Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Importance Of A Single Individual

I am talking about the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. While some hoped that his death would inspire a push to achieve his lifelong passion, decent health care reform, it is now increasingly looking like his untimely death will guarantee that the public option part of it will not be included in whatever might still be adopted. It is not his fault, as he asked the Massachusetts legislature and governor to change their rules so that a successor to him could get seated quickly. However, they have not done so, and now it looks like the Dems will have only 59 seats in the Senate when health care reform comes to a head.

The problem? That darned cloture vote, which needs 60 to pass it and shut down the certain Republican filibuster. So, we are now seeing the spectacle of Obama negotiating with a single senator, moderate Maine Republican Olympia Snowe who supported his stimulus package, so as to get that 60th vote. And the word is that her price is "no public option," with the rumors rife that Obama will let it go when he speaks on Wednesday. Teddy, you died too soon...

4 comments:

TheTrucker said...

The Democrats did not have a 60 vote block before Ted Kennedy passed away. Max Baucus and some other, so called, Democratic Senators were not behind the public option. The current way to get any real health care reform through the Senate is through the reconciliation process that is immune to cloture. In my dream world it begins with the Senate passing whatever rag they want. The House then passes HR 3200 as it currently exists with the public option. Then we have reconciliation of the bills which cannot be filibustered or clotured or whatever you call it.

Obviously the Republicans know this and will not allow a vote on any bill on health care in the Senate until the House does what the bought and paid for Senate wants which is to remove the Public Option from HR 3200 and pass that as the House version.

Stalemate.

If the administration has the best interests of the people in mind then the administration must do all it can to get a health care bill passed in the Senate _BEFORE_ the House passes its version. The House would then decide what will happen as to reconciliation.

However,

There is another option that seems far far better. And that is to do away with the cloture rule altogether.

The wiki article speaks of a "point of order". The "point of order" to be raised is that the CURRENT SENATE HAS NOT CONSTITUTIONALLY ADOPTED THE RULES OF THE PREVIOUS SENATE, and until it does then there ARE NO RULES and all votes (including rules adoption) must be by simple majority. I wrote this up at Kos

Barkley Rosser said...

Trucker,

Getting rid of cloture is too big a fight right now. There is a chance to get somewhat decent health care through with the reconciliation process, although then the matter becomes a fight among the Senate Dems as to whether they will go along with that, which amounts to a one shot suspension of the cloture rule.

You are right that there are some Senate Dems, including Baucus, being balky on the public option also. It may be that Obama's game is to get at least one Republican vote to provide a fig leaf before the reconciliation process goes, which will almost certainly have not GOP support at all, and a number of Dems in opposition.

TheTrucker said...

It will be quite a show if we get anything decent. It might be the same as the 1993 tax hike. The Democrats got this one right as rain. They lost the Congress, not because of this, but because they tried to do Health Insurance reform and LOST.

Brenda Rosser said...

"TELL ME THE WEIGHT OF A SNOWFLAKE, a coalmouse [a small, dark-coloured bird] asked a wild dove.
'Nothing more than nothing,' was the answer.
'In that case,I must tell you a marvellous story,' the coalmouse said. 'I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow - not heavily, not in a raging blizzard; no, just like in a dream, without a sound and without any violence. since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741953rd dropped onto the branch - nothing more than nothing, as you say - the branch broke off.'
Having said that, the coalmouse flew away.
The dove, since Noah's time an authority on the matter, though about the story for a while and finally said to herself: 'Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world.'


In John Reardon, 'Leaves from the Tree of Peace: A Resource Book of Words and Pictures' 1986. Page 12.