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Senate Can Pass Health With 51 Votes, Van Hollen Says (Update1)

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by DisgruntledTunaFan, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. DisgruntledTunaFan

    DisgruntledTunaFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    By Jonathan D. Salant

    Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Even if Democrats lose the special election to pick a new Massachusetts senator Tuesday, Congress may still pass health-care overhaul through a process called reconciliation, a top House Democrat said.

    That procedure requires 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to prevent Republicans from blocking votes on President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. That supermajority is at risk as the Massachusetts race has tightened.

    “Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation,” Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said.

    “Getting health-care reform passed is important,” Van Hollen said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “Reconciliation is an option.”

    Should Democrats take that route, the legislation would have to be scaled back because of Senate rules.

    He also said he expects Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley to win in Massachusetts.

    Van Hollen said Republican predictions that the political climate had changed so much that they can capture the 40 seats needed to regain control of the House was “pure hallucination.”

    ‘Into the Ditch’

    “Why would you hand the keys to the car back to the same guys whose policies drove the economy into the ditch and then walked away from the scene of the accident?” Van Hollen said. “For the Republicans to say vote for us and bring back the guys who got us into this mess in the first place, I don’t think it’s a winner.”

    He said Democrats expect to see their majority shrink this year because the party that occupies the White House traditionally loses congressional seats in the first midterm election.

    At the end of a week dominated by images of death and destruction after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Van Hollen said lawmakers likely will approve whatever relief money the president requests. Obama has already asked for $100 million.

    “We want to help people who need relief immediately, and so to that extent I support it,” Van Hollen said this afternoon.

    Separately, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that Haitian nationals now in the U.S. will be allowed to stay for an additional 18 months because of the quake devastation.

    Gasoline Tax

    On other domestic issues, Van Hollen said Congress won’t raise the gasoline tax this year to fund a new long-term construction program for roads and mass transit. The current six-year, $286.5 billion transportation legislation is expiring.

    Jobs legislation passed by the House includes $50 billion for construction projects, Van Hollen said. Longer-term legislation with a gas-tax increase will require “some kind of bipartisan consensus before you more forward,” he said.

    On the decision to require Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to testify before the House Financial Services Committee, Van Hollen said that while he didn’t believe Geithner was in political danger, it was appropriate for him to come before Congress.

    AIG Payments

    Lawmakers want to know why the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which Geithner formerly led, agreed to payments of 100 cents on the dollar to companies that held American International Group Inc. credit-default swaps tied to subprime mortgages.

    Van Hollen said the New York Fed’s decision was wrong and the U.S. needed to “understand how that decision was made, because that kind of decision should not be made in the future.”

    As Democratic congressional leaders worked with the White House to meld House and Senate versions of the health-care overhaul legislation, Van Hollen said there was no deadline for completing the measure.

    “Our more important goal is to make sure we get it right,” he said.

    While polls show opposition to the legislation -- a Quinnipiac University survey found 58 percent of Americans opposing the way Obama was handling the issue -- Van Hollen said the individual components were popular and most people will support the measure once it clears Congress.

    “It’s been subject to a lot of demagoguery, a lot of misinformation,” Van Hollen said. Once the measure is finished, “people will see the benefits.”

    To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: January 15, 2010 17:50 EST

    Senate Can Pass Health With 51 Votes, Van Hollen Says (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
     
  2. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This could actually be good because the House Dems are a little more liberal than the Senate Dems, so the final bill could possibly include a public plan. The real problem with a Scott Brown victory is for other kinds of legislation, though if he wins, and the Senate decides to use Reconciliation, it would probably slow the process down again and create new opportunities for the opposition. Also, by the way, I've read that Reconciliation requires a more economically sound bill, which could mean tax hikes for the wealthy, something I suspect most Americans wouldn't be that upset about.
     
  3. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    It would mean a more watered down bill. If the Dems did opt for reconciliation, I think you could pretty much kiss November goodbye. I'm not sure they would go that route. Then again, when you're talking about ideological leadership, as opposed to pragmatic, I guess you could say it's certainly possible.
     
  4. alvinnf

    alvinnf In the Starting Line-Up

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    If Scott Brown wins who is to say they can get 51. Reconciliation is a incumbent death sentence. I think we would see allot more people jumping off this Titanic piece of legislation. Anyone whom votes for this thing in reconciliation is basically putting their political future on the line. Don't be surprised if blue dogs start backing away from this thing.
     
  5. BelichickFan

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    #24 Jersey

    Misusing reconiliation for this would cause a riot on the capital - maybe literally. If the people wanted this bill that might be different. If momentum was for it that might be different. But going with the premise of a Brown win, the momentum will have been of Virginia angd NJ governors going (R) then - shock - Mass Senate and the people will have spoken. Can they pass it with 51 ? Sure. But if (and it's still a HUGE if) Brown wins there's not a chance they will.
     
  6. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #95 Jersey

    If they opt for reconciliation, get ready for Alan Frumin to be the most important guy involved.
    Alan Frumin May Rise From Obscurity to Craft Senate Health Bill - Bloomberg.com
    He's the Senate parliamentarian who decides what provisions stay in ( budget related) and what go out ( not budget related)....
     
  7. alvinnf

    alvinnf In the Starting Line-Up

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    Maybe that proves to be a good thing. Maybe a forced comprimise might not seem ideal, but it might at least be a better alternative to the current bill. THat would be a start and the irony is that the children could'nt play nice and work for their employers, so they both get a time out! Maybe, just maybe we won't end up being the big losers on this.
     
  8. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    They only need 51 votes to pass the bill...but they need 60 votes to end all debate on the bill to bring it to the vote in the first place.

    That is what the hoopla over Brown is all about- not the actual passage, it's the filibuster threats that they can't stop unless they get 60 votes which they can't get if Brown is elected.
     
  9. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    Divide and conquer..... divide and conquer..... :rolleyes:
     
  10. 2000army

    2000army On the Game Day Roster

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    #12 Jersey


    DEBATE HAS ALREADY ENDED IN THE SENATE ... IF THE HOUSE PASSES THE sENATE VERSION IT CAN BE PASSED THROUGH RECONCILITATION .... AND i WOULD PREPARE FOR RIOTS.

    sry for caps .... but im too lazy to edit it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  11. ljuneau

    ljuneau Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Good point. But I doubt Queen Pelosi would intentionally settle for the Senate version. I would surely be surprised if she did. It just might cause her to chew her teeth off.

    I just don't see her giving up her "public" option.
     
  12. BelichickFan

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    #24 Jersey

    If Brown wins and they pass this through reconciliation there's a good chance of riots. If they put the public option back in, which is even more of a raising of the middle finger to the people, then the Republicans will win the House, Senate or both in 2010. Unfortunately this is all subject to a Brown win.
     
  13. efin98

    efin98 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    From what I am reading per THOMAS they can still have debate on the bill especially considering the fact that it will be dramatically changed because of the differences between both versions...there are also points of order and other nuances that can be manipulated to delay the vote.

    And it may not fall under reconciliation so that process might be a red herring...
     
  14. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Dead On.........

    Reconciliation would KILL the Dems in the long run, particularly if Brown wins. It circumvents the natural process of the filibuster. Filibusters are NOT viewed unfavorably in this COUNTRY. Forcing reconciliation to circumvent normal Senate procedures (like the filibuster) just to obstruct a guy who’d just been elected for the specific purpose of blocking the bill would almost certainly cause the pitchforks and torches to come out among the public. It would obliterate the fragile Dem caucus that exists. The rats would run for cover to save their hides.

    Its one thing to use it with something that is popular with the American people (like the Bush tax hikes), but to whip it out on such a UNPOPULAR issue (this Health Care is polling below 35% at this point), would have the effect of setting a nuclear bomb off on the Dem political landscape. Anyone voting for it facing reelection would be in serious trouble back home. Like I said, pitchforks and torches.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  15. patsfan13

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