House Democrats Give Senate Nuclear Option on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bills
by Steven Ertelt
October 16, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — House Democrats appear to have given the Senate the go-ahead to use a controversial process called reconciliation to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through the chamber. Abortion advocates may use a process called reconciliation to get around a potential filibuster.
With the health care bills in Congress having the potential to increase the number of abortions by one-third, making sure they are amended to prevent abortion funding is crucial.
If the amendments fail, stopping the bills with a filibuster is a second option, but Senate Democrats may take that away.
Reconciliation makes it so the minority does not have the filibuster as a tool to make it so 60 voters are needed to end debate and allow a vote on a bill. The procedural tool is supposed to be used in emergency purpose for budget bills and other important financial matters.
However, pro-life writer Connie Hair at Human Events notes that the House has set up the possibility for it to be used in the Senate.
She points to a hearing pro-abortion Rep. Charlie Rangel held in the Ways and Means Committee that apparently certified the House version of the pro-abortion health care bill, HR 3200, as meeting the requirements to become part of the "budget reconciliation process."
"It contains all of the horrors previously exposed: federal funding of abortion, … comparative effectiveness, healthcare rationing, deep cuts to Medicare. Everything the American people overwhelmingly reject," Hair writes.
"No amendments were allowed at the hearing and no debate. Rangel told [pro-life] Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan), the ranking Republican on the committee, that he would not have preferred to do it this way, but leadership — i.e., Speaker Pelosi — forced his hand," she continued.
"While the media cameras are focused on Harry Reid’s office door, the House of Representatives has made it possible for H.R. 3200 to pass the Senate with 51 votes. It is still possible that Senator Reid won’t choose to use reconciliation in the Senate, but the odds against it are infinitesimal," Hair says.
Meanwhile, pro-life Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin also believes the bill has been set up for the Senate to use reconciliation.
"The secret of the week is that Democrats pulled the trigger on the nuclear option," top Republican on the House budget committee and a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee told Fox News. "Why create the option if you don’t intend to use it. And the fact that you created it enhances the chances that you will use it."
Rangel himself admitted that the Senate can use his committee’s bill to push reconciliation and deny filibuster votes.
He said the move was to "simply preserve the option of advancing health reform legislation" and complained that the "action was necessary because there is a possibility that a handful of Senate Republicans" could mount a filibuster.
Although he may not use it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly left open the option of railroading the bill through the Senate.
"If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do the reconciliation," Reid said last month. "It remains to be seen as to whether we will have to do reconciliation. I am confident and hopeful we won’t have to do that, but time will only tell."
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Democrats will suffer a severe backlash if they prevent a filibuster on the pro-abortion health care bill. McConnell went as far as calling the move the "nuclear" option.
Let me say budget reconciliation has never been used to structure one-sixth of the American economy, said McConnell. If that option were chosen, there would be a severe, negative, and I think appropriate reaction from the American people.
If you thought the American people were upset in August, you haven’t seen how upset they will be if this device is chosen," he added.
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