Epiphanyblog

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So much of the argument on the Health Care legislation no longer focuses on the particulars of the bill, but rather on the process of getting it passed in the face of complete and utter Republican opposition that it seemed worthwhile to post today’s comments by Norm Orenstein. Ornstein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a recognized expert on Congress and the history of its workings.

Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news. It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?

So, no matter what Republicans and their minions in the media say, the tactics being used by the Democrats is nothing new. Republicans have used it many times before. So, why the hypocrisy, one might ask? Well, as usual with this Administration and Congress, it’s all about partisan politics: winning back the White House and Congress…and truth or the American people be damned. I’m with Mr. Ornstein – even though I’m not a fan of AEI – on this one.

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