Orrin Hatch Vows to Kill Bill in Senate: Dems Are ‘Nuts’
March 21, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) vowed to kill the healthcare reform bill once it comes to the Senate. And he called the House Democrats “nuts” for believing that once the bill passes the House, they are home free. Hatch declared in a Bloomberg interview over the weekend, Republicans in the Senate are convinced that they can kill the bill, based on parliamentary flaws, during the reconciliation process, when Democrats seek to pass the budgetary fixes to the Senate’s healthcare reform bill.
The Senate’s so called reconciliation procedure is used to apply budgetary measures to legislation. In this instance, the House Democrats are voting on Sunday to pass the Senate’s healthcare bill, as is. And are relying on the Senate to fix the bill in the Senate, such as removing special state deals, through the reconciliation process. But the procedure is fraught with peril, because if the language from the original Senate bill and the bill voted on by the House differs in any material respect, the reconciliation process could fail and the bill could be sent back to the House to start the process all over again. And the Senate Republicans plan to oppose the process every step of the way, putting the parliamentarian on the spot.
During an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” Hatch boasted about the GOP plans to oppose healthcare reform on the reconciliation rules:
“If those people think they’re only going to vote on this once, they’re nuts,” Hatch said.
Hatch also echoed claims made by his party that the healthcare reform bill violates the constitution, because the House and Senate aren’t voting on “exactly the same language.”
According to Bloomberg’s report, Republicans think they have found a discrepancy between the two bills regarding Social Security revenue:
“Hatch said one of the points of order raised against the health-care legislation in the Senate would be related to the effect on Social Security revenue, and he expects Republicans will have the votes to win on that because it would require 60 votes to overturn. A proposed tax on high-end insurance plans would be scaled back under the House measure, which would mean less revenue for the Social Security system, Republicans say. That would violate Senate rules, they say.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called a rare Sunday afternoon vote on the healthcare reform bill. The Democratic House members need 216 votes to pass the bill and by all accounts Pelosi has the necessary votes. On Saturday, The House Rules Committee convened to establish the procedural rules for the House vote. The controversial “deem-and-pass” procedure was rejected by the committee, deciding instead hold three separate votes, with the last vote on the bill itself.
The House vote on the historic passage of healthcare reform is scheduled to begin around 2:00 p.m. If the bill makes it through the House, President Obama must first sign the bill, before it can go to the Senate for the reconciliation fixes.