been signed into law yet. The plan is for the House to pass the Senate version of ObamaCare, then for the House and Senate to use the Health Care Nuclear Option to pass a new bill that amends the old bill. It is very confusing and they want it that way. The liberals are using a special procedure to amend ObamaCare in a way they could not do without reconciliation. This has never happened.
- Reconciliation has not been used in the past as a means to pass a bill before the American people are allowed to participate in the process– The White House is promoting a quick approval of ObamaCare through reconciliation to steamroll the American people. Robert Reich, former Clinton Secretary of Labor, argues “my free advice to the President: If you want to get health care enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly.” They want to get it passed quickly, because they know the American people don’t like the core of the bill. Reich argues that “Republicans have done a far better job scaring Americans about health care reform than any pollster has been able to uncover.” Translated into English this means that they are worried that if the American people are allowing time to read the President’s new proposal and review it, then there could be a problem with passage. Therefore, pass it quick before the American people can have a say. It is unprecedented to use reconciliation as a means to ignore the will of the American people.
The most offensive part of this charade on the part of the President is that they are rejecting the will of the American people. The American people reject ObamaCare by wide margins. The most convincing evidence of this is polling data compiled at Real Clear Politics (From 1/20-2/22 the average ObamaCare poll is 38.4% support and 52.3% oppose it for an average ObamaCare deficit of 13.9%). Following list are the polling companies that have found recently an intense hatred of ObamaCare among the American people: Rasmussen Reports – 15% Oppose v Support ObamaCare; Pew Research – 12% Oppose v Support ObamaCare; Quinnipiac – 19% Oppose v Support ObamaCare; Ipsos/McClatchy – 14% Oppose v Support ObamaCare; and, CNN/Opinion Research – 20% Oppose v Support ObamaCare. Those numbers are damaging enough, yet the election of Scott Brown in liberal Massachusetts, a candidate who ran a campaign to be the 41st vote to obstruct and defeat ObamaCare, should remove any doubt that the American people have rejected ObamaCare.
We live in a nation that treasures the idea of consent of the governed. The American people should not be fooled by this so called bipartisan summit, because it is merely press conference for the President to sell his legislation. It is shocking that liberals in Congress are trying to use the Health Care Nuclear Option, a partisan means to ram the bill through the House and Senate, at a time when the American people await this summit that has been marketed as a negotiation between the two parties. The Health Care Nuclear Option talk may have sabotaged the Blair House Bipartisan Summit and exposed this Administration and liberal Democrats for trying to have it both ways.