Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts Politics Get Even More Stupid

"I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process,"
- Barney Frank.

Wow. Barney, I love you, man. But this is batshit insane.

The Senate passed a health care reform bill with 60 votes. The rules are stupid. The rules are paralyzing this country. But we played by the rules. The Senate passed health care reform. This already happened.

The House can, and should, vote for the Senate bill and send it to the President to sign into law.

You should do this because:
  • It would be really good for the country.
  • We need to fix our dysfunctional health care system.
  • It would be the greatest legislative accomplishment in my lifetime.
  • We've been fighting for this for decades.
  • A large majority of American voters sent you to Washington to do this.
  • Democrats will get annihilated in the next election if they fail. Again.
Do you and your colleagues think you can improve on the bill in some way? Would you like to, say... change some of the tax formulas or add a solid Public Option? You should pass a new bill and send it to the Senate for consideration. If members of the Senate support these changes, the Senate can -- still playing by the rules -- pass that bill through the reconciliation process. This, according to the rules, requires "only" 51 votes. This is also known as a majority.

That's the game. Those are the rules. You're winning. We're winning. Unless we decide to lose.

Oh, and read this...


  1. I agree w/passing the senate bill in the house as a start, but your alternative comment on a simple majority seems to ignore the possibility of a one-senator filibuster assuming nobody steps up (hoping it snowes) to vote with the 59 dems and friends. I gather that's seen as the most broken part about the senate rules...

  2. Ah, I see that reconciliation can't be filibustered, just attempted to be amended ad nauseum. Still, I prefer the House passing the Senate's bill to end this phase of the debate and move on to the details in a more public forum. All in all, it's a shame that we can't have a less partisan system...