Analyst: Democrat trickery to force Obamacare
Suggests maneuver will allow simple majority vote on health-industry takeover
Posted: October 01, 2009
6:01 PM Eastern
An analyst whose responsibilities include working with members of the U.S. Senate for The Heritage Foundation is suggesting that U.S. Lawmakers are so intent on passing President Obama's "comprehensive health care reform" that they will use procedural maneuvers and trickery to accomplish it.
In an analysis posted on Human Events, Brian Darling, the Heritage Foundation's director of U.S. Senate relations, outlines a four-step scenario he believes is possible.
"Despite the potential political risks to moderate Democrats, the president and his left-wing leadership in Congress are determined to pass the measure using a rare parliamentary procedure," he said.
"The Senate plans to attach Obamacare to a House-passed non-healthcare bill," he warned. He explained that would take a simple majority vote once the discussion on a bill is opened, and it could be approved by the House also by a simple majority.
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Bingo, a finished health care takeover en route to Obama's desk, he said.
This is evident because just last week the Senate Finance Committee refused an amendment by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., that required the bill text and cost be available to the public for at least 72 hours before the Finance Committee votes.
Darling said the first step is that the Senate Finance Committee must approve a marked-up version of a takeover plan by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Then, he wrote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would announce two Senate committees have passed health care takeover plans to bring it to the floor.
Reid then would take the final products of the two committees, the other being from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, and merge them.
That puts Obamacare in the position of being ready, Darling wrote, "to hitch a ride on an unrelated bill from the House."
He said Reid then "will move to proceed to H.R. 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients."
That has been approved by the House already, but has been wasting away in the Senate.
When that proposal gets 60 votes to start debate, "Reid will offer Obamacare as a complete substitute to the unrelated House-passed bill," Darling outlined. "This means that the entire healthcare reform effort will be included as an amendment to a TARP bill that has been collecting dust in the Senate for months."
The Senate's usually-required supermajority of 60 votes, 58 Democrats including moderates and the two independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, would only have to hold together long enough to vote against any filibuster.
"Once the Senate takes up the bill, only a simple majority of members will be needed for passage," Darling warned. "It's possible one of the endangered moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), could vote to stop a filibuster then vote against Obamacare so as not to offend angry constituents."
He explained once approved by the Senate, the bill – already approved by the House in a different form – would be returned to the House where members simply would have to give it majority approval without changes.
On a Human Events forum page following Darling's article, one writer probably expressed the feelings of many Americans, "It is now time for 'We the people' to make such an uproar to our senators and representatives in the forms of phone calls, e-mails and letters that there is NO mistaking that we do not want this."