Blogging from PHOENIX —Senate reconciliation of differences in healthcare legislation signed into law Tuesday by President Barack Obama has failed. AÂ spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed the bill making changes in President Barack Obama’s newly enacted health care overhaul, will have to go back to the House for final congressional approval. Most political pundits and congressional insiders warn itÂ could prove to be a difficult task in the short term and might spell midterm doom for the majority party ifÂ Congress must start over on fixing the law signed Tuesday by the President.
Spokesman Jim Manley said Republicans consulting with the Senate parliamentarian found “two minor provisions” that violate budget rules. The two provisions, dealing with Pell grants for low-income college students, will have to be removed from the bill. Both Senate and House leaders were quick to express confidence the removal of two minor provisions will not delay final passage.
But the central question which is still unaddressed and critical is can they accomplish it in time for the congressional spring break. From a strict tactical perspective, democratic leaders could have called on Vice President Joe Biden in his capacity as president of the senate to overrule the senate parliamentarian, the risk in quashing the opinion of the parliamentarian, who was appointed during the Bush Era when republicans controlled both branches is dependent on whether the parliamentarian was simply making a straight call on procedure.
In a town where perception is power, the GOP can rightly claim they scored a solid political punch even if as democrats hope, the move simply delays passage by a day or two. The want of the republican minority in killing reconciliation to begin with, is to force a longer delay which creates the possibility however remote of actually forcing the house to completely scrap the bill, if enough democrats in swing districts worried about losing re-election fold under what would become a relentless onslaught of political gamesmanship.
Starting over now would in practical terms be like calling the winners of the super bowl on Monday and telling them the last few minutes of the close game must be played over, several key players having already stated ahead of time, they simply would not show up, itâ€™s a very dicey situation for democratic leadership.
The bill President Obama signed into law last Tuesday remains in force, but it is flawed andÂ became law only because democrats in the senate gave a solemn pledge to democrats in the house, they would reconcile or fix the differences without having to send it back to the house.
It is unlikely the tactic will kill passage of the bill, but should the congress actually adjourn for spring recess without passing the reconciliation legislation, it becomes a whole new ball game and the GOP gets to rake over to its side of the table, perception of political capitol, the kind democrats have been stacking up since Tuesday. Â Â
Well that’s my view, yours may be different