Obamacare

Will Democrats Pass Health Care Reform For Christmas?

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Senate Democrats still hope to pass health care reform by Christmas, but in order to do so, everything will have to go exactly as planned. Given that Republicans have made noise about slowing down the process even further — just a few hours ago, John McCain suggested that it may be appropriate to have more of the bill read on the floor — Democrats are very nervous about the prospects for sticking to their timeline.

And they should be —in part because the Christmas deadline is actually a Saturday night deadline. As Philip Klein explains, if Democrats don't have legislation that can get 60 votes by tomorrow night, it won't be possible to pass health care before Christmas.  

In order to trigger the chain of events leading to a Christmas Eve vote, Reid would have to file cloture on his "manager's amendment" — containing all of his final negotiated changes to the bill — by the end of tomorrow.

Once Reid files that amendment, it will set up the key cloture vote on Monday at 1 a.m., requiring the support of 60 Senators to pass. While that would technically give him all of Sunday to win over Sen. Ben Nelson or any remaining holdouts, Reid would not be able to make any further changes to the bill in order to accommodate any Senator.

While a lot of people are focusing on Christmas Eve, the key vote will be that first cloture vote on Monday. If he gets 60 votes on that, the rest of the process will be a mere technicality.

But getting to 60 still poses a challenge. There's still no CBO score, Sen. Ben Nelson is still wrangling over the bill's abortion language, and Sen. Jim Webb announced late last night that he remains undecided. It's entirely possible that the bill could pass, of course, but at this point, I think it's just as likely that the whole thing will fall apart. 

NEXT: N.J. Medical Marijuana Patient Acquitted of Most Serious Charge

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  1. Shit, let me have one more Christmas before you fuck things up.

  2. I hope you’re right that there’s a good chance it all falls apart, but it seems to me the Dem leadership will offer absolutely anything to get the bill through. More ethanol subsidies for Nebraska, anyone?

    And why weren’t the Republicans this bloody-minded about passing unpopular legislation when Social Security reform came up in ’05?

    1. And why weren’t the Republicans this bloody-minded about passing unpopular legislation when Social Security reform came up in ’05?

      Because the Republicans didn’t have 60 votes in the Senate. Not even close. The Democrats are bloody-minded because they’re so close.

      1. Close enough (55 votes) that a hefty side of pork could have brought in the 60, *if* the GOP had stood firm among themselves.

        1. Close enough (55 votes) that a hefty side of pork could have brought in the 60, *if* the GOP had stood firm among themselves.

          I strongly doubt this. Five votes is a lot. The Democrats so far have zero Republican Senators, and not even any in the House outside of Joseph Cao (representing a super-Democratic district he won b/c of Freezer Cash Jefferson.)

          It’s one thing to promise pork to members of your own party; in lots of cases, they privately agree with the bill but are afraid of backlash from their constituents, which the pork will help with. It’s completely another to find pork to bribe five members of the Opposition.

          1. Worked for the “bailout.”

            1. Worked for the “bailout.”

              Because of apocalyptic threats that the entire economy would be destroyed. The bailout fell under the aforementioned category of “Senators were convinced that this was the right thing, but that their constituents wouldn’t like it so the pork might help.”

              I know that we think that the bailout was disastrous, but Congress really was scared into it. It’s not the same thing as the health-care bill for Republicans. TARP was more like using pork to get members to vote for free trade, when they think that free trade is a good idea but politically unpopular. Ditto with immigration.

      2. John, what utility, word processor, program or anything my computer illiterate ass can’t think of to quote a statement from the blog or a commenter with the fancy vertical grey bar like that?

        1. are you using, that is.

          1. [blockquote][/blockquote]

            Only use < > instead of [].

            1. Thanks, but I am still completely in the dark. Computer tard, I am.

              [blockquote] [/blockquote]

              forward slash

              1. Thanks, but I am still completely in the dark. Computer tard, I am.

                [blockquote] [/blockquote]

                forward slash

                1. Huh, when I used to enclose “could you explain, please – it didn’t show up.

                  1. Huh, that was supposed to be the less than or greater than arrows after “used.”

        2. <blockquote>quoted text here</blockquote>

          Like SugarFree said. You have to use angle brackets.

          1. gotcha, thanks

  3. Let’s all hope and pray that these clowns are as incompetent procedurally as they are philosophically.

    1. Let’s all hope the Republicans are VERY competent procedurally at finding ways to slow this down so they miss the Christmas deadline, and other deadlines pass that …

  4. Isn’t Christmas Eve when Israel is supposed to take care of that Iranian nuclear program or did the Russians stop building that anti-aircraft system?

  5. It doesn’t matter if the prime beneficiaries are Arkansas hog farms, something with “Healthcare Reform” in the title is going to go through.
    Neither Pelosi nor Obama give one whit about actual results; it’s padding the resume’. They *will* have a piece of paper to wave around.
    (my hope is that it has the title on it….and nothing else)

    1. Pork for Pork.

      I’m down with that.

      *Bacon*

      1. Mmm… bacon.

  6. Why not enact a constitutional amendment making healthcare a fundamental right, then let the courts do their dirty work for them?

    Really, it is a good thing I’m not on their side.

    1. How would that be a more likely way to accomplish reform?

      1. “Reform?” Nothing anyone is doing will accomplish that. I’m just trying to help the cause of redistributing the wealth.

        1. Let me rephrase. How would that be a more likely way for Democrats to achieve their ends?

    2. Do you think they could get three fourths of the state legislatures or special conventions to ratify such an amendment? I don’t.

  7. Why not enact a constitutional amendment making healthcare a fundamental right, then let the courts do their dirty work for them?

    Because they’ll do it anyway. And it won’t be on TV.

  8. Paraphrased from a glowing review of Springtime for Hitler in Mel Brooks’ The Producers: “Christmas came early to Washington this year?and guess who they stuffed in our stocking? Karl Marx!”

  9. Will anonymity bot Jess get ass raped for Steve Smith’s birthday?

  10. It’s this kind of crap that makes the holidays so full of suicides.

  11. So, technically a single assassination could stop this bad puppy from happening for a while?

    Just asking a procedural question …

  12. Why does the space-time continuum have to be transformed into a singularity before Christmas?

  13. That’s right, $10 for a blow job, $5 for around the world.

  14. …if Democrats don’t have legislation that can get 60 votes by tomorrow night, it won’t be possible to pass health care before Christmas.

    It’s starting to sound less like a piece of legislation than a horribly jagged kidney stone.

  15. ‘Tis the season for a Democratic implosion? It would be so much more entertaining to watch all of this if it were not so dangerous.

    Either way, the Dems are done in 2010. Jump on the grenade for the Comrade-in-Chief, Demos. If this nightmare of a legislative soap opera, corrupt, self-serving and dysfunctional in every way, hasn’t sufficiently demonstrated to the people the shear ineptitude of gubment, particularly that “diverse” group of morons known as the Democrats, then we might as well start drafting a national suicide pact. Ladies and gentelmen, comrades, Al Franken is a United States Senator. Enough said.

  16. Franken was put into office by ACORN.

    1. Reform Now! ACORN noes how to pick a winner. Get out the vote! Now that is an actual crisis. How about the “get your stupid ass informed, or please don’t vote” message. Not worthy of the funds I suppose. Certainly not like the analogue to digital message. How about the “get the fuck out of the left lane on the Interstate unless you are passing someone” message? Imagine how many lives and how much time that would save? Sounds green too.

  17. It doesn’t matter if the prime beneficiaries are Arkansas hog farms, something with “Healthcare Reform” in the title is going to go through.

    Yup.

    At this point, they’d look fully as dumb as they are if Obamaclaus doesn’t sign something (anything!) labeled “Health Care Reform”.

    Especially after they explained how they had learned from the Hilarycare disaster, and wouldn’t be thwarted again.

    1. For a long time I agreed with you. But I’m just barely starting to think it’s possible that they could fail to achieve even that.

      I think at this point, if they changed the legislation to Healthcare for Arkansas Pigs, the R’s would club them over the head with it. Even the Dems are that stupid.

  18. Christmas is supposed to be a time of gift-giving, not stealing.

    1. Sure, but you’re looking at it from a mis-informed angle. Don’t you want the “free” gift of health care?

      1. If someone offered me a “free” gift of a bag of cat shit, I’d hold it in a similar regard to “free” health care.

  19. Sounds like I might be having a very Merry Christmas!

  20. I have a feeling if they pass this shit, they are opening up a big can of trouble. The mandated health insurance is going to be their undoing. If I am wrong, then we are all pretty much fucked.

    1. Anyway, we’re all pretty much fucked. The only question is, how soon?

      1. Hey, we’re working on it, Ebeneezer. Turning America into East Germany Junior takes time.

        Despite what my followers believe, I am not a god… but I’m close.

  21. just a few hours ago, John McCain suggested that it may be appropriate to have more of the bill read on the floor

    This would be incredibly stupid, which of course means the GOP (and John “rush back to DC to help the bailout pass” McCain) will do it.

    Right now the Dems are like Sideshow Bob stepping on rake after rake. The last thing we need to give them is an easy excuse as to why they couldn’t make yet another “deadline”.

    1. This would be incredibly stupid, which of course means the GOP (and John “rush back to DC to help the bailout pass” McCain) will do it.

      Huh? I fail to understand your logic. McCain is arguing that Senate rules and tradition require reading more of the actual bill on the floor, which would waste time. The reason that “the Dems are like Sideshow Bob stepping on rake after rake” is that the Republicans, like Sen. Coburn, are insisting on making the Democrats read the bill on the floor and using other procedural tricks whenever possible.

      I really fail to understand what you mean at all.

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