Ram it through!

If you’ve had any doubts about the President’s previous commitment to bipartisanship and open government, you can put them to rest.  His recent actions make it clear that he will do anything to get some kind of health care bill passed.  The latest has Congress trying to resurrect legislation that was passed separately by the House and Senate back in December, but then discarded.  The idea is to use the reconciliation process to avoid any interference by Republicans.  This trick has been used before, but it’s not the normal way of doing things.  Nor, in my opinion, the right way to do things.  It’s a means for the party in control of Congress to bypass the legislative process.

It’s not smooth sailing for Democrats, though.  Many are resistant to passing the health care legislation, either because they think it’s a bad idea, or, more likely, they don’t want to take the chance of upsetting voters in an election year.  As a result, there is much wrangling by those in charge, adding bribes to the bills in order to placate those who are resisting.  At first, President Obama strongly requested that such provisions be removed from the bills.  Now he’s waffling, objecting only to “state-specific” provisions.  So much for his professed concerns about fiscal responsibility.  If he had any integrity, he would declare his intention to veto any health care bill that included non health care items in it.

But then, if he had any integrity he would have given up his insane idea of overhauling the health care finance system a few months ago when it became obvious that it can’t be done without wheedling, arm twisting, and bribes.

House Democrats are in an interesting position here.  They’re being asked (one might say coerced) to pass a Senate health care bill that they previously rejected.  There is a “firm commitment” by the Senate leadership that legislation to “fix” the objectional provisions is forthcoming.  I’ve long held that our elected officials are not stupid, but if they fall for this one, I’ll have to revise that estimate.