September 23, 2009
Senator Cantwell and the Senate Democrats won't let you see the bill - updated
The Democrats on the Senate committee today blocked an amendment that would require the full language of the final health-care takeover bill be available for reading for 72 hours before the vote.
"Let's be honest about it, most people don't read the legislative language," said Senator Kerry. (Did you know he served in Viet Nam?) Politico.com
So making it available long enough for anyone to read it would cause an unnecessary delay, they claim. And besides SOME people will read it in 72 hours.
Kerry and our Washington Senator Cantwell don't want us to know what will be in it. All the Democrats, except Blanche Lincoln, voted against this common-sense amendment and Senator Cantwell is on the Finance Committee, so she must have voted against it.
The issue is the final bill language in its legislative legalese. It is now in plain English, but will be converted. The Demos say the current version should be good enough. But the process of converting it into illegible legislative language will certainly induce differences. The final language is what would be law for decades to come. So we have to be able to see it.
To me it is legislative malpractice to prevent a major bill from being read.
Michelle Malkin has more.
Update: Human Events has the list and distinguished Senator Cantwell voted to oppose letting you see the bill. HE says that with the mark-up session the "plain English" bill is now its original 200 pages plus added pages, markings and Post It notes attached.
Posted by Ron Hebron at September 23, 2009
07:02 PM | Email This
1. If I understand correctly, the committee will be voting only on the plain English version, not the legislative language. The latter will be available before the full Senate votes on it. Sounds reasonable to me.
2. Compromise doesn't mean compromising the essence of policy, all know it !!
1. As regards a make-believe scheme, the source of funding coming from a middle class is utterly against the commitment of Democratic party.
2. No cost-competitive advantage of the insurer-friendly scheme does not clear the grave concern about the unsustainable cost of overall health care program in the long run. Baucus scheme Doesn't Bend Cost Curve Enough, Experts Say.
The scheme proposes a "fake" alternative, nonprofit insurance cooperatives -- and it places so many "restrictions" on these cooperatives that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, they "seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country."
3. Even with some benefit for primary practitioners, the baseless scheme does not come with fundamental payment reform, or a pay for value reimbursement formula. It means that the insurer-friendly scheme is not cleaning up the concerns over a quality issue and $9trillion of deficit over the next decade.
3. sKerry was never particularly bright, but lately he seems to be going for shoe-sized IQ. It is obvious that there is acute interest in this legislation and that trying to cram it through isn't going to work.
Why that's funny. I actually read HR3200 (the legislative bill) and was able to articulate that it was a bad bill so well after reading it that my liberal friends ended up arguing to their liberal friends against the bill.
Noooo. Nobody reads that stuff.
5. #1. What is wrong with the 72 hour period of having the legislative language available?
This common sense amendment would be SOP for ANY bill in a real republic.
The democrats reticence makes it seem like they're trying to hide something, or pull a fast one.
But they wouldn't do that, would they?
is anyone surprised?....this is the "friend of the little guy" and "free speech" and "transparency" party....you know, the party of "hope" and "chains"....
when will you goose steppers ever grow up....face the facts and admit that you were wrong and now the entire country is at risk?
oh, one of those nazi radio broadcasters was letting it slip about the rumor of "peacekeepers" going to Honduras....
come on goose steppers...lets figure a way to get out of that one if true...
8. If I understand correctly, the committee will be voting only on the plain English version, not the legislative language.~ Bruce
Perhaps the english version should be the final version since, afterall, we all speak english and not legislatese. Hell, it might even encourage the uneducated chairman of the house judiciary committee named John Conyers to actually read the bill he admitted he was incapable of understanding and therefore, didn't read, HR 3200.
Maybe keeping it in simple understandable english will help more Democrat party members understand the bill they're actually voting on, but then, I'm an optimist.
9. I'd like to see several hundred thousand people converge on DC and demand that the Senate start obeying the law. These SOB's who are serving us are flipping off the public. It's time to be outraged and maybe a soft revolution is in order.
So not only do they not read the bills, they don't even vote on them. They just vote on a concept and let someone else write a bill later.
Anyone besides me think they have violated the oath of office?
We need to send every single one of them packing.
11. Gee - It would be very simple merge both Simple Englist Version paragraphs and the associated legislative translation in the same document. That way you read both and get a much better understanding. But....I seriously doubt Congress would ever do that as the populous (the wee wee'd peons) would have way too much information about the Bills and all of the Pork.
12. They don't want us to see all the sneaky labor union give-aways, such as the "reinsurance" for the UAW's insolvent retiree medical insurance fund. I believe that's what this bill is all about--getting the government involved so the Democrats can write laws making it easier to unionize health care workers. Think SEIU, AFSCME, etc.
...and since this thing wouldn't be enacted until 2013, of course three days would be TOO LONG to delay it...
Another gripe against Cantwell is that when I called her office back when to complain that ACORN would be a disastrous addition to the Census effort the complaint fell on her deaf ears. (Murray's, too). Cantwell couldn't be bothered about it and deserves a hit for not taking a stand for something that we all knew and tried to sound the alarm on, but she preferred to stay silent and let corruption happen. We here all knew ACORN would be horrible for the Census; Maria and her democrat cohorts simply chose not to see what was already there. You got proved wrong, Maria; try listening to your constituents. They seem to know more than you do about what's going on.
Good point, Michele. Allow me to play a Democrat and refute you. "Three days, Michele? Do you know how many people the mean-spirited Republipukes can murder in three days after some date in 2013?"
15. My guess is that neither Cantwell nor Murray will even bother to read it themselves. Shades of the Stimulus package.
But, but, but Obama said his would be the most transparent administration ever? And Pelosi said hers would be the most ethical Congress?
I guess these were only lies uttered to help them get elected.
17. Michele et al, it's a matter of much more than 3 days. If I understand correctly, the legislative language will not exist when the committee votes on the bill. The committee votes on the English version. It sounds to me like the legislative language is written later (perhaps at the conference committee stage? earlier?) and before the full House and Senate votes. Perhaps someone can verify or correct me on this. But it is silly to criticize the Senate for not publishing language when that's not what they're voting on.
I found this telephone number a while it will get you to the congress and sente switchboard. 1 877 851 6437
My letter to the Senaete-whores
WHY ARE YOU NOT PUTTING THE SENATE"s health care bill and the mark up on the internet?
Is it that the top 10% of Doctors will be penilised EACH YEAR? I Live in an area with mostly seniors, therefor my Doctor could bump into that ten percent.
Why should he be threatened and why should I have the chance of losing my life: just so you can quickly sneak through another pork filled bill, that you will not have read?
What is the RUSH: TO KILL OFF SENIORS?
This is male bovine excrement and you know it.
It is time for you to be honest and take this bill and trash can it.
Start with a clean slate. Place the uninsurable in a pool that all insurance co. must participate similar to flood insurance or hurricane insurance.
The government does not need to cover everyone from cradle to grave. THAT IS NOT YOUR JOB.
HOW ABOUT MAJOR MEDICAL AND A TAX DEDUCTABLE MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
I CAN PROMISE YOU THIS, I WILL WORK VERY HARD TO DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER AND ORGANIZE SENIORS IN THIS AREA TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT IS IN THIS BILL HOW IT WILL AFFECT THEM AND HOW THEIR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVE HAVE VOTED.
19. It sounds to me like the legislative language is written later (perhaps at the conference committee stage? earlier?) and before the full House and Senate votes.
How about we apply the KISS rule and Keep it simple, Stupid. If our own elected officials are incapable of understanding the freakin' language contained within the bill (and admitting as such) they're voting a yea or nay on, doesn't it make sense to dumb it down to the lowest common denominator?
Afterall, isn't that what the liberals have done in our SKOOL system? And if it's good enough for the NEA, it's certainly good enough for John Conyer's and Company. Welcome to the short bus congress. All aboard!
I posted earlier today on two NW reps who have signaled a break with House leadership.
Baird and Minnick.
21. Cantwell and all the other communists that supposedly 'represent' Washington State are about as far removed from what their job is REALLY all about ! I surprised that "We the People" have not brought them up on charges for violating their oaths to "protect and defend the constitution" ...it is time to make some REAL changes (for the BETTER) in our state !! I for one am all about proclaiming state sovereignty !!
President said this about the Public Option a while back:
"Now, I recognize, though, you make a legitimate -- you raise a legitimate concern. People say, well, how can a private company compete against the government? And my answer is that if the private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors, just like any other private insurer would do -- then I think private insurers should be able to compete. They do it all the time. (Applause.)"
What he meant was, it would have to compete on its own, just like the Post Office does, and would not taxpayers subsidizing it.
Guess what? Congress is about to bailout the Post Office with $4 billion. Gosh, that would never happen with the Public Option now would it?
By the way, a little off topic but still illustrative about the contempt our leader has for us. He is going to give $400,000 of our money to Qaddafi's two children.
A show of hands for everyone in favor?
24. ILWCO, your post hits a new low for logic. You threaten to "organize" seniors -- who already have government-provided healthcare, and report significantly higher satisfaction with their healthcare than any other group in the US -- to oppose government-provided healthcare for the rest of us. And why? Because the Senate committee will not publish a "mark up" that does not exist, and they will never actually vote on?
I know A-holes like you are impressed all to hell with "legislative language" and other things like PHD's. You are a pompous ass that doesn't know he is about to take a baseball bat to the head.
All of that legislative language bullcrap is just about making the law unreadable by the general public. Lawyerese. It is unnecessary. You support these punks in DC. You are my enemy.
26. Seniors' health care benefits will be reduced as a result of this new reform. Perhaps that is why seniors would organize against it.
#14 I guess I was more right than I knew. MSNBC host today said this:
"The Republicans Lie... They Want to See You Dead"
Excuse me, Ron, but you are ONCE AGAIN
Your headline says you can't see the "bill." That's not true. Bills in the finance committee are done using plain English ("conceptual language") as is long tradition.
Never before in the history of the Finance committee have they voted on actual legislative language. They always vote on conceptual language. Always. In fact, I wish other committees used this method since it leads to much smaller bills that one can actually easily understand. Even amendments are offered in plain English!
This is clearly another delay tactic by the GOP. The merits be damned, we want to score political points!
I'd be fine delaying the floor vote three days once final language is decided -- but the committee vote? It's a waste of time. No one is going to sit around reading the legislative language when the clear, conceptual language exists. We're going to have plenty of time to scour the language after the bill leaves committee.
By the way, the delay is multiple weeks since the amendment also wants a full CBO score of this legislative language. Just like legislative language is hard for us to read, so is it for the CBO.
Bleh, the amendment failed, whatever. For all of those concerned about the extreme secrecy of the bill -- how many hours have you spent watching cspan.org this week? I've racked up at least 10 hours of amendment hearings in the background while at work. I saw them debate this amendment. It's pretty obvious any time that the GOP gets the mic they take their cozy time to draw the process out.
30. Now I would think, IMHO, that the Senators feel they are the equivalent to CEOs and don't need the the minor details for their decisions. Likely, if they are not on the actual committee, they only get an Executive version of the bills with Democrat talking points.
Michele et al, it's a matter of much more than 3 days. If I understand correctly, the legislative language will not exist when the committee votes on the bill. The committee votes on the English version. It sounds to me like the legislative language is written later (perhaps at the conference committee stage? earlier?) and before the full House and Senate votes. Perhaps someone can verify or correct me on this. But it is silly to criticize the Senate for not publishing language when that's not what they're voting on.
So, just to clarify, the reason this is a non-issue is because the committee in charge of creating the bill will vote on passing the bill to the entire Senate before actually writing the bill.
In other words, this is nothing because it's a vote on a bill that does not exist.
Is that really your contention, Bruce? That this is an acceptable way to do the people's work? To vote first, legislate later?
The bill doesn't kick in until 2013. Considering it will fundamentally restructure 20% of our GDP, and require literally trillions of dollars, what's the problem with taking a few extra weeks to get it right while we have the time to get it right?
Why the rush for a bill that doesn't kick in until 2013? Is the 2, 3, 4, or even 6 week delay going to risk the 2013 launch date?
This entire project is a real cluster. Obama sets these expectations/deadlines and leaves everyone else to work out the details, and acts all put out when it doesn't magically happen. Just like Gitmo. He comes into office and just declares that it will be closed in exactly one year, while offering no plan on how to do it, and guess what... this deadline is also going to be missed.
He also said today that Iran is "breaking the rules". Uh... duh, or something.
What will he do about it? I supposed he'll defend Iran against an Israeli attack by shooting down Israeli planes. That's what he'll do about it.
Anyway, I'm rambling, but if you want to know why this health care reform is in such a shambles, just ask Katie Couric, even she says he screwed the pooch on this thing.
34. Human Events has the list of the irresponsible senators who oppose you reading the bill. I updated the post with the link.
#28 "This is clearly another delay tactic by the GOP. "
Delay is a good thing when you're talking about such a big bill. Don't you think?
The Dems are afraid the people might find something in that 72 hours that is objectionable. If the people do, then that is a *good* thing, not a bad thing. If the people do not, then you lost three days. Just three days.
Dan, what's the problem with taking a few extra weeks to get it right while we have the time to get it right?
I agree with that spirit, but this amendment didn't do that.
It would have wasted time. The plain English version is exactly the same as the legalese version. Translation that is quick. For the CBO to do a fresh score would involve a ridiculous amount of effort since they wouldn't be able to consult the plain English version that they have already scored.
It was a plain and clear delay tactic, guys. The CBO is going to score the plain English version the same as the legalese version since by rules they have the same contents.
Gary, it is not a 72 hour delay. It's a multiple week delay and it's grandstanding. The bill has already been delayed for months now. People know their positions on the issues, and while a spirited debate is fine whining about process and being in the minority is simply not a true contribution to the process.
Every other bill in the history of the Finance committee has done CBO judgments with plain English. Why change this now? Partisan games -- that's it. (The Finance committee handled major tax overhauls that affected even more of the economy than health care.)
Now, delaying the committee vote for three days -- without waiting for CBO judgment of legalese -- is a whole separate amendment. The marks are freely available and have already been for days. So are the amendments. No one is going to be helped by the delay and we're going to have plenty of time to read the bills -- in their full legalese form -- while they're on the floor.
I would be very fine with having a three-day waiting period between the conference report and the final vote. And even a week delay between the final vote and the signing. But delays in committee are not helpful. Fight your case on the floor if you have one.
#36 "Gary, it is not a 72 hour delay. It's a multiple week delay and it's grandstanding. The bill has already been delayed for months now. "
So? Should we have passed it in July with all of the bad stuff in it? Don't you think the delay has worked to make a better bill? You were opposed to it in July.
Centrifuge John started spinning again:
It would have wasted time.
OK, so how much time wasted, and how would a 1, 2, 3 week or even 2, 3, or 4 month delay affect a bill that doesn't kick in until 2013?
What's the problem with slowing down when you are fundamentally restructuring 20% of the US economy? Especially when the legislation doesn't start for 4 years? Why not take a few extra weeks - heck, months - to satisfy your critics?
The President and the congressional leadership keeps wanting to get the Republicans on board with this legislation. How about letting the Republicans read it over, let their constituents read it over, and then decide if they want to participate.
Or is it, as Bruce wrote, the best way to simply vote first then write the bill later?
Yeah, Dan. I am baffled by John's concern about the delay. He didn't want the bill passed in July. The delay has worked to make the bill more to his liking, so of all people, he should be in favor of delay, and consideration, and *change*, etc.
Frankly, he should be thanking us.
Why is delaying the health care bill bad, while delaying a plea by our Defense Dept for more troops in Afghanistan good? While we wait for his decision, he jets over to Europe to lobby for the Olympics to be in Chicago.
He told us Afghanistan was his #1 priority. He has spoken exactly once to the commanding General.