Senate Republicans propose amendments to try and derail health care reform bill ‘fix’ [Video]
Republicans are making their last stand against health care reform in the United States Senate by proposing multiple amendments to the reconciliation fix bill. Here is a breakdown of the process.
First remember the health care reform bill is now the law of the land after the President signed it yesterday. That bill has already passed through the Senate and the House with no changes. What is being debated now is not the massive health care reform bill but rather the fix to the bill. The fix, among other things, takes out the “Cornhusker Kickback” deal for Nebraska, closes the Medicare “Donut Hole” for prescription drugs, lowers the tax on some “cadillac” insurance plans, and increases subsidies for the poor to purchase insurance. The fix is actually much less controversial than the bill that has already become law.
Still Republicans believe they can strike a blow to Democrats if they can stop the reconciliation fix from being passed. In order to become law the fix must be passed exactly as it is by the Senate. If so much as one word changes it must go back to the House to be passed by them again. To try and change the bill the Republicans are proposing amendments which would normally be be popular. For example Senator David Vitter (D-LA) proposed an amendment to provent the “government takeover of health care” and to stop funding for ACORN. Senator Tom Coburn proposed an amendment to prohibit sex offenders from getting Viagra prescriptions under federal programs. If Democrats vote for any of the amendments then the entire fix has to go back to the House and be passed again breaking the Senate Democrats pledge to pass it as is. On the other hand if they vote against the amendmentsRepublicans will soon start preparing attack ads about how Senator X voted to give Viagra to sex offenders.
Democrats are trying to maintain unity in voting down the amendments. Meanwhile on the final vote for reconciliation Republicans will be put in the same kind of position. All Republicans will likely vote against the reconciliation fix but in doing so they will also be voting to keep the “Cornhusker Kickback” and to effectively make seniors pay more for prescription drugs. So it is possible Democrats will start preparing their own attack ads after the final vote. If this sounds like politics as usual, well – it is.