SENATE VOTES TO BEGIN FORMAL
DEBATE ON HEALTH CARE BILL
Healthcare Tea Party on the Las Vegas Strip today
The Senate has voted to begin debate on the Senate healthcare bill, by a party line vote.
As we wrote earlier today, even though we have been considering every vote to be “first and goal” there are still a number of plays left in the game, and will need your efforts now more than ever to win it.
Here’s what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just said:
“This bill may have been drafted behind closed doors but now it’s the American people’s turn to have their voices heard. ..”
IN THIS ALERT:
1. Senate schedule
2. Senate proceedings
3. Democrats already panning their own bill
4. The “Big Picture” from here: “Forget the Trees, Look at the Forest” by Jane Orient, MD
5. What is Cloture? from David Lowther, M.D.
Senate schedule & next steps
The Senate will begin formal debate on the healthcare bill after the Thanksgiving recess. At that time amendments may be introduced as well, which will likely number into the hundreds. Debate will probably take up to 3-4 weeks, so that brings us up to Christmas recess. Even if it passes the Senate then, it would have to be reconciled with the House bill, which is significantly different.
Please circulate the “Healthcare Turkey” one-pager to family, friends and colleagues during the next 10 days while the Senate is in recess.
First, let’s be clear – the vote tonight was only to proceed with formal debate. The bill can be filibustered, and some have indicated that they will do so. That means that the Senate would again have to invoke cloture to end that debate. The votes required for that are 60.
Those votes would come before we even get to a final vote on the bill. So when you hear that the Senate voted to pass the health care bill – THAT IS NOT CORRECT!
Democrats already panning their own bill
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “My Vote Today To Move Forward On This Important Debate Should In No Way Be Construed By The Supporters Of This Current Framework As An Indication Of How I Might Vote As This Debate Comes To An End.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 11/21/09)
SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D-AR): “I Am Opposed To A New Government-Administered Health Care Plan As A Part Of Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform, And I Will Not Vote In Favor Of The Proposal That Has Been Introduced By Leader Reid As It Is Written.” (Sen. Lincoln, Floor Remarks, 11/21/09)
The Big Picture
Forget the Trees; Look at the Forest on Healthcare
By Jane Orient, M.D
AAPS Executive Director
Various groups, on both sides of the issues, are squabbling over details: abortion, a “public option,” treatment of illegal aliens, size of penalties, distribution of subsidies, calculation of doctors’ pay, etc. Items are moved in or out of the bill as needed to capture just the right number of votes with the least electoral damage. None of it really matters. The rules will be written later — after they “get it done” and “something” passes and the next election is over.
What is Cloture?
Dr. David Lowther of Atlanta sent us this great email and we thought we’d share it:
What is cloture? if you’re like me, you’re learning new things about government every day with this administration…
“By 1915 (under President Woodrow Wilson), the Senate had become a breeding ground for filibusters. In the final weeks of the Congress that ended on March 4, one administration measure related to the war in Europe tied the Senate up for 33 days and blocked passage of 3 major appropriations bills. Two years later, as pressure increased for American entry into that war, a 23-day, end-of-session filibuster against the president’s proposal to arm merchant ships also failed, taking with it much other essential legislation. For the previous 40 years, efforts in the Senate to pass a debate-limiting rule had come to nothing. Now, in the wartime crisis environment, President Wilson lost his patience. Calling the situation unparalleled, he stormed that the “Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own (that would be the minority), have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.” The Senate, he demanded, must adopt a cloture rule.
On March 8, 1917, in a specially called session of the 65th Congress, the Senate agreed to a rule that essentially preserved its tradition of unlimited debate. The rule required a 2/3rds majority to end debate and permitted each member to speak for an additional hour after that before voting on final passage. Over the next 46 years, the Senate managed to invoke cloture on only 5 occasions. In 1975*****, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the current 100 senators.”
*****interesting little side notes i noted trolling the web:
#1: Guess how many Democratic Senators there were in 1975? 60 (the same number needed for cloture as mentioned above).
#2: During the 35 years from 1945 through 1981, the Democrats were the majority in Senate save for 8 years (1st 2 years of Eisenhower’s first term and the 1st 6 years of Reagan). During late Eisenhower years through JFK and LBJ, the Democratic Senate majority numbers were as follows: 65, 64, 66, 68, and 64 (ie – total dominance). When Nixon was elected, their majority slipped to 57, 54, and 56. Once Ford was in place, they regained numbers to 60. So after ceding their 2/3rds control of the Senate during Nixon, they changed the rules while still in the majority and suddenly 60 was the magic number for cloture.
#3: From the moment Cloture was first instituted during Wilson until the Cloture rules were changed from 67 votes necessary to 60 (1975), Cloture was invoked only 21 times. In 1975 alone, it was used 17 times by the Democrat-controlled Senate.
#4: During Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II it was invoked an average of 12 times a session (6 times a year) and ranged from 3 (Carter) to 34 (Bush II).
#5: Since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, it has been used 90 times. 90.
So, how do you feel about Harry Reid using a rule that was originally designed as a means of funding WWI by expediting war appropriations bills NOW being used to force Universal Health Care upon the public? Keep in mind the following:
1. Obama’s approval rating is only 47%, his lowest since taking office when he was at 65%. While his approval rating has dropped 18%, his disapproval rating has climbed from 30% to 52% in only 10 months.
2. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating in her own state of California is only 34%.
3. Senator Harry Reid is behind in his re-election campaign in NV by 10% (“Sue Lowden beating Reid by 10%, 50% to 40%. Lowden is chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party and the preferred candidate of the Republican party establishment. GOP hopeful Danny Tarkanian beats Reid by seven points, 50% to 43%”).
4. In the race for California’s next governor in 2010, Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown are tied at 41% each.
5. After Pelosi’s bill passed the House, the public was against the bill 54% v. 42%. Even CA comes in at 51%, down 4% since last week.
To pull a cloture vote on one of the largest entitlement programs in US history, federalize 17% of the economy, and to do it on a Saturday, off the regular news cycle, is an atrocity.
Americans need to take the view from 35,000 feet. That’s the view of the controllers, the global budgeters, and the folks who drop bombs without having to see the faces of the victims….