In the post immediately below I discussed a conspiracy of Congressional Democrats meeting behind closed doors to impose a revived health reform bill on a public they regard as dumb and forgetful.
Standard procedure requires the Senate and House to pass identical bills before submitting the legislation to the president for his signature. When the versions differ, those differences are usually ironed out in a conference committee, with the resulting compromise sent back to both houses for approval. The trouble here for the Democrats is that the new version is also subject to filibuster in the Senate, and now the Democrats have “only” 59 Senators, not their pre-Brown filibuster-busting 60.
But Democrats don’t like standard procedures when they threaten to get in their way. So their first attempt at bypassing them came when they eschewed a conference committee altogether (because those pesky Republicans would have been present) in favor of having Democratic leaders from both houses agree among themselves. Even some Democrats couldn’t stomach this deviousness, but that train was on the verge — or “precipice,” in the president’s term — of arriving at its destination when Scott Brown’s election derailed it.
Their apparently pending second bypass attempt is persuading the House to pass the Senate bill as is, based on a promise that the Senate will then “correct” the flaws in the bill — “provisions such as a new tax on high-end ‘Cadillac’ health plans and special aid for Nebraska,” abortion restrictions, etc. — with legislation that could be passed — even though by “reconciliation,” i.e., by a simple 51 vote majority, which they could probably get even though some Democratic senators oppose this maneuver. This stratagem has been widely discussed in the press, but I don’t recall seeing any articles describing it for what it is: a fraud.
Under this scenario, the House would be asked to pass, as is, the current Senate bill based on winks from Obama, Reid, and Pelosi that it’s not the “real” bill, which would emerge only after the Senate passes its un-filibusterable fixes. In short the House would knowingly be voting for a fraudulent Potemkin bill.
On the other hand, that’s about par for course in the House of Pelosi.