President Obama will be making a statement today at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern) about the path he wishes to take forward on health insurance reform. I suspect that he will push for Democrats in Congress to pass all of the provisions possible using budget reconciliation. The things that can NOT be passed that way will have to be taken up as separate bills which isn’t such a bad thing considering it will force Republicans to take a stand on what & who they are for and what & who they are against. The GOP talks what they think is a good game but when push comes to shove, I seriously doubt that they want to be on the evening news standing with highly profitable insurance companies rather than the American people, tens of millions of who do not currently have health insurance.
Did you know that over half of the people without health insurance have a job? To listen to the Republicans you’d think they were all shiftless bums or illegal aliens. Not so.
So the president is going to point the direction with today’s announcement. Then it is up to the Democrats in Congress to make it happen. The House has passed a bill. The Senate has passed a bill (by a super majority!) They have more than enough votes to make this happen. Yeah, the Senate bill is sucky. But the amount of good that it does vastly outweighs the crappy aspects and those things can be fixed as we move forward. But Congress has to move forward. They can no longer sit around complaining that the president isn’t showing enough leadership. He held a very well-planned, well-staged, and well-executed bipartisan summit last week that was clearly designed to give the Democrats cover to use the reconciliation process. He’s presented them with a template for the things we can achieve. Now it’s up to them.
A couple of weeks ago, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post had this to say on MSNBC’s Countdown:
At the end of the day, it is up to Congressional Democrats to pass this legislation and when they don’t, it’s on them. And I do think that there’s an element of political dodge when what they say is, “Well the White House didn’t lead sufficiently.” We don’t have a system built for us only to be able to solve problems when the White House is strategically perfect. Our presidents are going to fail us and our Legislature is going to have to do its job.
I couldn’t possibly agree more.
So, on with the budget reconciliation process! The Congressional GOPosaurs from the Party of NO! are petrified of it. They know that, when this passes, Americans are going to like the result, just like they like most of the other major pieces of social legislation that have been passed in the past century. And that will be good for the Democrats. Republicans are so frightened that they’ve started calling it “the Nuclear Option” which it isn’t, of course. The Nuclear Option is what they called the Republicans’ threat to end the filibuster under George W. Bush and bringing out that Very Scary WordTM doesn’t mean the Dems aren’t going to use.
I’m just sayin’…