Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, March 17th, 2010.


Pigs Are Flying

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Health Care

Norman J. Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute said this:

Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news. It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?

The difference is that when Dems do it, Republicans hit news media screaming about “Slaughter House Rules” (named after Rep. Louise Slaughter, chair of the Rules Committee). When Republicans did it, Dems were not all over media screaming about the “Dreier Dodge,” or whatever.

And mass media repeats whatever Republicans say.

Steve Benen:

Indeed, hearing Republicans whine incessantly yesterday about the need for an “up-or-down vote” on the Senate bill was especially amusing yesterday. If GOP lawmakers wouldPer allow both chambers to vote up or down on important legislation, procedural alternatives wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

Per Greg Sargent, way back when the public was divided over Medicare about the same way it is divided now over HCR. But once it went into effect, people liked it.

Also: Nearly 1 in 4 Californians under age 65 had no health insurance last year. If you look at people aged 18 to 65, nearly 1 in 3 had no insurance last year.

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