Monday, March 15, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan: "There is nothing simple about this process."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) argues that despite the so-called transparency claimed by the Democratic majority on health care, and the statement that the bill should have a simple up or down vote, the legislative process on the health care bill is neither simple nor transparent.

Has anyone access to the full language of the so-called "reconciliation bill?" I haven't seen it. I doubt that Mr. Ryan has seen everything that is to be included in the bill. I am also pretty sure that there are not enough votes to pass it. If they had the votes, Nancy Pelosi would call the bill to the floor and vote on it. But the fact that such a vote hasn't happened means that they are short of votes.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has claimed that the bill will be law of the land come next week. But I have heard that before. Previous deadlines have been Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day. But each time the Democrats have found that the bill is so unpopular that they don't have the votes to pass the beast and the deadline keeps getting pushed back.

Nancy Pelosi has burned all over her limited credibility and an very substantial amount of political capital on this issue and I think she is headed for disaster. To get the votes, she may very well have to buy and sell the souls of Representatives who can ill afford the bargain. For every promise she makes to one Member, another is likely to object. Too many swing district Democrats are worried, and rightfully so, about their political futures. I doubt that very many are willing to stake their job on a principle that is marginal at best and certainly not a fundamental right.

This is do or die for the Democrats right now. If they can't pass the bill now, they never will--a defeat for President Obama's "signature" issue. For all intents and purposes, President Obama will be a lame duck not 18 months into his first term.

If Democrats wait too much longer to try and pass this bill--it will become a legislative albatross around their neck come November.

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