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How Senate Republicans Obstruct Health Care Reform

by: tparty

Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 16:48:45 PM EDT

This is a revealing moment from Monday's markup of the health care bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee that illustrates the level of procedural obstruction Senate Republicans are willing to rise to in order to impede its progress and in the hopes of killing its momentum.

At the opening of Monday's hearing, Sen. Dodd asked Sen. Enzi (R-WY), the ranking Republican on the committee, if he would agree to accept by unanimous consent a total of 64 Republican amendments. After a whisper from an aide, Enzi, a little perplexed and not a little embarrassed, refused to allow the 64 Republican amendments to be accepted, lowering his voice to mumble, "I think some of our members want votes on some of those." Dodd's visible exasperation and disbelief is priceless.

Sen. Enzi's pitiful performance here is visual proof of the aim of Senate Republicans - which is not to have their amendments heard, voted on, and accepted, but rather to drag out the legislative process as long as possible on health care reform. And they have many reasons to want to do so, as Brian Beutler at TPM notes:

if Congress enters recess with weeks of work left to do, party leaders may have to make a call; and those who oppose passing health care through the reconciliation process -- Republicans and some Democrats -- might be trying to run out the clock -- to call leadership's bluff, or, at the very least, to touch off a game of legislative chicken.

This is just one example and there are certainly many more ways for those in both Houses opposed to the bill generally and the public option specifically to impede its progress in the coming days. For instance, work on the Senate HELP bill, delayed as it has been, is far ahead of that on the Senate Finance bill.

And with some Democrats, like Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), using the bill's uncertain fate in the Senate to pre-emptively excuse themselves for signaling that they fully intend to vote for a bill without a public plan, whipping the public option in the House is likely the only shot progressives inside and outside of Congress have to ensure a public option remains in the final bill.

If it doesn't succeed, if those who say they support a public option - like John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Chris Murphy - refuse to draw a line in the sand now in the full knowledge that a public option is likely to be ripped out of the final bill if they don't, it's silly not to expect the delaying and obstructing of Mike Enzi and his allies in the Senate to win out over progressive "good intentions" and strategic ineptitude in the end.

tparty :: How Senate Republicans Obstruct Health Care Reform
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Clearly, the opposition is organizing to defeat the public option (4.00 / 1)
If our guys (Himes, Courtney, DeLauro, Larson, Murphy) aren't organizing to pass it, they're not really trying.

How do you organize to pass a bill?

1. You do a whip count.
2. You promote it in the media and on the blogs.
3. You promote it at home face to face with your constituents.

So, if our guys aren't doing a whip count, they're not serious about wanting to pass it.

I find it troubling that it's BLOGGERS who are pressuring OUR CONGRESSMAN to organize for a bill that THEY ALL SAY THEY SUPPORT.

If they're not actually organizing to pass the bill, they're full of shit. Call your Congressman, and ask him/her:


Then tell them to draw a line in the sand -- sign the whip count that says there will be no health care bill without a public option.  

And if they're worried about losing campaign financing from their Insurance Company Overlords, tell them to pass the Fair Elections Now Act too.  

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