The conventional wisdom of late has been that Harry Reid won’t let the repeal of health care to come to the floor of the Senate but as with most conventional wisdom, it isn’t usually very wise, just group-think really. Well now it looks like ole’ Harry is going to call their bluff and might say, “bring it on.” I hope this is true and that it signals a new strategy for the new dynamics in Washington. Back in the day, when I used to spend time watching C-Span, it seemed like both parties would use every rule and loophole to their advantage. In recent years, the Democrats have been getting rolled and taking the high road too much for my tastes. Politics is a dirty business, get dirty people. Steve Benen clues us into what may be in the works in the Senate, let’s hope…
Kevin Drum had a creative take yesterday, arguing that Senate Dems’ instincts may be backwards — don’t ignore the House bill, embrace it and make the most of it.
They should bring the House bill up for a vote quickly, let Republicans speechify about it for a bit, and then vote it down, 53-47. End of story, time to move on.
But wait! With Republicans in control of the House, it’s not like the Senate can really get much done anyway. So what’s the harm in wasting a bit of time and making this a knock-down-drag-out fight? After all, the House leadership got a nice, clean repeal vote by bringing up the bill under a closed rule and allowing no potentially embarrassing amendments and virtually no debate. In the Senate, by contrast, Democrats control things, and they can bring up all the amendments they want. So maybe they should play along, hold hearings, and force Republicans to vote on, say, an amendment to the repeal bill that would keep the preexisting condition ban in place. And another one that would keep the donut hole fix in place. Etc. etc.
Jonathan Bernstein, who had a generally positive take on this, noted some of the risks of the amendment strategy, and Senate Dems would be wise to consider them.
That said, as of this morning, it appears there’s some fluidity to the Democratic strategy in the Senate. Whereas the plan earlier in the week was to simply ignore the House Republicans’ repeal bill, there’s apparently a fair amount of interest in pursuing a plan very similar to what Kevin wrote about yesterday.
Please, oh please make those Republicans get on the Senate floor and tell us why pre-existing conditions should be repealed and why all those senior citizens should pay back that $250 they got. Republicans are losing their minds and we ought to help them do it. Give them a nudge…or maybe a body block. :)