Part of the negotiations center on whether Reid can provide an ironclad guarantee that the Senate will not leave the House in the lurch, aides said. If the House agrees to pass the Senate bill with a companion measure — or a “cleanup” bill — to make fixes, they want to know that the Senate will indeed pass it, too.
There was some talk among Senate leadership on Thursday of putting together a letter signed by 51 Democratic senators pledging to pass a cleanup bill if the House would pass the Senate bill. But that effort fizzled when support for it didn’t materialize, insiders said.
“The Senate moderates’ viewpoint is, ‘We passed our bill. We’re not going to spend three weeks on some other bill,’” said a Democratic lobbyist who represents clients pushing for reform.
Now this is an act of egotism beyond description, and a result of Democrats treating the 60-vote myth as sacred while letting every member of the caucus act like a spoiled five-year-old. The Senate Democrats are effectively saying that on a major piece of legislation, the House of Representatives should have absolutely no say.
The insanity of this position is that there are not 218 votes in the House to pass the current Senate bill. There is zero reason to believe that there will be any more votes in a few days or weeks. So, any other route to passing health care reform also requires starting over in the Senate. Either with a new reconciliation-only bill (a good strategy that could create a good bill), or a dramatically scaled-down bill that might get Republican support (a comical pipe dream that is doomed to fail). Both of these ideas would take just as long, or probably much longer, than a reconciliation sidecar.
I hope that the House Democrats do not back down on this. This is an issue even bigger than heath care, this is a question about America: Do we live in a constitutional democracy, or unrepresentative, spoiled bratocracy? For too long, the House sat quietly while the Senate launched a series of anti-constitutional power grabs. The result, over the years, is that the Senate has fallen into a state of collective, ego-driven insanity where each member is king and no one ever accomplishes anything. The Senate is now a corrupt, dysfunctional, completely broken institution. If the House will not finally use this crisis to force the Democratic senators to confront the inherent problems with our government, I see little hope for the future of the Republic.