Orrin Hatch: “Outright war” in the Senate if Dems try reconciliation
posted at 7:34 pm on January 29, 2010 by Allahpundit
I think I have to root for it to happen now. Traffic uber alles, my friends.
Hatch said Thursday that using reconciliation would be “one of the worst grabs for power in the history of the country” that would permanently impact relations between the two parties.
“It is going to be outright war and it should be, because it would be such an abuse of the reconciliation rules,” Hatch said. “If they abuse those rules it is going to lead to even more heated animosities between not just the two parties, but even between individual senators.”
Oh, the vids we shall cull; getting to see the famous McCain temper finally unleashed alone makes it worth it. But don’t celebrate just yet. No less an O-Care booster than Ezra Klein sounded grim this morning about the Dream dying on the Senate floor. Not with a bang but a whimper:
The timetable Emanuel is laying out makes little sense. The jobs bill will take some time. Financial regulation will take much longer. Let’s be conservative and give all this four months. Is Emanuel really suggesting that he expects Congress to return to health-care reform in the summer before the election? Forgetting whether there’s political will at that point, there’s no personnel: Everyone is home campaigning.
Moreover, there’s a time limit on health-care reform. The open reconciliation instructions the Senate could use to modify the bill expire when the next budget is (there’s disagreement over the precise rule on this) considered or passed. That is to say, the open reconciliation instructions expire soon. Democrats could build new reconciliation instructions into the next budget, but that’s going to be a heavy lift. The longer this takes, the less likely it is to happen. And Emanuel just said that the administration’s preference is to let it take longer. If I were a doctor, I’d downgrade health care’s prognosis considerably atop this evidence.
What he neglects to mention is that reconciliation itself could take a fantastically long time. Read this wonkish but valuable analysis at TNR of all the procedural hurdles Senate Democrats would have to jump through to make it happen. There’s no specific timetable given, but it sounds like it’d take weeks at least; depending upon how the public reacts, the GOP could be emboldened to try to make it months, with Brown likely tapped for some sort of visible role to leverage the symbolism of him as a popular veto against ObamaCare. On top of all that, there’s the fact that House Dems don’t trust Reid and company to actually pass a reconciliation “fix” if the House passes the Senate bill first, either because procedurally it’ll be too difficult or because too many centrists will end up bugging out in fear and they won’t have 50 votes. Listen to Clyburn below. Exit question: Reid’s seriously going to try this? Seriously?