Losing the Forest for the Weeds

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Let’s recap: If the current plan is for the House to pass the Senate healthcare bill followed by a small “sidecar” of amendments, exactly how is this going to be done procedurally? House Democrats, who don’t trust the Senate to follow through on the sidecar, have been proposing ever more baroque methods for passing everything at one time, culminating yesterday with…..oh, forget it. You don’t want to know. (But click here if you’re masochistic.) And anyway, it doesn’t matter, because the Senate parliamentarian has apparently ruled that their latest fanciful scheme violates Senate rules.

Frankly, it violates common sense, too, and probably the U.S. constitution, for that matter. Plus, it’s just plain dumb. At some point, you have to trust that your co-partisans aren’t going to shaft you completely. Steve Benen:

Sure, there are tensions between the chambers — a common phenomenon over the last 200+ years — but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think the Senate would promise to pass a budget fix, and then decide not to. Indeed, the leadership is not only putting this in writing, but let’s also not forget that senators want to pass the budget fix — it makes changes the senators themselves want to see — and have no incentive to pull a fast one on the [House].

We know the upper chamber can obviously be dysfunctional, but Senate Dems aren’t insane — why on earth would they want a budget fix, ask the House to pass a budget fix, declare their support for a budget fix, promise to pass a budget fix, and then decide not to vote for it? Knowing that it would make all future negotiations between the chambers completely impossible?

I get that the House is nervous, but this fear doesn’t make sense.

I wouldn’t go as far as Steve. There are some senators who probably like the Senate bill just the way it is and don’t want to pass the sidecar. There are others in the centrist caucus who’d like to vote against it for other reasons. And even if 51 senators are on board, there’s always the chance that Republicans can successfully gum up the works or that the parliamentarian will make some weird ruling that kills some provision of the sidecar. Who knows?

So House Dems do have some reason to be suspicious. Hell, I’d be suspicious. But I wouldn’t be paranoid. At some point, if Harry Reid and the appropriate committee chairmen all sign on, and Barack Obama signs on, and the House leadership feels comfortable, then you pull the trigger. The odds of getting screwed aren’t zero, but they’re pretty damn small.

We’ve been at this for over a year, and at long last the time for posturing and gameplaying is over. The holdouts need to dig into their consciences and do the right thing. Let’s get on with it.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate