Pelosi's health care reform bill, violating American's right to privacy, creating a huge burden on the health care industry with no new doctors, making our taxes shoot up even more after the bailout and stimulus bills, making insurance manditory under threat of fines and imprisonment, shifts some of the costs from states like Nevada to Illinois, indemnifying the insurance industry if the coverage they insist you should have doesn't work out, cutting Medicare by $400 bil over a decade, allowing government to compete with private enterprise, restricting coverage for abortion, regulating restaurants and vending machines, and so on in it's 1900 pages, passed yesterday after a LOT of arm twisting. 220-215. Only a single R voted for it, and 39 D's voted against.
Now, thanks to the squeaker, the vote moves to the Senate. Obama is saying he's looking forward to signing it into law by the end of the year. PAC's are gearing up their campaigns to influence the voters.
And everyone is watching Harry Reid to see what he will do.
Reid is aware of the delicate position everyone is in, unlike Pelosi, who feels secure in her district and doesn't care how many of her fellow party members she has to throw under the bus to remake America in her image. Reid had already said on Tuesday, when the election results started rolling in, that he didn't think health care would be done this year. This got him a little chat from Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's chief of staff. Now, with this bill in hand, he's ready to take it to the Senate as the basis of the non-existant plan the Senate has and start the debate.
Why? The mandatory option is a deal killer. Reid himself opposed the public option and mandatory aspect and made a lot of noise about it. The bill as it stands has so much opposition, it will never pass. So, one of two things is going on:
1) Reid is twisting arms and is ready to make this happen (possibly in exchange for Pelosi's support on additional troops in Afghanistan)
2) Reid is aware it will die and figures he will let it go to the floor, get squished, and Pelosi looks like a fool.
There's has been a real battle between the two over who really holds the lawmaking power in Washington, Pelosi with her ideology and cult of personality or Reid with his connections. It's possible he'll do this just to make her look like a fool. Revenge is a powerful motivator. Obama wants to close out the year with his pet cause passed, so he can brag about his accomplishment.
Max Baucus, the D from Montana who came up with the mandatory option for the Senate, is suddenly concerned about the costs. Remember, his bill would cost over $900 bil. Pelosi's hits $1.2 tril, and now he's getting cold feet. He wants to eliminate Pelosi's millionaires tax that will help fund the bill -- if it stays, the bill is guaranteed to not even make it on the floor. Everyone is also sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to crunch the numbers and show the final total. It will be the most important piece of spin that can make or break the bill. Had Reid put Baucus' bill on the floor, he could have added and subtracted parts without the CBO's involvement and got things moving. In fact, people like me find it TOO odd that he didn't. Reid insists there is nothing funny to this, he simply wanted to give a fair shot to all options instead of railroading something through.
Heed my verbs and pronouns, there's something going on, and health care is not the goal. It is the weapon of choice. The goal is to show who at this circle jerk holds the biggest dick. And Reid wants to win.
The CBO will present its findings at the end of this week. If so, that means that the debate won't start until after Thanksgiving. That means, to meet the Christmas deadline, there will be four weeks to debate the bills, hammer out a compromise, investigate them, and get them passed. And thanks to the Patriot Act and the bailout and stimulus bills, we've seen what happens when Congress jumps on a bandwagon instead of deliberating things.
There's a gathering storm on the horizon, and we voters are just in the way....