Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can McConnell do what he's saying he'll do?

The assumption has been, all along, that the House of Representatives would repeal Obamacare, but it would never get voted on in the Senate. Now that the house has passed the repeal bill (by a much larger bi-partisan margin than the original party-line vote passing Obamacare), it moves to its expected death in the Senate. But Mitch McConnell says that he will assure a Senate vote.
The Senate's top Republican promised a vote in that chamber to repeal healthcare reform following a successful House vote on such legislation Wednesday evening.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would "assure" a Senate vote on legislation to undo Democrats' healthcare reform law, despite Senate Democrats' opposition to holding such a vote....

"The Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want to vote on this bill," McConnell added. "But I assure you, we will."

At the Heritage Foundation's blog, The Foundry, Brian Darling explains how that could happen.
Once that bill is passed, it will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Once the Senate receives the bill, any Senator can use Rule 14 to object to the second reading of the bill. This procedural objection will “hold at the desk” the House-passed bill and allow the Senate to act on the full repeal measure.

If the bill is referred to committee, it will never get to the Senate floor. This procedural objection by one or a number of Senators will stop the bill from being referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP)...Objecting to Rule 14 would hold the bill at the desk of the Senate and would put H.R. 2 on the Senate calendar. This procedure could be done with a letter or call from one Senator to the party leader. This would allow the Senate Majority Leader to commence debate on the matter when he so chooses. It is unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) would move to proceed to the bill, yet there is a procedure that any Senator can use to force a debate.

Any Senator can use Rule 22 to commence debate on H.R. 2 if they have held the bill at the desk.
It's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be a filibuster, and that it would actually make it to the floor for an up-or-down vote. But if McConnell can force the Democrats to filibuster the repeal, which is favored by the American people and passed overwhelmingly in the House, of a piece of legislation which is unpopular with the people and actually being challenged in court by 26 of the 50 states, well, he's doing the right thing.

1 - And even if it somehow did get voted on in the Senate, it would fail, and even if somehow miraculously got voted on and passed, Obama would surely veto it, making it all a waste of time. Which it is most certainly not, regardless of the outcome.

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