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ObamaCare: Twenty-One Key Democrats — and Three Things for Them to Consider

Counting the health care votes.

9:30 AM, Mar 3, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Taxpayer-funded abortion:  The nine members mentioned above as being perhaps the most likely to switch their “yes” votes to “no,” all voted for the Stupak Amendment.  That amendment was added to the House bill right before its passage to preserve longstanding protections against taxpayer-funded abortions.  The Senate, however, scrapped the Stupak language and could not reinsert it through the "budget reconciliation" process even if it wanted to do so.  So, for these nine House members, and 21 others who also supported Stupak and voted for the overall bill, something will now have to give — either their opposition to taxpayer-funded abortion, or their support for ObamaCare.  On both issues, they might want to consult the polls before they vote.  
Reconciliation renege:  The Democrats have apparently now determined that, for a variety of legal and practical reasons, the House would need to take the next step in the passage of ObamaCare.  This would keep Americans from focusing on the unprecedented nature of having the Senate pass a major change to American society not through bipartisan deliberation, negotiation, and compromise, but through barring the minority from exercising the longstanding practice of filibustering — which Senator Obama once said “would change the character of the Senate forever.”  
But while having the House go first would take Americans’ focus off of the problematic and distasteful nature of the Senate’s potential action, it would also fundamentally change the political dynamic in a crucial way:  For if the House were to pass the Senate bill, there would no longer be any strong incentive for the administration or the Senate to pursue “budget reconciliation.”  To the contrary, they would both have every incentive not to pursue that highly controversial process.  

Senators want nothing to do with “reconciliation” — whether politically or for what it would do to their chamber — and they already like their own bill (which the House would then already have passed) just fine.  The President would then already have gotten a bill through both chambers, and while House members would complain powerlessly, he would dip his pen in the ink and visualize himself in the history books.  He might even try to score a few extra political points by saying, As you know, we intended to use the reconciliation process to make a few small changes to the Senate bill.  While I know that there was some disagreement from some people, I think that that process would have been entirely appropriate to pursue.  But some people are uncomfortable with it, and I think that’s a legitimate concern.  It’s important to remember that our democratic institutions deserve the benefit of the doubt.  Also, the American people understandably think that we’ve been focused on health care long enough.  So that’s why I am making the decision not to pursue “reconciliation.”  Instead, I am moving on to a jobs bill….

House members would be left holding the bag.  Target squarely on their chests, they would now get to face their fuming constituents after having passed a $2.5 trillion bill that would allow public funding of abortion, would send $100 million to Nebraska, $300 million to Louisiana, $100 million to Connecticut, would exempt South Florida's Medicare Advantage enrollees from annual $2,100 cuts in Medicare Advantage benefits, would raise taxes, raise deficits, raise health costs, empower Washington, reduce liberty, politicize medicine, and jeopardize the quality of health care.  Most of all, they would feel the citizenry's wrath for having voted to pass a bill that only 25 percent of Americans support.
Right now, the House holds all the power over ObamaCare.  Nothing can happen unless it acts.  But if its members are foolish enough to expect promises not made in writing to be followed through on at a future date, they deserve every bit of backlash the voters would have in store for them.

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