The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, March 12, 2010

Western Tribune column march 10, 2010 Reconciliation

Reconciliation? If that's what it takes

President Obama understands the importance of health care reform and said that Democrats have the “opportunity of a generation” and should seize the moment and pass health care overhaul.

He is focusing on members of his own party after Republicans have once again indicated they will not support anything with his name attached to it, even though he took several of their proposals and incorporated them into the bill.

Democrats may use the procedure known as reconciliation in order to get the legislation to the president’s desk. Reconciliation has been branded as a bad word by the Party of No, while ignoring that such important legislation as COBRA was passed by reconciliation in 1986. COBRA included provisions that allow employees who have lost their jobs to keep their insurance for a period of time. At that time Republicans controlled the senate and Ronald Reagan was president.

Since 1980, 17 of 23 reconciliation bills have been signed by Republican presidents and more often when Republicans controlled one or both chambers of congress.

With the publicity last week surrounding the Republican National Committee playbook that featured demeaning pictures of the president and democratic leaders in congress, it is clear that their party is not about the issues or about addressing a problem that must be solved. Rather, it is about demonizing the opposition, something we have suspected since the first “Tea Party” where similar images were displayed on posters. Now the extremists we once called the fringe of the Republican Party are setting policy.

So if reconciliation must be used to pass Health Care Reform with no Republican votes then so be it.

It is right to ignore the Party of No when it is clear that their lack of cooperation will place greater hardship on the Americans who work every day to make this country what it is.
“The time for debate is over,” the President said. Republicans want to “start over.” But starting over would just lead to the same point while Americans continue to suffer.

The Republican playbook urged supporters to use “fear” and “extreme negative feelings toward the existing administration” as fund raising tools. If that is your marketing strategy, then it stands to reason that your governing strategy must be to not cooperate with anything the “existing administration” proposes.

If they choose not to participate, that is their prerogative. But it could also be their downfall.

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