Democrats avoid filibuster on health insurance boondoggle

Rick Moran
This was to be expected since even my RINO colleagues in the Senate were going to oppose the president's $700 billion set aside for health insurance reform if it was a allowed to proceed under the normal rules. For all practical purposes, this certain successful filibuster would have killed the idea of subsidized health insurance for at least a year.

So instead, Democrats are going to utilize a parliamentary trick and pass the measure by simple majority. By using the "reconciliation" rules to pass health insurance spending, the Democrats will be able to steamroll national health insurance through the senate.

The GOP is threatening to go to the mattresses on this issue, as the
New York Times' Carl Hulse explains:

Senate rules give the minority party, in this case the Republicans, ample ability to snarl the legislative process in a chamber where much activity is conducted under agreements between majority and minority leadership.

Republicans could force multiple votes on mundane matters, slow walk administration nominations, force Democrats to spend days teeing up bills for debate and require lengthy bills to be read in full. In 2005, Democrats threatened to bring the Senate to a halt using similar tactics when Republicans said they would strip them of the ability to filibuster judicial nominations. That showdown was averted.

Now, Republicans would run some political risk of being portrayed as obstructing health care and other initiatives sought by a popular new president if they were seen as shutting down the Senate out of pique.

Between now and October 15 - the date the Democrats have set as a deadline to achieve a bi-partisan consensus on health insurance - expect a lot of posturing on both sides but in the end, the Democrats will probably choose to ram the measure through rather than risk the filibuster.

The GOP can oppose the idea of national health insurance all they want. But with the president and the Democrats determined to pass it, all they realistically can do is go on record opposing it and then punish the Democrats in the senate by making their life miserable through their own parliamentary gimmicks.



This was to be expected since even my RINO colleagues in the Senate were going to oppose the president's $700 billion set aside for health insurance reform if it was a allowed to proceed under the normal rules. For all practical purposes, this certain successful filibuster would have killed the idea of subsidized health insurance for at least a year.

So instead, Democrats are going to utilize a parliamentary trick and pass the measure by simple majority. By using the "reconciliation" rules to pass health insurance spending, the Democrats will be able to steamroll national health insurance through the senate.

The GOP is threatening to go to the mattresses on this issue, as the
New York Times' Carl Hulse explains:

Senate rules give the minority party, in this case the Republicans, ample ability to snarl the legislative process in a chamber where much activity is conducted under agreements between majority and minority leadership.

Republicans could force multiple votes on mundane matters, slow walk administration nominations, force Democrats to spend days teeing up bills for debate and require lengthy bills to be read in full. In 2005, Democrats threatened to bring the Senate to a halt using similar tactics when Republicans said they would strip them of the ability to filibuster judicial nominations. That showdown was averted.

Now, Republicans would run some political risk of being portrayed as obstructing health care and other initiatives sought by a popular new president if they were seen as shutting down the Senate out of pique.

Between now and October 15 - the date the Democrats have set as a deadline to achieve a bi-partisan consensus on health insurance - expect a lot of posturing on both sides but in the end, the Democrats will probably choose to ram the measure through rather than risk the filibuster.

The GOP can oppose the idea of national health insurance all they want. But with the president and the Democrats determined to pass it, all they realistically can do is go on record opposing it and then punish the Democrats in the senate by making their life miserable through their own parliamentary gimmicks.