Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Republicans yesterday to “stop crying” about the possible use of the reconciliation process to pass health care reform. From the looks of the video above, a phenomenal compilation done by the talented folks at Naked Emperor News, it takes a crybaby party to know one.
Was Harry right in saying that reconciliation–a procedure through which Congress is able to pass budgetary matters through a simple 51-vote majority rather than the 60-vote majority needed to stop a filibuster–has been used 21 times before? Absolutely. Has he and other Democrats been correct in asserting that most of those 21 occasions were spearheaded by Republicans? You betcha.
The difference here, however, is simple.
Not a single time has reconciliation been used to pass the biggest entitlement program in this nation’s history, or even anything close to its size. In fact, reconciliation is, by definition, reserved for use in detailed budgetary matters — not massive reforms which would fundamentally transform one-sixth of the American economy. That’s why Republicans used reconciliation to tweak legislation which became the Bush tax cuts, a measure which led this nation into years of prosperity.
Furthermore, the people wanted the Bush tax cuts, whereas when it comes to the Democrats idea for health care reform, the vast majority of the American people do not want what the Democrats are prepared to force through. At last count, a Rasmussen poll released yesterday shows that 56 percent of Americans oppose the legislation, with 45 percent of Americans strongly opposing it.
In fact, Americans have been crying out desperately, begging to be listened to by Harry Reid and his democrats, for more than a year now. Americans cried out against the stimulus package, cried out against the budget-busting budget for 2009, and cried out against a government takeover of the American health care system throughout the spring, summer fall and winter of 2009 at town hall meetings, home town rallies, and historical marches on Washington, D.C.
And make no mistake about it — even though the president’s health care reform plan, released on Monday, may not contain enough specifics to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (rhetoric in place of detail, how surprising!), the White House itself admits that it would cost $950 billion over the next ten years. Make no mistake about it, this is still a government takeover of health care.
Among other issues, the president’s plan retains many of the 111 new board, bureaucracies and commissions created by the bills shuffled through the House and Senate, including a comparative effectiveness research board that smacks of the UK bureaucracy known for taking patient care decisions away from patients. It also keeps the mandates, including a patently unconstitutional individual mandate and an economic growth-stifling employer mandate. It slashes Medicare Advantage plans and increased the Medicare payroll tax even higher than it already is, putting undue pressure on seniors and forcing prospective entrepreneurs and business owners to think twice about creating businesses and jobs in America. And while it may have done away with the rightfully maligned “public option” in name, it maintains federal government-overseen multi-state plans and co-ops.
Furthermore, the president’s plan retains the kickbacks and backroom deals we saw in Harry Reid’s attempts to obtain votes in the Senate, including the $300 million “Louisiana Purchase,” the flabbergastingly disgusting Medicaid deal used to bring Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson into the fold and the exceptions to “Cadillac plan” taxes given to unions. And, even worse, it spits in the face of normal, everyday Americans who at one point or another bought into the many promises made by President Obama, both from the Oval Office and while on the campaign trail — his proposal will cost more than his $900 billion threshold, it will increase health insurance premiums for American families, it will force Americans to change doctors and health insurance providers, and it will raise taxes on middle and lower class families making less than $250,000 per year.
So, Harry Reid was partially correct. He was correct in saying that the reconciliation process has been used many times before and predominately by Republicans. And he was correct in saying that Republicans are “crying” about the Democrats’ intended use of reconciliation to pass their health care reform legislation. The thing is, Republicans are crying because they are listening to Americans for a change, and it is those Americans–people who are struggling to make ends meet every month, people who have been out of a job for so long that they just stopped looking, people who are so far underwater with regard to their home mortgage that they’re just walking away–who are crying.
By telling Republicans to “stop crying,” Harry Reid is scolding America. He’s telling people like you and people like me to shut up already. He’s telling us that government knows better, that Democrats know better, and that our cacophonous voice means absolutely nothing to a political party bent on perpetuating political power at all costs.