What Has Happened This Past Week With The Health Care Reform Bill?
by John Cornyn on March 27, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Late last Sunday night, despite bipartisan opposition, the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s health care overhaul by a vote of 219 to 212, sending the bill to President Obama’s desk for his signature. In the end, 34 Democrats listened to the American peoples wishes and joined every single Republican House Member, in voting against the bill. Despite hearing from their constituents in countless town hall meetings, protests, letters, and phone calls, the majority of Democrats in Congress faithfully followed Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in defying the voices of those who put them in office, choosing to jam this bill through--laden with more sweetheart deals in exchange for votes. Long after the ink dries on this $2.6 trillion budget-busting, job-killing bill, the best spin efforts by Democrats in Washington will not mask the fact that from day one, Americans overwhelmingly rejected this massive bill and begged their elected officials to start over in favor of a step-by-step, incremental approach to reform. But Democrats in Congress ultimately told the American people: “We Know Better.” The only saving grace for those across the country who opposed this process is that in November, their voices cannot be shut out.
This week the Senate took up the reconciliation bill, the piece of legislation that contains the changes made to the original bill by the House of Representatives. Though the original bill approved by the House on Sunday has been signed into law by the President, the reconciliation bill includes a number of “fixes” made by Democrat House leaders to convince uneasy colleagues to vote for the Senate bill, including a number of new sweetheart deals and $65 billion more in new Washington spending.
Democrat Senate leaders employed the seldom-used process of reconciliation to pass this “fix” bill. Reconciliation only requires a simple majority of votes, or 51, as opposed to the normally required super-majority of 60 votes. Reconciliation was designed only to reduce the federal budget deficit, and has never been used to push through a $2.6 trillion restructuring of one-sixth of the American economy. My colleagues and I offered numerous amendments to shed light on the measures sweetheart deals, irresponsible new spending, higher taxes on working Americans, and drastic Medicare cuts. I talked about this effort, as well as the overall health care reform process, during interviews on Fox News Sunday and MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this week. In the end, the reconciliation bill was passed with minor modifications and sent back to the House.