Monday, April 27, 2009

Finally, Obama Pushes Back on Republican No Votes

Wait a minute, there appears to be signs of life in the White House. Despite the fact that Barack Obama ran as a Democrat, his centrist right leanings were starting to scare almost all of his biggest supporters. You know, the ones hoping for "change they could believe in." It looks like Obama is about to take the gloves off. The Huffington Post writes:

In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes -- twice -- for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.

A GOP source … said that the president was extremely sensitive -- even "thin-skinned" -- to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting. Obama also offered payback for that goose egg. A major overhaul of the health care system, he told the Republican leadership, would be done using a legislative process known as reconciliation, meaning that the GOP won't be able to filibuster it. Congress has until October 15 to pass health care or student lending reform under the normal process. If it doesn't, reconciliation can be used to eliminate the 60-vote requirement. GOP
aides, however, said that Obama was pretty clear that reconciliation would be used.
"From what was told me, it sounded more like he would almost definitely use reconciliation for health care. I don't think he hedged much," said one.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed back against the decision to use reconciliation. "Senator McConnell and his colleagues want to be part of the solution to reforming our country's health care system … Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people.”

McConnell assumes the public is unaware of the last 30 years of debate on both of these important issues. Let's face it, debate is another word for "stall." Kick the can down the road so to speak. Delay and obstruct. Muddy the waters. Stuff their coffers with lobbyist campaign contributions and payoffs to vote against change.

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