As the first snow of the season fell on Washington, D.C., there was a flurry of activity inside the Capitol Building, as well. As Republicans made motion after motion, trying to send the entire legislation back to committee where it would essentially languish, Democrats propped up the measure with mostly symbolic gestures designed to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and compassionate care for the elderly and the working poor.
On November 7, at the end of a 12-hour debate, the House of Representatives passed the implausibly named “Affordable Healthcare for America Act.” A similarly revolutionary measure was introduced days later in the Senate and, thanks to a shameless display of haranguing and multi-million-dollar handouts, was put onto the calendar for deliberation by the entire membership.
Ending a week of rancorous debate, hollow threats, and showdowns that seemed all but blocked and scripted, the Senate voted Thursday on the first four of nearly a score of amendments to the healthcare bill. Partisan shadow boxing over topics as polarizing as abortion and Medicare culminated in a series of roll calls that had few surprises, and more than anything testified to the antipodean antipathy permeating both houses of Congress.
In the over 2,000 pages of the Senate’s “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” there are bound to be a few perplexing provisions. While not all of these elements will make it in to the final bill, examining some of the less mundane aspects of the legislation that may become the law of the land is worthwhile.
On November 30, the U.S. Senate began debating legislation that would change America’s healthcare system by giving government even greater control. The increased role for government is being posited as necessary to provide healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans.
The not-a-vote-to-spare super majority that invoked cloture in the healthcare legislation in the Senate, thus placing deliberation of the bill on the top of the legislative agenda, reveals the pressing and unavoidable need for compromise among Democrats, some of whom are claiming to still be undecided as to whether or not they will support the bill as currently written.
ITEM: The Associated Press reported on November 4: “In a coup for House Democrats, AARP will endorse sweeping health care overhaul legislation headed for a history-making floor vote…. Backing the 10-year, $1.2 trillion House bill is a tricky move for AARP. Many retirees are concerned about cuts in Medicare payments to medical providers, which will be used to finance an expansion of health insurance coverage to millions of working families.” That endorsement, of course, help supporters of comprehensive healthcare "reform"to get the legislation through the House.
In front of a standing-room-only spectator gallery, the Senate voted 60-39 Saturday night to invoke cloture and limit floor debate on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009,” the Senate’s companion measure to similar healthcare reform legislation passed earlier in the month by the House of Representatives. Invoking cloture requires a three-fifths majority (60 votes) of the full Senate. Though not a vote on the legislation itself, the procedural vote is significant since it prevents opponents from trying to filibuster the bill to death.
It seems Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is really getting into the spirit of the holiday season. Not only has he promised President Obama that he would deliver a shiny new healthcare package to the President’s desk by Christmas, but since revealing the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the Senate’s version of healthcare reform, it is apparent that he likes playing Santa Claus so much he has stuffed Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) stocking with $100 million.