The Democrats are intent on passing their Health Care Takeover bill, no matter what the political cost. According to the Washington Post, President Obama wants to add a couple of ideas suggested by Republicans at his “Health Care Summit” in an effort to turn one or two Republican votes in his favor and claim “bipartisan” status.
On Wednesday, Obama plans to call on Congress to bring the year-long debate to a swift close, and congressional leaders expect him to signal support for a strategy that includes a special budget maneuver known as reconciliation. Under that strategy, the House would adopt the bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve and approve a separate package of fixes to reflect a compromise worked out between Democrats in the two chambers.
Under reconciliation rules, the fixes could not be filibustered and Senate Democrats could approve them with a simple majority vote — a move intended to bypass a Republican caucus that remains united in its opposition to the legislation. Republican leaders said Obama’s offer to adopt some of the ideas they promoted at last week’s health-care summit would do little to improve what they consider a fundamentally flawed measure.
“If the President simply adds a couple of Republican solutions to a trillion dollar health care package that the American people don’t support, it isn’t bipartisanship. It’s political cover,” Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the No. 2 House Republican, said in a statement.
In other words, despite the opposition of the Republicans and the general sentiment of the American citizenry, the Democrats are eager to push through their legislation. They want the political cover of a “bipartisan” bill, even though it will likely cost them the election in November. Already it looks as though the Senate may swing by as little as four to as many as eight votes (giving Democrats only a one to five vote majority) and the House is likely to swing back to Republican control. Passing the Health Care Takeover bill will surely turn even more Americans, who are more concerned about jobs right now than health care, away from the Democrats.
The political math on this is actually not as simple as it seems, and it means the Democrats aren’t as crazy as they appear. While many Republican challengers are gearing up to run their campaigns based upon the slogan of “Repeal the Health Care Bill,” the reality is that even if the Republicans take control of the House and Senate any repeal they pass will be swiftly vetoed by President Obama. The chances that Republicans will have the necessary two-thirds majority in both houses to override that veto are virtually nil.
So even if conservatives run on repealing the Health Care Takeover in November, it is unlikely they will be able to actually do anything about it. In essence it will take two additional years before Republicans can obtain the necessary majorities in both the House and Senate to override a Presidential veto on a repeal measure, which will be too late to stop two years of crippling taxation that precedes the installation of benefits in the bill.
The Democrats have a long-term view on this: If the bill is enacted, it will be virtually impossible to repeal short of a Supreme Court challenge. Knowing this, they are sacrificing their majority today knowing that next year the Republicans will thrash wildly about, helpless to stop the inexorable damage to the economy and installation of immovable Federal Bureaucracy. By the end of two years, their hope is that Americans will see the new class of Republicans as weak or simply part of the problem or perhaps even the progenitors of the problems themselves. This sentiment could usher the Democrats back into power, securing the Health Care Takeover just as it goes into effect. The Democrats don’t consider this risky: They believe that Americans are fickle and have short memories. If they are right, it is a political move worthy of Machiavelli.
We need to stop the Health Care Takeover now. Campaigning on “repeal” isn’t good enough, it must be stopped before it can go into effect, or the Democrats will get another embedded constituency that may never be dislodged and ever greater and greater entitlement spending (and associated deficits) as the program is expanded and adjusted over the years.
Failure is not an option: This bill must go down in flames now.
Originally posted at The Minority Report Blog.