"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Monday, March 1, 2010

ObamaCare: Not a Done Deal

Despite the language coming out of the White House and the Congressional leadership, ObamaCare is far from an inevitable piece of legislation.

As Jacobson at Legal Insurrection points out, "There is a consistent spin being put out by Democrats since the summit to create the illusion of inevitability to the budget reconciliation process being used to pass non-budgetary legislation.

"Don't believe it, or not believe it.

"No one really knows if the votes are there, and if so, how the Senate Parliamentarian will rule on such procedural issues. And even then, there are legislative tactics which may be used either to kill the process or to make it even more damaging for Democrats."

This quite true. In fact, it's very doubtful that Pelosi has the votes given her behavior as Clifton B at Another Black Conservative notes. While Pelosi runs about calling on House Democrats to literally sacrifice their careers at the altar of ObamaCare, she's really saying that she doesn't enough votes for a passage.

Clifton B: "Clearly Nancy doesn’t have the votes in the House to pass ObamaCare, otherwise she never would have made this statement in public. This statement also tells me that she is pretty far off on those votes. If there were only a handful, she would have strong-armed them into submission by now."

Add to this Michael Barone's analysis (h/t Pundit & Pundette) in the Washington Examiner and you can start to see the scale of these looming problems.

From Barone:

"Obama and the Democrats face problems with both public opinion -- their bills are hugely unpopular -- and with legislative procedure. The problem with public opinion has been undeniable since Republican Sen. Scott Brown's victory five weeks ago in Massachusetts. The problem with legislative procedure is more complex.

"Democrats theoretically could solve that problem by having the House pass the Senate bill in toto, ready for Obama's signature. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has proved herself a fine vote-counter, doesn't have the votes. Last month she said 'unease would be the gentlest word' to describe House Democrats' resistance. They understandably don't want to cast votes for the Senate's Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase.

"In November Pelosi had 220 votes for the House bill. The one Republican is now a no, one Democrat has died, one resigned last month and another turned in his resignation Friday. That leaves her with 216, one less than the 217 she needs.

"There is another problem. The Senate bill lacks the amendment sponsored by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak banning abortion coverage, and Stupak says that he and about 10 other Democrats accordingly will vote no. That leaves Pelosi around 205. She may have commitments from former no voters to switch to yes (especially from three who've announced they're retiring), but she doesn't have more than 10 other votes in her pocket or she wouldn't have accepted the Stupak amendment.

"So the House wants the Senate to go first and pass changes to its bill through the reconciliation process that requires 51 rather than 60 votes. But Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad says you can't use reconciliation on a bill that hasn't already become law. And reconciliation is probably not available on abortion issues."

Of course all of these difficulties can be overcome. However, if it becomes painfully obvious to the members of a thus far near tone-deaf Congress that the American people do not want stifling federal oversight of the health insurance industry, the bill can be killed and buried with a stake through its heart.

It is up to us to contact their representatives in Congress and tell them that this is not what we want. E-mail your reps. Call them on the phone and give them your views. I'm not going to sit here and write some canned response to holler at them like the OFA does. Say it your own words. Be civil. Be polite. But make your voice heard.

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