Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/23/10-The Signing Ceremony We've Been Waiting For

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Before I continue, I implore you to read a superb entry below by The Big Picture. His piece embodies why we still let him contribute to the blog, albeit reluctantly. Just kidding. Read it.

SIGNING CEREMONY: Today, the President signed the Senate health care legislation into law in the East Room at the White House. The ceremony was a joyous occasion for the many Democratic members of Congress on hand, many of whom have been working to get this done since my parents were teenagers. In the case of Rep. John Dingell, he's been working to get this done since my parents were 4 years old.

Vice President Biden spoke first, and spoke eloquently. That is, until his finished his remarks and turned to the President and said " this is a big f---ing deal." The TV crews picked it up, and Fox News had a field day with it. The Vice President was absolutely right, by the way.

The President then spoke in very clear terms, especially about the immediate benefits in the bill. Starting this year, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children with preexisting conditions. The Medicare donut hole will begin to be closed. And deadbeats like myself and others my age can stay on their parent's insurance until they are 26.

Surrounded by the lawmakers that made this victory happen, like Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, House Majority Leader Hoyer and the relevant committee chairs. The President signed the bill 20 different times, so he could give memento pens to those who will relish this victory for a lifetime. I'll leave it to The Big Picture to explain exactly why the bill is such a huge victory not only substantively, but politically. I'm still on cloud nine.

THE SENATE: The effort is not completely over, however. The Senate began consideration of the House-passed reconciliation bill, which contains important revisions to the health care law (it feels good to say that). By a vote of 56-40. All Republicans and Democrat Ben Nelson (NE) voted no, while every other Democrat who was present voted yes.

Debate on reconciliation bills is limited to 20 hours, so in theory, the Senate should finish consideration relatively soon. The problem is that the GOP can propose an unlimited amount of amendments. After the 20 hours expire, Senators will engage in a "vote-or-ama" of all the GOP amendments. Democrats want to defeat all of the amendments, because if the bill changes even slightly, the House would have to vote on it again. The Republicans, who love acting like 3rd graders, are taking great advantage of this opportunity by proposing difficult to oppose amendments. For example, Senator Coburn (R-OK) wants to prevent sexual predators from getting Viagra. Democrats might have to let some of their more vulnerable members vote for poison pill amendments, but they cannot afford to lose more than 9 of their members on any single amendment.

Republicans will also try to poke holes in the bill by making points of order that provisions are illegal under the reconciliation process. They might be successful in having the parliamentarian agree with them on a couple of points, but not enough to significantly alter the bill. The worst that could happen is that the House stays in this weekend to vote on Senate revisions.

And it all feels less tense now that we know we have health care reform!

THE HOUSE: The House voted today on a series of suspension bills, before turning to a bill full of tax breaks for small businesses and infrastructure spending. The bill, which cleared the Ways and Means Committee last week, is part of the Democrats' jobs agenda. We'll have more on the bill tomorrow.

That's it for now. Read The Big Picture's piece and leave comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment