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Daily Archives: March 20, 2010

Democrats drop “deem and pass” – amendment package may be key vote

The Democrats have decided not to use the “Slaughter solution” also known as “deem and pass” during tomorrow’s vote on health care reform.  Apparently there will be an up or down vote on the two bills, i.e. the Senate version of HCR and to pass a package of amendments to the law.

Problem – or not – does it matter what sequence they’re done in?

The Republicans are claiming you can’t amend a law that isn’t a law yet.  In other words, they’re claiming that unless the Senate HCR bill is signed into law, it can’t be amended.  And Democratic House members just don’t trust the Senate enough to pass that first.  Thus the proposed “deem and pass” attempt.

However, per Byron York, sequencing really isn’t as big a problem as you may think it should be (i.e. if you’re a logical person who thinks the GOP argument makes logical sense, you’re obviously not used to living the the same world as Congress):

I just talked with a Republican rules expert, and it appears that there is nothing in the rules of the House that will prevent Democrats from scheduling the vote for the amendments package before the vote on the Senate bill itself — that is, voting to amend the law before it becomes law.

“As a technical matter of the rules of the House, you can pass individual bills in any order you want,” says the expert. The expert said Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who argued that the House could not amend the Senate bill before it became law, was making an “integrity-based” argument based on what should be done. “But as a strict construction matter of the House rules, there’s no bar” to doing what the Democrats intend to do, the expert said.

“To quote Mr. Hastings,” he concluded, “they can make it up as they go along.”

And they are. Given this I expect the first vote to be on the package of amendments tomorrow. If that doesn’t make it (and it may not – stay with me here), the next vote on the HCR bill will be moot. If it makes it, then I would expect the HCR bill to make it although it will probably be very close.

Why do I think the package of amendments might not make it? Well if they vote that down, then they don’t have to be on record with the HCR vote – they (Democrats) can vote “no” on HCR in good conscience. Excuse? Without the package of amendments it was unacceptable.

That’s if it goes in the sequence I think it might tomorrow.

~McQ

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Don’t know if means anything, but HCR is dropping on Intrade

Over at Intrade the contract for passage of the healthcare reform bill has dropped from 84.7 to 77 in the last two hours.

Of course it took a steep dive a couple of days ago and recovered, so it might not mean anything. I guess we’ll know in 36 hours.

*** Update 2:45 PM CST ***

Three hours later and it’s back around where it started. I guess Pelosi got over whatever snag came up. Even though the counts don’t show her with the votes yet, the people putting down money clearly think she’s going to come up with them from somewhere.

Fess Parker 1924-2010

I’m not a big follower of celebrities and frankly don’t really care about most of them.  But Fess Parker is an exception.  Mostly because he was my first hero as a kid.  He was Davey Crockett.  And Davy Crockett was someone to emulate and admire.  And, like Andrew Malcolm who writes a great tribute to Parker, I was a coonskin cap kid and even sang the Ballad of Davey Crockett (“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee ….”) at a school function in the first grade – coonskin cap and all.

As a self-confessed coonskin-cap-wearer (tail snapped on), we momentarily set aside our health-threatening talk about healthcare to fulfill a sentimental obligation to a childhood icon, Davy Crockett.

Crockett, who also used the non-cinematic name of Fess Parker, died of natural causes Thursday at the age of 85.

The problem for many of us is that we cannot separate Davy and Fess or vice versa. Nor, frankly, do we want to. Sure, Fess went on to a successful business career and grew grapes and hotels. But he’ll always also be Davy. The link to politics here is that Davy actually served time in Congress, 1826-1835, back before the U.S. House of Representatives consisted of two partisan herds.

Yes, yes, the 6-foot-6 Parker later played Daniel Boone with the trademark hat. But for the first American generation to grow up with television, the fact was Parker looked and acted more like Davy Crockett than Davy Crockett himself.

Malcolm is exactly right – to an impressionable kid, Parker was Crockett and always will be. And he taught some pretty good lessons to us:

In the days before Bart Simpson became a reverse role model, Davy held that you always said what you meant, meant what you said and went down swinging for what you believed in. Twenty-first century corner-cutting deal-making was not actually an option.

Rest in peace, Davey Crockett, er, Fess Parker – this coonskin cap kid will miss you.

~McQ

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GOP ginning up new Contract With America?

That’s the word in “Washington Whispers”:

With public and internal polls showing the likelihood of a huge Republican voter swing in the fall, party officials are now testing the need for and the issues that would be included in an election agenda like the 1994 Contract With America.

One of the key findings by party officials quizzing the public so far: Voters would like a list of changes the Republicans would bring if installed as the majority in the House or Senate or both. “There would be a market” for a new contract, says a top official.

The issues and themes will include cutting the deficit, the size of the government, limiting spending, and boosting liberty and the military.  They’re apparently looking outside DC for some ideas (wow … there’s a novel idea). 

Here’s your chance … any suggestions?

~McQ

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Harry Reid promises to bring Public Option to a vote in the next few months

Huzzah!

No, not really – but I’m sure that’s the reaction on much of the “progressive” left.  Most of them figure without a public option the chance of actually swinging a government single payer system is a whole lot harder.   With it, they have a pretty good chance.  Harry Reid promises to oblige:

Hoping to assuage progressive Democrats who remain disappointed with the content of the health care reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) committed on Friday to holding a separate vote on a public option in the coming months.

In a letter to two of his more progressive colleagues in the Senate — Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — the Nevada Democrat implicitly apologized for his inability to get a government-run insurance plan into the final piece of health care legislation and promised to keep working to get the policy into law.

And don’t expect Mr. Reid to follow the rules of the Senate when he does – oh, no, that day is over apparently (well, except when his party is in the minority again – the caterwauling will be epic).

The search now is for a vehicle outside health care reform to get a public plan into law. The same institutional hurdles that killed the provision in the previous go-rounds — mainly that there aren’t 60 supportive senators to break a filibuster — remain. But aides on the Hill are already looking to future reconciliation vehicles to which they can attach the public plan, which would, in turn, allow for it to pass via an up-or-down vote

Welcome to the world’s largest Banana Republic.

~McQ

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