The Cash for Cloture program initiated by President Obama and carried out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid produced a victory in the early morning hour of 1:10 AM EST, Monday December 21, 2009. The bare minimum of 60 aye votes has now moved the Reid Amendment - the Manager's Amendment - toward the nationalization of America's health care system. All Democrats voted aye; all Republicans voted no.
Never before in the history of the United States Senate has legislation that will have such a sweeping effect on every citizen been brought into reconciliation on a pure party line vote. There is no more "we inherited" or "George W. Bush did this and that" as an excuse. There is certainly no longer the pretense of a moderate Democrat in the Senate. All Democrats have now been bought off by their own leadership and taken the bait of not daring to stand for their constituents and against the vastly unpopular agenda of President Obama. The bullying tactics out of the West Wing and the guilt rendering threats that a no vote on Obamacare would sink the Obama presidency have worked.
Bogus charges flew in the final hours of debate on the Senate floor, carried live on C-SPAN, unlike most of the negoiations of the bill as was promised by President Obama. A particularly insincere charge was levied by Reid that it was the fault of the Republican opposition that the vote was taking place at such an odd hour, in the middle of night. By particularly insincere, I mean Reid flat out lied.
The reason the vote was taken at 1:00 in the morning was because Reid is under a manufactured deadline to get the bill out of the Senate by the Christmas recess. By doing so, the bill will move to reconcilation with the House bill passed last month and then it can all be wrapped up in a bow and presented to President Obama to sign just before his very first State of the Union address to the nation in January. It is all so very convenient to Obama's re-election bid in 2012.
As Mary Landrieu of Louisiana pointed out on a Sunday morning interview, Senator Tom Coburn did, in fact, slow the pace down by exercising his right to request the reading of the Manager's Amendment. This exercise in smoke and mirrors to change up some of the original bill submitted is more than 300 pages in length. It is where, for instance, the State of Nebraska is no longer responsible for the expense of Medicaid payments at the state level, thanks to the final holdout on the Democratic side, the Senator from Nebraska Ben Nelson. His fake claims of solely being determined that federal funds are not used for abortion fell away when the final negoiations for his aye vote were revealed. And, Mary Landrieu already had her share of press for the $300 million she proudly bragged of selling out for her vote in the affirmative, for her state.
The vote in the early hours of the morning was due to manuvering around the Senate rules and the timeline is set by the Senate Majority Leader, not the minority. Reid brought about this vote at its time in order to keep his own timeline as the Senate prepares to dismiss for Christmas. He has scheduled the final vote - after the technical votes are taken Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - for Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas America!
The vote was taken at 1:00 AM so that the timeline would allow the votes to be taken before everyone went home for Christmas. It is as simple as that. The dirty little secret is that without finishing up before the recess, it would have been even more difficult to get the 60 votes needed when the Senate re-convened in January. Unwilling to jeopardize the Obama timeline for re-election in 2012, the Democrats put party over country with such irresponsible legislation that affects 1/6 of our national economy while still leaving about 20 million uninsured and raising taxes and insurance premiums on everyone.
This is reform?
No. This is a blatant power grab by Democrats from Obama down to Reid and Pelosi for a huge new entitlement program that they believe will establish a permanent Democrat majority in Congress. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "with a couple of cheap deals and a rushed vote at one o'clock in the morning" the debate would end, something few would have imagined.
1:10 AM, December 21, 2009. We'll remember. 2010 is almost here.