Breaking: House must past Senate health care bill before reconciliation can be considered

There have been so many attempts to ram Obamacare through Congress that I must admit I’m way behind in understanding all the archaic rules and procedures that have been considered. But Daniel Foster over at the Corner discusses a recent ruling with respect to reconciliation and he, at least, labels it as big news. First the ruling:

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.

Information Republicans say they have received from the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office eliminates that option. House Democratic leaders last week began looking at crafting a legislative rule that would allow the House to approve the Senate health care bill, but not forward it to Obama for his signature until the Senate clears the reconciliation package.The short summary is that the House must pass the Senate bill and Obama must sign the bill into law before reconciliation can be considered. Obviously this greatly complicates things for the Democrats as a modified bill would be much easier to pass. This ruling means that Pelosi needs to get the votes for the existing bill. Foster remarks:

“Game Changer” is quickly replacing the various iterations of “under the bus” as the most overused political cliche of our age, but this certainly qualifies as one. And it leaves House Democrats with little but the fig leaf of the “Slaughter Rule” as political coverage.

To me and I would hope to many Americans, the situation has gotten ridiculous. I have no idea how binding this ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian is but would anyone be shocked if Reid and Pelosi try to find a way around it? Foster’s fellow author Yuval Levin sums up the current situations nicely.

Democratic leaders should be asking themselves just how they have gotten to the point that their strategy is to amend a law that doesn’t exist yet by passing a bill without voting on it. Surely it’s time to start over.

Indeed.

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