Horse Trading on Health Care

Senator Nelson of Nebraska has sold out. It was a forgone conclusion (in my mind) seeing that Senator Landrieu of Louisiana had received what she needed from the majority leader–establishing a simple precedent.

The linked article in the WSJ also notes that the key vote is expected late Sunday or early Monday. Oh, and the following:

As a snowstorm blanketed Washington Saturday, piling up on the grounds of the Capitol, Democrats released a 383-page amendment to the bill that includes proposals designed to boost support for small businesses, toughen federal regulatory oversight of insurers, and strengthen provisions to curb the rapid growth of health-care costs.

Republicans demanded the amendment be read aloud in full on the Senate floor, as is permitted under Senate rules. Through Saturday afternoon, clerks took turns reading the legislative language before a nearly empty chamber, in a gesture Republicans hoped would dramatize the closed-door dealings by Democrats.

Republicans said Democrats were trying to rush a long bill through the chamber, and said they would demand debate on the bill until Christmas. “We’re not going home,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

The amendment, which was just submitted, is 383 pages and the Democrats want a vote on this in less than 36 hours? There is no way that anyone who has just started reading the amendment could possibly understand the ramifications of the document in the given timeframe.

This tactic (pushing through stuff without allowing time for review) is unworthy of our legislative bodies. It has everything in common with the unscrupulous lawyer, banker, Realtor, etc saying “It’s just the standard wording for stuff like this. Go ahead and sign here, here, here and here and we’ll have this taken care of in no time.”