Green Room

ObamaCare: Is the GOP helping pass it?

posted at 10:02 am on December 7, 2009 by

With Pres. Obama giving a pep talk to Senate Dems Sunday (yet not mentioning the “public option” or abortion), it may be that ObamaCare is less than a done deal. But is the GOP taking pressure off the Dems by allowing votes on amendments, or helping to fix the bill? Senior GOP Senate staffers tell NRO’s Robert Costa:

No way… “The idea is to make Democrats walk through glass everyday until the final vote on this puppy,” says one. “Make them take the kinds of stands that will be tough to explain to the media today — and to their constituents come election time. McCain’s Medicare amendment is the perfect example of that.”

Bloggers at RedState disagree:

Top GOP leaders have mistakenly convinced themselves that the key to defeating the bill is to process a number of Republican “messaging” amendments while letting Democrats offer whatever amendments are necessary to buy 60 votes.

There are three fatal problems with this strategy: 1) leadership insists on pushing its own too-clever-by-half “message” instead of listening to the clear message faxed, e-mailed and phoned to every elected official in Washington (”KILL THE BILL!”), 2) as evidenced by the articles above, the current “messaging strategy” is an abysmal failure, and 3) by allowing amendments to be processed at no cost to the majority party, GOP leaders are merely greasing the skids for government-run health care.

Quite apart from the issue of whether the GOP “messaging” gets picked up in the establishment media, when I look at the current list of 91 amendments (about half of which come from the Dem caucus), it is not clear to me that the GOP is proposing amendments that would make it more difficult to pass the bill. (I cannot be definitive about this, as the texts of these amendments are generally not online yet.) For example, none of the amendments looks to be the “doc fix” that would force Dems to admit that they have not accounted for hundreds of billions of dollars they plan to spend. None of the amendments appear to address the “pay or play” employer mandate that is hated by both Right and Left.

However, obstructing on every amendment is probably not a feasible overall strategy. It would probably result in more of the action moving into Harry Reid’s office, where necessary amendments would get bundled into a “manager’s amendment” with a 60 vote guarantee. The silver lining is that the list of amendments is getting larger all of the time. The aforementioned list of 91 does not include the tort reform offered by Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1995, but rejected by the Senate on Sunday, or Sen. Ben Nelson’s pro-life amendment, which may be considered on Monday. It may be that the GOP is holding more damaging amendments in reserve.

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It may be that the GOP is holding more damaging amendments in reserve a gun to there own head while assuring us it’s not loaded.

uknowmorethanme on December 7, 2009 at 10:13 AM

there = their

uknowmorethanme on December 7, 2009 at 10:13 AM

The R’s need to get on the side of the people on this and quit making nice with the other side. Maybe they don’t know how to stand for something.

Kissmygrits on December 7, 2009 at 10:22 AM

What amendments? Is any major news outlet reporting the existence of ‘amendments’ let alone what’s in them. All the news reports I see talk about ‘health care reform’.

Sounds like the GOP leadership has their focus on inside the beltway process while ignoring ‘we the people’ who are upset about the whole idea of government run anything.

Skandia Recluse on December 7, 2009 at 10:41 AM

I have unskakeable confidence that the GOP will once again demonstrate their unrivaled capacity for inept legislative maneuvering, complete ignorance of leftist character and designs, and final capitulation to the overwhelming and unilateral need for “bipartisanship” in the achievment of a scandalous betrayal of conservative principles and singular defeat for the American people. Let’s go team!

rrpjr on December 7, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Putting mustard, ketchup, and a pickle on this “C**P SANDWICH” won’t make it go down any better for me.
KILL THE BILL!!–and vote out anybody who votes for it. Teaparty them at all opportunities and vote them out in 2010 and 2012.
John Bibb

rocketman on December 7, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Why are they not stalling? Why are they not forcing the bill to be read?

Red State has been having a fit about them helping to fix it.

I have said for a long time, they are all out to get us down the same commie road, just one goes a little faster than the other.

All incumbents must go!!!!!!!!

patriotparty1 on December 7, 2009 at 11:21 AM

If Republicans will not unify to oppose the government takeover of our health care system, why vote for Republicans?

Angry Dumbo on December 7, 2009 at 11:51 AM

This bunch of RINO’s can’t be trusted. They’ll sell us out for an invitation to the ball.

erp on December 7, 2009 at 12:03 PM

This bunch of RINO’s can’t be trusted. They’ll sell us out for an invitation to the ball.

erp on December 7, 2009 at 12:03 PM

This is a good point. We all think that the energies that we should exert in this, run up to the vote based in cherry picked intel, should all be aimed at dems and the blue dogs…we are encouraged to “burn up the lines”..but we also need to burn up the lines to those who we assume are on our side. The Repubs. Are they pushing to kill the bill, or do they think health care takeover by the government is O.K. as long as one or two things are tweeked?
The Repubs also need a focused fire built under their asses to help them focus on the goal. Kill The Bill.
I think we’re giving them a pass, thinking that they are suddenly not professional politicians.

Itchee Dryback on December 7, 2009 at 12:39 PM

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