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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Pushes for Obamacare Reconciliation

Oregon's Jeff Merkley is one of four Democratic senators urging Reid to press on with Obamacare and a public option.

From CBS news:

"Four Democratic senators, including two facing potentially challenging election campaigns this year, are asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use reconciliation, a procedural maneuver requiring only 51 votes, to push for a public health insurance option.

"Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) signed a letter to Reid saying they support this plan for four reasons: the cost savings the public option is estimated to achieve, continued public support for the public option, the need for increased competition in the insurance market and the Senate's history of using the reconciliation process for health care reform.

"'Put simply, including a strong public option is one of the best, most fiscally responsible ways to reform our health insurance system,' the letter says. 'Although we strongly support the important reforms made by the Senate-passed health reform package, including a strong public option would improve both its substance and the public’s perception of it.'"

The article fails to mention a couple of difficulties with this proposal, but Clifton B. at Another Black Conservative mentions them.

"The three biggest stumbling blocks to reconciliation are:

"1. Can a Public Option be passed using the rules of reconciliation? Remember reconciliation is for budgetary procedures; legislation for a Public Option might not fit into those confines.

"2. Are there 50 Democrats willing to use the reconciliation? Reconciliation will look like doing an end run around the will of the people. Even with all these retirements that have produced Dead Men Walking (senators who do not have to face the wrath of the voters come November) are there still 50 Democrats willing to try reconciliation?

"3. Is there enough time? Since reconciliation allows for unlimited amendments, Republicans can draw out the process indefinitely by simple offering one amendment after another."

I'm beginning to think of Obamacare as Jason or Michael from those slasher flicks. You think it's dead, but then it just keeps popping back up. And you know how in those movies sometimes it's some foolish teenagers messing around with black magic or something that resurrects the psycho, and then they're the first ones that get skewered or whatever when the villain rises? Well, it looks like Merkley, Bennet, Gillibrand, and Brown are working to fulfill that part this time around. We'll see if their careers get skewered over this.

Probably not, but who knows?

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