ALG Urges Congress to Start Over on Health Care Reform, Take Reconciliation Threat Off the Table

"[N]o negotiations should take place while the threat of reconciliation on current legislation is on the table.  Republicans should not be sitting down with a gun pointed at their heads."ALG President Bill Wilson.

February 11th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today urged members of Congress to "start over on health care reform and take the threat of eliminating the filibuster off the table to assure the American people that Congressional Democrats are negotiating in good faith."

"On one hand, Barack Obama is approaching Congressional Republicans to sit down and negotiate anew on the enacting legislation related to health care, but on the other, Congressional Democrats are threatening to ram the legislation in its current form down the throats of the American people via 'reconciliation,' a process usually reserved for minor budget fixes," Wilson explained.

"Reconciliation was never intended to be used to avert the Senatorial filibuster in order to enact sweeping changes to the laws of the land," Wilson added.

Wilson pointed to comments by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's legislative director Wendell Primus stating that the reconciliation process was "the only way" for Congressional Democrats to pass what Wilson termed "a takeover of the nation's entire health care industry."

Speaking at the Academy Health National Health Policy Conference, Primus said, "The House would have to take up [the reconciliation bill] first because it would involve revenue changes and then the Senate would pass it and then I think hopefully with the passing of that legislation, the House, only then would take up the Senate bill and pass it… The trick in all of this is that the President would have to sign the Senate bill first and then the reconciliation bill would be signed second and the parts of the reconciliation bill that trump the relevant portions of the first signed bill."

Wilson said that "The net effect would be to eliminate the filibuster to enact 'ObamaCare,' guaranteeing one-party rule in Washington, and forcing the American people to accept a plan that will ration care away from seniors, bankrupt the treasury with over $2.5 trillion in costs over ten years once fully implemented, lower the quality of care, raise premiums, and force Americans off of their private insurance options."

Wilson added that "no negotiations should take place while the threat of reconciliation on current legislation is on the table.  Republicans should not be sitting down with a gun pointed at their heads."

Thus far, Barack Obama has refused to take reconciliation off of the table, as reported by the Huffington Post, despite calls from House Republican leaders to do so prior to the highly anticipated February 25th meeting.

Wilson said that "Instead, Congressional leaders and Barack Obama should start over, especially since the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the bill in its current form."

According to Rasmussen Reports, 61 percent of voters say they want Congress to start over on any health care legislation.  58 percent oppose the bill in its current form, which only 39 percent support.

In an oped published this morning, Wilson described the parliamentary maneuver as "a significant threat to the liberty of the American people and the institutions of limited government."

Wilson warned that if Congressional leaders were successful in implementing the legislation via reconciliation, that the process could be used to enact other controversial bills that cannot garner 60 votes in the Senate.

Wilson explained in his oped, "If reconciliation can be invoked to avert the filibuster on this issue, it surely would be used to enact other radical proposes such as caps on carbon emissions, the takeover of the energy industry, and the nationalization of the banks."

Wilson also cautioned that the $2.5 trillion bill "like the rest of the nation's entitlement spending, is unsustainable, and as ALG News has previously reported, will hasten the nation's descent into financial Armageddon, as the U.S. would eventually lose its Triple-A credit rating."

Wilson concluded, "Members of Congress should consider carefully what they do next.  If they refuse to take the threat of 'reconciliation' off the table, the American people will know that the fix is in and that the televised negotiations are fraudulent; nothing more than a distraction from the true danger."