Democrats looking to use reconciliation for health care bill
Okay, so it looks as though in light of Massachusetts having gotten stuck with a fringe radical senator following the tragically diffident campaign of Martha Coakley, last week, Congressional Democrats are going to try to push through the bill through reconciliation.
What does this mean? This means that health care reform isn't getting fully reformed. Reconciliation applies to budget matters, for the most part, and requires 51 votes to pass, unimpedable by filibuster. It's not everything the Democrats wanted, but it's something.
I'd say the bill the House has in its hands right now is subpar, but better than what we can accomplish through reconciliation. Still, we need to get something passed. If we don't, we'll face Republicans calling it a failure throughout the year, all the way up to the next election. Of course, they'll call anything the Democrats do a failure, even if it succeeds, so we can't pay much attention to what the Republicans have to say. Bipartisanship no longer exists in this country, so there's no sense in reaching out to the Republicans for compromise or for support. I've been saying that for years now. I don't know what the Obama administration was thinking when it calculated it could count on Republicans listening to anything the Democrats have to say, but at least now they know what's feasible and what isn't—I hope.