Well, they didn’t want to do it, but those darn, uncompromising Republicans have forced Democratic lawmakers to proceed in desperation. Staunchly refusing to start from scratch, Democrats have decided to force their legislation through the process of “reconciliation.” They claim that Republicans have given them no choice, and this is the last resort.
However, this view is completely ignorant to GOP lawmakers’ perspective and overlooks the lack of consideration faced by Republicans over the past year.
Congressional Democrats have created a bill that attacks the core values of Republican lawmakers and their constituents. The current bill rejects the notion of small government, restricts individual freedom and attacks free enterprise — all principles that Republicans take to heart. Yet the Democrats have the nerve to call out Republicans (and conservative Democrats) for standing in solidarity against it. What do they expect?
Moreover, joint committee negotiations purposely excluded Republicans while they hammered out the details behind closed doors. The president consistently viewed Republicans as unnecessary resistance to this process, neglecting to consider that they represent millions of everyday Americans who are likewise opposed to the current health care bill. Was Scott Brown’s election to the Senate not enough of a clue that maybe the American people dislike the way the Democratic Party is handling this monumental legislation?
But President Obama’s timing could not have been more appropriate. As he saw his image as a bipartisan leader quickly fading, he did what any Nobel Prize winner would do — he called a summit to “work out” partisan differences.
This turned out to be a mere façade. President Obama claimed that the health care bill had been revised when it was really just a rehashed version of the old bill. He allowed Republican lawmakers offer their insight on the more than 2,000 page document, but he ultimately rejected the other side, and the summit was a waste of seven hours.
Republican ideas have been discounted for too long, and the debate on health care has been too one-sided. Republicans have been attacked for arguing against health care reform without offering any viable solutions. On the contrary, Republicans have supported universal health care in the form of private sector initiatives, where Americans would be able to cross state lines for more competitive quotes. As Republican Sen. John Kyl said, “We do not agree about the fundamental question of who should be mostly in charge.” Rather than raise premiums like Obama’s plan, GOP lawmakers say this type of heath care would lower rates without relying on federal subsidies. As a result, we would not have to depend on the federal government to ensure our livelihood.
President Obama suggested that “there are things that can be done at the state level to help foster innovation and eliminate some Republican concerns.” This may be true, but these elements have not been included in the bill and there is no sign that they will be added after the summit. His “us vs. them” mentality has constantly vilified the opposition. He has no intention of making concessions; it’s his way or the highway.
This setback would be out of the question as it could cost Democrats re-election. As a result, Democrats have decided to take their bill to the bitter end. Now that they no longer have the 60 heads they need in the Senate, Democrats believe “reconciliation” will be the only way to bypass GOP resistance.
Reconciliation would be used by the Senate to pass the “fixes” that the House makes to the original Senate bill (passed on Christmas Eve). In this way, only 51 votes would be necessary in the Senate for passage.
Although both parties have used this method in the past, it is completely inappropriate to use it for this bill. It is meant to reconcile strictly budgetary matters — not to advance social legislation. Reconciliation also typically draws support from both sides; it isn’t supposed to be a way for one party to sidestep another. There’s a reason it’s called “reconciliation.”
Democratic lawmakers are doing everything in their power to force-feed us harmful legislation. President Obama told them not to give up when they believed all hope was lost, and these last-minute efforts are poor attempts to redeem themselves as political leaders. This is not about helping patients; it’s about preserving the illusion of “change.”