Patterico's Pontifications


ObamaCare: The unsurprising non-conference

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:18 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The New Republic stretches the meaning of “EXCLUSIVE” on ObamaCare:

According to a pair of senior Capitol Hill staffers, one from each chamber, House and Senate Democrats are “almost certain” to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee. Doing so would allow Democrats to avoid a series of procedural steps–not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate–that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December.

“There will almost certainly be full negotiations but no formal conference,” the House staffer says. “There are too many procedural hurdles to go the formal conference route in the Senate.”

First, the Democratic leadership was looking at forgoing a traditional conference committee in favor of a ping-pong (or pong ping) strategy for passing of ObamaCare since before passage of the Senate version. Second, the strategy eliminates a whopping three procedural hurdles — and they are so procedural that the only difference would be another 90 hours of delay (as was the case with passing the Senate version before Christmas).

Philip Klein, who has done yeoman’s work on blogging ObamaCare, is not convinced that House liberals will stand for the final bill being cooked up in a small backroom. But steamrolling House liberals is likely the real reason the leadership does not want a real House-Senate conference. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva whines:

“I am disappointed that there will be no formal conference process by which various constituencies can impact the discussion. I have not been approached about my concerns with the Senate bill, and I will be raising those at the Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday. I and other progressives saw a conference as a means to improve the bill and have a real debate, and now with this behind-the-scenes approach, we’re concerned even more.”

House progressives needs to brush up on their chick-lit: If they aren’t calling you, they just aren’t that into you.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will reportedly demand an agreement from Obama that health care coverage for illegals who earn a path to citizenship will be addressed in an immigration bill. This is textbook Wimpy: I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman can tell people he will confront Pres. Obama over the deal the White House cut with PhRMA. But when he asks Obama, “Are we interested in protecting the profits of the drug companies or protecting seniors?”, we already know he’s going to side with drug companies. Waxman can indignantly flare his nostrils, but the reality is that the drug companies already steamrolled Waxman in his own committee.

The non-conference may produce a lot of sound and fury from House liberals, but it will signify nothing. Progressives have not shown the cojones of a Joe Lieberman, who was willing to let the bill die until to got what he wanted. (And that, as much as anything, explains lefty hysteria toward Lieberman.)


13 Responses to “ObamaCare: The unsurprising non-conference”

  1. Nothing like a transparent Dictatorship. I hope this time the GOP Senate at least has the whole bill read on the Senate floor. Then again they may have early flights to catch. So that may be to much trouble for them.

    I speak on condition of anonymity because I am not authorized to speak publicly.

    Sanmon (319c0c)

  2. the money quote in the article was the last para:
    “Yes, Republicans are sure to complain that they’re being excluded from deliberations. But given their repeated efforts to block not just reform but even mere votes on reform, it’s not clear why Democrats are obligated to include them in discussions anymore.”

    i never want to hear another lieberal lecturing conservatives about our needing to be “bipartisan” when something is up for a decision. NO MORE RINOS!

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  3. Karl, do you have a sense for whether there are Tea Parties going on and whether or not us ordinary citizens are giving our representatives an earful about this awful legislation? I don’t hear much news about it, but at this point I figure that the mainstream media don’t want to report on anything other than the inevitability of Obama/Pelosi/ReidCare.

    JVW (8704f2)

  4. I should like also to negotiate informally about whether or not I have to be a part of this dehumanizing dirty socialist degradation of our once-great little country.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  5. This is good news. Anything that veers this towards the Senate version is better than the alternative.

    Having said that, Reid is making a colossal miscalculation that somehow this “moderate” approach is gonna save some seats. This is their one, last, greatest chance to achieve the nanny state they have had wet dreams about for decades.

    Ed from SFV (1333b1)

  6. JVW,

    AFAIK, there aren’t large numbers of Tea Party protests going on at this point, though I don’t monitor that sort of thing closely. But it’s not like the Dems don’t already know they’re railroading an unpopular bill through Congress.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  7. Since the Democrats are essentially going to be fighting this one out amongst themselves, who cares how they do it as long as there is the opportunity to shed a little sunshine on the process and the deals that get made in coming up with the final unacceptable product.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  8. I think the only hope in stopping this mess is to begin a campaign of subtly taunting House progressives. Remind them that (1) this bill is not universal coverage — 20+ million remain uninsured, (2) it contains no public option, let alone single payer, (3) it funnels lots of money into large insurance companies, (4) it funnels lots of money into large Pharma companies, and (5) it (may or may not) impose a hefty tax on the insurance plans of union members. Get the message out that voting for this mess will be the sell-out of all sell-outs. Entice Howard Dean into speaking out against the bill yet again. Maybe, just maybe, progressives can’t be convinced that they will somehow do better down the road if they stop it now.

    This is the strategy that Governor William Weld of Massachusetts used to enact welfare reform in Massachusetts about 15 years ago. The legislature, dominated by liberals naturally, passed a very misleading bill that was labeled “welfare reform” but was really just a codification of the status quo. Weld vetoed it, but he didn’t have the votes in the legislature to uphold the veto. He flipped two of the most staunch liberals — who hated even the cosmetic changes to the welfare laws that were to give the bill the patina of reform — and got them to vote to uphold his veto because they actually thought they could move the final product further to the left. Maybe we can have a replay of that in the House of Representatives.

    JVW (8704f2)

  9. If Waxman “indignantly flares his nostrils,” people are gonna fall in.

    Our current government ain’t pretty already, and you gotta put that image in my head??

    rtrski (336865)

  10. Has the fat lady sung on ObamaCare? I don’t think so. Huge problems remain.

    Regardless of what the democrats do in conference, 13 State Attorneys General will file suit the second Obama puts down his pen.

    Union member with great healthcare policies will see a 40% tax on it. They will get additional pay to cover the increase and find themselves paying more income tax. Their employers will raise prices on the company’s products making them even less competitive. Goodbye manufacturing jobs.

    Taxpayer funded abortions under any circumstance? Goodbye blue dogs. Five are retiring. One has already switched parties.

    Cuts in Medicare? Goodbye seniors.

    Insurance mandates? Thanks to Obama’s stewardship of the economy, half of the 18-26 year olds are unemployed. The next several years are not likely to change that. Goodbye Legions of young Obama supporters.

    Cornhusker Kickback? The entire State of Nebraska is ashamed of Nelson and he’s not alone. Elected officials are beginning to fear their constituents.

    50% of the cost of healthcare into state funded Medicaid? The states don’t have the money and are unwilling to hike taxes.

    It’s sad that the Left is dissatisfied with these bills because they do not go far enough. The 2010 election is less than ten months away. Be a good little democrat and maybe Obama will come to your district to thank you for supporting his bold agenda.

    Good luck with that.

    arch (24f4f2)

  11. I look forward to reading this bill in its entirety when it is posted for 5 days public comment on the White House website, just like Obama promised.

    carlitos (057200)

  12. […] top in 2008 could turn against the party in November’s midterm. Obama’s proposals for healthcare, the economy and immigration could deepen […]

    Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson Says Satan Should Write Foreword to Cheney’s Book: More Name-calling from the Clown from Florida (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  13. “Progressives have not shown the cojones of a Joe Lieberman”

    Unless your idea of progress includes dismantling national security, nationalizing private industry, confiscating individual assets for the collective, and taxing the productive straight into the stone age, I wish to hell that people would stop calling them “progressives.”

    Language has consequences. Stop yielding the field to dishonest political predators by calling them anything other than what they are.

    Federal Dog (2282a0)

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