With the election of Scott Brown, the Democrats have lost their ability to block a filibuster in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi has announced that she doesn’t have the votes to pass the senate bill.
Congressional Democrats have not given up, they are ready to shove Obamacare down the throats of the American Public. The only remaining option is reconciliation, also known as the nuclear option.
Reconciliation is a legislative process of the Senate intended to allow a contentious budget bill to be considered without being subject to filibuster.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona Democrat and co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said passing the Senate bill and a fix is impractical because there are too many repairs to make in a timely manner.
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The Senate bill, “is a recipe for disaster down the line,” he said. “There are too many elements of this bill that make no sense for me to cast my vote in favor.”
He wants to pass the financial parts of the health bill through reconciliation in the Senate – a complicated procedural move that only needs 51 votes – and a second bill with popular insurance industry reforms through the traditional method. It’s a sentiment that’s been echoed by many of his liberal Democratic colleagues. He argues that the insurance reforms could get at least one Republican backer to help it move through the Senate.
Congressman Paul Ryan went a bit further, he told NRO that the House was indeed going ahead with setting up the reconciliation process:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells National Review Online that House Democrats are planning to use the budget-reconciliation process in order to pass Obamacare. “They’re meeting with each other this weekend to pursue it,” says Ryan. “I’ve spoken with many Democrats and the message is this: They’re not ready to give up. They’ve waited their entire adult lives for this moment and they aren’t ready to let 100,000 pesky votes in Massachusetts get in the way of fulfilling their destiny. They’ll look at every option and spend the next four or five days figuring it out.”
If the Democrats pass a health-care bill through reconciliation, it means they would need only 51 votes in the Senate for final passage. To start the process, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) would need to bring a new health-care bill to the House budget committee with reconciliation instructions, with the Senate doing the same. “They’d have to go back to the beginning of the process,” says Ryan. “They’d need to affix reconciliation instructions to a new bill.” Doing so, he says, wouldn’t be too hard. “There’s nothing we can do to stop this from a technical standpoint, since all they need is a simple majority vote and our ratio on the committee is terrible. What [Republicans] can do on the budget committee is pass resolutions for the Rules committee to insist on certain changes in the bill and create a ‘vote-a-rama’ atmosphere.”
If reconciliation happens, Ryan predicts that the Democrats will still have a hard time pulling it off. “There are Blue Dog Democrats out there who are more survivalist than ideologues. One or two switches could be a game changer. The question is whether Democrats will continue to follow Pelosi off the cliff. After Massachusetts, the Democrats are quickly realizing that even if the president comes in to stump, and you get all the union support you need, it’s still not enough to get you elected.”
My guess is that try as they might, reconciliation will not happen. After Brown’s victory there are too many scared politicians to shove this bill down the throats of Americans. But then again, we never thought a Republican would replace Teddy Kennedy in the Senate. The fat lady hasn’t sung on Obamacare, but she is warming up.
Allahpundit is reporting that the reconciliation talks may be falling apart. Click Here to read his take.