Everyone has their own stories, their own ideas, and when you get to those we’ve elected to make our laws you find an even bigger quagmire. That’s because members of Congress think first about being reelected and if they do any more thinking at all, what might improve the lives of most Americans comes far down their list of priorities.
President Obama ran with the proomise of reforming health care. He plans to address this issue during his first year and according to The Votemaster Democrats made a strategic decision last week about when and how to get their agenda passed. They’re probably all shaking in their shoes realizing this could have major implications on the 2010 and 2012 elections. They decided if agreement on health care reform hadn’t been reached by October 15th, they would attach health care reform to the budget reconciliation.
Budgeting and the budget reconciliation is explained as happening like this:
“In February, the President proposes a budget, which President Obama has already done and which Congress has approved. But this is only step 1. Next the Senate and House committees dealing with taxing and spending hack on the President’s proposal and come up with their own plans, which merely sets general spending limits for each of 19 broad categories of government expenditures. After much arm wrestling, the committee chairman come up with a single proposal in each chamber, which is then brought to the floor for a vote. Since the Senate and House versions invariably differ, a joint Senate-House conference committee then works out a compromise, called the budget resolution, which both chambers then pass. If Congress so desires, language can be inserted into the budget resolution directing one or more committees to produce specific legislation by a specific date. The legislation produced by these committees is generally bundled into a single bill called the reconciliation bill. According to Senate rules, budget resolutions and reconciliation bills are subject to a straight up-or-down votes. Filibusters are not allowed.“
If the Democrats manage to get health care reform through Congress this year, they will be crowing about it in 2010 and 2012 as fulfilling a major campaign promise and Republicans will be dissing it as socialized medicine. But given the public’s desire to see the health insurance system fixed, a bill this year is likely to help the Democrats, hence the decision to put health care reform in the reconciliation bill if all else fails.