Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reconciliation Bill Passes the Senate, Then the House Again, A Pink Slip for Harry Reid?, Public Support Growing

Reconciliation Bill Will Be Law with the President's John Hancock
The Senate passed the reconciliation bill, which modifies the new health care reform law to remove unseemly deals struck in the Senate favoring Nebraska and Louisiana, but also waters down the high cost insurance tax and ramps up the subsidizes for the insured, passed the Senate by a 56-43 vote in the wee hours of the morning, after what could only be described as a barrage of proposed GOP amendments and challenges (I counted 53 separate roll call votes related to the measure.) The GOP did not entirely fail, they found two technical violations of reconciliation provisions which caused minor modifications to the bill. This is significant only in that the bill is now not identical to the bill passed by the House on Sunday and the measure therefore headed back to the House for re-approval. The Senate vote saw all Republicans opposed, joined by three Democrats -- expected defectors Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Ben Nelson (NE) and unexpected defector Mark Pryor (AR), a guy who I had no prior knowledge of as being an at-risk vote and someone who had voted with the DEMs every previous time on health care. No matter, as only 51 votes were required for passage.

The bill then moved back to the House, where a hurried rule was thrown together in the House and the House passed the Senate-modified version by a vote of 220-207, an identical number of aye votes that the package got on Sunday. It now moves to the President for signature.

A Pink Slip for Reid and A Promotion for Pelosi?
An independent friend of mine who tends to be dispassionate about these sorts of things, wryly observed to me yesterday that after the health care debate of the past year, "Harry Reid deserves to be fired and Nancy Pelosi deserves a promotion". I agree with the sentiment. Pelosi's careful navigation of the waters to get the health care bill done reveals the depth of her politic effectiveness. Contrast this with the fumbling and PR disasters of Harry Reid from the past year and it is clear - the Democrats have but one effective leader in congress.

Harry Reid may well be fired...fired by the voters of Nevada. He is trailing in the polls and could well lose not only his majority leader status but indeed his seat, in November. And I certainly won't shed a tear for him.

Nancy Pelosi probably cannot get a promotion. Being Speaker of the House in undoubtedly the second most powerful position in the United States Government. Though it is second in line for the Presidency, after the Vice President, the Vice President has but one official power (breaking ties in the Senate), whereas the Speaker has broad discretion to manage the business of the House.

Everybody Likes a Winner
A post-signing poll indicates that the American people, while still heavily divided, now narrowly favor the new health care law. Conducted by Gallup, it indicates the public now supports the bill by 49% to 40%. This just illustrates the silliness of the notion that this bill would be the death of the Democrats. The Democrats were dying for NOT getting their business done and had they failed to pass a bill, would have been saddled with the dual problems of having voted for a bill for which people would see no tangible result (and would therefore be likely to stay opposed to) and infuriating their base for not getting anything done.

I'm certainly not saying that the Democrats won't lose seats in November as they surely will. But in my mind, they are clearly better off for having gotten the health care bill done than they would have been without it.

Thanks for tuning in on the historic night of House passage. We had 155 visitors to the site on Sunday, the highest total since I began keeping track in January of 2009 (although I certainly suspect our readership on election night, 2008 was higher), eclipsing the 131 visitors we had on election night 2009. I am humbled and honored to be a source of information as the country grapples with important issues and elections.

If you like this site tell your friends!

1 comment:

Preston said...


Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s syndrome child.

Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example.

Each smallest act of kindness – even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile – reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.

Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will.

All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.

Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength – the very survival – of the human tapestry.

Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days for which we, in our dissatisfaction, so often yearn are already with us; all great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in THIS MOMENTOUS DAY!

Excerpt from Dean Koontz’s book, “From the Corner of His Eye”.

It embodies the idea of how the smallest of acts can have such a profound effect on each of our lives.