Home > Uncategorized > Bye, Bye, Birdie of Bipartisanship

Bye, Bye, Birdie of Bipartisanship

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed yesterday that he plans to use the reconciliation process to pass the final changes to the Senate’s health care reform legislation. Republicans are infuriated by the move and claim it’s an abuse of what’s called “normal order” in moving legislation through. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham was quoted as saying that a health care bill passed through reconciliation “would be the loss of the Senate as a real viable institution.”

Democrats counter that in the past Republicans have regularly used the tactic to pass legislation they prefer. Republican uses included the 1996 Welfare Reform bill and a 2007 expansion of student loans. And both parties have used the process to win expansions of social benefits, from enhanced Medicare benefits to COBRA health plans extending health insurance coverage to the unemployed. Republicans respond to this by arguing that none of the past uses were as consequential in terms of impact on the economy and Americans’ lives. The whole thing is just a litle “tu quoque” for either side to claim the moral high ground.

Harry Reid said there were still issues remaining to iron out, and Nancy Pelosi said there were still bribes to be worked out “member-by-member.” And after months upon months of study, fighting, negotiating, and pontificating, Pelosi said,  “We have a pretty good idea of where we are going on it.” I’ve been listening to these people for over 2 years talk about health care reform, and they have a “pretty good idea” of where we’re going? One might think that the anointed one would have explained it to them by now. Or are they, like us, too stupid to understand the bill?

Of course, Madame Speaker said that once the bill and cost estimates are complete, she will give House members one week to study the proposal. “But it is not something that we want to drag out,” she said. Two years later, God forbid we drag it out.

In further news on the bipartisan front, it appears that Democrats are undecided on whether to attach to the reconciliation package the anointed one’s proposed revamp of the federal student loan program that would boost aid for the neediest students. Reconciliation can only be used on one bill this year and Democrats fear attaching the student-loan provision to the healthcare bill could hurt its chances of approval.

And then, there is the Senate legislation that would direct the broadest overhaul of financial regulation since the Great Depression. Chris Dodd will introduce it on Monday without any Republican support.

The vaunted bipartisanship of the anointed one seems to have vanished into the fog. Hell, Obama and his Chicago-style cronies don’t even care about what the people want. Poll after poll says the public is unhappy with the bill. The troika of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi answers that by saying we’re too dumb to know what’s good for us. Pelosi says ten or twenty years after the bill passes we’ll be happy with the outcome. Forgive me if the record of congressional failures doesn’t fill me with hope.

But more importantly, am I the only one that is infuriated by the politicians’ condescending attitude? “We know what’s best, don’t bother your pretty little head about it.” We see it time and time again. Politicians, once elected, become more and more insulated, and more and more convinced of their intellectual and moral superiority. Then, like light-fingered Charlie Rangel, when they get caught stealing, or lying, or adultering, they blame it on anyone other than themselves. For my fix to this problem, see an earlier post of mine entitled “Daddy’s Little Congressman.”

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