Saturday, March 20, 2010

Presidential QOTD & Quiz 3

I've previously detailed President Obama's flip-flop on the process for adopting healthcare reform: where he once forswore "pass[ing] universal health care with a 50-plus-1 strategy," he now accepts "nothing more than a simple majority." And John Hawkins at Right Wing News posts 32 quotes where Democrats critique the bill and/or the process--five of which are from Barack Obama himself.

But with the House about to pass a revised healthcare bill, costing $2 trillion in the decade after it becomes effective (or more), via the abnormal "reconciliation" process, Hawkins forgets to ask who said this?:
The TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] program affects millions of American children and families and deserves a full and fair debate. Under the rules, the reconciliation process does not permit that debate. Reconciliation is therefore the wrong place for policy changes and the wrong place for the proposed changes to the TANF program. In short, the reconciliation process appears to have lost its proper meaning. A vehicle designed for deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility has been hijacked to facilitate reckless deficits and unsustainable debt.
Answer: Senator Barack Obama -- 151 Cong. Rec. S14150 (daily ed. Dec. 20, 2005). Meaning, in a reverse-echo of Senator Kerry, Obama was against reconciliation before he was for it.1 Also meaning, dude, whatever ("I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are in the House or the Senate."). Well, dude, you used to.

Diogenes could still find a few honest Democrats, but most will vote for the bad bill anyway. And then try to pass one that's even worse. This would prolong a two-decade blunder--the legislative equivalent of repeatedly betting on "double zero" and expecting perpetual wins.

(via Drug Wonks, Fausta's Blog, Neo-Neocon)
1 Amusingly, Congresswoman Slaughter, now the advocate of the "deemed passed" approach, once sued (unsuccessfully) to have the courts outlaw reconciliation.


OBloodyHell said...

> John Hawkins at Right Wing News posts 32 quotes where Democrats critique the bill and/or the process

He has a Dean quote, but he missed the money quote from Dean:

If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill.
-- Howard Dean --

Now, if an unrepentant lefty like Howard Dean can Get It, why can't the rest of the Dems in Congress?

Tom Carter said...

As I remember, Dean's comment was based on his dislike of the fact that there's no public option and that, in general, the bill doesn't go far enough.

There's a lot of hypocrisy involved in all this. It goes back to the old maxim, "Where you stand is where you sit."

Maybe, if we're lucky, the reconciliation bill won't pass tomorrow. However, I wouldn't bet on that. It would be nice if we could just start over and craft a shorter, simpler bill that would deal directly with the real problems of access and cost control that could get at least some degree of bipartisan support.

O Bloody Hell said...

Tom, his reasons are irrelevant to the point. The bill doesn't do ANYTHING anyone wants. Not the lefty idiots, not the sensible ones on the right and middle.

The bill is an abortion, and fully **70%** of people reject it.

To pass it as-is is just flat out stupid and certainly a clear violation of the precepts of democracy.

The point stands.