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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You say you want a revolution?

by digby

Well we have one. It's a right wing revolution. And they are winning.

The Republicans will do anything to destroy all attempts to provide universal health care to the American people and give themselves and their rich friends and heirs a huge tax cut by any means necessary. So far they have passed gigantic legislation without waiting for the CBO score that would outline the costs and the impact on our citizens. And they've changed the 10 year window for a deficit increasing tax cut, something they insisted on in the past. We knew they didn't really care about deficits but they aren't even pretending anymore.

Now this from Stan Collender:

Republicans appear ready to make a small, but significant change to historic Senate procedure in order to advance their legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system, a move that could have notable impact on the future of the chamber’s operations.

GOP leaders are sending signals that, if necessary, they plan to invoke a seldom-used rule included in the Congressional Budget Act that would allow Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi to skirt a decision from the chamber’s parliamentarian, a key gate-keeper for the budget maneuver known as reconciliation that Republicans are using to advance their health insurance measure.

Such a decision would have ripple effects far beyond the tenure of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a careful practitioner of the chamber's procedural rules, and open the door for future leaders to more easily advance legislation under a 51-vote threshold.
“It is the Parliamentarian’s office that determines whether or not a reconciliation bill is in compliance with the rules of the Senate. This is not a function of the chairman of the Budget Committee,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, the ranking member on the Budget panel, said in a floor speech this month. “I am extremely concerned that the chairman of the Budget Committee, in an unprecedented manner, appears to have made that determination himself with regard to the Trump-Ryan health care bill.”

The Senate could vote as early as next week on the health measure. Reconciliation permits legislation to pass the Senate with only a simple majority of members supporting it, but the bill must also comply with a set of chamber rules governing the process.

Congress set up this process earlier this year when it passed the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution. That measure included reconciliation instructions that laid out the requirements any bill must meet in to advance under the simple majority threshold.

In this case, that was $1 billion in deficit savings over 10 years from the provisions in the legislation under the jurisdiction of four committees: the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Finance committees.

Under ongoing debate with the Senate parliamentarian is whether the House bill would actually achieve the required savings under the HELP Committee. The Senate parliamentarian has yet to make a formal decision on the matter.

Democrats argue that a provision to repeal the 2010 health care law’s  cost-sharing subsidies falls within the jurisdiction of the finance panel.

Republicans have yet to formally submit an argument to the parliamentarian outlining why they believe the section that would end those payments should be considered under HELP’s purview, one senior democratic aide said. The GOP is expected to submit that argument on Wednesday, a senior Republican aide said, and the decision by the parliamentarian is expected to come before the Senate votes on the measure.

A spokesman for the Senate Budget Committee did not respond to request for comment.

The jurisdiction in this case is critical. If the parliamentarian was to side with Democrats in her decision, then the House bill as a whole may not comply with the fiscal 2017 reconciliation instructions.

While the Senate is writing its own bill, McConnell must first introduce the House measure on the floor to file a substitute amendment to it with the new language. If the House bill were deemed to be noncompliant, however, then the GOP would need the standard 60 votes instead of 51 to advance it, a likely impossible task given no Democrats are expected to support it.

But Republicans appear ready to invoke a section of the Congressional Budget Act that they say would effectively give the Senate Budget Chairman authority to determine whether the legislation meets the required deficit reduction levels.

“Final decision on the score rests with the majority Senate Budget Committee Chairman, but it has to be within reason, I can’t just pick a number out,” Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, told Roll Call.

Essentially they are saying that they get to decide what the law requires rather than the parliamentarian. Might makes right.

They will argue that nobody cares about process. And frankly, they're right. In order to have an orderly, decent, political system you need responsible patriots running it, people who care about the fundamental principles of democracy.

We don't have that. We have a radical majority party bent on siphoning off as much of the money currently used to help the poor and middle class survive as they can in order to give it to their rich cronies. They have no other purpose. It is now a real kleptocracy that's enabled by a corporate sponsored right wing media that feeds the resentments of half of the people in the country with lies and propaganda. And they even make a tidy profit at it.

Donald Trump could not have happened if it weren't for the Republican party paving the way.

And just one word about Democrats. Yes, they have their share of corruption and weakness and lack of imagination and everything else everyone hates about them. But they aren't this bad. And they are the only vessel we have to fight this back. Just a little note to remind people that you have to pick your battles in this life and arguing about what color the house should be painted while it's going up in flames is not a wise strategy.