Written by Heritage Foundry
Leaders in the House and Senate have a new secret plan to pass President Barack Obama's sweeping health care plan using strong arm tactics and no transparency.
I wrote back in September that Congress had a plan to ram through ObamaCare by the end of the year, but the American people stopped that plan. Public outrage was amplified by Rush Limbaugh and others in the media who took up the cause to educate Americans about Congress' plan to railroad the unpopular bill through Congress with little debate and no opportunity for dissent. Cooler heads prevailed and Congress stopped efforts to sneak the bill through Congress.
On January 19, the proponents of ObamaCare suffered a big setback. When little-known State Senator Scott Brown scored a shocking upset in a special election for Senate in Massachusetts campaigning as an opponent to ObamaCare, moderates in the Senate and House put the brakes on ObamaCare. The left had to retool their strategy, because there was no will in the Senate to take up and pass ObamaCare again. The only way proponents of Obamacare can win now is if they change the way the game is played, and liberals seem to be prepared to change the traditional rules of the Senate by triggering a legislative Nuclear Option in an effort to pass Obamacare by the end of February.
This is a Nuclear Option, because the left is preparing a strategy to obliterate the filibuster rule - the rule that requires 60 votes to shut off debate on legislation, for the purposes of passing multiple pieces of legislation that add up to ObamaCare. They will either use reconciliation to pull an end around the filibuster rule or they may be bold enough to merely use a simple majority of Senators to exterminate the filibuster rule from the Senate rule book.
Sources on Capitol Hill tell me that liberals in the House and Senate are a handful of votes away from a scenario where they can get ObamaCare to the President's desk by the end of February. Here is the way it works. According to The Hill, "House Democrats are readying a series of smaller 'sidebar' healthcare provisions to introduce by mid-February even as they push for using reconciliation rules to move a broader healthcare package, according to leadership aides." So the plan is to try to pass a few smaller issues and to prepare a so called "reconciliation measure" to make changes to the Senate passed ObamaCare bill awaiting action in the House.
The reconciliation plan would be done by "using budget reconciliation rules to pass parts of the healthcare package (and) would require only 51 votes in the Senate. But those rules can only be used to move provisions affecting the federal budget." If they can pass smaller portions of ObamaCare with Republican support, then they jam a reconciliation measure through the Senate with only 51 votes containing ObamaCare tax provisions. Next the House would take up and pass the Senate passed 2,700 page ObamaCare monstrosity. If that happens, then the game is over and the will of the American people will be ignored again.
President Obama declared at the State of the Union, "here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let's get it done. Let's get it done." This is a message from the President to Congressional liberals that he will support their efforts to ram through ObamaCare with all means at their disposal. The President showed his complete disconnect from the feelings of average Americans when he called for Congress to pass his health care proposal that has been rejected by the voters of liberal Massachusetts. Real Clear Politics has the President's plan with the approval of an average of 37.4% and an opposition of 54.4% - that is an average poll deficit of 17% for ObamaCare, yet the President forges forward.
Liberals can use the Nuclear Option to pass at least some part of ObamaCare and it allows them to deal with the tax or revenue aspects of health care reform. Then they will pull the trigger and force the House to pass the 2,700 page ObamaCare bill which is one House floor vote away from a Presidential signing ceremony. This is a multi-bill strategy. The reason why House members may vote for the Senate ObamaCare bill is because they may have their concerns addressed with the small bills and reconciliation measures that will have passed before this historic vote. This scenario also provides cover for moderate Democrats in the Senate who can vote against the reconciliation measure and claim to constituents that they were, in the end, against ObamaCare.
This procedure is an indication that Congress understands that even the people of liberal Massachusetts hate ObamaCare, so they need to pass this bill as fast as possible and with little transparency to try to minimize the participation of the American people in this process. A rational politician would see the terrible polling numbers for ObamaCare and the results in Massachusetts as a sign that the bill should be scrapped. The problem today is that the American people are dealing with an elite class of politicians in Washington that don't care what the American people think about ObamaCare.
These elites make fun of people who participate in Tea Parties. They have distain for those that show up at Town Halls to voice opposition to the bill. They denigrate protesters who come to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate against a government takeover of health care. They laugh at all the poll numbers that indicate they are going in the wrong direction. They are ignoring the voters and their own constituents to further the cause of President Obama's vision of a de facto government run health care system.
This is one of those unique moments in history where a minority number of Members of Congress are protecting the will of a majority of the American people - the big question is who will win?