Takeouts: Health Care Update, Census

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

  • WASHINGTON TAKEOUT: After a year of debates over health care policy, lawmakers are now debating the procedure for passing the bill. Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich, has the latest news on the bill's journey through Congress.
  • CENSUS TAKEOUT: Tim Olson, assistant division chief with the U.S. Census Bureau, explains how the Census Bureau is counting same-sex couples, whether married or not.


Tim Olson and Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Marine Olivesi

Comments [3]

Todd Zwillich from Washington DC

Andy - -

You are correct that Democrats are highly mistrustful of the Senate and its ability to hold up its end of a bargain with the House. The House feels like it has been burned so many times before.

But I would point out that the self-executing rule does not immunize House Democrats from once again, in their view, being undermined by the Senate.

To your exact point, Speaker Pelosi did express an interest in having the Senate bill deemed passed in the House as soon as the SENATE approves the reconciliation package, thus immunizing her members from any more of the risk you are describing. She was told by parliamentarians that that route is not allowed.

So...Democrats are left with this situation: Even with the available self-executing strategy, if they use it, the reconciliation bill still goes to the Senate, where parts of it could fall to points of order or be changed by amendment, potentially leaving the House in the same position of voting for the Senate bill with no "fixes" attached.

At this point, the House gambit does nothing to change that. So I would disagree that trust issues with the Senate,while present certainly, are any longer the Dems' real motivating factor. Whether they like it or not, House Dems still go out on a limb even with self-execution in play.

As evidence, I would point you to the slew of Republican statements cautioning Democrats that the Senate is likely to alter the reconciliation package and potentially unravel this thing. They are doing their best to stoke the fires of mistrust that they know are are NOT quenched by the self-executing procedure.

Trust issues are important, but I think the year-long political battle surrounding this debate trumps them, by far.

I love your take!

Todd Zwillich

Mar. 17 2010 09:58 AM
Nancy Phillips from Kalamazoo, MI

If this bill still allows for illegal aliens to get free health care benefits and not pay income taxes, property taxes, etc. then I am extremely opposed to this bill.
I live in Michigan which has the highest unemployment in this nation and the out look is bleak at best. Jennifer Granholm is a joke and has done nothing to make a bad situation any better. I can't wait until she's gone!!

Mar. 17 2010 09:24 AM
Andy Daitsman from Walpole, MA

Todd Zwillich missed the crux of why some Democratic House members are prefer the self-executing rule in order to pass health care reform. It's not so much that they don't want to vote procedurally for a Senate bill they know will not pass, but rather that they don't trust the Senate to approve the reconciliation fix to the horrendous provisions of the existing Senate bill.

That is, nobody -- not even Ben Nelson -- wants the current Senate bill to be enacted into law without serious improvement, but given the current paralysis in the Senate some House members are worried the the Senate will be unable to even approve the reconciliation fix. If the House were to approve the Senate bill and then the Senate fails to approve teh reconciliation bill, then we get health care reform that includes the Cornhusker Kickback and all the other atrocities in the current Senate bill.

I hate to say this, but Todd was simply wrong about the Democratic reluctance to vote for the Senate bill. It's not CYA, but rather a principled strategic decision to go for the self-executing rule.

Mar. 17 2010 08:58 AM

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