Dear Policy rPatriots –

Doing it the Right Way! Last week, President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) John Goodman and Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, responded to President Obama’s call for “better ideas” by offering Ten GOP Health Ideas for Obama. Published in The Wall Street Journal, Goodman and Gingrich’s ideas included a number of sensible solutions, such as encouraging more equitable tax treatment of health insurance, increasing portability and eliminating junk law suits.

Goodman/Gingrich Blog for Health Care Summit. In a bid to break the logjam on health reform, the President will convene a health care “summit” on February 25. He has invited Republicans and Democrats alike to participate. Although there is some question about what the summit can accomplish and whether it will serve any purpose other than political grandstanding, both Republicans and Democrats say they will come prepared to debate health reform. John Goodman and Newt Gingrich will be hosting a blog discussion in the days leading up to the summit, as well as a continuous, live blog during the summit.

Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is at it again. Late last week, Pelosi announced that Democrats “have set the stage” for reconciliation. Pelosi’s proposed use of reconciliation, a legislative tactic which would empower 50 Senators-rather than 60-to pass ObamaCare, is viewed by many Americans as dirty politics. Amazingly, even Pelosi’s senior health advisor, Wendell Primus, referred to the reconciliation process as a trick. Here’s how Pelosi’s sordid strategy would work:

  • Step 1: The House Passes “Fixes.” As of late 2009, both House and Senate had passed versions of health care legislation. However, these versions differed in several important respects. To move past this impasse, House Democrats would get the ball rolling by passing a number of modifications to the Senate version of health care reform.
  • Step 2: The Senate Passes the “Fixes.” Senate Democrats would follow Pelosi’s lead, endorsing the House’s modifying legislation and sending it to the President’s desk.
  • Step 3: The House Passes the Senate Bill. House Democrats would then pass the Senate version of health care reform as it is-thus bypassing the need for a subsequent Senate vote-and offer it to the President for signature or veto.
  • Step 4: The President Signs (and Combines). In an unprecedented lawmaking slight-of-hand, the President would sign the Senate version of health care and subsequently sign the modifying legislation, the “fixes.”

The reconciliation process is an arcane budgetary process, used traditionally to reconcile the differences between expected revenues (taxes) and expenditures (spending). Customarily, lawmakers pass legislation and, if reconciliation is required, subsequently pass modifying bills. As an approach to the legislative process, reconciliation is rarely used and, more importantly, has never been used in the way that Pelosi proposes. Pelosi’s stratagem fails the ‘what’s right’ test in two meaningful ways:

  • Procedure: Reconciliation Bypasses Senate Rules. Reconciliation would deprive Senators of the opportunity to fully participate in the legislative process. The Senate has long-held that 60 votes are required to pass substantive law. Now, Pelosi and Reid are trying to avoid that rule because of political expediency. Simply put, that’s not right.
  • Substance: Reconciliation Bypasses Senate Debate. While Republicans as well as Democrats have used reconciliation in the past, it’s never been used for legislation of the cost and scale of health care reform. For many Americans, health care reform is literally a matter of life-and-death; they deserve a comprehensive debate of the issues in the bill.

The Final Wave! Thanks to your support, the NCPA has now entered its third wave of communication targeted to fence-sitting members of Congress. The third wave focuses on the eleven, self-described ‘moderate’ House Democrats. While they initially supported ObamaCare, a lot has happened since they cast their vote and they deserve to hear your reasons for opposing government-run health care. Please let your voice be heard:

  • Enter your personal information and click TAKE ACTION!
  • You can write a letter or make a phone call. You can do either; both are important!

Contribute to the Cause! We appreciate your past support and know that without you this fight wouldn’t be possible. You can donate online or send a check to:

  National Center for Policy Analysis
P.O. Box 650098
Dallas, Texas 75265-0098

Thank you for your continued support of the NCPA.

Warm regards,

Jeanette Nordstrom
National Center for Policy Analysis

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