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March 02, 2010

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PD

It's Obama's laser-like focus on jobs, jobs, jobs.

Jeff

more cowbell

Jack is Back!

So far, the only cost control is Jim Bunning and Paul Ryan. They can't hold out for much longer, so there goes the restraint. No, we have already run out of our money and we are now running out of other people's money. I really don't know why DC can't see this, understand this and just stop. Its almost as if they are programmed spend, tax, spend, borrow,spend zombies.

MayBee

Look at Bunning's lonely battle to get unemployment benefit extensions paid for with the bill that extended them.
There's unused money in the stimulus, yet the stimulus is more expensive than expected because they've had to give out more benefits than expected. So Congress's brilliant idea is to extend yet more benefits, but not use the stimulus money. This is about 2 weeks after they passed their "fiscally responsible" pay-go bill.

But Bunning is being vilified. He doesn't care about families! How can he let people without jobs just starve? He is heartless.

Does anybody really think Congress would cut health insurance benefits at some point in the future, merely to be fiscally responsible? Medicare cuts? Make the Doc fix? Who wants to be heartless?

Pofarmer

At this point, I'm becoming worried the only way we get spending cuts is if the govt implodes.

Clarice

Maybe we should start cutting govt salaries..studies show they are too high as it is ..

Jane

At this point, I'm becoming worried the only way we get spending cuts is if the govt implodes.

Great idea!

Maybe we should start cutting govt salaries..studies show they are too high as it is .

Ya think? I'd make every last one of them personally accountable for their votes. If it doesn't bring down the deficit, take the money from them.

rse

Maybe we should put Air Force One on a budget. He flew to Savannah this morning to give a closed door speech to 250 invitees at a technical college and then he flies home.

That'll fix the economy.

jimmyk

Does anybody really think Congress would cut health insurance benefits at some point in the future, merely to be fiscally responsible?

Sure, by rationing, killing granny, and turning doctors into civil servants and SEIU members.

Ignatz

--What will bring costs down is the whiz-bang curve-benders that will arrive in five years, or ten years, or whenever Uri Geller takes a job in the Administration.--

Yeah, those same curve benders started showing up in Medicare about five to ten years down the road too. And they don't bend down.
And now, as then, a good portion of the lies we are being told are knowingly false projections of doctor and hospital compensation.

Janet

Send Bunning a Thank You email. IMO we need to rally around those that are doing the right things.

likelycriminal

Obama's health care is already overseas. It starts with doctors lobbying cause they got stuff like government jobs and retirement and they put a treatment program together. Obama helps and wont pain them. It's just the drugs and administering at first. Something like chronic diseases. It's made an entitlement with a special budget voted on just before Presidential elections like Obama's. Then, they triple it's budghet to, say, 50 billion or more and then say they need to do more than just treat chronic diseases. As the fever builds, they explain they need things like offices for federal employees they need to hire to run healtcare and ads telling people not to screw. Something they couldn't 'figure on their own.

Like the computers they need for health care, this program failed in the US, so they exported it. It's really infrastructure and federal jobs needed, not the AIDS and other drugs. They need cell phone ads.

It's like the Olympics.

I wonder if I can write off my insulating if federal employees do it?

Paul from Boston

Cost control, right. In the past year I learned a bit about government cost control, regulation, and Medicare. My very elderly mother fell down and was taken to the ER. She was xrayed, CAT scanned, and poked and probed to she if she had broken anything. They kept her in the hospital overnight to make sure there was no hemorrhaging or other delayed problems. She was OK but the doctors and nurses insisted that rather than go home, she should go to rehab for a few weeks so that they could improve her muscle tone. Otherwise, because of the lack of strength in her legs she'd be at risk of falling again. OK, but what's it going to cost and will her coverage pay? Her insurance plan is a Medicare Advantage plan, which is a private replacement for Medicare but follows all the Medicare guidelines. Yes, yes, no problem, the insurance will pay BUT, as they informed me, according to Medicare rules it would only pay if she were in the hospital for three nights. The staff, which clearly had been through this drill before, figured out enough to do with my mother that she stayed the two extra nights, at a total additional cost of $20,000, before leaving for rehab. [For the insurance haters, the insurance co. paid off, no questions asked.]

This has got to be just the tip of the iceberg of regulations that drive the cost of health care sky high. If I came across this the first time I ever had to deal with Medicare what other wasteful horrors are buried in the regulations?

Danube of Thought

John Fund updates the status of Obamacare.

Danube of Thought

Beautiful: it appears that after a curling match on MSNBC bled over into Olbermann's slot, viewership dropped when the curling ended and Olbermann began.

Appalled

It takes a unique mind and sense of the electorate to determine that the American public is going to believe, for any extended length of time, that a huge government program is going to save money. As long as the Democrats march down this path, they will look stupid and their support will dwindle.

Of course, should Obama's magical hypnotic powers (which seem to work best on Obama himself) manage to convince those of us outside the beltway that Obama care will save us money, we will wonder how the government will accomplish this.

Cue in the Sarah Palin facebook page for Death Panels 2: This Time, You'll Really Die

Porchlight

Sorry if already posted - via the Weekly Standard, apparently there is no smaller bill:

Pelosi Spokesman: We Aren't Going to Start Work on a New Smaller Bill

9:42 AM, Mar 2, 2010
· BY John McCormack

That Fox News Story about Obama introducing a smaller "new health care bill" turns out to be misleading. Pelosi's spokesman tells The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn:

"The Speaker was referring to the compromise between the House and the Senate that the President unveiled last week--not a new smaller bill. As she has said repeatedly, she is committed to passing comprehensive health insurance reform."

So, there's no new bill. The House will have to pass the Senate bill, and then pass a reconciliation "sidecar" to make some changes, trusting that the Senate will follow through. It seems that Pelosi and the White House are just spinning this as something new.

Boy, this WH communications machine sure is top notch.

Danube of Thought

This is astonishing. Wasn't Pelosi on the tube just yesterday--literally--talking about a new, smaller bill? I think those were her exact words...

In any event, it makes sense if there is no such bill, because if there were such a bill it would make no sense at all.

Danube of Thought

The Politico, yesterday:

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi: 'It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill, because that's where we can gain consensus. But it will be big enough to put us on a path of affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans that holds insurance companies accountable.'"

So was she describing the existing Senate bill as "much smaller?" I guess so...

MikeS

As everyone knows there are two ways to drive down costs. One is to increase supply. The other is to decrease demand.

Obamacare is based on decreasing demand while at the same time adding more people to the system. Common sense tells us this approach will result in less care per person.

Progressives explain this is not a problem because there is a whole lot of unnecessarily medical care going on. People are disregarding the costs and getting tests and treatments that do no good. The Progressive plan is to create a bureaucracy to determine which care is necessary.

Successful heath care plans like that of Whole Foods, or the catastrophic care option offered to State of Indiana employees, are also based on decreasing demand. In those systems individuals decide what health care is necessary and personally benefit from any resulting savings.

Janet

Maybe yesterday Pelosi had nothing to say, but she said something anyway. I believe that is how Mark Steyn described Obama and it fits Pelosi too.

Jim Ryan

LAST SUNDAY NIGHT, 9:30pm

ZERO: [ON PHONE] Yes, tell maintenance to come in here and clean up another lamp that the First Lady accidentally broke against the wall...thanks.

[DIALS PHONE]

ZERO: Nance? Look, I...I don't know, maybe we better do a smaller bill or something. Put some of whatever Ryan was talking about in it, some mandates, some subsidies and call it a day.

NANCY: Smaller bill. Check. Okay! We'll take it from there! Buh-bye!

NANCY [TO AIDE]: He wants a smaller bill! Put out a press release!

AIDE: Sure thing, Ms. Speaker.

10:09pm

ZERO: Hello? Nance? Yeah. I just realized - what about all that other stuff in the bills? I just had a couple of calls from some union guys and I... I - I - I uh...

NANCY: Put that stuff back in the bill? Okey-doke, Cap'n!

ZERO: Yeah, just - I don't know...

NANCY: Gotcha covered! Put the other stuff back in the short bill with a couple of Teabagger amendments tacked on. Check.

ZERO: Yeah. Yeah, I guess. Oh! And Nance put some price controls in there.

NANCY: Will do. Buh-bye!

Janet

Drudge headline - LONE SENATOR AGAIN BLOCKS MORE SPENDING

I think Senator Bunning was encouraged by that email I sent him!

Porchlight

I'm beginning to suspect that the confusing messages re: "new" bills, "compromise" bills, reconciliation etc. are deliberate. Truly, it's impossible to know what's going on, or to have confidence that the leadership even understands the situation. Which could be the perfect smokescreen for them to slide in and do something unexpected.

Or is it simple incompetence? Who knows?

Old Lurker

I have never, ever, witnessed such disjointed messaging from our national government.

That none of us here, not even the lawyers among us, can state with clarity exactly what "reconciliation" means for this bill is part and parel with the messaging failure we are seeing.

And that we are talking about something that will impact employment in a significant manner, and that business people simply will not take the risk of hiring in the face this uncertainty is obvious to all of us, but evidently to none of our masters.

MikeS

Cost control is the major deficiency of Dem HCR. After you uncover all the accounting tricks, the bill drives up the cost of premiums, drives up the deficit, bends up the cost curve, and it costs $2.3 trillion dollars.

There are 30 to 40 Dem members of the House whose districts were won by McCain in 2008. Voters in those districts should be reminded of those accounting tricks.

Old Lurker

parcel

MikeS

On the supply side of health care, what is in the future? Will increased taxes on medical devices and demonizing doctors for 'unnecessary' tonsillectomies and foot amputations increase the supply of doctors and medical devices?

Ignatz

--Obamacare is based on decreasing demand while at the same time adding more people to the system. Common sense tells us this approach will result in less care per person.--

I'm having a hard time following this.
About the only mechanism they have for decreasing demand is via taxing "Cadillac" plans which are a small segment of the market.
The phony promise to cut medicare reimbursement, even were it not phony, is a method to reduce supply not demand.
The idea that you can add millions of presently uninsured to the rolls of the insured without increasing demand seems highly unlikely.
If medicare is any indictor, demand, and therefore necessarily, costs would skyrocket.
Equally unlikely is the idea that medicare or medicaid reimbursement can be cut in any significant way. Doctors are already refusing to provide this care because rates are to the bone.
The only conclusion I can draw is this is an intentional attempt to so harm the system that its complete takeover is assured.

Danube of Thought

Collective governmental insanity. Just insanity.

MikeS

About the only mechanism they have for decreasing demand...

They do argue that they can reduce unnecessary medical tests and treatments with new efficacy standards... But, yeah it is highly unlikely that would be equal to the new demand. At least unlikely without a drastic reduction in the quality of care.

Old Lurker

"The only conclusion I can draw is this is an intentional attempt to so harm the system that its complete takeover is assured."


Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!

Jack is Back!

Janet,

Thanks for the suggestion. I have written Bunning and thanked him for us all who value less government, less spending and less taxation.

JM Hanes

Sorry TM, but in the rarest of glitches, you're missing the underlying politics of this speech.

Obama has been demagoguing the cost curve from the start. The real news here is the calculated switch from last week's "bipartisan" sugar back to putative fiscal responsibility. Paul Ryan's financial assault on the economics of Obamacare may actually have been too successful. His laser like focus on the financials has ironically helped pave the way for the Democrats' Healthcare cram down via the budgetary reconciliation process. That's what Obama is really justifying here:

Democrats are planning to attach any compromise revisions to a budget reconciliation measure, which would circumvent a Republican filibuster and allow the plan to be adopted by a simple majority in the Senate.

With Democratic Congressional leaders, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi, facing a steep challenge in mustering votes for the health care legislation, Mr. Obama’s remarks on its financial and fiscal implications could be crucial. In effect, officials indicate, he will contrast Democrats’ proposals for expanding coverage and for regulating insurance company practices with what he sees as the shortcomings of the Republicans’ incremental plans.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday “will talk about the merits of the legislation, mainly about the costs of doing nothing versus the cost of doing something and what this will accomplish,” said his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

While Republicans are congratulating themselves on a successful summit, they may have just thrown Obama and Pelosi into the briar patch.

Danube of Thought

Well, here's the latest from these bozoes on Obama's big announcement. I suppose the idea is that these items get included in the sidecar bill.

Porchlight

I suppose the idea is that these items get included in the sidecar bill.

I think that's the idea, but how would that ever happen? As soon as the House passes the Senate bill, it's a done deal and can go directly to Obama's desk to be signed - game over.

This sounds like the ultimate bait-and-switch.

MikeS

Repubs ought to ask Dems to work with them on some meaningful incremental health care reforms, just as soon as we can get the economy stabilized and on the road to recovery.

MikeS

Just sayin'. The other side has announced that they will be making an announcement tomorrow. Our side ought to be announcing stuff too!

Danube of Thought

Here's another assessment of where things stand.

One thing that confuses me is that if the house passes the senate bill and sends it to the prez, he has ten days in which to sign it or veto it. While the GOP are delaying the reconciliation package, wouldn't the current senate bill then become law? And if so, doesn't everyone in the house know that?

JM Hanes

Porchlight:

"I think that's the idea, but how would that ever happen"

The House proposes a budgetary reconciliation bill -- a framework intended to expedite balancing revenues and expenditures -- from which all the (controversial!) details relating to implementation and regulation must (conveniently!) be stripped. It is rubber stamped in Conference and sent along to the Senate for a majority vote, et voilá!

You get your money in a putatively revenue/deficit neutral economic package (take that Republicans!), declare victory and then shape the actual "reforms" you want in subsequent, lower profile, legislation. You can allocate more strategic $$ later too, of course.

Although you won't be hearing any Democratic confessions in the context of comprehensive healthcare reform, they've always been most successful at expanding government's purview by doing so incrementally. It does add to the irony of their slams on Republican incrementalism, though.

MikeS


I think the fertile ground is the Congress-critters in those Congressional Districts that McCain won in 2008. More fertile ground is in those 9 districts where Dems who voted against the bill first time around may change their minds.

I imagine that some radio and TV ads in those places would be more effective than eloquent remarks made on FoxNews.

Porchlight

JMH,

But doesn't the House have to pass the Senate bill as is first, before the reconciliation bill gets voted on? It's the order of things that worries me. Seems like if they *can* pass the existing Senate bill, they would, and then there'd be no need for a subsequent bill. Or the Senate bill would become law during the reconciliation debate process, as DoT pointed out.

JM Hanes

DoT:

That's almost precisely why I think House passage of the Senate bill is a red herring. There's no earthly way the President could explain not signing a healthcare bill that's passed both houses into law immediately, and why would he? He'll sign any version of healthcare reform that hits it to his desk, and when he does, it's the ultimate done deal. Pelosi is too desperate for a healthcare victory, herself, not to whip the House into voting for the Senate bill if she could. It seems pretty obvious that she can't, IMO.

The only way to git 'r done, is to round up votes for an undetailed reconciliation bill, with a promise to hammer out details and differences in the ex post facto implementing legislation. That maneuver might prove very seductive to the recalcitrant, if it means they won't have to defend 2400 pages of unpopular specifics in the run up to November.

Danube of Thought

Seems clear to me that house passage of the senate bill is necessarily the first step, and that if that happens it's game over. Why would the GOP even bother to delay (or even contest) the reconciliation process?

Old Lurker

No reason at all to delay or contest the "Fixit Bill" if in fact it even becomes a real bill. Why would the Senate cross the street to make it happen if their Bill has become law? Particularly if they can blame it on the Reps.

So why would the House Dems take the chance that they will be hoodwinked, non-binding letter agreement notwithstanding?

bgates

There's no earthly way the President could explain not signing a healthcare bill that's passed both houses into law immediately

He could point out that crisis rhetoric notwithstanding, none of the supposed benefits from the bill will happen for another four years, so what's the rush? And then go back to his round of golf.

Danube of Thought

To amplify a bit on my last comment, let's game it out:

--House says, "we're going to pass the senate bill because we know it's going to be modified to our liking through reconciliation."

--GOP responds, "not so fast--we can make a mess out of the reconciliation process, and maybe even prevent it from taking place."

--At that point, the GOP threat has spent its force. If the house goes ahead and takes the risk, what's the point of carrying out the threat? To make a horrible bill a little less horrible?

Porchlight

I don't see the House taking the risk. They already don't like the Senate bill and both "sides" - right and left - would be taking the chance that a Fixit Bill could end up even worse than the Senate bill they already hate and won't pass.

Danube of Thought

Again, my understanding is that if they do pass it, the prez has ten days to either sign it or veto it. He can't just sit on it, and there's no way he vetos it.

Old Lurker

Worse, DoT, the Reps will have to go along because the Fixit Bill does make a bad bill less bad...the reverse of the way you worded it. Can't imagine the McCain-Graham-Snow wing not jumping right to it's support. Ironically, that fact actually reduces the risk to the Dems for going along with the whole scam.

bunkerbuster

``As everyone knows there are two ways to drive down costs. One is to increase supply. The other is to decrease demand.''

Healthcare demand is highly inelastic. You need the kidney transplant or the insulin injection at any price. Moreover, the doctor, not the consumer, decides when and in many cases, where and how you get the surgery or the injection or the drugs, so the consumer has very little opportunity to meaningfully respond to price signals.

Free markets are nonpareil for setting prices and determining distribution for some things, like cars or satellite dishes, but not for others, like health care and basic education.

hit and run

bgates:
He could point out that crisis rhetoric notwithstanding, none of the supposed benefits from the bill will happen for another four years, so what's the rush? And then go back to his round of golf.

Does he even need an excuse, crisis rhetoric notwithstanding?

ARRA made it out of Congress on Feb 13, 2008, the same night Obama and the First Lady hosted a concert honoring Stevie Wonder at the White House and one day before Obama and the First Lady had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner in Chicago. It was four days before Obama signed the act into law.

Well,then again,his approval was like 40 points higher back then. He probably would need some cover.

JM Hanes

DoT:

"Seems clear to me that house passage of the senate bill is necessarily the first step, and that if that happens it's game over."

The part I was agreeing with is that if the House passes the Senate bill, then it is, indeed, game over. That's why I'm saying there's no way it can also be a first step toward something else!

The only possible two step maneuver I see here is a reconciliation (i.e. finance) bill to be followed by the actual implementing legislation which will be proposed in whole, or, more likely, in parts as agreements are hammered out one by one. It's a way of kicking the most controversial cans down the road in order get enough votes for pouring the healthcare reform foundation.

I could certainly be missing some key factor, but I have yet to see anyone persuasively arguing otherwise. The fact that almost everybody here finds the Senate-bill-first argument confusing should be telling us something; it's not like we lack for intellectual firepower, it's because it doesn't make sense.

Clarice

JMH, I confess that I am too unable to see anything but the House passes the Senate bill and then the "reconciliation" thingy gets passed. I may be blinded by idiocy and hope because I see no way Pelosi can get that first vote. Does it seem likely, you might ask, that Nancy and Obama, two fantasists non pareil , would keep pretending there was a way out for them? Apparently not, I think. I'm beginning to think this is a pure nut ball / ego play.

JM Hanes

You can't fix a death panel or rewrite legislation or restructure a regulatory framework through formal reconciliation! Reconciliation bills, per the Byrd Rule, are about the money and nothing but the money.

Danube of Thought

"The only possible two step maneuver I see here is a reconciliation (i.e. finance) bill to be followed by the actual implementing legislation..."

But according to Conrad, you can't do that because you can only reconcile to a bill that has been signed into law.

Clarice

No, you can't==Well, out fritterings will be over tomorrow when we see the work product of The Won and his sidekick Nancy.

Danube of Thought

"Healthcare demand is highly inelastic."

For the great majority of Americans--those on Medicare or with employer insurance--the demand is inelastic because the consumer does not pay anything and is entirely indifferent to the price; in most cases he actually has no idea what it is. Nor does the doctor have any incentive to price according to demand, because he's going to get paid by the insurer, who is content to reimburse everything provided he can recover his costs plus a reasonable return through premiums. And of course the tax code encourages all of this insanity, which is most assuredly not a free market in operation.

"Free markets are nonpareil for setting prices and determining distribution for some things, like cars or satellite dishes, but not for others, like health care and basic education."

Not so. In places like Indiana, which uses a combination of medical savings accounts and catastrophic policies, prices are kept down considerably because the consumer shops among competing hospitals and doctors, and chooses the one he likes. In a truly free market there is nothing wrong with the pricing or distribution of health care--as with all other goods and services, you can get a better product if you are willing to spend more. It simply happens that you don't like that result, but that doesn't mean the market is not working.

As for basic education, as with everything else, you get what you pay for. Why do the Obamas send their girls to Sidwell Friends? Why did Senators Gore and Kennedy send their boys to St. Albans?

Ignatz

Not sure where to put this but have a few laughs at Phil Jones' expense from Climateaudit.

His opening night reviews weren't exactly ripping, what?

Danube of Thought

I think the hope for the Dems is this: Obama announces his mini-fixes tomorrow, which he will portray as meeting the GOP halfway, and which he will say he is asking the senate to pass by "majority vote."

Then Pelosi will try to convince enough of her charges that they now have sufficient cover, because if they vote for the senate bill the GOP will be genuinely obstructionist if they hold up the reconciliation. And of course judgeships, cabinet positions, post-office names, ambassadorships and all the rest will be dangled in front of those who fear the vote may cost them their jobs. I have no idea whether this will work.

Clarice

Sounds like the strategery of a couple of nitwits to me, DoT.

Ignatz

--Healthcare demand is highly inelastic. You need the kidney transplant or the insulin injection at any price.--

Let me give you a lesson from my own life so that perhaps you'll go read a book or something before you spout off again. I realize others smarter than me, including DoT, have tried and failed before but I'll give it a shot anyway.

We have a high deductible policy. Years ago when we never met it I almost never saw a doctor.
The last few years, since my wife invariably meets the family deductible early on I take advantage of the free health care I'm provided for many things I would never have thought of going in for before precisely because they're covered for free once the deductible is met.
It is absurd to discuss health care demand as highly inelastic.
The next time it occurs to you to make some assertion why not go look up a few citations and see whether anyone else on the planet agrees with you or whether you're just talking through your hat again?

Melinda Romanoff

IG-

Just ask for a chart showing what inelastic healthcare demand looks like.

Should be a straight forward exercise...

Oh, and ask the geen-ous defend that same chart.

I'll need popcorn for that one.

Melinda Romanoff

Also, in Red at Drudge: Tapper says it's reconciliation or bust, as far as the announcement tomorrow.

Danube of Thought

Tapper seems to be outlining the strategy we've been discussing here.

If the house passes the senate bill, then I couldn't care less what happens after that. The house has to be Thermopylae.

JM Hanes

oD

"But according to Conrad, you can't do that because you can only reconcile to a bill that has been signed into law."

Could you point me to that discussion? If so, I'll need to flight check my assumptions, before continuing on. The only Conrad comments I've run across -- so far -- centered on dismissing the idea of relying on the promise of ex post facto fixes and on the inappropriateness of trying to use reconciliation to address non-financial legislative substance.

If you cannot commence without a law in place, what basis would there be for the undisputed assertion that something like the Bush tax cuts, for instance, were instituted by reconciliation, as opposed to ordinary legislation?

JM Hanes

**DoT** not oD! Can't imagine how I managed that typo.

Pofarmer

Heard on the radio today that the Obama administration, as a form of outreach to the Republicans, is proposing "a 50 MIllion dollar pilot program to study ways to reduce Malpractice Costs."

To which I must reply, "Yes, they really are that stupid."

glasater

....like the Bush tax cuts, for instance, were instituted by reconciliation, as opposed to ordinary legislation?

Once again I'm late to the party--but the Bush tax cuts expire after ten years unless reinstated/voted to reinstate by the House.
Perhaps you've addresses this already JMH and have read your comments but my head is reeling from this horrible dilemma the D's and Zero have place on us.

Janet

The house has to be Thermopylae.

Then I will appeal to the Almighty for us all because I can do no good appealing to my Representative Jim Moran.

Danube of Thought

JMH, in the case of the Bush tax cuts I think the pre-existing law was the Internal Revenue Code.

I will look for the Conrad statement in about an hour. I read it in the past 72 hours.

Clarice

Rangl's stepping down--he didn't have the votes despite Nancy's support and that of the black Congressional Caucus. Allahpundit at Hot Air asks what this says about Nancy's ability to get the healthcare bill passed.

HEH Right.

Jim Bunning

They're not smart enough to be cunning. This will be a bombastic grand finale to the farce that has been this year. The Keystone Cops will end up in a pile on the ground, with much scratching of eyes and pulling of hair. The audience will be left in shock that the show got even more outrageously hilarious. That's what a good finale does.

Jim Ryan

Thanks, Jim. We're all Jim Bunning now.

By the way, you ever bunt during your career? Just asking.

Danube of Thought

Here's an item from TalkLeft today about Conrad:

Conrad said that under Congressional rules, for a reconciliation fix to be “scored,” it’s not necessary that it become law, but it is necessary for it to have passed both houses of Congress before getting fixed. “For the scoring to change it has to have passed Congress, and that means both houses,” he said. “The only thing that works here is the House has to pass the Senate bill,” Conrad continued. “Then the House can initiate a reconciliation measure that would deal with a limited number of issues that score for budget purposes.” After that, the Senate would pass the same reconciliation fix, Conrad explained, because even on the fix itself the House must go first because the lower chamber must initiate “revenue bills.”

Danube of Thought

And this is from the Politico on Feb. 24 (obviously my memory of what he said was a bit off--the bill doesn't have to have been signed, but it has to have passed both houses and been scored by CBO):

"But Conrad threw some doubt Wednesday on the plan that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he could accept -- to pass the sidecar reconciliation bill with the fixes before the House takes up the Senate bill, as a way to mollify House members who strongly oppose the more conservative Senate measure.

"Conrad, who has been open to reconciliation as long as the fixes are limited, said the order must be reversed. The House must pass the Senate bill first -- before either chamber considers the reconciliation package, he said.

"'I don't know of any way, I don't know of any way where you can have a reconciliation bill pass before the bill that it is meant to reconcile passes,' said Conrad, who would be a central figure on the Senate floor if Democrats embark on the complicated process. 'I don't know how you would deal with the scoring. I don't know how I could look you in the eye and say this package reduces the deficit. It's kind of got the cart before the horse.'

"When reminded that House Democrats don't want to do health care in that order, Conrad said bluntly: 'Fine, then it's dead.'"

Clarice

Here's Hoyer on the subject--they are winging it, JMH and Dot which is why we haven't been able to figure this out--they haven't figured out how they can do this either..LOL
http://blogs.investors.com/capitalhill/index.php/home/35-politics/1456-hoyer-the-fix-is-in-for-health-care

JM Hanes

Thanks, DoT.

If you don't have a link handy, I can get my google on. The Internal Revenue Code would answer my tax cut question. Since that's a pretty clear cut financial matter, though, I'm afraid it still leaves me be shopping around for another answer on what an ex post facto healthcare reconciliation bill would even look like, and what it's ostensibly expected to accomplish.

In a related way, with regard to your last, Senate rules (or the Constitution), not Senatorial druthers, control whether a bill does or doesn't require 60 vote cloture to be put in play. Even if they could acquiesce to a Presidential request, it's hard not to imagine Senate Dems going down in flames if they've passed two separate, unpopular, healthcare bills at virtually the same time.

"Then Pelosi will try to convince enough of her charges that they now have sufficient cover, because if they vote for the senate bill the GOP will be genuinely obstructionist if they hold up the reconciliation."

I'm not clear on what you mean when you refer to "the reconciliation." It's beginning to sound like the Rapture! What exactly are you suggesting would be reconciled, and how? As I understand reconciliation under the Byrd Rule, anything other than matching revenues to outlays would be have to be accomplished by amendment anyway, per usual. In any case, once the House votes the Senate bill into law, the obstruction use-by date will pretty much expire.

MikeS

If, after all the procedural hocus pocus, the Dems end up with a bill. It will be a purely partisan bill that requires mandated purchases of health insurance in order to function.

Lawmakers in 34 states have filed or proposed amendments to their state constitutions or statutes rejecting health insurance mandates.

Polls indicate that 73% of people don't want this brand of health reform.

Jim Ryan

ZERO: Dang it Nancy, I'm freaking out! You said we could do reconciliation or whatever and now it looks like we can't?! WTF?

NANCY: I didn't know all the rules. It turns out you can't just say "reconciliation" and then do a majority vote. What about that short bill thing we talked about, the New Democrat thing?

ZERO: George says we can't do that. SEIU's not on board. I'm really - OOWWW!

NANCY: What happened!

ZERO: I burned my damn hand. Ow, goddam it!... What are we going to do now, just sitting up there like a bunch of jackasses for the rest of this year. For the rest of my term! Nancy! What the hell are we going to do!

NANCY: Maybe some other kind of thing. A global warming thing.

ZERO: Are you serious? That jig is up.

NANCY: Another bank thing? Another stimulus? A big oil thing? There's lots of stuff you can do for the Party, B. But me? Gosh, you know, at this point I think I'm going to retire. This isn't any fun any more. Look, I'll see you....

ZERO: Wait don't hang up, don't hang up! Nancy!.... Aw goddam it...

JM Hanes

Double thanks, DoT. You posted again while I was off composing.

It sounds to me like Conrad is not arguing the parliamentary case here, but is more fed up with the kind of fecklessness on display when Harry Reid or this 'n that committee disingenuously asks the CBO to "score" slapdash alternatives. The responsible members of the Senate spent months of grinding due diligence and made a lot of tough choices in an effort to produce a fiscally sound reform bill. Regardless of what I think of the total package itself, they deserve some serious kudos for that.

It seems pretty clear that Conrad isn't willing to compromise that bill out of existence to accommodate the House -- and Pelosi's thirst for victory at any cost. It looks like he's setting up a take it or leave it proposition, which means killing off pre-passage reconciliation, (and perhaps even a compromise conference report?). If he could make a rules-based case, I suspect he would. It would certainly be clarifying if he did so! I'm praying for the leave-it result, of course, but I do find his vehement obstruction objections somewhat encouraging.


Clarice:

"Here's Hoyer on the subject--they are winging it, JMH and Dot which is why we haven't been able to figure this out--they haven't figured out how they can do this either..LOL"

My brains spinning like a dreidel, but I'm laughing with you. It's that square peg/round hole conundrum I was thinking about yesterday.

JM Hanes

Tooo perfect, Jim Ryan. A much appreciated walk on the light side!

MikeS

"The biggest enemy I think we have in this whole process (and why I'm so glad to see a lot of young people here, young in spirit if not young in age) -- the reason I think it's so important, is because one of the enemies we have to fight -- it's not just terrorists, it's not just Hezbollah, it's not just Hamas -- it's also cynicism,"

Barack Obama 3/13/2007

MayBee

Tapper is reporting that Obama will make a speech tomorrow about a bill that he will write, that he wants passed (as a fix? Through reconciliation?). It will get rid of some of the kickbacks and set up a board to regulate insurance premiums, it will set up $50million grants for states to study malpractice*, and be tougher on Medicare fraud.
There is no language, no scoring, and no promises from anyone to vote on his bill. But it must be hurried through.

It is craziness.

*In Sept 2009, Obama announced $25million for states to study Malpractice. I have no idea if that happened, if this is $50million including the previous $25, $50million in addition to the previous $25, or if he forgot he had made this promise once before.

Danube of Thought

Nice catch, MikeS.

FWIW, the constitution is silent about what it takes to pass in the senate, except for ratifying treaties and convicting officials in impeachment trials. The 60-vote requirement is strictly a senate rule.

If those of us who are involved in this discussion are correct and not crazy, we are witnessing a stunning display of ineptitude. I find it almost impossible to believe they're really this stupid, and thus that they're about to pull a rabbit out of the hat--but now it's looking more and more like they really don't know their ass from page six.

Ann


Where are all the Texans tonight?

Kay Bailey Hutchinson concedes in race for Texas GOP primary, congratulates Gov. Rick Perry

I thought there would be a party at JOM.

P.S. I can't wait to hear what Wrangling Rangel has on Pelosi!

Danube of Thought

On Greta, John Thune sounds like he thinks the Dems can pass it.

Rick Ballard

"we are witnessing a stunning display of ineptitude."

As well as ignorance coupled with incompetence. OTOH - they've staved off the prog hangman for another week.

The floundering is somewhat reminiscent of Carter's "retreat" to Camp David prior to the malaise speech. BOzo is just a little ahead of schedule wrt destroying his term in office.

narciso

This seems typical of the level of understanding of basic responsibilities, in the LUN

Clarice

Don't you suppose if they had a coherent plan, Steny Hoyer would be able to describe it?

What does Rangel have on Nancy?

I suppose she's afraid if he doesn't resign willingly, she'll lose the black congressional caucus at the most critical time for her.

I want the entire Dem delegation fighting each other as Pelosi and the Obambis throw a Hail Mary Pass into the bleachers.

JM Hanes

Even a stupid horse can clamp the bit in his teeth and Pelosi's unrelenting persistence can sometimes be as effective as finesse. After watching her pull the cap and trade rabbit out of the hat, I figure the healthcare battle ain't over till it's over. Alas.

Ann!

I was just asking for Texas news over on the Coffee thread. Glad to hear that Hutchinson conceded and the primary won't go to a run off. I must admit I'm glad she didn't resign from the Senate. Unless she's up for reelection this year, it will save some GOP money for use elsewhere.

JM Hanes

Clarice:

From the list of folks in line for Rangel's chair (Pete Stark, Sander Levin, Jim McDermott, John Lewis and Richard Neal), I'm betting on Jim McDermott, assuming Pelosi holds true to form. :-)

Clarice

HEH..McDermott,heh..She is one stupid woman, JMH,

Barney Fwank

I would wike to have a kwack at it.

narciso

Speaking of missing the meaning of cost control, in the LUN

Holly

I still don't understand why KBH pulled such a boneheaded move. Perry's an Aggie, fer chrissakes!

Strawman Cometh

Nan's gotta pick someone with a safe seat. McHemorrhoid is it, with all the guv f..k's, g-99's in his district.. I'm talking to you BBker in the BEA!!

Clarice

niters--tomorrow promise to be another day full of thrills, chills and the amusement of watching a number of powerful and powerfully stupid people in this DC confederacy of dunces.

Strawman Cometh

why KBH pulled such a boneheaded move.

she is sick of DC

cathyf

The difference between having the votes and not having the votes in the House is abortion funding. It's hard to imagine that Catholic dem House members are going to risk excommunication on a cross-our-hearts-honest-we're-telling-the-truth promise from the Senate that they will pull abortion funding via reconciliation once the House passes the Senate bill.

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