As the health care debate comes to a close this week in the Senate, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that it has been more of a political exercise than a legislative one. But it would have been nice to see a real debate.
What I mean by a “real” debate is one where there were lots of amendments and lots of votes. Tough votes. And tough votes for both parties.
But as is usually the case, the party in power gets to use the rules to squelch the debate for the most part, and prevent any battles that might sidetrack the legislation.
In this case, the Democrats will muscle through their Senate health bill without any votes on an array of issues, like a plan for medical malpractice reform.
I still don’t understand why Republicans didn’t make that their first amendment to be offered. Instead, they opted for a series of motions to strike, which didn’t exactly make a big impact on the overall debate.
Republicans have correctly pointed out that the Senate spent more time debating the last Farm Bill on the Senate floor than this health care bill.
Yesterday I talked about how the text of an Indian Health bill would be incorporated into the latest amendment offered by Democrast in the Senate. There are other bills as well:
* Catalyst to Better Diabetes Care Act of 2009
* Cures Acceleration Network Act of 2009
* Establishing a Network of Health-Advancing National Centers of Excellence for Depression Act of 2009
* Young Women’s Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009
If you want to look at the latest amendment from Democrats, you can find it at http://bit.ly/5w4Vrp .
Finally, I have to shake my head at the usual back and forth on a bill like this. Democrats, who for years loved to filibuster and delay all they could when the GOP ran the show, now denounce various delaying tactics as the worst things ever invented in the world.
Republicans, who for years denounced the use of delaying tactics by Democrats as the worst things ever invented in the world, now talk about the need to delay legislation as if it’s a birthright.
The worst part is that the voters have such a short term memory, they believe what one party says about the other, mainly because they’ve forgotten how the shoes were on the other foot just a few years ago.
My advice – if you hear one party complaining about the filibuster, ignore it. Chances are they were employing the same tactics a few years earlier.