Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Senate Democrats defend backroom deals

It's all small potatoes, the democrats using your tax money to bribe dissenting party members into changing their 'no' votes, to pass a bill that you likely want no part of. "That’s what legislating is all about; it’s the art of compromise," Harry Reid said, seeming to channel the ghost of James Madison. It just brings a tear to the eye, does it not? The spirit of '76 that resides in our congress? It's overwhelming.

Try not to vomit on your keyboard.

Financial Times -

[...] Passing the bill through the Senate would put the Obama administration in sight of overhauling the US’s inefficient and inequitable healthcare system, even if the overhaul is not as sweeping as the president initially envisaged.

But Mr Reid has defended himself against criticism over the deals he had to do to secure the support of the last wavering centrist, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who provided the 60th vote.

“There are 100 senators here and I don’t know that there’s a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that isn’t important to them. That’s what legislating is all about; it’s the art of compromise,” he said.

“There are 100 senators here and I don’t know that there’s a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that isn’t important to them,” Mr Reid told reporters amid mounting criticism of the sweetheart deals needed to win 60 votes. “That’s what legislating is all about; it’s the art of compromise.”

Mr Nelson wanted tougher restrictions on abortion funding in the bill, but after days of wrangling, agreed to support the bill in return for the federal government permanently funding Nebraska’s bill for Medicaid, the insurance plan for the poor, worth about $45m in its first 10 years.

Mary Landrieu of Louisiana also won about $300m in support for Medicaid for her state, and Vermont and Massachusetts will also receive additional funding.

Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont and the most liberal of senators, obtained $10bn for community health centres after failing to get a government-backed public health insurance scheme in the bill.

The White House, which is insisting the reform bill must pass in almost any form, also defended the horse-trading.

David Axelrod, a senior White House adviser, had earlier said that provisions benefiting specific states were a natural part of the legislative process.

“Every senator uses whatever leverage they have to help their states,” Mr Axelrod said on Sunday. “That’s the way it has been. That’s the way it will always be.”