The Washington Post is reporting that a White House advisor says President Obama is in favor of Budget Reconciliation to get the Senate’s version of healthcare reform passed into law and that they believe they have the votes to do it.
Budget Reconciliation is a complicated procedure that, if it’s successful, will only require a simple majority to pass. It is often referred to as the “nuclear option” because it sidesteps any attempts to filibuster or block passage from anyone who opposes the legislation. Budget Reconciliation has been used 22 times and is generally frowned upon because it is a last-ditch, desperate tactic. It has never been used for legislation that would profoundly change our system – as this healthcare legislation would.
Obama is acting tough now because his agenda has been met with increasing disapproval. But why the tough act over such a lousy piece of legislation that’s over 2,000 pages?
Wouldn’t it be easier to just start over again, like for instance, writing legislation for a single payer system?
Recall that back during the campaign, Candidate Obama was all for single-payer – at least that’s what he claimed back then in order to win lots of votes!
Recall also that President Obama, at the beginning of this healthcare reform ordeal, told us that single-payer is off the table because it could not muster the super majority votes of 60 in the Senate to attain passage.
Okay, we accepted that reasoning at that time.
But now, the monster 2,000-plus-page giveaway to the corporate health insurance industry, with no public option, with unprecedented mandates requiring every American to purchase a private insurance policy or be fined or jailed – well that’s not winning the necessary votes either. And Obama wants to use the “nuclear option” to ram it through anyway!
President Obama, with all due respect, why not use the Budget Reconciliation option to instead ram a single-payer system through? It would be a lot more fair to lot more Americans.