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Dems: Join Us At a Bipartisan Summit After We've Settled on Reconciliation for Health Care

2:56 PM, Feb 11, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Just a thought for President Obama, but perhaps it is something like this scenario that leads "too many of our citizens [to lose] faith [in] our biggest institutions" including the federal government.

The president of the party in power invites the party out of power to a televised, bipartisan summit to have a "substantive discussion" about health care while the leaders of his own party are simultaneously scrambling to pass an already-finished version of health-care legislation through reconciliation, making the "substantive discussion" the president wants to have rather irrelevant:

"In comments reported by Congress Daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate's pro-abortion, government-run health care bill.

"Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.

“'The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill,' Primus said...

“'There's a certain skill, there's a trick, but I think we'll get it done,' he said."

More from Primus, who was speaking at the National Health Policy Conference hosted by Academy Health and Health Affairs:

“There is only one way to get it done at this stage of the game and that’s a process that the Speaker has outlined,” Wendell Primus, Pelosi’s legislative director said. Congress would have to pass the Senate health care bill alongside a package of fixes using reconciliation.

There have been reports about how apparently unfazed the Obama White House is by the substantial shift in public opinion since the beginning of the health-care debate.

I'm still of the mind that if the president invites you to a summit, you go, and when you get there you make the case that this whole thing is a cynical charade. Pelosi, with Obama's knowledge, is making that case easy to make.

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