‘The time for talk is over.” Okay, Mr. President. Stop talking and call the vote.
“We’re stand on the doorstep of history.” Go ahead, Speaker Pelosi. Stand with Harry Reid and open the door and call the vote.
But they won’t call for a House vote on the Senate’s Christmas Eve health care reform bill, because they don’t have the votes.
You can’t blame this on the GOP or conservatives. The impediment to Obama’s signature domestic legislation is his own party’s. This is a Democrat problem and even the Dems who count the votes know it. On Meet the Press, House Whip James Clyburn (N.C.) said, “No, we don’t have them as of this morning.”
The Senate passed health care reform on a 60-39 party line vote. They had the majority and they held it – grant it, they had to buy off Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu with sweet Medicare deals to secure their yes votes.
Now, the House has a chance to vote on the bill favored by the President, and it is falling apart in front of them. They barely passed the House health care reform bill in November on a 220-215 vote. And that was a bill that didn’t contain abortion funding or the Cornhusker Payoff and Louisiana Purchase, as the Senate bill does.
But House leadership will not let their own get in the way, resorting to arm-twisting, bullying and a promise of a chance at reconciling the bill after a vote as a way to reassure reluctant Democrats.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland told the New York Times that he had discussed the issue with Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, a leader of the pro-life Democrats. “I made it clear I was not negotiating,” Hoyer said.
Stupak authored an amendment removing abortion funding to the House’s original bill, which was adopted by a 240-194 vote.
Leaders have even added student loan and Pell Grant funding reform into the bill that seems to be assuaging some representative’s problem with voting for an unpopular bill.
“The reason all of this arm-twisting and deal-making and parliamentary maneuvering is going on is that people hate this bill,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. “They are trying to convince their members, within eight months of an election, to ignore their constituents and do something that the public is opposed to.”
McConnell is correct about public opposition to this bill. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 53 percent are opposed to the health care plan, while only 43 percent favor it. That poll also shows that four-fifths of those who oppose the plan strongly oppose it, while only half of those in favor support it strongly. Among the reasons people give in opposing the plan are the belief that the plan will drive up costs, worsen the quality of health care and hurt the U.S. economy.
Even if Pelosi can eek out a win on this vote, the nightmare will only be beginning. If approved, the bill would move to Obama’s desk where he will sign it into law. At that point, Pelosi says the House will create and pass a bill of reconciliation to make changes to an approved law, and the Senate is promising to go along with it.
But the Senate bill will already be law by then, so why bother. Call me a skeptic, but what will the Senate gain by allowing their bill to be altered, especially after it has been signed, sealed and delivered into law? Is this simply just a scam to secure Democrat House votes?
Reid promises to bring the House’s bill of reconciliation to the floor for a vote. I don’t believe him and I think Pelosi has lost her wig if she does. The Senate’s Christmas Eve version is exactly what Obama wants, sans the public option, but with abortion insurance and eventual tax hikes on everyone.
The only way to stop this insanity is to pray there are House Democrats who will stand up and hold to their pro-life stance and vote no, since House rules say they can’t change the abortion language in a reconciliation bill because it is an issue “not central to the budget.” Or we can hope they will listen to their constiuents and vote to keep their jobs.
The public is watching and has been telling Congress for years, no to federal abortion funding, and yelling for months – no to this health care bill or risk their wrath at the polls in November.