Rep. George Miller (D-CA) is now saying the path forward will be for the House to pass the current Senate bill–unchanged–with the promise of a reconciliation fix later. Which, you know, the Senate Democrats promise they will get around to. Lucy, meet football. From The Hill:
Miller conceded that the House may have to pass the healthcare bill first approved by the Senate in December before the Congress can take up a bill using the reconciliation process in order to make fixes to the Senate bill. Using that process, the Senate could approve those changes with only a simple majority vote, instead of the 60 votes usually needed to end a filibuster.
“That may require us to pass the Senate bill first and then send the reconciliation bill to the Senate for them to pass,” Miller said. “I think Sen. Reid believes he can put the votes together for that.”
Reid believes he can possibly get the votes together. . . wow! That is the kind of rock-solid, almost promise House Democrats can take to the bank! Just like how Reid believed he could get the votes together for a Senate bill with a public option. With 290 House bills waiting to be acted on in the Senate, House Democrats would be fools to buy any vague promises from Reid.
What Miller is saying is that all the House Democrats need to do is pass a bill with the toxic excise tax, the cornhusker kickback, and an individual mandate without a public option. After that, Reid pinky swears that the Senate will spend several more weeks on health care and possibly make the changes the House wants through reconciliation.
It is important to remember that there are not even 50 Senate Democrats currently on record saying they would support the general concept of a reconciliation sidecar. Even if 50 Democratic senators agree to move forward, there is no guarantee that, when negotiating the specifics, support for the reconciliation bill not fall apart. Given that Senate Democrats seem pretty proud of their bill, and that it is basically the bill Obama wanted all along, does anyone think that once the House passed the Senate bill, all the air wouldn’t go out of the push for reconciliation?
Do House Democrats actually think that Senate Democrats will pick up health care reform again after they pass the Senate bill–after they give Obama and the Senate the big “W?” If they do, they must have had their heads in the sand for the past year as their Senate colleagues basically ruined every bill they sent them. If the House acts first, they better be prepared to be left holding the bag and defending in midterm elections an incredibly unpopular bill that they had no say in writing.