Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Way deep into the weeds of the Senate...

According to Jonathan Chait at the New Republic, the GOP says they've found a way to filibuster that which cannot be filibustered.

Their idea, offered by the wingnut emperor Jim DeMint is that while they cannot filibuster the Health Care Reconciliation Fix (the so-called Plan B), they can offer an infinite number of amendments to said bill. Of course, to stop them from doing so would guessed it!...60 Votes.

The Democrats do have a countermeasure:

Another option for Democrats would be to seek a ruling by the parliamentarian that Republicans are simply filing amendments to stall the process. But such a ruling could taint the final healthcare vote and backfire for Democrats in November.

At this point, it's hard for me to see that as a major impediment, but Democrats have surprised me before with their unique brand of spineless and cowardice.

Jonathan Chait, again:

The story actually provides a fascinating window into the partisan psychology on Capitol Hill. The Republicans might block health care reform by trying a maneuver that, while legal, has never been done before. Democrats might respond in kind with a counter-maneuver that's also legal and has never been done before. Yet the story implies -- accurately, I suspect -- that Democrats fear they would be tainted. The Republicans seem to have no such fear (“You’ll see Republicans do everything they can to delay and stop this process,” says Jim DeMint.)

Message to Democrats. Don't fall for this. If they want to run on a procedural trick that no one's going to be remember by June, let 'em. If they want to pound their chest and say "Democrats resorted to procedural tricks" -- to what? Get 30 Million more people Health Insurance? Let 'em.