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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:03 PM
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Your Daily "Plan B" Update....
..... this is my attempt at posting three articles related to the same matter in one OP. I like a tidy board. :)

Dems Brainstorm For A Way Around Health Care Impasse
Brian Beutler | January 25, 2010, 5:30PM

<snip>

(Reid and Pelosi) are working through a number of possibilities, including a new idea, floated by several House members, to expedite the reconciliation strategy. But, as always, nothing's as easy as it seems.

"There are obviously a handful of ideas that people are looking at," said a House Democratic aide. "We passed a student loan bill in the House. That's sitting over in the Senate. One idea that has been discussed is to, on that bill, amend it to address the concerns about the Senate bill, primarily the Cadillac tax, and the Nebraska deal; have the Senate pass that under reconciliation, have that come back to us, we pass it, and we also vote on the Senate bill."

The nascent plan, which, according to House and Senate aides, is said to be of interest to leadership, has one major appeal. If the Senate acts first, then House members can be sure that their concerns with the health care bill will be addressed. "The House doesn't have to be reliant on the Senate voting to fix some of the House concerns with the Senate bill ," the aide says.

Procedurally, this might be tricky. According to Marty Paone--a budget expert, who has advised Senate leadership on reconciliation strategy--the student loan bill may not be a workable vehicle.

"That bill is not a revenue bill, only came out of Ed and Labor committee so it can't be used for tax provisions," Paone emails. He adds, "he rules prohibit taking up a bill and turning it into a reconciliation bill. It has to be one that has met the House reconciliation instructions from the outset."

According to Paone, the House will have to act first. "I think the House will need to pass a reconciliation bill first with the changes and other financing changes because some of them entail tax changes so it must originate with them. Then the Senate could act on it as a reconciliation bill needing only a majority vote. Ideally they negotiate all such changes ahead of time so the senate does not have to amend but rather just pass it and send to the President."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/dems-brainst...



Can reconciliation save the health-care bill?

The difficulties with the reconciliation process boil down to the Byrd rule, which states that "provisions that do not produce a change in outlays or revenues; produce changes in outlays or revenue which are merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision," are not eligible for reconciliation.

There are two difficulties there. First, what is a "provision?" Is it a bill? A title? A paragraph? A policy? A sentence? It's never defined. Second, what's "merely incidental?" Since everything can be argued to change federal revenues or spending in some way, the question of whether that's what the policy is attempting to do or whether that's an unimportant side effect is a bit esoteric.

There are four major compromises that the health-care bill probably needs in order to move forward: The excise tax has to be softened, the subsidies need to be increased, the exchanges need to become federally-regulated, and the abortion language needs to be tweaked. The experts I spoke to said that the subsidies and the excise tax were no problem for reconciliation. Abortion and exchanges are less clear.

"If its strictly a prohibition against federal funds going towards abortions," says budget expert Stan Collender, "it's probably okay. Simply a regulation, probably not. If you can make the case that the government will spend more or less due to national exchanges, then the ruling could be that its a material impact. But if its just regulations, it could be extraneous."

Collender, however, takes an expansive view. "Given how intertwined everything seems to be in health care, I could make the case that theres very little that doesnt belong in reconciliation." Whether he's right would be for the parliamentarian to decide. Which is why the reconciliation process is rarely the first choice for a bill like this one. It's unpredictable. The outcome depends on the Senate's equivalent of an umpire, and no one knows quite how he'll rule.

But what choice do Democrats have but to try?

By Ezra Klein
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/can...



No way forward by SOTU

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Democrats will not settle on a way forward on health care reform by Wednesday's State of the Union address.

"Both the majority leader and the speaker need time to talk with their members," Durbin told reporters Monday.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) drew the same conclusion earlier Monday. He told POLITICO that the Senate and House leadership needed to agree on a list of fixes to the Senate health bill, and it wasn't likely before Wednesday.

"I doubt that," Baucus said.

On this point, there seems to be agreement with the House, where aides have said they don't know where their members stand or how much time members need figure out how they want to proceed. House aides say no decisions have been made, and a few suggest it might take some time for things to settle down enough to pick the best route forward.

But by not making a decision by Wednesday, Democrats could lose an opportunity to hit the reset button on health care - a notion that Durbin dismissed.

"A matter of days wont make a difference," Durbin said.

http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0110/No_way_forward_b...

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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:33 PM
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1. How long did it take Congress to resolve that we should invade Iraq, spend billions and billions?
If only they had half the sense of urgency with our health care as they did with WMD that weren't there.

:mad:
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