Waxman threatens to bypass own committee on ObamaCare

posted at 2:55 pm on July 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Henry Waxman had to pull a lot of strings to get the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, kicking longtime chair John Dingell out for his moderate stance on cap-and-trade.  However, his most controversial action in the ECC hasn’t come on cap-and-trade but on Barack Obama’s push to get a health-care reform bill passed before the August recess.  Waxman has threatened renegade Democrats on the panel that he will allow Pelosi to bypass them if they don’t fall into line:

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says there is “no alternative” but to have healthcare legislation bypass his Energy and Commerce Committee if Blue Dog Democrats don’t accept a deal worked out Friday.

Waxman is now playing a game of legislative chicken with the Blue Dogs. He’s  hoping the inclusion of a study on Medicare reimbursement rates in the healthcare overhaul will be enough to placate the centrist Democrats, who say the government program short-changes hospitals and physicians in their rural districts.

If that’s not, the seven Blue Dogs could join with the committee’s Republicans to “eviscerate” healthcare reform, and that’s something Waxman will not tolerate.

Think of this as a “nuclear option”.  Waxman and Pelosi could get the bill past the ECC moderates, but that would almost certainly provoke a floor fight between Democrats when the bill comes up for a vote.  Moderate Democrats who already have publicly-expressed reservations over ObamaCare will dig in their heels, and at the moment, they have enough votes to kill it.

In all likelihood, this is a big bluff.  With consensus on the bill falling apart at the seams, and with Obama’s approval ratings crashing, the last thing Pelosi needs is a schism among her own troops that could rapidly turn bitter.  After all, she’s not that far removed from her CIA-lied debacle, and a failure of her leadership at this juncture would probably rekindle the impulse to replace her with Steny Hoyer, a steadier and more well-liked leader.

Just as with Rahm Emanuel’s statement this morning on NPR, though, it bears close watching.

Update: Speaking of open and transparent thuggery, don’t miss Jazz Shaw and Bruce McQuain on the Democratic attempt to censor House Republican mailings through the Franking Committee.


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In all likelihood, this is a big bluff. With consensus on the bill falling apart at the seams, and with Obama’s approval ratings crashing, the last thing Pelosi needs is a schism among her own troops that could rapidly turn bitter. After all, she’s not that far removed from her CIA-lied debacle, and a failure of her leadership at this juncture would probably rekindle the impulse to replace her with Steny Hoyer, a steadier and more well-liked leader.

RATS leaving a sinking ship.

highhopes on July 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Which party is dogmatic, uninviting and in danger of losing ‘moderate independents’ again?

gwelf on July 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM

The Chicago way works for Californian congressmen too.

Fletch54 on July 24, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Waxman is an overreaching douche!

JAM on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Do it, Rat Face and you’ll sink your entire stinking party.

Key West Reader on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Snot bubble politician.

Speakup on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

This crooked thug is subverting the Constitutional process and if he carries through with his threat he should be sued in the federal courts.

rplat on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Snot bubble politician.

Speakup on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Chortle!

Key West Reader on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

provoke a floor fight between Democrats when the bill comes up for a vote.

Let’s get it on!!!!

WashJeff on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Thugs. Worthless thugs, the lot of them.

Weight of Glory on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

The problem is that the filthy liar didn’t want a repeat of Hillarycare where the administration broke the laws in the way they had unelected individuals holding meetings. So, the filthy liar decided to staff it out to Congress which would have been okay if the leadership were centrists instead of full-fledged radicals like Pelosi and Waxman.

highhopes on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Let’s get it on!!!!

WashJeff on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Boxer and Pelosi will wear their jello suits.

gahhh!

Key West Reader on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Conservatives for Patients Rights has easy form to petition your legislative pinheads with:
http://capwiz.com/conservativesforpatientsrights/issues/alert/?alertid=13624501

Give ‘em hell.

bloviator on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Waxman, along with Emmanul and Pelosi, are basically throwing the Beltway version of a Mafia shakedown mixed with a temper tantrum. The funny part is they’re doing this against the very people they recruited to run in swing districts in 2006 and 2008 so they could gain control of the House, as if the Blue Dogs are just canon fodder for their power grabs on health care, cap & trade, etc., and if it cost them their seats in 2010, it’s no big deal.

jon1979 on July 24, 2009 at 3:02 PM

I wouldn’t take any chances. Keep the pressure up.

BadgerHawk on July 24, 2009 at 3:02 PM

RATS leaving a sinking ship.

highhopes on July 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM

With Waxman King of the Rats. How appropriate that he looks like one too.

NathanG on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Why aren’t we reading columns about liberal politicians needing to be more “moderate” for the sake of the big democrat tent? Hummmmmmm? *crickets*

SouthernGent on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Hog face and Plugnut need to be tarred and feathered.

Rick007 on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

This crooked thug is subverting the Constitutional process and if he carries through with his threat he should be sued in the federal courts.

rplat on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

But he’s not. The Constitution says it has to go through the Congress but the process for doing so is left up to the criminals politicians themselves.

highhopes on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

It’s all the Republican’s fault

NickelAndDime on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

The House Dems should pass new House rules wherein the fact that they hold the majority of seats means that the American public demands that all of their bills get passed. No actual House voting anymore, no committees, no hearings, everything by majority decree.

myrenovations on July 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Waxman’s getting a little thin on top, isn’t he?

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2009 at 3:04 PM

So what’s the deal — has excessive regulation forced all the orthodontists out of California?

Mr. D on July 24, 2009 at 3:04 PM

How is this even acceptable under House rules?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Hope House implodes first, then Senate.

JiangxiDad on July 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Pretty please with sugar on top, let the Democrats take the circular firing squad away from the Republicans — and let’s not ever take it back.

Terrie on July 24, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Boxer and Pelosi will wear their jello suits.

gahhh!

Key West Reader on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Ok, go through committee.

WashJeff on July 24, 2009 at 3:06 PM

It’s somewhat amazing, to watch the desperation now. What people will stoop to, to garner power, and control over human beings.

Welcome to what could be, the new slavery, if this crap is passed.

capejasmine on July 24, 2009 at 3:07 PM

What the hell is their problem? Obama’s approval ratings are tanking. Fewer and fewer people are supporting this crapfest by the minute.

Are they really that stupid!? Can their egos really be that inflated?

What a freakin’ joke.

flyawaybird on July 24, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Bucky Waxman is a freakin’ idiot if he pulls this stunt. The floor fight amongst Democrats alone will kill the bill. All the Republicans will have to do is bring soft drinks and popcorn and just watch.

GarandFan on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

might as well be a THUG if you look like this CLOWN!!!!

SDarchitect on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

How is this even acceptable under House rules?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 24, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Pelosi, as Speaker can break the rules and there isn’t much anybody can do about it. She is argueably in the most powerful position in government.

highhopes on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

O God! Must you post a picture of Waxtop during the lunch hour? I just regurgitated my tuna fish salad.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Go For It Waxman… ramming speed!!

Dire Straits on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Welcome to what could be, the new slavery, if this crap is passed.

capejasmine on July 24, 2009 at 3:07 PM

You’re assuming people will just accept it. Civil disobedience … on a massive scale.

darwin on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

They have the majority in both houses and they’re playing circular firing squad.

This just keeps getting better.

fogw on July 24, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Are they really that stupid!? Can their egos really be that inflated?

flyawaybird on July 24, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Presumably those are rhetorical questions.

Jim Treacher on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Thanks for the post, Ed. I wish I could believe it’s a bluff, but I got burned thinking that she didn’t have the votes for cap and trade. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

Missy on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Next comes the Fairness Doctrine to shut down talk radio.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

That picture of Waxman…………

………. I swear he is smelling his own fart.

Seven Percent Solution on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

It’s a bluff by Pelosi via Waxman. Pelosi’s got nothing, not even an over card; the blue dogs are sitting on pocket Queens.

Pelosi is considering going all in before the flop. Do the blue dogs have the stones to call?

BobMbx on July 24, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Why are the Democrats purging moderates!!!!11!!!1!

They’re going to become an obsolete party!!11!1eleven!!1ty

BadgerHawk on July 24, 2009 at 3:11 PM

… a failure of [Pelosi's] leadership at this juncture would probably rekindle the impulse to replace her with Steny Hoyer, a steadier and more well-liked leader.

Steny Hoyer is a prick too, but he’d probably be better than Pelosi. At least he still has SOME of his sanity left.

UltimateBob on July 24, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Pelosi is considering going all in before the flop. Do the blue dogs have the stones to call?

BobMbx on July 24, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Looking at the velvet painting on my wall of the dogs playing poker, I’d say YES!

SouthernGent on July 24, 2009 at 3:12 PM

You know what this calls for? Another Obama press conference excoriating the Republicans for playing politics with much needed health care reform.

BPD on July 24, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Not only does Waxman look like a weasel, this actually confirms that he is one.

Susanboo on July 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM

The funny part is they’re doing this against the very people they recruited to run in swing districts in 2006 and 2008 so they could gain control of the House, as if the Blue Dogs are just canon fodder for their power grabs on health care, cap & trade, etc., and if it cost them their seats in 2010, it’s no big deal.

Exactly! Barry expects them to fall on their swords for HIM. They’ve already got “THE Stimulus” and “Crap and Tax” hug around their necks like a stinking dead albatross. Now The One wants another sacrifice for ObamaCare. Never mind that they’re going to face re-election next year and will have to answer to the voters. Isn’t it wonderful how Barry expects others to sacrifice for HIM?

GarandFan on July 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM

You’re assuming people will just accept it. Civil disobedience … on a massive scale.

darwin on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Texas Gov. Perry said Texas may exert States Rights and refuse Obamacare. Other Govs. should follow suit.

Interesting….very interesting.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Which party is dogmatic, uninviting and in danger of losing ‘moderate independents’ again?

gwelf on July 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Look over there! And shut up. And be quiet. And no one was talking to you. And shush.

LibTired on July 24, 2009 at 3:15 PM

That picture of Waxman…………

………. I swear he is smelling his own fart.

Seven Percent Solution on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Judging by the sly smile, it’s also possible that he just took a good whiff of Obama’s sphincter from deep inside.

UltimateBob on July 24, 2009 at 3:15 PM

I hope these idiots do just this. It will blow the Dems apart.

d1carter on July 24, 2009 at 3:15 PM

It’s not the first time they’ve done this, fellas.

http://thirdbasepolitics.blogspot.com/2009/07/opaque-congress.html

DJ Tablesauce on July 24, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Texas Gov. Perry said Texas may exert States Rights and refuse Obamacare. Other Govs. should follow suit.

Interesting….very interesting.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM

I have this feeling that a lot of us will be looking to move to Texas in the not-so-distant future.

BPD on July 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Totalitarians on the loose. I don’t want any compromise on this bill by Republicans on the basis the democrats cut the costs. I want them to oppose this bill to the end on the basis of its draconian measures.

rlwo2008 on July 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

That picture of Waxman…………

………. I swear he is smelling his own fart.

Seven Percent Solution on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Waxman Scrunched, Healthcare Crunched.

LibTired on July 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Texas Gov. Perry said Texas may exert States Rights and refuse Obamacare. Other Govs. should follow suit.

Interesting….very interesting.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Arizona is considering this as well, and I think still Gov. Palin signed something for Alaska. I would SC will, but Sanford let his schwanz get in the way of himself. The legislature may do it in SC, though. We’ll see.

SouthernGent on July 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Listen here little man, you’re in no position to THREATEN anyone.

THE CHOSEN ONE on July 24, 2009 at 3:17 PM

This crooked thug is subverting the Constitutional process and if he carries through with his threat he should be sued in the federal courts.

rplat on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

While it is certainly unethical, what Waxman is doing is not unconstitutional, since the Constitution specifically states that each House of Congress can make its own rules of parliamentary procedure.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior,(Article I, Section 5, paragraph 2).

There is no mention of House (or Senate) committees in the Constitution, so that bypassing a committee vote doesn’t violate the Constitution, but the Rules of the House. It would be up to a vote of the full House to determine whether its own rules have been violated, and if so, what remedies should be applied for “disorderly Behavior”.

If the Blue Dog Democrats (all 52 of them, not just those on the ECC committee) felt wronged by this action, they could vote with Republicans to “punish” Waxman, for example, by removing him from the chairmanship of the ECC committee. They could also demand a full oral reading of the health-care bill before a floor vote, which would delay the vote by at least several days, and may bring objectionable passages to the attention of other Blue Dogs who have not yet read the bill.

Steve Z on July 24, 2009 at 3:17 PM

If you can’t get 2 people on your committee to vote for it, how do you expect to get a majority in the house to do so?

lorien1973 on July 24, 2009 at 3:18 PM

I recall reading on another political blog that Pelosi’s speakership was on the line with Crap & Trade. If that had gone down, she was over.

She beat out Steny Hoyer for Minority Leader with the help of her henchman, Murtha, but he has other problems now that limit his henching.

Think of the people who might benefit if she crashed: Hoyer, Harman, Dingell, and all the Blue Dogs who don’t want to run for re-election in 2010 with Obama’s and Nan’s high-priced left-wing agenda to defend.

Just a thought….

Wethal on July 24, 2009 at 3:18 PM

If you can’t get 2 people on your committee to vote for it, how do you expect to get a majority in the house to do so?

lorien1973 on July 24, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Bribes and threats.

BadgerHawk on July 24, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Seven Percent Solution on July 24, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Well, he is a fart smeller … er smart feller.

lorien1973 on July 24, 2009 at 3:19 PM

They could also demand a full oral reading of the health-care bill before a floor vote, which would delay the vote by at least several days, and may bring objectionable passages to the attention of other Blue Dogs who have not yet read the bill.

Steve Z on July 24, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Good move. I think the Senate needs unanimous consent to waive reading of a bill, too. Baucus was summoned to the White House today, but no grand pronouncement on a vote before Septemeber from Harry so far.

Wethal on July 24, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Obama: 6 months to pick a puppy
Obama: 20 years to figure out Wright is racist
Obama: 2 weeks to take over 15% of the economy

Makes sense.

lorien1973 on July 24, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Oink….oink. Gobble my cob Porky.

Itchee Dryback on July 24, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Well, he is a fart smeller … er smart feller.

lorien1973 on July 24, 2009 at 3:19 PM

+100 !!!

Steve Z on July 24, 2009 at 3:22 PM

RT @fleckman: Dems and some of the Blue Dogs are on House floor speaking on HC rt now!!

JiangxiDad on July 24, 2009 at 3:22 PM

In all likelihood, this is a big bluff. With consensus on the bill falling apart at the seams, and with Obama’s approval ratings crashing, the last thing Pelosi needs is a schism among her own troops that could rapidly turn bitter. After all, she’s not that far removed from her CIA-lied debacle, and a failure of her leadership at this juncture would probably rekindle the impulse to replace her with Steny Hoyer, a steadier and more well-liked leader.

Never under estimate Pelosi’s capacity for partisan stupidity… the fact that they’d even float an idea like shows just how desperate they are.

Desperation does not make for sound reasoning… I wouldn’t put anything past her and Waxman.

jasetaro on July 24, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Go for it, Bat-Boy; what do you have to lose? Pr!ck

Fallen Sparrow on July 24, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Arizona is considering this as well, and I think still Gov. Palin signed something for Alaska. I would SC will, but Sanford let his schwanz get in the way of himself. The legislature may do it in SC, though. We’ll see.

SouthernGent on July 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Actually, this is something new. Just today (see Drudge) Perry states flat out that Texas may completely refuse Obama’s socialized healthcare if it passes, exerting our States Rights.

I would hope other Conserv. Govs. follow suit. Just the threat nationwide should start ringing alarm bells with D.C.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Video of blue dogs talking now

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN_wm.aspx

JiangxiDad on July 24, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Do it, Rat Face and you’ll sink your entire stinking party.

Key West Reader on July 24, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Yea, do it rat face!!! I shudder to think what American citizens will do if this crap sandwich gets shoved down our throats. They’re just asking for a revolution. Or seceding states. Or losing their tax base. I won’t live in a country with this kind of health care. I’ll die before I let one of those thugs tell me what meds or procedures or tests or surgery I can and can’t have.

scalleywag on July 24, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Rubber stamp legislature. Another hallmark of fascist and communist systems.

rbj on July 24, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Not sure totalitarians can win if they don’t control the internet.

JiangxiDad on July 24, 2009 at 3:28 PM

I really get the feeling this is Rahm Emanuel pushing all this. As Obama’s approval falls and truth gets out about this pig of a bill, he knows time is short. Cue the thuggery…

ROCnPhilly on July 24, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Since the bill provides for government access to bank accounts, what happens if everyone goes cash-only? Do we do it?

Fallen Sparrow on July 24, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Steve Z on July 24, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Yes, you’re probably correct. Because of its longevity the committee process has become formalized and accepted as a standard process. If a single committee chairman arbitrarily changes the rules it effects the entire legislative process and the ability of the elected Constitutional officers to carry out their duties in support of their constituents. Such acts can undermine the Constitutional process and result in political chaos. At any rate, every effected member should be protesting . . . loudly and publicly.

rplat on July 24, 2009 at 3:30 PM

August will be here and gone in a flash. Nancy’s already sweating next year’s elections.

Christien on July 24, 2009 at 3:32 PM

I just regurgitated my tuna fish salad.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Last time I tossed tuna salad, I saw Barry’s face in the puddle.

petefrt on July 24, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Has there been any discussion of publically encouraging the Blue Dogs to switch parties? Even standing up to the President, Pelosi, etc. and either voting no on health care or keeping it from coming to a floor vote, may not be enough to save their jobs in 2010. Simply having a D behind their names may be all it takes to lose their jobs in R leaning districts.

I am not suggesting that this is what we should do, but I am interested in hearing from those smarter than I why this is a good idea or a bad idea. Seems like it may be a very good idea for some of the Blue Dogs who want to keep their jobs and that there isn’t much downside for them.

reallyfive on July 24, 2009 at 3:33 PM

JiangxiDad on July 24, 2009 at 3:24 PM

thanks, have it running now.

HoustonRight on July 24, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Maybe the Blue Dogs could defect the Dem Caucus en masse and make a Federal version of the New York State Senate clusterfark.

I can dream, right?

Fallen Sparrow on July 24, 2009 at 3:34 PM

I really get the feeling this is Rahm Emanuel pushing all this.
ROCnPhilly on July 24, 2009 at 3:29 PM

I’m hearing Axelrod is the policy maker, Emanuel is the enforcer, and Barry’s mainly the mouthpiece.

petefrt on July 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

I’m hearing Axelrod is the policy maker, Emanuel is the enforcer, and Barry’s mainly the mouthpiece.

Sounds about right to me.

Missy on July 24, 2009 at 3:37 PM

waxman is pelosi’s b#@ch.. .no question about it now

gatorboy on July 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Waxman’s getting a little thin on top, isn’t he?

Del Dolemonte on July 24, 2009 at 3:04 PM

He’s shedding. Pretty soon he’ll look like this.

VibrioCocci on July 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM

c-span pooped

gatorboy on July 24, 2009 at 3:41 PM

He’s shedding. Pretty soon he’ll look like this.

VibrioCocci on July 24, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Nope. That critter’s not fugly enough.

SouthernPride on July 24, 2009 at 3:42 PM

I’m hearing Axelrod is the policy maker, Emanuel is the enforcer, and Barry’s mainly the mouthpiece.

petefrt on July 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Must be a lot room in Obama’s @ss for both Rahmbo’s and Ax’s hands to control His mouth.

/sarc

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 24, 2009 at 3:47 PM

If ANY Republican votes for this they must be voted out of the party!

dhunter on July 24, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Let’s get it on!!!!

WashJeff on July 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Screw CSPAN, this is Pay Per View material.

Vic on July 24, 2009 at 3:48 PM

“Waxman simply does not have votes in committee and process should not be bypassed to bring the bill straight to floor,” Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the lead Blue Dog negotiator, said on Friday. “We are trying to save this bill and trying to save this party.”

Melancon said there would be 40-45 “solid no” votes from the 52-strong Blue Dogs, among other problems throughout the caucus.

“If they try to bring it to the floor, I think they’ll find out they have more problems with the Blue Dogs.”

Good news.

BadgerHawk on July 24, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Hoo boy! I can’t wait until the news this evening when all the networks will be talking about the “deep fractures in the Democratic Party” and hammering the point home again and again.

They’re gonna do that… right?

rihar on July 24, 2009 at 3:49 PM

I don’t trust the Blue Dogs to stand firm. Let’s face it, they’re going to be swimming upstream next year with the economy tanking and the stimulus package seen as a failure. If they want to get re-elected they’re going to need access to the war chest that Bambi can provide. I’m sure they’ve been told that unless they play ball, they’re getting bubkiss.

PackerBronco on July 24, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Bypass his OWN COMMITTEE??? Holy S, these crooks are shameless.

marklmail on July 24, 2009 at 3:51 PM

IT’S ON!!!!! Blue Dogs storm out of Waxman meeting!!!!!!! They say that Waxy lied to them! Now they know how the American Public feels. Go ahead and do, Waxy, just do it. Bypass your own party members!
Call the Blue Dogs and let them know Americans are watching!!!
http://www.house.gov/melancon/BlueDogs/

bloggless on July 24, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Comment pages: 1 2