David Kirkpatrick

April 22, 2010

The party of “no” pulls gun …

… shoots foot.

Here’s a bad procedural move by the GOP today:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort by Democrats to start debate on legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system, and the two sides traded bitter accusations about who was standing in the way of a bipartisan agreement.

There is some political jujitsu going on right now, and the GOP stands to lose a lot more than the financial reform debate.

Also from the link:

The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, asked Republicans to agree to begin debating the measure, which would impose a sweeping regulatory framework on Wall Street and big financial institutions. But the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, objected, saying Democrats were pre-empting negotiations to reach a deal.

McConnell has a great point about negotiations, but his policy of all-out obstruction against all things Democrat in the legislature is working against him here. The Dems are very happy to force the GOP to block this move and substantially raise the floor of compromise. The longer the GOP opposes debate on the bill, the more the party appears to be in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fast forward to November and you’ll find a lot of ads hammering this point home to an electorate very, very sick of Wall Street and all things existing in the rarefied air of high finance. The economy is likely still going to be in the tank by the time election day rolls around and the GOP stands to gain, maybe gain a lot. The one thing it does not need is to be saddled with a tangible partnership with those evil-doers on Wall Street. And that is what has already started with today’s move.

Here’s the New Republic’s Jon Chait three days ago on why the Dems eagerly anticipated this move:

Chris Dodd says the Senate is going to hold a vote on his bill Wednesday or Thursday. Republicans still say they can muster 41 votes in opposition. The ideal for Democrats would be to have the whole GOP vote to filibuster the bill, then have a huge debate, and then have one or more Republicans defect and pass the bill anyway. Then you get an accomplishment and a chance to expose the GOP as carrying water for Wall Street.

February 26, 2010

Fact-checking the health care summit

Shockingly (er, not really) neither side had a total grasp on the truth.

It’s worth hitting the link for the entire piece, but here’s the FactCheck.org summary:

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander said premiums will go up for “millions” under the Senate bill and president’s plan, while President Barack Obama said families buying the same coverage they have now would pay much less. Both were misleading. The Congressional Budget Office said premiums for those in the group market wouldn’t change significantly, while the average premium for those who buy their own coverage would go up.
  • Alexander also said “50 percent of doctors won’t see new [Medicaid] patients.” But a 2008 survey says only 28 percent refuse to take any new Medicaid patients.
  • Sen. Harry Reid cited a poll that said 58 percent would be “angry or disappointed” if health care overhaul doesn’t pass. True, but respondents in the poll were also split 43-43 on whether they supported the legislation that is currently being proposed.
  • Obama repeated an inflated claim we’ve covered before. He said insured families pay about $1,000 a year in their premiums to cover costs for the uninsured. That’s a disputed figure from an advocacy group. Other researchers put the figure at about $200.
  • Sen. Tom Coburn said “the government is responsible for 60 percent” of U.S. health spending. But that dubious figure includes lost tax revenue due to charitable contributions to hospitals and other questionable items. The real figure is about 47 percent.
  • Reid said “since 1981 reconciliation has been used 21 times. Most of it has been used by Republicans.” That’s true, but scholars say using it to pass health care legislation would be the most ambitious use to date of this filibuster-avoiding maneuver.
  • Rep. Charles Boustany said the main GOP-backed bill would reduce premium costs by “up to about 10 percent.” According to CBO, that’s true for the small group market, which accounts for only 15 percent of premiums. But premiums in the large group market would stay the same or go down by as much as 3 percent.

January 7, 2009

Looks like Roland Burris …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:40 pm

… will likely take over Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Burris was Blago’s little parting middle finger to the Democratic establishment before going up river for quite a while.

He was asked to not fill the seat while reeling under allegations that have him caught dead-to-rights in the crosshairs of a federal investigation. This is something of a gift for the GOP. Time does change things, but for now Burris will be seen as damaged goods and tainted if only by the nature of his appointment, and the fact Blagojevich got himself into the deep water by virtue of attempting to sell that very appointment.

From the link:

Senate leaders began to clear the way for Roland Burris to take over President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant seat, saying they wanted the issue resolved quickly.

Burris met Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin, a day after his paperwork was rejected at the opening of the 111th Congress.

They called the meeting ”positive” and indicated that the Senate would be open to seating Burris once legal hurdles are resolved and Burris clears the air over his appointment.

Senate officials in both parties, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for Senate members, said there is a growing expectation on Capitol Hill that the saga will end with Burris being seated. 

Senate officials say Burris’ appointment still has to be certified by Illinois’ secretary of state.

Burris met for 45 minutes Wednesday morning with Reid and Durbin. Only days ago, both senators were arguing that Burris’ nomination was so tainted that he should not be seated and would be blocked.