The New York Times' Hypocrisy on Budget Reconciliation to Repeal ObamaCare

Democrats used it to pass parts of ObamaCare in 2010 without being denounced.



The editors of The New York Times are running an editorial today warning "Republicans Are Courting Disaster on Health Care" that generally decries the "repeal and delay" strategy for eliminating ObamaCare that appears to be emerging among the GOP denizens of Capitol Hill. And surely there are concerns about how such a ploy would affect insurance markets. The editors are especially in high dudgeon over a parliamentary strategy to which the Republicans in the Senate might have to resort in order overcome the cloture requirement for 60 votes to end debate and take a vote on legislation. From The Times:

With a narrow 52-to-48 majority in the Senate, Republicans are seeking to evade a Democratic filibuster by instructing congressional committees to draft a budget reconciliation bill to effectively repeal the tax and spending provisions of the A.C.A., gutting the law and increasing the deficit. … It should perhaps come as no surprise that zealots would resort to using a budgetary maneuver to fundamentally change national policy.

Of course, this is precisely the same manuever that Democrats used back in 2010 to pass vital parts of the legislation that created the structure of ObamaCare. Briefly, versions of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives when the Senate Democrats had 60 seat majority which enabled them to avoid a Republican filibuster. However, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) died and Republican Scott Brown won his seat.

Generally, differences in House and Senate bills have to be hammered out in conference committees and then voted on again. In this case, the Democrats knew that since they no longer had a 60 vote majority, they would not be able to pass a bill that had undergone the conference committee process. So the House Democratic majority voted on March 21, 2010 to accept the Senate bill without any changes on condition that the Senate would pass another bill that incorporated the changes that the House Democratic members wanted.

In order to satisfy the demands of the House Democrats, the Senate Democrats cobbled together the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act and passed it as a budget reconciliation bill which takes only a simple majority to pass. That "budget reconciliation" passed both Houses on March 26, 2010. In other words, the Democrats in 2010 used the same procedure to complete ObamaCare that The Times is now denouncing the Republicans for planning to use to repeal aspects of ObamaCare.

Back in February 2010, The Times reported:

White House officials and their allies in liberal advocacy groups are making an all-out push to persuade Congress and the public that budget reconciliation is a legitimate procedure used often in the last 30 years to pass major legislation, including President Ronald Reagan's domestic agenda in 1981, an overhaul of welfare programs in 1996 and President George W. Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, said he knew those precedents. But, he said, they amount to "peanuts compared with this total restructuring of one-sixth of the economy."

The No. 2 Republican in the House, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, asked the House Democratic leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, to renounce use of the budget reconciliation procedure for health care. But in an exchange on the House floor on Friday, Mr. Hoyer refused to do so.

Use of the procedure is "in the Republican tradition," Mr. Hoyer said. In any event, he said, Senate rules requiring a 60-vote majority to cut off a filibuster "are impeding the work of the American people."

I may have missed it, but my search to find a op-ed from The Times in 2010 denouncing Democratic "zealots" for using this procedure to complete ObamaCare has turned up empty. If you happen to come across one, please let me know and I will update this post.

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  1. Shorter NYT: “It’s only okay when our side does it!”

    They don’t even bother to pretend anymore.

    1. When intentions are what matters, “it’s only okay when we do it” is a perfectly valid argument.

      1. Why should they when Republicans are stupid enough to do this…


        “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has apparently moved on from blocking Supreme Court nominees now that Republicans are in charge. At a press conference Wednesday, McConnell scoffed at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) suggestion that Democrats would oppose the GOP’s nominee “tooth and nail” if they “don’t appoint someone who’s really good.” “I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate”

        1. That’s principle. Because blocking even hearings on a nominee is the GOP’s job.

          Orrin Hatch: “The president told me several times he’s going to name a moderate [to fill the court vacancy], but I don’t believe him. [Obama] could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man. He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the [liberal Democratic base] wants.”

          And then his op-ed on how bad his meeting with Garland went.

          (Published hours before the meeting took place).

          1. Well, if you dumbasses hadn’t weaponized congressional procedure to suit your own ends, you wouldn’t be getting hoisted on your own petard right now.

            Democrats’ future time orientation is about as good as a South Side Chicago teenager, apparently.

    2. The editorial pages of the NYT and WaPo are now at the same level as HuffPo and Breitbart, and their straight news articles read more and more like their editorials.

      1. It’s not confined to the editorial pages.

    3. Comment:

      I see the right-wingers are claiming hypocrisy here. But here’s the cold hard reality and truth. The Democrats had to do it because the ACA needed to pass in order to know what was in it and the Republicans slaves to the Tea Baggers were obstructing a critical bill for ALL Americans. So they were being responsible. The GOP on the other hand are just doing it out of spite once again showing how morally deprived they are.

      1. Can’t tell if sarc or not.

        1. That’s Rufus; it’s sarc.

          1. Or at least the Canadian equivalent thereof.

      2. So, the argument is that they’re still hypocrites, but they had a good excuse.

        1. Well, they had an excuse, but it doesn’t come within shouting distance of good.

      3. “ACA needed to pass in order to know what was in it”

        I will read no bill before it’s time – 98% of all Congresspersons

        1. [bill’s time passes]

          “Why do you want me to read it now? It’s old news!”

        2. “I will read no bill before its time.”

      4. Yup, if they were not doing it out of spite, they’d offer a replacement. Seven years to get one, and nothing.

        But, repeal-only is great. Love to see the free markets work.

        1. Repeal and allow interstate sales of health insurance.

        2. When you cut out a cancer you don’t need to replace it with something.

        3. Re-floating a ship they sank in 2010 is not replacement, nor need it be. A total repeal is an improvement and a budget cut as well. Every stat released needs a small book to explain why its not a lie, much like their economic numbers.

          No spite is involved, just politicians actually keeping a campaign promise.

      5. This sounds exactly like something my mom’s husband would say. Only he’d throw in a Rethuglikkkan or two. Not joking.

    4. You shouldn’t pretend objectivity when dealing with Trump because he is LITERALLY HITLER!!!!

    5. Well, we know the NYT is a hack paper that sells anyway, but they’ve had to cut spending because of declining revenues. And declining I’d surmise because they are a know hack paper.

      I’d suggest we quit clicking on links to articles there, to hasten their demise, and the Washington Post as well. They write click bait articles (often fake news) to generate ad revenue. If they’ve anything useful to say, we can read about it here.

  2. “It should perhaps come as no surprise that zealots would resort to using a budgetary maneuver to fundamentally change national policy.”

    Oh, the irony.

    1. Because that’s never happened before.

    2. It is quite, um, enlightening to recall the procedures used to ram Democratcare through.

      1. And they also seem to forget that the reason no Republicans would go along is because polls at that time showed approximately 60% of the electorate was opposed.

        1. Remember “TARP”?

      2. “Democratcare”

        I like that. It’s a much more apt description than Obamacare (he actually had very little to do with the bill). I think Republicans would have done even better in the various elections during the Obama years had they made that term part of the vernacular. The R’s aren’t called the stupid party for nothing, though.

    3. The sentence doesn’t even need any changes.

  3. Principals, principles, etc.

  4. I think the only way to get rid of this shit law is to get rid of the individual mandate and let it go on but making it find itself. Effectively the government will just have thier own insurance company that runs like shit and and is overprived so people will just voluntarily leave it. Just let it die by itself until nobody cares.

    Otherwise NBC will be interviewing every sob story that loses thier insurance if it’s repealed- which they should have done when it was enacted.

    I think the lesson in watching the government fail at running an insurance company without taxes could be used structure for some to see why they can’t run anything.

    1. Fund itself, not find itself.

      1. Both work.

    2. Flush this turd of a law.

    3. I’ve always thought a setup like this would be an interesting experiment. That said, there’s no possible way to force it to permanently fund itself, which is the weak spot in your plan. Even if current law is written forcing the healthcare administration to set prices based on balancing their budget, the next Democratic Congress is sure to add “and here, also have $20 billion in appropriations to aid in your critical mission!”

      1. “and here, also have $20 billion in appropriations to aid in your critical mission!”

        Only $20 billion? That’s optimistic.

    4. The mandate, while philosophically objectionable isn’t actually the problem with ACA. It’s the minimum coverage requirements, community ratings, and banning of preexisting conditions that make plans fundamentally unaffordable. If they repealed the mandate only, it would save me $1,200 a year in penalties, but I still couldn’t afford insurance.

      And as long as we’re trying to make *insurance* affordable, instead of making *actual healthcare* affordable we’re not really getting anywhere, and just trying to sweep the real problem under the rug anyway.

  5. Still not as bad as their flip-floppery on whether or not the Senate filibuster is a wise safeguard on the ability of the majority to trample all over the rights of the minority without even considering their valid concerns or an evil anachronistic tool of Satan unfairly allowing the minority to thwart the will of the majority in carrying out their sacred obligations to the nation. (Two guesses on the pertinent circumstances surrounding when the filibuster is a good thing and when it’s a bad thing.)

  6. Say what you will about Bailey, and I have, the man knows how to spell. I respect that.

    1. And he uses fancy words like dudgeon.

  7. Honestly, I think what will happen instead, is that the filibuster will go bye-bye.

    Trump will nominate someone for SCOTUS, that person will be demonized by Democrats as the Satanic spawn of Hitler and Dick Cheney (who is also Hitler), they will try to filibuster the nominee and then it goes away. Leading to full Obamacare repeal by simple majority when that bill is considered later on.


    1. If the Republicans had any sense.

    2. How do you keep all these Hitlers straight?

      – Tattoo numbers on ’em!

      1. That doesn’t work, they all get the number 666

      2. Let’s make them wear something so that we can tell they are Hitlers. Something that’s a bright color… maybe yellow. It needs to be some shape that is basic, but it can’t just be a single common shape, because that would permanently change people’s perception and ruin that shape. Two of a common shape… maybe triangles because of the “Third Reich.” Let’s superimpose them and flip one upside down so that it doesn’t look quite like two triangles, but like some sort of star!

  8. The New York Times, making Brietbart seem legitimate.

    Good God.

  9. The editors of The New York Times are running an editorial today warning “Republicans Are Courting Disaster on Health Care”

    and the editors of The Onion are running a headline today about “Cat Placed On 5 Minutes’ Half-Assed Observation After Possibly Ingesting Plastic Thing”.

    1. The Onion’s getting out funnied by the NYT.

      1. The Onion has been shit for a few years now, ever since it got bought by whatever progtard media company owns it now. It’s jokes about Hillary were mostly about how awesome she is but not enough people realize it.

        1. All their best writers got hired by the NYT and Washington Post.

  10. I’ve been reading the New York times for all of my adult life. It always had a bias of course. But the last few years have just been too much for me. I really barely look at it anymore. How can this be a business model?

    1. They bleed money and are only kept afloat by the beneficence of Carlos Slim.

      1. The NYT’s going under would be almost as much fun as watching the reaction to Trump’s win.

    2. Remember Newsweek?

      1. I’ll buy that for a dollar!!

  11. Popehat as a terrific article up analyzing the long-awaited Mann-Steyn decision. The whole thing is worth reading for Ken’s deconstruction of the anti-SLAPP process, but here’s the important bit about the case:

    The Court’s portrayal of the “investigations” and “studies” exonerating Mann seems to wander oddly from dispassionate examination of evidence to eager and almost fawning appeal to authority. The logic is also troubling. The redoubtable Jonathan Adler suggested an apt analogy. Consider George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. A jury acquitted Zimmerman. Imagine I say “George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.” Under traditional First Amendment analysis that would be an obvious statement of political opinion based on the highly publicized facts of the case. Under this Court’s analysis, and its stingy treatment of protected opinion, I’m concerned it could be taken as a statement of fact ? and that the jury’s verdict could be taken as adequate proof that I spoke maliciously, because I should have yielded to the jury’s evaluation of the facts rather than assert my own.

    1. An even more damning comparison: imagine if Clinton decided to sue someone who insists that she’d broken the law and that Comey was abjectly wrong in clearing her*, and in response to the defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion against Clinton’s lawsuit the Court derided the defendant’s case as potentially malicious because the defendant had not deferred to Comey’s opinion. That is in essence what’s happened to Steyn et al., they had their specific objections to the self-interested, politically-motivated government bodies who purported to clear Mann turned around on them as evidence that they should have known that Mann had already been vindicated.

      *it should of course be noted that Comey did no such thing, merely gave a fig-leaf of intellectual cover to Clinton and Lynch by suggesting that “no reasonable prosecutor” would opt to file charges… which is probably true, given the circumstances.

    2. Ugh. Mann should have been laughed out of court by now.

  12. The New York Times engages in pro-Democrat hypocrisy.

    In other news, dog bites man.

  13. Non-objective reality formulates the collectivist cognition.

    Only the rational can honestly react to revelations of dissonance emitted through the blazing beam of evaluated hypocrisy.

  14. “I may have missed it, but my search to find a op-ed from The Times in 2010 denouncing Democratic “zealots” for using this procedure to complete ObamaCare has turned up empty. If you happen to come across one, please let me know and I will update this post.”

    Pretty sure you won’t be doing any revisions here…

  15. Every year in the U.S., more than 30,000 people die from things related to guns.


    with figure 1. “mortality rate vs funding”, NPR shows us why we need to fund more gun violence research.. when it really shows we spend too much on AIDS by a full order of magnitude.

      1. what’s the mortality rate of people who die from things related to hospitals?

        1. 100%. Every single person who goes to, works in, or even passes by a hospital dies. Eventually.

          1. Birth is after all a terminal disease…

    1. Looks like Falls is the big category that needs additional funding.

      All you pro-ladder people are endangering America.

      1. Look at it this way – the funding that isn’t being given to fighting man’s eternal struggle with gravity, is being devoted instead to fight man’s eternal struggle against used needles and ass sex.

      2. All you pro-ladder people are endangering America.

        I have no less than three ladders, all more than ten rungs on my property at any given time. Hell, I keep a three-rung ladder in a closet on each floor of my house and a 15-run rope ladder concealed under the bed in each bedroom in case of emergency. You can have my ladders when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

    2. when it really shows we spend too much on AIDS by a full order of magnitude.

      AIDS, poisoning, fires, asphyxia, drowning… Are there really a lot of dramatic breakthroughs occurring in the drowning field? Shouldn’t this be the seminal work in malnutrition?

      Also, the correlation line in the graph is now one of my favorite singular representation of the leftist mentality; “Of course if you throw more money at the *research* you should reasonably expect incidences to decrease.” Supercollider-related deaths have only increased since the 1960s, we should do more research to figure out why.

    3. Someone must have issued new marching orders.

      HuffPo says the same thing about underfunding of gun violence research.

      As I said before, why doesn’t Bloomberg fund these studies himself instead of electioneering?

  16. I think budget reconciliation or not, the filibuster should die.

    Elections have consequences, and requiring 60+ votes in one chamber is undemocratic.

    Interestingly, the libertarian (LOL) Rand Paul voted against the budget reconciliation to repeal Obamacare. Chicken-shit Republican invoked the debt argument–that the repeal would increase the debt massively.

    What, no free markets, Rand?

    Repeal the whole thing, and watch the nonsense of “we don’t need gubmint paws on my healthcare” die. Along with the ones wanting insurance, not having it, and yet calling it a cancer.

    1. Elections have consequences, and requiring 60+ votes in one chamber is undemocratic.

      Our Constitution is undemocratic. That’s the point. Democracy isn’t the goal; liberty is.

      1. A kakistocracy, if you can keep it.

      2. Where’s the filibuster clause?

        1. In the Senate rules, adopted every other year when a new Congress is convened.

          1. So a rule that contradicts the obvious spirit of the constitution with respect to how Congress votes on things that is itself being used in a way it was never intended is actually a wise and purposeful thing the founders intended.

            1. a rule . . . with respect to how Congress votes on things that is itself being used in a way it was never intended is actually a wise and purposeful thing the founders intended.

              You mean the rule that Aaron Burr spurred the Senate to adopt in 1806?

            2. Tony:

              So a rule that contradicts the obvious spirit of the constitution with respect to how Congress votes on things that is itself being used in a way it was never intended is actually a wise and purposeful thing the founders intended.

              According to Harry Reid, it is.

              If course, it depends what year you ask him.

              Tomorrow, the United States Senate will face a historic vote on whether to do away with a critical Check in our government of Checks and Balances ? a Senator’s right to filibuster….The Framers of our Constitution believed the Senate should be a deliberative body where cooler heads and consensus prevails.

            3. Where did you divine this obvious spirit from? The filibuster is hardly the only non-majoritarian rule in both houses’ rules.

  17. “It’s different when our side does it.” – NYT

  18. The latest is an Editorial from the Opinion Page. The older is a piece of journalism reporting quotes from people and facts. Why does this happen so much when people talk about the Times? As the editor recently said on Meet the Press, if people had the actual physical paper they would see that editorials are only one section of the paper. If there is hypocrisy filtering into the reporting, it should be brought up, otherwise it is a non-story. Even if there was an editorial board “opinion” from 2010 which was different from the current “opinion”, it would be a non-story because “opinions” can change in 7 years.

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