I have watched some of the grandiosely titled “healthcare summit” at Blair House, and I have to say that while there is plenty more time to go, my initial concerns about Republican participation have largely been allayed.
Obama treats the presidency as performance art. I was worried that the Republicans would allow him to out-maneuver them, as he did at the House GOP retreat a few weeks ago. But Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP leader John Boehner, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Tom Coburn have done an excellent job tangling with President Obama and setting the record straight on his misstatements of fact, exaggerations, and obfuscations.
In truth, the summit is a sideshow. As the Democrats have already made it abundantly clear, this is a head fake. Their real plan is to have the House pass the Senate bill without changes, then do a “tweak” with a second bill using the budget reconciliation process in a clear and blatant violation of U.S. Senate rules.
Will it work? Too early to tell.
Bart Stupak said on Fox News that there were up to 15 to 20 Democratic House members who are gravely concerned about the lack of restrictions on the taxpayer funding of abortion in the Senate bill.
With the first House bill passing by the razor-thin margin of 220-215, Nancy Pelosi has no margin for error. With several seats vacant due to death or resignation, she needs 217 votes, and Joseph Cao, the Republican elected to the New Orleans House seat formerly held by William Jefferson, has already said he will vote “no” this time.
Counting the resignation of Robert Wexler of Florida and the death of Jack Murtha, that brings Pelosi’s total down to 217, assuming she holds everyone else.
Given Stupak’s comments, that is highly unlikely. But it may well be that some Blue Dogs will feel more comfortable voting for a bill without the public option, in spite of the weaker abortion language. Bottom line: the battle is joined, and it isn’t over until the fat lady sings.
Obamacare is supported by only about 41 percent of the American people and opposed by an average of about 56 percent, according to the most recent published polls. But the Democrats are in the barrel and are bound and determined to go over the fall.
They will pass this bill or die trying. Those of us opposed to government-run healthcare better strap on our helmets and oppose this massive, socialistic healthcare scheme with everything we have. Otherwise, we may spend the next decade paying for it and working to repeal it. Better to defeat it now . . . for good.
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