— Annie (@bloodless_coup) November 6, 2014
I’ve embarrassed this nice young man before (Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. You can read a quick, entertaining bio of him here) w/my middle-aged housewife love for him (I just think he’s wicked smart and kinda cute and we had a nice Twitter exchange a while back when I relayed those feelings to him.) and though I tweeted this article out I wanted to be sure to feature it here for the 1 or 2 people who actually visit my blog on a semi-regular, hung-over, ‘damn what did I click’ basis. Mr. Cannon first came to my attention when I saw him testifying on the Hill a few years back and the guy is sharp and fearless and more importantly, there appears to be a deep river of morality running as undercurrent to his political philosophy. Meaning, ‘he hasn’t lost his soul’ as Glenn Beck might say, which is really another way of saying he knows the bedrock upon which we were founded, has read The Federalist, knows the Constitution backwards and forwards, and thinks it’s a pretty nifty document. In other words, my kind of of guy!
So as we approach the 114th Congress in January, the new Senate will have a choice: undo the “nuclear option” Harry Reid undertook w/the filibuster rules, or keep them and shove them down their throats? Revenge is tempting, but Mr. Cannon has an excellent way to… well… stick it to the Democrats, but still leave Revenge to the Lord, where it belongs. (Even for a fallen woman like me, a pagan, I recognize the wisdom of leaving capital “R” revenge to a hand larger than man’s. It is not mine. Or “ours.” Put another way, I firmly believe in having my patience rewarded by a city bus rolling over the bastards; keeps my hands clean and still gives me a warm feeling inside. You know… ;))
It’s a bit of a read, but well worth it. Enjoy.
If Dems Can Nuke Filibuster For Judges, GOP Can Nuke It For ObamaCare (And Still Save Senate)
Republicans won an impressive number of victories last night, including a larger and more conservative House majority and enough wins to give the GOP at least a 52-seat majority in the Senate. As Jeffrey Anderson and Robert Laszewski have noted, Republicans made ObamaCare a major issue in the election (the New York Times’ denials notwithstanding). Senate Republicans will fall several seats short of the 60-vote super-majority needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster of an ObamaCare-repeal bill, though. ObamaCare opponents are therefore debating whether and how Republicans could repeal some or all of the law via the Senate’s “budget reconciliation” process, which allows certain legislation to pass the Senate with only 51 votes. Some opponents have proposed getting around these difficulties by getting rid of the filibuster entirely. I think there’s a more prudent, targeted way Republicans could put ObamaCare repeal on the president’s desk , give Democrats a taste of their own majoritarian medicine , and convince Senate Democrats of the virtues of restoring the filibuster on legislation and judicial nominations.
The Lego Senate. Source: Mashable.com.
It goes like this. Senate Republicans would bring a reconciliation bill to the Senate floor. They would offer a one-line amendment: “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is hereby repealed.” Democrats would raise a point of order against the amendment, most likely under the “Byrd rule.” There is some disagreement about whether the parliamentarian would uphold that point of order, but rather than get into the details, I will assume she does. The amendment would be dead unless Republicans could muster 60 votes to overrule the parliamentarian (technically, the presiding officer, Joe Biden), which they cannot do.
However: all Senate rules are adopted and can be amended by a simple 51-vote majority. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his caucus reminded the nation of this fact when they “nuked” the filibuster for most judicial nominations.
Immediately after the parliamentarian rules the ObamaCare-repeal amendment out of order, therefore, Senate Republicans would give the required notice that they plan to change the Senate rules such that no budget-reconciliation point of order shall lie against any legislative provision repealing part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 . The next day, Senate Republicans would enact that rules change, and pass a bill repealing ObamaCare.
Consider the benefits of that simple, targeted, and proportionate rules change.
First, it would move the ball closer to the end zone by enabling Republicans to put an ObamaCare-repeal bill on the president’s desk. Getting a repeal bill to his desk and forcing him to veto it would further undermine the legitimacy of a law enacted and implemented against the will of the people, and demonstrate that the opposition to the law has not faded.
ObamaCare: Four Straight Years of Unpopularity. Source: Huffington Post/Pollster.com.
Second, this rule change would make life very unpleasant for ObamaCare’s supporters in the White House, Congress, and the 2016 presidential race.
After the president vetoes one reconciliation bill fully repealing ObamaCare, congressional Republicans could send him further reconciliation bills repealing just the law’s most unpopular features, like the individual mandate, or making good on the president’s “if you like your health plan, you can keep it” promise.
Republicans could force the law’s congressional supporters to cast lots of difficult votes, force the president to issue lots of difficult vetoes, and force pro-ObamaCare presidential hopefuls to field lots of uncomfortable questions. (“Mrs. Clinton, would you let people keep their health plans? Would you veto repeal of the individual mandate? How does it feel watching President Obama do so after he became president by attacking you for supporting it?”)
Third, this targeted rule change would only affect ObamaCare, and only through the reconciliation process. That makes it a proportionate response to the way Senate Democrats used and abused the reconciliation process to pass ObamaCare, then nuked the filibuster on judicial nominations to protect the president’s unilateral expansion of the law (see here, here, and here). If Democrats can use a majoritarian process first to enact a law opposed by the people, then again to protect that law from the people, certainly Republicans can use a majoritarian process to give voice to the people by repealing that law. This rule change is also a proportionate response in that it would expire the moment ObamaCare does.
Finally, by giving Democrats a taste of their own majoritarian medicine, this rule change could help Democrats see the virtues of the filibuster, and thereby help restore regular order and minority rights to the Senate.
Since Democrats effectively linked judicial nominations and ObamaCare, Republicans could even offer to restore the filibuster on judicial nominations in exchange for Democratic votes on repealing ObamaCare. Vulnerable Senate Democrats who want to block future Republican judicial nominees could conceivably go along. Some Republicans might think that’s a lousy trade. They should consider that every day ObamaCare remains on the books, its subsidies (legal or illegal) are minting new pro-ObamaCare voters, which will frustrate their efforts to reshape the courts.
Though I used to work for the Senate leadership and scurry about the Senate floor, I’m hardly an expert on Senate procedure. So there could be wrinkles I’m not seeing. But Republicans do have it within their power to get an ObamaCare repeal bill to the president’s desk, and maybe even save the Senate in the process.