Health Care

House Budget Committee Begins Reconciliation

Published March 15, 2010, 4:25 pm, CST

Additions: 6:09 pm, CST

Additions: 11:59, pm CST

by Diane W. Collins


The House Budget Committee under the direction of John M. Spratt Jr., (D-SC), Chairman, began the reconciliation process for the Senate health care reform bill today. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) made the minority party opening remarks referring to the process as a "trojan horse."


Rep. Ryan's point, the committee was reviewing and making remarks that would simply be "stripped out" of the reconciliation bill in the Rules Committee... its next stop before being sent to the House for a vote. The committee turned a deaf ear. (See additional Ryan video in our "Briefs" section.)


Following opening remarks, Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA), Vice Chairman of the Budget Committee motioned "transfer of the Reconciliation Act of 2010 reported to the House without recommendation." The procedure simply and quickly moves the bill out of the Budget Committee to the Rules Committee which will determine behind closed doors what will actually be in the bill. What's troubling about this besides the "closed doors" is the Budget Committee did not have the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the new bill before the transfer. It has no idea what the bill will cost. The vote was 21 to 16 with the motion passing. This concluded the procedural process required by the 1974 Budget Act. The Democrats want to give the appearance of complying with procedure... even if it is at face value.


As mentioned, the Rules Committee will now determine what will be in the bill, behind closed doors. This may include the addition of the Slaughter Solution, a procedural move that "deems" the Senate bill passed at the same time the House passes the reconciliation bill. It is interesting to note the "solution" is an invention of House Rules Chairwoman, Louise Slaughter, (D-NY). The constitutionality of this is in question.


Reason for the invention of the Slaughter Solution? The Democrats are trying to gain more of their own party's votes for the reconciliation bill but must pass the Senate bill first. The resistance to passing the Senate bill is from both extremes of their party. The bill does not have a government option. That irritates the liberal left. Also, the bill does not protect against federal tax dollars funding abortions, a violation of the Hyde Amendment which has been in place since 1976. This offends the "Blue Dog" Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who fought to include and extend that provision in the original House bill. With the Slaughter Solution in place, Democratic leadership seems to think it offers members a way to vote in essence for the Senate bill without violating their "principles" and alienating their constituents. They contend congressmen could return to their districts and say they "never actually voted for the Senate bill" in that through the Slaughter Solution they would have only voted for "reconciliation." How convoluted can one be? Far too thin a veil for the American people. Another example of the technical dishonesty of this administration and the Democratic leadership.


When the Rules Committee has finished constructing the reconciliation bill it will move out of the Rules Committee to the House for an "up-or-down vote." The next big question? Will anyone have the opportunity to review the new bill prior to the vote? This was at the heart of Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) contentious debate with Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on the House floor last week. We will have no clue as to what's in this new bill. The Democrats are trying to ram this through just like the $787B American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or "Stimulus Bill."


If all this has not made you crazy there's Speaker Pelosi's statement, "We have to pass the bill so you can see what's in it." Does anyone else feel like they live in a banana republic? Don't let them do it.



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