I'm not going to go into the substance of the Health Bill in this post, but this article just has my head needing some scratching with regard to the procedures involved in Congress. Apparently Republicans are using some arcane rules to knock out portions of the Health Bill that the Senate is going to vote on, meaning that the House may have to vote on it again. Mind you, Obama signed the bill already even though the Senate still has to vote on it. My brain is hurting.
Silly me, I thought based on years of study that the Constitution requires that for a bill to become law, it is first to be passed by both houses of Congress and then signed by the President (or if vetoed, then passed only with 2/3 of each house). Yes, if each house passes a different version then the conference committee has to iron out the differences so that an identical bill can be voted on again. Then it's the President's turn.
Somehow the ridiculous rules have allowed the Democrats to have the House pass a bill, then let the President sign it, making it law, with the Senate voting on it afterwards. And now due to some changes that the (minority) Republicans have somehow been able to force on the (majority) Democrats, this has to go back to the House of Representatives again. Make sense? I didn't think so.
Now, regardless of whether you support the legislation or think it's a mistake we'll regret a decade from now (as I do), from a procedural standpoint you can agree that this is pretty messed up. A full explanation of how the rules of Congress have devolved into such muck would only reveal the central point that transparency and accountability among our lawmakers is as low as ever. (Add to this other pet peeves of mine, like letting partisan politicians draw legislative districts)
Democrats will complain that Republicans are using undemocratic tactics like the fillibuster and these arcane Senate rules to thwart the will of the majority. Republicans will complain that the Democrats are using their own arcane rules to get a Senate vote that avoids the filibuster, which is a key obstacle to a tyranny of the majority. Both groups are complete hypocrites, since they took opposite positions on such tactics back when the GOP controlled Congress and Bush was trying to get judicial appointees voted on. So let's dispense with those partisan morons who aren't fit to run a lemonade stand let alone the government of the most powerful country on Earth.
But let's also agree that there's got to be some serious procedural reform when it's all said and done. Because the only interest being served here is angry hackery.
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