Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Inside The Pelosi Sausage Factory"

At this point, many of us have seen how our Congress "crafts" bills, and the machinations through which they go to accomplish them. The following article, Inside the Pelosi Sausage Factory; Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak sold his anti-abortion soul for a toothless executive order, does a great job of exploring the ins and outs of the recent "Health Care Bill." Oh, yes, this is some "sausage":
Last week Republican Rep. Mike Pence posted on his Facebook site that famous Schoolhouse Rock video titled "How a Bill Becomes a Law." It's clearly time for a remake.

Never before has the average American been treated to such a live-action view of the sordid politics necessary to push a deeply flawed bill to completion. It was dirty deals, open threats, broken promises and disregard for democracy that pulled ObamaCare to this point, and yesterday the same machinations pushed it across the finish line.

You could see it all coming a week ago, when New York Rep. Louise Slaughter let leak a breathtaking strategy whereby the House would not actually vote on the unpopular Senate bill. The House would instead vote on a "reconciliation" fix to that bill, and in the process "deem" the underlying legislation—with its Cornhusker kickbacks and Louisiana purchases—passed.

The Slaughter Solution was both blunt admission and warning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not have 216 votes to pass the Senate bill, there never was going to be majority "support" for it, but they'd pass it anyway. The final days were a simple death watch, to see how the votes would be bought, bribed or bullied, and how many congressional rules gamed, to get the win.

President Obama flew to Pennsylvania (home to five wavering House Democrats), Missouri (three wavering), Ohio (eight), and Virginia (four) to hold rallies with small, supportive crowds. In four days, Mr. Obama held 64 meetings or calls with congressmen. The goal was to let undecideds know that the president had them in his crosshairs, that he still had pull with the base, and he'd use it against them. By Saturday the tactic had yielded yes votes from at least half the previously undecided members of those states.

Because, as I keep saying, this bill is ALL about Obama. And, what others can get out of him, apparently:
As for those who needed more persuasion: California Rep. Jim Costa bragged publicly that during his meeting in the Oval Office, he'd demanded the administration increase water to his Central Valley district. On Tuesday, Interior pushed up its announcement, giving the Central Valley farmers 25% of water supplies, rather than the expected 5% allocation. Mr. Costa, who denies there was a quid pro quo, on Saturday said he'd flip to a yes.

Florida Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (whose district is home to the Kennedy Space Center) admitted that in her own Thursday meeting with the president, she'd brought up the need for more NASA funding. On Friday she flipped to a yes. So watch the NASA budget.

Democrats inserted a new provision providing $100 million in extra Medicaid money for Tennessee. Retiring Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon flipped to a yes vote on Thursday.

Outside heavies were enlisted to warn potential no votes that unions and other Democrats would run them out of Congress. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee liberal challenging Blue Dog Florida Rep. Allen Boyd in a primary, made Mr. Boyd's previous no vote the centerpiece of his criticism. The SEIU threatened to yank financial support for New York's Michael McMahon. The liberal Working Families Party said it would deny him a ballot line. Obama deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand vowed to challenge South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin if she voted no. New York's Scott Murphy was targeted as a part of a $1.3 million union-financed ad campaign to pressure him to flip. Moveon.Org spent another $36,000 on ads in his district and promised a primary. Messrs. Boyd and Murphy caved on Friday.

Ah, yes - one such union threatening representatives is the SEIU. I know, big surprise. They have formerly exposed their bullying tactics. Don't forget, SEIU was created by the same man who created ACORN. Makes more sense now, right? Uh, yeah. But they aren't the only ones coercing and threatening people:
All the while Mrs. Pelosi was desperately working to provide cover with a Congressional Budget Office score that would claim the bill "saved" money. To do it, Democrats threw in a further $66 billion in Medicare cuts and another $50 billion in taxes. Huzzah! In the day following the CBO score, about a half-dozen Democrats who had spent the past months complaining the bill already had too many taxes and Medicare cuts now said they were voting to reduce the deficit.

Even with all this, by Friday Mrs. Pelosi was dealing with a new problem: The rule changes and deals winning her votes were losing her votes, too. The public backlash against "deem and pass" gave several wary Democrats—such as Massachusetts's Stephen Lynch and California's Dennis Cardoza—a new excuse to vote no.

Mrs. Pelosi jettisoned deem and pass. Once-solid Democrat yes votes wanted their own concessions. Oregon's Pete DeFazio threatened to lead a revolt unless changes were made to Medicare payments to benefit his state. On Saturday Mrs. Pelosi cut a deal to give 17 states additional Medicare money.

By the weekend, all the pressure and threats and bribes had left the speaker three to five votes short. Her remaining roadblock was those pro-life members who'd boxed themselves in on abortion, saying they would vote against the Senate bill unless it barred public funding of abortion. Mrs. Pelosi's first instinct was to go around this bloc, getting the votes elsewhere. She couldn't.

Into Saturday night, Michigan's Bart Stupak and Mrs. Pelosi wrangled over options. The stalemate? Any change that gave Mr. Stupak what he wanted in law would lose votes from pro-choice members. The solution? Remove it from Congress altogether, having the president instead sign a meaningless executive order affirming that no public money should go to pay for abortions.

The order won't change the Senate legal language—as pro-choice Democrats publicly crowed within minutes of the Stupak deal. Executive orders can be changed or eliminated on a whim. Pro-life groups condemned the order as the vote-getting ruse it was. Nevertheless, Mr. Stupak and several of his colleagues voted yes, paving the way to Mrs. Pelosi's final vote tally of 219.

The worthless piece of paper promised by Obama was enough to sway Stupak, whom I have seen on tv more than just about anyone as he touted his "principles." Right. One meaningless piece of paper with Obama's signature was enough to sway this man - I think that speaks volumes about Stupak.

But the Democrats were not alone in creative interpretations of the rules:
Even in these waning minutes, Senate Democrats were playing their own games. Republicans announced they had found language in the House reconciliation bill that could doom this entire "fix" in the Senate. Since many House Democrats only agreed to vote for the Senate bill on promises that the sidecar reconciliation would pass, this was potentially a last-minute killer.

Senate Democrats handled it by deliberately refusing to meet with Republicans and the Senate parliamentarian to get a ruling, lest it be unfavorable and lose House votes. The dodge was a clear dereliction of duty, but Democrats figure the Senate parliamentarian won't dare derail this process after ObamaCare passes. They are probably right.

So there you have it, folks: "How a Bill Becomes a Law," at least in Obama-Pelosi land. Perhaps the most remarkable Democratic accomplishment this week was to make the process of passing ObamaCare as politically toxic as the bill itself.

President Obama was elected by millions of Americans attracted to his promise to change Washington politics. These were voters furious with earmarks, insider deals and a lack of transparency. They were the many Americans who, even before this week, held Congress in historic low esteem. They'll remember this spectacle come November.
(Ms. Strassel writes the Journal's weekly Potomac Watch column from Washington.)

Indeed. Not only are there plenty of earmarks, deals, etc., but Obama's level of "transparency" is more of a joke than Bush's. Obama's White House has refused more FOIA requests than Bush did. Perhaps Obama is unclear on the definition of "transparency." Sure.

Let's return to the earmarks in the Health Care Bill. Given what we know about this bill (law?) and all of the payoffs, bribes, and threats used to get it passed, imagine my surprise when I heard Rep. Van Hollen's claims below:

Can you believe this guy?? Clearly, he is one of the representatives who didn't bother to read this bill. Now that's some hubris there - get on national TeeVee and deny aspects of this bill that have been widely reported. Wow...

And in developing news, ACORN claims it will be closing its doors on April 1st this year. But not so fast - it may just be more smoke and mirrors where the local offices are concerned (big surprise). A name change might be all they are doing. Stay tuned...


Mary Ellen said...

I sent you an e-mail explaining the temporary "shut down" of my blog. I'm really sorry, but I don't know how else to handle this mess. I'll figure it out soon...see if the waring factor gets tired of their tirade.

Mary Ellen said...

I saw this on another blog and thought you would get a kick out of it....

Found on facebook:

Dear Lord, In the past year you have taken away my favorite actor (Patrick Swayze), my favorite actress (Farah Fawcett), my favorite musician (Michael Jackson) and my favorite salesperson (Billy Mays). I just wanted to let you know that my favorite legislator is Nancy Pelosi. Amen.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

ROTFLMAO - oh, my - that is too funny. Thanks, ME!

And thanks for the email, too. I was at "therapy" for a while, aka, grooming Jordan! I love spending time with him, and his pasture mate, who is a pony named Peanut. It is so funny - the biggest horse in the stable LOVES his little buddy!

Why can't we all just get along?!? Teehee.

I am so, so sorry you are having this difficulty at your blog, ME. That is so upsetting - I LOVE your blog!!! People. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

When you see it all laid out like that - the complete subversion of our political process - it boggles the mind. But then, The Pretender was clear that he, Congress, and the people whom he and Congress WORK for (which apparently are the Obots, the rest of us don't count), don't really care about the process, so I guess we shouldn't worry, eh? The end justifies the means? It's all wonderful, right? (At least, that's what one would assume reading the posts on Facebook.)

So, I'll be on the lookout for that Unicorn who's now going to be bringing me that Obama check AND a health insurance policy that will cover EVERYTHING and cost me almost NOTHING and allow me to see ANY doctor I want at ANY time I want to.

I guess Van Hollen thinks he can get away with the lies, since he figures we're all steeped in the kool-aid and will believe any and all nonsense coming out of the mouth of the Dems.

ACORN claiming it's closing its doors rings about as true as ACORN claiming it has never done anything illegal. I guarantee you it'll be a new name but same old game. They probably have to do that in order to continue to receive our tax dollars. No one wants to risk approving funding for ACORN but I guess they think we're all too high on the hopium to figure out their little shell game.

I'm thinking it may be necessary to move Montserrat up to 2011...don't think I can/want to wait til 2012... I better check and make sure unicorns are allowed on the island, though. Just in case my check and insurance policy are held up for some reason...

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

LOL abt unicorns being allowed on Montserrat! I figure, since many of the people who live there are Irish, they're probably used to thinks like that, you know, what with the leprechauns, and all. Ahem. So, yeah, I think you're good!

I hear you, too, SF - I'm thinking it might have to be sooner rather than later, too.

It is amazing how people react to learning how this policy is really going to work - they cannot stand it, and just attack, attack, attack. You'd THINK they would actually want to know how this bill will work, what it will cost, when it will start, etc., etc., but nope - they'll take their unicorns, their ponies, their rainbows, their Obama dollars, and their "FREE!!!!!!" Healthcare, and damn the rest of us.

And if this bill is so all-fired good, why is Obama having to go BACK on the road to see it SOME MORE??? WTH?

Unfortunately, SF, you are too right abt Van Hollen. Jake Tapper got a snide message on Facebook this morning for simply stating that, technically, the Cornhusker Kickback was signed into law this morning because it has not been removed yet. Well, it WAS - it hasn't been removed yet! Let's just see if it is...

Anyway - wow, what a bunch of ignorant people in this country. It's gonna get worse in my state, too, since $700 MILLION in the student loan stream will be taken away thanks to this bill (still don't know why in the hell anything abt student loans is IN a healthcare bill). BUT - more money will be made available to poorer students, according to Jim Clyburn, which means more money will be available to historically black colleges here in SC. Okay...But what abt everyone else?


Mary Ellen said...

I saw this over at mcnorman's blog via Hot Air...

Democrats have the votes to defeat all of the amendments, but some of them may be difficult to openly oppose. The Medicare Advantage restoration could be a big problem for Democrats who need seniors to support them in upcoming votes, for example. The amendment process puts each issue on the floor individually, making it much more difficult for Senators to vote one way and proclaim themselves another in the future.

The Dems have no qualms about throwing the seniors under the bus but they want to make sure that it's after the election when they get their vote. This is really going to mess up their plans.

(O/T-Bad Habit is up and running again, I think the ADHD kiddies have lost interest, the little twirps.)

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME -

I have tried to get back into Bad Habit, and haven't been able to yet. I won't give up, though!

Thanks for the quote. I appreciate that. And Hot AIr is right - I was just thinking abt this in terms of when the LAW will start taxing people. In 9 months, AFTER the elections, presumably. Not to be too much of a cynic or anything.

There is no doubt they don't care abt senior citizens. They're gonna give them a whopping $250 a YEAR to help close the "donut hole"?? Which month are these seniors gonna pick to actually get most of their medication? Please.

Thanks, ME!

Mary Ellen said...

Let me know if you have any more trouble getting back in, it should be ok by now and others are getting in.

Regarding the seniors...yeah, that $250 is more than what Obama spends on one meal for himself and Michelle. I wish AARP would start supporting seniors instead of any politician that woos them.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Yippee - I was finally able to get into your blog! Yay!

No freakin' kidding. It is just amazing that people think this is such a GOOD thing. $250. That's it.

And AARP- you nailed it, ME. They go whichever way the wind goes. I lost ALL respect for them during Bush's tenure. Another spineless organization, it seems...

Logistics Monster said...

OT Rev,

But you may want to put this poster up somewhere...


I envision billboards from sea to shining sea.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, LM!! I appreciate that!

hypnotichealth said...

NLP EYE ACCESSING CUES. We experience the world outside our bodies through our senses (VAKOG): vision, sound (auditory), touch (kinesthetic), taste (gustatory) and smell (olfactory). We also have the capacity to recreate 'models' of our sensory information, so, we can think in pictures and words and mentally recreate our experience of, or get a sense of an imagined, physical sensation.

In the study of NLP, you can tell if a person is constucting or recalling information.

and then check out Pelosi's press conference on her "fear"